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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: 26 Average rating: 4.3/5 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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VK5JKS Rating: 5/5 Mar 15, 2018 22:41 Send this review to a friend
Excellent handheld  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought the Kenwood TH-D74A from Ham Radio Outlet when it was on special last year. I had to import it into Australia because JVC Kenwood Australia would not bring it in, in spite of a one year drawn out back and forth with them.
This transceiver is truly brilliant. It is very accessible for blind ham operators as its voice guidance is 2nd to none. It speaks menus, frequency, mode and channel information, as well as DStar callsigns.
There are a few minor accessibility issues which I've passed on to Kenwood which I hope they'll resolve, eg several menus which do not have voice guidance etc but overall it is very accessible.
Performance is brilliant. The voice quality of the DStar is the best I've heard! I can also hit a DStar repeater 27 KM away from my QTH with a smiley 270a antenna from inside my house. The stock antenna however is also pretty good.
I've had numerous unsolicited comments about the great sounding audio both for FM and DStar. I have not changed the default EQ settings.
Its CW, SSB, AM, FM and DStar reception is also fantastic for a handheld, even with the stock antenna, though hf reception is of course improved if you connect a suitable external antenna.
The four power levels are also very useful. I can use it all day on extra low power using my hotspot (see my review of the Zumspot here on EHam). In fact, I can hit repeaters 12-15 km away on medium and low power with the stock antenna, and even on extra low with the Smiley.
My only minor gripe as others have said is that battery life could be better when using high power.
I bought the $19 nylon protective case from HRO to protect my precious investment.
I highly recommend this brilliant handheld Shack-in-a-box.
N8PSI Rating: 5/5 Feb 13, 2018 14:48 Send this review to a friend
Glad I bought it  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I tend to lean toward the Swiss Army devices as opposed to buy specialty items for each nuisance of feature. So the Kenwood TH-D74a is exactly what I wanted even if the price was a bit out of my budget. It is a great radio. It is easy to use. However, you can get lost in all of its capabilities.

Features are Excellent.
Quality is Excellent.
Sound is Good.
Battery Life is OK and could be A LOT better.
Replaced the antenna and performance improved.

It does everything I need and more. I plan on using it for years to come.
KA9P Rating: 5/5 Dec 2, 2017 18:56 Send this review to a friend
Nice product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Happy to note first a sub $500 dollar price on this radio from HRO on Cyber Monday.

I finally picked this radio up after reading thoughtful positive comments by WD9EWK and K2GOG, and have to say it meets my requirements and their observations.

My main interest was obtaining a travel radio - good three band handy, as well as something useful for eavesdropping on whatever else was going on on HF and VHF, and particularly as a potential small and light but actually useable linear satellite downlink receiver.

Just came in from a third side by side on FO29 with my venerable FT817, and am very happy. Tuning is a bit tougher, but the quality of the received signal on a standard Arrow is very useable, and seems good enough for typical satellite use where the weight of two ft817s is problematic.

HF eavesdropping has been good as well. With variable selectivity down to 300 cycles SSB and cw copy was good. And by good I mean much better than my SSB scanners of the past, the best of which was an AOR 8200.

Everything else is a bonus, but at less than $500 I think itís well worth it.
LA1PCA Rating: 4/5 Dec 1, 2017 00:41 Send this review to a friend
Excellent first impression  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just starting to learn to operate this radio, and I'm already amazed by the capabilities. I would have sacrificed a little on the size for a bigger battery, though. Being a long time Yaesu fan, what sold me here was the display. Not only color, but also transflective. I hear some criticism that color is unnecessary - I disagree. My mobile radio is an FT-857 which has the classic low-contrast single-twist LCD that are in so many smaller radios. What a great improvement in readability it would have been to have a color TFT or transflective in the Yaesu... Color in all my radios from now on!
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.
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