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Kenwood TK863G Recommendations


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#1 Gary - WRAF233

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 04:39 PM

Searched and found a little bit..

 

Application:  Mobile radio for UTV 

 

Had been thinking Midland MTX115 for my side by side but reading here that they're not that highly regarded so while looking online for a used Motorola M1225 (recommended here) I came across Kenwood TK863G here:

https://used-radios....price-ascending

 

The page if FULL of what look to be good radios in the correct 450-490-ish range.

Recommendations?

 

I know I don't want to get stuck on some kind of search for programming, cables, etc.  Just going for offroad use, seldom repeater access.

 

Wow!

 

 


Gary

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#2 Jones

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 05:50 PM

I have a couple of 862G Kenwoods, and they are great.  I assume the 863 is about the same, but 256 channels instead of just 8 like mine have.


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#3 Gary - WRAF233

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 06:14 PM

Do I need only 22 for GMRS?  Don't most GMRS specific radios (Midland, etc) have sub-channels?  As you can tell I'm new to the format.

 

Thanks.


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#4 RCM

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 09:50 PM

They don't have "sub channels," that is marketing code for CTCSS/DCS tones that reduce interference. If your radio doesn't transmit the correct tone, you can't access a repeater that uses tone squelch (which is most of them). You can also set up your radio with a receive tone so you won't be bothered by interference. When you lift the mic to transmit, tone squelch is deactivated so you can hear everything on the frequency. That's so you don't transmit on top of someone who is using a different (or no) tone.

 

Those Kenwood radios have all of the tones, and are far more flexible in their setup. For example, transmit one tone and receive a different one. What's more, with 256 channels you can set it up with all GMRS frequencies many times over, each with a different tone set for any repeaters you happen to encounter. Then scan all of them if you like. Or, you can only program as many channels as you need. If you only need a handful, that's fine too.

 

Bottom line: the TK-863G is an awesome radio for GMRS. And used-radios.com will program it to your needs if you buy one from them. Win/win.

If you ever do decide you want to be able to reprogram it yourself, both the cable and software are readily available and cheap.



#5 kipandlee

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 07:33 AM

have a few TK-863G great radios easily setup and programed 



#6 Downs

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 07:53 AM

Any commerical spec gear is going to blow the MXT115 away.  It's a pretty limited radio and priced quite high for what it is.  But it's a turn key solution for those who don't want to meddle with radios at all. 


A pile of "cheap Chinese radios", BF888s, UV5Rs, UV82s, KGUV8Ds, BFF8HP, UV50X2, and a few "good" radios, Yeasu FT310 (airband/nav), Yeasu FT90R (no longer in mobile service used as a base radio)


#7 Gary - WRAF233

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:35 PM

New quandary.   I've been cruising/surfing to make a choice on which Kenwood to buy.  Most info is from here, some from used-radios.com

 

Kenwood TK880 

Kenwood TK863G

 

The 880 seems to have most mentions.   Prices seem to be within $10 or so.  What are the differences please?  The more I learn, the more I don't know...

but I'm thinking 25W should be plenty of oomph for mobile (non-repeater) use in the mountains.

 

Thanks again folks.


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Gary

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#8 Gary - WRAF233

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 11:40 PM

TK880 or TK863?


Gary

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#9 RCM

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:07 AM

New quandary.   I've been cruising/surfing to make a choice on which Kenwood to buy.  Most info is from here, some from used-radios.com

 

Kenwood TK880 

Kenwood TK863G

 

The 880 seems to have most mentions.   Prices seem to be within $10 or so.  What are the differences please?  The more I learn, the more I don't know...

but I'm thinking 25W should be plenty of oomph for mobile (non-repeater) use in the mountains.

 

Thanks again folks.

You're right about 25 watts being sufficient. The primary differences between 25 and 50 watts is that the latter will suck your battery dry twice as fast, the radio will get hotter, and the RF burn if you touch the antenna while it is transmitting will be worse.

 

My understanding is that the TK-863G has more/newer trunking functions than the TK-880. You won't be using those functions anyway, so either will work fine.


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#10 Jones

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:23 AM

TK880 or TK863?

Either one will be a great radio for you, and either will KILL a Midland micro-mobile.  I think the 880 series is a few years newer than the 860 series.  The 880 series had a better alpha-numeric display also.  You really can't go wrong with either Kenwood option.

 

Another difference between my 862s and my 880-885s... the 862s have a 6-pin mic connector and use the 6-pin programming cable.  The 880 and 885s I have use an 8-pin mic and programming cable.

 

  --  Dirty Little Secret 1 --  The 880-885 Kenwoods use the same programming cable as the popular CCR called the VV-898.

  --  Dirty Little Secret 2 --  You can use the 6-pin Kenwood programming cable with the 880 and 885.  Just center it up and plug it right in to the 8-pin socket.  The middle pins are the same on the 6 and 8 pin plugs, and the outside 2 pins on the 880-885 are not used for programming.


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#11 kipandlee

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 08:26 AM

both are good  radios couldn't go wrong with either one 


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#12 Downs

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:27 AM

Either one will be a great radio for you, and either will KILL a Midland micro-mobile.  I think the 880 series is a few years newer than the 860 series.  The 880 series had a better alpha-numeric display also.  You really can't go wrong with either Kenwood option.

 

Another difference between my 862s and my 880-885s... the 862s have a 6-pin mic connector and use the 6-pin programming cable.  The 880 and 885s I have use an 8-pin mic and programming cable.

 

  --  Dirty Little Secret 1 --  The 880-885 Kenwoods use the same programming cable as the popular CCR called the VV-898.

  --  Dirty Little Secret 2 --  You can use the 6-pin Kenwood programming cable with the 880 and 885.  Just center it up and plug it right in to the 8-pin socket.  The middle pins are the same on the 6 and 8 pin plugs, and the outside 2 pins on the 880-885 are not used for programming.

 

 

Seems that the CCR companies did a lot of Kenwood copying haha.  The Btech UV series radios use a very Kenwood handmic for instance.


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A pile of "cheap Chinese radios", BF888s, UV5Rs, UV82s, KGUV8Ds, BFF8HP, UV50X2, and a few "good" radios, Yeasu FT310 (airband/nav), Yeasu FT90R (no longer in mobile service used as a base radio)


#13 Gary - WRAF233

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:57 AM

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.

 

Thanks folks!


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Gary

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#14 Gary - WRAF233

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:21 PM

Hmm.. ebay seller says 863G programming cable is 8-pin.  Guess I'll wait to receive the radio to confirm.

 

used-radios has an XL spreadsheet to fill in with channel programming information.  Is there a common standard for GMRS that I can copy or do I need to get all kinda specific with TX/RX Freqs?  Again, only access to a few repeaters when I'm traveling out of my local area and then is sketchy cuz I'm deep in the back-country on the Wolverine.

 

Apologies for all the mundane questions but with all your help I have a greater chance of getting a working system.  (Next up is the "Best HT" search.)


Gary

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#15 RCM

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:10 PM

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.

 

Thanks folks!

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.


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#16 Gary - WRAF233

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:17 PM

Excellent!

 

Thanks so much.


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Gary

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#17 RCM

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:26 PM

Excellent!

 

Thanks so much.

You're welcome.

Btw I would also ask for the front panel programming to be enabled when they program it. It won't work unless the resistor is removed, but if you ever decide to remove it, the FPP function will become available without having to reprogram it.

The service manual also details which resistor to remove and how to access it.



#18 Gary - WRAF233

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:37 PM

Funny thing about this whole deal - I know nobody who uses GMRS and my 'group' will consist of family members to whom I hand a HT for trail riding, fishing, hunting, etc.  But GMRS could also be handy to monitor others out there, especially hunting, if/when stuff happens, and where there's lots of wide open high desert, and line-of-sight can be 30++ miles.

 

Montana, where we summer, is a whole different beast, with narrow trails and lots of timber.

 

I'm leaning toward the 863...


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Gary

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#19 Gary - WRAF233

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 03:24 PM

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.

I submitted the used-radios spreadsheet to them using ALL your suggestions.  They say 1 - 4 days to review and get back to me so will see what they say. Not sure if the front panel programming mod you suggested is available on both the  and TK863G so I asked that question in the Notes section of their form.  I don't know if that'll be enough to sway me to the 880 (if display programming is not available on TK863G it might make the radio more stupid proof for me - avoid unintended mods). 

Also downloaded Service Manuals for both models.  Gobs of options in there so I'm sure there'll be a sharp learning curve.

If/when I pull the trigger and do a good install I'll know I went with the good stuff instead of off-the-shelf stuff.


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Gary

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#20 kipandlee

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:49 PM

 

I'll get the cable and software just to have.. I do like to tinker with my toys. Anyone have a link to both 

link for software  https://hamfiles.co....ng/kpg-76d_v100 also can confirm that the programming cable is 8-pin however it only utilizes 4 ( 3v txd rxd and ground ) cant recommend a cable as I build my own using a usb to ttl converter CP2102 , have heard a lot of good reviews about bluemax49ers cables https://www.ebay.com...=p2047675.l2559






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