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Reviews For: Kenwood TH-7E

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

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TH-7E
Reviews: 31MSRP: £280ukp
European version of the TH-6A
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
IW2BSF Rating: 2020-09-11
GREAT RADIO ! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Hi everyone, I'm a big fan of Kenwood, I had the old TH-77, TH-78 and the legendary TH-79 and now this little gem! What about a really great radio! I have buy this radio 1 years ago and work well.

One problem perhaps from a colleague complained that sometimes does not turn on or does not go on batteries, the causes can be two and are different: can 'be the 12 volt DC J1 connector exterior and' defective and does not switch and you change with $ 2 expense of replacing it, or you burn one of three internal fuses, usually one called F1, in my guide in Italian (use google translate) find patterns and how to fix it by yourself without assistance or send him to spend too much money!

on my website you can see the complete GUIDE with tricks, bug , problems and fix for this handy !

excluding internal antenna BAR and connecting an external dipole will really make the DX beautiful in the HF bands, and 'sensitive enough.


Best 73 de Rudy - IW2BSF
SV3ORA Rating: 2016-03-25
One of the best analogue HTs Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I knew what this little radio could do and don't before I purchased it and I did not get a surprise.

This radio has unique features not found in any other HT to the date. The greatest of them are, extremely wide RX from 100KHz to 1300MHz, ability to do SSB/CW/AM/FM-N/FM-W and internal ferrite bar antenna. The funny jog dial is really handy and it allows you to do most things in one hand.

Now for some technical stuff. Do not be fooled by the ability of the RX to cover so much wideband and think that you can catch all these signals out of the box. How can you catch a weak SW signal on a 15cm antenna? You cannot do it with any radio even the most expensive. Use a dedicated external antenna for the band of interest, if you want the best. If you still want to stick to real handheld operation, use a wideband active antenna plugged in to the transceiver. This is my choice and in fact I design such an antenna that will be able to amplify RX signals and transmit V/U without the need to unplug each time. I will put the design on my website for you to see as long as I finish it.

Back to the technical stuff, Kenwood knows good the advantages of the ferrite loop for low frequencies and they did the right thing to put one inside the radio, it does a good job in MW reception. It is important to know that the radio suffers from leakage from it's own local oscillators/mixers frequencies. This is a clearly defined issue in the kenwood manual and the actual trouble frequencies are shown. Practically the LW is a pain to receive if you do not leave in a country that has an LW station near by and a good reason is the internal beat signals that interfere. The bead shift function of the radio does some try to correct this, especially on higher frequencies.

The SSB/CW filters seem identical in bandwidth to me, probably only the beat frequency changes.

The above are the "problems" related to reception and most of them are true for any radio of that size. However, you cannot compare a base station with a handheld. The TH-F7 does a great job, just because it has the ability to receive so wideband, along with the V/U TX capability. That is why it gets 4/5 from me.

Things that I would like it to have, in order to give a 5/5, are a magnesium-made case instead of a plastic one (but the ferrite antenna would be difficult to fit then) and 1-2 extra bands on TX, like 50MHz and 222MHz (although the 222 can be unlocked sort of).

A perfect HT to own, suggested to anyone that wants great power in such a small size. I will probably never sell mine.
CR7000 Rating: 2012-07-24
Good Decision Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
it was a good decision to purchase the TH-7E

I went to my local HAM retailer (uk) not knowing which handheld i was going to buy.

I decided i needed a handheld to take on my caravan holiday, and considered many models.

My mind was made up with the HF recieve on this, as it would give me more options - if the 2m/70cm was quiet i could have a flick around HF.

First of all performance on 2m/70cm was everything i could really expect from a handheld and it works well, transmit and recieve with the standard rubber duck antenna.
This was further improved when i put it in the car and connected a small micro mag mount antenna, again works well this way.

Performance on hf recieve, i was not expecting too much from this and i didnt really recieve much with the rubber duck antenna.

My micro mag mount also states that it has recieve capability up to 1300Mhz - however i would say it works up to around 500Mhz, but that is still plenty for me, and it pulls in a fair few stations - pretty good for a handheld......

If you are serious about using this to recieve HF SSB then take the following advice
Buy a SMA to PL259 adaptor, a banana plug and 16 feet of flexible wire.
Connect the wire to the banana plug, which will then plug into the centre of the pl259 adaptor - This definatly works, i hear stations from all over the world with no problems.

For a very good 2m/70cm handheld you will not go wrong with one of these, and with the added extra recieve capabilities it gives you more to play with than a standard handheld, this surely has to be an added bonus.

If you are looking for a handheld with a few extras you would be hard pushed to find anything better, if you only want VHF/UHF then there are cheaper models around ( but think of the extra fun when 2m/70cm bands are a bit quiet )


G1YGJ Rating: 2012-04-08
Brilliant, wish I never sold mine! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I had one of these and said I'd never sell it. But the D-Star devil got to me and I bought an Icom IC-E92D, so I did sell it!
I really miss the TH-F7 and wish I'd kept it, but I didn't. It did everything I ever asked of it and never failed. Yes, it got hot when used with a PSU, but not that bad. There was some wear starting on the edge of one of the buttons, which was a shame.
I'm very disillusioned with D-Star, it's such a faff and sounds like Max Headroom half the time.
If I could find a decent second-hand TH-F7, it'd go for it and dump the D-Star Icom.
SAPPHIRE Rating: 2012-01-08
Very Good Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Great laptop with unique characteristics, a good battery life. Very easy to use with great intuition.
Disabling an internal antenna and connecting stylus loaded HF SSB receives well.
There is a laptop in the world with similar characteristics. Very sensitive to the signal VHF end UHF band A.
ZS1JAP Rating: 2011-09-20
Best all-rounder Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have just ordered my 2nd one. 1st one got a dose of seawater and shut shop. After a year or two of looking around I have decided its the best thing that meets my needs in a handheld. I use it for a bunch of stuff - neighbourhood watch, rescue services, ham stuff, scanner, and WFM listener. (ok i did wideband it - as I am licensed on a variety of other frequencies) - it really is a one fits all thing.

For travelling - it is a very small item you can take around and get all your radio entertainment in one place. No its not perfect - but its pretty capable on 2m/70 like the rest of 'em. The HF side is less than perfect - but suprisingly good with a piece of wire. It saves carrying something large. You can listen in a coffee shop!

- small and versatile
- quality build
- easy menus and buttons
- battery life is excelent
- audio quality is excellent
- small size is astonishing
- manual is quite good
- dual VFOs suprisingly useful, besides great scanning features
- great transmitter with clear mike

- standard antenna a bit weak (not too major though)
- buttons are a bit small and no backlighting
- i had some rare intermod birdies which were confusing at first

I would not buy it as an operational radio (simpe, quick and suitable for emergencies. But for a travelling ham it stays #1 in my view, despite its age)
DO9GB Rating: 2011-08-25
My Workhorse Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I meanwhile have 3 of them. One in the car (with a PA), one in the shack and one to go.

I love this radio. Intuitive to use, SSB reception, dual receive, wide band receive, lots of memory, attenuator, NFM, ... you name it.

If only it had full duplex, then it would be the only HT I ever needed.
EI7GMB Rating: 2011-02-01
Nice toy with some flaws. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Bought it around 2 years ago when the other choice was Yaesu VX7. Well, that was an first Kenwood rig ever (everything before were all Yaesu's and homebrews) so nearly all the dont's were keeping me off, but an SSB receive facility was tempting. After about 2 years of service I must say that bad sides are:

-noisy reception even with pretty strong signals
-standard antenna is just a joke
-bleed overs from strong stations / interferences even with squelch fully turned up
-at some frequencies it is completely deaf - for example 200-300 mHz or 600-800 mHz region.

Despite those flaws I really like:

-SSB reception - it's pretty good as for such a small thing. Can monitor anything in my shack.
-battery just keeps it going and going, and going... And it is standard 1500 mAh battery.
-size, shape, buttons, simplicity of a menu layout - everything is just right.
-quite ok at aircraft band (118-136) but MW broadcast band really rocks!

Talking about reception - it is noisy even with strong signals - the S-meter can show say s7 and audio is simply tinted with hiss. Even with full scale up audio is somewhat noisy. It is not an Hi-Fi stereo but it is really below my expectations. Anyway it is still nicer to hear than many other HT thanks to its soft sound.

Standard antenna actually should be replaced with any other decent aftermarket one. So-so on transmit, pretty bad on reception. Absolutely rubbish.

In the city I noticed loads of QRM from other frequencies (TETRA mostly) or even from diesel engine injection system. Well, filtering is one of those things what really should be improved.

This HT is totally deaf at some frequencies - okay I may live without 200-300 region, but I am really disappointed that there is no chance for mil aircraft monitoring or satcom on TH-F7 when even FT100D was able to pick it up) or 600-800. Had no chance to see how it preforms at 23cm range, albeit would not put any hope on it after (not) hearing lower frequencies. One thing what I really miss and what puzzles me is 4m range - it is completely deaf also on 70 mHz but apparently has no sensitivity issues at 66 mHz and then 78 mHz region. I would really sacrifice anything between 52 mHz to 88 mHz (and even those unfortunate 200-300 mHz) just to have any (not to mention "decent") reception between 70 to 70,5 mHz.

If it comes to main reason of my desire then all can I say - I am happy with its SSB. It really works but also require any HF antenna to work at all. Anyone who thinks than should be able to hear his favorite SW stations with TH-F7's rubber duck should really think about that, that a) not possible b) this so antenna does not work even at its intended frequencies. Anyway in my case it was just enough to connect a piece (about 1,5 meter) of soft stranded copper wire to get most of the SW broadcast stations and quite a many amateurs and marines. With "real" HF antenna could not notice a much of difference on sensitivity between this small HT and "real" HF rig. Okay, it is not very stable on VFO and within minutes its goes off the frequency (or does not tune exactly) but it just a tiny toy with great abilities and it just does the job. Nothing more I would ask for and its enough to listen whatever you will wherever you are.

Battery virtually lasts forever. A whole day of operation left me with this HT still going and still having one bar of battery power. Would not mind to have this new 2000 mAh battery also but 1500 mAh is a sufficient reservoir of power.

Another strong point of TH-F7 is its casing. Good quality materials, well planned buttons, knobs and sockets. Nice to handle, nice to hold, built as little tank. I have it dropped several times and it is still alive. I got it damped few times and it still in right condition. Ok, I also have a leather pouch (came with it!) which makes it even better protected but still it is just well built HT.

I have heard from others (and I saw it also) that rubber keyboard buttons are likely to vanish its imprint. Personally can't complain - everything is still in place. Never got this "misty display problem" also.

What would I put on my wish list?

-APRS module - it is really missing it (or TH-D7 is missing SSB?)
- second VFO audio monitor when in TNC mode (why not?
- discriminator tap for packet / ATV reception (if 23 cm receiver is worth of anything)
- maybe stereo broadcast reception would not be a bad idea, specially when it is capable of WFM reception already?
- (a great one wish) SSB transmit on 2/70 or at least 23 cm FM transmit (as Alinco did)
-a GSM capability, to justify another purchase to my wife that it is just such a funny mobile phone.. ha ha!

Why 4 out of 5? Sometimes just can't justify the price asked (well above 250 eur), specially when I think about its FM audio noise, but I am not regretting of buying it even though there is still many things to fix (filtering, sensitivity etc). Enough to say that years comes by and it is still my favorite HT.
AVD Rating: 2010-08-20
5/5 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The third year I own it radio. I hear and a lot of pleasure much.
There is one small lack - the hard button of illumination.
It is very strong made: there were two casual falling on a stone floor from height of 1,5 m - any scratch.
PA5GV Rating: 2010-03-17
Versatile rig Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.

Just before buying this HT I had read several reviews where people commented this rig is relatively deaf. I bought the rig, despite of these comments, and I am happy that I did! I use the HT in my car with a Mirage BD-35 amplifier and I have no problems at all working repeaters on 2m and 70cm. Sensitivity on the A-VFO is good, I can listen to repeaters which are 80kms away! Performance on the B-VFO is slightly less though, I use this VFO of HF-RX only. But this rig is sure not deaf!

Easy to use menu-structure and once you have read the UM you'll appreciate all the features of this versatile rig.

Batteries last for ages: after a two hour drive with normal QSO 'duty-cycle' the battery was at 2/3 of the maximum capacity. No need to plug in a 12V supply!

HF RX is OK-ish, don't expect performance like a DX-rig with all the filters, but as an extra feature I appreciate being able to listen to HF CW/SSB stations.