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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Kenwood TS-930S Help


Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-930S
Kenwood TS-930S Reviews: 67 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $1,499.00
Description: Classical Masterpiece
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.qsl.net/sm7vhs/radio/kenwood/ts930/ts930.htm
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PA3FPV Rating: 3/5 Sep 24, 2014 06:45 Send this review to a friend
Blown MRF485 drivers  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I fixed my TS-930's PA which had its MRF485 drivers blown and their 22 ohms base resistors burned out. After that I also gutted out the original power supply ('though it was not broken apparently) and replaced it with a new Phoenix Quint 24V/10A SMPS which was supplied by Paul PA2VC, and which is similar to the one John W3AFC used.

Fortunately I did not just drop in my Eleflow MRF485 replacements to start with... Since the power supply had not been broken, nor seemed to have ever been broken, I first had to investigate what else caused the drivers to blow.

I cut out the shorted D5 zener, replaced the burned out 22 ohms base resistors with new ones and put in a pair of cheap BD135s. By then I had not changed anything to the circuitry yet and I was just curious to see what would happen when I would activate the "Send" switch. And so I did -without any drive, obviously.
The BD135s, well, the 22 ohms base resistors actually, literally burned out in front of my eyes instantly!!

While the power supply was not erroneous, the most likely reason for the drivers to burn out is that they get 28.5V (or some other too high voltage) at their bases, I figured. But everything was happening so fast, that I could not measure anything.

I decided to renew the capacitors and resistors in the feedback circuits (and put in the second pair of BD135s). I switched to "Send" again and nothing started to smoke!
I can hardly imagine that those feedback circuits can go wrong, but this is what I experienced. The old capacitors didn't show leakage on an ohmmeter; the resistors had lost their original value (but not dramatically).

Now I applied some RF drive: instantly the stuff burned out again. I suppose the problem had initially been solved by renewing the feedback circuits. The second pair of BD135s however, were "hanging in the air"; not cooled whatsoever. So maybe they now broke down for that reason. I don't know.

At this point I started to do the boring through hole fixes as described in Service Bulletin 886. You may have heard about them too. Along the way I replaced the 723 regulator by a new one and Q6, which didn't seem broken. I put in a 5.1V zener for D5. For what's it worth; in my opinion any zener in this position is worth nothing. At least it can never protect the drivers, so can anyone tell us what's the point in having a zener there!?

By this time I changed the circuitry a little in order to try some cheap FETs as drivers. I still didn't want to risk my pair of MRF485s yet. First I used a pair of IRF820s which were good up to 14MHz (100W output). Then I used a pair of IRF710s which were better above 14MHz. But the output was not satisfactory. I got about 30W on 28MHz. But at the least nothing was burning and this was the first time I actually did have true output!

With hesitation I changed back the circuitry and put in the valuable MRF485s. As expected they didn't blow without drive. I adjusted their bias for about 60mA. So after that I applied drive and.... they still did not blow! The PA now delivers 100-120W on all bands as per the manual.
The original power supply was running very hot - even on receive only. From what I read about it that's normal, but I built in the new Quint anyway. We will see what will happen in the future; so far I've made several short QSOs on the TS-930 which seems to be fixed now!

Considerations
---------------------

I am not sure for what reason the original MRF485s broke down. I just bought the TS-930 in this condition. The power supply was not broken.
So what had gone wrong?

PA0MBJ, an electronic design engineer, examined the TS-930's PA and he came about with the following I freely translated into English:

"There is something odd about that MRF485. Its datasheet states that its Vce-max is 35V so the 28.5V supply voltage seems to be acceptable. But in transformer loads the peak voltage will rise! There will be a superposition of the supply voltage PLUS the AC peak voltage. That combination is very likely to reach about 50V, which is of course by far no longer safe for the MRF485.
I don't intend to know better than Kenwood but I don't understand... To me it smells of a blunder in the design."

If he is right, all MRF485s in both the TS-930 and TS-940 are unsafe. So they will all break down sooner or later, no matter how fine the (new) power supplies is running.
Hopefully the Eleflow replacements are more robust than the original Motorola ones.
Maybe mine broke down because of a leaky feedback circuit. If they will blow again, I would first replace the feedback circuits again. But it is an unlikely failure. If everything else seems to be good too, I would consider using cheaper 2SC1969s or so and get 15V from a 78T15 regulator.
But let's hope for the better
 
K9EUI Rating: 5/5 Jul 10, 2014 08:15 Send this review to a friend
power supply problem?  Time owned: more than 12 months
If your 930 suddenly dies (which can happen with long key-down times at high power) It is probably due to an overheated supply.

Check the fan on the back. It should be sucking outside air into the rig, not pulling hot air out as mine was. Reversing the fan leads is all it takes.

best rig I have had!
 
N6BIZ Rating: 5/5 Jul 9, 2014 15:43 Send this review to a friend
TERRIFC  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
W3AFC WAS MY INSIRATION IN RESCUING MY 930... I HAD MINE REPAIRED AND I BY ACCIDENTI BLEW UP THE AVR BOARD... MINE IS A 4MIL SERIAL NUMBER...
I ENDED UP BUYING A SURPLUS PHONIEX CONTACT PS...
I WENT FOR BROKE!!!I GUTTED EVERYTHING THE 930 HAD FOR A PS AND I MEAN EVERYTHING... I HAD TO REPACE THE DIGITAL BOARD WITH A PIEEX BOARD TOO... I EVEN GOT RID OF THE RESISTORS IN THE FAN CAGE AND REPLACED THE 4 RESISTORS WITH THESE LITTLE VOLTAGE REGULATOR BOARDS FROM CHINA 5 FOR $6.32 SHIPPED... ADDED 2 24 V FANS RUNNING CONTINUOULY AT 17V VIA THE REG BOARDS... I SET THE VOLTAGE OUTPUT FROM THE PC AT 25.5V... THE V OUT FROM THE NEW RESISTORS TO POWER THE REST OF THE 930 AT 17V FOR THEM ALL ... THE 930 WILL RUN ALL DAY AND NIGHT AND IS COLD!!! NO HEAT!!! I LOVE IT!!! NOW WHEN I LOOK BACK AT IT, I COULD DO THIS TRANSFORMATION IN LESS THAN 2 HOURS, ITS THAT SIMPLE , THATS IF YOU HAVE THE GUTS TO DO WHAT I DO ...YOU MAY CONTACT ME N6BIZ@YAHOO.COM OR W3AFC... HES THE GENEIUS ...
 
W3AFC Rating: 5/5 Jul 9, 2014 09:03 Send this review to a friend
Follow-Up to my Previous Review  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is a follow-up to my previous review in which I said that the Phoenix Contact Quint switching PS "gave" a little compared to the OEM PS.

It appears that the "give" is actually the ALC kicking in. This happens when I'm pushing the rig on a band where my wire antenna has a SWR of 2:1 or higher. If I persist, the dial lights flicker, although the Ops on the other end of the QSO say they don't notice anything unusual - just great, strong audio. Two other HAMS who did they same conversion noticed this effect also. One of those HAMS tore apart a working 930S just to try my conversion, which made me a bit nervous. But his rig works great, and he loves the end result also.

My contacts all say the rig has a clean, loud signal, and two different peak-reading wattmeters show up to 120-watts PEP output. The rig gets through pileups with ease. One DXpedition said that while others were louder, my clean, clear audio was what he noticed so I got the nod on that round. Since I performed the PS conversion, my digital board acted up so I pulled it and performed each step in the Kenwood service bulletin and now the radio sings again.That took less than an hour.

I wrote a 14-page "white paper" with photos and schematics, outlining how to do the Phoenix PS conversion for any 930S, including the later models with the "split voltage" AVR boards. Anyone who wants a free copy can send a note to my QRZ W3AFC email address, and I'll send a return email with it attached as a PDF.
 
ZL1PWR Rating: 5/5 Jun 12, 2014 19:48 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: more than 12 months
Love my 930 sugar will never sell it mine is trio badged and a late 6 mil serial number only trouble I had was with the atu and was a easy fix only needed a grub screw tightened fantastic receiver and always gets great audio reports if it develops a fault in the future I will have it fixed its that good.
 
N6WTY Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2014 08:47 Send this review to a friend
Great audio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got the TS-930s this is the best radio I got ... If I used my Shure 526t deskmike lot of fellow hams with all the same comments had a wonderfull sound the audio,,, if i heard these comments they always make my day.
 
N8WGM Rating: 5/5 Nov 10, 2013 07:01 Send this review to a friend
5 plus stars  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've owned several Kenwoods over the years. My first was a Kenwood TS850. I then went on to the Kenwood TS950SDX. I also have owned a TS870 and a TS820. I have also owned quite a few Yaesu transceivers and an Icom or two. I am always searching for the ultimate rig that suits me best. Last year I found a nice TS930 and after seeing all the great reviews decided to buy it.

First I must say that the receive on this awesome transceiver is the best for my ears I have ever had in a Kenwood. For some reason, this Kenwood has allowed me to hear CW signals better than any other transceivers I have tried. The SSB receive audio also for some reason is smoother to me than any rig I have tried. I was at the AES in Cleveland and was listening in to the latest and greatest. Even the new high price high tech rigs sound a bit different to me from my 930. I just prefer the 930's sound to any other rig so far.

There are a few possible problems as with any older rig and the Kenwood is not immune. The power supply is one of those problems that the 930 and 940 rigs have had. The 930's of later vintage (above the 3xxxxxx serial number do not have as nearly the problems with the power supply as the earlier serial numbers. Best to get one with a serial number above the 4xxxxxx range.) There are some who have replaced the old power supply with a new switching power supply which will give this rig a new lease on life. Parts are getting more scarce but the 930 was so popular in its day that there are still parts available used. These radios are over 30 years old and so the caps needed to be replaced. It was fairly easy to do and was a fun little project.

The 930's automatic antenna tuner is good for a first try by Kenwood. It is not a replacement though for a good stand alone tuner. 160 meters is not really good for the tuner in the 930.

There are a few modifications for the TS930 that will make this rig up to date. The PIEXX digital control board will allow for more memories and gets rid of the possibility of leaking batteries. Plus it allows for computer control of the 930. Not full control as the mode switch on the 930 is mechanical. But almost all other functions are able to be controlled by your computer.

The other worth while mod is the INRAD roofing filter. I have heard other TS930's with this amazing filter and it really does do a great job of making this old Kenwood just about equal to any high dollar transceiver available today. That will be my next modification to my 930.

A lot of people are afraid of getting an older rig as the electronic problems could be an issue. Do not fear as there are technicians out there that can repair this older Kenwood and specialize on it. In many instances, a cap replacement and a few other tweaks and this old rig will go on for another 30 years. There is a very good reason why the Kenwood TS930 has in 60 reviews a 4.9. It is one of the best transceivers that Kenwood ever produced and one of the all time best rigs by any manufacturer.
 
K4FY Rating: 5/5 Feb 25, 2013 13:30 Send this review to a friend
Cool Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I donít generally jump the gun with only a few days of experience with a rig. However, since this radio is thirty years old, I donít think reliability is a problem except for the well known multimeter lamps being dead and a sometimes nefarious power supply. My thought (and Iím sticking to it Ė HI) is if it hasnít failed by now it probably wonít.

Anyway, Iím new to the TS-930, but I sure ainít new. This is my ďnewĒ radio. My old one is a Collins KWM-2; 30 and 45 years old respectively. Iím not a big fan of the latest ďshack-in-a-boxĒ stuff that looks like something inspired by Dr. Strangelove.

This Kenwood is an impressive rig. It easily puts 125 watts DC through a Collins watt meter into a dummy load. I suspect the SSB peaks will be similarly impressive. What surprised me most (other than its back breaking 40 lbs.) is its ability to cull out CW or SSB signals from some horrid conditions.

My TS-930 doesnít have a 500 Hz filter and I have a hard time imagining why a competent CW Op would need one. The CW VBT works well and the AF tune on the audio section is just amazing. Iím listening to a DX station on 14010 and just using the AF tune function and it has transformed some nasty QRN and QRM to arm chair copy. The signal just jumps out of the noise.

Switching the AF tune in and out gets wows! all around. The SSB slope Tune is also impressive in selectively eliminating QRN/QRM on the high or low side of the passband. The split functions on the VCO are just fine for DXing. I would like a few more memories and the CW break in really isnít, but the rest works fine for me.

Donít follow Kenwoodís recommendation on setting the power using the ALC reading. Use the power scale. Tuning up to 50% ALC in the tune mode is WAY too much.

Itís a cool rig.
 
G0AYD Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2012 10:50 Send this review to a friend
lovely old lady  Time owned: more than 12 months
ive had my 930 sat now for 5 years plus and its a corker got the inrad 400 hz cw filter and piexx board fitted.the old girl is used every day despite my other radios i prefer the ease and facilities of what i class as the queen of radios.
 
N4JHY Rating: 5/5 May 1, 2012 13:37 Send this review to a friend
FUN RADIO!!!!!!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
-I tend to buy radios broken and fix myself. This is part of the hobby for me.
-Have had two TS940s in a row, and have sold them both.
-Just bought a high serial number TS930s (7 million)and have decided to keep this one. A small adjust to the master oscillator and everything on this radio works perfect.
-Has the best speech processor
-and a great receiver.
-voices just sound so natural
-Again, will keep this one
-Prefer the 930 to the 940
-Thanks for reading
Bruce N4JHY
 
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