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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Kenwood TM-V7A Help


Reviews Summary for Kenwood TM-V7A
Kenwood TM-V7A Reviews: 116 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $719.95
Description: The dual band mobile with the cool blue display.
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.kenwood.net/products/index.cfm?AMA=open&ama_mob=open
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<— Page 2 of 12 —>

KC0NPF Rating: 2/5 Apr 14, 2009 18:11 Send this review to a friend
Close, but no cigar  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First off: The display REALLY DOES SUCK THAT BAD. Iím a youngín compared to some of the ham community, (whom I respect and admire.) I have good eyesight, and Iím willing to deal with a display that isnít perhaps the sharpest. I mounted the rig in my car below eye level, pointed up at my face so that the display is only slightly off-axis, and out of the sunlight for the most part. I CANíT SAFELY SEE IT while driving during the day, AND EVEN AT NIGHT!.

This is the older unit without the updated display. I got lucky and found one with no lines and figured I would be able to tweak the settings to compensate for the display somehow, but thereís absolutely nothing you can do, Iíve tried almost all the possible combinations. I also suspect the voltage regulation to the display unit is pretty poor. I say this because as the radio's input voltage changes, the display seems to change contrast slowly over time. Its also very heavily affected by temperature, a 10 degree temp swing is enough to make it (more) unreadable. Even as a youngín that might still think heís partially invincible, I canít recommend this rig for mobile use, itís just not safe.

This Kenwood's microphone controls are a joke. I don't know how Icom does it, but their mics are much more useful, albeit crowded. Kenwood just sends DTMF tones down an open mic line, which controls the radio. For some stupid reason you can't save a "Programmable Memory" - i.e. a full setup for the rig including most of its settings - without turning off Microphone Control.. WTHey?? I suppose I did like the ability to power the rig on/off with a button on the microphone, but with all of the other functionality pretty much nonexistant (as opposed to the Icom), the novelty wore off after about 3 seconds.

The rigís guts are relatively good otherwise. The (A)dvance (I)ntercept (P)oint function is somewhat nice. I don't fully understand what it does, shift the IF's? all I know is that with that enabled, some of the local neighborhood noise that occasionallly breaks the squelch is eliminated.

What I had to do to make this rig somewhat usable included: cleaning out the display, its previous owner had it living in a truck, so the area between the LCD and the plastic cover was very dusty.
I also replaced the fan in the rig. Because I purchased it used, I have no idea whether the fan that was in there was stock or not. Its bearings were totally fried, and it made a nasty 'ticking' noise at random times when it was turning - the rotating fan was brushing up against parts of the magnet assembly inside. A fresh cpu fan and 10 minutes soldering the plug onto it provided me with a new fan. Note: the screw-holes for the stock fan are counter-sunk quite a ways into the fan. This is required to make it sit flush with the fan bracket, and also so the screws reach all the way through. The countersinking required at least a half hour and a drill press.

Iíve had good luck with operating it V/U (full duplex/crossband repeat), V/V, and U/U. are all possible, and quite handy. Itís like having 2 radios in one box. Crossband repeat and its associated remote control functions are AMAZING! I love the fact that I can just leave the rig in remote-standby and if needed, kick it online with the push of a DTMF autodial on my HT. This also means I can disable it at will, save the battery, and keep it from getting too toasty.

In V/V mode, while scanning on the right-hand side of the radio, AM receive doesn't seem to work, I get a carrier, but no audio (and I'll have to do some more tweaking to see if the problem is consistent or intermittent, or the result of operator-error.) Simple solution, just use the left side for scanning, not a big deal.

Overall the rig gets a 2, and that might be a tad generous because I intended to use it mobile. I would NOT trust my life to this rig, its a neat toy but nothing more. For Skywarn and other critical applications, this little rig will be turned off, relegated to APRS, or secondary receive, while the solid ol' IC-2100H does the hard work.
 
N4FDG Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2009 03:49 Send this review to a friend
New display works great  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've got two of them. On my mobile rig I shelled out the $170.00 for the new display module. It's a piece of cake to install, true plug and play. Works great.
 
KB4TPP Rating: 4/5 Mar 9, 2009 00:06 Send this review to a friend
Good despite some minor gripes  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently acquired a used TM-V7A, it had the noted display problem which I was able to fix by securing the ribbon flex to the LCD. It was a PITA but some of them CAN be fixed, otherwise be prepared to shell out $172 for a new display module UNLESS you are the original owner with receipt, Kenwood may fix them at no charge if it's within the last 3 years of purchase.

The display issues aside, the radio is pretty advanced for the time it was released (1996) and was made for several years. Pluses and minuses below:

PLUS:
-plenty of memories (280 without alpha tags, 180 with alpha names)
-true dual band can also do VHF/VHF and UHF/UHF RX
-switchable advanced intercept point on both bands
-built-in CTCSS encode and decode
-remote control from mike and via crossband with DTMF squelch enabled
-built in DTMF paging and squelch
-packet capable, mini-DIN connector on front body
-remote head mountable, control head easily comes off for safekeeping, requires optional kit though
-PC programmable, Kenwood "gives away" their software on the website but requires a 35 dollar cable to use, plans for building your own are on the web
-CROSS BAND REPEAT, easy to enable and disable
-AM aircraft band RX, wide VHF and UHF RX as well

MINUSES:
-Display (problems aside) can be hard to read in bright light
-Audio on built-in speaker kind of poor compared to other older Kenwoods like the 731/732/733
-Menu system kind of confusing, keep the manual handy
-No DCS (digital code squelch)
-radio does get quite hot on TX even with the fan, consider using an external fan if you run it on high or medium or crossband alot (see my note below about the fan)
-Some say the TX audio isn't as good as other radios

A note about the fan. Mine had a ceased up fan when I got it, and this is a common problem. You need to check it, without the fan the radio will run extremely HOT on TX, even at low power. It doesn't have enough heat sink to begin with and a cooling fan is essential for it to survive ham use. If yours is frozen, a new one will run you around 28.00 from Kenwood, but when compared to the cost of replacing BOTH PA modules it is a bargain. The PA modules are installed in a hard to reach location and require complete teardown of the radio to board level....$$$$ in labor not to mention those hybrid power modules are over a C-note a piece. So check the fan and it would not hurt to add a second fan even just blowing across the little heat sink.

Overall this is a decent dual bander from Kenwood that if you get for less than 200 bucks, you've got a good radio despite some minor quirks. Just make sure your fan is working to prevent overheating! The radio has sharp looks and I personally like the blue display but it is not for everyone.
 
W5SRG Rating: 5/5 Oct 28, 2008 19:01 Send this review to a friend
good radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine is the newer one with the new display from Kenwood. You can tell the difference by the bezel around the display. The ones that are "fixed" or have the new display are a purple color instead of black. Also on the box TM-V7 is purple (or lilac or whatever its called).
I use it in the ham shack and not mobile. It has been a great radio and I am very hapy with it.
 
KF4YGW Rating: 2/5 May 10, 2008 14:21 Send this review to a friend
Good TX, poor display  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this radio new SEVERAL years ago and have had it mobile ever since. I love the functions of this radio and use the X-band repeat on a routine basis with my HT while hunting and at work. As everyone knows, the display is all but impossible to read during the day however. I am planning on buying a 706 soon and will set it up as primary rig moblie at that time. V7 will most likely be set-up as a pernament x-band radio where I won't have to bee looking at the screen, just set-up in the back waiting to be turned on.
 
WB8YZN Rating: 5/5 Apr 16, 2008 10:38 Send this review to a friend
New Display  Time owned: more than 12 months
Just Installed a new Display . . . Was a snap - Just " Plug and Play" no soldering required.
Before Display could hardley be read, now all I can say is WOW ! Does it look nice and bright now .
Was worth the $162 minus insurance and S&H .
Also did the MARS Modification as well so it will operate on FRS .

 
W4RIG Rating: 5/5 Feb 29, 2008 17:20 Send this review to a friend
Good Mobile Workhorse  Time owned: more than 12 months
I use the Kenwood TM-V7A as my principal mobile rig. It has worked superbly for many years and is still going strong. Mine was purchased in 1999 so it is an older model but very dependable.
I did not run the power directly from the battery, but use the cigarette lighter as the power outlet - since I have the rig in my 1988 Toyota Cressida (yes it is a workhorse too) the cigarette lighter was still defined as such rather than an auxiliary power outlet.
 
KI4GST Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2008 23:16 Send this review to a friend
great radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got this radio used from a ham in Texas. It is my main radio that I use in my apartment. I had the voice chip put in it since I can't see the display that good at all. Do to my very bad eyesight (20/800) can you say blind as a bat. The only problem I had with the radio was the cooling fan went out but that was no biggie was able to find a place that got me a replacement and had a friend help put it in since I couldn't see to plug the cable back in. Other than that it has given me no problems and I use it almost every day.
 
N4FDG Rating: 2/5 Dec 4, 2007 19:52 Send this review to a friend
Barely SO-SO  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've got two of these rigs, one mobile and one in the shack.

For such a good sounding and feature packed rig, this thing has the poorest display of any radio I have seen or used. As a mobile it is dangerous to use in a vehicle. Don't do anything to it but listen and talk unless you are at a dead stop. The display is useless most of the time.

Fix the display and Kenwood gets 5 out of 5. Otherwise, 2 for 5 is a stretch!

On the plus side, the FREE Kenwood software for programing is great to use and in the dark at home in the shack it's number 1.
 
AC0Y Rating: 5/5 Dec 4, 2007 18:14 Send this review to a friend
Best mobile that I have ever owned  Time owned: more than 12 months
After reading these reviews and owning a 7A for about 8 years I would like to address a few things. First the display. I have heard that people "cant read the display in the sun" I have my display "reversed" see menu that is blue letters on a white back ground and after setting the contrast that is also in the menu I have never had a problem seeing the display day or night, hot, or cold. Yes It has a serious problem with the design defect that causes the lines and I had to pay 168 bucks plus shipping to get a new display. I love the Blue and White display and I HATE amber displays that are on other radios!
The RF PAs are seperate Modules My VHF module went out and I repaired it...no problem but this kind of thing can happen and it might have been caused by a bad antenna connector.
I have replaced the PTT switch on the mic twice but it only taked about 20 minutes and I bought 10 for about 35 cents a piece.
For the features pack into this radio, this is one of the greatest mobiles that I have ever owned and I wish I could afford to but another one broken or other wise. I hope this helps.
73
AC0Y
 
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