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Author Topic: 2M refresh - FT2900 to TM281A?  (Read 1498 times)
NEVBEN
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Posts: 113




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« on: November 13, 2017, 07:17:22 PM »

I'm about to update/refresh my 2M radio inventory and increase it to about 6 transceivers.  Years ago I bought FT2900R and that model has worked fine.  But I despised the inability to program efficiently without a 3rd party application, and I thought the user interface was poor, particularly the lock button being the same as the bleeping WIRES button.  So when I needed HT, I bought Kenwood TH-K20A to get factory MCP-5A software to program via PC, and a better user interface.  I have been happy with the TH-K20A other than the poor range which is to be expected with the rubber ducky.

I want the user interface to be similar between HT's and mobiles.  Now I have to decide should I buy more FT2980R's and get FT-270R's or should I sell off FT2900R and buy TM-281A's and more TH-K20A.  I am just about ready to do the latter and go all Kenwood.  Is there any reason I might regret this?
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AC8DC
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2017, 10:05:17 AM »

I have user experience with the 2900 and 281. In certain areas I travel the 2900 had intermod where the 281 is unaffected. I also feel the menu structure is easier to use and the mic is more comfortable to use on the 281.
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Chris
AC8DC
K5BBC
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Posts: 99




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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2017, 11:29:27 AM »

...... But I despised the inability to program efficiently without a 3rd party application, and I thought the user interface was poor, particularly the lock button being the same as the bleeping WIRES button.  .....

Even in the 3rd party programming, I've found the Yaesus to be different and unnecessarily complicated. 

I'd go Kenwood.  I have Kenwood, Icom, and Motorola.
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K7RBW
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Posts: 488




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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2017, 04:50:56 AM »

I have the -271 and my son has a -281. Both are bulletproof rigs. I also like the Kenwood mike over the Yaesu mike. Other than that, I don't have much brand affinity. I have rigs from Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu, Alinco, and Baofeng. Each is good for what I use it for.
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VE7REN
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Posts: 566




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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2017, 10:35:15 AM »

I recoment the ic2300h. the cloning is easy peazy with just a single 1/8 stereo jack wire between the two. no intermod on these rigs,and solid build
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NEVBEN
Member

Posts: 113




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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2017, 09:53:23 AM »

I bought two 281's so far, and two THK-20A's.  I was totally despondent that the MCS5 software that programs the THK-20A is completely different than the MCS1 that programs the TM-281A, and that there is no compatible import/export, not even text.  This is mostly because the MCS1 for the TM-281 is very arcane.  Still, after I spent more than an hour exhausting the issue, it was a lot easier to program 100 channels into two PC software applications than it would have been using the radio interface.  Now that it's done, I can easily program either.

One of the reasons I went with Kenwood is the excellent THK-20A.  I can't say I've tried the equivalent FT-270R or IC-V80, but I'm very happy with the THK-20A's.

The 281 is simple to use.  I have compared it side by side with my FT2900R but have not used it long enough for one to really distinguish itself from the other.  I believe many people buy the Yaesu because of the higher wattage specification on the amplifier, but 80W vs 65W is only .9dB, and my FT2900R is only 0.6dB more than a 65W transceiver.  I have also found that this gain is practically useless. 

Whether I'm using my 3 x 5/8 wave base, 5/8 wave mobile, or an HT antenna, it's always being outside and the height above the terrain that determines the range.  Even a kilowatt of power isn't going to penetrate a mountain with 2m waves, and an HT is almost always sufficient to reach the repeater at the top.  I live in a mountain state and it's the terrain that limits range.

I found with the Kenwood TM-281A that the audio clips and has a lot of harmonic distortion past 1/4 turn on the volume knob.  I compared this to the Yaesu which is just as bad and seems to output even less audio power at the same 1/4 turn before it starts to clip and distort.  I tried with both the built-in speakers and external speakers, and it's definitely the amp.  I hadn't paid much attention to this earlier because I have been using a separate audio amplifier with my mobile rig.  I bought an amplifier for the base and will be installing that today.  FM really affords gorgeous audio if the equipment is there that won't just clip it.

I bought the Kenwoods via a source I could easily return them should I find they don't work out or there is something better.  So far I intend to keep them and maybe buy another 281.  I am not comparing them to $500 radios which would be very expensive to buy for in batches.  Those costly, feature-packed dual-banders are also complicated.  I need to keep it simple for everyone that uses them, and also consistent so they're all similar user interfaces.
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