Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Kenwood TM-D700A

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

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
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
KA1MDA Rating: 2003-10-29
Drifts worse than an inflatable raft! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Nice radio, lots of features, packet and APRS is cool, BUT..... frequency stability is TERRIBLE!

The first TM-D700A I bought (late September, 2003) appeared to be considerably off frequency on 446 Mhz. Further testing showed it drifted badly. I returned it to HRO and exchanged for second unit in early October, 2003. The second one is no better than the first! When powered up, 440 transmitter drifts more than 750 Hz in the first minute alone! Total drift often exceeds 2.1 Khz, and I have seen the transmit frequency drift as much as 250 Hz per minute when transmitting in high power on UHF! Just letting the radio sit in receive mode at room temperature will cause it to drift over 1.6 Khz in 5 hours! Both radios did the same thing, were 45# apart in serial number. S/N block was 5050000XX. I have posted frequency stability test results for the second radio on my web page:

It's hard to imagine 1 radio slipping through QC with such a severe drift problem, but when 2 radios slip thru 45 units apart, one wonders where the quality control went? I would be willing to guess there are more radios out there that do this.

I spent a little over $500 for radio, wasted another 5 hours to drive the 250 mile round-trip to HRO to exchange radio for second one, now have to pay UPS shipping to send radio back to Kenwood and wait for them to fix it.. totally unacceptable!

Bottom line- TM-D700A is a nice radio, most if it works well, fairly easy to use, and lots of cool features- IT JUST WON'T STAY ON FREQUENCY!! I wouldn't tell anyone not to buy one, but would definitely urge anyone who has one or is thinking of getting one to have the transmit frequency checked while the radio is still under warranty!
KB1KFM Rating: 2003-10-09
Excellent Radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought a Kenwood TM-D700A radio 4-months ago and love it! I have been using it as a base station with a Diamond antenna on the roof for several months, and recently moved it to the car. I have interfaced it with a Magellan 750NAV GPS for APRS with great results (even though Magellan claims the NEMA I/F on the 750 is disabled). With so many features, the radio does take some time to learn. The ability to program with a PC is a real time saver, as I can load different repeaters into memory depending on where I am traveling. I have consistantly received excellent audio reports. The cross-band repeater function is nice as well, particularly when used with a Kenwood TH-D7A handheld.
AD5BN Rating: 2003-09-21
Great Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I read the reviews about the display for this radio being sub-standard, so I didn't even look this direction for a mobile rig. However, when I was looking for a base rig, I quickly came to the conclusion that this was the way to go - and it hasn't failed me. The display looks just fine sitting on my desk (which I attached it to the mounting bracket and stuck the mounting bracket to my desk). The speaker sounds great in the shack and I haven't had any problems with my audio out from it. I input my current LAT/LON and the beacon will send out my location every 30 minutes. Great base rig, but given the previous problems people have faced when mobile, I wouldn't recommend it as such. No expreience with it mobile - not gonna try :)
KG8IU Rating: 2003-06-23
Great at APRS, a compromise elsewhere Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
My friend and I both picked up D700's this year at Dayton. It took us both about a week to get them mounted in our vehicles. Mine seemed a little off. I called my friend, who lived 2 hours away, and we compared experiences. His did indeed to seem to be working better than mine. The issues included:

- Low receive sensitivity compared to a V7 and 732, both bands.

- High sensitivity to ignition noise where other radios heard little to none. This was so severe that it couldn't decode APRS packets less than S5-S7 with the engine running.

- Low TX audio; I had to scream into the mic with it pressed against my lips to be heard at a normal level. Really. Kenwood tech support instructed me to play with the deviation in the service menu. It helped the voice, but then the TNC TX audio was way-way-way-wide.

- Funky DCS problems; extremely slow decode (almost 1 second sometimes), sloppy encode (other radios had trouble opening squelch sometimes).

- Long squelch tail in non-DCS operation; this just annoyed me. Even the non-faulty D700's do this.

I ended up sending the radio back to Kenwood. After a week, I talked to the service manager, who had the radio. The first thing he said to me: "This radio is kicking our butts." He went into detail on how he nor his best men company-wide could determine what was causing the DCS to malfuntion on 2-meters. He said they're probably just going to have to send me a new radio. I should get it next week. I'm writing this review under the guise that my problems were unique to my particular radio and will not affect others.

APRS: Very cool. I hadn't operated APRS in years. Back in the day it was with a radio, TNC, GPS and laptop in the truck. This is far simpler. For folks who have an interest in APRS, and that would be your primary use for this radio, then you won't be disappointed. I couldn't get the DX PacketCluster monitor to work. It might be operator error, but there doesn't seem to be much to it other than putting it in APRS mode. Oh well, I'm not a DXer anyway.

Everything else: A compromise. Don't get me wrong, this radio is packed with features. I was very pleased to see the return of the Mute function, something the V7 lacked. The display, while somewhat easier to read than the V7's, still is bleak compared to the sharp Yaesu and Icom displays. I still had trouble seeing it on bright days with my sunglasses on (polarization was not a problem with my cheap sunglasses). The transmit audio is not what I would call Kenwood-quality (using others' D700s as a guide here, because mine sure had issues). It seems to lack the frequency range of the older radios, like the 732 and 742. The receive audio is fine, but the long squelch tails got on my nerves. Cross-band audio sounds overdeviated and bassy. Receive sensitivity seems to be decent, as does selectivity and intermod rejection. Out-of-band sensitivity seems okay too.

My final word: A radio that does everything, but only APRS well. I'm disappointed. I'm going to the store to pick up an FT-8900 tomorrow. My friend seems to be pleased with his D700 (probably because he doesn't have to listen to his own audio). But, to each his own. Maybe I'll get him to write his own review.

PS: No fault of the service manager. He was very helpful and kind. One can't blame him for QC problems.
KD7PLU Rating: 2003-06-15
The best among what's on the market Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own two D700's - One in the mobile and one in a large 'Command Post' pelican case. The display contrast and LCD in general are bad news in Arizona. The display will get so dark you can't even read it when it's left in the car. During winter months, it's perfectly fine.

The system is configured and uses APRS mobile with a Magellan SporTrack handheld GPS. I'll probably install a dedicated tracker in the vehicle so I don't have to waste one of the bands, but the D700 works quite well for APRS and is the reason most people buy it.

Memory banks, frequency coverage, ease of use, all that jazz- All I care about is getting 2M/70cm on the air. The audio is good enough for me and have had no complaints on TX. (I DID have a poor quality mic with one unit and switching it out made everyone happy) But since I can't hear well to begin with, I rarely answer signal reports 'how's my audio' type questions. And other than stark contrast between deep motorola tone and cheap scanner speaker tone, I couldn't tell you if my D700 is any better or worse in audio than any other ham radio.

The unit is built- It's been some places very unfriendly to radio equipment. Arizona heat in any mobile is a right of passage. It's been used as a cross-band repeater and as a digi on several emergencies and events. It's hit repeaters where other mobiles couldn't muster the power (From remote places we go in the desert) and it's had everything from dust to beer spilled on the mic, head and main unit.

The basic premise of this radio is mobile APRS. The radio does that and more. It isn't a commercial grade Spectra but it does the job.
N7OQ Rating: 2003-06-15
Another great Kenwood radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought my TM-D700A about a month ago and have now had some time to play with it. Overall this is a great radio. I replaced a Yeasu FT-8100 and the TM-D700 is hands down the better radio all the way around. I bought it because it had APRS/TNC built in but I also like all the other features.

I have not experenced the problems that other say they have. The radio had excellent audio and other Ham's say I sound great much better than the FT-8100. The screen is very easy to see even when the temp is 100+. Cross band repeater fuction is outstanding it sounds better than some of the area repeaters, good rich audio. When I'm in a large city I have no intermod with this radio it will work in placed the Yaesu wouldn't.

At first it was a little difficult to learn, but after using it for awhile I found it very easy to use. The menu system is very easy and very powerful.

My favorite feture is the PM memory, it saves a complete setup and the radio goes to that setup with the click of a botton. I have APRS setup on one channel than the local repeaters on another and simplex on yet another and I still have 2 more to use. Another great feature is the build in radio to computer interface, just plug the radio into the computer using a cheap rs-232 cable. Other radios should have this, I don't think that one should have to buy a interface just to connect to a computer. The free software works great as well and is very easy to use. A nice feature when you have a lot of memory channels to program.

There are to many features on this radio to list. It is a fun radio to play with, I wish I had one for the shack. The APRS modde works GREAT! it is so easy to use, works like a champ and another plus is that it puts the other stations on my GPS screen with their call letters, so I can see who is around me.

There are a couple of things that lean toward the negitive side. The GPS cable that comes with the radio is hard to solder, the wires come with some kind of coating on all the strands and if you don't burn it off the solder will not stick it's like trying to solder Aluminum. I also don't like the number of cables I have to run from the radio to the control head. You have to run a cable for the control head one for the Mic one for the speaker and another for the GPS. It's not a big deal unless you do what I did and forget to run the speaker wire and didn't notice it until after everything was put back together...the audio is sure hard to here when it's coming from the trunk :-)

Overall I really love this radio, its a solid performer and a lot of fun to use.

N3FWE Rating: 2003-06-03
Nice radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.

I have had my D700 for 2 years now. It was my first experience with APRS and my first mobile dual-bander. I use it mobile with a Garmin III+.

The large display head is nice with plenty of information. The display is handy since it will display the frequency and text labeling at the same time. I really like the PM programmable keys but wish it had more of them. The 9 pin serial port is a plus and Kenwood supplies free software. This is something other companies need to do.

What I don't like is its prone to some intermod. I would of been happy with just the amateur bands if this could of been eliminated. My old Kenwood didn't have this problem. The arrangement of the so-called banks is poor and you can't link them when you are scanning. I wish the mic could plug into the face plate in addition to the boxed unit. My biggest concern is others have reported that the control head isn't available from Kenwood if it becomes damage or stolen.

Overall I been happy with the unit but not sure I would pay that much for a mobile rig again. I purchased it when it was still fairly new.
VE6SZR Rating: 2003-04-25
A good radio but not very good considering it's price. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased the Kenwood TM-D700A as a replacement dual band radio due to my involvement in APRS. For this reason the radio was the perfect choice.

I was never too terribly thrilled with ICOM dual band radios, and Yaesu didn't have anything exciting at the time, only their anemic Ft-7100, and the cool blue display of Kenwood's TM-V7a was very annoying, I also wasn't thrilled with ALICO's products.

On the plus side this radio has a lot of bells and whistles and accomplishes the bulk of functions that one would look for in a dual band radio. Another bonus is that the programming software for the radio can be downloaded for free, and one can easily build the programming cable for about $5.00-$10.00 in parts. Kenwood's button functions and programming method are fairly standard througout their (recent) product line too, if you're familiar with one Kenwood, this one will be easy.

Although this radio performs reasonably well, the following points detract from it's performance which is why my rating is only 3 out of 5, namely:

(1) Tinny (high pitch) TX audio.
(2) Terrible TX audio when using crossband repeater mode.
(3) UHF receiver starts at 410.00MHz (why not 406?)
(4) A tad on the the expensive side.
(5) Unique custom mounting bracket for head unit (difficult to replace).

Most of these criticisms are based on my use of the radio. If most of these shortcomings don't bother you or are not applicable to your usage, then you may find it to be a good radio, albeit still a little expensive.

On the other hand, no manufacturer can offer a radio which is a direct competitor to the D700A, except maybe ALINCO with their stripped-down APRS mobile.

Calgary, Alberta
DO2YIC Rating: 2003-04-25
Just Gabba Time Owned: N.A.
TX Audio is low and to deep. Receiver is compared to Icom IC 706 MK2G hard of hearing. The Receiver is not better than the 90 Dollar Scanner I have....TX and RX does no good, like on the other Kenwood Radio we had in our Club, a TS 570DG. The Knobs and the whole Panel of the TM-D700 felt very cheap, like a Toy. Packet didnt work. Kenwood couldnt figure out why. In the end we sold both Kenwoods and have only the IC 706 MK2G. I am happy with that. Kenwood do you think you can fool us with a Toy ?!
KC2KQZ Rating: 2003-03-30
Poor Transmit Audio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought the TM-D700A 2 Weeks ago and hooked it up primarly for the APRS and the Cross Band repeat. My first voice contact asked me what was I talking on and that my audio was very low compared to normal(My 706). I checked the Menu and found no audio controls at all for the Mic. I called the store where I purchased it(HRO) and said they would swap it for another radio. I got the other radio and the same low audio reports. I called Kenwoods tech support and had left 2 messages and sent 1 e-mail over a weeks time with no reply. I called them again last week and got a operator who told me that their person who does Amateur Tech support was out sick all week. Wow, A company as large as Kenwood only has 1 Tech Support Rep..So here I am 2 weeks later getting ready to give up on this radio but the APRS works great and the Cross band repeat is a little muffeled but I can deal with that since I could never use my HT from my home town to hit any repeaters. I found on the web a service mod control for Max Deviation that is supposed to help with audio but when I went it to it is uses some type of code and with out having a scope to determine the proper setting I'm back at square 1. I am looking for any advise on what setting to use or other ways I can correct my audio problem. Over all the radio has many nice features but if you can't do the basics by talking on it then its not worth no $500. Feel free to e-mail me any suggestions to