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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Kenwood TM-281A Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TM-281A
Kenwood TM-281A Reviews: 48 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $174.95
Description: 2 meter FM mobile transceiver providing 65 watts of power
Product is in production.
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<— Page 3 of 5 —>

N9ZQZ Rating: 5/5 Mar 3, 2013 16:37 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just unboxed the radio and put it on the base to setup the memories before it goes in the mobile. My local hams said it sounded much better than my Icom 2350. The front firing speaker is very nice sounding and I don't think I will need an external speaker for this radio. The menu system is very straight forward and once I read through the basics from teh owners manual I found the menus easy to navigate. Much easier than my old FT-2800 and the ICom. Can't wait to put this mobile this week.
NT2M Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2013 18:17 Send this review to a friend
Great Mobile at any price.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have been using Kenwood's 2-meter mobiles for at least 30 years. I bought a new car last year and needed a radio for it. I always had a dual bander in my car. 2-meter and 220MHz (Kenwood TM-231A). I decided to go with just a single band radio. The TM-281A is perfect for a mobile radio. 65 watts, only a few buttons, great scan options. At $139 it was one of the best ham radio investments for me. You can get very fancy with the options. But the mobile operation is still very simple. Great radio. Would recommend it to all.
KF7ZSE Rating: 5/5 Feb 13, 2013 16:55 Send this review to a friend
BEST 2M RADIO AVAILABLE !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Small but it packs a lot of punch! I received this radio for Christmas and I love it! It has superb audio quality and great sensitivity. It is very easy to use. I never programed it and I have no need to it is already virtually programed. It is definitely worth every cent! My personal rating for this radio is off the scales 10+! I use it as a all purpose radio plus it is very durable. I don't know what else to say because it is so good let the radio tell you the rest! I have a feeling this radio is going to last for years.

Thanks Kenwood
AD4Y Rating: 4/5 Feb 9, 2013 12:50 Send this review to a friend
Good 2-meter radio   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I pick this radio from a ham radio dealer used but it came with everything like brand new like refurbished and so far so good.. it really gives you the range that you need to reach some repeaters and the front speaker makes it great too. having some issues with the mcp1-a software version 3.10 with the usb cable,but with the freeware CHIRP you can read the radio and program it back with no problem. I will try the krs-271 software and cable as well. But very good radio...
N5MZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2012 10:49 Send this review to a friend
Winner  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have two TM-271's that have been in use for 6 years. I have a TM-281 that has been in my TrailBlazer for just about a year. Both are solid radios. Good size, nice microphone, all the features I need without extra knobs and features getting in the way. Would I buy another 281? I just did this morning. HRO has them on sale for $119 so I could not pass it by! If you need a solid basic 2M radio you can't go wrong here.
K7EDL Rating: 5/5 Nov 7, 2012 12:15 Send this review to a friend
excelent basic mobile  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have the TM-281a mounted in my truck for about two months and have received many good signal reports. I program all the repeaters on the lower power setting and have the High Low power set on the D button so I can switch the power. The quality of the sound and the front facing speaker make it easy to hear even in my noisy truck.(I always use head phones with HF due to poor hearing)
The radio is easy to program. The only dislike I have is I can't get it to program when the Weather alert is turned on and it doesn't mention this in the manual.
W1REJ Rating: 5/5 Oct 23, 2012 20:10 Send this review to a friend
My First Transceiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is my first transceiver. I had a limited budget to work with, so I decided to go with a 2 meter rig. Next came the process of what to purchase. I decided upon the Kenwood TM-281A due to ratings, and the sensitivity spec. I was NOT disappointed! At 0.18Uv, I am pulling in stations over 100 miles away in Simplex mode, with a Tram model 1100 quarter wave mag-mount on my car as if they were next door.I found it easy to program and for the price I am satisfied.The hardest part of using the radio was finding a way to get the power leads through the jamb-packed firewall, and, building a saddle over the center console to mount the radio. Now to save money for an all band base rig.
KB9YNJ Rating: 5/5 Oct 11, 2012 15:01 Send this review to a friend
Quality rig at good price  Time owned: months
After having owned various models of Yaesu, Icom and Radio Shack 2 meter rigs, I decided to try The Kenwood TM281A.I find that 200 Freq memories or 100 Alpha memories are more than adequate.
I Love the ease of programming and the practical front panel controls. The scan speed is as good as it gets.The reputation Kenwood has for great transmit and receive audio shines through with this rig. I am constantly asked "what kind of rig are you running" and receive a lot of complements.The Simplex contacts are amazing.I am only running a NTAX dual band slim Jim at 20 feet, but have reached 80 to 100 miles simplex!
I bought a second TM281A for the car. the compact size made it easy to mount.Rugged mil should make it last a long time. Thanks Kenwood and the great Guys at R&L
AI4WM Rating: 4/5 Sep 16, 2012 19:24 Send this review to a friend
Good working solidly designed radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This radio would earn a 5 rating if it had a real microphone connector.

I bought 2 new radios this summer to replace the aging ones in my cars. The TM271A was one of them.

This radio is very well built and solid. The front facing speaker, although small, produces crystal clear and loud audio. I was very surprised at the audio quality of such a small speaker.

The supplied microphone takes a bit of getting used to compared to my other radios for up/down.
The function is on the front rather than top.

The radio is a bit trickier to program than my Yaesu, but not difficult. There are plenty of programmable options for the radio as well as

There are plenty of memory channels (200) and a dedicated weather channel with alert. It would be nice if Kenwood included the S.A.M.E. tones rather than a general alert.

Besides the lack of S.A.M.E. tones the radio only has 2 transmit power levels (Which I knew before purchase so it does not affect my rating) 25 and 65 watts. Both are over kill since any repeater in our county can be hit with full quieting with less than one watt.

I rated this radio a 4 because of the cheap microphone connector and over molded strain relief of the cable as well as an LCD display (another thing all manufactures use) LCD displays are crap for mobile. They have a life span less than the radio and they die. They do not handle really cold weather. They cannot be seen with polarized sun glasses (so it can create a driving hazard). Even though I am not keen on LCDs for mobile I do wish this had the green back light of the TM-271A.
W5LZ Rating: 4/5 Sep 12, 2012 06:34 Send this review to a friend
Very good  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've had the '281 for a few months now. I've found that it does what it's supposed to do and does it well. It's a 'bare-bones' single band radio, you can't expect any more than that.
There are a few things different about the '281, not 'bad', just different. The speaker is one of those 'different' things, I didn't really expect much from such a tiny thing. I was wrong, it does very well. I never gave much thought to it not having a fan, figured if it needed one 'they' would have provided one, you know? It doesn't need a fan because of the huge heatsink. It does pose a 'problem' though, be careful on how/where you mount the thing. It do get hot. Don't misplace that mounting bracket, you WILL need it.
This radio is about as simple as you can make one. There are four connections with it, power, external speaker, antenna, and the mic. That's it. (The mic connection doubles as the programming cable connection.) All connections are of a different type/shape, it's kind'a hard to get things mixed up (even for me).
What do I not like about it? Same as most people I think, with the addition of "Why didn't they mark the on/off knob's marker, change it's color so I can see it?", you know? Really biggy, huh? I also do not like the 'telephone'/RJ-45 type connectors! That's something I have to live with so isn't a biggy either (except to me). Make sure the mic connector is seated good, the 'dust cover' on it requires that you give it a 'firm' push. That's good actually.
I'm happy with the '281. It's exactly what it's claimed to be. Oh, and it's got a very nice receiver.
- Paul
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