[amsat-bb] Re: Kenwood TH-F6A for AO-51 / SO-50??

Greg D. ko6th_greg at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 7 21:00:27 PST 2008

Hi Guy,

I have both the TH-F6 and TH-D7A/G radios.

The TH-F6 is a very versatile radio, but it does have its limitations.  The original appeal to me was being able to receive nearly anything, and it can do that but you often need the help of a better antenna.  The internal bar antenna is marginal for AM broadcast stations, and totally useless for Shortwave stations.  Can't even pick up WWV on the west coast.  The "B" side is somewhat deaf too, with VHF stations coming in an S-unit or two higher on the "A" side.  FM broadcast is usually scratchy.  It's image rejection is poor as well.  TV audio receive is handy, when you can pick it up, but in any case that will expire in a few months...

All that said, being able to receive SSB/CW is unique and has come in handy more times than I would have expected.  I checked into the Western States Weak Signal VHF net once or twice while out on a walk with my wife, receiving on SSB and using the PTT as a crude key for transmit.  I've also noticed that the unit's VHF "extended receive" coverage is a lot wider than most HTs, and that allowed me to monitor the stage microphones at our high school's summer play, warning the stage crew when when they weren't working or had a loose connection.  (The sound guy couldn't listen in during the performance without putting the mikes live into the system.)  It's battery life is very good, especially for such a small unit, and being Li-ion it doesn't self-discharge much at all.  The overall size and weight makes it a no-brainer for throwing in the carry-on when traveling.  

I find myself using my TH-D7 more often for planned Ham activities, and when out on vacations (email from the boonies, etc), and the TH-F6 more for the unexpected need-an-HT opportunities that come up.  The D7 is much larger and heavier, and the batteries are a continual source of headache.  (I've switched to the Batteries America 6xAA pack with 2700 mAh batteries, but at a 3db cost in Tx power, and they still have the Ni-MH self-discharge property.)  The digital side is handy, mostly for APRS, but also for the occasional try at the old fashioned Packet stuff.

I've actually used neither for satellite work, so I can't comment on their use there.  But on the odd chance you're doing something other than working satellites, this might help in your choice.

Good luck,

Greg  KO6TH

> From: guyjeanbraun at comcast.net
> To: amsat-bb at amsat.org
> Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2008 12:06:39 -0500
> Subject: [amsat-bb]  Kenwood TH-F6A for AO-51 / SO-50??
> Thanks for reading this.  I am considering buying an HT for AO-51 and SO-50
> as well as AO-27 (hopefully!).  I have been using a Yaesu FT-817 and either
> an Arrow or Elk antenna and this has worked very well; however, an HT would
> be easier to carry around.  I am looking for recommendations / warnings /
> etc. specific to the Kenwood TH-F6A.  I would like some advice from those
> who have used the radio for satellite work before I shell out $320.00.  I
> seriously considered a used IC-W32A on e-bay but it went for over $150.00
> and I couldn't see paying that much for something that may or may not work
> properly.  Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks,
> Guy
> Finksburg, MD
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