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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Kenwood TM-271A Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TM-271A
Kenwood TM-271A Reviews: 106 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $189.95
Description: 2meter mobile
Product is not in production.
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Page 1 of 11 —>

NC6P Rating: 4/5 Jan 30, 2018 17:47 Send this review to a friend
great then gone  Time owned: more than 12 months
I can't kick too much. I have had this radio for 15+ years and it worked great during that time. Last time I used it in the pickup truck, I noticed that the RX was acting up. Could not copy stations that always came in strong. Then, it would not key up local repeaters while having a full TX output.
On the plus side, it is built like a commercial rig and the free programming software will steer me away from the brands that don't offer it. I pulled out my old Kenwood 241 with the rotten display and am using it. Miss the features of the 271. Have been looking, perhaps for the price, the 281A is in my future. Have a General Electric Mastr Prog that is 40+ years old, still works but only rock bound. For the $, I didn't do too bad with the 271A,
W5KVV Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2017 02:51 Send this review to a friend
Excellent rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Solid performer. It and its successor, the TM-281 are both based on the commercial TK-5xxx series chassis. FPP is not a problem if you actually read the menu. I can have a repeater programmed, PL'd and alpha tagged in 15 seconds from the front panel.

The preset power levels can be adjusted. You can use the trimmer pot VR1 which is easily accessible by removing the top cover. This will adjust overall RF power out, aka, both the high and low power settings. Example: If you use VR1 to bring the low power setting down to say 15 watts, the high power setting will now yield about 35 watts RF out. ALTERNATIVELY, you can go into the factory service menu and adjust both the high and low settings independently. My low power is set to 5 watts, while the high power setting still yields the full 60 watts. It's clearly stated in the factory service manual on how to access the service menu and what to adjust. Come on guys. WE ARE HAMS!

Good RX. My 271 opens squelch at .19uV. (1kHZ tone @ +/-3 kHZ deviation).

I can't complain about the 271.
WA6PH Rating: 3/5 Mar 7, 2016 19:57 Send this review to a friend
Mic connection nitemares  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased this unit for the front facing speaker and the 4X4 Jeep I used to travel off roads. It has served me well, but does come up with concerns when the mic is pulled on even just a little bit. The coiled mic wire leads one to believe that you can extend it without concern. The problem, as I have experienced it, is that with the type of connections at the radio and the mic itself, the fine wires used don't stretch without breaking contact and needing replacement. I really wish that Kenwood would have stayed with the standard 8 pin connection they had used for decades. Now that was solid and sure.
KC7CJO Rating: 5/5 Jul 1, 2015 13:20 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this radio since around 2003 and haven't had any issues, except for the microphone (replaced with a new one after about 5 years).

My only real complaint about this rig would be it's lack of heat sink for the amount of output power! But I don't have a need for any more than 30-watts on HI power.

It's a great rig and has been VERY dependable!
W6YNS Rating: 3/5 Jan 31, 2014 11:21 Send this review to a friend
Decent Audio or Power  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the radio thinking it was a simple single band transceiver to program. It has good audio and plenty of power when needed for reaching distant repeaters. The disadvantage is that I found it difficult to program any frequencies on the radio. The only way I was able to program the rig was to purchase the programming cable and download the programming software from Kenwood. I bought the cable off E bay and it made a big difference.
N4FPA Rating: 1/5 Apr 4, 2013 17:42 Send this review to a friend
Poor durability  Time owned: more than 12 months
4/04/2013 - Purchased the TM-271A in 2010, used mainly on low power as base station several times per week and same for packet radio. At random intervals, unit began powering off then back on immediately upon transmitting regardless of power setting, and would exhibit same at times during various transmission durations. Checked all external connections, coax, antenna, and swr, no problem. Used another, older replacement radio and did not experience any problems that the Kenwood is exhibiting. Very disappointed with the Kenwood 2mtr radio.
VE5PSL Rating: 5/5 Nov 18, 2012 15:31 Send this review to a friend
very good  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
this radio is great. i live in an area far from repeaters and i need the higher power to get into them. i often find myself using 60w to get to where i want to be and this radio does a superb job. i run it as my mobile and base rig. i use a homebrew mag mount for mobile and a copper J pole for base. it works great! i would highly recommend this rig to anyone who lives far away from repeaters.
K4SDW Rating: 4/5 Jan 1, 2012 15:21 Send this review to a friend
All in All Good Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned 2 of these radios for over a year now.
The things I do not like about this radio is the High/Low power setting only. I wish it would let me reduce power down to 5 watts. I don't like having to go into the menu to set the squelch.
Those are the only things I would change if I could. I do like the radio over all and would buy it again. I have gotten very good audio reports and even had a few ask me what kind of rig I was running they liked it so well.
KA3YVS Rating: 5/5 Oct 2, 2011 16:16 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Commercial Quality Mobile.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have 5 of these rigs. I am active in Emergency Management and we use one at the EOC, in each of my 3 vehicles and in my home. My wife and sister each have amateur licenses as well. We live in a rural area with limited cell service so power output, reliability and rugged features are essential. I have used these rigs since 2007 and none of them have given me any problems. I use the MCP-1A programming software which works well. My only con was the cost of the programming cable. $69.95 from HRO was pretty steep. I highly recommend this radio.
KE4RWS Rating: 4/5 Oct 2, 2011 13:44 Send this review to a friend
Love this radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
It’s hard to rate a radio “perfect” because there’s always *something* that keeps it from being a “5”. However, I love the TM-271a and I personally find it easy to use. Although it does differ in design from the typical Kenwood amateur 2-meter mobile, it appears to be based more on the commercial design than the usual amateur architecture, hence the 25/60 watt RF output vs. the typical amateur based 5/10/50 watt output (among other similiarities).

I have owned my 271 for at least two years now and it is a pleasure to use and sounds great on the air. The newest style microphone is a big improvement in my opinion and has a solid, commercial feel in the hand. The buttons are adequately backlit and of good size, as are the controls and lighting on the radio itself. The radio display is also of adequate size and is easy to read, and does not suffer from “washout” from direct sunlight unlike other models of the past. Like most every other radio made today, backlighting is accomplished using LED’s, which should never burn out or require replacement

Some have claimed the 271 isn’t as “sensitive” as typical amateur radio models; however I have never noticed the 271 being less sensitive over my other older Kenwood models. It's clear people sometimes say things like this merely because of their own perceptions about a product vs. real experience or data. The 271 does utilize a typical menu system that takes practice, not to mention getting used to. I don’t know what to tell someone who claims this is too hard for them to navigate because I’ve owned most every radio made for the last 18 years and although different, the TM-271a is among the easiest to program *if* you decide to just learn it and not use older radio models as an excuse to deem the 271 as “too difficult”.

T radio gets very hot using the high power setting if used for even moderate conversations. Although there is no factory cooling fan attached, I use an old CPU fan salvaged from a computer if used mobile, or a small desk fan if used as a base installation. This helps tremendously to cool the heat sink and allows you continuous talk time without the worry of burning your radio up.

The 271 has pads clearly marked on the circuit board for adding a data cable for attaching a TNC for packet, APRS, or whatever data you happen to fancy. Some other brands actually included either a pigtail or a data jack in the event this feature was utilized (the Yaesu FT-2600R comes to mind). Although Kenwood opted not to include a data port, I’m happy they at least provided the ability for people to easily add one if desired. Unfortunately, they did NOT do this for the TM-281 :(

I noticed there is a Narrow FM setting in the menu setup, which makes me wonder if the 271a is narrow band compliant. I know the radio is capable of 2.5 KHz resolution for receive, which gives you the required 7.5 KHz tuning resolution for receive. But the narrow band transmit selection makes me think it may be truly narrow band complaint. I heard Kenwood introduced the TM-281 to have a narrow band compliant 2-meter mobile on the market, which implies the 271 is not. Who knows . . .

I love the 271a and see no reason or need to trade-up for the new 281, as they both seem to have the same features, or at least none that would give cause to change out any time soon. From what I can tell the 281 is pretty much the same radio with an amber backlight (I’m sure there are differences though).
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