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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-680S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-680S
Kenwood TS-680S Reviews: 17 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 160 Thru 6 All Mode Transceiver
Product is not in production.
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VK5HIL Rating: 5/5 May 4, 2006 06:52 Send this review to a friend
Good first HF/6M Transceiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Kenwood TS-680S is my first multiband rig. I bought it recently at my local radio club buy and sell meet for what I considered a good price. I really like the twin VFO's so I can work split frequency or split band if I choose. Good also for 10M and 6M repeaters too. Tx audio reports very favourable and Rx audio rather good (better than HR2510). I have given this radio 5/5 as it is good value for it's age and if you can find one for your first rig you should be happy. On the minus side it only does 10W on 6 but a small amp will fix that. If you want more power on 6M and can find a TS-690S within your budget then it might be a better buy.
Some people mention winding up the power on 6M to abt 20W but this is more likely to shorten the PA service life.

Another big plus is that you don't need to spend too much time reading the user manual to effectively use the radio. Rather straight forward operation.

I am sure that I will be happy with this radio for quite some time.

Now to grow some more antennae in the garden!
K2PGB Rating: 5/5 Apr 3, 2006 18:56 Send this review to a friend
60 Meters  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned the 680S since they came on the market, Also have the TS-140S both with 500 cycle filters. They have given perfect service.
They are very easy to convert to 60 meters and MARS. Just clip a single diode that is out in the open on the top board.
WB5ITT Rating: 5/5 May 29, 2005 10:46 Send this review to a friend
Good value for the money  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have owned a TS680 since they came out in the late 80s....first night on the air, worked a Checkaslovakian station on 20m CW using a 1/4wave gnd plane...Not bad!! I have the optional CW filter and the RS232 option installed. Original costs for all that was $1000 even from Madison's in Houston back in 88 (Thanks Don for all the great deals over the years)...Now the rcvr is not the best in the world as it does suffer blocking from strong adjacent signals on HF and it did not have all mode squelch (which I later come out with a simple mod for...WB5HJV posted it on the net and the rest of history :) 10watts only on 6 but you can turn it up to get 25+ out of the brick...just dont run FM and AM for LONG periods and you should be ok and only one antenna connection (wish there were two..above and below 30Mhz). The 680 has been mobile with me over the years on HF and 6...and works good (NB is effective on ignition noise!) Now, my plans are to remote the 680 off my UHF/220 rptr network (have done this before on a 220 standalone using an ACC Shackmaster and later/now a RLC 3 controller). The allmode squelch is not perfect (but it makes monitoring 6 SSB a pleasure) but I intend to add a Vocal SSB squelch by Naval Electronics (~$125) to make it even better...Eventually will replace it with a more up to date HF-2 or HF-UHF allmode rig...but over the last 15+ yrs, its been a workhorse...if you need info about the allmode squelch or other mods, please contact me at my callsign at

M0GAZ Rating: 4/5 Sep 22, 2003 13:37 Send this review to a friend
A radio that has stood the test of time!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Although rather dated still an excellent little radio for basic operation.

Positive things about the 680 are:

Very robust construction. The receiver seems sensitive enough for all the band conditions I have encountered. It has good audio quality.

The controls are all straight forward and easy to understand/operate; not too many bells and whistles!

On the negertive side there is no internal ATU or PSU. Also Power, RF gain, and mic gain are slider controled, which is difficult to fine tune and tends to be all or nothing!

ZS1AN Rating: 3/5 Apr 10, 2003 06:49 Send this review to a friend
An honest rig that delivers what it promises  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought my TS680S as a replacement for my previous main station rig, a TS430S. The main attractions for me were full break-in (I'm a 95% CW operator) as well as the AT250 automatic ATU that was included in the deal. I added the 500Hz CW filter which I purchased new.

Things I like about the rig are:

- The receiver is quite sensitive enough for any band conditions I have yet encountered, and has good audio quality under most conditions.

- Good QSK (full break-in). Yes it uses a relay but the relay is quiet and does not disturb my YL when she is studying in the same room.

- Excellent AM reception due to a dedicated AM filter (standard equpment). Much better than the AM reception on the TS430S using the SSB filter.

- The interface port includes a audio line out with a level independent of the volume control setting and a line in that can be activated without activating the mic. This makes it easy to interface digital modes software without any "hot mic" problems.

- Works well off a 12v battery for field day. Tolerates low voltages (below 13.8V) much better than my TS430S did.

- Simple to use, even for a beginner. The controls are all logical and not overwhelmed by frivolous bells and whistles. Everything works as it should.

Things I don't like so much include:

- No internal ATU, keyer (or PSU). I have external ATU and keyer which work well but together they make for a big package for field day and DXpeditions.

- According to the manual, you can't adjust the power output in CW operation! Although the power output control has some effect, it is very sensitive as it is inside the ALC loop. This seems a major oversight, since it makes it hard to operate in any contest category other that 100W output. May also be a serious problem when driving a linear, although I haven't tried that.

- A noticable glitch in audio every 50 KHz when tuning, I suspect it is the syntehesizer being band switched. Even today it often makes me think there is a signal present.

- When using the 500 Hz CW filter during contests with strong dignals nearby, lots of high frequency sounds almost like musical notes. Almost certainly IMD products.

- The computer interface is not standard, it's an option (which may be hard to obtain these days although I haven't tried yet).

I had one technical problem, an IC blew and burned a PCB track. Our local repair genius fixed it in a couple of days at a very reasonable price.

Overall an honest rig that delivers what it promises. Good for general DXing and rag chewing but not ideal for contesting or multiop DXpeditions due to IMD and lack of computer control as standard. I will probably get another main station rig when I can afford it but keep the 680S for 6m use and as a backup rig.
JAMES_BENEDICT_EX_N8FVJ Rating: 4/5 Apr 10, 2001 01:36 Send this review to a friend
Reasonable Performance  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The TS-680 performance is on par with most low to mid price range transceivers of the same era. The radio is loaded with features that is missing on entry level transceivers. The receiver is a little noisy and I detect some audio IMD when a powerful station is 5Khz away, however the PLL is quiet unlike the Icom IC-726 with 6 meters! I would recommend the transceiver if one can not afford an IC-728, IC-736 or newer product. I also note per QST Product Reviews, the TS-680 is far more selective than the newer TS-690!
VE3DHB Rating: 4/5 Sep 3, 2000 10:11 Send this review to a friend
A good workhorse transceiver.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this TS-680S used about two months ago. The unit was first sold by Kenwood in the early 1990's and was one of the first 160 thru 6 all mode rigs available. The rig has a very small foot print (11 X 4 X 12), offers an output of 100 W PEP and CW / 40 AM on 160m thru 15m, 95 SSB and CW, 50 FM, 40 AM on 10m and 10 Watts SSB,CW,FM / 4 Watts AM on 6m. Output is adjustable with a front panel right-left slide pot. All controls for the rig are easy to operate and the size, flexiblity, and ergonomics make it ideal for mobile, field day, and contest use. The noise floor is a bit high (using the built in RF Pre-amp) but the addition of an external speaker helps avoid "listener fatigue". CW operation is made easy with a front panel Semi/Full break in option switch. Built in switchable processor is also a nice feature.
Overall, I would give the rig 4 stars for it's features, ease of use, and my overall satisfaction.
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