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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF+UHF models) | Kenwood TS-820S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-820S
Kenwood TS-820S Reviews: 55 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $5000.00
Description: 160 meter through 10 meter HF radio
Product is not in production.
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KC9GGV Rating: 5/5 Jul 7, 2005 10:12 Send this review to a friend
Good Radio - Still Going Strong  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased a TS-820S for my first HF rig at a local hamfest in November 2004. I upgraded to General in January 2005. My TS-820S had been used hard for many years by its previous owner. He purchased it new in 1976 so it was 28 years old when I bought it from him. It had some oxidation problems in the VFO selector switch which I cured with some Caig De-Oxit. This was probably because it sat idle for about four months before he sold it to me (he had bought a new rig). I have used the radio on a daily basis since the end of January this year. She still puts out 100 watts on all bands and it still has the original S2001A (6146B) finals and 12BY7 driver tube. The triple conversion receiver is extremely sensitive and I have pulled in really weak signals with this rig (1 watt QRP from Oklahoma on 40 m). I also have the stock MC-50 desk microphone with this rig. My antenna is a G5RV Jr (that's right a Junior 52 feet long 17 feet up). I have already completed my 1st ARRL WAS (mixed 20 and 40 meters) and I have contacted more than 50 DX countries.

If you find a TS-820S in good shape and working condition I say grab it. You will not be sorry.

If you want to hear mine then listen for me on the 3905 CCN 40 meter SSB early net most nights.

Oh and this rig also works on PSK31 just fine. I use a one of "Whitey" Donner's interfaces and a PSK Meter.
W4LOS Rating: 5/5 Nov 6, 2003 15:01 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT VINTAGE RIG!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just purchased a TS-820s with the DG-1,DC-DC pwr supply converter & stock SSB filter. I have been going through this one cleaning everywhere I can without completey breaking down the entire rig. The quality of the rig is outstanding for its time and even still today. Trio Kenwood really went all out to produce a excellent xcrv in this line. It may not have the DSP sys current rigs have as well the WARC bands ,but I think it still holds it own in all respects.

Anyone know of a better "mod" for the 12BY7 driver tube circuit? Not that you want to do that ,but just curious. I wish Kenwood would make a modern version with the ruggedness this one has or 830 for that matter.

If you have one these rigs sitting around I would hold onto them!!

73 & Good DX: W4LOS
AB7UW-MONTANA Rating: 5/5 Oct 17, 2003 12:38 Send this review to a friend
fantastic radio!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my first hf rig back in 1997. I now have a 930 s/at sitting next to the 820s. I operate CW only and sometimes have a tough desision of which rig to use! Granted the 820s is missing some of the filtering that came standard on the 930 s but the rig works so well that I dont think Ill ever part with it. Overall a masterpiece from Kenwood that will never lose its usefullness nor beauty.Vaughn-AB7UW
W2RQD Rating: 5/5 Sep 14, 2003 07:07 Send this review to a friend
Still a super great unit.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have had this unit since purchasing in 1976 and other than a PLL unlock occassionally, and two sets of drivers and finals, this has served me very well. The matching AT-200 tuner and MC-50 mic also accompanies it's space.I recently got back on the air after a few years of silence and the rig still functions like a pro. Never did a thing to it other then adding the digital display in '76 and the tube replacement (knock-on-wood!) Probably needs some ground stud mount tightening, or whatever to cure the occassional unlock problem. Great overall transceiver.
WB6MYL Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2003 23:48 Send this review to a friend
good memories  Time owned: more than 12 months
After a hiatus from ham radio for ten years, I bought a used 820S back in 1990 and kept it for three years; yes, some of my glee was a result of getting back into a hobby that "I had never really left", but I remember this xcvr as very user friendly and a sensitive receiver; those 6146 finals took an extra few seconds to tune (no AT) but it was very forgiving as far an antenna loads and reports were usually very good with the MC-60 mic. Ergonomics were just excellent with that spinner tuning knob. Thanx for reading and the bandwidth. Phillip W. Harris, PhD.P.C.
G4IJL Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2003 19:30 Send this review to a friend
OK used since new  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my tranciever since new, this is getting about 25 years now ( 1978 from dealer? ). I have the folowing extras...
DG-1 digital display....clean those pcb connectors
YG-88c CW filter
DS-1A 12 volt psu adaptor

External bits
SM-220 monitor 'scope fitted with BS-8 panadaptor
VFO-520S (electrically the same as the VFO-820)
SP-820 speaker with passive audio filters
AT-200 tuning unit, (mod fitted dial lights the meter is same as TS820S meter differing decal)
In short all the matching kit and manuals, including the TS-820S service manual.

Troubles...connections in digital readout, pull it apart and re-assemble, it wipes the connectors clean. Meltdown of PA tubes, replaced, conectors again???

My modifications.
1. Fitted crystals in FIX CH great for mobile, but "rock-bound" (could not QSY).
2. Changed transverter PTT switching to normally open for another make of transverter. Made up copy of TV-502 switching circuit to change TS-820 into trannsverter driver at flick of switch as with TV-502/TV-506. Works great, shame output to transverter such low level, clipped resistor across 10 meter coil in coil pack to give more transverter drive.

Replacements. Loads of dial lamps, 4 sets of PA tubes 6146B, about 20+ 12BY7A drivwer tubes. I used it hard so tube life short. AF/RF gain pot (still on Kenwood stock!). Oil the PA fan from time to time (runs faster).

Found a CD-ROM with TS-820 mods, repairs, comments from Kenwood, useful.

Another fault is damp colleting on the IF board causing the "S" meter to clime hard over and receiver goes deaf. Dry the radio under the automobile heater when camping! Possibly use the XYL's hair dryer, if generator powerful enough!

Other options..MC-50 microphone, HS-5 headphones.
Keyer is a Kantronics KAMPlus and computer or old brass key. (60volts on that key watch it!!!)

N3JJT Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2003 21:56 Send this review to a friend
Great operating rig, very strong with great audio reports.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased an 820S from a local club. This rig used to be their primary station rig. Looks and operates as new, along with the 820 came a SP520 and MC-50. I love this radio and will never sell it. It takes only minutes to tune up, and ur ready to go. This is the first radio since I sold my TS440 over 7 years ago, in which I also loved that radio too, however this radio is a treat to operate.
K5OS Rating: 5/5 May 22, 2001 12:50 Send this review to a friend
A great rig then and now  Time owned: more than 12 months
Time and time again, this rig performs like no other. My rig was off the air for more than 20 years, packed away in various attics, hot and humid in the summer and cold and damp in the winter. When I unpacked it, it wouldn't work. A little "Deoxy" from Radio Shack, on the switches and it has worked like new ever since. I have worked almost 100 countries since October 2000 and typically get great reports, such as "You have great audio." or "What a nice signal." I'm a firm believer that the vacuum finals make a difference. I do recommend the MC-50 microphone, VFO-820, for working splits and the SP-820 speaker because of the filters it includes. All of the pieces appear to be available from various sources at what appear to be resonable prices. If you don't mind tuning up to transmit and enjoy vintage radio you might want to think about the 820 series. I will never get rid of mine.
WB5KHB Rating: 5/5 Apr 23, 2001 16:46 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig - Even by today's standards.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a used Kenwood TS-820S in September of 1979. It is still my primary rig today. The reason I have not replaced it is simply that it still does everything I need to do with it. In the over 20 years of service the only problems I've had were the usual ones with faulty connections in the digital display unit. I am currently using the rig on PSK31 and other digital modes...not bad for an almost 25 year old.
This is quite simply one of the best transceivers ever produced in my today's prices it would be a steal for the new ham in particular.
I would also add that I have not had to change the finals the entire time that I've owned it, so I wouldn't fret too much about having to replace expensive tubes...they last a long time if you treat them right.
NA9Q Rating: 5/5 Dec 25, 2000 09:12 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio even today  Time owned: more than 12 months
Reluctantly, after 21 years, I recently sold my trusty 820S. I felt the urge to upgrade to something with the WARC bands and to a radio the XYL could use without tune-up (another Kenwood natually, the 940SAT). In all the years I had the 820S, it gave me few problems, the most frustrating the intermittent power connector for the digital display. I finally replaced it with a quality unit with gold plated pins and that problem was permanently cured. All in all a good rig; sensitive receiver, solid transmitter with the typical great Kenwood audio, fine VOX action, very forgiving tube output. Solid controls and the quality feel when tuning are also Kenwood trademarks. It is now operating well for a friend in Qatar and with a little care will be there for years to come. I would say that this would be a good backup rig or a great first radio for a new ham. --- Mike, NA9Q
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