Bad Manuals – Impromptu Programming of a TH-D74A Handheld

Over the weekend at a friend’s ham shack, he handed me a Kenwood THE-D74A and asked me to program his local repeater frequency for him.

With great capabilities to often comes great complexity.

After several minutes of floundering I ask “where’s the manual for this radio?”

So you can follow along here is the link to the English version

Now here I am struggling with an overly complex handheld radio with a poor manual.

The menu structure is quiet complex, as eventually I discovered every setting had a three digit code.

Check out the manual’s diagrams, where numbers, letters, labels and alternates are all used in the manual to indicate a particular key.

So the task was to put in a repeater and tone, but even these tasks are not grouped together.

After about ten minutes total I had it running, but still couldn’t get the frequency stored in memory.

What an elegant piece of rubbish.  Without familiarity or a manual reading session you’re not goring to get the HT working for even the most basic tasks.

And a seriously lacking manual is no roadmap to operating success.

Be certain this model is not uniquely challenged.  Whether the cheapest HT from some Chinese outfit to other high end high capability HT from the other HT brands, they all such for programming.

Many hams by default use a computer to program their HTs of all flavors rather than manually programming.  There are donation ware and paid programs that will handle the task with the right accessory cable.

There is a steady market for aftermarket manuals laid out in logical and usable formats.  The Nifty ones have worked well for me.

Additionally there are YouTube videos where hams who actually figured out how to program these radios share what they learned.

We shouldn’t need to resort to third party resources to do basic operations in the first place.



One thought on “Bad Manuals – Impromptu Programming of a TH-D74A Handheld

  1. Robert E. Krautkramer KD9GCX says:

    I agree totally. I am relatively new to ham radio and came to the same conclusion. All variables for programing should be on the same menu page and then have a simple method to add to the radio memory. Yaesu I think is a little better but not by much.

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