Kenwood TH-F6A Notes 

Kenwood TH-F6A portable amateur radio transceiver notes

Written in 2001...

I've worked with electronics since I was a teenager and many times I've had the pleasure of working alongside of amateur radio operators. Even though I obtained a commercial FCC first class license many years ago I put off getting an amateur license until recently. The brand-new Kenwood TH-F6A is the first amateur transceiver I've owned and it has been fun to learn to operate the radio and in doing so also learn more about amateur radio.

Notes I've added to my manual

As a real amateur newbie I've spent significant time reading and re-reading the manual and comparing that to the radio itself and also the programming software (available from Kenwood's site).

The page that summarizes the display (page 5) is very useful to get acquainted with the radio. I would have liked to see some kind of summary sheet of the various keyboard operations that are not labeled directly on the radio ("hidden" functions that you have to read the manual to know about). As a programmer I try to always minimize such "hidden" functions. I've started making a list of my own. Here are the keys that perform special functions if you hold them down for 1 second or longer:
[F] lock keys
[VFO] band scan or program scan
[MR] all-channel scan (see menu 3)
[Call] call-scan
[Rev] ASC
[Info] info-scan
[MHz] scan 1-Mhz (VFO mode) or group-scan (MR mode - see menu 2)

Notes on the beta MCP-F6/F7 programming software

The comments line at the bottom is only there to place a comment in a configuration file. The comment has nothing to do with the radio.

On the "Menu 2" tab, in the "Repeater" group box the second item "1750Hz Tone Key" corresponds to menu item 23 (Call Key).

On the "Memory" tab, if you double-click on an "A" band in the "VFO" section you will get a popup form with a number of fields. The "Program VFO" section (only on the three A bands) corresponds to Menu item 4. The "Offset" (on all bands) corresponds to Menu item 6. Therefore, these two menu items (4 & 6) actually store multiple fields. Two other menu items that also store multiple fields are item 10 (DTMF store) and item 29 (FM narrow).

These items can be configured on the radio but are not present in this program:
1) Menu 9 "SP/Mic"
2) Menu 32 "Reset"
3) Squelch levels for A & B

Several places in the manual (pages 15 & 19) it mentions that the "Fine Tuning ON" setting is stored with each memory channel. However, the programming software does not have this item for any memory channel. The instruction manual has a lot of notes about this feature on page 35.

Various notes

I was a little confused at first about what all memory channels exist. Here is my list:
400 memory channels (0-399)
20 scan limit channels (L0/U0 - L9/U9)
2 priority channels (Pr1 - Pr2)
10 information channels (I0 - I9)
3 call channels (one for each of the three bands)
The above totals up to the advertised 435 channels.

There are also these other items stored in memory:
3 A-band VFO settings
11 B-band VFO settings
10 DTMF memories

The first week using the radio I had the B-band doing scanning. However, I found the battery life to be short. Now I'm using Priority Scan to monitor two additional channels. With menu item 17 (Bat Saver) set to the default value of 1 second, apparently the radio only powers up the receivers every second to check for a signal on the A and B bands, and every 3 seconds to check the two priority channels. Now the battery life is much improved.

It is nice having 8 alphanumeric characters for each memory location. It would be great if the display had enough room to show the channel name and also the frequency at the same time. Since that is not possible, I developed my own scheme so that on the three amateur bands I can have 3 or 4 alpha characters and also display enough of the frequency to make it clear what the full frequency is:
----6.98 for 2 meter band
---24.80 for 1.25-meter band
---8.050 for 70 cm band

For even quicker entry of channels than using the MCP-F6/F7 software, I was able to read the storage file generated by that program into my text editor where I could quickly copy lines and edit the channel information.

It was interesting to discover that the MCP-F6/F7 program is written using Borland's C++Builder, which is very closely related to Borland's Delphi which I use for most of my programming.

73s, Paul Breneman KD5PDP

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