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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood R599/T599 Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood R599/T599
Kenwood R599/T599 Reviews: 18 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $479/459 (1974)
Description: HF Transmitter/Receiver Combination
Product is not in production.
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KY6R Rating: 5/5 May 10, 2003 09:47 Send this review to a friend
Fun Nostalgia  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My first "real" rig was the Kenwood TS-511S, which was a great rig. I recently stumbled across a mint set of Kenwood Twins (D models) with the matching speaker and MC-50 mic at our clubs auction.

The seller said they had only been used 10 hours, which I didn't believe until I popped the "hoods" and saw how clean they were.

I fired them up last night on 80M and had a great time. I use my Kenwood TS-2000 for DX-ing, and was really surprised that the R599D can compare favorably to the TS-2000 on weak signal DX.

I'll probably just use these twins for 75/80M and 40M rag chewing, when DX conditions are poor, but these great old rigs sure do bring back good memories! I love the tube finals - don't need an amplifier . . . .
KD2E Rating: 5/5 Jan 12, 2002 12:44 Send this review to a friend
2nd Best  Time owned: more than 12 months
I think I have to give the edge to the Drake C line, but the Kenwood twins are solid state except for the RF of the T599D, and may be more reliable then the C line.
They are seperate versions of the TS900, and share many attributes. While the Drake R4C has optional NB and filters, the R599D comes with everything! Even has AM. Speaking of AM, the transmitter has AM as well. Pulled back to allow for some headroom, and it sounds pretty good on this mode! A switch for high and low impedance mics allows you to use most anything.
I have two pairs of '599D' twins, and the only thing I have had to do was clean some of the various slide switches.
Beautiful 'old Kenwood' audio on both transmit and receive. A joy to operate.
WB4M Rating: 5/5 Nov 5, 2001 19:25 Send this review to a friend
Regret selling my twins  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a set of the Kenwood 599-D twins in 1979. Mine had the most beautiful brushed gold faces! I had the matching 599 speaker too. What a beautiful sight they made on my desk! I always enjoyed using them, but never did understand why the receiver had 160 meters but the trasmitter didn't. I also never owned the 2 or 6 meter plugin converters. The receiver also had WWV as a part of the band selector.
However, I began to have a lot of trouble with the transmitter, and after a few trips back to Kenwood, (not me, the xmitter, hi hi) I decided it was time to let them go. I'd love to find another set in good condx. Before I sold them, I took a few color photos of them and boy am I glad. I loved those twins and many times have regretted selling them.
W6HTC Rating: 4/5 Jul 9, 2001 01:42 Send this review to a friend
Fun,flexible  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a pair of the Kenwood Twins new from Henry Radio (Anaheim) in 1971 and I still have them! And the original cartons. I bought the matching speaker, Shure 444, keyer, paddle and the cable! All in one swoop! I worked a lot of DX with that setup! When I sent my current 940 in for some repair, I put the Twins back in line! Lots of fun. I especially like the "machined" quality of the units.Much preferrable to all of these plastic boxes.

Specifications have changed and become much tighter over the years but the R599 and T599 remain great rigs to restore and enjoy.
WD8OST Rating: 5/5 Jul 8, 2001 21:52 Send this review to a friend
great-best  Time owned: more than 12 months
I, have 2 of them. 599 and 599d. the 599 is new old stck unused still in org. bx. never been on air all packing is new. and the speaker also. but want to tell you about 599d bought it used some marks on it works great listening to it now.have k-520 and k-520s-yaesu 101ex. icom 730 yaesu 920 10 hallicrafters. this is the best of them all. no 160 meter transmit-(darn) yes 160m rec. only. I use a shure 444 mic. would not part with it .get them while you can at fair $$$great
W8OB Rating: 4/5 Jul 8, 2001 19:27 Send this review to a friend
way ahead of its time  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
i picked up a pair of these babies off of ebay a few months ago. they arrived in very very good condition and extremely clean the only defect i found was the small plastic dial pointer piece was missing off of the t599, my wife found a piece of plastic very similar to what was used and made a replacement for me which we glued on.the front panels shine like new and no scratches anywhere on them. i went thru the rigs and replaced the o ring drive belts and installed new finals and driver tubes and aligned the rigs. performance while not on par with my omni 6 plus is very good i use the rigs at least once a week to work them out. i almost traded them off as i have too much hf gear but the deal fell thru and thinking about it i am glad it did. yes the manuals leave a lot to be desired. the interface cable was not a part of the deal but the kenwood reflector has a great group of guys on it and several took the time to mail to me details on how to build the connectors and one fellow way over in england took the time to email the information on the wiring types used in the factory cable, as a result i can now use the twins in the transceive mode.. if you can get a pair of these in great condx grab em i think they are destined to go the route of Drake gear in another few years and will become very few and very expensive.
KG6KB Rating: 4/5 Jul 8, 2001 18:01 Send this review to a friend
A desirable set of separates; 1970s...state-of-the-art.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The ?Twins? were originally designated R-599/T-599 and were imported from Japan by Henry Radio of Los Angeles in 1970s. They cost $650. There was an excellent review of these rigs in the June 1971 QST, ?The Henry Radio Kenwood Pair.? Many shortcomings such as rubber band tuning belts were corrected and an ?A? model came out a few years later. These were reviewed in the Oct. 1974 QST; the price had risen to $940! Unfortunately, you will see many of these on the market with silk-screened lettering rubbed off. The TS-900 and TS-510S transceivers were also being marketed at this time.
The silver-faced radios now known, as the Kenwood ?Twins? were further refined and designated the ?D? model. The faces were heavy bronzed looking with more durable embossed lettering. The optional 50 Mhz and 144 Mhz converters in the receiver were included as standard equipment in an ?S? model. These were not imported to the US however. Construction of these radios is excellent quality. When you examine them, you and compare them to modern rigs you will note the many changes in manufacturing techniques and material?cheaper. The manuals suffer from stilted Japanese to English translations common at the time. ??. erect a robust antenna.?; ??the LOAD control collapses the tuning of the PLATE control.?,etc. But, the Kenwood manual translations were certainly ahead of the Yaesu manuals of that era!
A recent pair of ?A? model twins with converters sold for $740 on Ebay. These were bought for ?export? back to Japan (how ironic) and sold by the original owner. However, other more realistic prices for the ?A? and ?D? models with converters would be $300 and $450 respectively. Beware of representations such as ?mint?, ?collector quality?, ?pristine?, ?perfect?, ?excellent?, 9 out of 10. Based on my experience people have different perceptions as to these meanings. Ask questions?use your own judgment.
The solid-state receiver has three filters as standard equipment so one does not have to purchase filters separately as was the custom later. The most likely component to fail is the VFO light. It is a 12v mini-bulb which must be soldered in place. The receiver is excellent and has all the features that one could want. Many VFO combinations can be selected to control the units. It compares favorable to my TS-940S in sensitivity. The entire amateur radio bands plus CB, WWV, as well as 2 and 6 meters with the optional converters are covered.
The transmitter uses two PA tubes designated 2001A; these are equivalent to the 6146 A and B tubes. Kenwood warns that the driver tube, 12BY7 should be replaced by ?Kenwood tubes? because lower power output caused by parasitic oscillation could occur. Tune up with tubes requires some getting used to and is quite sharp. The flat-bladed Send/Stby switch can be easily broken if overworked and is a common thing on used units. It does not include the 160 meter band. It does transmit on AM however. Two and six meters require optional transverters. Use on CW requires some getting used to. The function switch is set to VOX for CW transmit. The signals are zero beat with the receiver using the MAN setting. The transmitter VFO can be zero beat to the receiver VFO by using the CAL position. The two units with speaker easily occupy an area of 2?6? wide by 1? 3? deep, so you need to have a large desktop. Stacking them is not practical.
Everything considered, these are excellent examples of 1970s technology. They are a joy to operate. I recommend them before the price goes out of sight.
KA1BTI Rating: 4/5 Dec 23, 2000 14:43 Send this review to a friend
Unheralded Classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
I was impressed with the good looks and QUALITY construction of this early Kenwood entry. The A/D models were the same except for front panels and dial colors.

I found the solid state R-599D receiver to have a very good front-end, and STANDARD 8-pole selectivity options (.5, 2.4, 5, 25 KHz). The 500 Hz is great for cw, the 2.4 a little wide for SSB. You can, however still find tighter filter upgrades. Also features a good noise blanker, RIT, RF Gain, 25 KHz calibrator, preselector and space for optional internal 6-meter/2-meter converters (good luck finding these). The R-599D covers 160,80,40,20,15,10,CB & WWV(10MHz). No WARC.
The T-599D Transmitter has great transmit audio, as good or better than any rig, in my opinion. Wow is this one heavy! I like the two 6146's (no sweep tubes) in the final, complete with a nice fan. It's pretty neat, all tied together with just one cable and an antenna connector. The T-599D doesn't do 160 meters.

I've never had any problem with the "twins". They remind me of the TS-520, with better build quality. I just might hold on to these. Maybe others have done the same. You don't see these for sale that often. They lack the notch and passband tuning of the Drake twins, but I think otherwise they are fine indeed. I'd recommend these to hams who have the space and prefer "seperates" and hybrid-era rigs.
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