TK-760H front-panel programming

I picked up a Kenwood TK-760H this week for around $50 on eBay, thinking it would be a good 32-channel VHF radio to mount in the car for SAR, ham, etc. There are a couple of drawbacks to this model — narrowband capable but without splinter frequencies, not NTIA-certified for Civil Air Patrol use, etc. Overall, though, it was a pretty good deal and will work just fine.

I’ve been pretty successful programming legacy radios using a USB-to-serial adapter. Mess around with the driver sufficiently, and eventually it works — but that is for those radios that have Windows programming apps. This Kenwood (like the HT1000 I still keep as a backup portable) only works with a DOS-based program. I tried DosBox but had no luck reading the radio despite a couple hours of Google work and trying different settings for the serial connection. There were just too many potential problem points — DosBox, the driver, the programming cable, several configuration settings and the radio — so I gave up.

The TK-760H, though, can be field programmed, or front-panel programmed. There was talk on various discussion boards about needing to solder two points together on the circuit board inside the faceplate and then needing to run the programming software once to enable the FPP option. I didn’t need to use the software on this one — just soldered the points together and put the radio back together, and it was FPP-capable immediately.

The directions for how to program channel information are available elsewhere (here, for example), but nowhere could I find a list of the radio-wide configuration options. It’s a little obtuse, displaying just a number for each item and often just numbers for the options for each item.

I figured out some of it through trial and error and by comparing the options to those in the programming software. First, you configure radio-wide options by holding down the “A” key (the second key of four on the bottom row) while turning on the radio, just like programming channels, However, when the display reads “SEL”, hit the “A” key again. That brings you to the following configuration items, in this order. Scroll through them by pressing the “channel down” button, and use the “scan” and “D/A” buttons to modify each setting.

_ – Frequency range of your radio

1 – Function of button A (first button of four on the bottom row)

2 – Function of button B

3 – Function of button C

4 – Function of button D

5 – Unknown item, on or off

6 – Time-out timer in seconds

7 – Off-hook monitor, on or off

8 – Off-hook scan, on or off

9 – Unknown item, on or off

For items 1 through 4, this is the list of functions that can be chosen for each of those buttons:

Off

1 – Monitor

2 – Talkaround

3 – Horn alert

4 – Public address

5 – Auxiliary

6 – Scan

7 – Delete/add to scan list

8 – Home channel

9 – Operator-selectable tone

That’s as far as I got, but it was enough to get the radio programmed and apparently working the way I want it to. Feel free to comment if you know or learn more.

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