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Author Topic: TS-590s Low TX Power  (Read 11471 times)
AD0GI
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« on: January 25, 2014, 08:04:31 PM »

I have seen a lot of conflicting info on whether or not the TS-590s lacks the TX power of other 100W transceivers.

I had come to believe that those who thought that this was the case were making the mistake of relying on the built in power meter which had an issue of displaying less than actual TX power.

Then I found this short YouTube video (2:25 min):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_mkUp3tIn0

I suppose this individual could be doing something wrong.

What do others here think?
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AD0GI
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 09:33:03 AM »

I have since seen it suggested elsewhere that the low TX power of the TS-590s shown in this video could be the result of not having the input settings set up appropriately for the individual's specific voice.

If I get a TS-590s, will I be able to set this up properly for my voice without an external power meter?

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W8JX
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2014, 02:45:48 PM »

I have since seen it suggested elsewhere that the low TX power of the TS-590s shown in this video could be the result of not having the input settings set up appropriately for the individual's specific voice.

If I get a TS-590s, will I be able to set this up properly for my voice without an external power meter?



Yes! This is not the problem or issue that some make it out to be. True PEP output during SSB is not always measured properly
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NZ4ZN
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2014, 06:06:46 AM »

...Yes! This is not the problem or issue that some make it out to be. True PEP output during SSB is not always measured properly
With an A>B radio test using the same methodology/equipment, how does improper measurement show reduced output power on one radio compared to the other?

BTW, I have a 590 and want it to win this....LOL.
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W8JX
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2014, 09:16:27 AM »

...Yes! This is not the problem or issue that some make it out to be. True PEP output during SSB is not always measured properly
With an A>B radio test using the same methodology/equipment, how does improper measurement show reduced output power on one radio compared to the other?

BTW, I have a 590 and want it to win this....LOL.

As a 590 comes from factory, the audio setting are very conservative and SSB PEP and average talk power is a product of audio drive and compression. Also this 100 watt output is a bit anal in that if you rig makes 90 or 105 watts out there is no detectable difference down range. It is the quality of audio that carries the day not that last 5 or 10 watts. 
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PA1ZP
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 09:26:41 AM »

Hi AD0GI

I hesitated a while to answer your question about TS590 SSB talk power.
It has been discussed very often, and often in a for me what lets say to agressive way.

I do have a TS590 and have a FT857D as back-up rig if the TS590 fails or gets into trouble with problems with CW RX in QRM due to household apliences like plasma-TV or other AC net poluting electronic devices.

A lot of hams had this discussion and I measured the TS590 to SSB power levels also.
If I measure the TS590 with a true PEP meter the rig produces peaks that are 100W PEP no discussion on that.
If I look with all other non real PEP peak meters, the TS590 has real low talk power in compare with the FT857D or IC7410, FT920, FT450.

Lots of hams say well its reaching 100 W  PEP so you are using wrong measurement methodes.
I am of the opinion that Kenwood has a big problem with power spikes in this rig and they put the ALC levels in such way that the rig just reaches 100 W  PEP.
And for me it also could be that the power spikes are now reduced to 100W PEP.

If I tried to re-aligne the TS590 to reach average talk power levels with processor on in the levels as the FT857D reaches without processor and within correct ALC levels, the TS590 power spike problem gets that high that power spikes reach 120-140W , stil average power levels in SSB not great but normal in compare with the FT857D without processor.
If you hook up the TS590 with these power spike problems to a AL572B or an AL80B you are getting great problems with these spikes even if you reduce power output of the TS590 to the amp to 30W
So trying to level  up average power with factory menu settings, will give you problems with amplifier use and if you have an amplifier that has protection like an Acom 2000A it will trip the amp into safety mode.

So my opinion is the TS590 has a power spike problem both in SSB as CW and to trying to cover that up they had to set ALC attack levels at very low power, to "cure" the spike problem.

I think there will be lots of TS590 owners and others wich will not like me now, but this is my opinion.

I would love to see a true electronics engineer hook up the rig to an osciloscope and watch the images of SSB talk power of different rigs in compare with the TS590.
Not a single or two tone test but a real test with a voice and a microphone as I am not whistling all time to other stations but talking to them.

Do not forget that there are other rigs whom have a power spike issue to, but that discussion of course has nothing to do with the power spike issue of the TS590.
It is like saying there are other bad rigs with power spikes to, so the kenwood TS590 isn't bad at all. 

It is the same with the sometimes failing of the IF DSP in CW recieving of the TS590 in handeling some sorts of QRM .
In laboratory measurements the TS590 has very good RX in CW and a great big signal behavior, in the real world in real use on antennas, it sometimes fails in such a great way, that it is totally beaten big time in these moments by a cheap FT857D with 300 HZ Collins filter and audio DSP.

73 Jos
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K3LRH
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 06:52:28 AM »

........AD0GI, I concur with Jos' comments.  Many other rigs have been compared to the '590 re: peak and average "talk power" using the methods described by Jos.  There is no valid way one can discount the direct comparison results of two rigs under the exact same test conditions.  I have had my '590 since they first came out and it probably behaves like every other one around, including Jos'.  That being said, I have excellent results with "making contacts" at "100 watts", even though an external PEP or average reading meter shows much less.  Of course, in my case, the same contacts could be made if operating QRP also, so that is not really a fair assertion whether a particular rig is working good or not.  My conclusions:  the '590 has a great receiver and  below average TX power output.  Others have reported that Kenwood is working on a fix for this ALC/power issue.  I hope so, it's been ignored for way too long. If they ever do get it fixed, they will have a great rig, not just a half-great rig.   Let the flames begin.
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KE7TMA
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 02:15:37 PM »

Why would one test SSB and not CW?  Obviously SSB transmit power is not going to be peak at all times.
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KD8MJR
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2014, 03:57:08 PM »

Looking at the video I think his test is rock solid.
It's a simple A/B comparison, and he seems to have all the basis covered, so the only reasonable conclusion is that either he has a bad 590 (unlikely) or that the 590 is not reaching full power on SSB unless the audio is driven really hard.
Personally I don't think it's a big issue by itself but it would be bloody annoying if your trying to drive an Amp to legal limit and the Amp requires 100 watts to do so.  I doubt you would see more than 1Kw out of the amp unless you fix this problem.
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NZ4ZN
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2014, 03:57:53 PM »

Why would one test SSB and not CW?  Obviously SSB transmit power is not going to be peak at all times.
Why test CW when most hams are using voice?
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ZENKI
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2014, 04:12:27 PM »

Well many radios use ALC as a form of compression. While it might  make your wattmeter swing more the direct consequence is filthy transmitters.
What hams are measuring is the excessive use of ALC in many radios. In other words you applying compression to compression and saying look this radio is better than  brand X because the needle swings more. ALC should not be used in a transmitter as a form of compression as many ham manufacturers do. Its root cause of the excessive splatter on the ham bands.

There is abundance of ignorance poor measuring techniques when making these comparisons. There is nothing wrong with the TS590S PEP output. It delivers
its rated PEP output without issue.  While others might want to talk about things like swing and talk power and think of driving a radio like a CB radio, this is clearly flawed thinking and practice. I have checked the TS590S on a  good oscilloscope and a real time spectrum analyzer. The TS590S delivers rated PEP without any issue.


I suppose if you use to using a transmitter that produces excessive distortion and then use  a transmitter who is not so overdriven you could well have the impression that there is something wrong. I have exhaustively tested the TS590S and even on a remote receiver and using a 30db attenuator for milliwatt power the TS590S achieves its rated PEP with good modulation. The Kenwood TS590S does have  power overshoot issues.
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KD8MJR
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 04:36:06 PM »

There is abundance of ignorance poor measuring techniques when making these comparisons. There is nothing wrong with the TS590S PEP output. It delivers
its rated PEP output without issue.  While others might want to talk about things like swing and talk power and think of driving a radio like a CB radio, this is clearly flawed thinking and practice. I have checked the TS590S on a  good oscilloscope and a real time spectrum analyzer. The TS590S delivers rated PEP without any issue.

So what are you saying? The 7600 is being over driven or has a filthy output?
I have tested my 7600 with a Tektronix spectrum analyzer, a 200 Mhz scope and an LP-100A watt meter and it puts out 97 Watts with a perfectly clean linear signal.  My problem with a lot of this argument is that the video is being dismissed out of hand without any proper counter testing being done, the video presents a test that seems to be straight forward and accurate enough to show an obvious difference.  Now if someone wants to do a more detailed video with a good station monitor like an IFR or something else and present that, then I would consider this case closed.

« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 04:47:45 PM by KD8MJR » Logged
PA1ZP
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2014, 07:06:52 AM »

Hi Zenki

I have to disagree in your opinion.
Yes you are right the TS590 delivers 100 watts PEP.
Power spike issues however in the design of this radio , makes it not possible to drive it to decent compressed SSB powerlevels like other radios can, like a TS130, TS180, TS570, Hartkit 2000 (has HF clipping standard installed in the rig) ,  a FT847, FT817(D) FT857(D), 897(D)  FT450, FT1000MP, FT920 or others.
I tried to use the high frequency clipper on the TS590 but the ALC wouldn't let me drive the rig to its potential power levels like other rigs do. 

And no these radios were not overdriven and were modulated with outboard HF clippers and reached high levels of TX power in SSB and high compression levels without overdoing ALC and becoming as wide as a barndoor

I could even flip the whole PEP issue totally upside down by saying that the TS590 power can not be measured with a PEP instrument because the power spikes will tell you that it delivers 100 W PEP , and you are measuring PEP power of the spikes instead the PEP power of the actually transmitted audio.
I could be totally wrong in this way of thinking, but it could be spot on also.

I do not want to offend no one just I think it is fair to say that the TS590 has a serious SSB TX problem with power spikes.
To overcome this problem Kenwood set ALC levels such way that average power output is low in SSB.
If you do not mind the 3 dB loss fine but I think everyone should know this, before they buy this radio.

In CW it also has a power spike issue but I could solve that by turning down carrier level so low that at full CW 100 watt output it costs me 5 watts.

And no, trying to get SSB power higher by changing factory setting of menu 23 and 24 will not solve the low power problem , it will just increase the power spike problem very much.
And if you are using an amplifier , it will not be happy with these spikes getting up to 130-140 Watts.
And the spikes are very big even if you turn back the power of the radio to 25 watts there are still big spikes of say 60W that could trip a tetrode amp with protection very fast, or without protection it could damage the amplifier tubes and components.

So certainly do not try to resolve low power SSB by increasing factory menu 23 and 24 this will only give you more problems instead of less problems with the power spikes.

Lets not forget that the TS590 has excellent ears in SSB and in CW.
A big transmitter with bad ears is even worse as the 3 dB power loss in SSB.
And though you can not drive this TS590 very hard it does have very good SSB audio in TX.

Sorry to have to disagree Zenki, I certainly do not want to offend no one.
It is just time Kenwood got their act together and solve the power spike issue in the TS590 instead of trying to cover it up with a band aid.

But as far of getting their acts together Icom, Flex radio, Kenwood and Yaesu have enough to do because all these IF based DSP or SDR based radios have plenty of problems to solve with the quality of their 12V RF amps in getting the transmitted SSB signal cleaner, so the very good SSB RX in radios like K3, TS590, TS990, IC7700, IC7800, FTDX3000, FTDX5000, TENTEC Orion2, several SDR based radios, can be used to their full potential and will not be suffering from very poor quality transmitted SSB signals as wide as a barndoor.

It could have something to do with use of quality design and components and good engineering instead of building as much bells and whistles in to their radios to sell them as many as possible as expensive as possible.
And of-course these commercial companies are reaching their goal, their products do not have to be good, their goal is to make money on them as much as they can.
The money loaded hams are there to make sure they will keep selling them.

And of-course lots of hams should try to reduce the drive levels of their SSB TX so the transmitted signal of these radios stay clean and within reasonable bandwith.
Listening to the east European contest stations with huge amplifiers up to 10KW in weekends, I know what overdriving all ALC levels does with a transmitted SSB signal in effect to bandwith.
Living in the first hop area of Italy, LZ, UA, EA, YO, LY etc. I do know the results of a totally overdriven SSB signal with an up to 10KW power amp. into a 6 element monoband yagi or even stacked Yagis. The result is that these transmitted SSB signals that are up to 15 or even 20 KC wide.   

They could inform at PA0CHN in how he got his radio the Hartkit 2000 build so good that it still outperforms  these radios in both TX and RX quality.

It took Kenwood and Yaesu and Icom the lesson of the Elekraft K3 to find out that they can be beaten.
     
73 Jos 
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W8JX
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2014, 07:56:19 AM »

Why would one test SSB and not CW?  Obviously SSB transmit power is not going to be peak at all times.
Why test CW when most hams are using voice?


Because it shows output capability of final.  If you do not get 100 watts there or in FSK mode then you will likely not get it on SSB
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AD0GI
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2014, 08:48:12 PM »

Thanks all for the great replies!

Jos - Your post raises similar thoughts as those here:

http://5tx.de/?p=887

In summary, the author states that his TS-590s power spike was the result of a 5ms delay between power being applied and the ALC activating.  By lowering the ALC reference voltage, he got rid of the power spike.  This also lowered his average SSB to 20W which he did not mind.

One of the things I don't understand is why the YouTube vids showing 100W PEP for the TS-590s, and there are many of them, do not show the power spike mentioned in this article, your post, and many other places including reviews of the TS-590s here on eHam.  It is even specifically mentioned on the firmware update page of the Kenwood site here:

http://www.kenwood.com/i/products/info/amateur/ts_590/ts590_update_e.html

"TX rise time power spike activates some linear amplifiers' input power protections.
(The firmware Ver.1.02 revises the ALC response characteristics to reduce the power spike.)"


But I have seen it mentioned elsewhere that in fact this firmware update did not solve the problem.  How long have you had your TS-590s and have you been updating your firmware?

I also do not understand why lowering the ALC reference voltage would get rid of the power spike if the power spike is the result of not having the ALC activating to begin with.  But as to this part, I guess if it works it works.

ZENKI - You use the phrase "power overshoot".  Is this interchangeable with "power spike" and "ALC overshoot"?  I ask because I was under the impression that there was a distinction between the later two and that I had just not come to a full understanding yet as to what ALC overshoot is.

K3LRH - I too have read elsewhere that Kenwood has a fix for all this but that it is a hardware solution not being put into production.  Instead, it is part of warranty service that one has to send the rig in for.
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