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Thread: Kenwood TK-2170 2 way radio

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    Default Kenwood TK-2170 2 way radio

    A few of us on my dept. are looking into getting these radios. I'm trying to gather info on these radios that I can take back to my dept.Does anyone have any feed back them? Do these work like a pager? Any and all info that I can get on them would be much appreciated. I've read the info about them from Kenwood's web site but I'm unsure of some of the features. We have a sales rep coming some time in the next couple weeks to let us look at them but I'd like some knowledge of them before hand.
    Thanks

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    Kenwood makes a reliable handheld radio. Many of the departments that I have been associated with over the years have used the TK272 and TK270. The TK272 is still in production and available under $300 for VHF-Hi.

    Comparing this cost to the Minotaur pagers or Motorola Handhelds, you get pretty much the same thing but at a lower cost per unit.

    The Kenwoods do support DTMF and 2 tone on A-B (short) or C (long) codes. You can program the radios to store tones (page tones) or DTMF functions if you use hardwire phone interconnects in your comm system. The radio is capable of scanning and adding or deleting channels to the scan list. You can lock the transmitter so the channel can not be changed; a good thing when you are engaged in operations.

    You don't state what you are trying to accomplish, but you do mention a good Company, and that is a good start.

    The radio you have asked about is perhaps the replacement for the TK272. They are very similar in most specs.

    Good Luck

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    Thanks for the info. We do not have hand held radios in our tankers or our brush trucks. We have 1 bank of radios that is on the wall buy our first out brush truck that is used for it mostly. If we are in either tanker or the second out brush truck then we have to take radios from the engines. A couple of us asked our Chief and Asst. Chief if we could buy our own radios so that way we would always have a radio no matter what truck we were on be it an engine, ladder tanker etc.

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    So this is not a dept purchase?

    I would suggest you save all you can and go with the TK272. It is cheap enough to be considered, expendable, compared to a Motorola at $500 to $600.

    But to answer on question that I overlooked, yes the radio can be used as a pager. But why do that when you can listen to the channel and then transmit when needed. This is the fundamental difference between a pager and radio. Pagers just receive.

    I urge you to buy an extra battery for the radio. When you need to charge the battery, you do not want to leave the radio on, as the battery will not fully charge. Having two batteries will give you a spare that is on the charger while you still have one in use. Also consider Nickel Metal Hydride or Lithium batteries since they will last much longer than NiCad. NiCads develop a memory and die off faster than the others. A good battery will cost you around $35 to $50, but what is your ability to communicate worth? It might save your life.



    Good luck with your purchase.

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    Our department has gone to all kenwood radios and handhelds, not only due to price but they are performing better than the motorolas we have(basically the same unit) The kenwoods seem to recieve better than the motorolas and the cost is a pretty good difference. We keep 2 handhelds on all our brush trucks, tankers, and backup units and we keep at least 4 on our engines and rescues(chiefs have thier owns)
    Puttin the wet stuff on the red stuff!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    So this is not a dept purchase?

    I would suggest you save all you can and go with the TK272. It is cheap enough to be considered, expendable, compared to a Motorola at $500 to $600.

    But to answer on question that I overlooked, yes the radio can be used as a pager. But why do that when you can listen to the channel and then transmit when needed. This is the fundamental difference between a pager and radio. Pagers just receive.

    I urge you to buy an extra battery for the radio. When you need to charge the battery, you do not want to leave the radio on, as the battery will not fully charge. Having two batteries will give you a spare that is on the charger while you still have one in use. Also consider Nickel Metal Hydride or Lithium batteries since they will last much longer than NiCad. NiCads develop a memory and die off faster than the others. A good battery will cost you around $35 to $50, but what is your ability to communicate worth? It might save your life.



    Good luck with your purchase.
    Thanks again for the info. You are correct, these will be purchased buy us, not the department. For the price that I have been quoted on these radios there is only about a 30 dollar difference between the two radios. I do appreciate the info about the radio batteries. Definitly something I will look into.

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    Just make sure that whichever brand you buy, that you have a local dealer that will provide you with proper support AFTER the sale.

    No matter whose radio you buy, you will need that support.

    After hearing another horror story about a department with 25 portables, needing a channel changed in all of them, a simple matter of cloning 25 of them, take less than an hour, maybe 75 minutes, being quoted $25.00 EACH - you might consider getting the software and programming cables too.
    wkredick likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    After hearing another horror story about a department with 25 portables, needing a channel changed in all of them, a simple matter of cloning 25 of them, take less than an hour, maybe 75 minutes, being quoted $25.00 EACH - you might consider getting the software and programming cables too.
    I can attest to that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    I can attest to that.

    Wow! I tell you, its everywhere! You know a similiar situation. Seems to have gotten out of hand!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Just make sure that whichever brand you buy, that you have a local dealer that will provide you with proper support AFTER the sale.

    No matter whose radio you buy, you will need that support.

    After hearing another horror story about a department with 25 portables, needing a channel changed in all of them, a simple matter of cloning 25 of them, take less than an hour, maybe 75 minutes, being quoted $25.00 EACH - you might consider getting the software and programming cables too.
    Ayup. What he said.

    In addition to being nice radios, Kenwood (unlike the big M) lets you purchase the programming cable and software for about $100 bucks. Programming them requires a good working knowledge of your area's radio network, but it ain't brain surgery. If you've got a good working knowledge of your network and have access to all the 2tone groups, pl tones, and frequencies then you can really save money in the long run.

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    We have TK2170s... as long as you get them setup correctly they will work great. This is year 2 with the TK2170s and they have been rock solid so far.

    and +1 to what LVFD301 stated. Good info.

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    Keep a good supply of knobs around for the Kenwoods, they fall off under use very easily, almost as bad as the old Motorola III pagers. We have Kenwood Mobile units in all of our apparatus, but I would never go back to a Kenwood handheld. They just dont hold up like Motorola. I have a Motorola HT 1250 and would never ask for more than that. Look into a used HT1250

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    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonMNChief View Post
    Keep a good supply of knobs around for the Kenwoods, they fall off under use very easily, almost as bad as the old Motorola III pagers. We have Kenwood Mobile units in all of our apparatus, but I would never go back to a Kenwood handheld. They just dont hold up like Motorola. I have a Motorola HT 1250 and would never ask for more than that. Look into a used HT1250
    I don't have experience with other Kenwood models but mine has had daily use and I just tried to pull the knobs off with no success. Do they typically break off or just fall off??
    Last edited by S8ER95Z; 12-04-2009 at 02:24 PM.

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    Never lost a knob. That's new to me.

    We have had guys break belt clips and antennas, but that is just a battle-damage issue when guys get in a hurry.

    Hopefully, since your using your money, you will take better care of it.


    EDIT: I have used Kenwoods for 15 years with good success.

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    Thanks for all the info guys. We will be getting a couple radios to try out next week and see how we like them.

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    We run 9 of the 2170s. They are a rugged radio and hold up very well. Ours are about 3 years old and other than needing a couple batteries no problems. Better receive than the Motorola rigs we had and the audio is much clearer. About my only complaint with current radios is that I wish they offered an auto unit that converted them to a mobile. I know M used to offer the convert-a-com. Guess you can't have everything though.

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    Our department has had 25 of the tk-2170 in operation for three years and we have not had to send one back for repairs yet.(knock on wood) Thase radios have been through alot for example last winter i was standing on top of our hosebed with the radio clipped on my side it fell off hit the side of the truck, bounced off the pavement and into a ditch with running water. I swear on everything i own i picked it up and seen that the display was still on, called dispatch for a radio check and they copied me loud and clear. I still have not had a problem out of that radio to this day, and believe me its been dropped a bunch. I also like the fact that when you put your radio on the charger it will only charge for 8 hours then the charger shuts off this makes a huge differance in the life of your batterie.In my opinion you cant go wrong with these radios.

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    I still have not had a problem out of that radio to this day, and believe me its been dropped a bunch.
    Have you considered a holster or a lanyard?

    I'm just kidding ya. Been there and done that. Anyone that has carried a radio either has dropped it, submerged it or left it at McDonalds.

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    Well we got a couple radios today to try out. The gentleman I'm dealing with also gave us a 2180 to try out as well to compare the two. I really like how small the 2170 is but I can see that being a possible issue when its in the radio pocket on our coats. The weight difference between the 2 is basically nothing. I asked about how warranty would be covered on the 2170s if by chance we had them in a fire and they got water in them. The salesman said that it probably wouldn't be covered by Kenwood but he wasn't 100% sure vs the 2180 which would be. Has anyone ran into this type of a situation?

    For you guys that have the 2170, which antenna do you have, the standard one or the shorter one? Do you notice a difference is reception between the 2? We cover 185 sq miles plus some mutual aid to a couple surrounding departments.

    Finally, would it be possible to hear how you guys have your different buttons programmed? I'd like to see if there might be a different combination or setup that we might not of thought of when we first had these programmed.
    Last edited by Wbensm; 12-16-2009 at 12:48 AM.

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    If you tear a radio up in a fire, drown it, or lose it, no warranty that I am aware of will cover that.

    Either antenna will work fine. I don't like the short antena since they are a bit stiffer and could possible pose a issue if they hang up or get caught against something. (Catch them when radio on belt).

    No radio is going to cover 185 sq miles. Portable radios only have a 5watt transmitter and will have a limited range, about 2 to 3 miles depending on the topography.

    Having said above, If you have a repeater/duplexer system in place, this could extend the range of your handheld, but it is the system design and not the radio. As long as your handheld hits the receiver tower, the repeater will rebroadcast the handheld signal.

    I think we discussed this and you guys are strictly simplex, or radio to radio using only one frequency at a time. Repeaters use two frequencies - one to receive, one to transmit or repeat what it receives, thus REPEATER. (I'm trying to keep this in layman terms and not technical terms).

    As far as the buttons, unless you have an interconnect at your station to ping your transmitter, the alpha-numeric keypad will not be functional. This is a DTMF using ANI formats. You probably will not be able to take advantage of any of the built-in features, UNLESS you use a Communciation System that supports it.

    The 4 buttons above the alpha-numeric keypad are most likely the ones your will program:

    S = Scan
    A = add/delete scan list
    B = Lock <- prevents radio from changing channels
    C = programmed page menu/tones

    The two buttons on the side are usually programmed for the panel backlight and squelch/mon delimiter; fancy way of saying monitor the channel for traffic, but only useful if your are utilizing private line (PL tones).

    Things to consider:

    The 2170 & 2180 , may be a lot more radio than you need. If your dept does not have a communication system that incorporates/supports trunking, interconnects or repeaters, you're buying a radio that will cost a lot but not be able to take advantage of what it is.

    It looks cool and has the neat DTMF keypad, but it won't do anything without something to use it for. DTMF keypad is mostly used to type-in or pre-program tones that initiate an interconnect to respond with rebroadcast 2-tone or 5-tone, which is useful for paging other radios, in the rightly supported system. But if you do not have a repeater, or interconnect, your just buying bells and whistles that look nice but don't do anything.

    You might consider the TK2140. It is a similar radio, but most likely will cost you much less... but it will fit a simplex format better, and still be able to expand and incorporate into trucking, repeaters or interconnects later if you guys expand or build a communcation system.

    We use the older model TK272. We do use trunking, interconnects and a series of repeaters that cover about 500 square miles. Each radio is programmed with pre-programmed tones specifically for the channel, or a menu can be brought up using the right arrow key, (not on TK2170) for selecting a tone or function, like initiating storm sirens or controlling light systems. Each radio can page or tone all personnel or specific personnel using A&B or Long C (Standard Motorola) two-tones. The radios are also capable of incryption, Private line, deadman and caller id. But our communication system is designed to support all of these formats and features. The radio just takes avantage of what is already there.

    If you buy very many radios, consider acquring the program cable and software so you can reprogram in house any changes you need to make. You will need to obtain a certain amount of knowledge and a new skill set to be able to program, but it can be learned as you go. I caution you about just jumping in because some things that you could do may render the radio non-functional. A good background in computers and radio communcations will be very useful here.

    Good luck with the "try them out" phase. I hope I have put this into perspective a little better and not totally confused you.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    We use Kenwood mobile and portables with great success. We have tk 280 VHF (no longer made) and now the tk 2180. Very happy with the 2180, and Kenwood in general.
    Glenn Rainey
    Colington Fire Department
    Dare County, North Carolina
    The Outer Banks

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    We have what I believe to be the larger antennae. (about 6 inches?) It will go ~10 miles ok with clear line of sight but as mentioned 2~3 miles is a good expectation. Our area is covered in dead zones and cell phones are useless in some of the areas as well...so we typically only use them for on scene or en route to station situations and rely on the radios in the rigs for long distance stuff so it's never a problem.

    We have a simple layout on the buttons
    S = Scan
    A = Deselect/Select Channel
    B = Home
    C = Lock
    Red = Page out (set off tones)

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    Do you guys ever have problems trying to get the radios out your radio pocket on your coat? I didn't know if it being shorter caused any problems or not.
    Last edited by Wbensm; 12-17-2009 at 06:05 AM.

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    I usually find myself pulling the radio out of the pocket using the antennae. So far no issues... but it's not like these things get daily usage around here either.

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    Let me state this: Yes, I am a manufacturers rep. I sell, service, and promote products from multiple brands. While I do some work with two-way radios, my job is now mainly focused around infrastructure and long-term communications projects. I'm NOT trying to sell anything, just shed some light, CAPICHE?

    The Kenwood TK-2170 is NOT a firefighters radio. You need to look at Kenwood's line of public safety products. If you're looking for a basic portable, check out the TK-290. As far as I'm aware, it's still available.

    Also, the HT-1250 is NOT a firefighters radio. Again, while it may be commonly used, it's not intended for public safety.

    About charging with the radio "on" - the chargers have the ability to charge at a rate far more rapid then what the radio consumes. The battery WILL fully charge. The information about NiMH and Li-Ion stands - use them. NiCads suck. Having a second battery is a good investment.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

    I A C O J
    FTM-PTB


    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

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