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Reviews For: Kenwood TH-78A

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TH-78A
Reviews: 21MSRP: 330
Dual Band HT
Product is in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
HB9FSI Rating: 2017-10-08
21 years old and still running Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This it the first ham radio equipment I bought 21 years ago after I've got the licence.

It's outliving many battery packs, computers I have been connecting to and microphones.

After >20 years the sealing plastics are still tight and waterproof.

Definitively something I would like to keep for the next 20-30 years.
WD6CMU Rating: 2012-07-11
Good, solid HT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Still have my TH-78A in operation at work for emergency drills and such and it works as well as the day I bought it new. Some friends and I spent some time at a ham radio convention trying out all the VHF/UHF transceivers the vendors were selling, and the TH-78 had the best audio of the bunch. Still does, at least on receive. Also has a BNC connector in a metal chassis which makes it very easy and reliable to hook up to an external antenna.

I'd actually give it a 4.5 if I had the option because its user interface is relatively non-intuitive, the TH-F6A does a better job. Also, the lettering on the controls is small and low-contrast which makes them a lot harder to read than when I bought it, now I need reading glasses. But on the plus side the lettering has held up very well to wear.

Good battery packs are getting hard to find, my solution is to use the AA holder filled with Eneloop cells which extend capacity without bulk and have great charge retention in standby. (Also allows for the substitution of alkaline cells in a pinch, most emergency groups will have those in their field supplies.) The rig itself will pull a small amount of current out of the pack even when off and discharge the battery if you leave it too long, so I usually eject the pack a fraction of an inch between uses to break the connection.
G7RHF Rating: 2011-04-17
very good Time Owned: more than 12 months.
i have always had a passion for kenwood gear guess it stems from my earlyer days when i couldnt aford it same with this little beasty of a handy ,very sensertive good audio out and in feels solid in your hand ,can be complicated but i soon learnt its main functions with regular use ,bought a after market mike and a super gainner rubber duck ,xly got me the tsu-7 tone board from the us for my birthday ,so it does ctcss for local box ,getting hard to find so u now what to do see one grab it,prefer this to any of the moden handies simply brillant
KA9QWC Rating: 2010-09-10
GREAT HT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned 2 TH-78A HT's for a lot of years and it is a very pleasant & versatile radio. I really like the alarm clock feature having it to turn on when desired. Another big plus for me is the low power settings allows one to use this HT for a long time. This is handy for parades & many other events. When other HT batteries run down this one keeps on ticking with the 10 & 20 mw settings! And of course I also have the longer antenna & remote speaker mic.
AB7SC Rating: 2007-05-27
Great HT - some minor issues Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned a TH-78A since new in 1993. Never had a problem until recently when reports were given stating my audio was dropping out. About the same time I noticed that receive signal was also dropping out. It didn't take long to discover first hand one of the few negatives with radio has: the dreaded connection between the PC board and antenna. As it turns out, I removed all of the boards, connections and screws (you have to remove EVERYTHING) and resoldered the PC board connection. After that the radio went back together easily and am now getting great audio reports again! This is a great radio, feels good in my hand when talking (good size), LOTS of features (documented and un-documented - search the net for details), good re-sale should you ever decide to sell (why would you???).

I currently own an older boat-anchor Icom HT, a Yaesu VR-5R and a second TH-78A. Most of the models I have tried as well. None compare, IMHO, to the 78A. People complain about the TH-78A's complexity and the need for the manual. If you have it in VFO mode you automatically get direct programming from the keypad - nothing simpler. TONE is easy to set (without manual).

Bottom Line: Great radio, I would buy another without hesitation.
N9WYS Rating: 2006-05-31
Here's the manual! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought the one from ARRL that they used for the Product Review - yes, I had the high bid! I love the radio!

I've used it off and on over the years, and it just keeps on "chugging" along.

If you need the manual for the radio, subscribe to the Yahoo Group "th78a"... It's in their file section in PDF format.

Mark - N9WYS
AC6IN Rating: 2005-12-07
great radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
love the 78a been working great for well over a decade
KH7N Rating: 2005-07-06
Excellent, but Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I lost the manual and I am the worse for it. If anyone has a manual, or knows where I can obtain one, please let me know. I might consider selling my HT (10 years old but in storage for most of that time) because I can no longer read the tiny keypad.
NE0P Rating: 2004-06-22
Interesting HT! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I picked up one of these HTs in a trade recently, and it has been my only 2 meter FM rig since. It gets the job done, I will say that. With the standard battery expect about 2 watts out. Wish it did 5 watts, but this is a early 90s HT where 5 watts required 12 volts. You can get a 12 volt battery for it if you don't mind making the HT several inches longer. So far it has worked nicely for me, and received good audio reports with it. Not outstanding reports, but good.

One thinga about this HT is that it has everything but the kitchen sink included. You can send text messages, you can page people, does CTCSS encode and decode which was kind of rare for the time it came out. Does dual receive, will do automatic band switching on receive. It has a clock which stays on during dual receive. All HTs should have a clock. The VX7R has a clock, but you can only see the time during single band receive. This is much better. About 50 to 100 memories which is enough. Programming memories is as easy as any other HT. Even has a little sliding door which covers the keypad.

I gave it a 4 for 2 reasons. One is that this is the least intuitive HT I have ever seen. You must have the manual to do very much with this. Was able to turn it on and get on the repeater, but if it required a tone I would have been lost. This HT does almost too much. We don't need to send text messages today with email and cell phones, but guess that was neat in the early 90s.

The second reason for the 4 is no Wide FM. This has a pretty decent wide band receive range, but forget broadcast FM or TV audio without Wideband FM. Couldn't have been that hard to do. Also, I don't think it does AM receive either.

I will say that the case seems really rugged, and looks like it will last a long time. It was a good trade, as I am having fun with this HT. Nice size for the hand, and decent receive audio also.
KK7D Rating: 2004-02-23
Best HT Ever!!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is one of the best HT radios ever built. I have owned many different models and yes like every radio out there, it has it negative as well as positives. The negative side is parts are no longer available from Kenwood on such a remarkable radio, but there is shops that have a surplus of parts for the radio. I took possession of a TH78A from a EBay purchase and I cannot be more glad. The radio is in excellent condition, besides some bruises on the case and some scratches on the front glass. The orignal batteries needed to be replaced, but for a radio over ten years old. No complaints.

Enjoy the hobby and I am an avid ham... Support and maintain our great hobby.