Kenwood TK-3230 won't enter program mode

Hi all! I’m new to the world of handheld radios and this is my first post.

A while ago I bought a pair of Kenwood TK-3230-K radios, which I’ve used for a few work projects. They’ve been no problem to work with, program and use, and I’ve been very happy with them. The problem started when I decided to take the kids snowboarding. In order to keep tabs on both kids, I needed another radio. So, not knowing anything, I assumed I could just go on eBay and buy a used TK-3230. No problem, right?

My new (to me) radio arrived in good condition, and seemed to be functioning as advertised. But it would’nt communicate with my other handsets and, try as I might, I couldn’t get it to go into programming mode, or factory reset, or clone mode, or do anything other than flip through channels 1 - 6. I tried everything. Watching online videos, reading the Kenwood manual, everything. Eventually, assuming it was just broken, I sent it back and ordered another one from a different person. Amazingly, the second radio has the SAME EXACT issues.

Surprisingly there seems to be very little information online about this. After more research I’ve deduced there are “business” and “consumer” versions of the TK-3230. When you buy the business model, you have to buy an FCC license and the set you buy are programmed to ONLY work with each other. When you buy the consumer version, you can do whatever you want.

Question is this: is there a way to force business and consumer models to communicate, or should I just return the 2nd used copy I have?

Thanks in advance for your help!

First, welcome to the forum!

The TK-3230 was designed for business, not consumer use, so technically there isn’t a consumer version, although some have adopted it for the GMRS and other consumer use in the past. Also, the original TK-3230 was discontinued a couple of years ago. It was replaced with the TK-3230DX.

Although the ProTalk models are pre-programmed with default assigned frequencies, they can be re-programmed to specific business frequencies. These radios are generally intended to be programmed by an authorized Kenwood dealer such as Buy Two Way Radios, which requires a dealer access code. When a business radio is purchased used, it is not uncommon to find the radio is programmed so that only the dealer that originally re-programmed it can access the radio to alter programming. While we consider this practice somewhat unethical for the customer experience, some dealers still do this.

As an authorized dealer, we can program your TK-3230 for you at a modest fee, provided the frequencies are supported and legal for use. Contact one of our sales professionals or chat with us online and we’ll be happy to provide more information.

Rick, thank you so much for the response! I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to understand this. I’ll reach out when I have time.