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Reviews Categories | Third-party Equipment | N3BA VCTCXO Module Help

Reviews Summary for N3BA VCTCXO Module
N3BA VCTCXO Module Reviews: 22 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $75
Description: Direct replacement for the Kenwood SO-2 Hi Stability Oscillator
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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K9FB Rating: 5/5 Aug 30, 2014 12:51 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've owned a Kenwood TS-450SAT for about ten years and have used it mostly as a remotely controlled SSB station. I had never really warmed up to it due to its chronic frequency drift. It was nearly always off by plus or minus 20 to 40 Hz at any given time. Based on the eHam reviews, I ordered and installed the N3BA TCXO, then tweaked it exactly to zero-beat with WWV. The radio hasn't drifted even 1 Hz since. If you are a stickler for accurate frequency control, this is for you. Outstanding. Now I can finally enjoy using the TS-450 without the need to constantly tweak the VFO control for accurate SSB reception. Thank you Bob!
WB9ECK Rating: 5/5 Aug 25, 2014 07:44 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the unit on eBay from Bob N3BA and couldn't be happier! It allows my Kenwood TS-870SAT to be dead nutz on the money whether the radio is hot or cold. I can look at the frequency read out and BELIEVE IT.

Before adding the N3BA VCTCXO module, my 870 readout would start out about 40 cycles low (cold radio) and gradually coast up to near the "correct frequency" (after 45 minutes).

Now with the TCXO it is always on, regardless. It's well worth the money to me. Installation is quick and easy and they come in full alignment (no adjustment necessary). You solder it in and it goes!

Absolutely perfect!

Thanks for a great product, Bob!!!

WV3E Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2014 19:38 Send this review to a friend
Stable performance at a great price  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Needed a TCXO for a newly acquired TS-850. The original Kenwood TCXO-SO-2 is as rare as hen's teeth and almost as pricey. Found this little gem on eBay, read the reviews here on eHam, and pulled the trigger. It arrived a couple of days later. Once soldered in, it worked beautifully. Rig is now stable and almost dead nuts on frequency. Nice product.
AD3G Rating: 5/5 Mar 5, 2014 17:26 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Simple install in my TS870.
Spot on frequency after install, no tweaking necessary.
No complaints here , it works excellent !
K6HOM Rating: 5/5 Jan 15, 2014 09:02 Send this review to a friend
Great Product, Great Customer Service!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I installed one of these TXCOs in my TS-870S. Wow, what a difference! Previously, this radio had been off by 3-4 Hz on all bands. My radio is now dead on WWV on all of its frequencies. Known HF nets on various bands are now right on the money, not even 1 Hz off in either direction, Dead On. Even the known 10M beacons are exactly on frequency. For me, itís like getting a brand new high-performance radio.

Installation was a breeze, it took all of 20-25 minutes, total. No calibration or tweaking necessary.

My original order got lost by the USPS. Bob sent me another unit, no questions asked. Modern TXCO, old-fashioned customer service. I am one very happy camper and can highly recommend this TXCO.
N4PAL Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2013 12:42 Send this review to a friend
AAA+ Performance  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have installed the VCTCXO in the TS570D and TS50 radios with outstanding performance.

If you are looking for a TXCO SO-2 solution this is it.

KD5ZD Rating: 5/5 Nov 10, 2013 21:11 Send this review to a friend
A great product at a great price.   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just installed this VCTCXO in my Kenwood TS-450! The TCXO is AWESOME! It is within 2 or 3 Hz...right on the money! After installing the TCXO the frequency is easily within 3 Hz or less if my hearing is right! 10.000 MHz WWV is VERY close to the exact same tone when switching between USB and LSB! I was never able to adjust the internal reference oscillator any closer than about 20 Hz. This is a marked improvement and worth while addition to the rig!

This TCXO is a great product at a great price, with great documentation and instructions! I couldnít be more pleased! If you have an older Kenwood rig with the option for the Kenwood SO-2 TCXO and it does not have one installed, I highly recommend installing one of these TCXOs!
KC7OV Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2013 17:57 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just installed in a friends newly acquired TS-870.No adjustment required.Great unit.
W4MSW Rating: 5/5 Apr 11, 2013 08:44 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding TXCO for my elderly TS-970  Time owned: months
Am I ever lucky to have found this part! I purchased my Kenwood TS-870 New in 1998. Had little time to use it and less to open it and install an SO-2. BTW, the SO-2 should have been included in the radio new by Kenwood, as their top line unit. Anyway, now retired and have the time to play radios. Finding a new txco was impossible! Used and removed from a radio, maybe and then at a ridiculous price plus twenty dollars shipping..,

Anyway, after fifteen years, the TS-870 oscillator had drifted by quite a lot, making exact frequency tuning impossible.

Quite by accident , I found N3BA here at eham. Took a chance, based on the posted reviews.

I AM THRILLED by the performance of this little bug! Based on the testing procedure outlined in the Kenwood manual, after installation in the radio, it is within two Hz of the 20 Mhz spec. That is an incredible 0.1 ppm

The little bug is very professionally made and ships calibrated. Frankly, based on my research, it would be cheap at three times the price.

Caution...txco installation in any radio will require some disassembly and intricate soldering with a GOOD TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED soldering station
Don't ruin your radio if you dont have the tools or the skills.

And don't forget the flux remover.

W6LBV Rating: 5/5 Mar 28, 2013 10:09 Send this review to a friend
An elegant solution  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In 1996 I bought a new Kenwood TS-850S transceiver but didnít have additional funds to get the accessories for it. Over the following years newer Kenwood HF transceivers arrived at my shack, and they did get some of the accessories. But the 850 never was brought up to date, and eventually Kenwood phased out the older accessories.

I was out of luck until N3BA appeared with his ďsubstituteĒ SO-2 high stability oscillator for the older Kenwood radios. Tipped off by KA5IPFís earlier review, I immediate bought a newly-available SO-2 from N3BA.

The process of ordering was faultless, delivery very prompt, and packaging excellent. No problems here.

However, as I went to install it, some discrepancies appeared between Bobís included instructions and those published in the original Kenwood manual for the radio. Based on my recent experience, I write about these.

I had already successfully installed the newer SO-3 oscillator decks in the newer Kenwood radios. Now I found that installing the SO-2 into the 850 required significantly more bench work than installing the newer SO-3s into the newer TS-480SAT and the TS-590S. To install the SO-2 into the 850, one needs to first detach and relocate two small PCBs to reach the PLL board which will hold the SO-2. It is at this point where the N3BA and Kenwood instructions diverge.

The PLL board has 8 external cables attaching to board-mounted jacks on it, and 7 small mounting bolts. After removing the seven small bolts, the Kenwood instructions would have one remove just two of the eight PLL cables and then apparently swing the PCB out its cavity with the remaining cables still attached. The N3BA instructions would have one remove all eight cables and then physically remove the board from the radio.

In this case, the N3BA procedure is the better one. It would be very difficult to do a good job of soldering the five small pins from the oscillator deck to the PCB if the board were still dangling by most of its cables! The PLL board should be fully removed.

Bob cautions about the need for labeling of the cables to be removed from the PLL board, so that they can be re-installed correctly. In practice this is not a great worry, as most of the cables can be differentiated by the size and style of their connectors and the locations on the board to which they run. In reality, there is a possibility of confusion only with the two small RF cables near the center of the board bearing red and orange tags. Additionally, replacement of the two plastic-based multiconductor flat ribbon cables into their respective sockets can be challenging!

Once the radio was re-assembled the new oscillator worked instantly, and its accuracy seemed very close to ideal judging by receiving WWV transmissions. Later, when I have access to a test bench with NIST-traceable instruments, Iíll do a final accuracy check.

I have no trouble recommending Bobís SO-2 high stability oscillator deck to those who, as I did, failed to grab the original when it was still available.
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