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comparing FT880 to TMV71A

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by K3WOW, Mar 28, 2009.

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  1. K3WOW

    K3WOW Ham Member QRZ Page

    A few hours ago, I had a hard price limit for my "total equipment" purchase for new ham's mobile setup. This morning, my CFO (XYL) raised that limit slightly, giving me a bit more flexibility in the radio. So many choices for a newbie to ham can be quite overwhelming...

    Originally, I was content to go with the FT8800 in my car. Adding the remote kit and a speaker, I'd be good to go for 2m and 70cm... which seems to be a great starting place for a new technician. I'd have to learn to live with the strange volume control and non-backlit buttons on the head.

    With the total cost limit going up some, however, I may be able to replace the FT8800 with the Kenwood TMV71A. As far as my untrained and ignorant eyes can see, this radio does everything the FT8800 does, but with backlit buttons, and a volume control that works most people would expect. However, the radio would end up costing about $100 more once I buy the remote kit. Is it worth it?

    Another possible concern with the kenwood is that the microphone appears to connect to the base of the unit - not the head. Does the remote kit provide an extension for the mike as well as for the head? (As long as they are reasonably thick wires, I'm not concerned about the number of them - I'll have to tear apart the car to run power and the head extension anyway.)

    Is the kenwood worth $100 more than the Yaesu? Other than backlit keys and a volume control, what differences are there between the radios? I really would like to start with a radio I can use for years and years without regretting that I didn't spend a couple dollars more...

    (opinions are obviously solicited...)

  2. KC7YRA

    KC7YRA Ham Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    I will give a vote for the FT-8800. I currently have one sitting by me as I type away. I like it quite a bit other than the fact that I struggle with Yaesu programming instructions.

    The non-backlit buttons are a little bit of a drag but once the radio is programmed, You can control it from the mic. Unless you do a lot of "on the fly" programing, I would not worry bout that too much.

    One of my biggest complaints about the 8800 is the volume controls. They go from "can't hear it" to "OWW MY EARS ARE BLEEDING" in the first 1/4 to 1/2 of the available knob. VERY touchy volume.

    The Kenwood does look like a nice radio but I have no experience with it. I have a Tm-271a (the mono band version sort of) and I like it. I really like the mics on the Kenwoods. Very well built IMO. It does appear that you would have to fashion a mic extension for the Kenwood. Looks like the separation kit does not come with a mic extension.

    It does not look like you can go wrong with either. I would rather have the $100 for something else, like a new handheld to go along with the mobile :p

  3. K3WOW

    K3WOW Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's something I hadn't considered... Too many choices!
  4. KC7YRA

    KC7YRA Ham Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    way too many. You are embarking on a journey that will cost LOTS of money and absorb any free space you have in the vehicles or house :p

    Good luck. There is no known cure. Especially if the CFO is behind you. Just get her licensed and then you are really screwed.

  5. K3WOW

    K3WOW Ham Member QRZ Page

    You know.. I keep going back to look at the kenwood... The only two flaws consistantly mentioned for the FT8800 are both ones that would bother me. I'm often driving between Pittsburgh and Washington,DC - and do so at night - so any buttons on the face would be very hard for me to use.

    The second is the volume control... Most of my trip is done on the PA Turnpike at about 80MPH. If you've never had the pleasure of this road, "bumpy" would be a compliment to it. Combined with the fact that my car (an 08 Mustang) isn't exactly designed for a smooth ride, I can't see having very precise control over the volume knob unless I pull over.

    One way I could get the Kenwood TMV7A1 into a better price range would be to not purchase the extension "kit." If the face and microphone are using standard jacks/plugs, I should be able to wire them myself (or perhaps I have premade's laying around.) For example, they LOOK like some type of modular plug. If I could just use lengths of ethernet (Cat5e or cat6) instead, that would save $60 and make the kenwood a win for me...

    Does anyone know this information?
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