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Reviews For: Kenwood TH-K2AT

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TH-K2AT
Reviews: 43MSRP: 179.95
Even at first glance, it's obvious that Kenwood's stylish new TH-K2AT is in a class of its own. Though compact enough to fit snugly in either pocket or palm, it offers all the features necessary to make operation simple and sure. And despite its smart looks, this144MHz FM transceiver is tough enough to survive the rigors of outdoor use, while delivering superb performance. So roam freely while enjoying the clear, reliable communications for which Kenwood is renowned.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KI6OSH Rating: 2012-10-11
Superb! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My first ham radio...and now almost 5 years old with only one blip, the light burned out. Literally hundreds if not thousands of hours on this little ht. Wore the letters off it but apparently that is not uncommon. Another minor complain is that it is difficult to stand on its own, wants to fall forward. Am I picky? Yes I am but thought I'd mention this. Love this radio, though. Easy to program and sounds great on receive and transmit. I'd definitely buy another one if needed. A jewel of a radio, in my opinion.
KJ4UPD Rating: 2011-12-18
After 18 months of ownership Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The radio still is ticking. Rough and rugged, but not used as much since I purchased my Wouxun, because it is a dual band. The radio itself is great and easy to use, and can be modded for MARS and other uses on VHF if you have privileges to use them. Only downside to the radio is the accessories are so expensive! The radio itself $150, cigarette lighter battery eliminator $39, and the drop in charger I want to get is $60, batteries are outrageous, so you can see where the downside is.

This is a great radio for being out and about if you are going to be in wet or dusty environments. If you have the money to put down on accessories, this radio is great for use on 2 meters, but if not, I might recommend a Wouxun radio that may not be as quality built, but is really much more affordable.

Earlier 5-star review posted by KJ4UPD on 2010-10-02

The radio is still ticking. Has accompanied me on hikes, bike riding and made a trip to Indiana and back and to the beach. The battery life is still good and all working well.

One thing I found though is if you are constant on changing antennas, you will need to clean the threads on the connector or the radio and antenna, as this degrades connections. All in all a great solid radio. Don't see it going anywhere soon except on walks with me. Curious to see what action it will see this fall.
Earlier 5-star review posted by KJ4UPD on 2010-05-06

A friend of mine and I bought ours the same time from, and love mine. She had to take hers back, as it was DOA. My personal experience, I love it. Ragchew for hours. Battery last long enough for me and can hit local repeaters no problem on low power. I ended up buying a mobile magnet antenna, the cigar lighter cord, the Mic/speaker clip on and AA battery pack. This is built like a tank, dust and water resistant. The only 2 things I don't like are the screen scratches easily and the SMA antenna connector. Inconvenient for changing from HT antenna to mobile.

All in all, you will be pleased. Great radio!

$150 @
VE2LAM Rating: 2011-02-04
a radio worth discovering! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
i am a licenced amateur since 1988; this Kenwood TH-K2AT is my second K2AT (the other one was bought in 2009 and resold not much later), and this radio is my 66th (yes, 66th!) portable amateur radio since 1988.
As you can imagine i have owned almost each and every model of every brand, and of course sold et re-bought some of my preffered ones, like Radio-Shack HTX-202 (had 5), Icom V-82 (had 3), Yaesu VX-6R (had 4), and Yaesu FT50R (had 5 of them).
I re-sold the 1st TH-K2AT because of the pronounced audio hiss it produced on mid to low signals (like the TH-F6A by the way), it was annoying me. But i admit i resold too quickly. Why?
Because this radio is the only portable i've had that can receive commercial services outside the 2m band so well with its stock antenna.
Because this radio can extract from the noise floor signals that neither the IC-V82, VX-6R, VX-8GR, Icom 92AD can, with their respective antennas.
Because it has a Priority function that is the less disturbing on normal channels that i've had the occasion to use (be it on ham portables or scanners).
Because once accustomed to the menu system, you feel it as a not complicated radio, with few chances to change a function or put it in an unknown state because of accidental buttons pushes (in VFO mode, you can't even enter frequencies by punching numbers on the keyboard: you first have to push "enter" *then* you can enter your freq).
Because even if in a few months the buttons printings dissapear, i won't lose essential functions or symbols: the buttons are 1 to 9, with F, VFO, MR and CALL => that's it!
Because very good green lighting, large easy to read display.
Because if you buy rapid charger, it charges in 1 hour, a plain 1-hour recharge (some other "rapid chargers" are 2.5 or 2 hrs).
Because if you buy the AA battery case, it does not change the physical size of the radio.
Because if you buy extra NIMH battery, you don't have to buy separate belt clip (some radios have their belt clips on their battery, and some even sell the belt clips separately).
Because it filters out intermod and noise like no other: my 42" plasma screen generate RFI noise on HD channels, and all my other portable radios & scanners struggles with this RFI. Not the K2AT!
And yes, it has annoying white noise on low signals but hey, it is outbalanced by all the other plusses!
i highly recommend this HT!
N4ZX Rating: 2010-05-06
Best 2 Meter HT I've owned. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought a couple of these a few years ago when they were on sale for about 79 bucks or so. One for my xyl and one for me.

Up until these, my fave HT I ever owned (and I have owned a bunch) was my first, a Kenwood th 215...a rig I left on 24/7 on packet and voice and on my bench at work. I wore the ears off of the BNC connector on that rig. Dropped it in water. Used it for a mobile. Used it as a base, etc. Just indestructible.

Well, the K2 is fully it's equal, and smaller to boot. Only problem I have had is I cracked the AA battery case on mine and had to order a replacement recently.

During the recent flooding in my area, the K2's weather alert feature was a life saver, literally, at my bedside. Have dragged it around Dayton several years...I could go on, but this is a fabulous HT. For the money, you cannot go wrong.

Dave, WO4V
W2DI Rating: 2008-12-03
Nice solid radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I find this to be a really nice radio.

The unit fits very nicely in your hand and the weight adds to a solid feel. I can hit a nearby repeater with 0.5W INSIDE my work building, a steel and concrete structure which I am about in the middle of. This is sort of an informal test I use for an HT.

And, that is using the stock duck, which I respectfully feel is very good - for its size. Compared to a much longer antenna or an outside antenna it would naturally be inferior. But switching with other similar size antennas it is as good or better. I just don't like carrying a 4-1/2 inch radio around connected to an 18 inch or longer antenna.

There is no intermod of any consequence (why I like monobanders as opposed to wide range multi-banders and no muffled transmit audio as found with many underwater radios. The audio is crisp and clear.

The receive audio is not HI-FI, but, again, clear and undistorted.

The display is large and sharp and the buttons, with their backlight, are easy for me to see and operate.

The battery seems to last long, although I'm not fond of the 12 Hr charge time - so I did order the quick charger. I also have the AA battery holder for back-up. Kenwood got the latch system right too; no loose battery pack.

I like the choice of 3 power levels, not just high and low. Sometimes a watt and a half or so is just right and it is good to have the choice.

I keep the TH-K2 in a 'Pouch' for protection and it is holding up just fine.

There are a few minor things I would change, but all in all I think the TH-K2 is a great monoband take-along anywhere - including the briefcase - radio.
VA3HWA Rating: 2008-09-23
Excellent for the price !! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Replaces my IC-W32A that died. Does everything I need / want it to do - only single ham band, though. Came with Li-Ion battery, charger and hand spkr/mic.Picked up some accessories (AA battery holder, programming cable, SMA to BNC adaptor and SMA to SO239 adaptor) cheap at online auction - most from Hong Kong. Made a DC cable from parts I had on hand.Adding Mirage B34G for extra kick when needed on the highway or in isolated spots. Using a HB roll up 5/8 wave J-Pole at home sometimes, but the stock antenna usually hits my 3 favorite repeaters.Would probably be better with a better handheld antenna to replace the stock unit. Hope to try a groundplane and maybe a J-Pole that's not so beat up as the current one as well as a decent mag mount mobile antenna.
I've never been fussy for the SMA connectors - prefer BNC - but with the adaptor, I'm adjusting.
WA2DII Rating: 2008-09-18
I'm a Kenwood Man but don't like this radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have had a lot of Kenwood HT's but this one is bad. first off the radio is a dark blue & the battery is black. What are they thinking about? The audio is really bad,maybe the speaker. The small rubber duck is a joke.The price,well, for $30. more you could get a Icom IC-t7h sport. I am on my 2nd one and its a great radio. So think about the Kenwood before you get it.I got rid of it and got the icom.I have been a ham since 1964 and this radio is not very good.

73's hope this helps.
WX4O Rating: 2008-07-03
Good not Great Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Had mine a couple of years and never experienced any problems except for easily scratchable display lens. I have replaced it with a VX-170 which has a
slightly recessed lens. It also has a very rugged feel and more easily readable display.

Earlier 4-star review posted by WX4O on 2008-03-27

Does everything I ask it. Don't like the easily scratched display.
KE7RJF Rating: 2008-05-26
couldnt get any better Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought this radio as my first radio and set it up with a J-pole and its performance still surprizes me. Its a keeper. If you want to have a good first radio, then buy this one, theres nothing bad about it.
VU2CDP Rating: 2008-05-11
Excellent for the price Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My first rig and there's always an emotional attachment to the first purchase. Been 4 years since i got it and has served me faithfully all these years. Its not 'the' radio for 2mts as there might be better performers out there but i haven't come across them. The ones i have seen though pale in its comparison. It has its good points and bad but overall it gets an A+. Read why:

The positives-
1. Clean audio.
A general observation that multi-band rigs do sound different than ones made to operate on a specific band. The K2's audio is ample proof of this fact.

2. Good display.
The display is adequate to be read by even those with vision problems. You don't need to squint to see the readout as the characters are large enough and can be easily read in daylight conditions as well. The backlight too is bright enough.

3. Easy navigation.
Once you know how to get 'into' the menu, using the various features is a breeze. You dont need to be a genius to understand or even remember how to program this one. In fact, i haven't referred to that manual in the last couple of years at least.

4. Rugged built.
This is one radio that is solidly built. Two falls off the operating table but except for a very minor scratch at the edge, everything worked a OK.

5. Volume control.
The volume control knob has a nice feel to it and seems like a close cousin of some Motorola's meant for industrial environments.

6. Overall aesthetics.
The overall design was the factor in deciding to go for this model. As an amateur i not only consider the return on my investment but also take into consideration what sort of impression my shack, equipments etc. make on those who are non-hams. Unsolicited remarks from hams and non-hams alike include "thats one good looking radio you got !" :)

7. Price
The price is under $150 and its a real good bargain considering the quality of the radio. One of the few good amateur gears out there which can be easily afforded by anyone. Gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction that it has provided the ROI and more than what was expected out of a sub-$150 radio.

The negatives-
1. The squelch control and backlight buttons.
Would have preferred a knob instead of a button on the side which needs to be accessed through the menu if you have to set the squelch to a particular level.
The quality of the switches seems to be poor since in my case, both switches have quit working. I also know another OT who bought it from the USA after reviewing other 2mt HTs. And the 80 yr old has some experience of radios and he too has complained about these 2 switches not functioning anymore. Don't know how many others have experienced this before.

2. Stock rubber duck antenna
Most reviewers have reported the same performance issues with the stock rubber duck that i have experienced. Though i dont have the test equipment to give you the exact numbers on its performance, but on-air performance was dramatically improved when the rig was connected to an external antenna. In fact, the quality of the audio from the local repeater was better than even the mobile rig i use of a very popular manufacturer in the US.

3. Mic-earphone jack
The position of the mic-headphone jacks on the side of the radio is a bit of a bother. The rubber flap that covers the jacks also covers the DC input jack and when the mic and DC cord are connected together, i fear that the rubber covering may break off any time. Perhaps the jacks would have been better on the top of the radio next to the antenna just like some other HTs. This again is purely from an operational convenience point of view.

Considering all the above, i still rate it a full 5 / 5 because this lovely little radio has outperformed itself. Besides providing me countless hours of joy on the 2mt band rag-chewing with hams, it also proved useful in some fox-hunts. For the price and overall usefulness of this rig, i would say this is definitely a keeper.