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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Kenwood TS-870S Help


Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-870S
Kenwood TS-870S Reviews: 162 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $2399.00
Description: The Leader Of The Pack
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.kenwood.net/products/index.cfm?AMA=open
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AA4MB Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2014 09:41 Send this review to a friend
Rock solid  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my TS-870S used off of eBay over 12 years ago, not knowing what I'd be getting into. Long story short, it's still the best purchase I've ever made in over 40 continuous years of amateur radio.

The 870 is not the quietest transceiver out there. It is pretty doggone sensitive, but I'm sure that it can't hold a candle to more modern rigs such as the latest Yaesu, Kenwood or Elecraft offerings. And it's not the MOST selective transceiver running - but it's good enough for me. I'm an avid CW fan and I've never, ever failed to complete a contact due to the shortcomings of the TS-870.

The built-in antenna tuner is simply one of the best and one of the quietest that I've ever used, bar none. I've tried a ton of antennas over the years and never failed to get a decent match, allowing full output power to however non-resonant and inefficient the antenna seemed to be. If I had to pick one feature out that stands head and shoulders above the others is this unit's usability and ergonomics. Want to change the keyer speed? It's on the front panel. Same with the bandwidth, notch filter, squelch, etc. NO control serves two functions; yes, there are controls that have an outer and inner knob, but these are easily managed. Not one single feature that you will continually change or adjust while operating requires you to go into a menu.

The DSP is first generation and while it does work somewhat, it's really not a game changer like it is on the new rigs. And if you're into somewhat fast QSK, the rig will actually do it fairly well, without noticeable chopping of the code elements like some of its contemporaries. As you can imagine, the relays can be fairly noisy doing this - it's a late 20th century design. Having said all of that, if you're looking for a great first rig - or an amazing backup - don't look any further than an 870. Mine remains my primary HF station (that will likely change soon), but this radio will never depart my shack.

 
W8KMA Rating: 5/5 May 14, 2014 12:13 Send this review to a friend
Better than most!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a great rig. I've had the newer Yeasu, and Kenwood radios, the FTX3000 and TS-590s. Bought them new and sold them pretty much new. The old 870 just sounds better on transmit and recieve to me!! It may not have a bunch of bells and whistles, but it has what is takes even in todays word of high tech rock and roll radios. And you can still work on it, IF you have too......
 
WA4YBC Rating: 5/5 Apr 12, 2014 14:55 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my Kenwood TS-870 new in 2002, and I still have it. It works great for me. I never had any problems with it. I had many good audio reports with the TS-870. After 10 years, I decided to buy a newer transceiver to have a more modern rig. I found the new transceiver has few advantages over my TS-870. After owning the new transceiver for almost 2 years, I still have my TS-870 and I am not selling it, at least now. In retrospect, investing in a good antenna is much more important than going with the marketing brochures, and having the latest rig.
 
SCOLOPENDRA Rating: 2/5 Apr 11, 2014 23:53 Send this review to a friend
Old gold doesn't shine anymore  Time owned: more than 12 months
The main problem with this radio is the lack of filtering and its limited dynamic range. This Rig has lot of less then vital good features, nice cosmetic appeal and someone would appreciate its TX ESSB-ready capabilities, but it lacks in the field of the most important specifications. It is way old digital design and its 16 bit DSP cannot compete with modern 32 bit architectures. Compare this rig with a TS-590 for IF filtering and noise reduction or with an FT-950 for TX audio tailoring or with the most of the latest models for synthesizer phase noise and receiver dynamic range: You realize how this than innovative design has become surpassed.
 
N0PL Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2014 22:47 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my 870s with internal tuner for about 5 years. Like everyone has stated, the receive audio is excellent. The tuning is smooth as glass. The weighted knob is very nice. I love the rig. I have about 30 HF rigs of all brands. My primary rig is my IC-7600. It is very good. But, in my estimation, the 870s is right up there. My 870s is my 2nd rig on the operating desk. It is a solid performer and the ease of use is wonderful. If you happen to run across one, try it and buy it if it checks out 100%.
 
K6HOM Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2014 09:41 Send this review to a friend
Lovely RX Audio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This radio is just plain fun to use and a pleasure to operate. Mine was purchased used and is from a middle year production run. I use it for both rag-chewing and DXing. Truly beautiful RX audio tone and quality, just as many have said in previous reviews. Until I operated a TS-870S, I really didnít believe that all of these accolades about its audio quality could be true. Once I did, I found the praise to be well-deserved. While I have a FlexRadio that also has very excellent RX audio quality, there is something about the tone of this Kenwood that I prefer on phone. No matter how I tweak the Flex RX EQ, I cannot quite get it to match or better the pleasing tone of this Kenwood.

Faves: In addition to the RX audio, I like the weighted VFO knob, the simple displays and having dedicated knobs for all of the major functions. The ATU is very fast, the NB and Notch functions work very well. The Auto-AGC works well for me, I rarely need to over-ride it. Itís quiet, the fan hardly ever runs during full output. I like not needing to buy additional I.F. filters. Nice control layout with plenty of room between controls.

Less-Than-Faves: For my $0.02, the process for working split should have been made simpler. My experience is that the DSP NR is not the best for SSB or AM. I had built one of the KG4JJH DSP Speakers from the November, 2011 QST article and it works especially well with this Kenwood. This combo brings the NR up to todayís standards and I find myself using it a lot rather than the radioís NR button.

If you are in the market for a reliable, well-designed radio that is easy to operate and you love easy to listen to RX audio, this might be your radio. The listening experience is truly exceptional. Really!
 
HB9FBD Rating: 5/5 Jan 3, 2014 11:28 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I owned one for fast 20 years and I've never had regrets or problems.
The receiver audio quality improved drammatically with the insertion of SSB Inrad filters (8.83Mhz and 455 kHz).
Probably today I would buy only a modified one.
Good and solid radio.
 
N6RRV Rating: 5/5 Dec 6, 2013 18:22 Send this review to a friend
Still the best audio out of the box  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
i sold my first 870 years ago and regretted it ever since. Have heard all the major brand rigs and the 870 still has them beat. You don't need external processing for that "killer" audio. The Low end goes dwn to 0kc and up to 3000kc for that full and clear audio that is so nice. The radio has excellent receive and the menu is so simple and the learning curve are the buttons and knobs on front of the radio. I just picked up another 870 that has the capability to receive the mike input to the ACC2 input in the rear which makes a big difference in the low end with smoother sound. nice! You Kenwood needs to bring back the 870. Its that good. if your an audiophile nut, then you will be in heaven with your external processing...
 
KC8RTU Rating: 5/5 Nov 6, 2013 07:02 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought used 2 owner, like menu's, audio one of the best there is. Just a fun radio to own thanks kenwood!
 
NA5XX Rating: 5/5 Nov 3, 2013 18:02 Send this review to a friend
Good radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got mine at a great deal. I am very pleased with it and it works fantastic with my windom or 5BTV. More features than I have learned to use (so far). My other radio is a TS-430 that I use portable. The 870 is my shack radio. If you find one, do not hesitate to get it. Mine is 1998 vintage.
 
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