Monday, September 2, 2013

Kenwood TM-D710 vs. Yaesu FT-8800

In preparation of moving from Reno, NV to Portland, OR, and in anticipation of my friend getting his ham radio license after the move, I installed ham radios in both his Mazda Tribute, and my wife's Jeep Grand Cherokee...  The hope was that we would be able to use MURS frequencies to communicate between the two cars and the moving truck as we drove up...

Unfortunately, we weren't able to get our hands on the antennas before we left Reno... ON the plus side, we didn't have to illegally use MURS frequencies without type-approved radios... On the downside, the drive was WAY more sketchy than I would have liked :/

BUT, with a Ham Radio Outlet in town, we were finally able to finish both radio installs after the move... And I have programmed two different club's repeaters into the radios.  It's exciting... I really love having the radio equipment properly installed in my daily driver again ;)


And I'm just going to throw it out there: Every time I have to mess with the Kenwood TM-D710, I fall more in love with it...  It has a truly amazing feature set, everything from the built in APRS, to the selectable display color, to the fact that the display shows BOTH the frequency and the memory name AT THE SAME TIME...  It's very much the best radio I have ever used.

While I got this radio for it's APRS functionality, I'm not using anymore;  We have a Byonics TinyTrak4 and a Motorola Maxtrac serving those needs now.  Portland has a lot of UHF high-speed APRS activity... I may get an NMEA multiplexer to run my AvMap G6 on both VHF through the TT4 and UHF through the TM-D710 at some point in the future... But for the moment, I kinda like having both sides of the radio available for voice.


By comparison, my friend's Yaesu FT-8800 is a feature-rich radio, and is considerably cheaper... Especially at the FANTASTIC price he got his for.  It lacks the APRS, but I don't think I miss it; I prefer the wider feature set of the TT4, and not losing one of the receivers to that use; We will eventually get our hands on another Maxtrac and a TT4 for him.  I'm also liking that it can demodulate AM, which is fun for monitoring the airport approach frequency.

But it has a separate memory bank for the left and right side receivers... Which is kinda weird.  Also, like most ham radios, you have to chose between the frequency or the memory name.  I'll use the memory names I used on my Wouxun to solve the problem (Last three digits of the frequency, with the first three letters of the location name), but it's really not as convenient.

I also don't like that I have no choice but to use both receivers;  The TM-D710 allows you to disable one side or the other, which is REALLY nice.  As it is, I just turned down the volume on the right side, and set the controls to the left... But it clutters the screen, and uses slightly more power, all for no gain in his current use case.


I really love my TM-D710...  When it comes time to load MY jeep with a radio, I'm defiantly going to get another Kenwood.  I'll probably skip over the D710, and drop down to the TM-V71... But it's a much better radio, and I don't mind spending the extra money.