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Kenwood cheat sheet


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I'm swimming around in the sea of mobiles, tossing to and fro between the CCRs, the new part 95ers and the old commercial stuff. I like the CCRs for the ease of PC programming but the performance I've witnessed isn't all that great. I have 20+ year old Kenwood TK-2100s that runs circles around the new btech MURS and that has me thinking about using older commercial gear but am not sure what are good models for GMRS, what to avoid, what's good for programming, what do the model numbers/letters mean?


I'm leaning 880 for price, 256 channels and I think the ability to go into the 70cm band (I'm a ham)


How does the 880 differ from a 880-1 V2.0?


How does the 880 differ from a 863G? 8302U? I see a front speaker

What does the G mean? I think a H suffix mean high power.



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TK-880 datasheet:



"H" means high power and bigger heat sink on the back, refer to the datasheet for the dimensions. There is some difference between v2.0 version and earlier (non-versioned, that is often called V1.0), but I can't weigh on that, since I do not own one. The "-1", "-2" and "-3" are not versions of the hardware, they are versions of alignment, refer to the datasheet.

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Thanks. Still kicking this one around. Saw the 8180 can be programmed with Chirp and that got my attention. 

I have 2 TK-8180s, and a TK-7180 VHF unit, and they cannot be programmed with CHIRP.  I'm not sure where you heard that.


The only Kenwood radios that I own which can be programmed with CHIRP are the older TK-862 series 2, 4, and 8 channel units.

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This is the Kenwood section on Chirp's site:



  • TH-D7, TH-D7G
  • TH-D72
  • TH-F6
  • TH-F7
  • TH-G71
  • TH-K2
  • TK-260/270/272/278
  • TK-260G/270G/272G/278G
  • TK-360/370/372/378
  • TK-360G/370G/372G/378G/388G
  • TK-760/762/768
  • TK-760G/762G/768G
  • TK-860/862/868
  • TK-860G/862G/868G
  • TK-7102/8102/7108/8108
  • TK-2180/3180/7180/8180
  • TM-271
  • TM-281
  • TM-471
  • TM-D700
  • TM-D710, TM-D710G
  • TM-G707
  • TM-V7
  • TM-V71
  • TS-480HX/SAT
  • TS-590S/SG
  • TS-850
  • TS-2000



Maybe they a newer additions? 

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A bit off topic. I have a growing collection of hand-held radios, mostly Kenwood VHF and UHF commercial models, and the antennas are getting harder to identify as to band and frequency spilt. Most have no identification on them for the frequencies.


The VHF antennas seem to be “fatter” than the UHF ones. However there are different frequency ranges in each band. Seems like Kenwood uses a color coded gasket around the connector to denote the frequency range. I found the site below that has a lot of the antenna models with the band spilt identified by color.



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You must not have used Chirp in awhile! Every time you start it you'll get a reminder that a newer version is available... ;)

Nope.  The computer I use CHIRP on is not connected to the network in any way, so it never checks for updates.  That's how I got so far behind. 


To update or upgrade, I have to download files on a connected computer, then drop them onto a flash drive, and use the old "Sneaker Net" method to upload them to my radio programming laptop.


"Sneaker Net" was developed in the day when you had to put a file onto a stack of punch cards, or a "floppy disk", then use your "sneakers" (powered by your feet) to run that file across the room, and install it onto another machine.  See also: FFFTP - Fred Flintstone File Transfer Protocol.

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