Kenwood TM-V71A Dual Band Mobile Radio
Reviewed by Howard Robins, W1HSR ARRL Contributing Editor
Kenwood's TM-V71A is a solid, high quality dual-band mobile V/UHF transceiver. In addition to a full range of expected features, it includes EchoLink sysop mode, wide receiver coverage and some capable programming software.
Kenwood's TM-V71A is a feature packed 2 meter/70 cm radio that includes interesting new capabilities. Specifically, the 'V71A supports an EchoLink sysop mode, which means it can be configured with an Internet connected computer to work as an EchoLink node or link. EchoLink node call signs and access codes can be stored in and sent from 10 dedicated memory channels. They are sent as strings of dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) tones. This feature will allow mobile operators to more easily connect by radio (RF) to remote EchoLink nodes. Of course, local repeater operators must allow such RF access to their nodes. More on this later.
In addition to EchoLink support, the TM-V71A has a long list of traditional features that we've come to expect in mobile transceivers. Transmitter power for both bands is selectable at 5, 10 or 50 W. The wideband receiver provides coverage from 118 MHz to about 1399 MHz in six band steps with some gaps (see Table 1). It also can receive NOAA's weather alert signals and has 10 weather channels.
Putting the TM-V71A to Work
I have some familiarity with Kenwood and other VHF/UHF FM products. I use them regularly in various ways. A Kenwood TM-D700A in my car with the AvMap G4T GPS unit beacons positions on the automatic position reporting system (APRS) by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR. I use a Kenwood TM-G707 at my home station to send APRS weather beacons. My conventional packet station is built on a Yaesu FT-1500M 2 meter radio and is used for both National Traffic System and WinLink access. I use an ICOM IC-V8000 for VHF nets, and I carry a Kenwood TH-F6A. The TM-V71A is in the same class as the TM-D700A in terms of form, function and overall quality.
Programming is fairly intuitive, especially after you have done it once or twice. Button labeling is clear and meaningful from both the control head and mic, unlike some radios I have used.
Setting up an EchoLink node/repeater was a new experience for me, so I had a bit of a learning curve to get over. I found several resources to be extremely helpful in getting me up to speed on the technology and its terminology and especially in understanding sysop mode. These included the "Interfacing" section of the EchoLink software Help pages; the "Support and FAQs" link available at www.echolink.org; and VoIP: Internet