The versatile Kenwood TH-F6A

In reply to my recent post about the Yaesu VX-3R, SWLing Post reader Tha Dood comments:

[The Yaesu VX-3R] is a neat little HT, but the Kenwood TH-F6A is way more versatile.

How? Full 5W on 2m, 222MHz, and 440MHz, and will RX 150KHz to 1.3GHz in AM, FM, FM wide, NBFM, USB, LSB, and CW. All that in a size of a pack of cigs. Yes, it will overload easily, but something that wide banded and this small, I kind of expected that.

However, want to hear what your wireless FM innercom sounds like on 175KHz? You can do that. Want to hear what your 222.1MHz transverter sounds like on SSB? You can do that. Need to tune-in to local AM / FM radio when power goes out? You can do that. Want to listen to CB CH19 truckers gripe about traffic conditions? You can do that. Want to listen to aircraft traffic at an air show? You can do that. You want to monitor 6M 50.125MHz USB to hear when that band opens? You can do that.

No, it doesn’t have D-Star, DMR, Fusion, or even SW’s DRM, but analog-wise this HT is so versatile, what else is out there like it?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the TH-F6A!

A couple more things I like about the TH-F6A:

  • it meets MIL-STD 810 C/D/E standards for resistance to vibration, shock, humidity and light rain
  • It has a dedicated number keypad for direct frequency entry (something, sadly, the VX-3R lacks)

I’ll put the TH-F6A on my “wish list” this year and perhaps give it a thorough review. (Perhaps Santa Claus is listening!?)

Here’s a snapshot of TH-F6 pricing at time of posting:

7 thoughts on “The versatile Kenwood TH-F6A

  1. Steve

    Coincidentally, I’m putting my very lightly used TH-F6A on eBay tonight (user name steve761). (If this type of comment is considered inappropriate, please delete it.) I’m an inactive ham, which is why I’m selling, and a longtime reader of the SWLing Post.

    Reply
  2. pu3hag

    Hey Thomas! Long time reader from Brazil.

    The TH-F6A is indeed a jewel! I don’t have one with me any longer, but I remember using it quite often due it’s versatility and overall good performance. LF, MF, HF, TV Sound, Air traffic, amateur bands, FRS, public services… It was all there! And it even got a ferrite antenna (good til 5MHz). And did I mention it comes with a 3-band FM TX? 😉

    IMHO the F6 has only one, but relevant weakness. Out of the box, you can only charge the battery when it’s connected to the radio. You use the supplied power supply with a very small barrel connector, not a problem per se. The actual issue was at the power-in jack, it seemed not as sturdy as the rest of radio, and the physical connection was not particularly reliable.

    For all future owner of F6s, I’d recommend to do some research on battery and charging options. I think there are some desktop drop-in battery chargers that can a much better job than what Kenwood provides.

    Reply
  3. WWVBMusicFans

    There’s a lot to like about the TH-F6A. A minor downside is that this radio uses an SMA antenna connector which so many handies do nowadays. If you connect and disconnect antennas frequently, take care not to damage the connector threads.

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  4. Tha Dood

    You will see the Kenwood TH-F6A at pretty much any Hamfest up for sale. I don’t know what it is about these HT’s, folks either really love them, or they absolutely hate them and OFF them. Whatever the reasons, they still ask for +$250.00, or more, for these HT’s at ‘fests. What can be nice about getting these at Hamfests is they are likely to be sold with many of the optional accessories, like extra Li battery, speaker mic, 12VDC car charger, the Comet, or Diamond, tri-band antenna, custom pouch, etc. As far as the SMA connector scare? Build a RG-174 SMA to SO-239 connector pigtail. That way, you are more likely to mess-up that mini coax than the HT’s SMA connector.

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  5. Aaron Kuhn

    Sounds like an impressive little radio. However, I have to wonder if this “DX Swiss Army Knife” in such a small package is actually useful under most conditions. Unless you’re hauling around a pile of antennas with this radio I’d guess receiving performance is always going to be less-than-optimal.

    The small-size is great but if it’s deaf on the antenna you happen to have at the moment what good is it? I’d love to listen spontaneously to all those types of traffic mentioned, but realistically one or more of them is going to sound awful unless I’ve also got bag-o-antennas with it.

    Reply
  6. Darryl

    As of this date 5-10-2017 this radio is now discontinued, yes I checked with the MFG. so keep checking online for the last few…..got mine today…..sad that this has happened, end of a great radio….Kenwood replacement leaves much to be desired even with a couple of perks.

    Reply

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