Kenwood TM-281A Mobile VHF Transceiver

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The Kenwood TM-281A is a 2 meter FM mobile transceiver putting out a hefty 65 watts of power. You can program up to 200 memory channels (or 100 when used with names). The display has 6 large alphanumeric characters. This radio has NOAA weather built in with alert tone. Also, the front panel and microphone keypads are both illuminated for ease of use. Built in continuous CTCSS and DCS helps to filter unwanted signals .

Frequency range

RX-range
136-174 MHz
TX-range
144-148 MHz
HAM bands
2m 
Stability
-
Tuning steps
5 / 6.25 / 10 / 12.5 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 50 / 100 kHz
Filters
-

Find the Kenwood TM-281A on ebay

Receiver

Modulations
FM   N-FM  
Sensitivity
-
Selectivity
-
Receiver system
Double conversion superheterodyne
IF-frequencies
1st: 49.95 MHz
2nd: 450 kHz
Image rejection
-
Audio output
-

Transmitter

Modulations
FM   N-FM  
RF-Output
65 W max

Connections

Antenna
SO-239
Impedance
50Ω

Electrical

Power requirements
13.8V DC
Current drain RX
-
TX
14 A max

Physical

Dimensions (w×h×d)
-
Weight
-
Form factor
Mobile
Manufactured
Between 2011 and 20xx in China

Other features

Memories
200 channels in bank(s)
Usage
Amateur / Ham radio operators
Features + options
Alpha-numeric LCD display
NOAA weather alert
Illuminated controls
CTCSS / DCS
Accessories
-

Manuals, diagrams and brochures

Kenwood TM-281 instruction manual

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Reviews

Cheaper version of the TM-271A

Kenwood TM-281A, Mobile VHF Transceiver

The Good: Weather alert, upgrade from a output transistor to a power module. The Bad: No weather/water proofing The ugly: along with the lack of weather/ water proofing is the lack of the metal top on the chassis leaving the guts of the radio completely void of shielding. As I have just gotten this radio, I have yet to use it in a real radio environment. I will be installing it in my Jeep this week with other radios, 10 meter and commercial VHF, hope I don't have problems. I'll keep you all posted.

Written by Buzzard on Jul 13, 2014

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Mint condition in 2014
USD 137.95

Great RX receive!

Kenwood TM-281A, Mobile VHF Transceiver

I didn't have this rig, but a good friend of mine did, so this is based on what he said. He had what would be the Yaesu equivalent to this rig and traded that in for the TM-281A. One thing that he noticed was the RX was incredible. What I noticed was the TX audio was way better on him. He thought that it was easy to program the memories, but noticed that 65W output was quite current hungry. Recommended a 20A power supply for that. He's the kind of friend that goes through various rigs like there's no tomorrow, but he kept this rig longer than most. I guess that says something.

Written by rreh917 on Dec 28, 2016

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 2009
USD 80.00

Great Build Quality and Performance

Kenwood TM-281A, Mobile VHF Transceiver

***** Pros: ***** * Based on Kenwood's rugged, commercial TK-7150 chassis. * Very solid, confidence-inspiring, MIL-STD 810 construction quality. * Good control feel and response. * Front-firing speaker improves audio output. * No cooling fan to fail or make noise. * Higher transmit efficiency (power in vs. power out) than competitors. That means less heat, though it's passive heat sink still gets quite warm at higher duty cycles (such as one-on-one simplex rag-chew). ***** Cons: ***** * Limit of 100 named channels (or 200 without alphanumeric names). * Lack of lower wattage setting than 25W. * Smallish LCD display resulting from the need to make room for front-firing speaker. * LCD display is segmented rather than dot-matrix, making some alphanumeric characters more difficult to read and distinguish from numerals. ***** Note: ***** I recommend reprogramming PF-D button on mic to be a "Menu" button. That lets the user reach menus more easily and navigate and adjust menu items without touching the front panel.

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 2016
USD 138.00

Prices

Estimating the value of a rig can be challenging. The graph below shows historical prices paid by hams over the years. May it guide you to good fortune...

Price Condition Year User
USD 80.00 Good / Used 2009 rreh917
USD 137.95 Mint / New 2014 Buzzard
USD 95.00 Good / Used 2016 eBay
USD 85.00 Good / Used 2016 eBay
USD 138.00 Good / New 2016 fmaxwell
USD Mint / New 2017 AB4MM
To submit a price, either review the rig or add it to your shack.