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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Kenwood TS-480SAT Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-480SAT
Kenwood TS-480SAT Reviews: 196 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $1499.99
Description: 100 watts HF & 6m allmode portable and mobile transceiver w/ built-in antenna tuner
Product is in production.
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W8MPX Rating: 5/5 Nov 16, 2014 20:07 Send this review to a friend
best mobile   Time owned: more than 12 months
had ts-480sat mobile best mobile the ts 480sat it the only mobile with antenna tuner if you buy a icom or yaesu you have to buy a antenna tuner. I have the yaesu 857d and have the ic 7000 for mobile a like better the ts 480sat. I use the ic 7000 for base and the yaesu 857d battery pack. the ic-7000 and the kenwood ts 480sat output with battery is 65 watts, the 857d is the only radio that put 100 watts with battery. the problem here is some people are yaesu and other people are kenwood and icom. for me the kenwood ts 480sat is a good mobile radio that include a antenna tuner. the ic-7000 for mobile consume to much juice but yhe 857d is good for mobile,battery pack or base
KQ4KK Rating: 3/5 Nov 16, 2014 10:46 Send this review to a friend
Look at Sherwood  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been using 3 different TS-480's in EOC environment. One is a 200 watt version.

They work. Is the best I can say about them. Have one doing WINLINK 2K with the $1,400 TNC. It works ok.

The receiver are not very good by today's standards. When they first came out, they were just OK.

MANY better mobile type radios out now. That also include 2m and 440.

Used the 200 watt station with a full wave loop antenna during a contest. The receiver could not hear well. Glad when the contest was done.
WZ3O Rating: 5/5 Nov 15, 2014 17:45 Send this review to a friend
2nd go round   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Previously had one that I really didn't learn how to use properly..

Different, this time read manual and experimented with setting vs while keeping manual close by.

Odd configuration, but you get used to it. No MB bracket this time, last time I feel it got in the way. This time I just sit the head on the body or elsewhere.

Very good receiver, did mod that's online to tweak the power out, solid 100w all bands/modes. Tuner does a very good job on both my verticals and end fed wire. My only critique is that it doesn't have IF DSP, but even on noisy situations the IF shift does an adequate job..

Since it can't be rated a 4.8,I rounded up...
W6UFC Rating: 5/5 Nov 10, 2014 16:37 Send this review to a friend
Great Mid-Entry Rig!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The Kenwood TS-480(SAT) 100w HF (HF+6) is a good starting rig to enjoy your HF foray.

For the $1,000 (+/-) class of radios this is most likely one of the better choices for your dollar, generally speaking as a new radio.

Most if not all 100 watt radio's will need at least a 20 AMP Power supply min.

I've used mine mostly on 100w SSB, though do some CW and tone it down to a modest 25 to 50 watts when need be.

The RS232 port connects to Ham Radio Deluxe and the radio detects and works just fine from the modes used at QTH.

The microphone is 600ohm, just like many other - it's a little small physically but gets the job done. If you want anything more crunchy or punchy, would recommend you invest money into a mixer of some sort or a top shelf microphone that is compatible, simply put.

For example, here's some PRO's:

- Integrated Antenna Tuner (max 3:1 SWR)
- 100 WATTS
- Separated Face
- RS232 included
- 2 Dedicated Antennas
- Programming by hand is not a chore
- DSP settings are decent
- CW with mic (UP/DWN) included
- Easy to read display using computer or head unit

..and you may ask what about the CONS:

- It's only 100w (though the TS-480(HX) is 200w)
- The Antenna SWR is max 3:1 (TS-590 does 10:1)
- The Head Unit is not built-in for some people
- Does not have 2meter/70cm.

That's really all I found out to be a bust, though the PRO's outweigh the CON's easily.

When you start adding 2meter/70cm to a HF rig, things break and you're outta luck in the long run. Another thing is you most likely would NOT have that Automatic Antenna Tuner on hand, and those usually run at least $150 bucks (min) for a cheap automatic one, perhaps more - you get the point though.

Overall, I would purchase another TS-480SAT.
I run it with a LDG S9 31 foot vertical antenna, works great!

KC9NCS Rating: 1/5 Oct 5, 2014 13:34 Send this review to a friend
Poor SSB TX Output, Cooling Needs Help  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this radio for three years having received it as a birthday present. From day one this rig has been a disappointment. Wish I'd have returned it however the "restocking fee" from the Amateur Ham Radio store in Milwaukee was what I considered exhorbitantly high so I kept the radio. In hindsight I'm kicking myself for that.

Where to begin: The SSB output on my 480SAT is absolutely terrible. it won't put out more than 50-65 watts under ideal conditions. In the same mobile setup, my old Kenwood TS-50 has full 100 Watt output on 10/15/20 and 40 meters with SWR on each band at 1.3:1 or better and good resonance. One would think into a dummy load it'd achieve full power -- no such luck there either.

In the shack the 480 doesn't fare any better. Same antenna's, same SWR, same coax, same switching network, etc.. the 480 won't produce more than 50-65 watts. Two other radio's (TS-2000, Kenwood 940SAT) have no issues putting out their rated full power.

Some have suggested to try different audio profiles and not be afraid to turn the mic gain up. Even with the mic gain at 100%, output won't exceed 65 watts - ON ANY BAND in either my mobile or base.

It's a shame really because the receive capablities on the 480 are superior to either my Kenwood TS-2000 or Kenwood 940SAT. A few quick adjustments to the receive audio quality, creating a custom receive DSP profile and a few other tweaks made this rig actually pleasant to listen to.

My biggest issue with this radio is that with less than 100 hours on it the cooling fan failed. As I used the 480SAT on air last night for a net, I noticed the radio getting exceptionally warm and a complete lack of airflow out the back of the radio. This morning I pulled the radio apart and found a failing cooling fan and final output transistors that looked like they've seen better days.

If it weren't for the fact that my wife thinks I actually enjoy using this thing, I'd have pitched it in the garbage long ago. As far as I'm concerned, this is the worst rig I've ever owned, period. So bad in fact, it's turned me off to purchasing another Kenwood and investigating Yaesu and Icom as replacements.
N7ZZT Rating: 5/5 Aug 4, 2014 05:18 Send this review to a friend
easy to use by the blind ham :)  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
well, I consider this to be the best HF radio I have ever used. With the addition of the VGS1 speech chip, this radio becomes easy to use for the blind ham. A little setup with a windows computer, the kenwood control program and a cable and you are good to go. I use jaws as my screen reader in winnows 7, and I have absolutely no problems getting the radio configured using the windows application. All the controls and functions are easily managed even from the front panel (you do have to know what the menu numbers are when adjusting them, but its easy to find out).

So far, if I had to deal with any of the other radio manufacturers, I would return to Kenwood every time.
MW1CFN Rating: 3/5 Jul 30, 2014 01:25 Send this review to a friend
UPDATE: Very Drifty on digimodes  Time owned: more than 12 months
Top marks for reliability and robustness.

Middling-to-poor on overall design as a portable rig due to front connections forcing the front panel so far forward that the main board can't remain attached to the cradle.

Where this rig really does poorly is in frequency stability on digital modes. There's enough drift to make JT9 almost impossible, and other modes look like bananas with just a few TX sequences.

When I bought a second-hand Yaesu FT-450, which has a similar new price tag, it showed essentially zero drift after hours of TXing. Its stability and overall features puts the TS480 to shame, which is now relegated to a standby rig.

I would not buy a TS480 SAT again due to this drift, but it's fine for voice.
N7RST Rating: 5/5 Apr 5, 2014 08:55 Send this review to a friend
Nice compact radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Having had the 570SG, will compare the two against each other sine both are in the same price class.

The 480 is pretty compact, slightly smaller then the 570. The 570 is older technology but a joy to use and very self explanatory. The 480 you may have to look up some stuff in the manual.

First overall impression(s):

1. Wish the front panel was just a bit larger. Too many buttons close together and hard to see/read.
2. Head Phone jack comes out the side of the front panel, would prefer straight in and out.
3. Mic and key jacks are on the front of the box part of the radio, not on the front panel. Not a big deal, more of getting use to something different.
4. Optional filters (2) are solder in type, prefer a push in as many former owners will unsolder to sell the filters separately to make one more buck and more chances to mess up the IF board with an unskilled hand.
5. I had to order the optional MB-480 bracket to mount the head and box together as I kinda like to keep them in close proximity of each other, and more secure.

Good receiver, fairly quite, the AF DSP is very good on noise reduction, easy to read display.

Rear firing speaker a bit wierd and I use an external speaked if running in the shack.

All in all, you can read the pages of reviews, but for $900 new, you can't lose much money on this. Used they usually should go for 700-800, the 570 would go for around 600-750, so about the same, two slightly differing radios, but the 480 is a better receiver (if you notice that).
K1PMA Rating: 5/5 Mar 7, 2014 10:21 Send this review to a friend
Excellent compact HF radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Recently sold an Icom 7000 because I wanted to try something different. After long deliberation decided to go with a Kenwood 480 SAT. Must say I am now biased towards Kendoods in general. The menu system is just so much easer and more logical than Yaesu or Icom. Anyway, I have only had the radio for a few days now so by no means a final review. But so far I am a very happy camper. In side by side RX tests with a FTDX 3000 there is very litte, if any, difference in SSB mode. Sure, the 480 does not have nearly as many bells and whistles as a radio costing $1,500 or more, but it still performs great. Got it hooked up with a Signalink (6 pin DIN) for digital modes and a DB9 to USB cable for Ham Radio Deluxe. Everything works just great. Added plus that the control head uses little space on my already very cluttered desk.
N4GKS Rating: 5/5 Nov 13, 2013 18:10 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Wonderful receive with DSP and love that it takes up so little room. My Kenwood 450 went down and had to be sent for repair, so I bought this from HRO. I started to purchase the new Yaesu 1200 but this rig caught my interest. Glad I did because the 480 is great for the price. I also ordered the SSB and 500 hz CW filters. I'm having a blast with this radio.
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