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Thread: The Rundown: RELM KNG Series

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    Default The Rundown: RELM KNG Series

    The KNG (King Next Generation) is a series of mobiles, portables and base stations. They are software upgradable medium duty radios designed for public safety, government and military agencies.


    Today I’m talking about the KNG P800 version.


    Development began sometime in 2010 for this radio. Word is it was developed by Relm Wireless Corp and produced by Bendix King. Today the company is known as BK Technologies.


    After some research I noticed that there are three revisions of this radio. The A model is the original prototype. No photos have been seen of this revision. The B model was the second actual working run of this radio. It was shown at trade shows and was used in photo ops for many marketing items. The “B” revision has dark black arrow keys and glossy buttons. The display colour is more of a hunter green. The third revision “C” is the most common one you’ll see today. The buttons are matte with white, blue and grey colours. The display is the high vis yellow green.


    In addition to revisions there are also tiers:


    Tier 1 - No display or keypad buttons. Only reference is in the service manual. To my belief this tier was scrapped.


    Tier 2 - Display and upper menu buttons (diamond, up, down and square.)


    Tier 3 - Display, upper menu buttons and a full keypad.


    Note: There is absolutely NO difference between Tier 2 and Tier 3 but the full keypad. Everything is identical including the software options.




    Hands down, the support you get from BK Technologies is pretty amazing. The Actually listen! They have a make it right attitude.




    Now on to some real world usage…..




    Like anything nothing is perfect. Here are the pros and cons of the KNG P800.


    CONS:



    • They classify it as a medium duty radio. Thats a load of bs. This thing is just as bad as an iPhone. I would call it light duty. The whole top of the radio is an accident waiting to happen.




    • The knobs stick out quite high, one angled drop and that knob post will snap. There is no side protection.




    • The SMA antenna connector is female outer with a female inner, one bad drop or snag and that connector is toast. Off to the depot it will go.




    • This radio gets quite hot, a tier 2 is even hotter, and that is just idle, transmit brings it up more.




    • Weak ass speaker, weak design and weak volume. My original speaker was blown, even after fixing it the audio is still not as loud as it should be. They did fix this with the KNG2 series.




    • Pricing, you may ask yourself, do you want a new car or a radio? Expect to pay anywhere from 1000 to 4000 USD for one of these. Unfortunately with BK Technologies everything is ala-cart. So when it comes time to buy your radio be prepared to pay for everything including whatever software options you may want. But they do runs specials twice a year where all accessories are included. Thats how you can get one for around 1500 bucks.




    • No CMOS clock battery, so whenever you remove the battery the date and time resets. To restore it is you either have to use a GPS mic or manually type it in. Good luck doing that on a tier 2.



    PROS:



    • I think this biggest one is TRUE NO AFFILIATION SCANNING. Some turds still don’t believe me. This radio does it 100 percent. No special software or anything. Check the RX only box and plug your shit in. You are good to go. And now with the newer RES you can even change your ID. Watchout Genwatch! Cant accidentally stun me now.




    • Site roaming, even in RX only if you choose, your radio can roam if you need it to. No more adding 100 sites to follow your state police. Now it doesn’t always work right because you can roam to a site that does not host that talk group. But with the press of a button you can hope right back.




    • FPP, No flash code bullshit or any special dongle. Its a standard option for all you fppers out there,




    • Stable software, Relm actually gives a crap and the software works quite well. They also will gladly sell it to you. No questions. Updates are free and painless.




    • Radio firmware, Relm cleans up the bugs, firmware updates come out every few months with pretty detailed release notes. Nothing special to do the updates, just the programming cable and you are set. Find a bug, email them you’ll get a response, trust me




    • Features, the radio does a lot when that are loaded. AES 256, P25 9600, OTAR, TDMA, GPS and lots more. I have personally never used TDMA, some users have gotten it working some have not.




    • Service, Relm has a decent flat rate cost, but if you want to do some things yourself thy can be done, I recently upgraded my radio from a tier 2 to a tier 3. The speaker is contained in the housing. So instead of just replacing the speaker, I converted it to a tier 3 (full keypad) 100 bucks is all it took and the radio looks brand new.







    I have currently had my P800 for a year now. It has been rock solid. I paid more then I wanted to for mine. It has every feature but TDMA and OTAR.


    I have the extended battery which lasts a long time. The only flaw is that when it comes time to charge you have to take if off the radio as it won’t fit in the charger. That of course resets the clock.


    This is the first time I have done a write up like this. If anyone has anything to add or questions please post it! I want to know your experiences.
    RAS .......... Retard Avoidance System.


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    Default The Rundown: RELM KNG Series

    That is a nice review. Great job and thank you for posting it!

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    If you don't need TDMA, you might be able to get a refurb P800 non-TDMA for well under $1K, but you need to know the right salesman and deal direct with the factory. To my amazement, they actually support analog DES and DES-XL (I've tested it against an XTS5000 and both work), and they also support DES-XL and ADP for P25 (again, I've tested both), and this is apparently all done in software and you do not need to buy their cryptomodule in order to use it (I think that is only needed for AES). Radio also performs quite well RF-wise, although as you noted, the RX audio is not very loud.

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    Had a chance a few months ago to run both a KNG-P800 and a KNG2-P800 through testing on the Moto P25 Phase 1 system I help maintain....both radios performed well and I also agree about the No Affiliate scanning. I was able to get both radios programmed NAF Scan for a neighbor Harris P25 Mixed Phase 1/Phase 2 system and both performed well. Was also able to program the radios with ADP with my Moto KVL. The accessories (such as RSMs) tend to feel a little cheap and look ugly but that is a minor complaint. Overall Relm is to be commended for providing yet another affordable option in the portable radio marketplace.

    BKRadiopic.jpg

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    I can vouch for the software. I helped a friend set up rx-only trunking and it only took me a few minutes to wrap my mind around using the software. So un-Motorola.

    The longest part of the process was for the radio to find and start tracking the system and to figure out the site selection/lock interface. Again, so un-Motorola, but a good thing.

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    These are in widespread use by Harris County, TX law enforcement agencies. No one likes them, for the above-mentioned reasons (poor RX audio, feels cheap, breaks easily.) Another thing I've noticed with them is the TX audio is highly variable but tends to skew loud... maybe not the best DSP implementation.

    For a professional-grade scanner it's great. I only wish certain radio dealers would start pushing these instead of hacked/no-affiliate programmed Moto handhelds to the wrecker drivers.
    "The Girl Scouts found several hungry REACT members at the finish line..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by motorola_otaku View Post
    These are in widespread use by Harris County, TX law enforcement agencies. No one likes them, for the above-mentioned reasons (poor RX audio, feels cheap, breaks easily.) ....
    Okay, so a weak ass speaker, weak design, weak volume, feels cheap and breaks easily. Sounds like a bunch of reasons NOT to use this product for non-affiliation scanning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by motorola_otaku View Post
    These are in widespread use by Harris County, TX law enforcement agencies. No one likes them, for the above-mentioned reasons (poor RX audio, feels cheap, breaks easily.) Another thing I've noticed with them is the TX audio is highly variable but tends to skew loud... maybe not the best DSP implementation.

    For a professional-grade scanner it's great. I only wish certain radio dealers would start pushing these instead of hacked/no-affiliate programmed Moto handhelds to the wrecker drivers.
    Lots of them are programmed incorrectly and do actually affiliate


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    We had a p800 sent to us several years ago and I played around with it. I totally agree with the negative feedback that has been mentioned.

    Sent from my VS987 using Tapatalk

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    Demo'ed these for over a year on our 7.14 system. Everything stated by GTAMan is spot on. Durability I can say is lacking. One of the three demo's was dropped onto a carpeted floor from 4 feet (waist high) to simulate a real world drop that just about every portable radio will go through. Radio landed face down and the speaker failed. (still worked with an RSM). Knobs easily bend.

    Similar issues with the weak RX audio, they improved this on the KNG-P2800. The Kenwood VP-6000 exceeded the audio and durability "tests" by far, granted it's more expensive, but still less than an APX6K, and more built for public safety. The NAF scan does work well on the KNG, and these radios are great for media/scanner/hobbyist in this regard, but I don't think they would even survive in daily use for our government building security. We ended up migrating them to APX4000s. Now with the APX900 out for a grand or so, Relm/BK will have a tough time trying to get MSI customers away from their brand. You run RM, you lose out if you use non MSI subscribers.

    The latest RES software is easy to use. I'll give it to Relm/BK. At least their programming software doesn't require an i7 and 16GB of RAM and a 1TB of drive space to run.

    Great review!
    Your streaming makes me AES-256. Keep it up and you'll soon have nothing to listen to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS2000DES View Post
    Demo'ed these for over a year on our 7.14 system. Everything stated by GTAMan is spot on. Durability I can say is lacking. One of the three demo's was dropped onto a carpeted floor from 4 feet (waist high) to simulate a real world drop that just about every portable radio will go through. Radio landed face down and the speaker failed. (still worked with an RSM). Knobs easily bend.

    Similar issues with the weak RX audio, they improved this on the KNG-P2800. The Kenwood VP-6000 exceeded the audio and durability "tests" by far, granted it's more expensive, but still less than an APX6K, and more built for public safety. The NAF scan does work well on the KNG, and these radios are great for media/scanner/hobbyist in this regard, but I don't think they would even survive in daily use for our government building security. We ended up migrating them to APX4000s. Now with the APX900 out for a grand or so, Relm/BK will have a tough time trying to get MSI customers away from their brand. You run RM, you lose out if you use non MSI subscribers.

    The latest RES software is easy to use. I'll give it to Relm/BK. At least their programming software doesn't require an i7 and 16GB of RAM and a 1TB of drive space to run.

    Great review!
    Wow, sounds like you'll need awfully good sales skills to sell this radio...

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    Quote Originally Posted by KE4ZNR View Post
    Had a chance a few months ago to run both a KNG-P800 and a KNG2-P800 through testing on the Moto P25 Phase 1 system I help maintain....both radios performed well and I also agree about the No Affiliate scanning. I was able to get both radios programmed NAF Scan for a neighbor Harris P25 Mixed Phase 1/Phase 2 system and both performed well. Was also able to program the radios with ADP with my Moto KVL. The accessories (such as RSMs) tend to feel a little cheap and look ugly but that is a minor complaint. Overall Relm is to be commended for providing yet another affordable option in the portable radio marketplace.

    BKRadiopic.jpg

    I’m looking for that style 800mhz antenna. Would you happen to have a good contact for accessories?
    RAS .......... Retard Avoidance System.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Natedawg1604 View Post
    Okay, so a weak ass speaker, weak design, weak volume, feels cheap and breaks easily. Sounds like a bunch of reasons NOT to use this product for non-affiliation scanning.
    It's a sad commentary on the quality of most consumer-grade scanners that, despite all this, they still perform better by orders of magnitude. The Unication pagers work equally well but don't support Phase II.

    Quote Originally Posted by gjhamilton View Post
    Lots of them are programmed incorrectly and do actually affiliate
    Yes. I know. Why their programmers aren't in jail is beyond me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorola_otaku View Post
    The Unication pagers work equally well but don't support Phase II.
    Phase II on Unication is in beta - I've seen some YouTube videos. It's been delayed a bit from 3Q17 to 4Q and now 1Q18 but I have hopes it will be out soon.

    The US technical lead is active on RR, and I feel bad for him dealing with those folks.

    /back to original thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by noaffiliatefan View Post
    Phase II on Unication is in beta - I've seen some YouTube videos. It's been delayed a bit from 3Q17 to 4Q and now 1Q18 but I have hopes it will be out soon.
    "The Girl Scouts found several hungry REACT members at the finish line..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by motorola_otaku View Post
    Well, I'd agree with that - I haven't made the plunge yet, waiting for Phase II to be real...