Founded in 1946, the Kenwood Corporation have long been known for their durable, cutting edge and versatile electronic products which range from sound and vision, to communications systems such as the Kenwood walkie talkies. Kenwood’s subsidiary (known as Kenwood Communications) have been committed to the design and manufacture of two-way, hand-held transceivers since the last quarter of the 20th Century.
Flagship models have been produced for both the H.F (High Frequency) and V.H.F/ U.H.F (Very High Frequency and Ultra High Frequency) amateur markets, making Kenwood one of the few companies to offer product lines for both recreational, and professional use. The H.F frequency walkie talkies are generally targeted toward the corporate and commercial sector for long range use, while the V.H.F and U.H.F models are considered practical for amateur use.
Kenwood walkie talkies tend to fall within two product categories. Those requiring a licence (P.B.R/ P.M.R) and those which are licence free, which operate within the PMR446 amateur range. These generally operate within the V.H.F and U.H.F frequencies which allow selection from up to 38 channels, as well as manual frequency “switching”.
Kenwood’s market leading 2-way radios have come a long way since the success of the T.S series, and the company are widely considered to have some of the best amateur and commercial radios on the market. Take the best-selling TK-3301, a “commercial grade” PMR446 FM Portable Transceiver. Designed to replace the popular TK-3201 T2, the 3301 represents one of the best lines of Kenwood walkie talkies ever to have been produced.
For the best in versatility, the 3301 now has 8 PMR446 frequencies, along with a 16-channel frequency adjustment to ensure less interference. As with most Kenwood transceivers, the 3301 benefits from the standardised voice scrambling technology for the utmost privacy, and adjustable microphone limiter for the best in sound quality.
Handy integrations also include an an auto-channel scanner, automatic channel voice announcements and function keys for custom programming. You can also be assured you’ll never miss a call with over 8 tones/ settings to choose from, and a vibration mode if you don’t wish to be disturbed.
Kenwood’s TK-3140 U.H.F/V.H.F portable radios represent the newer, compacted designs currently on offer from this market-leading brand. Packing in a wealth of digital functions such as voice encryption, auto channel selection and digital programming capability the TK-3140 is considered one of the best examples of leading digital walkie talkies currently on the market.
Potential buyers will also be interested in the many additional features integrated within this model, such as an in-built modem allowing the sending of Status Messages, Short Data Messages and other Digital Message System capabilities.
Weighing only 300 grams, you might wonder how Kenwood have managed to pack so much into the robust, die-cast body of this transceiver. The 36mm super-sized speaker alone delivers an astonishing 500mW of audio power – quite a feat given the unit’s size, and even more so when you take into account that the TK-3140 is designed to cover distances in excess of 6km.
Aesthetically, the TK-3140 is far better looking than many of her non-digital counterparts. Perhaps it’s the 5×8 inch digital LCD screen or the shrunken antenna that improve the ergonomics of this 2-way radio. More likely it is the compacted, rounded design that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand. With those ridged sides now trademark of Kenwood models, it’s also even easier to keep a hold of.
Among Kenwood’s multifarious ranges of hand portables, the NX series showcases some of the best licensed handsets on the market. Ranging from the entry model NX200E, up to the all singing, all dancing NX300 E3, there is bound to be a model to suit you. The NX200E offers both analogue and digital functionality for the ultimate in manual programming versatility. This is also probably the best model if you’re looking to switch from a completely analogue system.
With a 14-character display and 12-key pad, the NX200E makes it easy to send and receive Short Data Messages and Status Messages, as well as program for personalisation. The NX200E specification details a 512 channel capability, GPS Data and Voice options, and operates between 136-174MHz. Conversely, the brand new NX300 E3 offers a capability of 400-470MHz, Mixed FM/ Digital Operation, and Transparent Data Mode in addition to the digital functions.
Choosing the right Kenwood walkie talkies for you largely depends upon your need, however you should take into consideration that anything above a PMR446 model, will require a license. This is because they operate above the commercial-grade/ amateur frequency to avoid interruption from domestic users.