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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-990S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-990S
Kenwood TS-990S Reviews: 99 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $7999
Description: Kenwood FLAGSHIP TS-990S has arrived. Kenwoods sets a new preformance and operating standard for the ultimate Amateur Transceiver. Advanced KENWOOD technologies deliver a Top-End receive and transmitt experience on Amateur Bands 160 Mtr to 6 Mtrs. Kenwood proudly adds the 990S to its trendsetting TS series!
Product is in production.
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M0MCX Rating: 5/5 Feb 25, 2017 16:14 Send this review to a friend
Completely Solid Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Having 2 years under my belt, I can honestly say that the TS-990s have given me more pleasure than any other radio. I compare against FT100MP with Inrad roofing filters (good), TS590 and TS590SG, K3s and also a TS2000. But it's hardly a competition.

Look, most modern rigs sound pretty good on a quiet band so why do I really like this rig?

For starters, I can get really close to my neighbour and still QSO under very heavy contest QRM conditions.

I love the filtering and having the ability to select narrow, mid and sharp filers and that they are all configurable.

Having one USB cable between my computer and my rig which does CAT and sound-card in/out is a god-send. I play with digital modes and various experimenting. Having zillions of wires and cables used to annoy the heck out of me.

I love the fact it's so configurable. The remote control program is really handy for skipping through zillions of settings to set this girl up exactly how you want her.

The 200 Watts is real. Sure, I have an amplifier too for doing big RTTY but for 99% of the time, I can squirt 200 Watts should I wish without flicking on the big amp.

On AM, she's just fine too. Had my first QSO on AM just recently on 60m band. I can achieve a carrier of 50 Watts and voice peaks at 100 Watts to stay within my licence conditions in the UK. Can't do that on a small radio.

I love that the thing is HUGE. I am a *big* guy and I like *big* things, whether that's a Harley Davidson FatBoy or my Drum Kit. Give it to me big and heavy and I'm happier.

The 2 VFOs are fun to use. Plumb one aerial in Antenna 1 and another into Antenna 2 (or 3 or 4) and you can listen to your stations in both VFOs with different aerials (I do this with a vertical on one VFO and a horizontal on another). Just hit the "Tracking" button and you have an earful on vertical and another earful on horizontal. Good fun. (And of course, also configurable about how much audio you'd like in each year as regards balance. They've thought of everything).

4 Antenna ports are cool - but I have an outboard 6-way Array Solutions RatPak anyway. However if I wasn't into big power, this would suffice.

The band scope is cool. Apparently there are some outboard band-scopes on the market. I don't care. This is good enough for me. I can see in a moment that the big station 5 KHz up from me has slid down and I'd better be careful.

Transmit and Receive audio filters are cool too. Most owners would agree that on SSB, we all sound pretty good. It doesn't take a lot to make these 990s sound fabulous.

On CW, you can squeeze the filters right down. Same with digital. Under heavy QRM, you can tighten the old girls skirts and ignore the rest.

On-board voice keyer is perfect. Thankfully it's not an optional extra. And the ability to send audio to any of a multitude of ports depending on the source is great.

The latest firmware upgrade seems to have sorted out the internal ATU which I now find much more forgiving. I can now use non-resonant coax fed antennas for bands that I'm not supposed to. OK, I can't do that when I have the amp running. I've previously read about the internal ATU not performing. I can guarantee you it does. Better than my excellent internal ATU on my FT1000MP. Tunes stuff it really shouldn't. Quite amazing really.

And the list goes on. The nice thing about this radio is that it's a joy to use. I don't care what the specs say and that Jo Soap's new rig is apparently, technically better. You will not be able to tell. Modern rigs are now at such a high quality that we should only give a cursory glance at the specs. The bottom line is that after 2-years, I'm still enjoying this wonderful piece of engineering every day.

If you are reading this and on the fence with your decision making, let me tell you.. You only live once and you can't take it with you. Buy one of these and you'll still be happy in 25 years. That's a pretty good investment, certainly better than endlessly buying lesser rigs every couple of years and moving on. With this one, you will still be learning new tricks and new abilities that you never knew she had up her sleeve.

Don't regret it. Go for it now.

73, Callum
W8NWN Rating: 4/5 Dec 18, 2016 20:02 Send this review to a friend
Great, but not fantastic.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This radio is the heaviest boat anchor radio ever built.....Once you place it on your desk you will find it hard to move especially to get to the back. I think the heaviness comes form the built in power supply for the 200 watt transistors. Then when you add all the screens, buttons and switches it all adds up. Yeah,,,,,it is one fantastic radio that I will probably keep for a long time....Actually I can't HEAR any difference comparing it to my K3S, but maybe its just me. After I have owned it longer,,,I will give it another review.
WR0F Rating: 5/5 Nov 20, 2016 10:01 Send this review to a friend
Owner 2 1/2 years   Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my Kenwood TS 990S now since the June 14 2014 . I have been the owner of many radios over the years and this one is a high quality radio that we plan on keeping for many years.
We get awesome transmit audio reports using our Heil PR781g boom mic setup with the audio equalizer setup that is built into the radio .
The receiver on weak signals is right up with the best of them with the noise reduction options notch filters and a receiver equalizer as well.
This radio has a place for life in my radio room and is a keeper .
N6UG Rating: 5/5 Sep 11, 2016 06:52 Send this review to a friend
Great radio!  Time owned: more than 12 months
After owning the TS-990S for a year I'm still very happy with the radio. I love having all the controls out front. I've worked a lot of CW this last year. The filters make it easy to pull out difficult signals. I also work digital, ex. JT65, the computer interfaces are simple to use and work very well.

For me, this radio is a good value and just plain fun to operate!
VK4FO Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2016 22:36 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Whilst I've only owned the TS990 for a relatively short period, I thought I'd take the opportunity to make some early observations.
For those of you contemplating a purchase of the above radio, please be assured that the setup procedure is nothing at all to be feared. The accompanying manual, in pictures and text, provides the average ham with all of the information necessary in an easy to read, simple format.
On air this radio is brilliant, the last time I said that was when using my TS950SDX and in my short view, the TS990 is in that class and probably better.
I will update this review at a later date when I've had more time to evaluate this radio.
AL1H Rating: 5/5 Aug 28, 2016 14:36 Send this review to a friend
The Best Transciever yet  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought my TS 990s about 6 months ago now and as the previous ham said very very programable fior what the user wants and has a great reciever. I have
had lots of radios over the years which includes the icom 7800 and the yaesu DCT 9000 amoung others,
but this one, the TS 990s is really nice. My only complaint is the egonomics are not laid out very well and the owners manual is hard to understand ( the way it is written and set up). Other than that
I can customize it the way I want and the performance is great. Reciever is great and so is the dual screens.
AK9S Rating: 5/5 Aug 28, 2016 08:27 Send this review to a friend
Beyond Expectations...  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Only after using this rig for several weeks does one realize how great of a value it truly is. Worth every penny and then some. The main receiver is beyond outstanding, with a sub receiver (TS-590sg type) just good enough for ordinary reception. The radio can be highly customized and offers sensitivity and filtration which work wonders under extremely heavy QRM situations. I can understand why some reviewers may not give it a 5 rating, the radio has many buttons and can be intimidating to operate until one becomes acquainted with it.
2E0DQQ Rating: 5/5 May 21, 2016 13:48 Send this review to a friend
Beautiful radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Firstly, I should state from the outset that I've been a Yaesu fan for many years, but getting the opportunity to use a TS990 for a few days completely changed my mind. To me the TS990 is a work of art; easy to use, EQ setting that will please the most passionate audiophile and a receiver that in my humble opinion is going to go down in history as one of the best ever made. It's just a joy to use in every way. The VERY first contact I made was to a Canadian station in Ottawa followed closely thereafter by 2 stations in Florida. My antenna is a Mosley 2 element tri-bander and the TS990 was hearing things that the FTDX5000 could only dream about. This was especially true in relation to 80m. The TS990 is just amazing. The big part for most people nowadays is obviously the money involved with radios like the 990. Yes, it is expensive but like everything in life, you get what you pay for and boy ohhh boy - this beast just does it for me bigtime. My advice, if you get the chance to get one, grab with both hands and run home immediately - you will not regret it.
DD4DA Rating: 4/5 May 16, 2016 08:43 Send this review to a friend
Just an Update of experiences  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am own the radio near 2 years and did the 1.11 update last week, that just fiexed some build-in keyer issues. I miss the build-in cw-decoder feature of the TS590SG and it would be nice to have a dual-notch like the IC7000's. In the past years, i most qso's are done in CW (95%) because the sound of the IC-756Pro3 was'nt good enough and the rig lacks in output power in SSB. In the 10 years of operating the icom rig, i had never found a setup that works proper. The TS990s comes with a great sound in ssb without change the default settings and using an external add-on, just the MC60a (about 30Years old) who's preamp is bypassed - just using the dynamic mic. In Dx purpose i limit the audio bandwith, especialy the lower-cut frequency raised. All of the settings could be backuped externaly by a memory-stick and the CAT-Program relased by Kenwood. The rig are able to hold-on two different profiles that contains different setup's and can be selected as required. I use this for two different PA's with different power limit settings for each band and mode. It's very comfortable to use this for a quick change of an entire setup of the hole trx.
I had read about AGC-Issues - well, i can't confirm that. The sensivity and delay requires to setup them. This values are very depend on the filter setup and bandwith. The AGC is build by software as a pice of code in the dsp and be able to cooperate with the bandwith filters. The behavior is different as an old school styled one who just detect the rectified and smoothed received signal as the only value. This is common used in all modern receivers who are if-based digital signal processed. Some receiver uses the signal of the last IF-Stage and generate the agc voltage,that regulate the amplifier stages of the RX. The optimizing of them is limited by hardware modifications. The DSP generation is more flexibel and can be improved by a software update. That's the way where most of the common rig's going. Depending of the update policy, this is a good or bad way to to go. I had not problems about the AGC. It's handling is similar as every other rig a had owned. More flexibility and values to tune that's available, as more complicated is to find the special setup that's required.
A pitty is, that's impossible to send out a previously recorded received signal back to sender like a rehearsal. You need a trick to do that. I also miss a protocol like winkey to control the build-in keyer by an external logbook.
Similar is the missing of remote usable command set that support the PSK31 and RTTY mode as like a modem or other. An ethernet is available and runs up`to 100mbit full-duplex; This could be used by sending I/Q signal for monitoring or external signal processing by an SDR-program. In addition, i miss an output socket for the IF. I don't know why most of the modern TRX don't have such one. I have no idea why. Well, i am lucky with that TS990s and will not give them away.
I know that here are better radios out there but i am sure that all around the things, i got for the the best for that price. An Icom IC-7851 or a Hilberling maybe perform the TS990s out but they all cost a double of the Kenwood.
ZS2DL Rating: 2/5 Apr 14, 2016 23:55 Send this review to a friend
Buyers Remorse  Time owned: more than 12 months
Short and sweet, After 2 years I can honestly say
I miss other radios I have owned in the passed. which tells me I made a mistake in buying the TS990.

It has AGC and RX sensitivity issues, and backup support from Kenwood is non existent.

I am so disappointed because I feel duped!

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