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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Kenwood TH-79A Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TH-79A
Kenwood TH-79A Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $459.00
Description: Dual Band HT
Product is in production.
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KC0BIN Rating: 5/5 Jul 21, 2017 16:56 Send this review to a friend
best HT ever designed  Time owned: more than 12 months
I admit I have a bias towards all the 1990's-era Kenwood HT's: TH-22/28/42/48/78 and my Holy Grail the TH-79a. It's not just the electronic and physical design-which sre just superb- it's also the -79's aesthetics; it's just plain COOL. IMHO, all other HT's past and present fall flat on their face in this area....they either look primitive, dumpy or unbearably smarmy. Not the -79. It looks and performs like a Lamborghini!
The dash 79's predecessor, the TH-78a, had some very serious design flaws, which the -79a corrected and went much farther. In fact, over decades of use the only flaw I can see is the somewhat awkward rectangular shape in the hand (cross-section). The TH-78a had a very square design, which fit either hand like a glove. No matter, the -79 is light-years ahead of the -78's flaws. The only other flaw-which none of my -79's experienced- was the dot-matrix LCD problem, which is discussed fully in earlier reviews. The fix isn't a cinch, but it's not a Stephen Hawking challenge, either. A little-known design boon is the power output: if you feed the -79a 13.5 to 16VDC, you will get 5.5 to 7.5 watts PEP output (actual calibrated measurement) when set on "High" power. I've never seen this on any other HT of any era. The TH-79a (in fact, ALL the 22/28/78 series) with a 12v nominal batt is pretty much guaranteed to hit repeaters other HT's won't touch. My -79 has outperformed every other HT I've ever tested against, all with 12v batts on high power. This idiosyncrasy has a drawback, naturally: the "Handwarmer Effect" with extended TX times! If you don't time out the repeaters, it's not obnoxious, but long simplex TX you'll see for yourself! Anyway, an excellent HT in my not-so-humble-and-biased-opinion. And it's incredibly classy, too!
XV4TUJ Rating: 4/5 Aug 6, 2011 05:22 Send this review to a friend
Great Handheld but bad LCD  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought mine used from a friend back in 1996 when I was still in France, studying. Wonderful rig at that time, had everything you wanted, good ergonomic, large receive coverage, good TX and RX audio. Used it from time to time when I was working in France and abroad, going mobile or trying to catch visited countries repeaters.
When I settled down in Vit-Nam, of course I brought it. It worked but after one year unused (not much VHF/UHF activity around) the LCD started to behave erratic. I disassembled it, cleaned all the connectors, everything I could was tightened... worked for a few hours and started to fail soon after.
Then I focused on the ribbon going from the logic board to the LCD and found this strange contact foam. Cleaned everything and miracle it was back to life... only for a few weeks. Tropical climate is not helping of course!
Yesterday I took it back from the shelf in order to try to listen to ARISSAT-1/KEDR with my son. LCD was dead. Took it apart this afternoon and add a pad of thick paper to put more pressure on the LCD connector. It seems to work, with only a few columns not displaying, but for how long?
Great rig, but this small design flaw is making it almost useless...
Perhaps someone with better tools and knowledge than I could fix it better, but here Kenwood support is not really helpful for these oldies.
905 Rating: 5/5 Jan 6, 2010 16:06 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm a new Ham. When I had a chance to buy a TH-79A, I grabbed it, after reading about it.It's a great HT, in fact some I've qso'd on it ,can't believe it IS an HT.
KB3RUN Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2008 13:31 Send this review to a friend
Great HT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the Kenwood TH-79A 2 days ago from another Ham. I thougth it will help me as a standby radio but I landed up using it as my primary. It has replaced my Yaesu FT-60R in the car. The Yaesu cannot be used to transmit while charging but the Kenwood lets you do that. so, it helps me when I am mobile. The dual receive feature is good too. I feel the audio volume is lower than that of the Yaesu. Otherwise, the HT is a great buy.

K4PJC Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2008 17:08 Send this review to a friend
Great unit and ahead of it's time when released. Fixed LCD prob  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have a Kenwood TH-79A that was given to me. It worked but the LCD display was erratic and finally just quit. I saw somewhere another individual took it apart and cleaned the terminals where the LCD meets the circuit board and put a piece of paper between the glass/plastic actually of the LCD and the connection where it meets the circuit board. Just want to pass along that it now works fine but would caution anyone who has little or no experience, that this is a critical job and not for the faint of heart. Must have good eyes, hands and small tools. Other than that, I think the unit is great and was far ahead of it's time where originally released. The only thing I miss is the Mil 810 rating. But hey, it was free!
PD0RTL Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2008 14:05 Send this review to a friend
still exellent after all those years  Time owned: more than 12 months
buy'd the TH-97E about 13 years ago from a other ham.

he got the device also some years.
handheld is still working perfect, even i had to open the device for putting all back to its place
Yah, thing feld several time from the table.

ashame that some parts are not delivering any more, but thank to ebay i got same new accupacks.

receive is good, and its still at 2 watt with the powerpacks..
PA3HGT Rating: 5/5 Nov 10, 2007 20:26 Send this review to a friend
Very good  Time owned: more than 12 months
This HT is my 2nd TH79 and i like it very much.
I use the batt-pack with NIMH-batteries 2500 mAH to make "endless" qso's ;-)
I like the TH79 much more then the THD7 because the PTT-bar of the THD7 requires more pressure to push when you have a qso.
The TH79 is very fast to pick up QRM from personal computers then the THD7 but that's no problem.
The help-feature is very nice and easy when you need it.
Allround quality is very good and you have not the feeling that you've a plastic HT in your hand.
For the rest no problems with this beautiful product.


PE1RLN Rating: 5/5 Nov 10, 2007 12:31 Send this review to a friend
Still best ever  Time owned: more than 12 months
About six years ago I wrote my first review about this radio. And you know what? I still use the same! I had some trouble with this kid, but they were solved easily.

The design is still very good, it can match with other new models as if it were new design.
However, the TH-79 uses intuitive programming, all functions are under direct or F+ buttonpress and the menu is short but complete.
The audio is loud and clear, both RX and TX. When using dualband, you can choose to listen to the main band through the speakermike and the subband through te speaker or both through the speakermike. I've never seen this again but I use it sometimes (APRS !!!).
The size is good: flat but it fits nicely in the hand.
Separate volumecontrol for both bands/VFOs.
BNC socket.

The only problem I got was a fuzzy display. This is caused by the connection between display and PCB. You can fix this by butting a piece of paper between the glass and the ribbon-cable of the display (pushes the contact-rubber a bit more towars the PCB, just enough).
I own this radio for 11 years now (!) and it's still going strong! If you ever have the chance to buy it for a reasonable price, go for it!
N8LTD Rating: 5/5 Oct 14, 2007 11:52 Send this review to a friend
Great little radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well, I have had 2 of these. A friend and I got our licenses about 12 years ago. We each bought one. In 1999, I got out of the hobby and sold mine. His sat in the closet from about 1997-July 2007. I decided to get another license and come back, so I bought his. Neither had any of the problems mentioned in other reviews. The first one performed flawlessly and was used alot. This one I have now is about 5 KCs off on 440, but it's no big deal. The built in battery does not hold much of a charge, but it's 12 years old. I fixed that by running it off of a 7.2 volt 2200 mah RC car battery. It will run it for a long time. It has many good features-alpha numerics, dual receive, and 80 memories which may be a bit low for today's standards, but adequate for me. The extra low power of 30mw is useful in some situations. The only thing I HATE about this one is it's so thin you can't stand it up. You have to lay it down on the table.
ZZ2NSX Rating: 4/5 Jun 15, 2006 14:11 Send this review to a friend
Great HT with some bad issues  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I´ve purchased my first TH-79A in December 2005. After some weeks of normal use, the display started show up some weird characters, so I´ve cleaned up the rubber between the LCD and PCB.

3 weeks later, the ENC dial started to fail, as I opened my TH-79A and resoldered the ENC board to the main board.

2 weeks later, UHF band started to fail. After several researches, I´ve decided to open it up and perform some tests in the flatcable unit that connects the main board to the RF board. Measuring every terminal from the 26-pin cable, there were 6 broken pins. As I didn´t find any original flacable from Kenwood, I decided to buy an DVD-Laser unit cable, which uses the same cable with 26 terminals. After this, I decided to sell it.

Now (just a week ago) I´ve purchased another TH-79A, but the Deluxe version.It´s working very well, but sometimes it was turning off. I´ve opened it up and resoldered the "A" knob to the main board.It is working very well now.

This TH-79A is a very good Dual Bander. It has a lot of great features such as full dual-bander (transmits in one band and receives in another band at the same time), excelent GUI feature, great Menu system, and it´s very compact.

The cons are: display fails very easily, it fries using the Hi-Power battery and some electrical issues, due to the very-sensitive circuit board.

Even it´s a very very sensitive dual-bander, I recommend it.
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