Not as good as I thought...

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martin99's review of Kenwood Protalk TK-3301 PMR 446 Transceiver

★★★☆☆

“Not as good as I thought...”

Written on: 10/03/2012 by martin99 (29 reviews written)

This is a ruggedly-built set from a reputable manufacturer. It comes with all the stuff you need to get started immediately, including a charger pod and a decent-capacity Lithium-Ion battery, which takes three hours to fully charge. However, the unit is quite hard to set up because there is no LCD display. TK-3301 is one of those devices that require you to push one button while holding another and then act quickly (5 seconds) before the unit reverts back to its previous condition and you have to start all over again. Besides, the voice announcements are rather garbled and spoken quickly. So, getting things the way you want them can take several attempts and ages to achieve, even for someone like myself who's quite tech-savvy.

As for 'range', it's about normal for this class of radio (half a Watt maximum output). But, compared to other PMR 446 radios I have, the sound-quality is 'tinny' and not what I expected from a 'Kenwood'. On the upside, like other radios in its class, TK-3301 has an effective voice scrambling feature that affords some level of protection from all but the most well-resourced eavesdroppers. Although you can assign the scrambling feature to one of the side-keys, you have to re-activate it each time the radio is switched on. And that’s a pain. Moreover, it seems likely that only another TK-3301 (or at least another Kenwood radio) will be able to decode your scrambled messages. Worth checking out. The instruction manual is also not one of the best because I don’t think it explains things in enough detail for novice users.

In conclusion TK-3301 is a well-made/well-presented unit that promises to cope with the knocks and bumps of everyday life, including the odd light shower of rain. Plus, of course, it works fine. I can't fault it on that score. I believe this radio is also very popular in education circles perhaps because, once it’s been set up, it’s hard to change anything without reference to the manual. And there’s no LCD screen for little people to damage.

But do think twice about this set if you're not terribly au fait with two-way radios. Try to get a demo first before buying. If I'd done that I’d probably have bought the Motorola XTNiD instead. It has a nice display.

Then again, I'm not you... And TK-3301 does appear to have lots of fans.

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