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Reviews Categories | Transmitters: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | Kenwood TK-981 Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TK-981
Kenwood TK-981 Reviews: 5 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 902 MHz Mobile FM radio
Product is in production.
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NO6B Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2018 19:23 Send this review to a friend
Best way to get on 900  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have 3 of these radios now. Typically will do 15 watts but if you can find one with a serial # > 60600000 they can be turned up to 30 W. The radio needs a cooling fan if you do any rag chewing with it, but fan mounting brackets made specifically for it can be found on eBay. Unlike other radios this one needs no filter mods to put it on the ham band. Not easy to program, but at least the programming software & cables are reasonably priced. There's lots of good info on how to program this radio on the web, so do a little googling & you'll find everything you need to get this radio on the air.
KC2OBW Rating: 5/5 Nov 3, 2012 14:52 Send this review to a friend
Little Radio With a Big Punch  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This little packs a big punch, It has outstanding audio better then the GTX I used to run on 900. I have mine peaked out to 18 watts. This by far is the most easiest radio to set up for the 33cm band. One other thing I have done to this radio since I use it as a mobile is I ordered the silicon buttons that normally come with the 780 and 880 series radio, lights up better then the stock black keypad.
AB1AW Rating: 5/5 Apr 29, 2012 05:44 Send this review to a friend
The one to get  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bottom line: This is the rig to get for mobile 900 MHz. I've owned the Motorola GTX900 and MCS2000, but never really got excited about 900MHz until I bought the TK981. Compact, functional, easy-to-program, and just the right balance of features and performance. Oh, ...and affordable too!
K7NG Rating: 5/5 Aug 30, 2011 08:05 Send this review to a friend
Excellent choice for 902  Time owned: more than 12 months
The TK-981 can easily be reprogrammed for the 902 MHz band with a little help from an automatic channel conversion program. (Or another way is to download a data file with all the repeater pairs for the KPG-49D programming software, and cut/paste what you need into a new zone). Once this is done, the 981 can be put into service without hardware changes. It is a good idea to check the VCO tuning voltage, some but not all radios may require a tweak to center the tuning in the ham band. Occasionally a 902-928 MHz bandpass filter may show up on popular internet bidding venues, and people who want to wring the last little bit of sensitivity out of this radio may swap this in place of the original. I haven't felt it is necessary; my three 981's meet sensitivity spec without. The radio has great audio, both Tx and Rx, and the display is very easy to see even in direct sunlight. The 981 is even the same width as my TM-V71, so it mounted into a mobile with a single bracket. Serial number units higher than 606000 even have the capability of running up to 30W (15W is the standard spec) without damage or significant modification, as the units have a higher power PA module! You need to fan-cool them however. 902 MHz (where it is active) is a lot of fun, and the TK-981 is a very easy way to get there!
K9MHZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2010 07:42 Send this review to a friend
THE best 902 MHz option!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The 900 MHz band is relatively new territory for amateurs. It's a challenging band on which to operate, however it's gaining in popularity with repeater systems popping up all over the country. The major manufacturers do not provide 902 MHz equipment directly for amateur use, so the aspiring ham needs to get creative and adapt some business radio gear. The Kenwood TK-981 is arguably the easiest and best way to get on the 902 MHz band. It's small, modern, and very well designed. All that is required is software programming of the radio's preset frequencies, and you're in business. They can be found new or relatively new on auction sites in the $150 range. These radios are a welcome relief from the more commonly considered rigs made by Motoroala, GE/Tyco, Johnson, and others. Those radios require hardware modifications, some needing after market circuit boards, and others needing filter and "time bomb" capacitor changes. Not so with the TK-981. The 981 just requires a flashing from readily-available software packages and it's ready for operation. It's very well made, has great audio, and the microphone is large and heavy-duty. This is unquestionably the finest radio option for 902 MHZ.

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