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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: 189 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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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.
N4NUI Rating: 5/5 Apr 20, 2013 12:57 Send this review to a friend
Nice for traveling  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I must travel a great deal and I recently regretted selling my IC-706MKIIG. I have been looking for a another rig that would fit in a "carry-on" size case with the small screwdriver antenna, magnetic mount, and other accessories when I fly. I tried a friend's IC-7000 and it is a nice rig but a bit too menu driven and difficult to fiddle with while actually mobile.

My Last Kenwood HF rig was a TS-940 and I liked it. Last month I was in the Milwaukee area and made the drive up to AES during their ham fest. I talked to some folks who were running th TS-480SAT or the TS-480HX moble and bought a TS-480SAT and a MFJ-1661 manual Screw driver antenna with the Gorilla magnetic mount.

The TS-480 and the MFJ-1661 on the Gorilla mount makes a great combination for a mobile rig in a rental car. When I get a rental car I always ask for specific models because I have figured out where there is a place to get through the firewall to the battery with the DC power leads for those specific cars without causing any damage. The only modification I made to the fused DC power leads supplied with the TS-480 was to insert a pair of cylindrical quick disconnects between the supplied fuses and the radio so I could get the wire through the firewall.
The TS-480SAT is a pleasure to use mobile. I slip the main unit under the passenger seat and use the heavy duty peal-off adhesive pads to mount the control head to the car dash

Once the primary menu functions are set the well labeled and illuminated buttons and knobs on the control head are all you need for operation.

I have had good reports about the TX audio quality with the supplied hand microphone once I got the gain and compression set for my voice. The RX audio is "okay" but a little too much base for my ears. I found that positioning the control head speaker just right in relation to the distance to the windshield improved the clarity of the audio.

The various controls for pulse and random noise reduction work well once you have them set up correctly for the operating conditions.

I use the FG-01 antenna analyzer to tune the manual screwdriver and the TS-480 antenna tuner is fast and works well across the impedance curve of the antenna as tuned in each band from 40m to 6m.

Granted, the TS-480 is physically larger than was my IC-706MKIIG, but the older I get the more willing I am to cart around a larger radio for mobile / portable with easy to see and use displays and comtrols.

I have the SignaLink USB sound card unit and a "RT Systems" DB9 RS232 to USB converter for the link between the radio and the laptop running Win-7 Pro and the set up for rig control and using the digital modes using HRD/DM7890. Was painless. Win 7, HRD/DM780, and the radio "like" the RT Systems adapter.

I have orderd a good aluminum tripod and radials for the screwdriver and I will see how the radio performs "portable" using a couple of marine batteries during field day this year.
M0JFK Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2013 17:08 Send this review to a friend
Dogs Doo Dars  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had this radio for over two years and never had any problems with it. Every mode of operation as been outstanding both on TX and RX. God knows why some people complain about this radio but you cant please all the people all of the time can you? If you want a radio that does more than what it says on the box THEN BUY IT.
LA8DOA Rating: 5/5 Feb 22, 2013 14:45 Send this review to a friend
Perfect Back up!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I use mine on my 2nd qth and as portable/mobile unit!
I Work 99% on cw and there is not a problem to pull out weak dx station!
Great audio reports too, I belive that U will either hate it or love it!
I cant`t hold my fingers away from it and love that the head is removal, way to go Kenwood!

vy 73 de la8doa
K9ASE Rating: 3/5 Feb 16, 2013 13:50 Send this review to a friend
needs more punch  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you're looking for a rig to use for dx the TS-480SAT model isn't it. I wanted a rig that was in a similar class with my TS-440SAT but an upgrade. I purchased a TS-480SAT. The improvements in the receiver,and the ability to computer interface were great. But, trying to get used to the removable face, and the lack of punch from the 100 watts,made me sell it after a week of use.
W4AUV Rating: 5/5 Feb 12, 2013 17:43 Send this review to a friend
Ham radio's best kept secret!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is an excellent radio. Performance is on par with rigs costing thousands. It gets heavy use in my mobile. It is also an excellent CW rig with the 500 HZ filter installed.

Well worth the $$ and then some!

73 for now W4AUV
W8NWN Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2013 23:59 Send this review to a friend
TS480 Comparison  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Kenwood TS-480SAT

I have had the TS-480SAT for 7 months comparing it to my beloved Yaesu Mark V on receive only. I have it hooked up on an AB quick comparison setup. I can actually say that for my purposes there is no real difference that I can detect. I have switched them back and forth hundreds of times on receive on all the HF bands. They both are filtered up. No difference. Just because the Mark V has a bigger case, doesn’t mean bigger is better. I have been a ham since the 60’s and have had many many rigs.
I will say this: Kenwood should have their rear-ends kicked clear back to Japan for not having “plug in” RF filters. Theirs must be soldered in. How primitive! Do not try to solder them yourself unless you are an expert at soldering and have a VERY steady hand. I thought for a week on whether to install the filters or not. If you screw up on a double sided IF board you are doomed.
The TS480SAT is a good well-built, convenient, easy to use ham rig AND…. you can even see the display/panel buttons in the dark!!!!


AB9TA Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2013 21:05 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Digital Modes Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned this rig since 2009, it has worked flawlessly. I originally used it on voice, (it's an excellent voice radio), but it's now my primary digital radio.
What really makes it the great digital radio is the optional 270Hz CW IF filter installed and programmed to use on SSB. I can use the IF shift to pick out the signal I want to decode anywhere in the passband.
The noise reduction is phenominal, DNL and NR1 are used on RTTY and PSK, NR2 works wonders on MFSK and Olivia, enabling me to work some really weak signals in noisy conditions. The menus let you adjust the NR "depth" (I don't remember the correct term) to fine tune the noise reduction to match your exact situation.
Using a rig control program like Ham Radio Deluxe lets you really get the most out of all the settings in the radio in real-time use without having to navigate the menus.
My only regret is that I was going to get into HF mobile with this radio, but it now stays firmly in the shack - connected to the computer! If I could afford it, I'd get another one for installation in my vehicle..
A fine radio for almost any use.
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