Recently, while doing some research for radios I wanted to use while serving with the Red Cross, I found some really neat radios, made by Kenwood, that I am thinking of picking up for my own personal use.
Red Cross, Baptist Men, Salvation Army, and maybe a few others, use frequencies on what is commonly referred to as “low band”. These are VHF frequencies at the bottom of the VHF spectrum (30MHz – 300MHz), hence the name. These frequencies are typically found in the 40-50MHz range. Of course, 50-54MHz is allocated to the Amateur Radio 6-Meter band.
Kenwood makes some 110watt radios, not only for Low Band, but also for VHF and UHF. The model numbers are 690H, 790H, and 890H. Be careful of the 690, 790 and 890 models though; while these radios are just as good of quality, they are the 40-watt versions. The “H” on the end of the model# signifies a high power model, which are each 110 watts.
- 110 watts on Low Band is a great feature, especially since I am told that these radios will also program up to the 6-meter Amateur Band. I just purchased one of these radios that was listed for $99, free shipping. That is the best price I’ve seen on them so far. Several on ebay are selling for $150, and that is also a good price, but I had to jump on the one for $99.
Here is a link to a Kenwood TK-690H low band for a good price.
- 110 watts on VHF is also pretty good, but out of the 3, I am interested in this one the least. The reason for this is what most mobile rigs these days will do 50-65 watts on 2-meters, and also because I currently have a 100-watt amp in my truck for VHF. So for now, I can’t see spending extra money on a 2-meter only Kenwood radio, which only has 160 memory channels.
- 110 watts on UHF, the Kenwood TK-890H, is a GREAT idea! When I found this, I was very excited – up until I saw the price most people were asking on ebay. I don’t think they are worth $300-$500, which some of them are listed for. But if I keep my eyes open, and I am patient, I am hoping to find one around the $200 mark. Once I found a TK-890H, I am run that in the truck, along with my Kenwood V71A (until I decide to change this again), and the Low Band for Red Cross and 6-meter work. Of course I’ll also have my Motorola XPR4350 for DMR, and my Kenwood TK-981 for 900MHz ham-band.
Here is a Kenwood TK-890H for $400, which is too high, im my opinion. Here is another one for $429. Neither of these include free shipping, either – so I won’t be buying these, but I will wait for someone to list one that isn’t over-priced.