KE6I -- Kenwood THd7a and KE6I BBS

Using your THd7a to connect to the KE6I BBS

Connecting to KE6I at 9600 baud is fun and easy using the THd7a
I have one of these radios, and it works great. What you need is the computer cable for the radio, and a computer, and any terminal program. I've just been playing with this myself, and it works really good.

The Kenwood THd7a is Kenwood's digital handheld. They're advertised widely in the ham magazines, and are available from dealers like AES or Ham Radio Outlet. These radios have lots of interesting features, such as the ability to interface with the SSTV camera, APRS send and receive, and 9600 and 1200 baud packet. However, for the purposes of this article, I'm only discussing the ability of this handheld to act as a 9600 baud TNC.

Are you close enough to contact KE6I-1? If you're reasonably near to or have a good path to Berkeley, give it a shot. Even if you don't hear anything on the channel, 145.71, you still may be able to reach the BBS, since 9600 is difficult to detect by ear. I'm on the flats near University and Sacramento, and I have the antenna on a 30 foot mast. The antenna is omnidirectional There are some trees to the east, but the path is pretty clear to the south, north and west.

How do you setup your software? Windows 98 comes with a program call hypertrm. It's installed in 'add/remove programs' under Windows Setup in the Communications checkbox. After you install it, try clicking on start, then run, and type 'hypertrm' in the box. This should bring up hypertrm.

Next, you want to connect your THd7a to the computer. This is pretty straightforwards, and covered in the manual for the THd7a. Just put the 9 pin d-shell connector in one of your PC serial ports, and the mini jack into the pc plug on the THd7a. The cable is made by Kenwood and is available from ham radio stores. The cable includes software for uploading and downloading FM repeater frequencies to the radio.

Now, you want to turn on your THd7a, and set the frequency to either 145.71 or 433.43 Mhz simplex. Press the 'Band' button until you see a inverse D by the frequency. Press VFO, then ENT, and then type in '1,4,5,0,1'. If you see a + or a -, then you're in split transmit receive so press F and then 'Mhz' to set the radio to Simplex. Press the 'TNC' button until you see the work 'PACKET' light up on the display.

Note, that the digital band is set by a function in the menus. Press 'Menu' then up and down until you see 'Radio' and then right and up and down until you see 'TNC'. You can only connect to 433.43Mhz using band B.

Now, go back to hypertrm. Do not create a new connection at the first window, but instead cancel, and click on the rightmost button on the row of buttons -- it highlights as properties. Set 'connect using' to refer to either Com1 or Com2 depending on where you plugged in your cable. Then click on 'configure' and set 'Bits per second' to 9600. Data bits to 8, Parity to None, and Stop its to 1, and Flow control to Xon Xoff.

Be careful not to run hypertrm more than once, since only a single instance of this program can connect properly.

Now, press 'Enter' a few times on the keyboard and you should see a 'cmd:' prompt show up. At the 'cmd:' prompt type 'mycall n6yourcall' that is for your call. Next type 'hbaud 9600' to set the TNC to 9600 baud. And then type 'c ke6i-1' to connect to the KE6I BBS. You should now be connected.

If you don't see the 'cmd:' prompt, then make sure to check your settings as mentioned above. Also, it's possible that the com port is disabled in your BIOS. If that's the case, then enable the com port in the BIOS, and then select 'add new hardware' in the Windows control panel.

If you see the 'cmd:' prompt, but you're still not connected you may need a better antenna. I'm in Berkeley, so your luck connecting to me will be better or worse depending on how far you are from Berkeley.

And, if you find the 'cmd:' port was working, but then stops working, or is acting strange, try turning the THD7a off and on again. I've seen this radio get stuck in weird states where resetting is the only solution.

Once online, leave a message to me, the SYSOP. And, read some messages and things. And, then when you're done, type 'B' to logoff. You can also connect to the Berkeley node using the 'G' command to access my other ports.

If you have any other questions, leave me email at

  • Return to KE6I