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Thread: NX-5800 KCH-19 vs KCH20

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    Default NX-5800 KCH-19 vs KCH20

    Hi all,

    Looking for opinions from those of you currently using the NX5x00 series mobiles. I'm looking to upgrade from my XTL to a 5800 DMR/P25 setup, and I'm curious if the KCH-20R control head is really worth the $200 more I'd be spending on it. These radios are not cheap so any additional savings I can find would be nice. The only thing I'm thinking is that it would be much better to have the -20R if I ever look into upgrading to a dual-brick setup for VHF/UHF operation.

    What additional benefits do you get from the fancier control head? Obviously more screen real estate, but for those of you using the -19R in a single band setup, do you really ever run into issues with the smaller head? Sadly because these radios are so new there isn't a ton of

    I've just sent an email off to Evans M. of Sun State Communications to see what kind of prices he can get me. These new radios sure are flashy; hopefully they work as good as they look.


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    Theres not problem with using the 19 for a single deck setup, but if you are planning on going to a dual deck setup I would spend the extra money now. The 20 will display both decks at the same time, the 19 will only display the selected deck. Other than that you get knobs if you like that, which didn't bother me.

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    I'm still on the fence about the dual-brick setup. I like having two distinct radios that can be used simultaneously if needed, so the only real reason to get set up for dual-brick is space saving (which is a valid reason in my book). But it's $220 more EPL and even more with list price. Once I hear back from the dealer with real prices, that might change my mind. It's a pretty control head, but not necessarily $200 pretty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    These radios are not cheap
    These radios are cheap, $650 for mobile set + $70 for DMR option and +$300 for P25 option. Where you have seenm similar pricing? Maybe Motorola? Definetly NO. If only Icom, but nothing else. Motorola and Harris costs much more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotFAN View Post
    These radios are cheap, $650 for mobile set + $70 for DMR option and +$300 for P25 option. Where you have seenm similar pricing? Maybe Motorola? Definetly NO. If only Icom, but nothing else. Motorola and Harris costs much more.
    I should say relative to other things in my budget . Obviously they're miles cheaper when compared to new Moto gear, and Moto is dragging their feet with a multi-mode radio anyway so there's really no comparison. The difference is you can't find the NX radios used on eBay as reliably as you can older Moto gear, and when I'm used to spending $300 on an XTL it's quite a bit more.

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    Prices came in from Evans, and it's still the $200 difference between the 19 and the 20. They are extremely good prices though, making this move a bit easier. One last question for those in the know - when using the KCH20 in dual brick mode, can you do true dual receive like having two separate bricks, or is it limited to the selected brick only? That's going to be deciding factor. If it can't function like my current setup of two separate VHF/UHF radios then I won't bother going that route. I need to have the ability to hear two simultaneous channels at once.

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    It should be able to dual receive. Each radio requires a speaker anyway. They're two separate radios just controlled by one screen.

    Evans is the best Kenwood dealer I have ever dealt with hands down, he knows his stuff and his prices destroy the competition. You will be very happy with these radios. If they had a full band UHF mobile I would've bought the 5800 a year ago.
    I'm here to learn!

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapshot0017 View Post
    his prices destroy the competition..
    Until someone complains to Kenwood. Because Kenwood LMR dealer territories are location based. Dealers can't sell across the US, but do that from time to time.
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    For curiosity sake (since I keep getting more interested in the NX line) - does the KCH-21R display more than one deck at a time or is it only the 20 that does so?

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    Prices came in from Evans, and it's still the $200 difference between the 19 and the 20. They are extremely good prices though, making this move a bit easier. One last question for those in the know - when using the KCH20 in dual brick mode, can you do true dual receive like having two separate bricks, or is it limited to the selected brick only? That's going to be deciding factor. If it can't function like my current setup of two separate VHF/UHF radios then I won't bother going that route. I need to have the ability to hear two simultaneous channels at once.
    If you use external speakers on each deck, each deck will receive as normal. If you use a single speaker/internal speaker it will only output audio from the selected deck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MotFAN View Post
    Until someone complains to Kenwood. Because Kenwood LMR dealer territories are location based. Dealers can't sell across the US, but do that from time to time.
    He only does it for hams, so hopefully they won't. I can see it happening though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Navy_BOFH View Post
    For curiosity sake (since I keep getting more interested in the NX line) - does the KCH-21R display more than one deck at a time or is it only the 20 that does so?
    The KCH-21R will display the multiple decks like the 20 does. Only the KCH-19R displays only a single deck. Capture.PNG

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    The 20 doesn't have a built in speaker, so you have to use external speakers. I love my VHF/UHF setup with the KCH-20 head.

    When I first set the dual deck single head up, I was using a basic control head. That sucked only being able to see one deck at a time.

    One of my biggest complaints on the setup is that the volume control is global, so both (or all three) decks lower volume when turned. You can program an offset per deck.. but that really doesn't help out unless you have a speaker that is weak or hot. I did program a key to mute un-selected decks so that if something I'm interested in happens, I can mute the others.

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    Alright, money has been dropped. I ended up going with the KCH-19M because I'm already dropping a lot on this radio and I wanted to soften the blow somewhat. I figure down the line if I add a VHF deck I'll just buy the -20R then. Appreciate everyone's help and advice, and now I'm excited to have a new toy to play with.

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    KCH-20R is sweet toy, but a bit overpriced. Its cost is very close to NX5000 transceiver cost, just $50-80 less. Just the head, no cable and dash-to-remote conversion kit. SRP for this head is $600, but dealers can go down to $460-500 (depending on dealer, your relations with dealer, etc.). In Motorola world it's grab price, but not for Kenwood world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotFAN View Post
    In Motorola world it's grab price, but not for Kenwood world.
    What do you mean by Grab Price?


    I know several dealers who are ham friendly with this product line.
    Just have to ask the right people, and stay away from GLEE-Bay. (p.s. radios bought on flea-bay, wont have a warranty unless you
    have a very tight relationship with that seller. BUYER BEWARE) I don't care if it is NIB or what, it wont be covered.