The Kenwood D74 is one of the most popular HTs on the ham radio market. It’s been well known in amateur radio community as one of the best radios for Automated Packet Reporting System (APRS). I took some time to talk about my experiences with the radio and what you need to know if you’re thinking about buying one.
One of the best aspects of the radio is the receiver. I’ve tested against countless other HTs I own and the Kenwood is always the best. That also translates to APRS. I can remember standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon and receiving APRS packets that we’re coming in S3-S4 from southern Utah. Not just hearing them, but decoding them reliably from 90-100 miles away. That’s stellar performance!
Speaker performance on the Kenwood D74
One of the things I don’t care for is the speaker on the radio. The Kenwood D74 gets plenty loud, but it’s high-pitched and a little tinny sounding. That’s because the speaker on the radio is small. I wish it had a more full and rich tone to it. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but it’s something to be aware of.
Another downside to be aware of is the radio’s screen. If you’re particular about keeping your radio in pristine shape you may not like the screen on this radio. The plastic screen scratches very, very easily. I’ve lightly used my Kenwood D74 and it has significant scratches (see photo below). This happens just using it around the shack and putting it into luggage to take on weekend trips. Imagine what would happen if you planned on using your Kenwood D74 in a more ruthless environment.
Find out more of the things you should know if you’re considering purchasing the Kenwood D74 in the video below.