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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Kenwood TH-F6A Help


Reviews Summary for Kenwood TH-F6A
Kenwood TH-F6A Reviews: 260 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $425.00
Description: Compact triband H.T. (144/220/440) with dual receive, wideband receiver (Longwave through 1.3 Ghz), SSB/CW rcv. Bar antenna for A.M. broadcast reception. 5 watts all bands.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.kenwood.net/ama_page.cfm
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Page 1 of 26 —>

KK4MRN Rating: 5/5 Jun 18, 2014 15:07 Send this review to a friend
My first ham radio was a great decision  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got licensed in November 2012 and I bought my first ham radio in March 2013. I had many months to read about all the radios out there.

Many hams suggested that I get a radio that has at least 2 bands, such as, 2m/70cm. Plus, I wanted a wide-receiver that could receive other ham bands, shortwave broadcast, AM broadcast, FM broadcast, etc.

I cut a 66 foot hook up wire and strung it around my bedroom. I was able to hear people talking on various HF bands. I played with the various modes and the bands.

Very fun.

The radio is tough - I have dropped it so many times - including on the hard concrete. The worse thing that happens is the battery pops off. You just pop it back on.

The downside is that you get no warning your power is low unless you keep checking the power.

By yourself another antenna like a Diamond or Comet antenna which performs much better than the rubber duck. Or build yourself an Ed Fong J-Pole antenna for 2m/440.

By the way, the 222 band is alive. I have made many contacts on a 224.42 repeater where i live.

I do not have another HT to compare against, but I can say that this radio is a very good radio that I still use.
 
WA2CLP Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2013 15:56 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Radio!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this little radio Oct 29th and have been enjoying it ever since.

I had looked at the various radios and decided on the TH-F6 simply because it has an all mode general coverage receiver, 220 Mhz and it's a Kenwood.

My first signal report on this radio simply put was, "Nice Audio!"
There are a number of repeaters on 220 and other hams are glad to find someone new to talk to on an under utilized band. Also there is a local IRLP node on that band that welcomes new activity. After all it wasn't so long ago that we were giving away part of 220 Mhz to Unite Parcel: Did they ever use it??

If you want this radio I would recommend buying the soft case SC-15. You won't have any worries about scratching up the display with the case on. (Doorways & other tight places) The case has a nice sturdy belt clip that's not going to break anytime soon. I'm currenly planning to buy an extra OEM battery, a couple of dc cables and either a speaker Mic or headset. I had 30 days to purchase an extended warranty which I now have.

As for antennas I have 3 Smiley mono band Super Sticks and they work great: I mean really great when fully extended. Just don't bend them because they are not as flexible at the base as they appear. The stock antenna is fine for "around town" and seems to favor 440 Mhz. I really enjoy tuning around 450 to 476 Mhz with the F6A as there is a lot of police activity around the region to listen to. (Weekend Entertainment). Warning! The 2 meter Super Stick is heavy and looks like a fishing rod but it works fantastic!! ++

One nice feature of the TH-F6A is 'Visual Scan.' If you're looking for new stations you can see them on the display Up & down the dial as you tune around. You also can scan for PL tone on receive as well.

As for the general coverage recevier: Don't expect to hear anything on the stock antenna. There is a feature to disable the internal loop below 10 Mhz and switch to the SMA and When I touched the rubber duck to my 4 to 1 balun coils, 75 meters came alive with clean audio & accurate readout on LSB. Stations were loud and CW is FB too using the "fine" tuning feature. (Nice!)

The interal loop works great but only on AM broadcast. I could just barely hear code practice on it from W1AW at 1.8025 Mhz so I plan to get an 18" adapter cable to go from SO-239 to SMA. In this way I'll be able to connect the F6A to my wire antennas. This radio is so much fun I can hardly put it down!

Oh Yeah. What don't I like about this radio? The volume control is on the bottom of the tuning dial. As you tune, the volume sometimes gets changed. Also you apparently can not program a separate PL tone for transmit & recive. There are 1 or 2 machines in the area that have that setup for whatever reason. Also it gets some intermod but only a fraction of what my old Radio Shack Scanner gets so it's not really an issue with the Kenwood.

There's a lot to learn about this radio. My plan has been to become familiar with the features and then get the software cable. I will buy the acc's at my leisure...

I would deinetly recommend this radio to any looking for an HT.
 
KY4TS Rating: 5/5 Sep 16, 2013 11:12 Send this review to a friend
Great little rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got mine at Dayton 2012. It has since become my primary HT. What I like;
1. Dual receive with any combination of the 3 bands
2. It's a 3 band transceiver, including 1.25m!
3. It now comes with the 2ah Lithium ion battery.
4. Very easy to program and operate.
5. 1.25m rated at 5w TX.
6. Easy to carry.

What I don't like;
1. Although the rig is rated at 5w TX, about 4w is all I can get. Don't think that extra watt will help me much, but if it says 5, I want 5.
2. The concentric control knobs, with the volume on the outer ring is difficult to use for those of us cursed with large hands. I'll occasionally knock the radio off frequency when adjusting the volume.
3. Too short! I know I said it was easy to carry, but another inch taller wouldn't hurt that. It would also allow for an even bigger battery and larger buttons (for the above mentioned large hand issue). Or...
4. The speaker is a bit weak. If it were a little bigger, that would probably help.
5. A bar graph for each VFO would be nice.
6. It seems to be a little more sensitive to noise than my FT-60.

I'm not going to include a gripe about the factory antenna because as we all know, they all suck. The Jetstream triband antenna works great though.
Overall, the pros outweigh the cons for me, it has 1.25m and they don't have a 4.5 rating, so that's why I'm giving it a 5.
 
VE7WV Rating: 3/5 Sep 10, 2013 17:45 Send this review to a friend
Versatile but antenna mount design weak  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought one of these years ago for my XYL. I spent a little more than I would have for myself in order to get a small but capable dual band HT; I didn't really need a tri-bad HT.

She loves the size and weight.

Twice it's suffered a broken SMA connector due to being knocked over and tumbling to the floor, once with the stock antenna mounted and once with an after market antenna.

In the case of the latter the base of the antenna isn't as wide and I can see that leverage could rapidly build on the PC mounted SMA connector as a result, however even the stock antenna suffered the same fate and I chalk this up to bad design.

Her radio doesn't see a lot of abuse but over the course of many years HT's are likely to be knocked over. This one I don't trust to take into the field as a result.

My first HT, new at the time and now eons old, was an Icom IC-02AT and it continues to plug away despite being used very heavily over the years. Maybe I don't need that kind of longevity out of an appliance like the TH-F6A but it would be nice of course.

Bottom line: capable little package but too fragile for me personally as a primary radio and as a result despite having repaired the TH-F6A twice, I'm getting the XYL a heavier duty radio for emergency use. The little guy will be used for its multi-band abilities, and for the little black purse when we go out once in a while...
 
N0TRK Rating: 5/5 Sep 8, 2013 19:35 Send this review to a friend
Awesome Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this HT since it came out, I carry it with me in my purse constantly. I am still using the original battery and it has performed flawlessly the entire time. After 5 years of hearing me praise my radio, my husband finally bought one for himself. I agree that this is the best HT (and I have owned more than my share)
 
AD7BZ Rating: 5/5 Sep 8, 2013 11:04 Send this review to a friend
The Best HT. Period!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my TH-F6A for more years than I can remember.
While I seldom operate VHF/UHF anymore, I use mine all the time as a HF receiver. It works pretty well using my Timewave ANC-4 as an active antenna. Wish it had ssb receive mode.

I can't believe somebody would rate it 2 after using it for "several years" and having a "jammed" power jack. Coaxial jacks don't just "jam" on their own, if you get my drift.
The fact that the jack is difficult to access is because the HT is, like any other modern HT, very compact. An HT with very accessible components would be much larger, just like HTs were in the 1970s--cumbersome and with fewer features.
 
AE6FI Rating: 2/5 Aug 29, 2013 11:45 Send this review to a friend
defective power jack!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my th-f6a, a number of years. The power input jack has "jammed" up. I can't charge up the battery, or turn on the unit, to use it? I am a retired electronic tech, and I took it apart, in hopes of repairing the jack? The jack is located 3 layers down, in a dificult area for access. The new jack is available for $1.45 + $5 shipping, from an independent Kenwood dealer! I can't get a hold of Kenwood to provide a replacement jack? I think Kenwood should replace the jack for free? Useless!
 
SMAUG Rating: 5/5 Aug 29, 2013 11:41 Send this review to a friend
Flexible, high quality, long-lived.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just received this walkie-talkie yesterday, and spent a few quality hours with the manual programming it up. Just now, I got in from a lunchtime walk around the work property, where I made my first contacts with the radio. Please consider this review to be first impressions from a new owner, but not a new ham. (I'm a "re-tread" ;-) )


The manual is a pleasure to read. It was obviously written by someone whose first language is English. That, or an English major went over it with a fine-toothed comb. Everything is well laid-out and easy to find by a simple scan through the Table of Contents. It used to be this was normal; these days, it is not to be taken for granted.


For your info, here are my previous walkie-talkies:

- Realistic HTX-202: A solid radio, but not user friendly or compact.
- Yaesu FT-50R: My first dual-bander. This was a good radio too.
- Icom IC-V80 Sport: A GREAT, simple, affordable 2m walkie talkie. Very rugged and a high performance talkie all-around. The manual is not as good as the Kenwood's, nor the display. No DC input jack is a drawback, but AWESOME audio from the built-in speaker. Almost on par with the Motorola HTs from the 80s and 90s.


Back to the subject radio, in case anyone is still reading, after 24 pages of reviews...


Programming "by hand" is easy, and after doing a couple, it becomes pretty quick and easy to remember. The radio has 400 memories, but Kenwood has put some thoughtful features in to make them quick to navigate. Firstly, one can directly enter a memory number, and jump right there. Secondly, one can hold down the light button (right below the PTT/transmit button) and turn the knob on top. Each click then goes to the first memory in the next group of 50. So one can jump 50 memories at a time. The radio scans memories in these groups of 50 too, so one can really have a good plan for laying them out. For example, my first 50 are local repeaters. (I've got 20 so far) The next 50 will probably be repeaters near my Mom's house. Next, by my dad's house. Next, by my ex's house. Next, by daycare. Next, broadcast AM/FM stations. Next, CB. Etc. That way, I can scan by area. This doesn't even take into account shortwave stations. VFO B can receive in all modes: LSB, USB, FM, FMW, AM


The radio has a built-in ferrite rod antenna for receiving in frequencies below VHF.


It is a full duplex tribander too. VFO A is only for the three ham bands it can transmit in. VFO B can go to any band the radio will receive. So one thing I like to do is monitor a favorite local repeater on VFO A, while listening to National Public Radio on VFO B. There aren't many ham walkie talkies that allow this. Most of them don't receive broadcast FM.


My F6A was already well-used when I got it. It is the old one with the 1400 mAh battery pack and the linear plug-in wall charger. I'm told these have been in production for about a dozen years now. During my lunchtime walk-talk, I encountered 3 other hams in my local club who either have or have had this WT! Wow! I think only the Yaesu FT-60R and Realistic/Radio Shack HTX-202 can compete with this widespread level of acceptance.


This radio is just on the borderline of being too small. It fills the palm of the hand, but doesn't protrude out the top or bottom. The keypad buttons are small and kind of close together. One has to be deliberate when pushing them, but it is not annoying or anything. I wouldn't want a walkie-talkie any smaller than this.


More later, as I get more accustomed to it. For now, it gets a 5, for quality, intuitiveness, flexibility, and longevity.
 
N7GH Rating: 5/5 Aug 29, 2013 08:18 Send this review to a friend
4.5/5 great radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Since they don't have a 4.5 I'll give it a 5. This is one of about a dozen HT's that I've had. I picked up one that was about a year old in a trade and it had very light use. It is by far the easiest radio I've ever programmed--straight forward manual programming entries and easily seen keypad and if you want to use the computer to program it, you can download the software from Kenwood for free. I bought a nice aftermarket antenna for it from diamond and it worked very well. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an HT. I eneded up selling it though because I have a Yaesu VX-7r that I like a lot better (the 7r has better signal reach on transmit and receive, the 7r fits into my hand better, and the 7r is waterproof).
 
W2WP Rating: 5/5 Jul 15, 2013 11:46 Send this review to a friend
My 10+ Year Review - Great then, Great now.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The TH-F6A was one of my first HT's when I was licensed. I actually went back because I thought I did a review but I didn't. I would have given it a 5/5 then and after recently picking up a new one I still say 5/5.

Listen, there'a a reason that this radio is still in production after what, 12 years?

Need I say more?
 
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