Kenwood TH-K20A Review

If you want a durable, compact, and reliable handheld transceiver (HT) to add to your ham radio collection, the Kenwood TH-K20A is an excellent choice. It may not be as feature-rich as some of its more expensive counterparts, but it’s a great choice for new or intermediate ham radio enthusiasts who don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on an HT.


  • 5.5 watts of transmission power – This 2 meter band radio boasts 5.5 watts of FM transmit power.
  • Water and dust resistant – IP54 dust and water intrusion standards mean the TH-K20A holds up well to dust and grime, and can resist splashing water.
  • Rugged construction – This unit meets MIL-STD 810 C, D, E, F and G environmental standards for durability.
  • Compact size – The Kenwood TH-K20A measures in at just 2.13 inches wide, 4.4 inches tall, and 1 inch in depth, and it weighs just 7.4 ounces.
  • Loud speaker – The Kenwood TH-K20A uses a specialized Kenwood “High Sound Pressure” speaker to deliver clear and loud audio.
  • Simple to program – This HT has 200 programmable channels and is PC programmable. It also has a customizable function button, which can be configured to perform a wide variety of different functions.


  • Single band – This HT only works in the 2 meter band. If you want a dual-band radio, it’s not the right choice for you.
  • Sensitive buttons – Some users report that the Push To Talk and other buttons are quite sensitive, which can lead to inadvertent transmissions or button presses.

Bottom line

There are definitely cheaper handheld 2 meter HTs out there, especially from Chinese manufacturers. But Kenwood is a reputable brand for a reason, and the TH-K20A packs a surprising amount of features into a small, durable, and easy-to-use package. If you want a radio that’s a little pricey but a step up from comparable models from brands like Baofeng, the Kenwood TH-K20A is a great choice.

Products Specs

Frequency RangeTX 136 – 174 MHz
RX 136 – 174 MHz
ModeF3E, F2D
Antenna Impedance50 Ω
Operation Temperature Range-20 °C ~ +60 °C
Operating VoltageDC 6.0 ~ 9.0 V (Standard Voltage DC 7.4 V)
Frequency Stability±2.5 ppm
Microphone Impedance2 kΩ
Battery Life* (Figures approximate) High/Mid/low
with KNB-63L 6 / 8.5 / 10.5 Hour
with KNB-65L 8 / 11.5 / 14 Hours
with BT-16 6 / 8 / 10 Hours
Dimensions (W x H x D),
Projections not included
Radio Only 54 x 111.7 x 14.4 mm
with KNB-63L 54 x 111.7 x 25.3 mm
WeightRadio Only approx. 138 g
with KNB-63L approx. 210 g
RF Power OutputHigh 5.5 W
with BT-16 approx.3.5 W
Mid 2 W
Low 1 W
ModulationReactance modulation
Maximum Frequency DeviationWithin ±5 kHz
Moduration DistortionLess than 5 % (300 Hz ~ 3 kHz)
CircuitryDouble super heterodyne
Intermediate Frequency1st IF: 38.85 MHz / 2nd IF: 450 kHz
Sensitivity (12dB SINAD)Less than 0.16 μV
Less than 0.18 μV
Squelch SensitivityLess than 0.13 μV
Selectivity-6 dB More than 10 kHz
-50 dB Audio Output More tha
Audio OutputMore than 400 mW (8 Ω / 10 % distortion)

Expert reviews

  • Bob Allison from ARRL reviewed the TH-K20A, and he praised its overall design, as well as the convenient belt clip built into the battery. He also liked that it supports PC programming for quick and easy setup of memory channels. He said that it was a great choice for outdoor use, particularly for hiking.
  • In his overview of the Kenwood TH-K20A, Everything Ham Radio also mentioned the compact size of the TH-K20A, as well as the backlit and easy-to-use buttons and screen, which are ideal for night-time operation.
  • Eric from Universal Radio reviewed this unit and had good things to say about the large speaker and clear audio quality, as well as its durable design and backlit keypad and screen. He called it “easy to use” and a good choice for people who are new to ham radio.

User reviews

  • Reviewers from DXEngineering have given the TH-K20A a rating of 4.9 stars across 22 user reviews. Users called it an “ideal radio” for people who don’t want complex radio, and praised the comprehensive manuals and documentation, as well as the easy setup process.
  • Users on were similarly positive when it came to their overall experience with this HT. It has received an average 4.9 star rating over 15 total reviews. Positives included its high radio sensitivity and 5.5 watts of transmit power, clear audio, and fast scan speed, as well as its easy-to-use display and keypad.


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