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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Kenwood TH-D72 Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TH-D72
Kenwood TH-D72 Reviews: 46 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $499.00
Description: Kenwood APRS dual band Transceiver
Product is in production.
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Page 1 of 5 —>

AE7G Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2015 16:02 Send this review to a friend
Well integrated data radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I been into APRS for about fifteen years and I have used both the original D700 and a Tracker 2. I have also used D PRS tracking through a D Star radio.

This radio is a major step forward in the APRS world. I do a lot of bicycle support and having a single unit that can both allow voice communication and full APRS operation including the gps, all in one compact handheld, is a huge convenience.

There are some stand alone APRS devices that cost less but they aren't also a fully functional quality dual band HT.

Kenwood is more fair than other HT providers in that it does not charge extra for programming software. In addition accessories for earlier models, including their handheld microphones and power adapters, work with this radio.

I was able to get the radio configured and up and running fairly easily following the instructions. There were no good instructions available for configuration in APRSpoint, but I got it figured out with a little work.

Everything works fine and the unit can be used in an event to provide simultaneous APRS and voice function in one self-contained unit.

The one thing I found annoying is the constant data noise from APRS traffic. I had to turn the speaker audio volume completely down to zero on the data band to restore a comfortable listening experience.
N7KFD Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2015 12:08 Send this review to a friend
Another Fine Kenwood Product  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
To start with I own a TH-D7A, a TH-K20 and recently purchased the TH-D72 and I don't see the sensitive PTT that others have talked about in any of them and all of them take the same amount of pressure to activate. The D72 is a fine radio packed with features that have already been discussed here, my only addition is that they all work great. The display is crisp and clear and I love the back light. Putting your own picture in the start up screen is a little tricky but the result is cool. I've compared the stock antenna with a diamond that I bought for the D7A and I believe they are right in line with each other in that neither one out performs the other.

The battery easily lasts all day if the GPS and APRS are turned off, if they are turned on you'll need to have a spare but they can be found online reasonably cheap. As expected from Kenwood the menu system is easy to navigate and most settings there are set and forget and any functions you will need to access on a regular basis can be done through the keypad. The USB port is a nice addition and was very happy Kenwood included it and the free programming software is also easy to navigate and includes access to the memory options so they can be programmed in your computer and downloaded in to the radio.

Pressing the function key brings you into a different menu system than the "Menu" key and a battery level indicator resides there which was also a nice addition. The built in GPS makes APRS much easier compared to the D7A, I don't have to carry a separate GPS unit anymore. I haven't used all of the GPS features but it looks like it can be used for more than just APRS such as setting way points and tracking.

I really like this radio but I'm a big Kenwood fan so my opinion is a little biased. It's definitely an improvement over the D7A with more features and plenty of upgrades. If you're in the market for an APRS handheld I highly recommend this radio.
SA6CKE Rating: 4/5 Sep 14, 2014 07:17 Send this review to a friend
Good radio, sensitive PTT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is my experience with the TH-D72E radio.

I can agree that the PTT is sensitive and that it's very easy to accidentally push it. It's not critical, but it has happened more than once when I have had it in my pocket.

Another thing that I have found out is that the charger adapter (100-240V, 50/60Hz, 0.3A, 13.8V DC 0.65A, CE-marked SPS-12-011) is not filtering the 50Hz AC from the grid very well. It's actually REALLY bad, however it's not the radio itself that's at fault. I don't know if others have experienced the same thing or if I have a bad charger. Flipping the cord doesn't make any difference. I also have noted that plugging in the charger to the radio while it's on makes it restart (which at least to me seems a bit "cheap" today)

What I missed in the package was the desktop stand (KSC-32 or similar) to use when charging. Nicer than have to flip up the rubber seal and plug in the charger. Lowers the wear on the rubber seal as well. (And the Wouxun I have did come with a stand)

Aside from that it's a good radio and worth it's price anyway. The hardest thing with setting up APRS was to figure out which frequency to use - and the major problem was revealed to be that I lacked a digipeater within hearing distance of my QTH - hardly the fault of the radio.

The supplied software allowing for grouping of frequencies/channels is good. However why can't there be a standard on how to exchange frequency information? It would be great if you as I have a mix of radios of different brands.

The scan function is also good, you can select frequencies to exclude so that you can scan only the needed local repeaters. Even here I would like to have had different scan groups depending on situation - e.g. one group when in my home area and an another when I'm in a different area. But this is of course the problem with most radios.
VE2LAM Rating: 4/5 Feb 7, 2013 16:29 Send this review to a friend
Nice dualbander, and interesting APRS radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I an on my third week with this radio.
I simply love it's GPS and APRS implementation: once you get the concept, it's way more simpler and intuitive than the Yaesu VX-8GR or 8DR (this one needs additional options to be on par).
If you're like me and like listening to public services outside our ham bands, it's one of the first HTs on which I don't have to replace the original antenna for a better performer.
As on other Kenwood radios I had (TH-25, TH22, TH-F6A, TH-K2AT), the audio is "hissy": this radio has good volume capacity, but still, it is accompanied by this high frequencies hiss typical of Kenwood ham HTs.
The GPS is quick to get a fix, I love the fact I can trace my wanderings and later dump them on the PC and have them displayable on "GPS Visualizer" (do a Google search for this).

With GPS on, APRS running, and the radio scanning freqs on the other band, the battery drains rather quickly (faster than on the Yaesu's used the same way, anyway).
It's amazing that if you leave the radio on a repeater freq on one side, and broadcast APRS on the other, your friends and the public can read on which freq you are standing by, when looking at your info on APRS.FI, for example.
I also like Kenwood's implementation of memory groups use: hold MR button 2 sec to scan all groups, or hold the MHz button 2 sec to scan a selected group; simple, one button and one-handed, and effective.
The USB connectivity is very nice and simple to use also: no buttons or menus tweaking and pushing, just plug and it connects! The accompanying software is also simple but useful.
And as opposed to many other radios, the battery indicator tells you well in advance that you are running out of juice... Even with NO bars showing on the battery indicator, I am still able to use the radio for a few long minutes on the local repeater, at high power, way long enough to close a rag chew contact and go QRT.
I give 4 stars because of the battery drain, and for the annoying hissy audio. Very nice radio that will provide hundred of hours of practical use with its GPS, and same thing for the APRS.
KD8LQT Rating: 5/5 Nov 9, 2012 20:01 Send this review to a friend
ALL IN ONE   Time owned: more than 12 months
KC0KHA Rating: 2/5 Nov 8, 2012 16:38 Send this review to a friend
Nice HT, has a very touchy PTT. Repaired 2 m transmit twice.  Time owned: more than 12 months
This radio has a very weak spring in the PTT button.Thus causing the radio to transmit accidentally with only slight pressure. This needs to be fixed. I used one THD-7AG for many years and it had a perfectly balanced PTT button. The radio has also needed to be repaired two times because the 2 meter band has had a diode malfunction and the radio then transmits only about 2 millliwatts or less. The 70 cm band continued to function.

In all other respects, the radio functions as advertised, APRS, GPS, and all other functions work great. I used this radio in Mongolia for a full field season in the summer of 2012 of hard use, but it really should last longer. Repairs out of warranty are expensive. It might not be worth it to go with this if you need to repair the unit.

WD0FIA Rating: 5/5 Jun 22, 2012 23:31 Send this review to a friend
Well worth the price!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought the D72A to use for Sky Command with my TS-2000's. I found that it works great for that purpose, and I have no complaints.

Setup for APRS was very easy. I think they did a very good job on getting all the functions together in one compact package.

A major plus is the free software, and the mini-USB programming cable is included.
N0OQA Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2012 18:44 Send this review to a friend
I like this radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Initial Review

+ Very good GPS, lock fast, works inside!
+ Built in Digipeater!
+ GPS satellite and signal strength display
+ Like the positional / directional data
+ Programming similar to my D710
+ Menu grouping make programming simple
+ Large display easy to read
+ Like larger size, rests on base and fit the hand
+ Easy to update firmware

- Plastic case will show wear very fast
- Large clear plastic face will show wear very fast

Summary: Great handheld APRS solution
KR0L Rating: 4/5 Apr 30, 2012 18:10 Send this review to a friend
Best APRS HT around, but nt perfect  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've owned a VX-7R, the D72, and a VX-8GR. I wrote up reviews of all three today, and posted them to my blog here:

Because this is so long already, I'm going to skip the sections on the other radios and some of the comparisons. Here's what I wrote about the D72....

It’s hard to use any word but “incredible” to describe this HT, though it does have its own rough edges.

Starting with the basics, it has dual transceivers with full duplex (meaning you can be transmitting on one band while receiving on another). Its stored memory system and memory bank scanning system are both a lot easier and faster to use than Yaesu’s, and work the same on both transceivers A and B, though perhaps offer slightly less flexibility than Yaesu’s (on the VX-7R, a single memory can be a member of more than one group). The quoted operating time is 6 hours, which is probably accurate with APRS and GPS off, matching (or nearly matching) the VX-7R.

The TH-D72A has the usual mic and speaker ports. Unlike Yaesu, Kenwood has used the same jack for years, so it is not necessary to purchase new accessories with each upgrade. The unit also has both serial (Kenwood connector) and standard mini USB ports, and even ships with a USB cable. The USB port is designed to interface to a PC, and the radio presents itself as a serial-over-USB device. Kenwood also includes MCP-4A, the programming software for the unit, free. This is one example of several things that Kenwood includes for free but are costly add-ons with Yaesu.

Kenwood’s configuration menu system is hierarchical. You can scroll through the four top-level menus (RADIO, GPS, APRS, and SKY), then navigate through sub menus. The result is that it’s both faster and easier to find what you want than on the Yaesu menus. Plus, as you navigate, the radio shows you the shortcut key to get to a particular option (each level of menu is numbered starting) — so, for instance, Menu-1-1-0 takes me directly to the configuration for RX battery saver interval far faster than I could get there on the VX-7R or VX-8GR. Only the APRS menu gets a bit crowded with this setup.

The D72A supports Kenwood’s Sky Command II – an intriguing way of making it essentially a remote for a Kenwood HF rig such as the TS-2000. It works by engaging a crossband repeater for the audio, and setting up a AX.25 packet link for the control. It works, but as the response time to frequency adjustments is measured in seconds, is klunky for tuning around a HF band. A nifty, though perhaps not supremely useful, feature with some hackable potential that I haven’t explored yet.

The TH-D72A is one of only two shipping general-purpose amateur radios that have a built-in GPS — the other is the Yaesu VX-8GR. The GPS works well, and can get a fix indoors if desired. It has a system of saving waypoints, which you can then navigate back to later (using distance/bearing indicators). It also has a track log. While the track log can’t be viewed on the unit, it can be downloaded with the included MCP-4A software and saved in a variety of formats including Google’s KML for later importing into Google Maps or Google Earth. I enjoy this feature on trips to see where I went later on. There is also a GPS-only mode, which disables all of the other radio circuitry on the radio for very low power consumption. The GPS navigation screens all support heading-up or north-up indicators.

But where this radio really shines is APRS. The D72 has all the basics you’d expect – sending and receiving beacons, sending and receiving messages and bulletins, etc. It has built-in support for being a digipeater in many different ways, including new-N UI-Trace. Coupled with an MFJ VHF amplifier, this could make a nice temporary (or even permanent) digi. The message interface permits sending, receiving, and shortcuts for replying to messages.

Beacon transmission can be completely manual, at set intervals, or using SmartBeaconing. Outbound beacons also support proportional pathing (meaning adjusting via-path to not have wide coverage with every transmission). Also, if not using SmartBeaconing, a decay algorithm can be used to send beacons less frequently when the station’s location isn’t changing. An alternative tells the system to transmit a beacon every time PTT is released, subject to rate limiting by interval. So lots of choices there.

For incoming beacons, there are various filters by callsign pattern, packet type, etc. that control whether they will be processed at all, and what kind of alert (visual or audible) to present. Beacons are also placed in a received beacon list, sorted with the most recent at the top (duplicates from the same station are always removed, so only the most recent is presented.) A long press of the LIST button shows time received and type of device next to the callsign. Selecting a specific beacon shows status text, comment, device type, bearing/distance (with graphical north-up or heading-up display), telemetry (weather information and the like), and a little bit of info about the via-path. Pretty nice to see weather reports from local weather stations on there. You can sort the list by received time, station call, or distance from your position — but it doesn’t stay sorted by anything other than received time, and takes several seconds to re-sort. Seems like a bit of an oversight there.

The D72A supports QSY information in beacons. This can automatically insert the frequency of the other band on the transceiver into your transmitted beacons for you, or give you a quick way to tune to the frequency mentioned on others’ beacons. Either way, a nice touch.

The D72 also supports query packets, such as packets asking your station to transmit its position right now.

The TH-D72A can directly interface with several types of weather stations via serial link to read weather sensor information and transmit it into APRS packets directly, with no need for a PC to be in the picture at all. But if you do hook up a PC to it, there are quite a few more possibilities.

You can hook it up to PC APRS software (or a hardware device such as the AVMAP) to see locations of other APRS stations on a map. It can emit APRS packets, plus even GPS sentences, down the USB port to the PC. Moreover, in PACKET mode, it acts as a full TNC, with a fairly robust TNC command set. In short, it can do more than APRS; it can also do regular AX.25 such as DX clusters, BBS, nodes, etc. As far as I know, this is the only HT that can interface with a PC in this manner, and only Kenwood’s mobile D710 has the same kind of feature set at that.

Kenwood includes a lot of documentation with the TH-D72A. The 51-page printed manual is a summary or introductory guide. The included CD-ROM supplies another 75 pages of detailed reference material, and the 92-page “in-depth APRS manual” has a level of detail that true geeks like me appreciate. I’ve referred to Kenwood’s documentation more than once while figuring out things about the VX-8GR (which woefully under-documents things like SmartBeaconing). That said, it appears that at least some of the documentation has been copied from the earlier TH-D7A. Page 4 of the printed book is a good example. It talks about the memory effect of the battery, and warns against unplugging and replugging the charger because the charge cycle will be reset and the battery will be over-charged (I find it hard to believe that a Li-Ion charge controller would be that stupid, and furthermore direct observation suggests that it isn’t.) Parts of the in-depth APRS guide appear to have been written for the D710, but that’s a really minor nit.

Unlike Yaesu, Kenwood issues periodic firmware updates to the D72A, which you can apply over USB. They have fixed bugs and added features to the unit over time.

Now onto the things that aren’t so good about the D72A. I’ll start with the battery system, since we were already discussing it. Despite shipping with a much larger battery than the VX-8GR (1800 mAh vs. 1100 mAh), it only manages roughly equal battery life with APRS and GPS engaged. (It will probably do better as a simple voice unit, however.) This has been confirmed by numerous reports on the Internet. [I discuss this topic more in my review on my blog.]

There is very little else to fault the D72A on, feature-wise. I have a minor nit in that it is impossible to cause the keylock feature to also lock PTT. It would be nice to be able to see raw APRS packets on beacons and messages. Other than that, I can’t think of a feature it really lacks.

Compared to the VX-7R and VX-8GR, the TH-D72A is significantly larger physically, in every dimension. It is not uncomfortably large, and still fits in my hand fine. But its size is enough different that it feels like the design is dated and could have been more compact if Kenwood would have bothered. It’s a nit, sure, but a nontrivial one.

With the single exception of the sturdy metal belt clip, the D72 doesn’t feel nearly as rugged as the VX-7R, and not even as rugged as the VX-8GR. The keys have a squishy feel to them, the PTT button works fine but has a cheap plastic design (as opposed to the rubberized versions on Yaesu’s HTs). The manual doesn’t mention it, but one Kenwood brochure mentions and IP54 weatherproofing. That means it is protected against limited ingress of dust and against water sprayed from all directions – limited ingress permitted. Contrast that to the VX-7R, which is rated for 30 minutes of submersion at 3ft and has a magnesium case. It seems to be specced similarly to the VX-8GR, though the VX-8GR certainly feels a lot more solid. I have no proof, as I’m not about to sacrifice my HTs for science, but I doubt that the TH-D72A would have survived over an hour on a busy road as well as the VX-7R did, and probably not even as well as the VX-8GR would. The case is plastic — a stout plastic, but still plastic.

Like the VX-8GR, and unlike the VX-7R, the D72A does not have broadband receive. It can receive some bands adjacent to the ham bands it supports, which includes a lot of bands of interest to people with scanners, but still can’t receive broadcast FM signals like the VX-7R.
KB3TUO Rating: 5/5 Apr 21, 2012 17:46 Send this review to a friend
Well Built HT  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The TH-D72 is a well built, solidly performing Handie Talkie. I bought it when I got tired of charging my Yaesu VX-3R battery every day. YES, I know it's expensive, but trust me, it's worth it! I have dropped it a few times on to asphalt and despite the scratches, it keeps on working just fine.

I really like the built in TNC and GPS. The ability to decode packets while mobile or in the field is a good feature. In fact, I've done this with the International Space Station. The GPS also works well, I use it primarily to find my position so that it may be entered into satellite tracking software.

While we're on the topic of satellites, working them with the this HT and a handheld antenna is a blast! The Dual Band and Duplex features are ideal for this type of stuff.

I laughed out loud when I read a review that said something to the effect of "IT'S ACTUALLY PRETTY FLAT ON THE BOTTOM-WHAT A GREAT IDEA!", all laughter aside, the HT is VERY flat on the bottom and it takes a lot to make it topple over.

The thing I like the most is the ability to enter frequencies DIRECTLY with the keypad, and furthermore, the way you can press enter to complete the entry. For example, to enter 144 MHz, you would press ENT 1 4 4 ENT and it fills the rest in with zeroes. My Kenwood TS-450 HF rig has this and I'm glad it's still around.

It even has VOX! It's great for when you're working at a desk and you can just look at the HT and talk away.

I love the ability to switch between 5, .5, and .05 watts TX power.

The supplied antenna works fine, I can work things on Extra Low Power (50 mW) that I could not with the VX-3R on 2 watts!

I also use the HT with the SMC-34 Speaker Microphone. I've heard bad stories about it, but mine works fine, changing the TX and RX audio minimally. The ability to map the mic's keys is fantastic.

The belt clip is great, and the battery safety clip is a useful feature.

I give the HT 5/5 because I couldn't be happier with it!
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