Kenwood PKT-23 Review

Introduction

The Kenwood PKT-23 is a recently launched radio, which uses the Business Radio Service(BRS) for communications. The BRS is relatively, a new mode of operation, and was launched only recently. The PKT-23 is designed for low power, short range communication, as a business might use in a warehouse or on a construction site.

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First of all, the PKT-23 is not FRS (Free Radio Service) or GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) compatible and cannot be operated legally in the United States without an FCC license. These licenses are not free and come with a number of restrictions. So, your first hurdle to using these radios is to spend more money and go through the usual FCC red tape.

Kenwood PKT23

Kenwood PKT23

Once you have your FCC license, the radios need to be programmed to operate on the correct frequencies. Programming is accomplished through pressing combinations of buttons on the radio, most of which you can find instructions for in the included manual. Note that the included battery pack needs to be charged before one can start using this radio.

Unlike GMRS, which overlaps with the license-free Family Radio Service (FRS) there are no license free channels available on this radio. A license isn’t terribly expensive, but it’s not free, either; $110 buys a ten-year license that authorizes you to use just two of the available BRS channels.

The PKT-23 comes pre-programmed from Kenwood with 99 frequencies that range from 450 to 470. These are pre-set, so you cannot change them or program custom frequencies into the radio. ┬áit will work with a number of radios that have the 99 default frequencies programmed into the radio. Motorola’s CLS, CLP, RDX, and RM Series radios.

 

Design

The PKT-23 has a very small device footprint. These radios take up very little room for charging and also feature the ability to connect multiple stands. The size of this device makes it easy to slide in and out of any pocket. You will notice that the size of the radio itself is just larger than your standard coffee mug. It sports a black coat of paint, and has a very business-like look attached to it.

These are really handy

These are really handy

Range & Features

The range of any two-way radio is dependent upon two factors – radio wattage and the environment. These particular radios will work great in an open environment for miles (salt flats). However, you start adding trees, buildings, terrain, etc., any two-way radio will start to deteriorate. Contact me for further details and to make sure your investment will work. Open areas up to 5 miles, residential up to 1.5 miles, in steel or concrete buildings up to 225,000 sq. ft., in high rise buildings up to 17 floors

In our tests, we found the following results:

  1. 1/2 mile away with obstructions: we still had reasonable quality connection as well as good quality audio.
  2. 3 floors separation: Excellent connection and audio.
  3. 1 mile with no obstructions: good quality connection and audio.

Accessories

If you are looking for some accessories for this radio, we recommend the Kenwood KHS-34.It is an in-line push and talk switch Microphone with a small C-Ring Ear hook that rests on your ear. When connected, the microphone and speaker will disable the similar functions in your radio. The KHS-34 ear set works for both the left or right ear.

The KHS-234

The KHS-234

The KHS34 has a clip microphone which can be used either with an ear hook or a C hook. The Push-To-Talk (PTT) button on the microphone is easy to use. This ear hook, with clip on microphone works with ProTalk PKT series radios only.

Serious Problems

There are some alternative ways to “field program” the radios, but that info is neither available in the manual nor on Kenwood’s website. You will basically need to do a bunch of searching on Google to figure out how to complete some of the more advanced programming procedures, like wireless cloning. If you are using a repeater system you are going to have a serious problem. This is due to the fact that as per the manual repeater programming can only be accomplished using computer software. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find information anywhere on this software or the programming cables you would need to interface with the radio. There is no information on Kenwood’s website about this radio, other than the user manual that already comes with it.

 

Conclusions

These radios are a lot more sophisticated than the similar appearing FRS units, with more power, and much tougher construction. They’re tiny enough to fit in a shirt pocket, but still have plenty of audio and range. For a working business in the need of short range communications they’re a great deal, as they’re much cheaper than GMRS radios, the licenses are cheaper, there are more available frequencies, and they’re pretty rough, as they can take falls on to carpeted surfaces as if nothing even happened. One battery charge lasts a long time on standby- at least five days without a recharge. Pop them in their chargers every night and they should easily last a full day of active use.

 

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