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Kenwood TH-D72 2m/440 APRS HT Review

Need2Know

KK4GMU - SWL only
Jan 26, 2012
136
12
28
Ocala, FL
www.muccings.blogspot.com
D-star

This radio appears to do about everything except D-Star. Is it possible to run this radio via D-Star? And if so, what changes/components would be required? D-Star is not a priority, but just wondering - down the road - what the possibilities are short of getting an I-Com.
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,043
1,348
283
This radio appears to do about everything except D-Star. Is it possible to run this radio via D-Star? And if so, what changes/components would be required? D-Star is not a priority, but just wondering - down the road - what the possibilities are short of getting an I-Com.

No, it cannot do D-STAR, nor can it be converted to do D-STAR. D-STAR is digital whereas this radio is analog only.
 

snakyjake

Member
Nov 20, 2011
39
1
18
The problem with D-Star (and similar) is that if you play with D-Star you limit yourself to Icom technology and radio; meaning your communication is Icom to Icom. If you want to talk to someone who doesn't have D-Star, you're out of luck. I don't like those kind of obstacles. If D-Star was more popular, and not a niche, I would be more open to it.

What I like about HAM radio is maximizing the ability to talk with anyone.
 

Need2Know

KK4GMU - SWL only
Jan 26, 2012
136
12
28
Ocala, FL
www.muccings.blogspot.com
The problem with D-Star (and similar) is that if you play with D-Star you limit yourself to Icom technology and radio; meaning your communication is Icom to Icom. If you want to talk to someone who doesn't have D-Star, you're out of luck. I don't like those kind of obstacles. If D-Star was more popular, and not a niche, I would be more open to it.

What I like about HAM radio is maximizing the ability to talk with anyone.

That's just as well then. At my age if I wait for the D-Star technology to mature to all the major brands and the majority of hams I'll be too old to see or hear anything anyway.:blink:
 

Need2Know

KK4GMU - SWL only
Jan 26, 2012
136
12
28
Ocala, FL
www.muccings.blogspot.com
Software

Aside from the programming software provided by Kenwood, what software is available for this radio that enhances the transparency of its operation by providing a graphic interface of what is going on with signal power, signal locations, repeater locations, and other nice to know things?

Which ones are your favorites and what are their best features?
 
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Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,043
1,348
283
Aside from the programming software provided by Kenwood, what software is available for this radio that enhances the transparency of its operation by providing a graphic interface of what is going on with signal power, signal locations, repeater locations, and other nice to know things?

Which ones are your favorites and what are their best features?

I use APRSIS32, which is free. It works cleanly with the radio and gives you a nice map of all the APRS activity in your area. It can even handle the IGATE duties if needed.
 

Need2Know

KK4GMU - SWL only
Jan 26, 2012
136
12
28
Ocala, FL
www.muccings.blogspot.com
There is one other D72 owner in my area. He also owns an I-Com D-Star capable radio. He says there are very few D-Star or APRS users in our area. The closest APRS users are mostly 50 miles south in the Orlando area.

Our local county Emergency Services does not use either system yet. One of the reasons that was explained to me is that files can't be attached to the transmissions, such as lists of names of people at a shelter during emergencies.

But of the 2 systems, D-Star and APRS, APRS is less dependent on the internet infrastructure than D-Star is, so if the "net" went down, we would still have APRS capability using GPS screens linked to the APRS capable radios. So that tells me APRS would be the more useful system in a SHTF situation. But you still need more users in the area than what we have here.

The D72 is the only HT I am aware of that has a USB port. What are the other uses of the USB port on the D72 besides programming the HT and sending packets through the computer? Are there any other computer interfacing options or other uses?
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,043
1,348
283
The USB port is used for programming and using the TNC from external software. You can also download GPS track logs through USB.

It is absolutely possible to attach files over RF using this radio by using packet. This can be done point to point between two stations or using the winlink email system. I've done it using the RMS Express application and the D72 to a local winlink node.
 

Need2Know

KK4GMU - SWL only
Jan 26, 2012
136
12
28
Ocala, FL
www.muccings.blogspot.com
Yes. I've just learned that just about any text or link can be dragged and dropped into the APRS IS32 Messages "Chat" box and be received on the other end.

But so far I've done this WITHOUT a radio. So I haven't quite digested how this software interfaces with radio communications.

How much of the above type of "chat" message is the D72 able to read without a laptop hooked in? How dependent is APRS on computers if the internet "grid" is down?

I'm trying to get my arms around the benefits of the "radio" portion of the graphical and text communications functions of APRS.
 

snakyjake

Member
Nov 20, 2011
39
1
18
There is no need for a computer and APRS. A computer just makes texting easier and a nice graphical interface with maps and easy access to features.

Transmitting APRS can be done on any radio. I built a TinyTrack.

And if/when you get your APRS enabled radio, and if you live in a populated area, you'll notice there is no need to worry about not being able to communicate via APRS. The traffic is quite busy where I live.
 

Need2Know

KK4GMU - SWL only
Jan 26, 2012
136
12
28
Ocala, FL
www.muccings.blogspot.com
And if/when you get your APRS enabled radio, and if you live in a populated area, you'll notice there is no need to worry about not being able to communicate via APRS. The traffic is quite busy where I live.
Where are you?

I notice a sprinkling of 4 or 5 signals in a 20 mile radius of my location depending on time of day. I guess with a 70cm repeater two miles away I should be able to reach out with a 5 watt HT.
 

ka4kam

Member
Feb 13, 2012
7
0
11
valdosta georgia
Thanks for the in depth reviews I am new here and was looking at the vx8dr and the th d72a at the hamcation this past weekend and left still unsure
But after some more time to look at what each does and what I want to do the kenwood is how I will go
here were I live in south georgia 6 meter and 220 is not neeeded, but i really want to get into aprs and satellite work so kenwood is the way to go.

I do have a icom 92ad for dstar and just bought the kenwood ts 590s after passing my General exam saturday at the hamcation.

plus i will spend more $$$ buying extra battery and gps for yaesu and programming software that all comes with the kenwood.
 

Need2Know

KK4GMU - SWL only
Jan 26, 2012
136
12
28
Ocala, FL
www.muccings.blogspot.com
but i really want to get into aprs and satellite work so kenwood is the way to go.
...and programming software that all comes with the kenwood.


What will your uses be for APRS? What aspects of it draw your interest? As you might have read, I am leaning toward the D72 but have not pushed the button yet.

I am a geographer at heart and like the graphic/visual aspect of the operations of radios, e.g. signal locations, data transfers, both voice and text. I'm thinking these will be somehow useful in emergency communications, but haven't connected the dots in my mind yet.
 

ka4kam

Member
Feb 13, 2012
7
0
11
valdosta georgia
What will your uses be for APRS? What aspects of it draw your interest? As you might have read, I am leaning toward the D72 but have not pushed the button yet.

I am a geographer at heart and like the graphic/visual aspect of the operations of radios, e.g. signal locations, data transfers, both voice and text. I'm thinking these will be somehow useful in emergency communications, but haven't connected the dots in my mind yet.

I am totally new to all of this but the I really want to learn satellite work to one day contact the ISS! and I would like to learn aprs for emergecy ops and just find the only aprs thing fascinating and when traveling it will be fun to see other haves in the area.
one thing that really drove the kenwood is i can hook it up to computer and control it and do more with the aprs than with the yaesu. plus I like the full duplex for sat work. Dstar is fun but if you lose internet then you lose dstar.
atleast i can hook kenwood up to gps or avmap and still operate.
 

Need2Know

KK4GMU - SWL only
Jan 26, 2012
136
12
28
Ocala, FL
www.muccings.blogspot.com
...and I would like to learn aprs for emergecy ops .

I am interested in the D72 for the same reasons. Can you provide a scenario or two that describe how YOU would use APRS in an emergency scenario, especially if there are limited APRS capable units in an area. I can understand the APRS abilities if all mobile operators could plot their locations, but I'm sketchy on a scenario with just a smattering of such devices.

I guess if I'm out and about and I get into a jam, APRS could act in a manner similar to On-Star and locate my position for those who might be looking - they would need to know that APRS capability is located with me.

Search and Rescue teams would benefit by everyone knowing where all team members are located.

When Ham operators are doing public service communications, e.g. providing communications for a group of volunteers involved in a lake front clean up effort, knowing the whereabouts of the ham operators providing communications support along the lake front could be helpful.

Other examples?

Is anyone aware of a comprehenisve listing of the ways APRS communications have actually been useful? I could brainstorm potential scenarios all day, but I have no idea if such ideas are practical.
 
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