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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Trio (Kenwood) 9R-59DS Help

Reviews Summary for Trio (Kenwood) 9R-59DS
Trio (Kenwood) 9R-59DS Reviews: 8 Average rating: 3.8/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 1970s vintage Kenwood ham receiver (matches TX-88 transmitter)
Product is not in production.
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N4UE Rating: 5/5 Dec 14, 2010 14:00 Send this review to a friend
For it's vintage: EXCELLENT!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hi. A while ago, I purchased a Trio solid state 6 and 2 Meter converter. It looked like a perfect match for a 9R-59DS receiver. I have a lot of Trio/Allied/Lafayette radios, but had been looking for a 9R-59D. I found a nice one on eBay and it was packed VERY well and survived the trip from Washington State to Florida perfectly.
The radio worked as received, but would break into oscillation. It was dusty, etc.
I did the usual, 3 wire line cord, re-paint, disassembled it as far as possible. ALL the paper caps were bad, one tube was leaky, and the electrolytics were 100%+ over value.
After seeing how few parts were in the radio I kinda doubted it would work well.
I shouldn't have worried. It is one of the most sensitive and great sounding AM radios in my collection. SSB is OK if you run the AF wide open and ride the RF gain. (like the old days).

I had my HP sig gen cranked down to it's lowest setting , -110 dbm on 15 MHz, and it still heard the signal clearly and showed itself as S-7. I KNOW that this is a 'relative' thing, but I have to say that this radio has an exceptionally sensitive S-Meter.
Listening to Short Wave Broadcast in the 15 MHz region found a LOT of great sounding, strong stations. My experience with these 'low end' radios has been that they get pretty deaf over 10 MHZ. Not this baby.

The radio had never been 'golden screwdrivered', since all the white paint was untouched on the tuning slugs. I believe that one reason this radio performs SO well is that having the tubes and associated components on the 2 circuit boards, (like a Heathkit HW-100),left a LOT of room for the 'coil pack'. The trimmers and inductors in the front end are not crowded and appear to be high quality.

Like the FRG-7 (which also has very few parts, and performs excellent), this Trio sure amazed me!!!

VE3FAX Rating: 3/5 Jun 26, 2010 16:12 Send this review to a friend
Nice "tube" audio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hamfest buy(2005). Intermittantly working BFO for SSB soon obvious. Switching showed bad/intermitant contacts on multi-pole rotary switch. I replaced it with a "workable" sub...but still BFO problem. After much testing, realized BFO cct would stop occillating until CCT "touched" and would then restart. Opened can to replace cap and found broken coil wire. Seems common problem with similar TRIO and Lafayette sets (per web).

I have yet to replace coil.
Radio nice in AM, but HUMS, espically in headphones. May try new filter caps to reduce. RF gain MUST be used to adjust overload on AM and SSB.. especailly since no AGC in SSB..

Fun to use, typical 1970 tube receiver- better than expected and love the rich AM audio. My bedside set for late night insomnia.

If you have a service manual or any tech info on my problem, please QSL my callsign at rac dot ca.
VK7ZJA Rating: 3/5 May 13, 2010 02:29 Send this review to a friend
Sentimental favourite  Time owned: more than 12 months
Many years ago, when I was a young boy, my Dad took me many miles out of town to buy a kindly ham's 9R-59DS to get me started in SWL. The ham selling it made me promise as a 12 year old that I'd become a ham one day.
As a first HF receiver, it was OK, but I wanted the precision of a digital readout and sold it.
Many years later, I wanted to revisit the receiver of my youth and found a mint example of the 9R-59DS.
Sure, it drifts. Its microphonic as hell. Placing a speaker on top of the cabinet will cause the LO valve to vibrate in sympathy, and will detune ever so slightly the tuned frequency, producing a 'warble' in the audio.
Images are pretty strong, especially in the higher bands.
And it takes a rock-steady hand to tune in SSB stations.
But with all these shortcomings, I still love it. It fills a cold dark radio shack on a winter evening with a warm reassuring glow and a gentle warmth that the cat finds irresistable. With a good speaker, it sounds so lovely. Perhaps its the lack of phase noise that you'd get in a modern day equivalent. Maybe it's that near-intangible quality that valves, I'm told, impart to the audio. Oh, and that late 60s / early 70s style... just wonderful.
For me, its all the above, and the fact it is the receiver that takes me back to my childhood when everything was so much more simple & innocent - just like the Trio 9R-59DS.
And if the ham that sold his 9R-59DS to that awkward 12-year old all those years ago is reading this, he'll be pleased to know that 12-year old did sit his exam and passed... and still listens to a Trio 9R-59DS to this day.
RA3AFD Rating: 2/5 Feb 20, 2008 19:20 Send this review to a friend
Brainless design  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The receiver seems to have been designed by brainless engineers. LO tank circuit and bandswitch are wired by soft insulated wires woven into looms! Main tuning capacitor is 30cm away from the LO tube. No wonder on higher bands frequency drifts by dozens of kHz! Unshielded wire to the antenna tuning trimmer runs close to the LO, therefore LO leakes into RF amplifier and then pulls the LO via parasitic space charge coupling in the 6BE6 mixer. No wonder frequency drifts when AGC is working even if the voltage regulator tube is fitted. For the same reason LO frequency drifts even when you trim the antenna. On the 10.5-30MHz band there are no (!) padding capacitor in the LO circuit, so LO/RF tracking is poor - image rejection can be achieved only in two points, not across the whole band.

If IF line is tuned to peak, IF bandwidth becomes 4.5kHz - too wide for SSB and too narrow for AM listening. (To widen it one needs to carefully detune the IF transformers, but it requires a sweep generator.)

AM detector can hardly handle 50% modulation - hence poor signal readability in noise.

The list of stupid design solutions can be continued, there is not a single stage which does not need fixing... I will just mention one more. In the audio output 6AQ5 stage a 4700pF capacitor connected not across the transformer primary, but from the anode to a filtered screen grid voltage bus. Because of this hum from the rectifier leaks into the speakers even before the valves warm up!

On the positive side, the product SSB detector (ECC85/6BE6) is a good feature, of course after it has been debugged.

The bottom line -- this radio needs to be completely overhauled and redesigned before it can be made usable above MW. I have done that and can share my experience with other enthusiasts (
JLH63UK Rating: 4/5 Mar 5, 2006 04:30 Send this review to a friend
some warts  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a well made set pitty it had been messed around soldered with a pin by the look of it.once re soldered worked ok forget ssb
the thing drifts like snow down a hill this can be improved by voltage regulating the first ecc 85. signal meter to lively change r11 to 1.5k that will sort it.if signal meter runs in reverse
groun pin 3 on rear socket and the meter will run mine did. good radio for 16 pounnds on ebay
use for fun onley looks nice......jeff
VK6FJA Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2004 10:46 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Valve Set  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this radio for AU$50 many years ago when starting out in SWLing and it helped me gain my Amateur Licence. Mainly used it on 80m, but 20m and 15m were all okay.

Broke the dial cord on the bandspread by tuning the bands too much and had a bit of a job counting up the turns required around the main tuning axle and finding some proper dial cord that didn't break again - and an internal loudspeaker would be a great modification to this radio if one wanted to improve it. Sound quality is excellent but sometimes drift can drive you mad if you are used to a synthesised radio - especially on SSB - but being able to adjust the BFO is something you don't get on new radio's. The old glow of tubes and soft dial lights during a night of SWLing are still a drawcard for me to this radio.

Mine still works fine after many years of service and I keep it because it was my 'first' radio!
XTZ53 Rating: 4/5 May 2, 2002 20:46 Send this review to a friend
A nice classic receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When I bought the set it dropped out on the 14.5-4.8 MHz band below 6MHz. That was caused by the ECC85/6AQ8 local oscillator valve having reduced emission. It was replaced and the set was aligned as per the fairly skimpy instructions in the Service Manual.

The tuning control consists of a fixed brass tube over which the tube turned by the main tuning knob
runs and through which the shaft turned by the bandspread knob runs. The fixed tube was slipping and the moveable tubes were sticking. The assembly was fine once it had been taken apart,
the fixed tube soldered in place and the other two parts lubricated, and re-assembled.

The BFO section of the second ECC85/6AQ8 and the product detector valve (6BE6/EK90) were also
replaced because of low emission. The other valves
in the set were a little down but were perfectly

The heater voltages were close to 7 volts and
ballast resistors were put in to reduce them to
6.3. The first, rough alignment was improved.

It looks as if this was a factory assembled set,
(Trio also sold it as a kit) with no home-brew extras added. It has an OA2 voltage stabiliser
which looks factory-installed.

When I aligned the set, there were noticeable
images at above 25 MHz. This is inherent in
single conversion and an IF of 455KHz. I haven't
noticed the images in use.

It's a nice radio to use. It's small and light. It has a nice feel. It's pretty good on the 20 and 40 metre bands and it's easy to resolve SSB. Tuning accuracy - OK-ish. Selectivity - good, but it would be nice were it selectable. Stability - variable, sometimes it drifts and sometimes it doesn't. Sensitivity - good.

I suspect that the reason the BFO and product
detector valves were tired was that the set had
been used as a workshop radio tuned to the
broadcast band for long periods and having no
current passed through them, their cathodes were
poisoned. The local oscillator doesn't seem to
work well if its valve is below its stated
emission. I wish they'd used something other than
the 6AQ8/ECC85 there - like 12AT7/ECC81 - no doubt they had their reasons.

General impression: It's a nice set to own and
use, OK for SWL, not up to the mark as an amateur receiver under today's conditions. It's tempting, but not fair, to compare it with double and triple conversion valve receivers.

I'd say that when it was a current Trio product,
in the late 60's, it was excellent value for
money and a sensible alternative for people who
couldn't afford Collins/Hammerlund etc and didn't
want to use military surplus equipment. I'm pleased I bought it, I enjoyed fixing it, and I
enjoy using it. I have lingering doubts about some
aspects of the design.

WU6Q Rating: 4/5 Oct 18, 2001 15:49 Send this review to a friend
A fun classic, not quite a Boat Anchor  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The 9R-59DS is a good classic receiver. It's very sensitive, in fact I almost always have the RF gain turned a bit so I don't overload the front end espically on the AMBC band. Calibration is pretty good for an analog dial, the ham bands have a separate bandspread. I works great for the "AM" guy's on 75M, great fidelity, approx. 4Khz bandwidth. It does have a product detector for SSB/CW. I would not recommend it as one's primary receiver (I'd get a digital read out Rcvr first) but for those who want to relive the short-wave capabilities of yesteryear works well. It was manufactured even before "Trio" became part of Kenwood. The receiver layout is ergonomically sound. The tuning is relatively smooth but could have been improved using flywheel weights. The dial and S meter windows are excellently placed and the receiver is fun to tune. There is a logging scale, which will assist the operator to find a frequency/station twice. It's all tube, so yes, it glows in the dark. Running this radio at night with all the shack lites out is a kick ! All in all, it's a good receiver, simple to operate and is truly a classic.

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