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Kenwood Land Mobile Radio Notes
Compiled by Mike Morris WA6ILQ
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Repeater-Builder is looking for information on the various models of current and older low band, high band or UHF Kenwood commercial mobiles, amateur and commercial repeaters with emphasis on:
  • what the differences are between the various models
  • how to identify the frequency ranges (i.e. how to tell if it's UHF, VHF, etc)
  • which ones are crystal versus synthesized
  • what makes one particular model better over another (i.e. which ones are a waste of time)
  • what it takes to move them onto amateur radio frequencies
  • if they aren't crystal controlled, information on how to program them (i.e. hardware programmer, PC program or front panel programming) would be appreciated, as well as what PC software do you need (and how to get it legally)

What we have now:

Here is some general information on Kenwood model numbers courtesy of Gene Hornung WBØPKP:


TK-100's Low band portables (30 to 50 MHz)
TK-200's Hi band portables (150 to 174 MHz)
TK-300's UHF portables (450 to 470 MHz)
TK-4x0's 800 MHz portables
TK-4x1's 900 MHz portables

The radios starting with the x20 (i.e. 220 and 320) series are programmable. The x20 and x40 will NOT go down into the ham bands, the rest will if the software will accept the data. They are front panel programmable, however (see the article below). The radios from x50 and on require programming software and a special cable. You might find them on Ebay.


TM-4x0's 800 MHz mobiles
TM-4x1's 900 MHz mobiles
TK-600's Low band mobile
TK-700's Hi band mobile
TK-800's UHF mobile
TK-9x0's 800 MHz mobiles
TK-9x1's 900 MHz mobiles

These are all programmable radios. The x01S and x20 require special programming boxes and use a PROM or EPROM. The x05 and x05D (has scan) are front panel or computer programmable. All others require software and cables. Most of these radios will go into the ham bands with some retuning if the software will accept the data.

Most of the Kenwood mobiles share synthesizer components between transmit and receive. This makes it very difficult to make a repeater out of one radio. It is just as easy to use two or a single radio such as the GE MASTR II.


Model Band Mounting Power
TKR-720 Hi band see text below 100% duty cycle at 15w, 50% at 50w
TKR-820 UHF see text below 100% duty cycle at 5w, 50% at 20w
TKR-730 Hi band single height Anybody have this information ?
TKR-830 UHF single height Anybody have this information ?
TKR-750 Hi band double height 100% duty cycle at 25w, 50% at 50w
TKR-850 UHF double height 100% duty cycle at 25w, 50% at 40w

The TKR-720 and TKR-820 repeaters were the earlier models and are reliable and easy to use. They have a built-in power supply. They are desktop repeaters, dimensions are 5" H x 13" W x 15" D and while they are a tabletop design there are rack mount brackets available. The power adjustment is by a pot on the TX board. An extra fan will help. They do require a programming box or interface cable and software. I am currently using a TKR-820 on the amateur band. There is room in the cabinet under the transceiver module to mount a six cavity mobile duplexer. I mounted a Hamtronics voice IDer inside the cabinet - they have a rather basic controller internally and have a connector for an outside controller. I have had no problems with the TKR-x20 series units.

The TKR-750 and TKR-850 are rack mount units and have a built-in temperature controlled fan on the heat sink. The internal controller is more capable than that in the 720/820 series and can be programmed by a PC. Basically you configure it with your RX and TX frequencies and the PL tone frequency. If you are using an external controller you set it to "duplex base" mode, with COR on Aux out #1 and TOR (tone decode) on Aux out #2. Power control is also set by the software. They are multichannel capable. One thing you can do is have different Morse code identifiers for each channel, and set it up to change channels when the main supply fails and it switches to backup power. The second channel is programmed identical to the first but with something extra in the ID message to tell you you're on backup power.


Comments from email threads on the repeater-builder Yahoo! Group:

Kenwood's first synthesized repeater was the TKR-720 (high band) and TKR-820 (UHF) and requires either a KPT-20 or KPT-50 hardware programmer. There is a software package for it but it talks to the KPT-50 (and that plugs plugs into a connector inside - NOT the microphone jack) in order for it to work. There is an article on how to bit-hack the TKR-720 or TKR-820 below.     Click here for the KPT-50 manual
Click here for four photos of a KPT-50 courtesy of Gary "JR" Sutton:   Photo 1   Photo 2   Photo 3   Photo 4  

The KPT-20 programmer is used on the TKR-620, TKR-720, and TKR-820 series of desktop repeaters. Click here for the KPT-20 Instruction Manual. The KPT-50 is a second generation version of the KPT-20.

The TKR-720 and TKR-820 have a minimal internal controller that can be disabled by connecting pin 1 of the accessory connector to ground (pin 11), and at that point other pins become COR, repeat audio out, PTT, repeat audio in, etc. More details in the "Some notes on interfacing the Kenwood TKR-720 and TKR-820 repeaters" article below.

Contact Information:

The author can be contacted at: his-callsign // at // repeater-builder // dot // com.

Information provided from various sources as listed in the text.
Hand-coded HTML © Copyright date of last edit by Mike Morris WA6ILQ.

This page split from the main index page 16-Nov-2011.

This web page, this web site, the information presented in and on its pages and in these modifications and conversions is © Copyrighted 1995 and (date of last update) by Kevin Custer W3KKC and multiple originating authors. All Rights Reserved, including that of paper and web publication elsewhere.