Programming kenwood tmv 71a or yaesu 8800

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darticus

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Relatively new to this but which brand is usually easier to program. Can't deal with a nightmare rig. Do they usually come with software to program? Still trying to make the decision to which to buy. Thanks Ron
 

LtDoc

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I think the Kenwood is easier to program than Yaesu radios. Kenwood's programming methods seem more intuitive to me. Kenwood also has free software, I had to buy the software for Yaesu. The software for Yaesu radios is well worth the expense though (for me), it certainly beat doing things from the panel buttons. That's my personal opinion! I'm sure others think just the opposite.
The programming was the reason I sold the Yaesu. It did just exactly what it was supposed to do, I just had lots of trouble programming it.
- 'Doc
 

Skypilot007

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The TM-V71A software is ok, it is a bit on the slow side but it's better than manual programming. Also on the TM-V71A you have to read the radio with the software before setting up the radio. This has to be done with each individual radio if you have more than one so no setting up the programming before the radio arrives. You cannot share a file from one radio to another, you would have to copy and paste the contents of one radio file to another which isn't that hard.

I haven't played with the Yaesu yet so no comments on for that rig.
 

darticus

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Does anyone know if the programming comes with the Kenwood and if its really a hard process for a beginner? Thinking the Kenwood might be the one I'll buy but for $389 you than have to buy the mounting kit for the car. Anyone see any better deals/ Thanks Ron
 

LtDoc

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The Kenwood programming software is a free download. Just go to Kenwood's site and get the "MCP-2A" program.
- 'Doc
 

Skypilot007

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The remote head kit for the TM-V71A seems robust enough, no problems with mine with a year of service so far. The included extension cable for the remote head is short. If you plan on trunk mounting the radio use standard cat-5 cable to extend the cable as needed or make a single cable with a phone jack at the radio head end.
 

LtDoc

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The one thing that I added to my '71A control head is a sun visor. I've had a couple of different control heads mounted in the same place and the glare is a problem. Nothing fancy, just a sort of inverted 'U' thingy made of plastic held on with a rubber band. The radio 'body' is under a seat so the control cable is long enough for that with some 'extra'. The one thing I haven't figured out yet is where to place an external speaker for best listening. There's just no 'convenient' place I can think of. Oh well, like that's a real biggy, right?
- 'Doc

(Guess I could route the speakers through the 'car' speakers, haven't tried that yet. Wonder if there's a 'mute' feature on the radio/CD player? Wish I hadn't thought of that, now I'll have to try it...)
 

darticus

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Bought the radio and downloaded the software. The radio doesn't come with a cable. What did you do? My computer has a USB and and some other 15 hole plug and an ethernet plug I think. What to do??? Thanks Ron

The Kenwood programming software is a free download. Just go to Kenwood's site and get the "MCP-2A" program.
- 'Doc
 

LtDoc

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The 'Data' jack is the one you want to use. It's a 6 pin round jack on the '71A. Kenwood's cable has a 9 pin DIN connector on the other end (not worth the price) which connects to the computer. My computer doesn't have a 9 pin serial port so I use a serial to USB converter to connect that data cable to my computer. I already had a data cable and USB converter so can't tell you where to find the pin-outs for them, but, Kenwood's manuals should have it in it somewhere. Making one is one option, or buying one is another. That 'Data' jack is a standard one, I think all brands of radios use the same pin-outs. The required cable ought to be fairly common, I'd think.
The serial to USB converters are a different story, there are a number of them, all of them don't work with all computer's operating systems. No idea what you have so can't make any recommendations with that. (Not real sure which one I have either, so I'm no help with that at all.)
Best advice is to read that manual! It'll tell you what you need, and need to know. When you get totally confused, ask more questions (I had to also).
- 'Doc
 

darticus

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Thanks for the help. If I could get that 6 pin data jack I could make the cable they sell with the two 1/8 inch headphone jacks as I have a mic and output jacks on the side of my notebook. I guess thats a 6 pin data jack so I'll search for that jack in radio shack. Do you have a pic of the program being filled in correctly as It would help me to see what is put in the table and where. Thanks Ron

The 'Data' jack is the one you want to use. It's a 6 pin round jack on the '71A. Kenwood's cable has a 9 pin DIN connector on the other end (not worth the price) which connects to the computer. My computer doesn't have a 9 pin serial port so I use a serial to USB converter to connect that data cable to my computer. I already had a data cable and USB converter so can't tell you where to find the pin-outs for them, but, Kenwood manuals should have it in it somewhere. Making one is one option, or buying one is another. That 'Data' jack is a standard one, I think all brands of radios use the same pin-outs. The required cable ought to be fairly common, I'd think.
The serial to USB converters are a different story, there are a number of them, all of them don't work with all computer's operating systems. No idea what you have so can't make any recommendations with that. (Not real sure which one I have either, so I'm no help with that at all.)
Best advice is to read that manual! It'll tell you what you need, and need to know. When you get totally confused, ask more questions (I had to also).
- 'Doc
 

LtDoc

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Maybe the only 'different' thing I do with the programming software is to turn the "Tree" view on. That just makes it more convenient for me to get to several of the setup features than using the 'buttons' at the top of the program screen.
Most of the things in the program are explained pretty well under the "Help" button. Go through that list and see if there's anything that you may want to do or change. Go through all of it! Lots of things that probably won't be understandable immediately, but they will after you 'play' with things for a while. The 'default' settings will usually tide you over until you find something that you want to do differently. (I don't use the 'Voice' announcement thingy so have turned it off. I also like the 'green' screen better than the amber, so changed that too.)
My 'way' of doing things may not suit you at all, so finding out what's available/desirable for you is the thing to do. It takes time so don't try to do everything to start with. At least get a fair understanding before changing things randomly. It's also a very good idea to 'save' the original default setting under a unique name before making changes, so you can put everything back if you make a mistake or change your mind later.
I'm not sure what else may be worth telling you, so you 'noodle' around in there and see what you think. Have fun.
- 'Doc
 

W9BU

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The 'Data' jack is the one you want to use. It's a 6 pin round jack on the '71A. Kenwood's cable has a 9 pin DIN connector on the other end (not worth the price) which connects to the computer.
The "DATA" jack passes audio to and from the radio and is used to connect the radio to a computer sound card for modes such as Echolink. The DATA jack is a 6-pin mini-DIN.

The "PC" jack passes binary data to and from the radio and is used for programming the radio. The PC jack is an 8-pin mini-DIN.

In order to program the radio, you need a cable which will connect to your computer at one end and the PC jack at the other end. Your options for this cable are:

  1. Buy Kenwood's PG-5H kit which includes both Data and PC cables.
  2. Buy an 8-pin mini-DIN serial cable. This type of cable was used, I believe, to connect printers to early Macintosh computers. You can find cables on-line with a male 8-pin mini-DIN plug on at least one end. You then cut off the other end and connect a 9-pin DB-9 female connector using the pin-outs shown on page 90 of the TM-V71A manual. I have done this a couple times in the past and it works.
  3. Buy a pre-made 8-pin mini-DIN male to 9-pin DB-9 female cable. One source is PCCABLES.COM - Computer Cables, Camera Cables, HDMI Cables, VGA Cable, DVI Cables, USB Cables, Network Cables, Firewire, Power Cord -- search for part number 70810. At $7, it's much cheaper than buying the cable from Kenwood and doesn't require cable assembly skills.
  4. Buy a pre-made 8-pin mini-DIN male to USB cable from RT Systems -- part number USB-K5G. It's been reported that this cable works fine with Kenwood's software. Price $30.
Note that if your computer does not have an RS-232 port with a DB-9 male connector, you may need to purchase an RS-232 to USB converter. For computer programming of radios, some work, some don't. If you can find a cable with the FTDI chip and if you load the proper drivers, it very likely will work.

One note about programming this radio with the newly-licensed "narrowband" frequencies: The narrowband licenses in the VHF public safety and business band are assigned on a 7.5 kHz channel spacing. The TM-V71 does not have a 7.5 kHz channel step size (nor does it have 2.5 kHz steps). As a result, you may not be able to program some narrowband frequencies. The Kenwood programming software and the radio will round to the nearest 5kHz which means you'll be at least 2.5 kHz off frequency.
 
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darticus

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Thanks for all the great info. I have been programming manually and it seems easy. I'm sure its not easy to put in hundreds of frequencies. Are you pretty sure the 30 dollar cable USB-K5G you list will do the job? Thanks again Ron

The "DATA" jack passes audio to and from the radio and is used to connect the radio to a computer sound card for modes such as Echolink. The DATA jack is a 6-pin mini-DIN.

The "PC" jack passes binary data to and from the radio and is used for programming the radio. The PC jack is an 8-pin mini-DIN.

In order to program the radio, you need a cable which will connect to your computer at one end and the PC jack at the other end. Your options for this cable are:

  1. Buy Kenwood PG-5H kit which includes both Data and PC cables.
  2. Buy an 8-pin mini-DIN serial cable. This type of cable was used, I believe, to connect printers to early Macintosh computers. You can find cables on-line with a male 8-pin mini-DIN plug on at least one end. You then cut off the other end and connect a 9-pin DB-9 female connector using the pin-outs shown on page 90 of the TM-V71A manual. I have done this a couple times in the past and it works.
  3. Buy a pre-made 8-pin mini-DIN male to 9-pin DB-9 female cable. One source is PCCABLES.COM - Computer Cables, Camera Cables, HDMI Cables, VGA Cable, DVI Cables, USB Cables, Network Cables, Firewire, Power Cord -- search for part number 70810. At $7, it's much cheaper than buying the cable from Kenwood and doesn't require cable assembly skills.
  4. Buy a pre-made 8-pin mini-DIN male to USB cable from RT Systems -- part number USB-K5G. It's been reported that this cable works fine with Kenwood's software. Price $30.
Note that if your computer does not have an RS-232 port with a DB-9 male connector, you may need to purchase an RS-232 to USB converter. For computer programming of radios, some work, some don't. If you can find a cable with the FTDI chip and if you load the proper drivers, it very likely will work.

One note about programming this radio with the newly-licensed "narrow band" frequencies: The narrow band licenses in the VHF public safety and business band are assigned on a 7.5 kHz channel spacing. The TM-V71 does not have a 7.5 kHz channel step size (nor does it have 2.5 kHz steps). As a result, you may not be able to program some narrow band frequencies. The Kenwood programming software and the radio will round to the nearest 5kHz which means you'll be at least 2.5 kHz off frequency.
 

W9BU

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Are you pretty sure the 30 dollar cable USB-K5G you list will do the job?
I do not have direct experience with this cable. However, here is the response from Bill AC8IH in the TM-D710/TM-V71 Yahoo Group when I asked if the RT Systems USB cable would work with Kenwood's software:

ABSOLUTELY - that is how I have my TM-D710A hooked up here and the RTSystems cable works with their software, with the Kenwood MCP-2A program and with UI-View. I've even used it with a terminal program (HyperTerminal) to send direct commands to the TM-D710.
 

darticus

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Thought you would be the best to ask this question.
I got the cable that W9RXR said would work, it did, and started to use the program. I first wrote the radio to the program. I manually had 5 stations I put in. The Rx step shows 5.0 for 2 meter frequencies and 25.0 for the 440 frequencies that I put in. Where do these numbers come from? I didn't put them in the radio manually, but its now put in the program. What do they mean?
I also have a simplex frequency and the program added a .60 to the offset. I thought this would have been nothing in this section for simplex. I didn't pick + or - for this. Thanks Ron

Maybe the only 'different' thing I do with the programming software is to turn the "Tree" view on. That just makes it more convenient for me to get to several of the setup features than using the 'buttons' at the top of the program screen.
Most of the things in the program are explained pretty well under the "Help" button. Go through that list and see if there's anything that you may want to do or change. Go through all of it! Lots of things that probably won't be understandable immediately, but they will after you 'play' with things for a while. The 'default' settings will usually tide you over until you find something that you want to do differently. (I don't use the 'Voice' announcement thingy so have turned it off. I also like the 'green' screen better than the amber, so changed that too.)
My 'way' of doing things may not suit you at all, so finding out what's available/desirable for you is the thing to do. It takes time so don't try to do everything to start with. At least get a fair understanding before changing things randomly. It's also a very good idea to 'save' the original default setting under a unique name before making changes, so you can put everything back if you make a mistake or change your mind later.
I'm not sure what else may be worth telling you, so you 'noodle' around in there and see what you think. Have fun.
- 'Doc
 

darticus

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Sparta, New Jersey
I can't get AUTOMATIC Symplex Checker ASC to turn on. I have the radio on a frequency and I hit the REV button for 1 sec as the manual says. When I hit it the R comes on but not the R in the black box. If I hold the button in for a second the regular R just turns off. Should I be in a special mode to do this. The Manual just says hit REV for 1 sec. Thanks Ron
 
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