I’ve needed a decent set of MURS radios for a short while now, and after looking over several radios I’ve decided upon the Motorola RDM2020 or the Kenwood TK-2100. I can’t quite choose between the two, however, and I would love to hear of any experiences with each of these radios. (i.e. build quality, reception, ease of use, etc.) I’d primarily be using them for vehicle-to-vehicle communication as well as general recreation outdoors.
I’ve used both before and they are both good business radios. Here is why I voted the Kenwood TK-2100:
The Kenwood TK2100 has a removable SMA antenna for future expandability. You may not use it now but the option is available to use external antennas for mobile operation (vehicle) or base station operation. I managed to get 2 TK2100s to talk almost 8 miles using a VHF base antenna on one of them.
The Kenwoods will also be cheaper in price, BUT remember why…
Kenwood does not make a radio like the TK2100 anymore-their current 2 watt model (TK2200) cannot be programmed for MURS use. AS such you will be buying used Kenwoods which means battery condition is unknown, the external casing could look a bit ugly, and you do not know if they radio is still up to specs or out of alignment. You are taking a chance with a used radio. Kenwood does not sell a Li-Ion battery for the TK2100
The Motorola, although it has a fixed antenna, can be bought new for a reasonable price and will include a Li-Ion battery (up to 18hrs usage).
Let me know if you have any questions on the radios.
Thanks for the help, Alexander! You definitely provide a good point; though I most likely won’t use the external antenna capability of the Kenwood at the moment, the option is a nice touch. By any chance have you had any experiences with aftermarket batteries/accessories for the TK-2100? [I’d probably also buy new antennas as well as batteries if I end up purchasing the TK-2100]
Also, just from experience, which MURS channels are optimal to avoid crowding? I know using the old Green & Blue Dot would be a bad idea, especially here in Queens.
I also noticed that the Kenwood has an optional battery-eliminator; a battery pack that plugs into a car’s DC power outlet and uses power directly rather than charging a battery. Does Motorola have a similar product for the RDX-series?
Aftermarket headsets and accessories should work perfectly fine for the Kenwood TK2100, granted they are not $5 el cheapo from China. After working with two way radios for several years I can tell you the higher price for quality equipment is well worth it. I’d rather not worry about a battery going bad in less than a year because of a failed cell or an earpiece not working while I am using the radio. That said, I always recommend OEM batteries and chargers since they are most prone to failure when assembled cheaply. If you do have to go aftermarket on a battery, buy from a well known name with a good warranty like batteryzone or batteries plus.
You will definitely find the 151.xxx MURS frequencies less crowded than the original “blue and green dot” frequencies. The 154.600 and 154.5700 MHz were previously programmed into a lot of business radios as default channel 1 and 2 which further populates these frequencies. In NY I have not used MURS at all but I would imagine its not too bad- New York City area is full of A LOT of UHF frequencies. Use a digital CTCSS tone and you should be fine.
Motorola does not make a “battery eliminator” for the RDM or RDX series radios. There were once aftermarket ones available on eBay for CP200 but I have never seen them for RDM2020. The only alternative to using the rechargeable battery pack with the RDM series is a alkaline battery pack that uses AA batteries in case you don’t have access to a charger. I don’t think this is what your looking for though to use the radio in a car. Kenwood does have DC auto chargers available for most radios.
Don’t forget you can program both the Moto and Kenwoods yourself via proper software and cable.
Alpha, I can’t possibly thank you enough for the input you’ve given me, and judging by the rest of the forum everyone else as well. You’ve pretty much answered all of my questions, and based on those suggestions I think I’ll be going with the Kenwood TK-2100 when I get a chance; the only concern I have is the battery, but things should be perfectly fine with the more pricey aftermarket ones. Once again, thank you for your invaluable expert opinions!
Your welcome! I’m glad I can be of help.