Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Kenwood TM 261 A

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

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
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
KB3GWI Rating: 2002-08-22
Great Radio, Agree with Prior Post... Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This radio is a keeper for sure. It hears well, and gets out great with my 2M hamstick. Its also built like a tank. There are a lot of nice features available through a neat menu system, that takes a little learning. Not a complaint though.

The only glitch is the heat, as stated in the prior review. I can match the transmitter 1:1 to the stick, and the heat sink is still quite warm even on 10W. I have retrofitted a computer PS fan to the heat sink, and that is all it needs. The heat sink is cool to the touch @10W, and slightly warm @ 50W. It is real easy to install a fan also.

Great Radio, get a fan on that heat sink though. A great buy.

KC8SVW Rating: 2002-08-11
Great but HOT!! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Bought in December 2001, worked great ever since, no mic problems as of yet, but it gets a little hot and i worry that one of the finals might blow.
WR8Y Rating: 2002-03-17
Fix for AM Aircraft Receive Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
After being off 2 FM for over 10 years, I was surprised at how much radio you can buy for $149 + 69.95 for the tone board. I"v been running mine mobile for six months and really enjoy being able to keep an eye on my high-band customers while using the same radio for 2 FM. I haven't noticed any PTT problems YET. I really like Kenwood equipment, but these are the problems I have with the 261:

1) Manual is almost worthless - very confusing.
2) AM aircraft very poor - but see below.
3) Radio gets too hot (why do you think so many have had finals fail??)
4) Manual is almost worthless - no schematic.
5) There is only ONE scan list - really bugs me because scan list editing is very difficult!

TO be fair, my first 2 FM radio was a 10-watt FT227 - cost $329 in 1980 and had no scan, only covered 144 to 148. For $149, what can we expect?

AM Receive: I noticed as soon as I got this radio home that the aircraft receive was worthless. The problem is that Kenwood tried to give us less than 1/2 microvolt receive from 144 to 174, and basically did that! I can't remember just how good it was on, say 170 mHz, but I retuned the front end DOWNWARD such that on 162 (as far up as I go), I get about .6 uV. 2 Fm area also went from about .2 uV to .4 uV, BUT am aircraft went from over 40 uV to about 2.5 uV . (One of the advantages to working in 2-way is having free access to test equipment - dont' try this without the right equipment.)

As for those who complain about the cost of replacing the final, you are missing the point. Those of us who are REAL techs miss the days when we could repair radio equipment and provide a real service! Those finals retail for around $60, add one hour of labor at $70 or so and you have $130 - a good deal if it's 1975 and a new radio is $350. Put a fan on the radio and I"ll bet you won't have any problems. (I'll let you know how it works, mine has had a fan on it for months now..........)

I still say the 261 is worth it, but Kenwood better do something about their worthless manuals.

N2DIY Rating: 2002-03-17
Named Channels fix Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had my 261 for three days, and I love it. Can't wait to get a beam up, and see if I can work my buddies back in NJ.

And I found the fix for channel naming, after the (MN)+ Power On command, press the REV. key.


WD4ERM Rating: 2002-01-29
not my favorite Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I find the 261 very difficult to program with all the multifunction buttons. You just better not try to change settings while driving, you might wind up in the ditch or either throwing the radio out the window. I never could get the memory naming feature to work and on high power, the radio just makes an awful hum and does not transmit. My SWR is below 1.2. The tiny upward mounted speaker sounds awful, had to connect a Motorola mobile speaker. The TM 261 is no match to my ICOM 2100H.
K0QEC Rating: 2001-11-19
Great Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The main reason I purchased the Kenwood TM 261 A is for reliability. A radio is no good if it isn't working right. I have had previous Kenwood products and they simply last forever for me. The radio has all the features important to me and has loud audio and wonderful sensitivity. No intermod problems experienced either like I did with an Alinco. This radio is well designed and if you take care of it and not abuse it it will last a LONG time.
KB9WCT Rating: 2001-09-19
Nice Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have a 261A that has been used every day in a 4X4 truck on rough roads for 18 months. It has been dragged in and out of the truck daily and used on 50 watts about half the time. I had trouble with the PTT like everyone else but the top of a pencil eraser and a drop of super glue fixed it. The foam rubber used to protect the micro switch in the mic is too soft and doesn't make the switch on those hot days. I am not crazy about the steps needed to change power settings, and the function menu is somewhat confusing but the darn thing is dead reliable.
WOR7AVC Rating: 2001-09-10
A good rig for the price. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is a good radio for the price and should fit most needs for mobile ham radios. The only annoyance I found is that if you have BEEP on then when the radio is scanning and finds activity on a frequency or memory channel it beeps.
KC2GOW Rating: 2001-08-31
Great for mobile use. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The radio just gets a little hot! That is the only complaint.
KB9VCT Rating: 2001-05-02
Good radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had my 261 just a little over a year. I traded for it and after the first week I thought I had damaged the finals. As it turned out, like so many of you, it was in the PTT. Upon examinating the mic, I discovered that the microswitch was not making up completely when pressing the PTT. I discovered that the rubber used at this point is too soft to get the microswitch to make up for transmit. A small piece of plastic electrical tape covering the rubber pressure point to the microswitch firmed up the PTT button so that I have never had this problem occur again. The only other thing I did was to take some of the sharpness out of the transmit audio by placing an .001 ceramic cap across the mic output connections. Viola-improved audio quality on transmit. Hope anyone experancing this problem will try my fix. 73, Mike, KB9VCT.