Die Hard Wiki

January 30, 2004

Die Hard - Kenwood CB radio

One of Hans' Ham radios on Holly's desk.

Kenwood is a Japanese radio manufacturer as well as Hi-fidelity and portable audio equipment. Their line of amateur radios (ham radio) played a major role in the first Die Hard and to a lesser extent it's sequel as the villain's main method of communicating with one another. It's become a staple of the series now, that John McClane will at some point take one of the villain's radios (whether Kenwood or not) and use it to intimidate the main villain. September 13, 2003

Die Hard[]

Die Hard - CB radio

McClane using the Ham radio to call the police.

Hans Gruber and his team each use their own Ham radio during the Nakatomi heist in order to easily communicate with one another from different floors. After John McClane kills Tony Vreski, he commandeers the radio and takes it to the roof. Here he attempts to contact the local police with only little success. After McClane kills Marco and Heinrich, the police begin to arrive and McClane decides to make contact with the supposed terrorists. Hans discovers that McClane isn't a security guard but little else. He begins suggesting that McClane is foolishly acting like an American cowboy which end with McClane using his catchphrase for the first time. Sergeant Al Powell also begins to use the same frequency to contact McClane from his police Ham radio. McClane responds by giving him a run down on what he knows but doesn't give any information about himself. Instead he tells Powell to refer to him by the alias, Roy, named after his favorite cowboy, Roy Rogers. The radio is used from then on for McClane, Hans and the LAPD to communicate with one another freely. McClane and Powell refer to one another as 'partner' and their kinship increases as the


Harry Ellis convincing John with Hans' Ham radio to hand over the detonators.

story progresses. At one point McClane is forced to hand himself over in exchange for Ellis' life. McClane tries his best to save him by pleading that he doesn't know Ellis but Hans doesn't listen, which leads to him killing Ellis. Towards the end of the movie, McClane discovers that the roof is rigged with C4. He quickly attempts to warn Powell over the radio but it's too late as Karl Vreski, Tony's brother, has found him and wants revenge. He smashes the Ham radio and they begin the fight. Hans later tries to intimidate McClane by telling him that he has his wife but McClane is unable to respond since he no longer has the radio.

Die Hard 2[]

Die Hard 2 - CB radio

McClane finds a Ham radio with the code still punched in.

Like Hans' group, Colonel Stuart and his men all use the Kenwood Ham radio. This time however, instead of it being an open frequency, the mercenaries put a scramble on the radios, meaning only those with the code can properly communicate. When Stuart contacts the airport to scold them about trying to go through the Annex Skywalk, McClane finds a working radio and tries to get some answers from Stuart, such as how much he's been paid for the operation. Stuart decides to punish the airport by crashing one of the planes, Windsor 114, which are low on fuel. McClane hears what he's doing over the radio and attempts to stop the plane crash by running onto the runway with some makeshift torches. He is unsuccessful however and the plane still crashes. McClane later goes to meet Marvin in the basement to find a way of listening in on what Trudeau and Major Grant are talking about. However as they look through the airport blueprints, McClane hears Stuart's men talking. He looks under the blueprints only to find one of the Ham radios with the code still punched in. Apparently Marvin found it under a luggage convey belt after McClane's fight with Miller and Oswald Cochrane. McClane uses the Ham radio to catch General Ramon Esperanza's plane on the runway before Stuart and his men do, in a desperate attempt of stopping their plan.