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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: 25 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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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
N2PYS Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2017 10:20 Send this review to a friend
Great radio overall  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I pre ordered mine in July, and it was delivered the day after it was released , I love the radio for its visibility the display is fantastic , last HT I purchased has sat basicsly unused an IC 92 AD because as per the new normal icom is using lousy displays , if you can't see it you can't use it .

The 74 has three bands 2 digital modes a great display , even the Kenwood free software is decent although since using RT systems on all my other gear it made sense. Battery life had been excellent for all it does ( I have three batteries and the drop in charger ) I rarely "need" the third battery most days with pretty heavy use I can use just the two, the stock duck is even not that bad , I have the comet with me all the time but have never had to use it , the GPS is pretty quick and accurate with no problem indoors or out getting a lock .

Feature packed and easy to use HT with a pretty simple but extensive menu system , that is fairly intuitive if you have used a 72 this will be no problem.

It's the first of its kind of radios and has set the bar pretty high for anyone else to compete.

KE0FHS Rating: 3/5 Jan 12, 2017 10:06 Send this review to a friend
Almost great  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've had this HT for three months now. In almost every respect, I love it. But it does not support D-RATS slow data mode. This issue has been reported to Kenwood, but it's difficult to tell from their responses so far whether they consider this an issue they will fix eventually or that it's working as intended. If you don't care about D-RATS, this is a great radio. If you do care about D-RATS, then the lack of support for it is a deal breaker, in my opinion.
KK4SHF Rating: 5/5 Dec 6, 2016 17:57 Send this review to a friend
Easy to setup and use many features  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I only have this radio a week, I have a few other Dstar radios to compare with. Using Firmware 1.04
I was impressed with how easy it was to set up.
* Be sure to download the latest manual * The manual in the Box is incomplete. With the GPS repeater scan, I was on the air in minutes. After you turn on the GPS it can find a local Dstar repeater. That was amazing, considering my first experiences with Dstar.
Be sure to get the free software to load in repeaters and DVAP settings. After installing the driver on windows 10 it just fired up no issues. It is a no brainer to use. The audio is clearer that my other HTs, and the color screen is easy to use in any light. I like the way it holds the call signs when in Dstar. Putting in text and numbers is very easy. APRS works, want to spend more time with that feature. I did hear W1AW CW 7.0475 for practice. But I used a mag loop in my living room. It does have a internet Ferrite Bar antenna for SW. FM radio is good. I really like how easy it was to set up scanning groups. * Read the newest manual * Bottom line easy to us. I love it. 73
WS8B Rating: 4/5 Dec 1, 2016 14:20 Send this review to a friend
Swiss Army Knife of Radios  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Using an overused phrase, the TH-D74A is the “Swiss-Army-Knife” of radios. I purchased one from R and L in Ohio a week ago, so my evaluation will be only for my initial impression. I would like to rate the radio a five but the included documentation leaves the operator with a lot of un answered questions. Kenwood has posted a better manual located at:
Having been a ham for over 37 years, I have used many HT’s over my time. I remember fondly the Yaesu FT-207R – big as a brick and as heavy. The D74A is reminiscent of the older, simpler radios in appearance but that’s where the similarity ends. Turn it on and the color display will be impressive. The radio has sub-menus of sub-menus of sub-menus. A helpful multi-scroll key (joy stick) is in the upper center of the radio. This is used to manipulate the multitude of sub-menus.
Operating specifications and main features are covered in other reviews so I will stick to my initial observations. The radio does everything as advertised and more. The only weak feature is the low band reception via the internal antenna. I was not able to receive any stations with it. When I connected to the external antenna, the radio performed just like the big low band rigs. Sounded great.
All the keys, including the transmit switch are plastic. No worry about rubbing off the numbers and letters from rubber keys. The sound is awesome. Nice, loud and crisp. My vintage Kenwood speaker microphone worked like it was made for the radio.
This radio is not for the beginner or the faint of heart. To get the D-Star and APRS up and running took a lot of time. Without “how-to” videos on YouTube, I would have had a lot of trouble. Downloading the programming software helped.
Two important points – 1) make sure you have USB function = mass storage turned on (menu step 981) so that you can read and write to the micro SD card. 2) this is VERY important. Before loading the micro SD card export your radio image to the card, upload and save the image. Make a copy of the image and load your memory details to the image copy. Save it as Image 2 or some other name then load it up to your radio. Doing otherwise will cause some functions to be lost. When you do an upload for the first time, the software will warn you.

I will add that the display is outstanding. Being reflective, it works very well in bright sunlight. I also want to add that programming can be done 4 ways:

Via: direct input, mini USB, Micro SD card and Bluetooth(r). All fully programmed, the radio will search based on the GPS geospatial reference and download D-Star repeaters in the area. It will then upload the repeater parameters complete with frequency, tone, and appropriate D-Star parameters. In other words - no convoluted D-Star programming.

More to follow.

WS8B Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2016 10:46 Send this review to a friend
Correction to my comments  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Comments below - I did not mean D-97.....yet to come....I meant TH-D-74.

I will now give it a 5 that will average out with my 4 bringing my rating to 4.5. When I see better doccumentation, I will bring it to a 5.

I will add that the display is outstanding. Being reflective, it works very well in bright sunlight. I also want to add that programming can be done 4 ways:

Via: direct input, mini USB, Micro SD card and BlueTooth(r). All fully programmed, the radio will search based on the GPS geospatial reference and download D-Star repeaters in the area. It will then upload the repeater parameters complete with frequency, tone, and appropiate D-Star parameters. In other words - no convoluted D-Star programming.

More to follow.

EB1DY Rating: 5/5 Oct 28, 2016 08:08 Send this review to a friend
Buen talky y muy completo.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hola a todos. Hace dos semanas que tengo el TH-D74 y tengo que decir que es un buen aparato. El apartado de APRS es muy completo, dando los datos de las estaciones recibidas con todo detalle en cuatro pantallas distintas. La parte de d-star solo la probé en directo. Funciona bien, pero no fue capaz que trasmitiera los datos del GPS (problema de configuración, supongo). El receptor, como alguno se queja por ahí, es un poco sordo en onda media y la ferrita interna es como si no estuviera...pero quien se compra este talky para escuchar radio nacional?. En HF y conectado a una antena externa recibe bastante bien, pero no llega al receptor del TH-F7. Recepción continua desde 100 khz a 524 Mhz en todos los modos, incluido SSB y CW. DV solo lo recibe de 136 a 174 y de 410 a 470. Muy buen acabado y no pesa mucho. La antena de porra que incluye va bien, y es comparable con las Diamond SR701 o SR519. El icono de carga de batería chifla completamente, no te puedes fiar mucho de el, ya que de repente se pone en rojo y al momento esta a la mitad, me imagino que será cuestión de firmware, del cual ya van por la tercera actualización. El equipo permite grabar todo lo que se escucha y lo que se habla. Con una tarjeta micro sd de 4gb da para unas 30 horas de grabación. También permite grabar la configuración en ella, para poder restaurarla, si por ejemplo le hacemos un reset. La pantalla, se ve estupendamente, incluso a plena luz del sol, aunque no permite cambiar el tamaño de la letra como hace el icom ic-92.

En definitiva un equipo que me gustó mucho, aunque si es verdad un poco caro. 73
KS6PD Rating: 5/5 Oct 24, 2016 21:17 Send this review to a friend
So far loving this  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First off, I'll address the elephant in the room, the price tag on this baby. In reality, i'm not going to complain about it. For a couple hundred more than the ID-51a plus, your getting a third band and APRS/TNC built in. This was the deciding factor(s) for me to fork out the $$. At least in my area, there is a lot of 220 activity, so the third band was worth it.

Prior to picking up this radio, I have never played with Dstar or APRS before. I wanted to get a Dstar radio as we now have a dstar net in our area and a number of my buddies are using dstar. APRS and 220 were an added bonus.

When I play with a radio, I like to see how user friendly it is prior to reading the manual. I went to HRO and started playing with the display model. Fortunately, another Ham who owns one was there in the store and gave me a quick demo. As a non-technical guy (compared to a great number of others in our great hobby) the radio was pretty simple to figure out. I took the plunge and picked one up. Within the hour, I was using our local dstar repeater and on APRS all at the same time.

When it comes to dstar, the radio is quite nice to use. Once the built-in GPS has your location marked, you can easily search for pre-programmed dstar repeaters near you. This will come in extremely handy while traveling.

APRS was a joy to use. Within a few minutes of configuring the APRS settings, I was tracking myself on I am an outdoors guy so this will be great while out hiking and doing other outdoor activities.

A quick comment about the free kenwood programing software. It's not bad, and I was able to program about 500 memories fairly easy. The radio connects to the computer via usb mini and made it a breeze to get it programmed with all of my analog frequencies.

I am quite impressed with this radio. I love the display, ease of use, and the features it offers. I have yet to upgrade from firmware 1.02 to 1.03 as I have read 1.03 is a bit buggy. This radio has def sparked my interest in new (to me) areas of the hobby. There is a yahoo group loaded with a lot of info regarding this info if curious.

Kenwood, if you come out with a dual band 2m/440 mobile version of this, I'll be first in line to buy.
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