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Reviews For: Kenwood TM 261 A

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held)

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TM 261 A
Reviews: 60MSRP: 169.95
Two-meter FM radio
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
AD4SA Rating: 2009-03-07
Overall good rig Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Had mine for about a year, purchased used on ebay, no history. Used for a little as a base, but has spent most of its time mobile.

- It works - TX and RX without any issues. Again, I have no idea of the radio's history before it came to me (it does appear to have been used) but it's still tickin'.
- Wide range RX is nice, although the air band receive isn't all that great, I do like the NWS weather channels.

- Radio functions aren't intuitive. Often end up doing something and not being able to fix it (case in point - changing to AM and not being able to switch it back without reading the manual.) I say this with a background as a pilot that's figured out a complex array of aircraft radios and navigation equipment. To be fair, I don't drive the vehicle that it's mounted in often, so a little more frequent use would probably help.
- Why does entering a new frequency require anything other than entering the new freq on the DTMF pad?
- Scan is a bit slow.

Obviously if you're looking at this radio, you're going to be purchasing used. While I wouldn't seek this unit out for any particular features (frankly i bought mine because the price was right, and it was what I wanted - a 2M mobile) if the opportunity arises and the price is good, you're going to get a good, solid rig. I have no issue with the job the radio does - only with the way you get it to do it.
KJ4JAJ Rating: 2009-02-19
Nice little radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Just bought this radio used for $100. Took me a few hours to learn the ins and outs but it's a great little rig. I like the fact that it's really small and fits just right in my minivan console. I'll prolly buy another for my shack.

N4FDG Rating: 2008-12-14
Great Little Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Works great, lasts a long time. I've had one forever. It is my garage radio any gets a lot of use. Mine is over 10 years old an always works. It's a keeper.
KC8NZJ Rating: 2008-12-14
Great radio! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This was the FIRST radio I ever purchased when I got licensed in 1999. I have used it in both mobile and base installations and it has never missed a beat. Good TX and RX audio, easy to program and use.

The only downside is it doesn't have tone decode. Great radio if you only need 2 meters.
VE7CE Rating: 2008-12-07
Good, but.......... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The TM-261A has been a great little radio, in my various vehicles for more than a decade, but recently it has developed all sorts of intermittent troubles, both in receive and transmit. The Kenwood tech said it is not worth fixing. Right now the microphone is more valuable than the radio.
N6HPO Rating: 2008-09-15
Wonderful for Beginners Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
No need to reiterate what others have said here; one of the advantages of being a rookie is that the best rig for your needs is the one you currently own! For me, having nothing to compare the 261-A to is not a handicap!

This is a great rig for anyone, young or not-so-young who is just breaking in to the "above 30 MHz" frequencies. I bought it, some Anderson "PowerPole" connectors and an external speaker from a very kind, older ham in L.A. for $50. I also bought a "Nifty! Quick-Reference" for $5 which helped me understand thing better.

The extended receive is an excellent addition, including the air band. I live in an area where wildfires are almost an annual event. This rig fills the bill, has everything I never knew I needed in a 2 meter rig!

Now if you'll excuse me I'm on the hunt for it's bigger brother, the TM 461-A 440 MHz rig.

Best of 73!

WL7KV Rating: 2008-05-15
Great Little Radio! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had this radio just over a year, bought it used from a local ham for $80.
Used it as a base station and lately in my little toyoat with a cheapo mag mount. Great rx & tx, I've had good reports on the audio.
I like taht I can listen to the airband frequencies as well. (My new Yaesu 2800 doesn't receive this part of the band.)

My dislikes:
Limited memories.
Difficult to program, I have to consult the book because I forget how.

Set it and forget it!

KD5NR Rating: 2007-10-16
You're no TM 241 !!!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Unlike my fellow reviewers, I'm not even going to pretend to be impartial. I've had two of these and three 241's and the 261 is JUNK compared to the 241 in all aspects. The receive audio is absolutely the worst of any 2 meter rig I've owned over the last 30 years (I have HT's with far superior audio), the heat problem is totally unacceptable, the display is atrocious, and the intuitive programming has gone downhill since the 241. If you know a ham (real or no-code) who says the receive audio from the tiny free-floating speaker (not even screwed down to the chassis) is "OK". never ask that individual for an audio test because they have tin ears. Also, my model will do nothing with the jumpers cut for MARS enablement.
A piece of junk from a company that makes amateur gear as a sideline to their auto stereo business. You'd be better off buying a radio from a company that markets radios first and foremost and not a copycat company like Kenwood.
KI4RBX Rating: 2006-09-15
GREAT For a 2m Mobile Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have had my TM-261 for the past 2 weeks, installed in my Explorer along with the "World's Cheapest" Pro-Am (formerly Astatic) 2m Mag-Mount antenna. I have nothing but good reports and it seems to have a decent RX. I paid $85. [used] for it from a local shop & it has performed very well. The only rigs I have to campare it with are in different leagues - an IC-7000 & a TH-F6A. Overall, for under $100. -- GREAT 2m RIG!
KB0HAE Rating: 2006-08-23
Good with a couple of mods! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I had my TM-261 donated to me. The reason was that it had overheated in hot weather (50 watts TX with a long winded op) in a van, with the radio mounted vertically (poor air circulation).

Upon trials using a dummy load, the rig did indeed get hotter than it should while transmiting on high power (50 watts). No heat sink for any solid state device should get hot enough to make it uncomfortable to hold your hand on the heat sink. I also found an unacceptably large voltage drop across the factory fuses/fuse holders. I added 2 40mm(square) by 10mm fans to the heat sink (wired in series so that they will run quietly) and changed the fuse holders and fuses.

The radio now stays much cooler, and will operate better from emergency battery power (or when the car engine is off).

I have posted the mods to If anyone has trouble getting them, contact me at, and I will email it to you.

Similar mods could be applied to any radio that you think gets too hot.

Other than the things I did the mods for, the radio has performed flawlessly, and I have made a number of distant contacts during recent band openings. 1 interesting thing that I have found is that the TM-261 is almost exactly the same height and width as the IC-2100H. Therefore the very neat Icom MB17a mounting bracket can be used with the TM-261 so that the radio is easy to move between the house and the car.

If a thermostatically controlled fan and better fuses/fuse holders were standard with this radio, I would have given it a 5!