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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Kenwood TH-D7A(G) Help


Reviews Summary for Kenwood TH-D7A(G)
Kenwood TH-D7A(G) Reviews: 63 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $459
Description: Dual band VHF/UHF hand held transceiver.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.kenwood.net/products/index.cfm?AMA=open&ama_hheld=open&radio=TH-D7AG&selection=Amateur&ID=80
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You can write your own review of the Kenwood TH-D7A(G).

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K0JEG Rating: 4/5 Mar 4, 2006 11:04 Send this review to a friend
tranciever hits ground, survives  Time owned: more than 12 months
The other week, I was out on a bike ride on a trail that needs some work. I failed to lock down the TH-D7 properly and, after hitting a big crack in the trail, it went sailing to the ground. The initial impact must have been on the antenna, which broke the SMA connector, but the radio otherwise survived with just a scratch or two on the grey parts of the case. Replacing the SMA conector was a very easy process, just remove 4 screws on the case, take off the volume and encoder knobs and you're in. Then just desolder the antenna connector, remove the 2 screws and replace. Took less than 10 minutes and works like a champ.

I haven't seen any difference in performance since the accident. The replacement part was bought at East Coast Transistor (kenwoodparts.com). Cost was $8.24+shipping, a bit much, but I didn't feel like I was getting ripped off, either.

I'm sure that I just got lucky, but I'm relieved to know that my radio is made a little better than I expected. When I think rugged radios, I think Motorola (I've seen them fall from 24' ladders and bucket trucks without any damage), and ham radios are generally built for gadget factor, not for pounding nails, but it is nice that it exceeded my expectations.
 
N2YTF Rating: 1/5 Dec 14, 2005 21:40 Send this review to a friend
The tone problem remains  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well its been a year since my older review of this radio, and not only has Kenwood not repaired or replaced my rig, but I have yet to lay my hands on a copy of this rig that is not affected by the tone problem on 440. Tap your rig while you transmit on 440 with tone encoder on (as per the test described in my earlier review), or go through your touch tones on 440 with your tone encoder on while a second radio listens to you with tone squelch set (preferably the second radio should be a modern one with a reliable tone squelch) and you will drop out every now and then on some tones. You will also drop out while talking but not as often. Oddly the problem does not occur if you are transmitting into a dummy load. You must be on 440 to experience the problem. If you are dropping out of the local 440 repeater (if it has tone squelch) during ragchews (esp. while you are walking-vibration seems to aggravate it), it is possible this is the reason.

I was motivated to write again as today I went to a local ham store and tested a new th-d7a(g) (I figured by now they had fixed the problem and I like the rig otherwise). I was shocked to find that this new rig had the problem to the same extent as my now 2 year old (approx.) rig. The store manager felt the problem was some sort of microphonics issue, but that was only his guess. He said some hts in the past from other manufactures have had similar problems, but I have owned and played with several and have never had this problem or anything similar. I have been hamming for a bit over 10 years.
Had the d7 rig in the store worked properly I would have bought it in a heartbeat.

At least one ham I know in the UK got Kenwood to give him a working replacement rig, but aparently these rigs are not being sold in the US (if todays visit to the ham store is any indication).

I guess I will try again in a year and see if Kenwood bothered to put in a fix. Again, if 440 repeater use is important to you and if the 440 repeaters you intend on using have tone squelch, you will still have to stay away from this rig.

I would also venture to guess if you have the rig and cannot replicate the problem, then you do not understand the problem. I dont mean to sound insulting, but I have now tested about 10 rigs (4 display radios at Dayton over 2 years (YES KENWOODS DISPLAY RADIOS HAD THE PROBLEM incredible..I demonstrated it to the Kenwood reps who acknowledged it), 2 from hams walking around Hamvention, 2 from club members at home, one rig today at the local ham store, and my own. This does not include the hams who have emailed me saying they also had the problem with their rigs. The hams in my club (we run a 440 repeater with tone squelch) with the ht are unable to carry on a conversation on our repeater with it just as I am.

73 de Tom
 
VE6FRC Rating: 4/5 Nov 22, 2005 09:04 Send this review to a friend
Good so far  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Has work well for Aprs and local repeater work so thats why it gets a 4.The big issue with this HT is the battery life with the stock battery.I would rate it a big 0.Totally unacceptable for a new HT.Get a PB-39H from Batteries America if you want to use this HT for more than monitoring a couple of hours a day.
 
AE6QG Rating: 3/5 Aug 20, 2005 19:59 Send this review to a friend
A decent HT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When I first got licensed, I borrowed this HT for a couple of months before buying a Yaesu VX-150. During that time, I mostly used it to hit repeaters that were 20-50 miles away. I never used the APRS or TNC functionality, but I bet it would be cool to use if I had the capability.

I'm giving the TH-D7A(G) a 3 because of its transmit ability, at least on 2m. I used to check in on multiple nets per week held on a particular repeater about 20+ miles away from me. It was hit and miss. Sometimes I'd make it, and sometimes I'd have to repeat my call multiple times before the Net control would get it, and sometimes he'd have to say "sorry OM, maybe next time". It was kind of embarrasing. I know it's just an HT, but this repeater had pretty good coverage, and I never knew if I'd be able to hit it. This was on high power.

When I got my VX-150, I had no problems consistently hitting this same repeater "full quieting" on half power (2W) with the stock rubber duck, every single time, and didn't matter which room I was in my apartment. It Just Worked(tm). So for this reason, in comparison with the VX-150, the TH-D7A(G) seems to do pretty poorly at hitting 2m repeaters 20+ miles away. I cannot rate the 440 transmit since I didn't find any repeaters to test it out on.

Also, this eats through batteries pretty quick, and I don't know if there's a way to find the battery voltage, so I didn't have any warning when it's about to die.

I do like the display, though. And the AM aircraft band receive is a real plus. Also, if I were to find APRS and the TNC useful, I'd probably rate it heigher on average, so if you're into that sort of thing, I'm sure this radio would fit the bill.
 
K8DXX Rating: 3/5 Aug 16, 2005 19:27 Send this review to a friend
Just OK  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
At Dayton '05, I picked up a Kenwood TH D7A/G dual band "data radio," mainly for it's ability to do "Sky Command" with my 3 year old TS-2000. However, being just a one-HT guy, I expected the radio to serve as my standard HT, as well. My first few walks around the neighborhood were very disappointing. Using the stock antenna, I was "in and out" of repeaters that my old Icom IC2H Sport ($75 AA powered 6 watt HT + stock antenna) had no problem getting into.

Since Dayton, I've made two investments in the THD7A/G:

(1) A Diamond SRH320A aftermarket antenna. In a simple TX test over 1.5 miles and running 150 MW (EL power), I was not readable using the stock antenna. With the Diamond, my signal went up to S-6 (+/- 36 db?). Less scientific repeater tests/chats while walking our dog had me in and out of area repeaters I had no problems with using an ICOM TH2H Sport ($75 2 meter HT powered by 8 AA NiMH cells). The aftermarket antenna has almost made up the difference.

(2) Batteries America 9.6 volt, 1450 Ma/H battery. Even casual use revealed a pretty short life for the supplied 600 Ma/H NiCd pack. On the heftier battery (same size and similar weight) the radio just runs and runs, even in Sky Command with the TNC activated.

Other casual observations I'd make are:
- Transmitted audio reports are exceptionally positive, even on Sky Command.
- Receive audio is just adequate.
- I am satisfied with the Kenwood soft case. Mine seems to be nicely made, functional and durable particularly for only $15.
- The receiver appears to be a step up from the IC2H Sport. My very simplistic test was to transmit on the one radio and listen to it through a local repeater (TH D7 vs IC2H Sport). Keying the Kenwood appeared to desense and create noise in the Icom. The Kenwood's receiver didn't seem to mind the Icom transmitting within 600 KHz and 3 feet away. Guess that's what you expect between $75 and $300 radios!
- Menus are OK but hard to remember. I guess they're packing a lot of functionality into a simple user interface and that's what happens.

Oh yeah... Sky Command is fun. I have not been able to get it to remotely tune the TS-2000. Both TS-2000 and TH D7 manuals are incomplete. It would appear that you do need a computer connected to the TS-2000 to reset the TNC prior to entering the "Transporter" mode. The most helpful piece of documentation I have found thus far is called "TS-2000TransporterTH-D7ACommander[1]" (txt) and is buried in the Kenwood ham radio site. Finally, whereas the 2 meter transmit link to the HT identifies you when it is established, there is the potential for you to retransmit for more than 10 minutes without a station ID. The operator's voice (and control data) goes over UHF and obviously contains your callsign when spoken.

Would I buy another? Were it not for the specialized data capabilities, NO. It depends on what you want the radio to do. As a general purpose HT, it would appear that there are less costly, more rugged units out there. For data applications, it is obviously unique.

73 de Bill / K8DXX
 
N2QGV Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2005 06:32 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been using one for over five years. Currently on my second one. Both have worked as advertised from day one.
For the previous reviewer, the D7 will only show 'My Position' when it hears another station digi your position packet. No heard digi, no 'My Position' on display. Also, if you have B band doing what you describe, you must have that band selected for the display to show a battery indication. If you have A selected and B transmits, you only get the right most red LED to light. Hope this helps, and saves you some cash and time by not sending back a perfectly working HT.
Oh, I am currently using a Garmin GPSmap 60C with the HT. Great combination.
 
K0JEG Rating: 4/5 Apr 26, 2005 21:56 Send this review to a friend
Works great, minor complaints  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The good - seems to get out all over, easy compact APRS beacon. I use it with a Garmin e-trex vista on the bicycle, and with a foretrex when hiking/skiing. It passes position data back to the GPS, which then displays them as a waypoint. Very cool when going handheld. Full duplex operation makes it possible to work LEO sats such as AO-51 easily (get an Arrow antenna). Good transmit and receive audio. Easy set up of the TNC and fewer wires necessary.
The bad - The encoder knob at the top. This, in my opinion, is unnecessary for most applications, since you can use the joypad and directly enter frequencies/memory channels/menu items using the keypad (I'm sure that I am the exception). I think the main reason I don't like it is because of the volume control being on the lower/outside ring of the control. It is very hard to feel the volume control when the radio is in the back pocket of my jersey. The stock antenna, as others have pointed out, is a stock antenna. I haven't owned any HT that had an exceptional stock antenna. Plan on getting something else. I use a Diamond SRH815 for clandestine work, and an MFJ-1715S when on the bicycle. I haven't had any issues with the battery life, but I would like to see an option for a thin battery, even if it would mean a tradeoff in TX power or life (again, I'm sure I'm the exception).
 
KB2CPW Rating: 4/5 Apr 5, 2005 06:00 Send this review to a friend
:-) OK!! but :-( no DCS  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

Just picked one of these up a week ago, its been with me like its attached to my hip. I wont go into what it >>>has<<< as its been mentioned in the many previous reviews.. In the short time that I have it and my experience with many HTs I will pass along the following.

My previous HT was an FT50 so this I will use to compare.. Firsty the display is large and easy to read, the backlighting is nice and within a few minutes and having the manual at my side, I found it was easy to program (you do need the manual to program this radio at first.) Once you learn the basic functions, the manual is not really necessary. I did make a wallet size copy of the quick menu page (in the back of the manual) in case I forget something..

The outer case is not commercial quality so be careful with it and use the strap or other contrivance to hold it. The HT is meaty but a pleasant fit in my mits. Not a little HT by any means when measuring it front to back. The rx is sensitive but the original antenna could be better. TX audio is very good and the radio sounds great on the air.

I managed to scrounge up an old serial cable with a three contact earphone jack that my son used to program a hand held toy with his PC. I removed the rs232 to ttl board in the serial portion and direct wired the three wires according to the manual. Voila, instant and free serial cable to program this baby!!

Bravo Kenwood for including a max 232 style IC IN the HT and for providing free software on the web!!

No intermod noticed in suburban areas, slight but acceptable intermod around the city. Nice wide RX for listening around the other bands..

Battery size, type and life warrant the purchase of at least an additional battery. Buy a reliable aftermarket battery instead of Kenwoods (like MAHA or W and W)..

Ok here is what bugs me.. The speaker is sub par, could be larger and audio could be louder and clearer. It does the job but its small due to the placement on the face of the radio.

The antenna could be better, go for an aftermarket if you are a serious HT user.


NO DCS!!!??? I had that on my FT-50, and I liked it.. In fact 3 other amateur radios here have DCS but Kenwood didnt include it..

You can scan PL's on RX but not on TX.. Sometimes I like to find new repeaters by tx'ing and slowly turning the select knob while in tx PL select mode. Sometimes this is warranted to determine if a machine on one particular frequency is active in your area..

To do this with the D7A requires you to make 4 separate entries on the Keypad for each selected PL.. On my Yaesu you went into the pl menu and then tx'ed while turning the knob, after scrolling thru 4 or so, you unkeyed and found if a machine came up active (dont forget to ID and say hello on your newfound selection) ...

This radio is lots of fun, easy to use with some minor quirks. No biggy though as every radio I bought had something I didnt like.. The TNC and sky command stuff works fine making this radio a nice addition to the other radios it compliments.

With a good spare battery and a better antenna, she's a keeper for sure... 73's and I hope this helps you in your decision.. Regards.. Richy N2ZD
 
KC9AXZ Rating: 3/5 Feb 26, 2005 11:10 Send this review to a friend
It's a keeper, BUT...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just got my D7A(G) in the past 2 weeks. So far it is a nice radio. I'm happy with it over all. I bought it mainly for APRS use around the home. Since I already have a home APRS station, the "EL" power setting is more than good enough for getting to my higher powered "RELAY". The radio also worked just fine getting into the local packet BBS (3 blocks away), on "EL" power and ducky antenna from my basement shack. I actually did transmit voice with the radio for about 5 minutes the second day I owned the rig. The short voice QSO was simplex. I didn't tell the other station what rig I was using, until he was almost out of simplex range. The audio report he gave me after telling him was "I would have never known it was a HT". That audio report was great to hear. My main intent when buying this rig was mostly APRS/packet. I'm happy to hear it will also do voice very well. Now for the down side of the rig. The battery life is s#!+ to put it nicely. I'm averaging maybe 4-5 hours per 16 hour charge. In fact the battery lasted 4 hours on the intial charge. The second charge lasted less than an hour! There is no good charge indicator on the radio. It's turn it on and hope it doesn't die while you need it. In my recient charges, I get a little better than 3-4 hours from it. Keep in mind I run the lowest power level, and beacon on a 30 min basis. I can already see I need a replacement battery after less than a month of owning it. I emailed Kenwood support and got no reply. I'm really not happy with that response. They will hear from me in person at AES Superfest in April, about my experience with their support. I'm planning on replacing the OEM battery with a Maha battery and charger. The reason for the 3 rating is smiply because the battery life and very poor support I received. I'll review at a later time, and report the findings with new battery and feedback from Superfest.

Jon KC9AXZ
www.kc9axz.com
www.kc9axz.no-ip.com <---- UI-View webserver
 
T95MWP Rating: 1/5 Feb 2, 2005 14:24 Send this review to a friend
Kenwood needs to be shamed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased radio last week from GigaParts and received on this Monday.Nobady could here me with this radio.So I checked power with power meter and gives 2,5W on High power with 13,8V.Shame on Kenwood when sell radio for over $320 and is pice of garbage.
 
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