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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Kenwood TS-850 Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-850
Kenwood TS-850 Reviews: 119 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $1,999.99
Description: High Performance HF Transceiver with full coverage receiver
Product is not in production.
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N4ZAW Rating: 5/5 Nov 19, 2011 07:31 Send this review to a friend
Previous owner -- I miss it!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Back in the 90's when it was first offered for sale by A.E.S., I bought one. It was the purchase of a lifetime for a poor boy like me.... THEN,I was hounded by a buddy of mine in the same financial boat and I eventually relented... Just too much monetary gain to continue to say "no" any longer! But I sure miss that rig's awesome notch filter! If you don't get the TS-850 you're reading this review to learn about, get it's big brother, the 950.
I've had many other HF rigs since then. The ones I recall;
Yaesu FT-757GX
Yaesu FT-840 (I currently own two of these fine entry-level rigs).
Kenwood TS-440
Icom IC-703+
NONE of those came close to the 850's audio quality, both transmitted and received, nor it's selectivity. Can't speak for sensitivity, or any other specs, but suffice to say, I would trade my twins for another 850, and that is saying something -- even one that was rode hard n put-away wet!

JP1DJV Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2011 21:55 Send this review to a friend
still shining with glare  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have used many sort of HF transceivers in 30 years. I did AB comparison with TS-850, TS-590 IC-7700, FT-990 and so on. TS-850 is getting pretty old, but it certainly works best of all these models on 20m (I don't operate on other bands). In my situation, TS-850=TS-950>FT-990>>IC-7700. The RX sound of TS-850 is so clear than the others that I can "read" even extremely weak signals, much better than IC-7700 when external noises don't exist on the band. (7700's noise reduction features are great,actually.) 850's memory keyer is also highlight. I can record my own word spaces in it. TS-850 may not be the best of bests, but I just prefer it because my ears are well trained by 80's Kenwood's sound. hi
KG4ODX Rating: 4/5 May 8, 2011 13:52 Send this review to a friend
WONDERFUL RADIO  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
A wonderful transceiver but it is prone to problems.
Be sure to visit N6TR's web page for a long list of problems with this rig.

If you capable of doing most repairs yourself you and the TS-850 will get along ok.
This is a great rig but will have problems but it is one of my favorite rigs and I use it daily
VA7GP Rating: 5/5 Mar 24, 2011 14:12 Send this review to a friend
20 years and still a competent performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
My TS-850 is still going strong, now at 20yrs old. Over time, I've added a TCVCXO, both 500Hz filters and the 250Hz INRAD filter. I've used this radio extensively on RTTY (and now PSK-31), in both casual operation and contest situations: it's awesome to be able to select any filter, in any mode - so, RTTY can use AFSK on USB and benefit from the 250Hz bandwidth. In addition, the '850 runs full-power, continuously, in these data-modes.

The computer-controllable features are overshadowed by newer rigs, but the '850 is still OK in this regard (especially for automated logging). Computer control works fine under Linux. Weaknesses are the computer-control-inaccessibility of some features like RIT, and the leisurely 4800-baud serial port - I cannot realistically perform continuous-tuning via PC at this baud-rate, although frequency-jumping (to a new freq) works fine, as do small nudges (slow tweaks) to your operating frequency.

The built-in tuner (in my '850S/AT) works nicely; I try to make reasonable requests of it (ie a large, or nearly-matched antenna), and it very-rarely cannot find a match.

I've never used the direct-FSK RTTY mode, nor have I used FM or AM modes. CW is great, especially after you perform the CW adjustable-sidetone-level mod (from the factory, the sidetone level is fixed :-( ). USB and LSB operation on the '850 have cemented Kenwood's reputation for audio quality, and the availability of IF-filter high- and low-cut edge tuning really helps carve the desired signal out from QRM.

My '850 has a 4-million serial number, and seems to have escaped leaking batteries and capacitors.

In summary: I remain quite happy with my purchase, and I remain happy with this highly competent rig's performance.
N3ZRX Rating: 5/5 May 2, 2010 18:06 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My very first HF Rig was a Kenwood TS 850SAT and wanting to see what other items on the market i sold it after a year or so. That was twelve years ago and today at the Warminster Hamfest I bought my second one . It works like new ,with a pair of 500 hertz filters installed this rig is sweet . And the price less than 600.00 with the autotuner and a mc60 Not much else to say as we all know by now how well the 850 works. So if you come across one at a hamfest or ?? do not pass it up..
N3YV Rating: 5/5 Apr 13, 2010 13:34 Send this review to a friend
FANTASTIC & AMAZING!!!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I had many radios thru out time,always looking for the new thing,but sometimes new do not mean the best from,,, Icom to Yaesu I try them new and old,,kenwood in the other hand I never care for ,until I meet my new friend Mr.TS850S and what can I say,,,is the best Damm audio I ever hear,,The easiest radio to get that imposible QSO without wasting time trying to figure out how to operate the rig,,,every pile up just 100w in the first call they come back,,always and the audio reports from those stations are always super,,,i dont know why i didnt get one of these a long time ago,,is amazing and I'm super happy with it,,,I mean whats better a young wine or an award wining vintage wine,,,73's
HL2KXT Rating: 5/5 Feb 14, 2010 17:34 Send this review to a friend
great rig.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Current ts-850s limited 1 대, ts-850s 1 대 using the same equipment, two vehicles 10 years, including how to adjust the sound or after the analog very heart ever be satisfied.
ts-870 use, but had pleasure in part out of the sound quality and output. After the transfer of 870 and ts-850s and two are used. Is very good equipment. hl2kxt
W4HWD Rating: 5/5 Oct 18, 2009 17:17 Send this review to a friend
Caveat Emptor!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I wrote a review about my 16+ year experience with the Kenwood 850, and I stand by it. I still have the rig, it's still running like new (only I can't find much time to get on it lately!) and all of that, but remember if you find a used one on eBay or anyhwere else these rigs 1) are easily 16 years old and 2) have been out of production for 16 years. Don't complain if you buy one, it breaks and you can't get support for it. Just sayin'...I ain't trying to start a feud but the fact is these rigs are now dated and if they quit working they quit working...same goes for any old classic that's no longer supported and long out of production.

I wouldn't part with my 850 for anything but I understand one day it will die. After serving me for 16+ years I won't feel bad. My other rig (Ten-Tec Jupiter) I think is as good but once the 850 says "73" for the last time I'll honor it by purchasing the only rig on the market I would be willing to spend my money on nowadays - a Ten-Tec Omni VII.

Enjoy your 850 but remember if you didn't buy it new like I did don't expect it to be around 16 years from now.
ARRLBOOSTER Rating: 3/5 Oct 5, 2009 10:40 Send this review to a friend
Can't trust anymore  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased one new in the 80's. Loved it. I sold it after the display went out. I bought a used one about a two years ago. After three months-the display went out on that one. After reading some of the very fine web articles describing replacement of the troublesome caps, I took that repair on. I replaced two caps and also repaired the trace that had corroded. It worked for another six months and the display died, again. I guess I would recommend as a back up rig, if you have the desire to bench it as it will fail.
26JLH Rating: 1/5 Oct 5, 2009 09:04 Send this review to a friend
went terminal in 2 weeks lemon  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
had this 2 weeks it gone wonky 2 boards gone ive been told its beyond economic repair..jeff..
ps stay away from the ts 950 to as this is also a crap one too..
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