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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Kenwood TM-742AD Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TM-742AD
Kenwood TM-742AD Reviews: 28 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $660.00
Description: Dual-Band FM Transceiver with optional 3rd band capability
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.kenwooa_mob=open
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YEPSURE Rating: 4/5 Dec 23, 2004 06:02 Send this review to a friend
Birdie on 146.520 MHz  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine is an older version of the 742A family, and does have the birdie on 146.520 MHz. I monitor 146.520 daily and this is definitely a problem. Not sure if Kenwood fixed this problem on later units but mine definitely has the birdie.

All in all I love this radio because of it's ability to listen to all 3 bands at the same time, but scanning is very slow on this model, which was commonplace for amateur radio's of this era.

The display is excellent and does not suffer from "washout" the way some LCD's do. Of course, the 742 does not have alpha-numeric capabilities, but given everything else it does it's still a fine radio.

Each band has 100 memories, which was a lot given the time-period this radio was made. PL decode is optional and can be pricey depending on where you can find modules, and extra band modules run around $330 I believe. The 10-meter module is no longer made but can be found on eBay at times, but their expensive for an FM-only module.

Being an older version, my 742 has full 800 MHz reception. I had to add the short RG-58 pigtail and solder it to the 800 MHz antenna slot on the UHF RF deck (or module as previously refered to).

Given the age of this radio it was ahead of the game back in it's day. Given the cost of the radio, the third band module, and any optional accessories such as the CTCSS module and display separation kit, you could spend $1,100 or more on this thing! It's no wonder Kenwood phased the 742 out of production. Unless they lowered it's price along with the band module pricing, I'm sure sales had fallen off significantly over recent years.

With other models such as the Yaesu FT-8900R, it would be hard for the 742 to compete when there are so many choices today (and cheaper choices at that). I believe the 742 is a better radio than the Yaesu FT-8900R but the fact remains that currently made mobile radio's are a lot less expensive than they used to be, and many people are more apt to buy a radio that does almost everything an older radio will (i.e. TM-742A and the FT-8900R).

I recall when the Standard 5900 tri-band mobile came out. I wanted one of those so bad I could taste it! But it was ungodly expensive, and only displayed two bands at a time. Given the ONLY two choices at the time, I would have quickly chosen the Kenwood 742. But those were the ONLY choices at the time, and before the Standard 5900 the Kenwood 742 was the ONLY choice we had!

I no longer own my 742 because I decided to buy the Yaesu FT-8900R instead. I miss my 742 but the birdie on 146.520 was really annoying, as I LIVE on the 2-meter calling frequency. I'd love to have a 742 though to supplement what I already have, and I'll probably pick up another one sooner or later because I still really love that model!
N2DY Rating: 5/5 Dec 22, 2004 11:11 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had no troubles with this radio. Contrary to the prior reviewer, there is no birdie on 146.520 (at least not on mine). It is nice to have three bands in one package. Mine has 144, 220 and 440. The cross band repeat function is flawless. The radio does need to be freshened up a bit to compete with newer models. It does not have as many memories nor does it have the dcs capabilities of newer rigs. But overall, mine has been a champ.
W2MSK Rating: 4/5 Dec 22, 2004 09:10 Send this review to a friend
Good, not Perfect  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a great rig and I find it meets all of my VHF needs including 222. However it has a fatal fault, a loud and annoying birdie on 146.52 calling freq. This should have been corrected long ago and was ignored by Kenwood for some reason.
KK9H Rating: 5/5 Dec 22, 2004 07:45 Send this review to a friend
Perfect base station  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had one of these for several years and love it. I use mine as a base station and have the 220 band installed as my third band. As most of us add to our operating capabilities, it is really nice to have three radios wrapped up in one box. It sure makes for less clutter in the shack. The radio's performance has been flawless from the first day I bought it. When our village recently decided to add amateur radio capability to its emergency services command center it bought one of these and it now sits right next to the police and fire radios. Both my home station and the one at village hall use a single tri-band antenna, a single feedline and a triplexer at the radio. This arrangement makes for a simple, neat installation. I think these rigs are easy to operate and are wonderful performers. It is a shame that Kenwood discontinued them.
WA8NPR Rating: 5/5 Oct 16, 2004 13:32 Send this review to a friend
I hope a Kenwood TM-743 is coming!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had excellent luck with my earlier TM-741A and with my now current TM-742AD. I have the six meter module installed as the extra band. I have always received excellent audio reports and have used it in cross band operation numerous times with outstanding results. K6LCS's information on a new replacement version with more bands and an alpha-numeric display will have me waiting for it in 2005!

K3EKO Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2004 15:58 Send this review to a friend
Kenwood Discontinues TM-742A  Time owned: more than 12 months
I was going to purchase a new Kenwood TM-742A from AES, and according to the Sales Rep. at AES, the Kenwood TM-742A has been discontinued. Has anyone else heard of this? I also checked with Texas Towers and they told me the same thing. I can't believe Kenwood would discontinue such a great radio...Maybe they will come out with the TM-743 in the near future??


Frank K3EKO
K3ICH Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2004 10:34 Send this review to a friend
Great radio, but limit your 50 watt operation!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a number of these little tribanders in various vehicles, on different bands and locations. Their features and performance are great, but I would warn against using high power on 2 meters. I have smoked a couple of those S-AV17 power modules over the years and at $65 a pop from RF parts, it taught me an expensive lesson. That is, use 50 watts out ONLY briefly. I make a point to stay on mid or low power for 99% of the time.

Also, one other item you should be aware of. Since the radio is always "on" (sleeping ?) when powered, disconnect the DC cord if you ever use a typical pulse type battery charger on your car. In one vehicle that is seldom used, the car battery went down after sitting for a while and after charging with a "Sears" charger, the radio would power up, but was dead otherwise and would not power down with the front panel button. The circuitry who's function it is to control the "on/off" was blown, apparently from the higher than normal voltage spikes from the charger.

One final caution is to periodically check the back-up battery in the main unit. If you see any "fuzz" from an electrolyte leak, replace it quick! (Mouser has direct replacement batteries.) That stuff will disolve the tracks under the battery with the result that the radio will act screwy with some funtions not working, or doing the wrong thing.

Other than that I have had excellent service from them.

My favorite feature is the cross-band operation which effectively gives us our own private little repeater with my wife and son on 220 and me on 146 for example.
AF4KK Rating: 4/5 Oct 20, 2003 17:20 Send this review to a friend
LOVE this radio!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a Kenwood TH-942A which is actually a tri-band version of the 742A. The third band includes 1.2 gHz. I can recieve all three bands at the same time and even scan through them, searching for activity! Both thr rx and tx audio are great and with 100 memories per band, there is plenty of room for your favorite repeater and simplex frequencies! The manual, also, is very well put out! The only reason I didn't give this radio of "5" is due to the lack of alphanumerics.
I've had my 942A since it first came out in 1993 and it's only been in the shop once. Kenwood's turn-around time was great!
Since Kenwood only now markets the 742AD with two bands, I would easilly reccommend the radio with the optional 3'rd band installed. It can be either 6 meters, 220 mHz or 1.2 gHz.

Scott (AF4KK)
N3RPW Rating: 5/5 Sep 1, 2003 14:04 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio, Lot's of Options!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have three of these radios and although the purchase price is very high compared to other radios with similar features, nothing on the market since the ICOM IC-900 & 901 series even comes close to competing with these units. One great feature that I didn't see mentioned was the fact of the interchangeable band modules to suite just about anyone's needs. You can choose from the UT-28 (10-Meter), UT-50 (6-Meter), UT-144 (2-Meter), UT-220 (1.23-CM), UT-440 (70-CM), or the UT-1200 (23-CM) in any combination! I've tried them all. This is great for people who really do not use a particular band, though you need to purchase other modules and sell the old one to make your custom radio, this is certainly a very cool feature. Other the other hand, there's always some downsides to even the greatest of radios. One of which is no DPL or Alpha-Tags, but for a radio of this time frame, it's certainly understandable. The other is the need to purchase the TSU-7 tone board, but that's they way things were done in the old days. As for the comments I've seen about the internal noise on 146.520MHz, I have also seen this on one of my three units. This only appears to be an issue on a radio that's been modified, at least in my experience. I have three and only the one that's been modified has this issue. The others are all fine. Kenwood was not able to give me a complete answer on this, but I figured they wouldn't. In any case, overall if you’re looking for a radio that can cover a host of the "no-so-used bands" such as 1.23-CM or 23-CM, this is certainly your radio of choice. If you’re looking for even more expandability check out the ICOM IC-901, but keep in mind, ICOM can't repair them any longer. The TM-742AD is still a current Kenwood model and hopefully will be for years to come...
KE4RWS Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2002 04:27 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased a used TM-742A just to try it out for my own evaluation. I've wanted to try one of these radios for many years, but with the advent of other do-everything radio's such as the Yaesu FT-100 and Icom IC-706, Kenwood hasn't adjusted the price of this unit to better compare to the radio's just mentioned. It hardly makes sense to buy an new TM-742A with a third module when you could have an FT-100 or IC-706 for less money and have two or three times the power output and all-mode capability. But the TM-742A has two features these other radio's don't have. One such feature is the TM-742A's ability to receive all three bands at the same time. The other feature would be cross band repeat, which is great provided you have a use for it (which I do). These were the two main reasons I wanted to try this radio out and see how well it performed in a mobile environment.

My TM-742A was used when I purchased it, but had been taken very well care of and looked new. It came with the optional UT-50S six-meter module which is exactly what I was looking for. I was immediately impressed at the display's clarity and backlighting. The information displayed was easy to read and placed very well. The backlighting was sufficent for daytime mobile operation, and dimmed sufficiently at night. The controls are laid out uniformly and are easy to manipulate. The internal speaker provided sufficient audio, but I always use a commercial Motorola speaker for mobile operation. The radio was easy to program and there are a sufficient amount of memories per band (100 per band). One nice feature the radio has is the way the memories are split up. Each band has 5 banks of 20 channels each. This enables the user to scan a specific bank of channels without having to scan the all programmed channels. This makes it so you don't have to lock-out every channel you don't want to scan (although you can manually lock-out whatever channels you never want in the scan lineup).

After using the TM-742A for two weeks I noticed only one thing I don't like about it. It's a minor annoyance, but is worthy of mention. I noticed there was an internally generated "noise" on one of the frequencies a normally monitor. I found this "noise" to be ever present on 146.520 MHz. Of course it had to be on the National Calling Frequency! Since I always monitor this frequency it is more concern to me than to someone who never or rarely monitors it. Overall I found the radio's receiver (on all bands) to be very good. So far I have experienced no intermodulation which is always a good thing! My TM-742A has the older style DTMF microphone (non backlighted type), and the audio is reported to be clean, loud and clear.

I purchased the TM-742A for it's ability to cross band repeat from UHF to six-meters. There is a local six-meter repeater and it has been very convenient to use my UHF Motorola HT1000 on the six-meter repeater by way of the TM-742A. The 742A cross band repeat audio is very good and gives the user the ability to add a 500ms "hang-time" if desired. I've also used the radio to cross band from UHF to VHF, VHF to UHF, and VHF to six-meters. Those who really use this feature a lot will see the true benefit of this radio. I use cross band repeat DAILY, and is a requirement of any of my personal dual/tri-band equipment. Many manufacturers are excluding this feature in newer units, but it is absolutely necessary for my operating style. The TM-742A operates reasonably cool even in cross band repeat mode. But my general rule-of-thumb when operating cross band repeat is to keep your transmissions "reasonably timed". The chassis-mounted cooling fan does a decent job of cooling the radio, but keep in mind the transmitter's doing double-duty when cross band repeating.

Scan speed is slow by today's standards, but unless you need to scan a large frequency range, or you've loaded up all 100 channels in a band, it should be sufficient. The lack of alpha-numeric ability dates the radio to a period when this wasn't even an option. The fact that the TM-742A has had such a long production run must say something for this model. My used TM-742A was made in 1994 and is currently 8 years old. So far I haven't experienced any of the failures described in previous evaluations, and of course I certainly hope I don't! Like I always point out in all my previous evaluatuions, once I've had more time and experience with this model I will follow-up with another evaluation. Thusfar I've been extremely pleased with the TM-742A. It covers the bands I operate and I like the fact that I can monitor all three bands at once, and can cross band repeat to any of the three bands as well. But again, if buying this model brand new you will have to consider whether ot not you need or even want cross band repeat, or the ability to monitor more than one band at a time. If these weren't requirements then you could spend less money buying a new Yaesu FT-100D or an Icom IC-706MKIIG and have more output power, all-mode capability, and the addition of the entire H/F band.

I love my TM-742A and plan to continue using it mobile, but I personally wouldn't buy one new because the cost isn't in line with the other models available at this time. My one concern of the radio is the previously mentioned "noise" heard on 146.520 MHz. If it weren't for the fact I always monitor this frequency I probably wouldn't mention it, but I do so it's certainly worth mention. The noise isn't a vehicle-generated noise either, as it was present in the shack the first day I attached it to the station power supply. It is definitely internally-generated. I would recommend the TM-742A to anyone with specific requirements which the less expensive FT-100D/IC-706 wouldn't be able to meet. Good, used 742A's can be had at reasonable prices if you take the time to look. And used, optional modules are constantly available on popular online auctions.
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