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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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K7LZR Rating: 3/5 Nov 5, 2013 22:05 Send this review to a friend
OK, but not spectacular  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Considering the popularity and overall user rating of this rig, I hate to say that my experience wasn't as stellar.

I compared the TS-480SAT side-by-side along with an Icom IC-7200 and a Yaesu FT-817nd.

Tests were done using the same antenna on all three radios. No lab numbers, just ears.

On receive, the IC-7200 is clearly superior to the TS-480SAT at this location. While listening to a net on 40m, there was another net just 3.5khz away. Net control for that net is a powerful station which is located only 15 miles from my location.

Adjacent channel splatter is common between these two nets, and some receivers handle it better than others.

The IC-7200 rejected this interference much better than the TS-480SAT. While it was present on both radios, I was able to clearly hear stations on the Icom which were unintelligible on the Kenwood, and the splatter sounded "softer" on the Icom.

I also found the TS-480SAT to be a so-so performer on the MW broadcast band compared to the IC-7200, and even the Yaesu FT-817nd out performed the TS-480SAT there. There is an NDB beacon at 404khz about 200 miles from here, and the TS-480SAT barely heard it without the preamp on, and with the preamp it was clearly audible with lots of noise. The IC-7200 picked it up clearly and with less noise, without preamp. The FT-817 wasn't tried at this frequency because it doesn't perform well there either unless external filters are used.

On transmit, stock audio from the TS-480SAT sounded very nice and clear, and audio from the IC-7200 seems a bit more punchy.

Things which I don't agree with the TS-480SAT designers are:

- The pigtail antenna connectors. Surely they could have fitted these onto the radio's rear panel - Icom did it on the IC-706 & IC-7000 etc. and these are physically smaller radios than the TS-480SAT. The pigtails are harder to protect and easier to damage.

- No mic connector on the control head. Really? Motorola did it with all of their remote-able radios. So did Icom. So did others. SO much more convenient. Less chance of RF ingress. Less mess.

- Better control head mounting options. Again, look at Motorola, Icom and others.

While not really a bad rig and certainly usable, I do think that the TS-480SAT could have been better thought out in some respects. But as always, your mileage may vary.
W6KKO Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2013 15:24 Send this review to a friend
Versatile Workhorse   Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased 480SAT new in July 2012 and use it as my main HF radio. I use it mostly at home, and occasionally in the vehicle. The remote head is a great feature. Brought it along for Field Day 2013 and everyone found it easy to use.
- I have used it with verticals, wires, Buddipole and a Yagi-Uda.
- No problems with digital modes strait to the computer, or using a Signalink. (With appropriate cables)
- Use and control radio over the Internet with free Kenwood software. It is just too easy.
- Interface and control using HRD is painless. (w/cable)
- Nothing but complements using a Heil HM-12. Hand mike works too.
- Nice screen size.
- Do not have to go deep in the menu to get things done.
- Built-in tuner really makes this radio easy to use.
- * I really enjoy the dual antenna ports. I switch between antennas with ease. It automatically switches between ports based on last settings for a particular band.
- I have installed the voice module, but not the other filters.
VE9SK Rating: 5/5 Aug 27, 2013 13:21 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just purchased a TS-480SAT the end of June 2013, and I am absolutely impressed with this rig. I used it the 3rd weekend in August during the International Lighthouse/Lightship weekend at Swallowtail Lighthouse on Grand Manan Island, new Brunswick, Canada located in the Bay of Fundy. I used it with an OCF dipole from 80M to 10M and it performed flawlessly, the internal tuner looked after all swr settings with a 1 to 1 swr on all bands. I havn't used all the many features of this rig as yet, but looking forward to giving this rig a work-out in my future hf activities. I'd recommend this rig to anyone. The price was right and a very versatile rig in every way, from base, to portable, to has it all..
W2OMD Rating: 5/5 Aug 8, 2013 13:19 Send this review to a friend
Can't ask for much more for the price.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the Kenwood TS-480SAT last month new for around $900. For the price, I couldn't ask for much more. It's loaded with features, and performs great. I've talked all over the world with only a wire antenna. Audio reports are always excellent using just the stock hand mic. The only minor cons are: the remote control panel takes some getting used to, and the internal speaker isn't great. An external speaker is definitely recommended.
WU9F Rating: 5/5 Jul 3, 2013 12:01 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I looked at this radio, the HX version, and the Yeasu FT450. The HX would need a tuner and second power supply, and it was more money. For that price you could get the ts2000 or the ts590. That was out of my price range. My other radios are Kenwood, so I opted for the ts480sat.

I love this radio! I was not sure I would like the separated face plate, but that has become one of my favorite features. I took it out of the box and was up and operating within minutes. No steep learning curve. It really does need an external speaker, which I have. A quick adjustment to the RX tone ant its a winner. I have had great QSO's across Europe, New Zealand, and South America in no time. Always great audio reports. For what this radio cost it was a real bargain. Zero complaints and lots of praise.
W8GND Rating: 4/5 Jun 23, 2013 03:29 Send this review to a friend
Dandy radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been a ham for 62 years, and buy a new rig every year (for no particular reason)

I bought a TS 480 (no tuner, but cw filter), and it worked fine. I get tired of radios with 300 buttons on the front.

It worked just fine. Seems to be very sensitive. Didn't notice any drift. I only use cw, so I'd notice it. It's a good rig. I have many rigs,
and currently use a K3. Frankly, for a ragchewer like me, it doesn't matter that I can't get lower tasmania.

If you get a decent price, I'd buy another one. I've probably had 50 rigs over the years

EC4KW Rating: 5/5 May 25, 2013 15:33 Send this review to a friend
JUST PERFECT  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought it from a second hand's friend, in mint condition used a few hours in rx.
Purchased tcxo, ssb and cw filters with voice unit, mine is full equipped and works fine, even much better than expected, prefect for portable operations, good and fast tuner and easy to use.

Worth it for the money
G3XDH Rating: 4/5 May 22, 2013 11:02 Send this review to a friend
One gripe  Time owned: more than 12 months
The TS480 has a tendency to drift by a few hertz when the fan starts .. (not just mine, look at the TS480 forum on yahoo)

no problem for voice, but a bind for digital modes.

I understand a TCXO can be fitted to take care of it, but I shouldn't need to pay an extra 100 /$ (20%) of original price to get it to do what it ought to do anyway.
LICENSED1962 Rating: 5/5 May 6, 2013 03:34 Send this review to a friend
Another "great!"  Time owned: more than 12 months
I cannot compare the 480SAT to other "modern" and more expensive HF/6 radios, having had only a few older transceivers over the years, with the exception of my IC718.

But here is my story and I'm sticking with it. When my IC718 gave up in Central America (probably user error) I had AEA send me a 480SAT, sight unseen. It arrived in a few weeks.

I was initially taken back by its size and the head, fearing RF problems from my mediocre antennas in close proximity. I need not have worried.

Now I have used it in Central and South America for about 18 months and I could not be happier with its size, the convenient head, flawless performance and complete ease of use.

I have only one minor disappointment: the antenna tuner is not as broad as I need, and I must use an external tuner (impeadence matcher) with my compact antennas.

150% happy with this rig and AES.
K8RJL Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2013 16:39 Send this review to a friend
Great for home and mobile  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Originally purchased a TS-590S but it was too much trouble to pack up for mobile use at the park. Sold it and purchased the 480SAT. Couldn't be happier. It fits in my backpack for transporting and is easy to setup in minutes in the mobile.

The internal tuner will fine tune my Hustler resonators on 20 and 40M no problem for mobile operation. It will also tune up my end fed home antenna that covers 40-10M. The internal tuner will not tune up some bands that the 590's tuner would as the 590 tuner is 10:1 while the 480SAT is around 3:1 with it's tuning capabilities.

Operation is very nice. Great RX on this radio. I have not had any issues with RF getting into the head unit at all. The display head is actually smaller than I thought it was which makes it fit nicely in a GPS mount in my vehicle. TX audio is very nice and punchy with the stock mic. I do not run the processor, I prefer stock audio.

The digital noise limiter as Kenwood calls it will eliminate some of the noise I have in the mobile but it's not as good as the 590 which removed it all. I expected as much being that the 590 is a newer radio with better technology I would assume.

Audio DSP is pretty good though the 590's IF DSP was much better at adjacent signal rejection by far. But again I knew this before I purchased it. I do not contest so the audio DSP is fine for my purposes.

Overall I am very satisfied and would highly encourage others to try this radio if you need home and mobile with one radio.
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