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Reviews For: Kenwood TM-D700A

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held)

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TM-D700A
Reviews: 95MSRP: 780 USD
Kenwood remote head data radio for VHF/UHF
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KC8OOM Rating: 2004-06-07
No problems at all Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I purchased my D700 at the 2004 Dayton Hamvention. I'm absolutely loving it. This radio does everything I want it to, and then some. I haven't had a single problem with it. The display is plenty bright enough, with more than sufficient contrast, even mounted on top of my dash. I would highly recommend this radio to anyone and everyone.
VE6XX Rating: 2004-05-31
Excellent,but not perfect Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Hello All: This is my second review & is written after reading ALL the reviews available. Nothing has changed from my first review. The radio has worked without a problem from new, & is by & large absolutely first class for my use. The point of this review is more in the way of a commentary than a review. I find it fascinating that there is a dichotomy amongst the users. Many(including myself) are disappointed by the display. Many others claim that it is a great display! My display is lacking in brightness & contrast at any temperature & in any lighting condition except nighttime. Many users complain about frequency drift. Mine is rock solid in VHF or UHF operation, & that includes -40F to over 100F ! RX audio is just fine, but I use separate commercial (GE MasterII )mobile speakers. In my opinion no amateur transceiver has an adequate internal speaker & all my mobile radios have ALWAYS had commercial communication speakers.
My Tx audio measures about 4kHz avg. deviation on both bands & I have never had a bad audio report.

The radio experiences slight intermod susceptability even with the AIP (why don't they just say attenuator?) on. Considering the frequency range of the receiver I consider the intermod problem near non-existant. I don't use all the capabilities of the radio but I know they are there if my habits change. Despite what others say, I STILL carry both manuals in my truck, because I perform some operations so infrequently I simply have no bloody idea how to implement them without the book. Channel lockout on scan should be a single keystroke like the old ICOM 28 ! The interesting feature of all the reports is that a widely distributed & sold radio
has only one fault in common to all users & that is the "bassy" audio on cross-band repeat. All other complaints have those who swear that the fault exists & others who have never experienced the fault on their unit(s). In summation then: I find that MY TM-D700 is an all around excellent dual bander, enhanced further by a suite of extra features unavailable at this time in any other unit. It has proven absolutely reliable, & I am completely pleased with it in every respect except that of the display in my unit, which is entirely unsatisfactory in light of the radio's selling price & the current state of display technology. I would & most likely WILL buy another, & I recommend the purchase to others with only the proviso that they might want to look at several installed units if they intend to run it mobile, to see if they can live with the display.
Thanks for taking the time to read this commentary.

Regards Brian, VE6XX

Earlier 5-star review posted by VE6XX on 2004-04-27

Hello: I have owned mine since they were first available. I carry the manuals with me in the vehicle since nothing is intuitive to me with this radio, but I am a long time Icom man, & likely that is my problem with the "firmware".
There are amazing differences in the valuations of this radio. My Rx audio is very good, & Tx audio sounds good to me & my IFR 1200 confirms about 4.5kHz average deviation.I run APRS on the "A" side & regular voice channels on the "B" side.
The memories are a pain to me for the reasons outlined by others. APRS operation is just great.
Contrary to others experience I find that the measured & operational sensitivity is excellent, but it is not IMD free. Nothing with the freq. spread of this radio is likely to be!! The display is absolutely the worst I have experienced. It goes BLACK with very little heat, & the display never has enough brightness or contrast. I have a Standard 5900 that has the best display I have ever used...wish the Kenwood was the same. I have never used the computer interface for packet, so can't comment. This radio was well over $700 Canadian, but I feel that it was worth it. I have had no problems & certainly the freq. stability is excellent, unlike the experience of one reviewer. No radio is a panacea, & I believe Kenwood is entitled to a "well done!" on this one.
You can't please everyone & the things I have mentioned are not major, merely annoying, & most likely only to me! I would not hesitate to recommend this radio to others. I don't find the price unreasonable in view of the features offered.
K9XK Rating: 2004-05-30
Sophisticated? Yes. Complicated? No. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This radio is extremely intuitive given its capability. I am new to APRS but had it up and running in that mode with GPS connections and everything in about 15 minutes, after making up the cabling.

On the topic of cabling, what were they thinking with the "hairy" 32-guage wires they make you work with for a GPS connection? Even if you can burn away enough debris to solder them, there is nothing to solder. Consider making a trip to Radio Shack and doing your own.

There are basically three levels of soft-key menus on the display, and they are well laid out and grouped appropriately. The main menuing setup is also intuitive.

One thing I have got to figure out is a *quick* way to temporarily halt the display of packet info so I can change radio settings. When you are in TNC APRS mode, each received packet "hijacks" the display, so you can't use the function button to control the radio for 10 seconds or until you hit another button to clear the display. Of course you could change the frequency to halt packet reception, but this solution is inelegant if not just plain weird.

The bracket for the head is nicely designed, but the quick release head (at least on mine) snaps rather loosely into place onto the bracket. It is a little sloppy. Of course if they had it designed to be tight, you'd have people ripping mounts off their consoles or dashes trying to remove the head, but there has to be some compromise position.

Scanning is very simple and there are several scan types, all one touch away.

I am generally an Icom guy for VHF/UHF, but this Kenwood won me over. Digital capabilities are just as advertised, and it is flexible enough that you don't feel you're giving up much when you use the internal TNC. If you just can't resist, here is a DB-9 serial connector right there for your notebook to expand the possibilities.

You can even monitor a DX PacketCluster while tooling down the road. This capability is not completely superfluous. Kenwood nuts can use the D700A in their cars to control another one at the home station, connected to their 570 or 870, so they can work a new one while waiting in the drive-thru at McDonalds. Well, at least when the sunspot cycle comes back around.
KD5SRL Rating: 2004-05-18
BEST 144 / 440 Mobile Rig Out There Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is my second Kenwood mobile and would make it a third one if I had another vehicle. Use one of the rigs with a GPS and never had a problem with it for the past year I've owned it. Wonderful for beacon tracking... fun to. Not to mention Packet Radio, which I'm not into but has the capability of.

The control head has lasted in a hot truck for a hot southern summer and just as bright as the day it was bought. Recieve and send is excellent and the menu system is fairly easy. I love the ability to monitor two freqencies at the same time. In one of the vehicles I have a TS-480HX that I have with the TM-D700A for cross band repeating. This radio is a perfect match for the TS-480 series! I've owned this radio for over a year so the honeymoon is over... I'd buy it again and recommend it as well for a Best In Class of the 2 meter / 70 cm.

WB6DTR Rating: 2004-05-07
It gets worse Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This review is for my second D700. It was also purchased at HRO about a month after I purchased my first D700.

I bench tested this radio and the freq. / dev. were fine. I let it burn in for 24 hours and it still looked good.

I installed the radio and soon began experiencing problems. The right side stopped receiving. Back to HRO / Kenwood for service. They did a retune on the radio.

The D700 worked fine for about a week. Then it lost sensitivity on UHF on both bands. Also when dialing through memory channels, it would actually skip banks of channels. Back to Kenwood again.

I got the radio back today. Hooked it up and the receive now works again. However Kenwood did nothing with the memory channel tuning problem. The problem exists on both bands, but not exactly the same problem.

Both of my radios are programmed the same, using the Kenwood software. My other radio does not have this tuning problem. It is specific to this radio.

So....Back to HRO and they are sending it back to Kenwood for the third time.

My shack is filled with Kenwood equipment. I am happy with everything except the D700! I would never buy another one, nor will I recommend it to anyone. Nice design, but Kenwood is batting Zero with me with these radios.......


Earlier 0-star review posted by WB6DTR on 2004-05-07

I have owned Kenwood products for years. I recently purchased two D700's within a month of each other.

This review is for the first radio:

Purchased at Ham Radio Outlet. I took the radio out of the box and bench tested it with my IFR 1200. VHF was high 1 khz. UHF was high 3 khz.

I let the radio sit, turned on, for 12 hours. The frequency drift got worse. The RX side also drifts. I set everything back on frequency. It still drifts.

I'm going to be sending this back for a warranty tune job.
KG4RCP Rating: 2004-04-27
Outstanding & Easy-to-use! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This radio is an outstanding choice for a mobile rig, and has tremendous versatility - though within certain limits.

While I would prefer the radio had 220 MHz capability, expanded receive range, a wee bit faster VFO & memory scan speed and equal frequency range on A & B sides, I have never been disappointed with its performance or ease of use.

The thoughtfulness of the ergonomic engineering design and the intuitiveness of the operational software makes this radio a pleasure to operate. The separate head is a wonderful feature for several reasons, not the least of which is that it enables eye-level mounting (less distracting while driving) and quick-disconnect for it and the microphone defers theft.

My perferred mode of operation includes full-time APRS on the 'A' band, while I talk on the 'B' band. A Garmin GPS 40 generates GPS signals for APRS.

I enjoy making worldwide IRLP contacts via a local 2m machine, and have always received the highest compliments on signal quality and intelligibility while using the TMD-700A.

The primary option I would recommend anyone considering the TMD-700A is to use two separate amplified speakers. The internal speaker, while loud, is adequate for 'normal' use, but if the radio is tucked away under a seat or the dash (which I recommend), it may be difficult to hear or understand.

While I haven't used the radio to its fullest capacity - SSTV, TS2000 operation & computer memory control program - I have cross-banded and remote controlled with the TH-F6A and have found the integration of the two radios a wholly enjoyable experience.

I've never had a moment's trouble with the radio and would recommend it to anyone considering a 2m/70cm mobile rig - even if they didn't use APRS.

WB2IMH Rating: 2004-03-16
Great radio, mostly Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had my radio for almost two years and have had no problems with operation. However, I recently attempted to hook it up to my computer for packet operation and I'm having some problems.
Anyone out there have any good software to get me going? Also, any tricks to get it hooked up to my computer properly? Thanks and 73, ~Ernie~
K3CN Rating: 2004-03-16
Top of the Line!!! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have owned this fantastic D700 mobile rig for six months and it has performed great. Fine RX audio without the need for an external speaker. TX audio is also excellent. With the free Kenwood software all you need is a serial port connection and a gender adapter for the rig and in about 15 minutes set up and programming of repeaters and various parameters for radio is complete. APRS operation is great. Just set one band for APRS and the other band for repeaters and you're in business. I am totally amazed by the operation and performance of this radio.
N1IG Rating: 2003-12-24
Great APRS Mobile Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased a D700 about two+ years ago and was so pleased with it, that I bought another one last year. I'm surprised by the mixed reviews of the D700, because I've never had a problem with either of them (except for user error). I've been told that my TX audio is good (on both radios). The radio is fairly intuitive to use, and my newly ticketed 13 y/o son uses it on a regular basis.

I've connected both the Garmin GPS III+, and the Garmin 16 to the D700s, and they seem to work great. I ran into a problem with the Packet Cluster function. It turned out to be user error, not a radio problem.

This is a great radio, I'd buy another one!
N4FRL Rating: 2003-12-04
fast repair Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I receive my d700a back from kenwood in record time. 1 week from time I sent it in till I got it back. A note in with the radio when I got it back stated that the remote cable is known to cause the radio to blow the internal fuse. They replaced a diode & transistor in my unit. Works great now just everyone be careful pluging & unpluging the cables with power connected.

Earlier 4-star review posted by KE4QDC on 2003-11-25

This radio has an internal fuse that is very easy to blow. Apparently there is power present to the main unit all the time even though it is powered off. It appears the power on/off is software control via the pwr button on the remote head. I have always connected power direct to the battery which is hot all the time. I was wrkg with the cables routing them and had to connect/disconnect from the radio several times. Now the radio will not power on. The cable is ok and inline fuse is ok. A person needs to remove power from the main unit to be on the safe side anytime either cable is removed and reconnected for any reason. Even though the radio works well this is a poor design in my opinion. Sent to Kenwood for repair 11/24/03. Waiting on unit to be returned from factory repair center.