Kenwood TM-281A 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