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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-520 Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-520
Kenwood TS-520 Reviews: 42 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $599.99
Description: First of the Hybrid radios
Product is not in production.
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N7INO Rating: 5/5 Nov 10, 2012 10:04 Send this review to a friend
Great rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Over the years has owned most of the newer rigs and had a chance to get a 520 again. I forgot how great the receive was and not a clean rig worked well. I got a call from a ham friend and said I have a nice 520 and just come and get it, Great deal. I run the 520 base as it will pull weak stations I can,t hear on either of my Icoms. If you have a chance to pick up a 520 or any of the series do so GREAT rigs.
NL997 Rating: 5/5 Sep 24, 2012 16:46 Send this review to a friend
at last I found a mint one !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just got a TS-520 line in a perfect condition last Saterday. The line consists of TS-520, TV-502, TV-506 and MC50. It came with 2 spare sets of final tubes and a spare driver tube. (Not that I will need these, as I am a SWL...) This weekend I have compared it with my Yaeasu FT-897, and I must say, the 520 has no DSP etcetera, but beats the 897 at several point, for example HF sensitivity.... The TV-506 works better on the 6m, and the audio from the TS-520 is just what my ears like...
Nostalgia 4-ever... :)
SM7FYW Rating: 5/5 Jul 20, 2012 13:00 Send this review to a friend
Once Kenwood TS-520, always TS-520  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my first ever HF rig, in 1975, which I traded a few years later. Last year 2011, I bought another one, after some TLC, it worked just like my brand new did!
I have listened to many rigs in my hamdays, but I can truthfully say, that the Kenwood TS-520 is the best sounding rig ever built!
It does not have any bells n whistles, but for everyday QSO's, it's still one of the best!
KG6PFH Rating: 5/5 May 11, 2012 18:59 Send this review to a friend
Vintage radio built like a tank  Time owned: more than 12 months
This radio is soo good I two have of them. First one I bought at the local fest for "parts only" sale in 2006. Only tubes and crystal filters were missing. After missing parts were purchased over the internet and installed, it became my first factory built HF transceiver. I liked it soo much bought another one from the eBay a non-working unit. Seller did such a poor job of packing, the radio arrived rolling in the box and the box was almost like a ball. It had dents on the cabinet but front panel and the back were all intact and no damage. After removing the mod previous owner made, it worked perfectly. It almost became 37 lb. boat anchor if it wasn't for quality design and construction. I've heard it was built like a tank. Now I am a believer.
K6QI Rating: 5/5 Mar 17, 2012 15:18 Send this review to a friend
Where to start...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I just picked this one up today at a fest for $75.00. This is the fifth of these old war horses I've owned. I was talked out of the others by friends, who still all own the ones I sold them.

I'm keeping this one, 'cause I like it.

I see folks reduce their rating while comparing the 520 to modern rigs. I won't, and didn't. These are rigs ca. 1972 or '73 and really can't be compared in that way. If you're looking for a 'battleship' transceiver - look no further. Aside from dropping the rig in the lake, or some other malfeasance, it would be hard to kill one of these bricks. I just fired up the 'new' one and it works like a champ. It's a bit dusty, and has tape remains here and there, but it will clean up snazzy and hold my desk down for a long time to come. I really like these old hybrid rigs. If you want to rag chew, there is nothing finer. Yeah, you have to tune it, but that's about 70% of the fun! New General Class Op? Here's how you can get on HF for cheap, learn a bit, repair it yourself if needed, and have a ball. Get one if you can. I also recently came across and purchased an 820S. I guess this is becoming hybrid acres around here. Since I've owned all those others, I'm checking the box that says more than 12 months.

ZL1DT Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2012 02:24 Send this review to a friend
My favorite rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my TS-520 at a junk sale for NZ$60. It was covered in rust and looked like rodents had been nesting inside. A quick clean up and a squirt of paint and it goes like a new one! Extremely stable after 20 minutes and 100 watts out on ALL bands. I constantly get great audio reports using an MC-50 mic. I also have a very nice Yaesu FT-990, but I find myself using the 520 mostly, just because it is so much fun to use. After 2 years of constant use, I still get a kick from using it. Definitely a keeper!
KT4GN Rating: 5/5 Feb 4, 2012 19:38 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
After reading several of the reviews, I decided to review my rig. The 520 is one of the best rigs built. No it does not have the modern technology as one reviewer wrote. Hi hi, Solid performance both CW & SSB. , easy to set up,. What more can one ask for.
N9BYY Rating: 5/5 Oct 31, 2011 11:32 Send this review to a friend
One of the Best Rig's  Time owned: more than 12 months
I sold my old TS-520 some years ago after buying a newer Kenwood. Well the newer one took a lighting strike. I started searching for another rig when I came across a TS-520S in mint condition. Paid the guy $200 bucks and back on the air. One of the best rig's built. I think I'll just keep this one...
AC0VI Rating: 3/5 Sep 21, 2011 18:05 Send this review to a friend
An oldie, but a goodie  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased my Kenwood TS-520 from a ham friend of mine about three months ago. It was my first endeavor into the world of hybrid radios and it's been a good one. This particular radio has the digital readout kit on the backside along with the DG5 external display and the AC to DC adapter kit.

During the short time I've owned this rig it has been reliable and dependable. I mainly use the radio for SSB contacts.

Here are the things I like about this radio:

Great audio (both rx and tx)
Simplistic operation
Ergonomic button/knob layout
Excellent construction
No menus or sub-menus to contend with
Large S-Meter

Now for some of the downsides to this radio:

No audio notch
No digital display (unless you have the external DG5 display)
Constant adjustments when changing frequency (tube finals)
One VFO. You cannot work split unless you have an external VFO.
Heavy (approximately 35 lbs.)
Draws a lot of current, even on stand-by.
Lack of filtering options

Overall, this radio is decent radio even for its age. While it does not have all of the bells and whistles of more “modern” radios it will get you on the air and not deplete your bank account. However, as with all units around this age they will need some TLC from time to time to keep them in 100% operational condition. I rated this radio as a three, but that is because I could not give it a 3.5 out of 5. The point of my rating is not to compare it against the modern, more expensive radios but with other radios of its “hybrid” era.

In conclusion, I hope this review helps a potential buyer of this older radio in making an informed decision.
WA4ZYN Rating: 5/5 Apr 29, 2011 19:04 Send this review to a friend
Reliable workhorse  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this 520 since my 29-year-old daughter was a toddler. My late brother-in-law KF4NB gave it to me when he bought his new 930-S. Glenn had purchased the 520 new in 1975.

This rig has been reliable and dependable all these years, with excellent receive audio, and great signal reports on sideband as well as CW. Glenn even used it for RTTY.

The wonderful thing about this rig is that it is modern (all solid-state except driver and finals) but you can still work on it. I have replaced a resistor on the power board from lightning damage, replaced all the tubes just because I thought I should, and replaced the RF board with one from a non-working 520 I bought just for parts. Not bad for almost 30 years of service!

I would highly recommend this "workhorse" for anyone on a budget. You won't regret it. So what if it weighs 37 lb.!!!!
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