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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Kenwood TS-50S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-50S
Kenwood TS-50S Reviews: 79 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $749.00
Description: The compact TS-50S packs a hefty punch.
Product is in production.
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VU2OB Rating: 5/5 Jan 3, 2012 09:29 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Very compact and useful for field days and travel. I am using it with a LDG Z-Plus tuner on all bands.
G7TOK Rating: 5/5 Aug 1, 2011 07:43 Send this review to a friend
Peerless  Time owned: more than 12 months
Within the last 10 years I have owned several Kenwood TS-50S transceivers, varying from rough, scratched ex-cb owner examples to pristine boxed examples that have only seen light use.

All of them have one thing in common, they have been faultless in operation.

A good example can be picked up for as little as 200 in the U.K. but more often than not you will have to pay 250 or so for a boxed example.

The unit is compact but re-assuringly heavy, the build quality inpires confidence.
There is little in the way of rear ports or expandability, but this belies it's mobile purpose.

The multifunction microphone is a delight, the four programmable buttons are a godsend.
I have them set up for power level, A/B VFO, VFO/MEM and mode.
At 100w the fan is quiet and triggered only by heat.

Down to the nitty gritty.
The receiver will not win competitions, it's not greatly sensitive, nor will it enjoy 40m after dark in Europe either, close in, there is a noticeable level of intermodulation, with the noise blanker adding to the racket.
However, for the price, little else comes close.
Judicious use of the AIP and ATT functions removes all but the worst effects.
For similar money you can pick up the elderly FT-840 or the Alinco DX-70TH, neither are really as good in receive or build quality respectively.

Transmit audio is punchy but economic, I've never heard a bad report, even on the standard mic, no real need for either a desk mic or any outboard gear here, nor is there any speech processing or compression built in. It simply isn't needed.

Considering that some quarters are paying more than 250 for mono-band 10m sets for their nefarious reasons, you wonder why they would, when the abilty of this radio for the price knocks the pretenders into a cocked-hat !

In summary, at this price, it's peerless.
ZS6DJD Rating: 5/5 Apr 3, 2011 15:14 Send this review to a friend
An outstanding radio. A living legend.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Best decision I made to buy a TS 50. This radio is so good I do not know where to start. I joined ham radio five years ago needed a good radio to work DX. But my money went bad So I got a second hand TS 50 and never looked back. In five years I have worked thousands of DX stations from S Africa. The radio has been rock solid reliable and a fantastic recieve I hear,work stations others miss It recieves better than Icom 7800. But this radio works better with external speaker. And it will work with any mike.
W9RCP Rating: 5/5 Dec 31, 2010 10:51 Send this review to a friend
SUPER  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had purchased the radio under the advice of a Ham w/Extra Ticket... He also repairs ham gear...When I plugged this radio's power on its as if I have worked with this radio before....I don't say that this is the best radio in the world, but I am saying, "ITS A KEEPER" and it won't be leaving my ownership.... As far as piece of quality equipment as far as "talking & hearing" it keeps up with my Kenwood 520,Icom 745.... Just make sure you buy from someone who has not abused it.... I gave it a 5 because we are rating used & older equipment, or else I would give it more.... Don't hesitate to buy if it fits your needs...... Thanks Bob
WB1CQW Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2010 17:47 Send this review to a friend
Call me stupid, but my rig of choice  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my original TS-50 since 1998, and find it reliable and extremely user friendly. When it first was introduced in the early 90's it was the smallest HF rig available. Of course, there are now comparably sized rigs, but nothing as simple and reliable to operate. It has proven itself a classic design and renowned for being a tough rig that can survive DXpeditions. For me the uncluttered layout, is ideal, allowing me to concentrate on the QSO, rather than the machinery in front of me. For example, by programming a button on the hand mike, I can in an instant drop power down to drive my big Henry 3KD amp at reduced power, rather than pushing the amp to the full legal power which from time to time has annoyed the XYL & neighbors. So what if this radio was created before the era of DSP? To solve this "problem" I bought a GAP HEAR IT DSP speaker, and I believe it gives me an approximation of the DSP features that a $3000 rig would have. Reports on the other end of my QSO's? Many compliments, no complaints, and this is done without using any of my collection of Kenwood or Heil desk or headset mikes. By the way, this transceiver replaced a Kenwood TS-940 ($2000 in 1990) that I had bought also brand new, yet I have enjoyed this simple rig much more than the TS-940. Now that we're in the next century, if you want a graphic display and 50 controls and knobs, you may be happier with a current ICOM with the bells & whistles. FYI recently, after complete overhauling my tower antenna system, and amp and replacing my tuner for several thousand dollars, I was also considering "upgrading" my transceiver as well, by purchasing the fine American built Ellecraft K3, which is unquestionably a much more sophisticated radio-- in the $2000 range, and upgradable with a graphic display for another $1000. For me the decision to stick with the TS-50 wasn't a question of saving money, so much as why would I replace the perfect rig for my purposes? In fact, I like the TS-50 so much, I bought another from a friend, one which I knew had at most a couple of hundred receive hours, and had a tech check verify it was operating 100%. I now alternate using each of them every 6 months. I realize that some day I may have to purchase another transceiver, but IMHO there is nothing else out there directly comparable. It's a rig that's more than proven itself over 2 decades now. Bottom line, whether you want great value or a superb rig, I see no reason to ever walk away from a repairable TS-50. That's because if you're realy honest with yourself, in most QSO conditions you will transmit and receive a signal with a TS-50 to the level of diminishing returns, comparable to the best hardware that's currently available. On what do I base this startling conclusion? Go to the Ellecraft website and look at the side-by-side lab comparisons of dozens of transceivers. The most important tested numbers, sensitivity, of all the big 3 manufacturers' offerings are virtually the same. In other words, any reasonably modern transceiver will pick up and amplify a given signal with similar specs. While, frankly, if I were a contester I would rather do it with the Ellecraft rig, I'm an easygoing ragchewer who could care less about getting a quick signal report and logging in another contact. In other words, what are you buying in a new transceiver, the sizzle of the steak? Call me stupid, but I'd much rather have the TS-50, period.
N3DF Rating: 4/5 Jul 5, 2010 19:09 Send this review to a friend
Still Going Strong!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought it in 1993. Used it mobile for five years, constant fixed station use for five years, and my backup rig for the past seven years. Along with its matching antenna tuner and power supply in the special travel case Kenwood once featured, it makes a great portable station for field day and similar use. No problems at any time. Have more than gotten my money's worth from this rig.
N2MJH Rating: 5/5 Jun 11, 2010 13:33 Send this review to a friend
Excellent 20+ yr old radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been running this radio for about a year and must say that for a 20+ year old radio, it still has an excellent receive and great audio.

Bought it from the original owner that had it in his closet for about 17 years. he forgot that it was stored there after he upgraded his shack.

If you see one on flea-bay and it in good condition, snatch it up quick...
KA4DQJ Rating: 2/5 Mar 13, 2010 18:30 Send this review to a friend
Good reviews... but a lemon for me  Time owned: more than 12 months
For me, the little TS-50S has been the most trouble prone rig I've owned in over 30 years in the hobby. I bought mine from a friend several years ago; it was still in the box and had seen little use. I can't remember all the problems I've had with it but I'll list what I can.

It will work for a while, then develop problems. First the speaker went out. I replaced that, then the panel lights went out, and I never could figure out the problem... the "hole in the board" fix didn't apply. So I ran it would without lights.

Tonight the transmitter went intermittent during a net. I checked on the SO-239 connection to the filter unit, but that wasn't it.

Well, I don't want to throw good money after bad, so I'll use the thing as an all-mode shortwave receiver. When that goes, I'll have a home in the junkbox for it.

Can't figure why the little monster causes me so many problems in the face of so many positive reports by others, but I've had a belly full of it.
PA0FRI Rating: 5/5 Oct 13, 2009 05:39 Send this review to a friend
Built like a tank  Time owned: more than 12 months
This little radio is built like a tank. I owned it since March 1993 and it has never gave me any problem even if I used it for testing home brew PA's, ATU's and LPF's. Solid construction of the PA and always great audio reports. The clock oscillator is stable like a frequency standard and often I used the rx for monitoring crystal oscillators in other equipment. Use it from a deep-discharge battery in the 50 W setting.
It lacks a speech processor and I designed a double side band (DSB) IF clipper. Using the stock microphone the DSB processor gave a useful boost to the average power output. See the mod at pa0fri/Mods/TS50/ts50moduk.htm.
IK6BAK Rating: 4/5 Oct 12, 2009 13:19 Send this review to a friend
Still a good TRX  Time owned: more than 12 months
Use TS50 only on CW with a 250 Hz filter on board.
This 'vintage' transceiver still works great and it is simply wonderful on QSK.
Perhaps a better QSK of some modern and expensive TRX.
Long life to the TS-50 !

'73 de ik6bak - Eliseo
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