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Reviews For: Kenwood TMV71A

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

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TMV71A
Reviews: 106MSRP: 399.00
The advanced Kenwood TM-V71A dual bander provides sophisticated, high-powered performance on 2 meters and 440 MHz. Power levels are 5/10/50 watts on both bands. The large radio display clearly conveys the status of the radio and can be set to green or amber.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
AK2O Rating: 2021-10-21
Good product Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Traditionally, I've been a Kenwood fan since the 1970's with amateur and stereo equipment. I'm also biased from working at a Kenwood dealer. Having said that; I've own radio and other electronic equipment from the other major brands, for example Icom, and Yaesu. The only brand/source I would not want to deal with coming from that Asian Country with too much population and provides low-end radio junk and viruses as a bonus (I'll stop there).

I have an FT-8900R which is a good radio however, I dislike the amber display. That, and the one external speaker jack motivated me to purchase a new V71A. Both will duplex fine as I use it for test and measurement.

For the V71A the microphone is better (larger) than the other brand, plus the buttons are a little larger, making easier operation. The "soft" button assignment for both the mic and front panel have sufficient selections however, some tasks are a little awkward over the 8900R. One little quirk is pressing the up or down on the mic button changes memory slots, but does not start the scanning (like the 8900R does-nice feature). The receive audio is satisfactory. The transmit audio is also satisfactory, which was a relief; the transmit audio on most Yaesus have all been very good (good pre-emp, etc.) where some of the other brands are tinny. The Icom IC-230 was a classic example.

The main selling point of the V71A for me, is the green display and the two rear external speaker jacks. I now can truly run "stereo"; driving the door speakers in my pickup instead of some tinny little speaker inside or some limited response "communications" speaker.

It will not "handle" high hash for the DC source. For example, I was lazy years ago on my SUV install (for the 8900R) and used the PTO on a circuit under the dashboard (not the cig lighter), for which that radio tolerated the poor DC point. However, the V71A did not. I measured almost 1v P-P (on the scope) of generator hash, yikes! At any rate, I re-installed the DC line from the vehicle's battery which reduced the hash way down (maybe 10mv P-P) and the V71A did fine. Later, I moved the V71A to my truck (as mentioned above), which already had a proper DC install. The whole purpose of this install was to replace my aging (Icom) radios in my truck (IC-x8H series).

I dislike the awkward Chirp (free) SW and the OEM SW is "okay" however, I really like the way RT systems do their stuff, so I purchased that with the cable. The O.T.D. amount was $407 from HRO.

I'm in the telecom business (fancy name for a radio tech) and visit populated mountain top sites frequently. The radio handles high RF environments as well as the 8900R does.

There was one very minor flaw; when squeezing the mic button produced a squeaking sound over the air. When I examined, the plastic edge of the PTT assy, was rubbing against the side opening. One drop of gun oil took care of that (wiped the excess with a Q-tip). The other "feature" (not a flaw) was the back of the mic had steel "bubbles" to make it fit tight in the holder on the dash board. It took an effort to pull the mic off the hanger to use it. Therefore, I removed those bubbles and now it sits and removes real easy from the hanger.
I figure if I was going to roll the vehicle and it pops out I would have more important things to be concerned than a loose mic.

I do miss "real" mic connectors (round type like my Icoms). The modular plug and jack is kinda a joke but we are stuck with it (I've been a telephone tech for decades). We have millions of them in service with little troubles, however.

In conclusion, the V71A is a good radio. I'm shopping for my second one.

Update for Feb 2021; I purchased the second one and fairly happy with it. One item I do not like (personal preference thing) is they "updated" the hand mic which this unit does not use the lever like the first one. I do not like the current "button" but will be stuck with it unless I find someone to do a swap. Otherwise, it's the same radio and functions as the first one I purchased a while back. Selling my FT-8900R pretty much paid for this second one.

Update: I found new mics with the lever type on line. It appears to be OEM and not some knock-off :)
N8FVJ Rating: 2021-08-13
Good Receiver Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Year 2016
This radio has been available for quite a few years. It works very well, so no good reason for a replacement. Very sensitive receiver, seems very resistant to intermod. I wish the radio had 25 watt mid power range rating, not 10 watts. Audio is not as full as my older ICOM IC2350, but still very clear. Manual is not so good. Lists buttons not even on the radio. Price is competitive. I rate a five.

Year 2012 update.
Unlike new Yaesu and Icom, this older radio displays both the 2 meter & 70 meter repeater frequencies at same time. Simply push a button to use either 2 meter or 70cm frequency. I much prefer this.
KG7OR Rating: 2020-12-09
Put it in the car, not in the shack! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought a V71A to replace my trusty old Icom VHF/UHF base station radio that finally gave up after 29 years of solid service. I looked at reviews and ads extensively and settled on the V71A because it seemed to have all the right specs. I wish I’d kept looking. The issues are:

1. The description at the top of this page says it has a “large radio display.” Large? In whose dream? Those skinny, faint 7-segment digits are less than 1/4 inch tall! That might suffice in your mobile installation, but not in the shack.

2. The two volume controls are not fully functional. Try reducing the level to a low output for monitoring in the shack, and it totally cuts out as you back the knob down past 270 degrees, well before the stop. The lowest volume is then too loud for my outboard front-firing speaker. To get it low enough for background monitoring, I had to unplug my preferred speaker and be satisfied with the radio’s tinny built-in speaker. Ridiculous!

3. The transmitter output power is selectable at 5/10/50 watts, but not if you’re programming memories. If you want low power for working repeaters but maximum on simplex, you must manually increase it when going from a repeater memory to simplex, then remember to manually reduce it again when you select a repeater memory. Kenwood, buy yourself a Yaesu mobile rig and figure out how they make output power programmable; it’s apparently not that hard!

4. The manual assumes everyone already understands the radio’s details, so explaining them is unnecessary. Would you like to change bands? Fine, check page 17 and follow the directions—oops, wait, did you remember to shift from memory mode to VFO mode? The manual doesn’t mention that you can’t change bands if you’ve called up a memory. It simply fails; no explanation, no clues. And that’s but one example of a manual that will frustrate you to an extreme because of what it fails to say, or what it says in some incomprehensible manner.

Bottom line: unsatisfactory display, poor audio control, frustrating manual, and programming hurdles not found in the competition, even at a lower price. If you still think you want one of these, mount it in your vehicle; it might be tolerable there. In the shack, forget it.
WT8P Rating: 2020-08-17
Satellite work, quiet fan mod Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've been wanting to get into satellite work and came across a good deal on TM-V71. One of the first things I did was the W1GN suggestion of replacing the standard fan with the $13 Noctua NF-A4x10 FLX quiet fan (Amazon part
It's *eerily* quiet now.

The radio seems pretty solid and the cross-band repeat is very useful when playing with satellites, but also being able to operate the radio away from the desk (using a handheld on the cross-frequency).
W9WQA Rating: 2020-05-27
just the display cable Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
in general i think its an insult to use these phone connectors in 2 way radio. you can buy them for a penny.
the v71a cable is the worst example.
first they dont use the 'standard" 4 pin wall type that are ez to make up. the small one is the type used for the phone handset,not as available.
the 8 pin is the real insult,
im convinced they deliberatly made it difficult to make your own so you must buy theirs.
it uses just 4 wires and they are odd spaced making it very hard to make with regular tools.
ive done a lot of phone work. they could have made it ez like the yaesu 8900, not so. boo to you kenwood
W9SA Rating: 2020-05-26
Great Analog Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is actually the second TM-V71A that I've owned. The first one was in my car and I felt the display was too small. I took it out and didn't keep it and I'm still not sure why. To make a long story short, I put one in my shack and it is a solidly built and solid performing rig. I'm not going to re-type the instruction manual here but will just say that it works very well. It is not hard to program manually using the hand mic for direct frequency input. This does bring up one knock and that is that you have to program the radio for direct vfo input. I have no idea why Kenwood wouldn't send it that way from the factory. Overall a great radio if you don't need digital.
KG6TR Rating: 2019-08-07
solid radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Have had this in the car for a few months. I typically will monitor air bands on one side, repeaters on the other. The removable display fits perfectly tucked into the stash pocket on the front console, the radio body is mounted in the passenger area under the glovebox. Always get good tx reports. I'm using a through-glass antenna and it still works like a champ. Great radio with true dual-receive.

Don't regret the purchase at all, and larger displays would be a no-go in my car (VW GTI). Ideal combination of performance and small-but-not-too-small size.
N7QIN Rating: 2018-09-15
Great radio but... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own 3 of these radios and 2 of them are in mobile applications of what I would call rough service, one of them in my 4x4 pickup on the dashboard and the other mounted on the dashboard of a semi truck. The other is used as a base station.
Rx and Tx seems great along with ease of manual programming as compared to other radios.
The biggest disadvantage I have found is the inability to program separate tones for Tx and Rx. There are a few repeaters in the areas I frequent that have a different transmit and receive tones on purpose. The work around seems to be only using the tone encode function, but it allows all the unwanted interference to come through the receive frequency.
Other than that, a great rig. If it wasn't, I would not own so many of them.

AC6DN Rating: 2017-12-24
Its mosly good.. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Time owned, one day...

Its mostly good, however...

- It only has six characters to name the memories, when 7 or 8 is needed (10 would be ideal) #1 (see notes below).
- It only allows for capsized letters (at least via RT Systems) #1.
- The remote head kit, only comes with 9.9Ft (3m) of cable (it should be 12.2Ft (4m), or maybe even 16.5Ft (5m). It should come with the mic cable (any LAN cable should work).
- The remote head kit is meant to mount to on top of the dash, when this is not how it can be mounted *1 (it needs to come with a front and under mount, too).
- The squelch works OK, but seems like the range is kinada narrow (not caused a problem, just an observation).
- No TA (talk around) PF option/ button.
- No easy monitor (this can be programed into PF).

#1: Let say you live near San Fransisco. There are 5 repeaters there you use on VHF and 5 more on UHF. You don't know the repeater owner, so the call sign is less useful.
Lets take a look at few examples of this issue:
San Fransisco VHF Channel 1: SANFV1 (or SF V1) the TM-V71 only allows for 6 characters. How about instead, SanFrnV1 (this is 8), or even better SanFran V1 (this is 10)? What if I needed to be more specific like South San Francisco VHF Channel 1: SOSFV1 (or SSF-V1), or better, So SF VHF-1 (8), etc.

*1: I used tin snips to remove the finders (or leafs) and just left the side where it began to be a finger/ leaf, and used 3 screws, one (two) on each side near were I cut and one on the middle of the bracket as designed. I mounted mine on the center console between the HVAC controls and stereo.
W1GN Rating: 2017-09-11
Fan Upgrade Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My 3 TM-V71 transceivers (1 mobile / 2 Base) have all been fitted with the Noctua NF-A4x10, replacing the noisy and failure prone OEM fan (which retails for $28 but can be easily found for less than a dollar - just change the connector).
The TM-V71 is, I believe, the best all-around dual-band transceiver on the market, but the fan is very cheap. The Noctua is silent and moves more air (most OEM mfg fan specs are worthless) but needs the 30cm lead shortened and the OEM connector spliced in for the TM-V71.
The Noctua 40mm fan comes in both 5V & 12V versions, so be careful to choose the 12 volt unit.