A new Kenwood TM-D710e mobile rig has been installed in the car and what a revelation it is.
The purpose of purchasing the rig was to enable APRS operations whilst mobile, but that aside the rig already impressing. The large screen that displays both bands simultaneously is a plus over the outgoing Yaesu FT-7800’s much smaller single band display.
Easy to install remote head
The rig comes with the remote head fixing kit as standard, mainly because the display head can’t be attached to the main rig’s body. But that’s ideal as the FT-7800 is currently mounted on the storage tray beneath the passenger seat. Even so, the remote head kit from Yaesu includes no way of easily fixing the head to a modern curvy dashboard or windscreen; the Kenwood, on the other hand, was easily fixed in a few minutes.
Strange microphone connection
The only thing that perplexes me is the microphone connection. For a radio, who’s main body is denied to be located out of the way with the head mounted conveniently, why is the microphone socket on the main body and not in the head unit. This is a real pain as the short microphone lead won’t stretch easily from beneath the passenger seat to the driver’s seat. Surely the mic socket would be much better located behind, or on the side, of the remote head?
The one thing at I do love about Kenwoods, and I’ve got three now, is the menu. It’s wonderfully easy to navigate and there’s an air of familiarity which has evolved gently since my elderly TH-D7e handheld. Menu functions are grouped under logical headings with aptly named subheadings beneath. The headings and sub-headings, even on the handhelds with smaller screens, are in plain English, so there’s no cryptic abbreviations to interpret, or menu numbers to remember. This is no doubt possible due to the use of dot-matrix displays which enable fully-formed characters to be displayed instead of approximations of characters that is possible using segment displayed.
The radio’s only been installed for a few hours, but the initial impressions are excellent. Let’s see how it stands up to a few weeks operating.