Kenwood Original TH-D74A Review

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If you’re on the market for a reliable, easy to use, versatile handheld ham radio that’s outfitted with the most advanced features, we strongly urge you to consider the Kenwood Original TH-D74A. It’s well-designed, intuitive devices like this one are the exact reason why Kenwood is one of the most reputable names among ham radio enthusiasts. While it may be a bit pricier than other handheld hams, considering the fact that it’s outfitted with robust features, and that it’s super reliable and extremely durable, it’s definitely worth the investment.

To find out if the Kenwood Original TH-D74A is the right choice for your ham radio communication needs, read on to learn more about this incredible device.

Kenwood Original TH-D740 Overview

Kenwood has long been a popular name among hams. Their amateur radio transceivers are rugged and designed with simplicity in mind; however, they also offer a range of features that allow users to get the most out of their experience. The introduction of their TH-D74A has really upped the ante and confirmed the reputation of this manufacturer. It’s outfitted with all of the basic features that you would expect from a handheld ham radio transceiver; however, it’s also been enhanced with support for D-Star, a JARL digital voice and data protocol. It also makes D-Star and APRS operation at the same time a possibility; something that has never been seen before in the ham radio transceiver industry.

In addition to advanced features, the Original TH-D74A from Kenwood is highly durable, thanks to the IP54/55 weatherproofing. With such durability, you’ll be able to use this device in all types of weather conditions without having to worry about damaging it. With such a rugged built, you would think that the transceiver would be bulky and heavy, but it’s anything but; in fact, it’s rather lightweight, which means that it’s easy to transport and won’t weigh you down.

The Kenwood TH-D74A offers three different transmission capabilities, including 144-148, 222-225, and 430-450 mHz (of all three, we think that the 222-225 mHz is the most useful). It also offers four different output settings, which include 0.05W, 0.5W, 2W, and 5W, so you can choose the power setting that works for your specific needs.

Thanks to built in Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS), this transceiver exchange real-time GPS coordinates and weather updates, so you’ll be able to stay abreast of all the most accurate, detailed, and pertinent information that you need, when you need it; that’s something that you don’t often see on a ham radio. As we mentioned, it also has D-Star functionality, which is something that has never been seen on a ham radio before and really expands the functionality of the device; for instance, you can send text messages, go online, and assess call signs, too.

Kenwood Original TH-D74AThe display on the Kenwood Original TH-D74A is simply amazing. It features a large, colorized LED display that is clearly visible in all types of light, so you’ll never have trouble reading it. It also displays popup screens, which indicate modes and functions, so you know exactly what you’re doing. Plus, the features on the display are very well organized, which prevents confusion. A micro USB makes it possible to connect to Bluetooth, and the micro SD card enables storage of large amounts of audio recordings, as well as GPS coordinates; features that also set this transceiver apart from other amateur radios on the market. In regard to the battery, this radio is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack that can last up to 15 hours; however, do note that the batter life does depend on usage and the power output level.

What We Like About It

  • Exceptionally built; waterproof, highly durable, yet lightweight and easy to transport
  • Large color display is easy to read in all types of conditions
  • Offers triband functionality
  • It is APRS compatible
  • D-Star compatible
  • Built in GPS, complete with an auto clock setting
  • MicroSD and Micro USB standards, making it Bluetooth compliant
  • Excellent battery life
  • Dual frequency reception
  • High performance DSP audio processing and voice recording
  • Lots of accessory options

Reasons to Complain

  • The manual could be easier to read
  • The price is pretty steep

Final Verdict: Though the Kenwood TH-D74A is pretty high priced, given all of the incredible features that it offers, including features that have never before been seen, the cost is justifiable. With this ham radio, you’ll have no trouble staying connected and getting the information you need, when you need it; no matter where you are!

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