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Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Kenwood TH-F6A Help

Show all reviews of the Kenwood TH-F6A

You can write your own review of the Kenwood TH-F6A.

NE0P  Rating: 4/5 Jun 3, 2003 14:11  Send this review to a friend!
Good HT-terrible antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I borrowed this HT for a few days from a friend to see if I wanted to buy one or not. Here are my impressions from those few days, when I really put it through its paces.

The HT looks and feels great. Very professional looking case, and just the right size to fit in your hand. It looks and feels like a quality piece of equipment, and it is very easy to figure out. The hardest thing for me to figure out was how to scan, which I had to open the manual for. The layout is very nice, and the buttons are self explanatory.

The dual receive and wide receive is very nice. It is great to be able to listen to two different repeaters at once, or listen to the local repeater, AM radio, FM radio, or TV. Worked great on FM and TV. AM radio receive was also pretty good. Picked up the local station perfectly, and got a station from 60 miles away most of the time, although there were times that the receive would cut out if you turned the HT the wrong way. The Ferrite bar antenna seems to work well.

I tuned around a bit on HF but didn't hear anything there. Probably need a better antenna. It is nice to have SSB/CW receive in addition to FM. I listened on 6 meter SSB, but didn't hear anything. Of course the band wasn't open either, though.

Speaking of which, I love 6 meters so I won't bad mouth it here like several other reviewers have done. It would have been great if the F6A included 6 meters in addition to 2, 222, and 440. It is great to have 222 in a HT, though. We don't have any 222 repeaters locally, but it comes in handy for VHF contesting, and we do have some simplex activity. Still, 6 would be nice for band openings. If the VX7R ran real power on 222 I would own one. Hey Yaesu, how about a VX8R at 5 watts 222?

Now the downside to the F6A. The stock antenna is the worst HT antenna I have ever owned. It was terrible on receive. Listening to my favorite repeater was kind of painful. The received signal was always kind of scratchy, and if you moved the HT you would lose the signal altogether. People told me I was full quieting into the repeater, but I sure wasn't receiving it full quieting. It really irks me that the companies cannot make a decent dual band HT antenna. You from over $300 for an HT, and then you have to go out and buy another antenna for $30 more? THank goodness Comet, MFJ, and Diamond understand how to build an actual HT antenna that works. WHo would think that MFJ could outperform Kenwood in some area.

I also didn't like the volume control very much. It is a concentric ring around the tuning knob on the top of the HT. Kind of hard to use, and I found myself sometime changing the channel when I went to change the volume.

Also, to turn the light on you have to press the light button on the side. You may be able to set the HT to turn the light on when you press a button or change frequency, but I couldn't find out how in the manual. The keys are backlit which is nice.

Needs more power levels also. Icom has the same problem. You get either 5 watts which eats the battery kind of quick, or get a low power of 500 mw, which is marginal in many areas. Fortunately my Icom T2H chose a low power level of 1 watt, which is one reason I bought it. The Kenwood did do OK much of the time on 500mw, and the battery lasted at 5 watts for a couple of days. Still wish Kenwood and Icom would learn from Yaesu in this regard.

Would I buy one? Probably, if I could find a good deal on one. I would probably grit my teeth and buy another antenna also. The dual receive was nice, as was the AM/FM/TV receive. Might consider a T90 or VX5 if they had dual receive, but they don't, so won't get one. Wish the VX7R would do more power on 222. Anyway, you can do alot worse than the F6A, and if you don't mind buying another HT antenna for it, it seems like a great unit.  
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