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Used Kenwood TK-880 v1 worth it?

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#1 krvw


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Posted 09 February 2020 - 11:45 AM

So, I posted my question about the BTECH vs. Midland mobile radios out to a Facebook GMRS group. I quickly got an offer to buy a used version 1 Kenwood TK-880.


Is this still a reasonably current device? Should I bother, or pay more for a brand new BTECH or Midland?


If I went with it, can/should I upgrade the firmware to version 2? Can that be done via a Mac? (I'm 100% Mac here, but could easily enough get a windows VM running if I needed to.)


Thoughts, please? Pros and cons?







#2 berkinet


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Posted 09 February 2020 - 12:29 PM

I am not a Kenwood user, so I can't comment on the differences between v1 and v2 radios. However, as a Mac user I can say I have never found any radio programming task (Motorola, Vertex and a zillion CCRs with native apps) I could do on a real Windows box that I could not do in a Windows VM on a Mac. Since I rarely use Windows, I stick with VirtualBox from Oracle. It works fine and is free. What's not to like.  Well, it is a bit less user friendly to setup than the commercial VMs and maybe a bit slower, but not enough to worry about, especially since radio programming is mostly reading and writing to the radio which is essentially the same speed in a VM as on a real machine. In fact, an iMac running Windows XP or 7 is actually faster than the same OS running on machines that were available when those OSs were current.  The only real issue is finding a set of Windows CDs. But, that is an issue with any VM software. I'd suggest sticking with XP, it is pretty easy to find, and loads and runs quite well.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

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#3 axorlov


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Posted 09 February 2020 - 07:16 PM

I understand that you can't flash v2 firmware into v1 radio. Same KPG-49D should work for both v1 and v2 radios. v1 may have an advantage of not requiring hardware mod (removal of resistor) to enable front panel programming, everything is done via the software. Although, I can't confirm, I do not have v1.


Usually, virtualized USB is a bag of hurt, but all these radios actually have a serial interface, and the USB cables are, in fact, USB to serial adapters, so the speeds and latencies we are dealing with are fine for VMs.

- Alex

#4 WRAK968


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Posted 09 February 2020 - 08:41 PM

V1 and V2 firmware ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE. This is because of minor hardware differences inside of the radio as well as some features the V2 radio has that the V1 radio doesn't. Overall these features aren't really used in GMRS and are more towards commercial radio For example enhanced fleetsync functionality and the available use of some MDT hardware.

I have several TK880's both V1 and V2. V1 radios I used to build a small portable repeater that I can set up anywhere, even in a campground. The V2 radios are installed in our vehicles and while we use fleetsync for radio ID and text messaging on my local repeater, there isnt much use for it when I go onto another system. This is because the Fleetsync codes we use may be different to other users.

Anyways, If the offer is right, $20-30 for just a radio, or maybe $50 for radio and mic in fair condition, go for it, Anything more and you could likely do better on Ebay.

  • RCM, krvw and Riktar like this

#5 DeoVindice



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Posted 10 February 2020 - 10:55 AM

They're far, far better radios than anything Midland or BTECH sell, sold, or will sell for the foreseeable future. WRAK968 is about right as far as pricing...880s are a commodity, nothing more.
  • n4gix, RCM, WRAF233 and 1 other like this

Admitted Kenwood fanboy and accumulator of public safety radios

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