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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Kenwood TMV71A Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TMV71A
Kenwood TMV71A Reviews: 84 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $399.00
Description: The advanced Kenwood TM-V71A dual bander provides sophisticated, high-powered performance on 2 meters and 440 MHz. Power levels are 5/10/50 watts on both bands. The large radio display clearly conveys the status of the radio and can be set to green or amber.
Product is in production.
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K1PMA Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2014 06:28 Send this review to a friend
Great radio - Overpriced accessories   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had a fair share of radios in my one year as a ham. Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood and a couple cheap HT's. For some reason I find the Kenwoods to be just that much slicker and better than the other 2 big competitors. This radio is a sleeper...for some reason the big selling points 1) Crossband repeater 2) Remote control operation and 3) Echolink mode are not really advertised properly. All this for about $350 with some form of promotion.

For those that have no experience with cross band repeating. In essence you set one VFO B to RX/TX on 440 and VFO A to RX/TX to a repeater on 2M for example. So you can walk around your house/neighborhood with a HT radio and connect via the 71 to repeaters far away with full 50 watts of power. Very cool. Using this approach you get away without the need for costly duplexers.

Personally I find the Kenwood approach to the menu system much better than Yaesu or Icom. The cross band feature works great, a small learning curve but nothing too complex. Not sure what the practical application of the remote control function is but it's pretty neat (you use a HT to send DTMF tones which in turn a selection of functions on the Kenwood on/off).

The negatives are simply put the nickel and diming with the the Echolink/Programming cable set...$50+ >? Really ? Or the fact that when installing in a car you will need another cable set to extend the control head from the 10" or so cable they provide. At least you get programming software for free from the Kenwood web site.

KA7OEI Rating: 5/5 Feb 18, 2014 10:46 Send this review to a friend
Successor to my long-lived TM-733A  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got the TM-V71A to replace my (about) 20 year-old Kenwood TM-733A. That radio still worked fine, but the gold-plated spring-loaded contacts on the control head were just wearing out and despite thorough cleaning and using contact enhancer: It became unreliable as a mobile rig and more frequently getting its brains scrambled when the connections on the remote panel would drop out for an instant due to my pushing a button or hitting a big bump. As a "base" rig or for non-mobile portable use, it should still work fine.

Because it was only a tiny bit thicker and longer, I was able to use the original bracket for the '733 to mount it under the rear seat of my Jeep Cherokee, but I did run new microphone/control cables. Because standard "RJ" connectors are now used throughout, I know that I should be able to replace/repair a cable if that becomes necessary. I did break down and buy the (rather pricy!) cable extender kit (in addition to the remote mounting kit) but were I to have spent a bit more time, I could have probably found the right kind of (shielded) cable and avoided buying the extender. (My cable run was too long for the remote panel kit, anyway.)

I can find no obvious faults with this radio other than nit-picking about the fact that the TX power settings were about 20% off on the low and medium power levels - something that I could have adjusted were it actually important!

(There are free programs to configure this radio via computer as well as diagrams on the web to make the interfacing cable - but since this rig lives under the seat, in my car, I didn't bother with any of them: It took only about 15 minutes to manually enter the 50 or so memories of the local repeaters, this being aided by the fact that programming them was almost exactly the same as it had been on my old '733.)

As an upgrade from the '733, the enhanced scanning abilities (channel banks, frequency limits) are nice (although rarely used) as are the abilities to listen to other bands, namely 222 MHz. The color choice (amber or green) of the display is nice although I did find the numbers on the '71A to be very slightly harder to read at night than those on the '733 (in which' I'd installed amber LEDs) for some reason - but switching to the green backlight helped this considerably: I think that the numbers on this radio are just a tiny bit smaller than on the '733 and also that, from the driving position, off to the side, the contrast is very slightly lower. Had it not been flush-mounted in the dead-center of the car (in line with the gear shift - about the only place to put the display on this Jeep) it would have been both closer and at a better viewing angle.

The control head is a bit larger, heavier and "chunkier" than that of the older '733, as is the microphone - and both took a bit of getting used to. Rather than having the '733's several layers of front panel button functions with sub-functions and sub-sub functions, this has a more decipherable plain-text (mostly) menu system in which there is at least some hope of intuiting without the manual handy!

Unlike the stock '733, I haven't noticed an intermod problem around here - even with the "AIP" turned off, but most of the high-power transmitters responsible for the intermod have simply gone away around here.

* * *

Why did I pick this over the ICOM or Yaesu?

Both Kenwood and Yaesu tend to follow the same general philosophy through the years and if you know how to use one of their radios, you can generally muddle your way through another: Not so with Icom who seems to "change up" their radios every so often, sometimes making experience with one of their radios totally useless when trying to figure out another!

The main weight in choosing the Kenwood over the Yaesu was that it was similar in its operation to that of my old '733 so that I wouldn't really have to think too much about operating its basic features - VERY important when driving! Also, it appeared that the nagging problems that I'd had with the '733 (e.g. intermod, problems with the remote mounting kit) had been addressed with this newer radio.
W5LZ Rating: 4/5 Jan 27, 2014 11:07 Send this review to a friend
Good!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I couldn't find where I made a comment on this radio and I'm surprised. I've had one for several years, I like it. It doesn't do everything under the sun, but what it does, it does well. I can think of one or two thingys that I think could be 'better', but big deal, I can say that about any radio I've ever had, you know? One of those thingys I think I would like is a larger screen. But I don't see as well as I once did, 'nuther 'big deal'. And the one thing I made for mine is a sun-shield, so I can see the screen on the dash of my car.
After that, it does what it says it'll do. Lots of things I don't use, but haven't found a need for them yet.
Would I get another one? Yep.
I'm a Kenwood fan to start with so keep that in mind...
- Paul
W7STS Rating: 4/5 Jan 27, 2014 05:00 Send this review to a friend
Great audio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Gave it a "4" rating because of the cost of the remote mounting kits, and that Kenwood forces you to buy 2 kits if you need to extend the Mic.

As I was doing my research on this rig, I learned that the separation kit is not only expensive, but is also in humble opinion incomplete. Let me explain, the kit includes mounting brackets for the control head as well as an extension cable for the head, but no extension for the microphone which unlike the Icom offerings plugs into the side of the radio instead of the control head. To get that extension cable you get to spend even more money on another kit with some other cables and the mic cable.

In reading the reviews, I saw where people on this list had issues extending the head and mic with CAT cables. I decided to see if an over the shelf CAT 6a cable would work, and I am happy to report that it does. Now the Kenwood kit included a snap on toroid that is placed near the main unit to keep the RF out, and I bough a "noise filter" from Fry's electronics sized to fit the Ethernet cable and it worked great on both the control head and the mic cables.

So, your mileage may vary, but in my install, CAT 6a worked just fine.

The reports of my audio were excellent, and the radio is easy to program (software is available too).

All in all, this is a very nice radio and you CAN make your own extension kits if you want to!!

N4ZBO Rating: 5/5 Jan 15, 2014 20:35 Send this review to a friend
great radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Having had two of the Kenwood tm 732 rigs of witch I steal own one of them. the biggest reason I bought the tm v71a was the fact that the other two were so good and gave a long serves.. over the last 20 years I owned them. now for the radio it seems to be made as good as the ones of the seems to have a lot more menus than the older ones with a few extra up dates the only thing I wish is that they would have made it four power seting in sted only 3 shoul have been 4 50/20/10/5. but it only has three 50/10/5. the price is not bad at 359.00 doiiars shipped to me...
if you are in need of a good 2meter/440 rig get one of these you won't go wrong... have a good day hope this in you desiding what to get.. 73,s
KJ7G Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2014 07:57 Send this review to a friend
Best Crossbander  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is an awesome piece of equipment. I use it with an X-510 base antenna with a 40' feed point. With 14.8 volts in, it puts out 60 watts on high, both bands. It's very sensitive and I can hear and talk to hams all over central AZ. I am usually crossbanding 146.52, using 70 cm between HT and base. Around here 146.52 is heavily used by many long winded hams and on some days it is transmitting 5 watts on 70 cm for hours and hours on end and it's going on 8 months of this very hard use, so I'm already happy. Even on long rag chews while running 60 watts on 2 meters it never gets hot.

The fact that it can be remotely controlled (crossband on/ off, change frequencies, power levels, etc.) from any DTMF equipped rig, allows me to crossband from my mobile rig, meaning I can drive all around my area of town and talk to everyone on 2 meter simplex, while having the ability to be in full control of the rig at all times. I can shut down the crossband, and jump out of the car, get back in, and turn it back on. I'm never out of touch. How cool is that?

I considered giving it four stars since it does have some intermod issues, but they are minor on 2 meters and though worse on 70 cm, this is after all a MOBILE radio with a very high gain 17' antenna atop a 40' mast. Considering those facts, I feel it still deserves five stars. It really doesn't have any competition (with all these features) in the dual band mobile category. I've already gotten my money's worth out of it, so if it blew up tonight, I wouldn't hesitate to go out tomorrow and buy another one. It's that good of a radio.

K9YC Rating: 5/5 Jan 1, 2014 15:35 Send this review to a friend
Fine VHF/UHF FM Rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've been using VHF and UHF repeaters for nearly 40 years, so I understand which features and performance criteria matter and which don't. I'm very pleased with this radio -- it's at least as good as any of the dozen or so FM rigs I've owned over the years. I like the user interface, and it does everything I need on 2M and 440 FM.

I bought a Yaesu 8800 a few years ago, and have regretted it ever since. The user interface, especially programming it, is something that the programmer's mother could not even love. And there are some important things the 8800 cannot do, like use different PLs for for encode and decode.

I've owned and loved a Kenwood TH-F6A for close to ten years, and was very pleased to find that the UI of the TMV71A matches it.

I do, however, have a few nits to pick. Like another reviewer, I would like a power out setting in the 25-30W range to drive a brick amp. I would like to be able to store power output settings for each memorized channel. And I find the manual poorly organized and lacking information that should be there. For example, definitions are missing for many of the functions that can be assigned to the PF keys, and the manual also fails to tell you that both TX and RX PL frequencies must be set individually -- that is, if you want to set the CT mode so that the RX only unmutes when PL is received, you must set the TX PL with the T mode (TX PL only), then turn on CT and set it again. Being able to set them differently is quite useful, and a function I need, but if I hadn't discovered it by accident, I wouldn't know it was there.

I can't comment on the strong signal handling ability of the RX -- I live in the boonies, and don't get into cities with the rig.

73, Jim K9YC

VE3LNU Rating: 3/5 Dec 5, 2013 06:17 Send this review to a friend
Great radio BUT...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently bought a second-hand TMV71A because I needed a higher-quality dual-receive rig in my mobile. I am very impressed with the radio, from the microphone that feels very good in the hand (like the older and larger mics) to the list of impressive features for IRLP and Echolink. I have also gotten great audio reports. Unfortunately, there is always a BUT with any radio, so here goes.

Why on earth would Kenwood design and produce a high-quality mobile radio capable of 50 watts on both bands but a mid-range power level of only 10 watts? This is just plain senseless in my humble opinion. There isn't a significant gain in going from low power at 5 watts to mid power at 10 watts. Why is this a problem? It means that if your signal into a repeater is a bit marginal, you have to run the rig at full power all the time. 25 watts would make a lot more sense as a mid-power level and would likely suffice for most repeaters! What on earth were you thinking, Kenwood?

So beware: if you need a rig that can run 25 watts, this is NOT your radio. Running it at 50 watts all the time, especially if you make long transmissions like me, is only asking for trouble in the long run. I have it from a technician friend that it is not recommended to run any rig in a carrier mode (i.e. FM) at its full output on a consistent basis.

W7RMG Rating: 5/5 Oct 22, 2013 19:05 Send this review to a friend
No Complaints Here  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I went shopping for my first dual-bander, I did a lot comparing between the TMV71A and the Yaesu FT-8800. I liked the idea of paying 15 bucks less for a radio that has the same power output on both bands (unlike the 8800, 50 on 2m and 35 on 70cm) so I decided to order a 71A from HRO. I downloaded the FREE Kenwood software (just had to come up with the cable) programmed it, then got it installed in my car. The choice between a green or amber keypad backlighting is nice and because my scanning receiver has an amber backlit keypad, I set the V71A's backlighting the same so the two would match. The head can be removed and mounted separate, or can be flipped over so the speaker can be either on top or on the bottom of the main unit, depending on the installation situation. It didn't take long before I bought another one for my pickup. Other operators have told me both 71A's sound good and I have yet to have any problems with either one. Very nice transceiver.
N2VRO Rating: 5/5 Oct 9, 2013 20:55 Send this review to a friend
Very happy with this rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've now owned this radio for almost 2 years. I use it both in the mobile and in the house. It has great audio both Rx and Tx. I've been asked a couple of times if I am using the stock microphone. They've asked because I'm told the Tx audio is very nice. I've got no problems listening while in the mobile from the internal speaker.

Love the 50 watts on both bands, not many radios in this category do 50 watts on 70cm. I recently purchased(and returned) a Yaesu FT-8900 and couldn't believe how convoluted the user interface on that was. It made me appreciate even more the TM-V71. *I know that's a quad-bander and this is a dual-bander, it's the only comparison I can provide for the user interface experience*.

I have the programming cable for the V71 but it's not a must have. I programmed most of my 80+ memory channels with offsets, PL tones and even odd-split repeaters plus tags all manually.

I honestly have zero complaints. I am probably going to pick up a 2nd one so that I no longer have to transport my current one from the car to the house and vice versa. One will stay in the car and the other in the house.
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