[amsat-bb] Re: Kenwood TH-F6a

Clint Bradford clintbradford at mac.com
Thu Feb 3 09:52:23 PST 2011

>> ... I got a surprise gift of a Kenwood TH-F6A ...

Put that 	person on your Christmas card list - what a great gift!

>> ... any tips to share ...

Just program it for TX on Band A and RX on Band B. Use the A/B switch to go to Band B to accommodate Doppler, then switch back to Band A to transmit.

>> ... I've read through the eham reviews ...

I always take eHam reviews with a grain of salt. MANY of the "negative" point made are from folks who cannot read an instruction manual. But the TH-F6a is a great HT.

>> ... speaker/mics and headsets ...

Some will recommend the Wouxun models. Their heavy-duty mic (probably made by JDI in China) is decent. The "standard" accessories are, well, you get what you pay for in the world of audio accessories.

Of Kenwood's offerings, I always thought the SMC-32 was over-priced for what it was. And some love the SMC-34 with its built-in volume control. That, to me, is just a "feature" waiting to fail (dust or debris). But I have heard very few actual problems with the SMC-34.

When working for Pryme, we had the SPM-901 - a good, beefy handheld mic. If you can find one of those discontinued models for $35 or so, it's a good speaker-mic. Pryme has replaced it with their SPM-2101 - for about $60. Both of these have a 3.5mm jack for an earpiece.

>> ... quality of after-market programming cables ...

I shy away from Chinese "bargains" on eBay. The PG-4Y from Kenwood is less than $40. Software is FREE from Kenwood's Web site. If it makes you feel any better, the last software and cable I bought from Motorola was over $250. So, to me, forty bucks for a programming cable is a steal.

IN THE MEANTIME, I digested the 64-page manual to ONE PAGE for you - find the Cheat Sheet on the DOCS page of my Web site - http://www.k6lcs.com

>> ...  and want to record passes while listening or operating ...

Think of keeping it simple: a little pocket recorder in your shirt pocket, or most smartphones have an audio recording app. You do not necessarily have to "hard-wire" your audio input to get good results.

When running off its battery, the output power levels are 5.0W, 0.5W, and 0.05W. But if you run it off of a 12VDC source, you have 5W, 2.0W, and 0.5W. With an improved antenna, you can certainly turn it down to the 2W setting - IF running off of 12VDC.

Enjoy that little radio!

Clint, K6LCS

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