Six meters is not called the magic band for naught.
It will be totally dead for hours and then signals will jump out for some
period of time, then it will be gone again.
A good way to troll for openings, is to have a small 5 or 6 inch TV, and
have it on an outside antenna. When its ch2 lights up with out of area TV
stations, 6 will be open!
As to your 2m problem, I take it you are using the same antenna and doing A
or B comparison with the Kenwood. Have you called Ten Tec? It sounds like
you could have a problem. Of course, there is almost no agreed way to
calibrate S meters in industry, so that alone is not an issue, but with
actual loudness difference, I would wonder. One simple thing to check, if
there is audible distortion. Open up the radio, and check that the speaker
mounting screws are not overly tight on one side, causing a dragging and off
center voice coil. Gently pressing the speaker cone with three fingers of
the same hand and pushing straight in (GENTLY) there should be no scraping
or audible or tactile sense of dragging of the voice coil. If there is,
loosen all speaker mounting bolts and then tighten evenly all around and not
too tight. The frame should not be bent when they are tight.