Kenwood D-74a APRS/D-Star handheld overview and test

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KJ4YZI, Nov 27, 2016.

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  1. KJ4YZI

    KJ4YZI Ham Member QRZ Page

    For those who are interested in D-star but not a fan of Icom.
    W2REZ, F4VSE and K9PLG like this.
  2. F4VSE

    F4VSE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like the handheld, but why D-STAR?!?
  3. KK6BDF

    KK6BDF Ham Member QRZ Page

    As of 11/29, there's no RT systems software available to program the radio, but they're working on it.
    Also, if you have one of these, you might want to make sure to upgrade the firmware to 1.04 (available via the Kenwood download page)
  4. W2REZ

    W2REZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have the radio and love it but I can't load the virtual COM port driver. Would like to see instruction on that with Windows 7.
  5. KR6AUL

    KR6AUL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    You don't have to use it if you don't want to. Simple as that.
  6. W2REZ

    W2REZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    My understanding is that Kenwood owns 30% of DSTAR with ICOM. Are you in the camp of having a DMR version to make the price lower?
  7. N2TGH

    N2TGH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would have rather seen a DMR radio.
  8. W5YAG

    W5YAG Ham Member QRZ Page

    How does the battery life compared to the 51a plus?
  9. AB8CL

    AB8CL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    With a $650 price tag, I'm sticking wth DMR.
    NU4R likes this.
  10. KK6BDF

    KK6BDF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've had no problems loading the driver in WIN7 or 10.
    All I needed to do after installation was reboot the PC so the driver got loaded right.
    However, if you still can't seem to connect, check your port settings on the radio and make sure they're set to talk to a PC.

    Right out of the box, the battery life is the pits, maybe 2 or 2 1/2 hours on a full charge.
    However, if you full cycle the battery a few times, I've gone as long as 7 hours with it just doing APRS and FM/Repeater receive.

    FWIW: I've had the radio for a few weeks, overall it's a typical Kenwood in construction, feel and (mostly) performance.
    In comparison to other radios, this one does fall a bit short.
    The SW receiver is nothing short if the pits. I did a side-by-side test of the 74 with my F6A on AM receive, the F6A did much better (both using the bar antenna)
    D-Star is where I would label this radio as the Obamacare Radio (no politics intended here).
    What I mean by that is that Kenwood had a golden opportunity to see how everyone else was doing D-Star, how they programmed it and used it, and they seemed to have decided to just go their own way.
    There's still bugs (such as the "Error" announcement in DR mode when there's no error), but KW is at least addressing things and there are firmware patches coming out regularly.
    NU4R likes this.

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