IC-2820H vs. TM-D710A

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by KF7HAB, Feb 23, 2010.

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  1. KF7HAB

    KF7HAB Guest

    Can anyone offer their opinions about these two radios? This is my first radio purchase and I'm at the point where I can't decide between the Icom IC-2820H and the Kenwood TM-D710A.

    I plan on using the rig in my house for the time being and then I'll probably install it into my truck later on. Features both radios have in common that I really appreciate include: cross band repeat, wideband reception, dual recieve, and GPS support.

    I like the 2820 because of the diversity reception, band scope and DSTAR.

    The D710A appeals to me because of the TNC and the APRS.

    I'm sure the decision boils down to a preference between DSTAR and APRS, and would be curious to hear the different viewpoints. But, I'm also interested in how each rig works with GPS. Do these radios have full GPS functionality? Can you program and navigate to waypoints and follow preset paths?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  2. W3IAO

    W3IAO Ham Member QRZ Page


    Can't offer an opinion on the IC-2820, but I do own the D-710a. Besides the fact that the radio is currently on the bench as it has gone deaf as a doornail, it’s been a great radio.

    I think you are on the right track; it will come down to your preference of using D-star and APRS. Both radios offer different bells and whistles. If D-Star is big in your area then give it a shot. If you prefer to play around with APRS or Packet then the 710 is your choice.

    I only see two D-Star repeaters in your area, its best to talk to someone and find out how much activity there is on them and whether the gateway is open, otherwise you may be spending money on an option you may not get much out of. Check out http://www.dstarusers.org/repeaters.php?repeatersort=5 , you can see the repeaters in your area, and if you click on them you will see the last heard. Watch it for a while and see how much activity there is.

    For the 710, if APRS is your thing, then this is the radio. Now as far as full GPS support I am confused on what your asking. The radio itself will use the NMEA GPS string to report your position as your moving, and IF the GPS you use with it accepts an input, the GPS will show received APRS packets on the screen. Depending on the GPS you may or may not be able to navigate to these points. As far as I know neither of these radios have "full GPS functions" i.e. they don’t replace a Garmin or GPS with a touch screen.

    Now, APRS is something that can be done with any radio whilst D-Star is primarily ICOM. You can always go with the IC and add a APRS kit to it, the only thing that the 710 will show is the received packets on the screen, and added message capability. Check out either http://www.byonics.com/tinytrak/ or http://www.argentdata.com/products/otplus.html both are easy kits that can accomplish APRS with most radios.

    Either way you chose, congrats on your first rig... it will not be the last... and you will find most people tend to stick with a certain brand. Bottom line is get your hands on both, go to AES and fiddle with the menus, it really comes down to how easy is it to operate. Enjoy and have fun.

  3. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    D-Star frequency watch

    :) As a current owner of the TM-D700a ( similar to the D710 ), I can tell you a few things that may help. First, D-Star does seem to be popular and expanding rapidly- in very small geographic areas at first. There are many repeater coordinators making a big effort here, because at higher frequencies ( 1.2 Ghz. ), the elevation of a repeater is typically needed due to line-of-sight propagation. There may not be a D-Star option available in the U.S. for Kenwood radios anytime soon, because they typically have to wait for 'type-acceptance', where Icom already did so for their D-Star radios. That said, you would find that most any NMEA capable GPS ( most Garmins, Magellan, Lowrance, etc.) can be used for
    an input to the Kenwood radios equipped for APRS. Only a few of the more expensive *AVMAP* GPS units make for 'callsign display on a map' without adding an external PC. Check out the one sold at Ham Radio Outlet if you really need that GPS display feature, just to get an idea of the price involved. You should also compare displays for ease of use and
    ease of re-programming the *alpha*-numeric memory names. Best of luck on your decision. 73 de KB0MNM- Jon:)
  4. KE5MC

    KE5MC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    D710A viewpoint

    The GPS input to the radio is only for the positioning information as it relates to APRS. When you receive an APRS packet the display on the radio will show the data and the bearing and range to the sender based on your current position input. When you beacon anyone receiving the packet will be looking at your information and position.

    Depending on the model of the GPS attached all of the programming and navigation to waypoints and following preset paths are functions in the GPS. The functionality of the GPS can span from the puck/cube no display or user inputs type to the Avmap unit costing more than the D710A. The D710A can output two different sentences and depending on the receiving unit can use the information for better or worst. The Avmap is the premier show the other guy on the screen with named icons moving around. I used my Garmin GPSMAP60c and after about 15 minutes I had a cluttered screen with hundreds of stationary waypoints. So it really depends on the device receiving the information how functional the display of the data can be.

  5. W3IAO

    W3IAO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some Garmin models support Fleet Managment, I havent tried yet but it appears that it would provide most of the functions that the avmap does. Check out http://www8.garmin.com/solutions/commercial/faq.jsp for more info, I think there is a yahoo group as well... All it requires is a different cable.

  6. KF7HAB

    KF7HAB Guest

    Thank you all for your input. I think I'm leaning toward the Icom, but I would still welcome any more opinions out there. 73

  7. KA9MOT

    KA9MOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Nuvi 350 is one. The cable costs around $20.
  8. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    TM-D700a & TM-D710 packet & operability

    There is one other factor you may wish to look at. If you have plans to be a part of a volunteer emergency group which might be deployed to a hospital, you should consider learning a few of the basic control menu functions of the TM-D700a, if possible. There were a number of hospitals which received the TM-D700a radios through DHS grants. Operating the TM-D710 should be similar. It is expected that since the avian flu threat turned out to be less than anticipated, some hospitals may lock up the radios and never find them in the 'next case' of an emergency. Knowledge of packet radio operations would be indicated should large equipment and supply lists need to be passed while phone circuits were jammed. All this is under the assumption that general panic swamps the Internet and telephones ( land and cell )- which is about what happened during the three storms most folks remember as Katrina. 73 de KB0MNM:)
  9. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You may also want to check out the Yaesu FTM-350R. It has the best looking display of any of this class of radio. There seem to be some bugs with the initial drop of their APRS software, though.

    Yes, you could add APRS capability to the 2820. The older 2720 let you designate which VFO was used for APRS/packet, and I would hope they kept that feature in the 2820. The 2720 was notorious for bad intermod issues, and I hope those have been rectified.

    I have the TM-D710 and it's the ultimate in an APRS-ready rig, but the FTM-350R looks to be gaining on it.

    Check into the local DSTAR group. There is a DSTAR/DPRS to APRS gateway that might get you on APRS faster and cheaper than adding a separate APRS terminal. Perhaps the group already has one in your area.
  10. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    IC-2820H vs. TM-D710a & TM-D700a

    There is one other radio in the Kenwood line- similar to the D710a which has replaced it- that you should consider. If you look at today's for sale ads, you will note the benefits of owning the TM-D700a *if* you have plans to use the HF series TS-2000. The "Sky command" remote system is one benefit, the other an extra control panel for the HF radio. I can not confirm that the TM-D710a is unusable for the HF control panel, but that is a selling point in the 'for sale' forum. So you should probably be looking hard at whether or not D-Star repeaters are likely to be built in your nearby geographic area. If the answer is that none have been and none are expected due to population of hams and economic outlook, then you
    have one choice for a new APRS rig that you thought you wanted. You
    are also likely to see a few TM-D700a radios for sale used, at prices about $150.00 to $200.00 lower than the TM-D710a. Dealers may still have a few TM-D700a radios new. Do not forget that it usually needs an RS-232 null modem. :)Best of luck in sorting out all the options, sorry if this complicates things:eek:. 73 de KB0MNM
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