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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-120S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-120S
Kenwood TS-120S Reviews: 41 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $700.00
Description: 100-120 watt HF SSB/CW rig (no WARC.) Solid state, 1980 vintage
Product is not in production.
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KD5IWH Rating: 5/5 Jul 28, 2011 21:36 Send this review to a friend
1st & only HF rig. A classic beauty.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this somewhere around year 2000 when I upgraded to General. Easy to operate. Transmit great. Reception is acceptable. I worked 40 something states in just about three months and the South Pole on a hand made dipole that wasn't really that high in the air. I was able to punch through the the logjam to the South Pole with this nice rig. Always got great reports. Not carried away with the way you calibrate the dial. My biggest concern is when it finally breaks, what will I do then.
KS4Q Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2010 14:58 Send this review to a friend
Bomb Proof  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a used TS-120 15 years ago and installed it in my farm truck for backup mobile ops. It spent over 12 years in the truck with the dirt and vibration you would expect on a farm. I removed it 3 years ago cleaned it up and made it my digital mode transceiver in the shack. It still puts out full power or all bands and the receiver still is very sensitive. I've never had to do anything to it other than clean it up. Running 35w on PSK31 I get excellent reports.
KB0HAE Rating: 4/5 Oct 10, 2010 02:05 Send this review to a friend
Good older Kenwood, BUT!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have operated a few of these over the years. Good older Kenwood radio. I would highly recommend making sure that the mod to protect the RF input transformer (t1) is done or gets done! The transformer is easily damaged by static or strong signals, and no replacements are available.There is a Kenwood service bulletin that details this mod.

I would recommend spending a few more $ to get a TS-130S or SE, as these radios have input protection, and the WARCbands.
K2SAV Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2009 15:11 Send this review to a friend
great!!!!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
i LOVE this radio , I am new to HF ,a general for three months, and this is my first HF rig,and although I have nothing to compare it to,I couldn't ask for more...with a shortened dipole only up approx. 16 feet and a 10 m vertical(with a tuner (I had previous for a 10 m rig, now a great backup hf antenna as it tunes to 20m)I seem to get responses to almost every call i make...close to my first 100 hf contacts including 15 or so DX and i am loving it...super easy to use for a first rig or for a advanced hams backups menus to navigate or any nonsense,,,turn the dial and make the contact...that helps a new hams confidence...its a keeper...even if i get a newer rig this is going to be my backup rig, but as of now i dont think i will need a different rig this works great.
W7VO Rating: 5/5 Nov 18, 2008 14:04 Send this review to a friend
Solid performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
Owned since about 1985, and is a back up to my TS-820S. I like the instant on feature, unlike the 820. The receiver seems pretty hot, but does drift until warmed up.

Hint; if you are looking for a SP-120 accessory speaker, consider buying the current SP-23 from Kenwood. It is basically the same thing for a lot less money. The paint color is slightly off, but it still matches pretty well, and is the correct size.
ZS6PMS Rating: 5/5 Sep 5, 2008 04:28 Send this review to a friend
A Real Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I guess everyone writes within his own frame of reference. So do I, after 42 years of ham radio. It is about this rig can do, not what it cannot. I picked up one of these in 2002 for R 1,000 ($130). Of coarse, you don't need a spectrum analyser to show the phase noise of the VFO. One can hear it. It even sounds charming. It is part of the technology of the past. The rig is not as sensitive and selective as its big brother the TS180S stocked with two cascaded 8830 kc fiters I also got, but it is a charming little boy. It puts out 120+ Watts and I get fine audio reports. It is in my Land Rover 4x4 serving me mobile every time I take the vehicle on (and off) the road. Maybe a bit too big for a car, but for sure nice in a camper. We talk 1978 vintage. Guess what the performance of an FT 857D and other flimsy stuff will be in 2038!
In all a real radio
W4VFZ Rating: 5/5 Aug 24, 2008 16:48 Send this review to a friend
Compact, simple, reliable, well built.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Since licensed in 1952 I've used radios with vacuum tubes, hybrid (tubes and semiconductors) and semiconductors. The TS-120S was given to me as a "basket case" as someone (apparently with a 300 watt roofing soldering iron) had "worked" on it. I got it running (and am still "fine tuning" it), and it has proven to be one of the best, simple yet fully functional, radios I've used to date. I have other HF rigs with memory and all the "bells and whistles", but the ease of operating and repair of Kenwood transceivers (I have 3) surpasses other "name" brand radios. When I've finally finished refurbishing it, it goes in my motor coach as part of my mobile emergency GA ARES equipment. I love Kenwood equipment (my Hi Fi amplifier is over 20 years old, with NO problems!).
KD0AFM Rating: 4/5 Jan 27, 2008 10:18 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My wife bought the radio for me for Christmas from ebay. Well taken care of rig. Paid $200. Works great. Easy to operate and always get great signal and audio reports. I'm a relatively new Tech (April 07) so I don't have much basis to compare this to other rigs (my former rig was an HT10). However, I can say the performance on 10 meters (when the e-skip is up) has been great. I did quite a bit of research and decided on this rig as the best compromise of performance and budget for me. I have not been disappointed.
W7SPK Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2007 00:37 Send this review to a friend
TS-120s, VFO-120, & SP-120  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Yeah, I've got all three!!!

I got my TS-120s a month ago ($250 on ebay) and fell in love. It's my first HF rig so I really have nothing to compare it to, but it's still a really fun radio. In the two weekends I've had my antenna up (a G5RV dipole made by MFJ) I've already worked 6 states on 20 meters.

I got a little carried away and bought the matching external speaker (SP-120) for $70 (also on ebay) which really improved the audio quality. Then I found a guy selling the matching external VFO (VFO-120) that he only used a couple times back in 1988 and was sitting in its original box all these years. Got that for $80.
Yeah I know I could have spent that same money and got something cooler, but this is still a great starter rig and looks cool with all the original accessories. I'm using a Pyramid power supply now but down the road I'm gunna have to get the PS-30 to match too. :-)

Sean Kelly W7SPK
W4INF Rating: 5/5 Oct 28, 2007 01:57 Send this review to a friend
What a great first rig!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Sold the rig to help pay for a new 718... Kinda wish I still had it! I ran CW and PSK with it, no problems. Limited without the WARC bands but hey, for $250 I had my first HF rig!

Always had good reports with it, never a problem one, sold 100W output. I did adjust the display to reflect freq but that was a minor issue.

I miss my TS-120S!

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