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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Kenwood TM-621A Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TM-621A
Kenwood TM-621A Reviews: 4 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 144 MHz and 220 MHz FM mobile transceiver
Product is not in production.
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N9GTM Rating: 4/5 Mar 6, 2011 18:21 Send this review to a friend
Kenwood manuals online, still good rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Back in 2005 I posted that Kenwood didn't have the manuals online. Recently I found out they now do, and some Service Bulletins and Brochures as well. Just the Owner's Manual for the TM-621A, but also SBs for the TM-721A. So far I haven't found any Service Manuals, but maybe they'll show up someday.

Thanks, Kenwood! Customer support counts for a lot with me, and this is a great move. Bravo!

And after 20 plus years of ownership, I still like the radio.

VA7CRH Rating: 4/5 Sep 19, 2008 09:47 Send this review to a friend
A fairly good oldtimer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I monitor 220 MHz band activity for our local club. An exhaustive inventory finds 28 220 MHz repeaters in our area, found using a good high gain antenna. A traditional mag-mount vertical has the obvious limitation of gain.

Even so, there are about half a dozen strong repeaters in the area - they don't get a lot of use and it is amazing that people put them up at considerable expense. Some of them resemble personal intercomms for the person who put it up.

I have an Alinco 235T monobander at home, and was looking for a mobile dual bander that included 220 MHz at a reasonable price. One pretty much needs 2M in a mobile, and 70 cm is about as barren here as 220 MHz, so off I went to find the elusive dual bander which would do what I wanted it to do.

What a search!

The options are very limited as there are NO new mobiles which include 220 in a dual bander. So I've scoured eBay, eHam, QTH.COM for used ones. Every once in a while a used Icom 2330a, a Kenwood TM-631a, or a 621a would come up for sale, but the demand exceeds supply and the price at an auction ends up being an issue.

I got my TM-621a at a very good price after searching for about a year.

As per the other reviews here, the lack of memories (14 in each band) and the two power options (5w or full power, 25 on 220 MHz and 50 on 2m) can be excused. After all this is old technology. Also working mobile there just aren't THAT many choices for audible repeaters even on 2M.

It's strange going back to an LED display, particularly now that we're all so used to LCD. The LED can get washed out on a bright day. That alone knocks the rating above down one notch. One day if I find a TM-631a or an Icom 2330a for a reasonable price, this one may be replaced.

Monitoring two RX repeaters (one 2M one 220 MHz) is a plus. Having two antenna leads out the back necessitates the use of a duplexer and the CF-142 from Comet is the only one I could find which does both 220 MHz and 2M. It adds to the cost of the radio. Either that, or one needs to purchase two separate antennas, turning the car into an antenna farm.

One of the memories does not want to hold the repeater offset... so a quick work-around is to put a simplex frequency into that memory. I have no way of knowing if this is a design flaw or peculiar to this one unit.

Also, there are no alphanumerics... but hey, this IS an old timer.

The audio is superb.

All in all a quaint radio... which also is one of the few which does the job if one is committed to 220 MHz. Like people say, you use it or lose it, as has already happened to that part of the amateur spectrum.
N4LI Rating: 4/5 Feb 10, 2008 05:23 Send this review to a friend
An Adequate Choice.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
We have a little pocket of 222 activity here in Memphis – a group of us tend to chat on one of our local repeaters, often endlessly. So, choices for 1.25 meters actually matter.

I saw a used 621a for sale on an Internet site, and for $175, I couldn’t say “no.” I’m glad I picked it up.

My 621a has been fun. With dual receive, I can monitor the 222 side, and my favorite 2m machine at the same time. Further, this radio crossband repeats – and does it competently. That’s a useful feature.

It would not be a useful exercise to nit-pick little issues with the Kenwood 621a. One could talk about the lack of endless memory choices, and the like. It also might be nice to have more than just two output choices – 5W or 25W. But, heck, it’s not like there are many real alternatives for dual band radios. If you are looking for a 220 (yes, this radio does the old band)/2m radio, this is a good choice, assuming you can get it at a good price.

Oh, and I have a .pdf of the manual. I am not sure where it came from.

1.25 meters is one of those bands that few use, and one day may be taken away from us. And, if we don’t use it, we deserve to lose it. Pick up a radio – something like a 621a, or even something new like an Alinco 235T – and make some noise.

N9GTM Rating: 4/5 Jul 9, 2005 18:44 Send this review to a friend
Good rig, no manual online at Kenwood  Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased this rig new back when I ran a multiport
packet BBS. The rig usually ran 24x7 on 223.40
MHz (the former Chicagoland "highspeed" [ahem,
2400bps] backbone before the FCC gave away that
part of the band). My particular rig needs some
attention due to static discharge, nearby
lightning strikes, power spikes, and such but
that's not Kenwood's fault.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to lay my hands on the
manual and Kenwood doesn't seem to have bothered
to archive it on their site. For all the money
Kenwood must have spent engineering, marketing,
and selling the rig I'm quite disappointed they
didn't bother to scan the manual and post it.

There is a file in the Discontinued Instruction
Manuals section called "Manuals (Others).txt"
which will tell you where you can buy manuals
if you are so inclined.

As I recall, the rig has extended receive
coverage, several NOAA freqs, Automatic Band
Change, dual band reception, programmable band
scan and normal band scan, CTCSS, reverse key,
keypad + UP/DOWN microphone, 14 memory channels
(some special function including Priority Alert),
memory channel lockout, and a CALL frequency.
Forgive me if I've got a feature or two wrong
here, I'm looking at the TM-721A manual but
apart from the band differences it seems like
the same rig.

Apart from some of the more esoteric features,
panel operation is fairly intuitive once you
have set up the memories like you want them.

Based on a quick web search, it appears the
ARRL reviewed the rig in July 1988 QST.

I haven't used the rig in years since I mostly
operate SSB these days, but it gave decent to
moderately good service under harsh usage. To
give you an idea of how much usage the rig
underwent, I wore out a 20MB hard drive attached
to the BBS.

I also have a TM-721A (2m/440 FM) rig, purchased
at approximately the same time and it's a keeper.

In my area, 220 MHz seems fairly noisy but since
the TM-621A is my only 220 rig it's hard to say
whether it's the rig or the environment.

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