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tk 690 and 790 remote heads

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cmjonesinc

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I'll start with the fact that I'm not a Kenwood guy, so bear with me. So I've had a dual head tk690h sitting in a box forever that someone gave me. It's a high power unit with the main head attached to the deck and a remote head to go along with it (picture attached). I recently got a tk790 low power single remote head radio. The remote head on the 690 is in far better shape and I wanted to know if I can just swap it with the 790. I only ask because I see the buttons are slightly different and wanted to double check compatibility. My second question is why is the main 690 head attached to the deck so different from the remote head with it? On all the Motorola's I've had the main head and secondary head have pretty much the same layout so I didn't know if there was a reason behind this. Thanks in advance for the schooling.
 

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ramal121

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TK-X90's have two types of heads. Basic and full function. You can easily swap between the two as long as you change the head type under model in the program software.

You can also swap the same type head but you will have to reprogram from archive or a previous read to make the alpha numerics jive with the channel line up.
 

mmckenna

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There was a KCH-10 basic front panel with 8 character display, 5 programable buttons, and a built in speaker.
The KCH-11 was the full feature front panel with 14 character display, 13 programmable buttons and no internal speaker.

Depended on what the end user wanted. Some wanted more buttons and would just use a larger external speaker. Some quieter applications would do fine with the built in speaker on the basic head.
It was just different options for different uses. You could mix the head type depending on what you wanted, for an ambulance, the different functions on the heads could make sense.

The remote kits were different depending on the setup:
KRK-5 was the single band, single head remote kit.
KRK-6DH is your dual head, single band kit.
KRK-8DBH was the dual band/dual head kit.

sSounds like you have a KRK-6DH….

You should be able to swap heads.

Challenge comes if you were converting from a single band to dual band, then there are some chip resistor moves that would have to happen.
 

cmjonesinc

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That's exactly what I wanted to know. Thanks for the responses. My programming cable will be here tomorrow so I'm going to try and get everything installed this weekend.
 

W8UU

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Kenwood's TK-690/790/890 series was one of the most versatile and bulletproof two way radios ever made. They could be easily converted into just about every imaginable arrangement. And easy to program. Other manufacturers should take a lesson ...
 

mrweather

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There was also the KRK-7DB which allowed two drawers to be controlled by one head. I've had such a setup either TK790/890 or TK690H/790 flavour (the 690H being modified for 6M amateur radio).

These radios are built like tanks and have given me years of trouble-free service.
 

KK6ZTE

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You can also swap the same type head but you will have to reprogram from archive or a previous read to make the alpha numerics jive with the channel line up.
That's what I thought. If that's the case, then there is memory in the head...?
 

ramal121

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No prob. Yeah I agree the 90 series is one solid radio. Very flexible and easy to program. It was in production for about 25 years which is quite a run and just recently discontinued. However it is does not meet the requirements for Firescope anymore. Any California fire unit that is strike team capable will have to phase out their 790's by 2024. Cal fire and many departments have already begun the replacement. This should stock the used market quite nicely. Keep your eyes peeled.
 

mmckenna

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That's what I saw too... Thanks. Solves a previous thread that went the other way.
I think you guys are right on. I was thinking about this today...
If you can have basic head and enhanced head on the same RF deck, and both have different channel text lengths, it makes a lot of sense to have the channels names, at least, stored in the head. Would be interesting to know how Kenwood has the data split up. In other words, I'm guessing the channel name text is in the control head, and likely frequency data in the RF deck?
 

cmjonesinc

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One more question since you guys know your stuff. Is there a smaller mic for these things? I ask because this radio is primarily going to be used by a female and the mic is huge. I know some other manufactures make different size mics with the thought of using them with fire gloves on and such. I used to have a 5820 and I feel like I remember it being smaller, but I understand that's a different connector and all. Thanks again for all the help.
 

KK6ZTE

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You can remove the larger mic from the mic end of the cord (there's an RJ-45 style connector under the weather boot) and put a smaller mic like the KMC-65 (new) or KMC-35 (older). I suggest the 65 over the 35, the 35 wasn't great.

You also won't have the integrated noise cancelling that the KMC-27/8 has. The only other issue is you may not get the weatherproofing boot to sit right on the new mic due to different profiles on the ledge that retains the boot.

Nothing a new RJ-45 connector and some scissors won't fix though.....



In other words, I'm guessing the channel name text is in the control head, and likely frequency data in the RF deck?
That has been my experience.
 

mrweather

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One more question since you guys know your stuff. Is there a smaller mic for these things? I ask because this radio is primarily going to be used by a female and the mic is huge.
I've been using an MC-59 mic with my 90 Series and it works just fine. Just swapped it for the KMC-28 head (they're both 8-pin modular). The mic cable boot even fits around the base of the MC-59 head!
 
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