Kenwood TH-F6A vs Yaesu VX-6R

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alins

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Quick questions:

1. Which has better radio and audio performance? (don't worry about ruggedness or being waterproof).

2. Is lack of a 2.5 kHz step a practical issue, say compared to Wouxun or Baofeng units?

3. Is either manufacturer planning to release a wideband RX model with 2.5 kHz steps?

Thanks!

Paul
 

WB4CS

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I don't own either radio, so I can't add a comment on the performance between the two radios.

As for the lack of 2.5 kHz steps, since it's very doubtful that you'll run into an amateur radio repeater (or simplex frequency) that would need the 2.5 kHz step, it really shouldn't be an issue.

Both radios have a very wide receiver, which could actually hurt receiver performance and open up the potential to receive intermod. If the lack of 2.5 kHz steps in the receiver will hinder your ability to listen to a public safety frequency that uses the 2.5 kHz step, you may see better performance using a portable scanner to receive those frequencies. Worst case, you could tune the HT to the nearest 5 kHz frequency with FM (not FMN) and should be able to monitor the frequency without much issue.

As for the plans of either company, you probably know as much as any of us do. If or when a new radio is announced it should be pretty easy to find out the specs of the radio.
 

N8IAA

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Quick questions:

1. Which has better radio and audio performance? (don't worry about ruggedness or being waterproof).
Never owned a VX6R. Did own a TH-F6A though. Audio was decent. Don't know what you mean by radio performance. Both access repeaters. The Kenwood does give you more wideband RX than the Yaesu.

2. Is lack of a 2.5 kHz step a practical issue, say compared to Wouxun or Baofeng units?
As was posted, 2.5 KHz steps are not used in ham radio. The Wouxun and Baofengs are sold as ham radio, but are certified for other than ham use.

3. Is either manufacturer planning to release a wideband RX model with 2.5 kHz steps?
Not likely. Being that there wasn't anything released at Dayton this year. Please refer to my answer to question 2.
Thanks!

Paul
Kenwood and the commercial side of Yaesu, Vertex, make portables that do the 2.5 KHz steps.
Are you a ham that wants a radio that can be used as a scanner? Or, are you interested just scanning?
Larry
 

alins

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Thanks. I'm a ham who is interested in a radio that can be used as a scanner.

At the same time I wonder what are the advantages of the Yaesu or Kenwood units over Wouxun, if you don't care for wideband receive?

Paul
 

XTS3000

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I've owned both. Hated the Kenwood TH-F6A. It could not be used in and around any computer without getting static on just about any freq that was scanning. It was useless in any high RF environment as well. I thought I had received a defective F6A, so I returned it for a replacement. Replacement was exactly the same as original.

The F6A feels cheap, while the Yaesu feels solid.

The worst handheld I've ever owned was the Kenwood F6A.
 

w2xq

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The VX6-R is a bullet-proof radio. Left mine on the roof of my SUV, later flew off at 40-50 MPH onto a highway. Picked it up, was fine. Scuffed a corner of the pseudo-leather cover. Still have the radio more than 6 years later.

Also, IMHO an HT is a poor substitute for a scanner. Modes and steps aside, the scan speed is too slow. Multiple trips DEN-PHL on Amtrak clearly showed me the differences, and that was scanning only ~100 AAR channels.

HTH.
 
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alins

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Very good points by everybody; I am learning as we go by. Thank you.

So then if we put aside the scanning/wide receive capabilities of the Yaesu or Kenwood, do they have advantages, say over the Wouxun KG-UV8D or KG-UV6D, or the Baofeng UV-B5?

Paul
 

WB4CS

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Very good points by everybody; I am learning as we go by. Thank you.

So then if we put aside the scanning/wide receive capabilities of the Yaesu or Kenwood, do they have advantages, say over the Wouxun KG-UV8D or KG-UV6D, or the Baofeng UV-B5?

Paul
Your mileage may vary, but in my opinion going with a Yaesu/Kenwood/Icom radio gives you the advantage of better product quality and warranty support. On the other hand, the cheap Chinese radios are just that - cheap. They don't cost much, but you do get what you pay for.

Many people will say that the Baofang/Woxun radios are well built and good. While I've never owned either, I've known many hams that have had various issues with the cheaper radios, issues like poor transmit audio, bad receivers, and overall bad product quality. I have owned Kenwood and Yaesu handhelds and they have all been very solid on performance and quality.

My advice would be to weigh in your options. How much money do you want to spend? What features are most important to you in a radio? Choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.
 

AK9R

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I own a Kenwood TH-F6A, a Kenwood TH-D72A, and a Yaesu VG-8GR, so I can't make a direct comparison for you.

The TH-F6A does seem to be a bit more rugged than the VX-8GR and I suspect that that comparison also applies to the VX-6R.

On the other hand, I curse the guy who developed Yaesu's user interface on the VX-8GR. If the VX-6R is similar, the TH-F6A will beat it hands down.

My only real objection to the TH-F6A is that it's so small. Buttons are small. Display is small. If you have big hands, you may find operating the buttons to be challenging.
 

Kirk

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I own or have used a few of the Chinese radios. My newest "ham" portable is a Yaesu FT-50R, which is probably 20 years old now.

The Baofeng I have (UV-B5) is the best $38 radio I've ever owned. That said, it would drive me crazy if it were my primary radio. Scan is awful, and you can't add/delete channels from the scan list without reprogramming from the computer. Transmit and receive audio are fine, I can manage to program it from the front panel (in a pinch, using CHIRP is way better), and it's cheap cheap cheap. Given the hash I hear on the duck antenna, I wouldn't dream of using it with an external antenna. It performs like you'd expect a $38 radio to perform.

The Wouxun (KG-UV3) seems to be of better build quality, but not by much. Programming is harder for me, and it has the same scan issues as the Baofeng. I notice less RF hash with it than the Baofeng. Given the choice between the two, I'd pick the Baofeng on price alone.

I also have a Puxing PX-UV973. I really like this radio. It has dual receivers and can do cross band repeat. Scan is horribly slow, but you can at least add/delete channels from the scan list using the keyboard on the radio itself. Build quality, Rx/Tx audio and performance are about the same as the Wouxun. This one is a keeper.

That said, if it weren't for my new found interest in DMR, I'd probably buy an FT-60. I loved my FT-50, and it's still the best radio I own for dialing up a frequency, offset and tone and just getting on the air. The FT-60 (it's replacement) is now many years old, but the design is great. You'd be happy with a FT-60 as your only radio. I'm not sure you would with a Baofeng or Wouxun.

Like the others have said, get a scanner for scanning or you will be disappointed in any of these radios. The scan rate is fine for scanning a bunch of seldom used ham repeaters if you're looking for a conversation, but if you're listening to public safety, you're going to miss enough that you won't know what's going on.
 

N2MWE

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I happen to have both radios. I use the THF6 in my car as a tri band "mobile" radio. This radio transmits ful five watts on all three bands, whereas the VX6 only transmits a watt or two on 220. Don't get me wrong, the VX6 truly is built like a brick. I like the Kenwood better in the car and the Yaesu portable
 

alins

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My situation is that I have a Wouxun KG-UV6D and am being presented with a choice of a $300 radio as a gift. So that's how I settled on either the TH-F6A or the VX-6R. For $300 of course I can also get two KG-UV8D units, but the delta of the 8D over 6D is not that much.

Paul
 

vagrant

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The TH-F6A has simultaneous dual frequency receive. For me this is handy to monitor a particular frequency while scanning with the other side. I can also scan two different bands simultaneously, or scan through a set of programmed frequencies on one and scan through a particular band on the other, etc. I am not sure if the VX-6R offers this functionality.

Now for the interesting bit, XTS3000 has a good point that the receiver on the TH-F6A can be overloaded. Welcome to the world of wideband receivers. It works for me because it is small and I use a small antenna, but can hit the repeaters in my area. It works well enough for me on VHF/UHF, but it's a dog on HF receive.

While I own a TH-F6A and several other HT's, I use a Yaesu VR-500 for receiving when I need something handheld. That receiver is much better than the TH-F6A, but I'm moving into apples vs oranges area.

I also own a Baofeng UV-5R. It was the first amateur radio I purchased. It sits in the glovebox of my vehicle and is used as the fox during a transmitter hunt. It works, but the screen goes black if you TX often as it heats up. Even when it's just hot in the car, it will go black. It works, but you cannot see anything. For $40, it has it's place for my radio needs. I would purchase another if it died.
 

vagrant

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My situation is that I have a Wouxun KG-UV6D and am being presented with a choice of a $300 radio as a gift. So that's how I settled on either the TH-F6A or the VX-6R. For $300 of course I can also get two KG-UV8D units, but the delta of the 8D over 6D is not that much.
Ahhh...now we all know the situation. Perhaps just pick up a Yaesu FT-60 and spend the rest, or spend it all on antennas for the car/home along with some coax.
 

Muskratt

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I use the icom t70a-hd 99% of the time as a scanner. It doesn't have wideband receive like the F6A or VX-6R however. Scans along at a nice clip - goes through 50 channels in about 2 seconds. No RF problems with it sitting a couple feet from my computer and router using the supplied duck antenna.
 

ShawnInPaso

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I have the VX6R. Tough little radio, great receiver and good TX audio, Only potential downside is the user interface. If you do not use functions frequently then the manual is needed. It is also very good on battery usage. I'd rate it 9 out of 10 for handhelds.
 

AK9R

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I use the THF6 in my car as a tri band "mobile" radio. This radio transmits ful five watts on all three bands, whereas the VX6 only transmits a watt or two on 220.
If 222 MHz band performance is important to the OP, this point can't be ignored.
 

alins

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From the reviews and comments here it appears that the VX-6R is the better overall radio. Some of the Kenwood reviews claim that the intermod problem has been fixed in models appearing after 2004, or that at least intermod on the ham bands is well controlled. Also for somebody like me who is getting back to the hobby, the 5W on 220 on the Kenwood is attractive but I'm not sure if I will need it. Still undecided.
 

WB4CS

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From the reviews and comments here it appears that the VX-6R is the better overall radio. Some of the Kenwood reviews claim that the intermod problem has been fixed in models appearing after 2004, or that at least intermod on the ham bands is well controlled. Also for somebody like me who is getting back to the hobby, the 5W on 220 on the Kenwood is attractive but I'm not sure if I will need it. Still undecided.
I'd say that's a good choice. I'm a huge fan of Kenwood products for VHF/UHF but they do have their problems. Both of the 2M Kenwoods I have (TM-281 and TH-K20) are rock solid radios and are built to commercial standards. However, the dual band Kenwood I have (TM-V71) is horrible when it comes to intermod. I can hardly scan 70cm without the radio constantly stopping on intermod from all of the 700/800 MHz systems in the area.

I've not had any intermod issues with the Yaesu FT-60 dual band HT, but then again I only use it with a rubber-ducky antenna and haven't tried it on an external antenna.

That's kind of the issue with any radio with a wide-band receiver. The wider the receive, the more prone a radio is to picking up intermod. I personally would love to see the return of amateur gear that ONLY received the amateur bands. I imagine that would knock out a good bit of intermod complaints. The radio wouldn't double as a scanner, but with so much moving to digital I think it's less important to have wide-band receive on ham gear these days.
 

w2xq

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FWIW for me the VX6-R has been resistant to intermod when I've been in hospitals in Center City Philadelphia. AM and SWBC coverage with the duck antenna is mediocre at best; I toss a telescoping BBC antenna into the go-bag and that's behaved well when in a hotel inside the Chicago loop.

It isn't difficult to program manually, but for frequent wholesale changes (think traveling on vacation) for me software is a must.

Carrying around a manual, to remind me of not-often-used functions and menus, is a pain. My solution? Copies of PDF manuals for both the VX6-R and FT-8800R mobile were uploaded to a Dropbox account for access by my smartphone.

These last two comments are not intended to pick on Yaesu. Kenwood, ICOM, Alinco, GRE, Uniden, and others producing these multilayered menu radios are equally guilty of confusing me.

HTH.
 
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