I always browse eBay for bargains and I came across a pair of Kenwood TH-26A VHF handheld transceivers in November going for £25 so I decided to get them. They were produced in the early 90's but I can't find the exact year of release.
Despite their age they work well, both power on and both transmit and receive. I tested them with a friend about 2 miles down the road and got a 5/9 report on both handsets. They use a short rubber duck antenna with a BNC connector and I live in a built up area so I was happy to see they work.
These radios operate on 144-146mHz FM and CTCSS/tone capability and offset function for use on repeaters which is handy although in Manchester there aren't really any active 2m repeaters these days. GB3MN is rarely used and putting calls through doesn't change that. GB3MB in Bury has long since gone off air so I'll have to leave that function for another day.
One of the radios has a little sticker on the front detailing the function of different buttons and combinations of button presses. This makes operation very easy although I've not tried all the functions out properly. The left hand side of the radio has a monitor button, PTT, lamp toggle switch and a power setting switch. Power output on high is 2.5-5w depending on voltage from the battery, 0.5w on low and 20mw on extra low.
On the top front panel of the radio is a little LCD screen which displays the frequency, S meter and settings. The knob on the left is a dual function dial with squelch on the bottom and on the top is the volume. The knob to the right is the frequency/channel select. A small lamp indicates RX/TX. The MHZ button allows selection of the tuning step, VFO switches between VFO and memory mode, MR allows scanning through memory channels. CALL activates the channel call function. The T-ALT button on the front activates the tone alert function.
On the back are the (F)unction, tone/ctcs, shift and rev buttons for selecting radio functions, repeater offset and tones etc. There is also a metal battery clip. There are two power sockets on the radio; one for charging the battery and one for running the radio off an external power supply.
Overall I'm really happy with these radios and can't wait for the better weather to try them out portable from my local hill.
Thanks for reading!
73's, Lewis M3HHY.