used-radios.com tells me the 863 is a newer radio than the 880, that "the buttons will last longer" and it has a few more options/features.. maybe features I might not need.
880 V1.0 is DOS programming only.
880 Firmware V2.0 is Windows.
863 is Windows only.
880 programs from display (youtube) - 863 does not. Probably a non-issue if the Windows programming is EZ.
Should I just get the standard GMRS 1 - 7 and 15 - 22 pre-programmed? Any other whistles I should ask for?
I'll get the cable and software just to have.. I do like to tinker with my toys. Anyone have a link to both (I know, SEARCH). I have found the Owner's Manuals online so no one will have to tell me to RTFOM! Maybe.
The keypads are interchangeable. Also, they are readily available as replacement parts.
The 880 V1 will program just fine from the same Windows program that works on the V2. You will just get a notification that any V2 only functions will not load into the radio. I have both V1s and 2s and use the same cable, software and data file for both.
Download the service manual, too. It goes into a lot more detail on programming.
Yes, I would recommend getting 1-7 and 15-22 programmed. I would ask for 1-7 as low power, narrow bandwidth, simplex. I use 67 Hz PL TX and RX. This is to make it compatible with the widest range of handheld radios, including cheap, old FRS-only radios.
15-22 I would program as repeater pairs, high power, wide bandwidth, 141.3 Hz PL TX and RX. That gives you the best chance of being able to get into a repeater if you need to.
I would have the buttons programmed as follows: left up/dn = volume. Right up/dn = channel. MON = CSQ toggle. A = TA. B = Scan D/A C and D = group up/dn and SCN = scan.
I would in fact probably put 1-7 in one group, 15-22 in a different group.
So, here's how that works: Unless your group has the PL tones set the same as yours, keep it set to monitor (MON will appear in the display). That allows you to hear all traffic on the channel, regardless of tone or lack thereof.
Keep TA set to on (TA in display). That makes all channels simplex, whether they are set as repeater pairs or simplex.
I would have the scan set to "multi" so it will scan all programmed frequencies as opposed to just the group/bank you are on.
If there is something on a channel that is a nuisance, just press the B button while it is on that channel to lock it out from scan. That function will reset when you cycle the power.
TK-880 can be programmed from the front panel, but first you have to remove a zero ohm resistor and enable that function in software. By default, that function is not available.