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Kenwood DH-72A for Sat Work?

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by KA1OWC, Feb 13, 2017.

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  1. KA1OWC

    KA1OWC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi: Just getting into satellite stuff (well, really not into it yet!) and was wondering if the
    Kenwood TH-D72A 144/440 MHz Handheld Amateur Transceiver w/ 1200/9600 BPS Packet TNC, Built-in GPS, Echolink Ready, 5 Watts would be a good radio to start with. Intend to use a handheld antenna at first to learn the basics...Your opinions would be welcome!

    Steve, KA1OWC
  2. K3RLD

    K3RLD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think that is probably the best handheld you could get for fm satellite work.
  3. K6LCS

    K6LCS Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not only is it one of the best single HTs that perform well in V/U and U/V modes for the FM voice birds, it is the only currently produced unit that accomplished that!

    Clint K6LCS
  4. AD5KO

    AD5KO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had one of the first Kenwood TH-D72A's many years ago, it performed very well and was able to make satellite contacts via APRS and voice with just the rubber duck antenna.

    Today I use a Yaesu FT-1XDR, it's a great little radio, it will do APRS , is water proof and will do V/V, U/V, V/U and U/U, but it is not full duplex like the old Kenwood is. Based on actual use I would say it is as sensitive as the Kenwood when used on the ISS APRS repeater.

    The Yaesu FT-1XDR has environmental capabilities I need sometimes, the Kenwood does not have those and in comparison to the Yaesu it is a fragile radio.
  5. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    As you've read on here, the TH-D72A is a great choice for satellite work - FM satellites, as well as packet satellites (ISS and NO-84 digipeaters). There had been some discussion on here about the TH-D72A in another thread:

    With the arrival of the TH-D74A, prices on the TH-D72A have dropped in the past few months, usually below $400 instead of being around $449 to $499 as in years past.

    Other radios are smaller, and probably a little more rugged than the TH-D72A, but for FM and packet satellite work there is no equal in terms of functionality. If you already have Kenwood HTs made in the past decade or so, you can use the same AC power adapter, DC cables, and speaker/mic with the TH-D72A. Battery packs and AA cases are different for this radio, along with the soft case. You won't need a special cable to program this radio, either - it comes with a USB cable, and the radio has a mini-USB socket on it.

    Good luck, and 73!
  6. W5SAT

    W5SAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll echo the sentiments here - YES it's a great radio for FM satellite work as well as a great radio in general. It's certainly not as flashy as the '74 but it is quite a decent performer and I find the menu system easy to use. I have one and used it to get started with satellites and it worked admirably on SO-50 and ISS Packet.

    With that, a headset/mic and an Elk or Arrow antenna you would would be working SO-50 in no time.... But, you may be a little frustrated (as I was) with the fast pace of SO-50 operation or the fact that AO-85 can be tough to get into with a 5 watt HT. You may want to graduate to the linear SSB satellites sooner than later and find that you just spent $500 to $600 just to get your feet wet....
    WD9EWK likes this.
  7. AD5KO

    AD5KO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Basically it seems the Kenwood TH-D72A is the only real full duplex portable available at the moment.
  8. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are correct, in terms of FM satellites in V/U (transmit on 2m, receive on 70cm - like SO-50 and LilacSat-2) or U/V (transmit on 70cm, receive on 2m - like AO-85). The TH-D72 is the only HT currently in production that works in either direction.

    There are many older HTs not in production that can do this, but this is a feature that doesn't seem to be important to the ham equipment manufacturers anymore. Case in point... the new Kenwood TH-D74 does not incorporate full-duplex operation in any form, and the TH-D74 comes from the company that made the TH-D7, TH-79, and still makes the TH-D72 - all capable of full-duplex operation on V/U and U/V FM satellites.

    There are other radios that can handle full-duplex operation in only one direction, U/V - the Wouxun KG-UV8D and KG-UV9D, newer models of the Icom IC-W32A, and a couple of other Chinese-made dual-band HTs. The main issue with these radios is that the internal circuitry can't keep the transmitted 2m signals from interfering with the 70cm receiver ("desense"). For the V/U FM satellites like SO-50, you have to work those half-duplex using something like a group of memory channels, a combination of a memory channel and a VFO, or two VFOs.

    AD5KO likes this.
  9. KA1OWC

    KA1OWC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the great info...Have ordered my TH-D72A and am looking forward to my grandson and I getting started!...Any good recommendations for a hand-held antenna? Thanks again: Steve, KA1OWC
  10. K3RLD

    K3RLD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Arrow II dual band yagi, or Elk log periodic.

    Or DIY.
    WD9EWK likes this.

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