[aprssig] TH-D7 & KISS MODE

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Thu May 5 06:11:18 EDT 2022

> On May 5, 2022, at 12:48 AM, Steve Gladden <steve at michiganbroadband.com> wrote:
> Just thinking out loud and making conversation-  
> 1. Why would Kenwood even bother to do that and not test to make sure it’s good,useful and reliable.

In 1998 the D7 was astoundingly good, useful, and reliable. Cell phones were still chunky, for the few that could text it was an expensive niche addon. I still remember after Kenwood gave us software authors our D7s the night before the formal announcement we all hurried back to our hotel rooms and messaged each other until the batteries died. We started messaging as soon as we woke up with charged batteries. We were amazed!

As was pointed out the D7s were repurposed hardware with specific APRS features. At the time no APRS program used KISS, that was just for TCP/IP over RF programs like TNOS, which were already fading. Kenwood rightfully spent their effort on the APRS stuff, not on KISS.
> 2. Why would it not be updated/fixed after being found to be bad, even if you had to send the radio to a service center to have it done.

Again, a 1998 thing. Back then flash firmware and frequent upgrades were not the norm. Before the internet was ubiquitous there wasn't even a good way to get files to all purchasers! Most firmware upgrades involved swapping ROM chips. People did not expect updates, when they happened they usually cost money. It was surprising the D7 even had flash, but it wasn't an implementation like today. It required opening the radio, soldering wires onto the board, and then flashing. Kenwood did issue one update which fixed bugs and added new features. You had to send your radio in, and if I remember it was $25 plus shipping for the upgrade. They sent engineers from Japan to Orlando and Dayton hamfests who sat in booths all day flashing D7s! 

The TNC chip might well not have been flashable at all, but if it was back then it just wasn't important, and really the problem seemed to be lack of RAM in the TNC chip anyway, so it might not have been fixable without a new chip even if Kenwood wanted to fix it.

Steve K4HG

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