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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Kenwood TS-130s Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-130s
Kenwood TS-130s Reviews: 31 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $700
Description: HR transceiver. 100 watt, WARC, SSB/CW, noise blanker,and speech processor
Product is not in production.
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KC0ZZH Rating: 4/5 Aug 4, 2008 09:04 Send this review to a friend
Good backup/starter rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Let me first say that even I gave this rig a four I think it is more around a 3.5 out of 5 due to several reasons stated below. I also have a spare TS-130S for spare parts.


First the PTT relay is very loud, but I got used to it fairly quickly. Second, I miss a true power meter, the Ic meter is a different approach than I am used to. I prefer a relative idea to output power.


Solid construction, good rx audio with an outboard speaker. No menu's or sub-menus to contend with...everything you need is right out in the open with decent sized knobs and lettering. Analog S meter and analog dial knob. Decent size to allow for good fit into my operation.


My main goal with this radio was to aquire a backup/fielday rig. The TS-130S provides all of that easily. The clean look of the rig, decent layout of all functions and a good audio quality does make this little rig a good performer but not as great as my Kenwood TS-440SAT.

I am the second owner of this rig with all but one optional filters installed and with a MC-50 desk mic. I get great audio reports. My receiver does not seem to overload on strong nearby stations.

I've owned several radios over the years and as far as simplicity and basic operation goes this radio is hard to beat. The new all mode all band radios may offer a lot but I think the overal preformance starts to suffer in those. There isn't anything this TS-130S can't do the thousand dollar rigs can't on the HF bands in my opinion.

I can say I love this rig a lot for the purpose it was boughten. I you find one that has no problems, don't hesitate to get it into the shack. It is a very nice 'no nonsense' rig.
OE5BFM Rating: 5/5 May 29, 2008 00:14 Send this review to a friend
Unproblematic Transceiver!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I donīt want to repeat the statements before, just want say the following:
I bought mine not from a smoker, he was the Master of smokers! So I found the S-Meter showing much to less, and 12 Meters suddenly failed (no indication from the digital readout)
Some contact spray, turning a bit the VR1 (S-9 adjustement for the S-Meter) and ready. By the way, the service-manual is wrong here, it shows VR2 even for the starting-level for the meter and also for S-9 adjustement.
This radio can be repaired easily in comparison to modern Transceivers.

So this little rig impresses me with his really fine audio, the sensitive receiver, the mechanics of the switches, the pleasing cabinet and you never need the manual again after reading it one time!

Small, but nice! And the perfect extension in my shack to the big brother, my TS-930S.
ON4VP Rating: 5/5 Nov 25, 2007 06:13 Send this review to a friend
Love the back to basics approach  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Let me first say that even I gave this rig a five, every transceiver has room for improvement, but from my point of view the TS-130 got a solid five for several reasons.


First of all the PTT relay is loud. I got to get used to that. Second, I miss a power meter, the IC metering on the 'S' is a different approach. I prefer a relative idea to output power.


Solid, all metal frontpanel, good sized knobs, fast vfo dial (a little difficult to adjust very small steps), needle signal meter, easy to use overal, no hidden menus, no double or triple button functions. Good receiver.

In a nutshell:

Being off the air for over more than a year I had to look for a rig all over again. Since I don't have that much time to spend in my shack I was looking around for a simple but decent HF rig. MY main goal was to go 'back to basics' where I have an easy frontpanel, decent knobs, and functional layout. The TS-130S provides that. The clean look of the rig, decent layout of all functions and a good audio quality does make this little rig a good performer.

Mine came second had with all optional filters installed and with a MC-50 deskmic. I get good audio reports, and with both filters I can make a selective and good reception of most stations. My receiver does not seem to overload on strong nearby stations. But I use the attenuator and filters in line when going lower bands when the going gets tough.

Just dial in, set power (carrier or mic gain) and make the qso. Easy to use, does warcbands and I get the feeling the rig makes it all worth all over again.

I owned all kind of transceivers, from the big guns to the smallest ones. I can tell that most of the allmode-allband rigs today don't even come close. They are a lot more difficult to operate and reception is loud, noisy and worse.

I worked around a solution to hook up a laptop ussing ubuntu 7.10 linux and gMFSK to work digimodes like RTTY, PSK31 and others. I use the AF out on the remote connector on the back of the rig and the same connector has a lead out for keying the TS-130S. Input I provide to the mic connector in the front. I needed a little experimenting to adjust the mic gain, the TS-130S seems a little dificult to adjust but once you got the feel of it, it works just fine.

I only can say I love this rig a lot. I was lucky to find one that was in mint condition and had all optional filters installed for a small price. I you find one, don't hesitate to get it into the shack. It is a very nice 'no nonsense' rig.
AB9LZ Rating: 4/5 Jul 12, 2007 06:49 Send this review to a friend
Great Old School Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Fired mine back up after moving to N.C. and setting up a shack in a hot outbuilding, didn't want to subject the "nice" radios to that environment.

I agree that the intermod can be bad with strong signals around... the reason I stopeed using it in chicago... otherwise the receiver is better than average otherwise, quiet, and almost as sensitive as the TS-850 and much better than some newer radios, like the FT-897. Otherwise the thing is great, nice solid feel, metal front panel, little or no plastic anywhere.

The relay is a little loud for CW, once you get over the distraction it works well enough. A simple mod allows the wide/narrow button to switch between a 500 and a 270hz filter, great for DX work.

The it's reputation for good SSB transmit audio serves it well for PSK31 use, although the rx intermod mentioned above can swamp the waterfall when there are strong nearby signals.

Overall a keeper.
DG7JX Rating: 3/5 Oct 23, 2006 23:55 Send this review to a friend
Disappointing!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got a TS-130S from ebay for 200 Euros in a near mint condition. Everything worked, but the RX was very disappointing! Massive problems with image rejection and intermodulation problems even on a 3.5m short vertical antenna, especially on the 40m-band.

Would not buy one again. There are other, even older models with better receiver sections.
KD2E Rating: 5/5 Jul 8, 2006 16:50 Send this review to a friend
A must have  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well, not a techno-masterpiece...but that is the attraction. The latest high tech rig can do a lot of digital trick, but sometimes that is exactly what you DON't want! If you want't to lean back on your chair, have a coffee (or a cold 807!) and eavesdrop on the don't want to muddle through menus to find the IF shift or noise blanker...Just tune and adjust the volume. How great is that! And, like its' tube-type big brother...the TS520, it has the best sounding audio..coming and going. I'm glad I found a nice one, and its staying in my shack!
WX4O Rating: 4/5 Jul 8, 2006 11:07 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Rig  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Simple to use. Nice audio out. Needs CW filter.
Nice size, and makes a great Field Day rig.
Got mine on eBay for $235 with some scratches on
the case, but it works perfectly. Had one of these 23 years ago and should have kept it.
K3AN Rating: 4/5 Apr 18, 2006 09:46 Send this review to a friend
Old Reliable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a used one a while back. It was quite dirty and the case scratches suggest it was used in a mobile environment. I had to enable tranmission on the WARC bands (unplug a jumper) which suggests it's an older unit. Finally, the sender didn't pack it well at all. But it worked and continues to work just fine, so I'd say it's a pretty robust and reliable radio.

Also on the positive side, it is very easy to use, has good transmit audio, clear audio through the built-in speaker, and it operates properly even when the supply voltage drops down to just 12 Volts (I haven't tested it lower than that). On the negative side, it's relatively large for a mobile radio, and the tuning rate is a bit too fast.

I'm looking forward to some boat mobile operation with it, beginning later this spring.
KB1LTC Rating: 4/5 Sep 28, 2005 21:48 Send this review to a friend
What a Beauty!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
What a fun little radio! Well, not that itís that little, itís just small enough for going portable, camping, etc. Which is exactly why I bought one.

Itís fun and super easy to operate (for phone anyway). Iím not a CW kind of guy so it really hasnít been used in that mode except to transmit a carrier to adjust my tuner. The knobs and controls on the right side are a little cramped for my thick fingers (especially the concentric ones), but not unmanageable by any means.

The receive audio sounds impressive even with the internal speaker!
I was going to pick up a SSB filter for it but the I.F. Shift works well enough that I donít really think itís needed (unless of course you use it on Field Day, then the narrow band SSB filter would be worthwhile investment).

Like the others have said, the receiver is so nice and quiet!
I really hate to say this, butÖ I think the receiver in the TS-130s is actually better than my TS-2000 (I did a side-by-side comparison)! Itís fairly stable too. Did I mention that this is a fun radio to operate?

Itís got that typical Kenwood transmit audio as well (which is why I love Kenwood).
The internal mic processor actually works rather well and gives quite a bit of punch to your audio to get through the noise, as well as being pleasant to listen to on the other end during Rag Chew sessions.

The Mic gain and Carrier controls arenít very linear, but so what?
I gave it a 4 out of 5 because just because of the whole controls thing.
Other than that, so far I have no complaints!

I think itís a perfect radio for beginners or those who want something a bit more transportable for camping and such.

I purchased mine off of eBay for $245 in really great condition with a hand mike (not Kenwood), DC power cable and a good photocopy of the manual. Therefore, Iíd say if you could get one for close to the same price, GET IT! I really donít think youíll be sorry!

-John, KB1LTC
WO7T Rating: 5/5 Jan 28, 2004 00:00 Send this review to a friend
Small but Big Performer  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This radio is a pleasure mobile, and is one of few with a NB that actually truly tames the ignition and engine noise in my NOISY 2000 Silverado pickup.

After mobile installation, first DX contact was with Christmas Island sitting in the driveway.

Only thing I'd want, and am going to add from is the Super Picokeyer so I can easily use paddles for CW contacts.

Kenwood quality shines through on this 20 year old piece of technology.

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