Welcome Home Kenwood TM-741a

Several years ago I bought a Kenwood TM-741a on ebay.  I believe I paid around $400 for it at the time.  It came with the standard TM741a2M/440 modules installed.  This was actually the first 440MHz mobile radio that I ever owned.

The TM741/742 and TM641/642 radios were the modular radios.  Most of them came with 2M/440 modules, but the radio itself had a space for a 3rd module, to make it a tri-bander.  And the 2M/440 modules could be removed and replaced with modules for 10M/6M/2M/220/440/900/1200 – any mix and match of these modules was possible.  I personally always wanted a 220MHz module for mine, but they are so expensive, I’ve never bought one.  Most of the ones I have seen on ebay go for $300+.  I should say they are LISTED for this price, the last few I have seen haven’t actually sold.  And as of the time of this post, I rarely see any modules listed anymore, other than 2M and 440MHz.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a 10M, 900 or 1200 module listed.  The last couple of 220, 6M modules I’ve seen were listed as Buy It Now of around $350.  I’m pretty sure those auctions ended with no buyers.

I like this radio.  I really do.  But I don’t understand why people list them for such high prices.  They are out-dated technologically, and are discontinued by the manufacturer.  Yet when they are listed on ebay in good working condition, most of them will appear for $450-$550 in a Buy It Now auction, with the standard 2M/400 modules installed.  If it should happen to have a 3rd module (usually 6M or 1200MHz), bump the asking price up to $600-$650.  I don’t understand that at all.  Why in the world would you buy an older tech radio for that much money when you can get a brand new V71A from Gigaparts for $365?  You can also buy an entire 220MHz radio for $160.  Granted it is the Chinese TYT TH-9000, so the quality doesn’t compare to a Kenwood, but it is a brand new radio which has 200 memory channels (compared to 100 on the TH-741a) and will output 55 watts on 220MHz (compared to 45 watts on the TM-741a)  The TYT radios are also computer programmable.  I recently joined a Yahoo group for some hams who have found a way to computer program the TM742 radios, but apparently this doesn’t work on the TM-741s.

Anyway, having said all of that, I received my radio back yesterday.  I had mailed it to Cliff down at Avvid for repair.  He is an authorized Kenwood repair tech, and I had emailed him about my problems prior to mailing it.  He agreed to take a look at it for me.  I reported to him that there was a problem with the TX power on the 2M band, and that the CTCSS tones didn’t seem to be working.  I could hit repeaters that didn’t require tones, but not repeaters that did.  This started as an intermittent problem, but then grew to being the norm.  Also all of the lights in the face-plate were out.  Cliff fixed all of these problems for me, and provided me with a diagnostic of the radio.  I received it back yesterday.

I plugged it up last night and talked on the Flame Thrower for about 30 minutes.  I received good reports from some friends and I enjoyed talking on this radio again.  This radio is going to be my main 2M/440MHz rig in the hamshack now.  I have been using the 706 MKIIg for these bands, and will probably continue to do this, but once I get my General license in a couple of weeks, the Icom will probably spend most of its time on the 10-40 meter bands.

Hit me up on 147.14, 146.7 (the flame thrower) or over on the N5ERS repeater at 444.850.  73s.