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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Kenwood TH-D74A/E Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TH-D74A/E
Kenwood TH-D74A/E Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $649$ USD
Description: This Dual Band Amateur radio is packed with convenient features and the
advantage of a digital transceiver with D-STAR, APRS support.

Featuring colour transflective TFT display that offers excellent visibility in day
or night. Plus, built-in GPS and Bluetooth support, as well as Micro USB and
microSD/SDHC this radio is ready to harness the exciting developments in radio

Compatible with the APRS communication protocol, which allows real-time two-
way data transmission by using packet communications. This stand-alone
device provides enjoyment of communications that make use of a variety of
features, including sharing of local and GPS positional information and message

Compatible with D-STAR, the amateur radio communications network that has
both voice and data modes. Both local and international communications are
possible through diverse operations including simplex communications, single
repeater relay communications and inter-repeater gateway communications.

Wideband and multimode reception
Built-in IF filter for comfortable reception
IF output mode
High-performance DSP voice processing
Tough weatherproofing meeting IP54/55 standards
Easily understandable pop-up screens
Built-in GPS
Product is in production.
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K7NG Rating: 5/5 Nov 15, 2017 08:10 Send this review to a friend
Superb product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I figured I'd never own one of these but I got lucky and found a used one in 95% condition for about half new cost. I have owned it for 4 weeks now and I find myself more comfortable with all its functions and features in that time than I was with an Icom IC-92AD in two months... and I really do like the IC92.

It's hard to ask for more in one handheld package than you'd get in the D74. I am just a touch dismayed by the short battery life, even with all but single-band basic FM mode turned off, but other than that I really haven't found anything I don't like.

Once again I found that I could use RT Systems software to set up the radio with ease. And yes, the aftermarket Diamond SRH320A antenna will make your on-air results more satisfactory.

The radio, IMHO, is a keeper.
N2RJ Rating: 4/5 Nov 12, 2017 17:04 Send this review to a friend
Great little radio. Has its faults.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was a bit skeptical about this radio, and after getting it I thought maybe I should have gotten an icom DSTAR radio but after using it for about a month, I can say that it is an excellent radio. My friend Marcus, DL8MRE brought one with him from Germany and I had a chance to look at it. It looked pretty nice, so I decided to get it. I ended up buying it from DX Engineering with a $20 off coupon and free shipping.

Yes, it is expensive, but I think it is worth every penny. You get not only a DSTAR radio, but also wide band receive including shortwave, AM, FM and even SSB. You also get APRS, KISS TNC and a GPS receiver. You also get 3 bands to transmit on - 2m, 1.25m and 70cm. The GPS receiver comes in handy not only for position but also time sync which is useful for portable operation with WSJT-X. Did I mention that it has USB and Bluetooth? You can even send the IF out of the radio via USB. Wow.

Finally it has an SD card that can not only keep logs of callsigns it hears but also GPS data and audio. Yes, you can record audio from each receiver on an SD card and play it back on your computer.

The radio is also a real beauty - it has a color transreflective screen.

Even has an "EL" mode for extra low power to conserve battery life. This is perfect for using an open spot around home or when communicating short range.

I found all of this amazing. But it does have some shortcomings.

The menu system is arcane. Some stuff you access through the "Menu" key and others you have to use the shortcut keys. I mean, you get used to it and all but this radio has a learning curve.

The SD card doesn't eject all the way when you eject it. So you have to either use a tool to take it out or squeeze with your fingers.

Bluetooth is a bit buggy. Doesn't pair with all of my devices properly.

Doesn't support D-RATS. Bummer.

Doesn't do full duplex for proper satellite operation. The D-72A does.

Battery life is not so good. So I carry a spare AA case. This is my emergency radio that I carry daily. I may buy a spare battery but they are expensive.

Screen prone to scratches. I put a Best Skins Ever skin on it.

The cigarette lighter cord doesn't fit snugly in. You have to push it ALL the way in and it comes out too easily. Fix this, Kenwood!

But all in all it's a really nice radio and worth your consideration.

My advice:

Get the Triband Diamond SRH320A. The stock antenna is a dummy load. I also got a Retevis stubby antenna when I don't feel like carrying around a long antenna. That one is only dual band though.

Get the AA case. You can't transmit high power for too long with it but it works in a pinch.

For a speaker mic any of the Baofeng or cheap clone mics are just fine. But the Kenwood mic is nicer.

Drop in charger is nice to have.

Look for Don W6GPS on YouTube. He explains how to use the radio. But you really should read the manual.
WA8QQU Rating: 5/5 Aug 22, 2017 11:21 Send this review to a friend
SC-57 Case for D74A/E  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I obtained a Kenwood SC-57 case for my D74A from MLS in the UK yesterday, and FINALLY have a very nice-looking, case-covered HT to take outside. I would post pictures, but apparently I can't here.

The case was $48+ which covered shipping, which is very pricey for what it is, but it is very tailor made for the HT. I had been using a modified case for my previous D72A, which we all know looked like crap from the beginning. The SC-57 is described as being leather, but the jury is still out on that, but, it really looks great.

So if you want a REAL case for your quite expensive D74A, the SC-57 IS out there, but you will have to search the globe for it.
K7RHT Rating: 3/5 Jul 26, 2017 10:46 Send this review to a friend
Battery Life really bad  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I love the radio, but I have had it 8 months and the battery life is terrible. 4 to 5 hours on standby, a few minutes on talk time. Either mine is sucking up power (GPS and APRS disabled) or I got a bad production battery.
KK6MD Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2017 16:52 Send this review to a friend
Amazingly Capable Transceiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've owned many HTs, but the Kenwood D74 is the most feature-rich HT of the bunch. Unlike one of the recent commenters, I find the operation of the radio to be very intuitive despite its complexity. Yes, reading the manual gives you a better understanding of all of the features of the radio, but I was operating the radio right out of the box.

This is my first D-STAR capable radio, and amazingly I'm able to hit a local D-STAR repeater located over 30 miles away with the stock antenna. My QTH is at about 300 feet above sea level, so this was certainly a help. My first D-STAR QSO was with a ham in the UK, and it was like he was in the next room. The audio quality of the D74 is very good, and you can tweak the frequency response both on transmit and receive. The radio feels very solid and well-made. I did install a screen protector to protect the beautiful color screen. I just took a cell phone screen protector and cut it to size.

I find the menu organization of the D74 to be quite good -- much better than some Yaesu radios I have. I did buy a Nifty guide for the D74, which helped me discover a few of the more obscure features of the radio.

The D74 is expensive, but it offers you three bands, the ability to listen to HF (including SSB, CW and AM) with the right antenna, D-STAR, APRS, decent battery life, an easily read and informative color screen and a microSD card slot for recording QSOs and saving the radio's configuration. Kenwood provides free software to program the radio via a USB oonnection. Highly recommended.
KB0KYV Rating: 5/5 Jun 7, 2017 23:01 Send this review to a friend
Worth it!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The more I put in to learning this HT, the more impressed I am with it. I have been able to connect the TH-D74 to my Surface Pro and my Android phone using Bluetooth. Programming is just as easy with a USB cable or Bluetooth. The APRSISMO APRS Android app and the Kenwood MPC-D74 programming software communicates well with the rig using Bluetooth. The only problem I have is that I'm reluctant to carry it around with me because I'm afraid that something might happen to it.
KD2HPQ Rating: 0/5 Jun 7, 2017 09:08 Send this review to a friend
rudderless ship  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Of course this radio deserves a 5 for quality and capabilities but a solid ZERO for usability. If you're new to Amateur radio I strongly suggest waiting until the Youtube instruction base increases. It will probably not be for a while however because very few people apparently are buying this $700 (with accessories) handheld. On the plus side maybe something else will come out that is easy to use, and perhaps the price will drop a bit.

The instruction manual is written in three languages but is equally useless in all of them (I read Spanish and French). I can't even figure out how to do a simple scan. How does repeater data get into the radio? Who knows. Even something as simple as the antenna connector (it's SMA female but that's nowhere in the manual).

They tell you it has bluetooth connectivity to headphones but is that all? A mystery.

If you want to know why this hobby is dying look no further.
KC2FYA Rating: 4/5 Apr 24, 2017 11:48 Send this review to a friend
Good Rig for SKYWARN.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a great rig. I was able to program analog repeaters without the manual, and even the D-Star repeaters were easy enough to operate for they are pre-programmed. I am able to do the APRS too with no problem. The menu system is in my opinion, easy enough to navigate.

I like that the radio is IP 54/55 certified, I wish however that it had military specs. The rubber piece that covers the ports on the side could easily tear off if one is not careful. Too bad it is not submersible.

The audio quality is awesome, even on my analog repeaters. I really like how I can adjust the RX & TX Equalizer to my preference. I have it on the factory settings for now with the mic-gain on medium.

The battery life is fair to good. I need to evaluate this more. I like the 4 power (TX) outputs of 0.05, 0.5, 2.0, and 5.0 Watts to choose from. The radio does get warm pretty quickly on the higher settings.

The TFT display is good the reflective display is decent. I like the setting to increase the display brightness. Overall I am pleased with my purchase. I did opt to purchase an extended warranty on it especially with the display in mind.
KC2FYA Rating: 4/5 Apr 13, 2017 12:30 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful Portable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am new to D-Star and APRS radios. Because of that, I find that the TH-D74A is a wonderful portable. I was able to operate D-Star right out of the box with the pre-programmed repeaters. After reviewing the manual and learning the basics on these modes, I have made contacts on the D-Star and received information on the APRS.

The rig is solid and the water proofing makes it a good choice. The battery seems to be fair, but I am comparing it to the TH-F6A with a 2000 Mah battery. The 1800 Mah battery that is supplied seems to be good. I wish that a fast charger and a strap was included along with the Programming CD-ROM and USB Cable.

I had no problem storing my local analog repeaters into the memory. I opted to add a 32 GB SD Card for extra memory and recordings. The supplied antenna seems to work good, I may invest in a gain antenna. I like having four power settings of 0.05, 0.5, 2.0, and 5.0 watts. The TFT Display is great. I like when the D-Star or APRS information is displayed.

I will continue to evaluate and advise further. 73 all, KC2FYA.
VE5LPL Rating: 4/5 Apr 2, 2017 01:42 Send this review to a friend
Update - Radio Died.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I Got my Radio from R&L Electronics, I was originally going to get it from Ham Radio Outlet, but they wanted to create a invoice for the shipping to Canada and I didn't want to wait 2 Business days. But That was a MISTAKE! I think i should have gone with HRO since I paid about $250 (Canadian Dollars) in Shipping a US Taxes. Making a $750 Radio a $1000 Radio... I really like it, and has done everything it shows on the box except for the DSTAR Function, This is my first DSTAR Radio, so I may have just been using it wrong, but I think I was doing what I should have been. I was in a city that had a DSTAR Repeater and I went to the Repeater List (Menu 210) And it should the repeater I wanted (VA5DR) however in the "Frequency Screen" Selected DR and pressed the Down button to choose the repeater I wanted. However it does not show up... This is the repeater list I got from Kenwood, and the guys down in S'toon(Where the repeater is) said that should be good. So I don't know why I can't... It is only VA5DR That I have had this issue on.

--- UPDATE ---
I was able to get VA5DR working just using VFO and manually putting in the info rather then the default repeater listing but the setting were the same... I using VA5DR and pressed PF1 and the radio just died in my hand... Sending it back to kenwood for repair
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