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Kenwood TM-281A, Mono-band, 2 Meter
I helped a friend with selection of a new radio and initial programming. I did a fair amount of research a month or two earlier when I upgraded my old dual band Yeasu FT-8500 to a Kenwood TM-V71A. While doing the research I was impressed with the specs and the price of the TM-281A. $133 from

Some of the things I liked about the 281 were the lack of an often confusing array of buttons to learn, power settings of 25 and 65 watts (a third power setting of 5 or 10 watts would have been nice). Something I really appreciated from the get go was the passive cooling, NO annoying FAN noise!

There were some mic and radio front buttons that could be custom programmed and I changed one mic button to go to direct frequency keypad entry to make that access handy. I reprogrammed another mic button to toggle between power settings.

Actual programming from the radio wasn't too bad but I found I'd made several mistakes by losing the order of programming steps on a few channels. I can't say I've found a radio yet that I really enjoy programming from the radio. Especially if you have different radios and all the programming steps are different and not intuitive.

My errors showed up when I brought the programming up on a computer. From the computer, fixing the errors and adding a couple more channels was a breeze.

In service, the radio gets pretty high marks. Easy to operate, quiet, plenty of power, receive and transmit audio reports have been excellent and the price is great. The price of $133 reflects a $25 Kenwood Promo

I may post more in the programming section when I get some time. And I wrote a 3 page "quick start guide" for this radio too that I will post.

Happy TX'ing!
Traveling through the universe at 33.7 million kilometers a day on Starship Earth - and enjoying the ride!

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