Kenwood TH-D74A Handheld Ham Radio Review

If you are in search of a high-end handheld radio with advanced features, you may want to take a look at the Kenwood TH-D74A. Powerful radios like this one are what have earned Kenwood the stellar reputation which the company has garnered among ham radio enthusiasts.

The Kenwood TH-D74A is more expensive than some other models of handheld ham radios on the market, but for that extra price, you are getting a radio which includes all the features you could hope for. These include everything from built-in GPS to IF Filtering for better reception. Most are well-executed and perform exactly as you would hope. The display is beautiful and the menus are reasonably easy to navigate, which is important with so many features available.

If you are willing to spring for the higher price, you should find that it pays off. Just keep in mind that you will probably want to purchase an aftermarket antenna. This can greatly enhance the performance of the radio. Also keep in mind that this radio’s steeper learning curve may not be ideal for novices, but should be fine for intermediate and advanced users.


  • Amazing display. The color display is large and easy to read. Everything displays very clearly, even in lighting conditions which are less than ideal.
  • Sturdy design. This radio works well indoors and outdoors, and is manufactured from high quality materials. It is also weatherproofed with a rating of IP54/55.
  • 144/220/430 MHz triband functionality. The 220 MHz band is particularly handy.
  • ARS. Not a lot of ham radios have ARS compatibility on the 220 MHz band, but this one does. This feature enables all kinds of great functionality. For example, you can share GPS data.
  • D-STAR. This is another advanced feature which enables all kinds of functions on your ham radio. You can use it to send a text message, check somebody’s call sign, get online, and more.
  • Good battery life. The battery can last a long time with the Kenwood TH-D74A. Keep in mind that if you want to maximize its lifetime, you need to make sure that you are deactivating some of the advanced features when you are not using them.
  • Numerous other fantastic features. Along with the great features above, the Kenwood TH-D74A features a built-in IF receive filter, dual frequency reception, KISS mode TNC, QSY, APRS, and so much more. All of these features are built right into the radio.


  • The manual is not the best. First of all, it is not very clearly written. Secondly, there are gaps in the information. So you are stuck figuring out some things on your own—which is why I would say this radio is better for intermediate and advanced users than beginners.
  • The price is high. Considering all the features you are getting, however, it is a good value.
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