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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-690S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-690S
Kenwood TS-690S Reviews: 29 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $ts-690
Description: The TS-690 was Kenwood's All Mode Multi Band HF Transciever.
Product is not in production.
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NE0P Rating: 4/5 Oct 27, 2005 08:09 Send this review to a friend
Pretty good radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I picked up one of these radios recently, and it has been fun to operate. Seems to have a pretty good receiver in it, but it is a little noisy. Kind of miss the DSP that new radios have. I get good audio reports on SSB, and the receive audio also sounds pretty good. This is a nice small HF/6 radio with a built in autotuner, and should be easy to take mobile and portable. It is also easy to operate and to set up for the most part. only a few menus to deal with, and most of those things are set and forget.

It is also nice that you can cascade filters at different IFs. I have a couple of those ordered. It also seems much less sensitive to SWR than many of the newer rigs, I like that.

There are a couple of things that could be done better, though:

1. The noise blanker seems adequate at best against power line noise. Not near as good as other radios I have used. Not sure how it does on ignition noise.

2. The AF notch is a disappointment. Doesn't really seem to make a lot of difference, but it will quiet down the receiver a bit. Should have a IF notch instead.

3. Wish it had a built in keyer. The TS850 does, this one should also. One less thing to carry around or have sitting in the shack. Had to borrow a straight key until I could get a keyer ordered and delivered.

KG4-CXA Rating: 5/5 Aug 2, 2005 21:22 Send this review to a friend
another great rig by kenwood  Time owned: more than 12 months
once again kenwood did it with this rig.i cant say enough good things about it.the receiver sensitivity is great exspecially on 6 meters.we call it the 5-9 radio as compared to some of the newer rigs on the market today because it actually does as good or better.ive had alot of high end radio's on the shack desk and this rig impressed jump over 20 570's to get to this one.GIVE IT A TRY IF U GET A CHANCE TO GRAB ONE..
G8LIK Rating: 4/5 May 29, 2005 13:01 Send this review to a friend
Super!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought this just over 12 years ago for a price thas now just a shade less than Kenwoods latest HF/all band multimode,the TS2000E. With inflation it was not cheap then. No ATU either but its been a fine rig and no reliability issues whatsoever. Its a keeper that does well on all bands but can't compete with the new generation of DSP transceivers.I use it as a backup rig to the TS870S but of course the 50mhz is a nice extra. Does get a bit warm on prolonged heavy duty cycles but for ssb chat no problem, just not up to 1 hr key down CW when testing amplifiers etc. Its got a sensitive receiver and TX audio reports have been consistently good. Well worth getting one 2nd hand if the price is right
SWL1 Rating: 5/5 Aug 7, 2004 06:42 Send this review to a friend
Great HF & 6-Mtr rig !  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased mine brand new in 1993.

Have added the internal antenna tuner which,tunes much faster the my Yaesu FT-900 mobile rig.

Of course I love that rig also :)

I also added the YK-88SN 2.7KHz SSB filter and,the VS-2 voice module just for grins.

As a side note to N4SJW regarding his dislike for the DIP switchs,I totally agree !

I went through the same frustration myself!

Might I suggest that he do what I finally did to rid myself of that headache!

I ordered a Comspec TE-64D digital PL box and,interfaced it where the stupid DIP switch board from Kenwood was connected.

Yes it's out board mounted however it much more convient!

I refuse to drill holes in equipment so,I just used the existing screw and,hole at the top left front of the bezel.

Works great and,looks cool too.

By the way,make sure to hook up the Comspec box to the 'switched Tone' B+ lead!

Other wise you'll wind up getting complaintants on SSB that you have a distorted or,muddy signal.

Anyway...try it you'll like it!


KS4WJ Rating: 5/5 Aug 7, 2004 03:02 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio At A Used Price -5/5  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After spending a few months and many, many hours on this radio with merely the standard hand mic, I am well pleased with its performance at the 'used' price I paid. It is a compact HF/VHF transceiver with excellent front-end receive and delivers consistent 100W out on all bands - notwithstanding Six (6) Meters. The stock filters blended with notch adjustments, if creatively set, work exceptionally well despite no built-in DSP. The noise blanker isn't the best, but the AIP feature has proven to be (via my observations) one that actually makes a marked difference in picking up weak signals - albeit the volume will likely be turned up when engaged.

While mine doesn't have an antenna tuner, I do like that the SWR (built-in) can be checked to ensure a resonant antenna remains so on all bands. It is laid out well and while some of knobs are rather diminutive in size, they are ALL very easy to turn and adjust. Direct frequency is especially useful and extremely easy to operate (common sense dictates how to use this feature without opening the manual). Shortwave listening is quite good on AM with the proper filter settings. Audio reports have consistently been good even when using the standard hand mic.

I suppose I could pick the rig to pieces if I purposed myself to "gag on gnats yet concomitantly opt to swallow elephants". But there truly isn't too much to find fault with unless one attempted to nonsensically "compare" this early '90s radio along side the brand new (2004, 2005) $10,000 plus rigs now out or soon to be out - manufactured by Icom and Yaesu respectively.

For the right 'used' price, the Kenwood TS-690S is an excellent pick whether used as the primary or secondary transceiver in a modest ham shack. Overall, it is a well made radio with even a few accoutrements that add to its usability and functionality.
G0HVQ Rating: 5/5 Feb 15, 2004 07:57 Send this review to a friend
Excellent reliable HF + 6m radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
The TS690S is a great radio. Mine's been in use for over 11 years as the main station radio at G0HVQ ( and hasn't missed a beat, been used mainly on 6m to get 113 DXCC countries, also lots of DX on 10m, and 15m RTTY.

My main mode tends to be CW for DX, and it can really pull out the weak signals by using the IF shift in conjunction with a narrow CW filter (find the optional 500Hz CW and 2.4k SSB filters a must). I didn't think radio reliability was an issue until I read the reviews of the Icom 746Pro/7400 on here: the TS690 has been hammered in a few 24hr contests, including lengthy RTTY sessions, and has been 100% reliable. We regularly won the UK 6m Group 50MHz contest with this radio (operating as G0WNL/P).

One mod worth doing if you're a 6m op is opening up the Rx range: standard is 0-30M and 50-54M, you can open it up to 0-60M by altering the diode matrix on the back of the main display PCB. You can then monitor VHF TV on 48/49M to predict 6m openings.

Having used it for such a long time, I think I've found all the problems. On 6m, the Tx audio goes non-linear if you drop the power below about 25W, but Kenwood knew about this and modded later radios (mine was one of the first). Also, the rotary switch used to go between memory channels is a bit iffy, and some of the text has worn off the buttons.

But these are minor issues. I've worked lots of DX on 6m and 10m with this radio using a modest aerial setup from a noisy suburban QTH, it hasn't missed a beat, and it's still a joy to use. Wish I'd bought the optional internal ATU, and it had more than 50W on 6m. I've been looking for a replacement but can't find anything that convinces me it's better at the moment (wanted an IC746Pro/7400 but have been
put off by the high Tx failure rate).
VE6RTR Rating: 4/5 Dec 20, 2003 14:42 Send this review to a friend
Good all round unit  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought this unit to replace a Yaesu FT 757. Was a definite step up. I like the direct frequency entry and the ability to select bandwidth independent of the mode used. What I do not like is the power level controls are so small and position sensitive(turn it 3mm clockwise and you you jump from 10W to 80W), also the frequency entering process is a little more complicated than necessary (press enter, select the frequency, then press enter again). But other than that no major hassles with it, would buy it again.
EI7GL Rating: 5/5 Aug 24, 2003 12:27 Send this review to a friend
Excellent rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned a TS690S for 10 years. In that time, I have worked over 100 countries with it on 6m and over 200 countries on the HF bands.

With the 1.8 KHz and 500 Hz filters added, its an excellent performer. Sensitive on all bands and never had any problems with it overloading.
Wish it had 100w instead of 50w on 6m though! ;-)

Never had any regrets about buying it. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a 2nd hand rig.
N4SJW Rating: 4/5 Aug 3, 2003 23:01 Send this review to a friend
Trusty old friend  Time owned: more than 12 months
It's not the hottest reciever, or best rejection, but I bought one new with the antenna tuner almost 10 yrs ago and it's like a good old dog. Just works and has been through multiple field days, several moves, and just keeps on ticking.

Likes: versatility, I can work 160-6 and has FM; easy to tune, I have the 270 Hz filter and for CW it works just FB. I also have the 1.8 Khz SSB filters, work well.

Dislikes: I hate that tiny 13 pin DIN connector; and 6M receiver is deaf - I will probably get a preamp for it if I ever do any serious 6M work, and CTCSS is dip switch programmable only.

If you can get one for under $500 in good shape, certainly worth the money. It doesn't have DSP otherwise, great rig to have.

KB1JIU Rating: 5/5 Feb 7, 2003 11:22 Send this review to a friend
With Filters Its Awesome!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is my first rig so keep that in mind. However, this review will zero in on the receiver and it capabilities. My unit was purchased used and it included THREE optional filters two of which are CW and the third is SSB.

I have alot of SWL experience and these optional filters just make this a totally awesome receiver for CW! You just do not know what you are missing if you do CW and are not fully supplied with these filters.

I have the YK-885-1 SSB 2.4 kHZ filter which makes SSB receiving a joy, cutting out all splatter from nearby QSO's.

I also have the YK-88C-1 and the YG-455CN-1. The 455CN is a 250Hz passband (read NARROW) and the 88C is a 500Hz passband. These just allow you to really zero in on CW. They are worthless for SSB being too narrow.

So in summary, the system is just as selective as my ICOM R75 SW receiver however the filters make it much more wonderful to use on CW and SSB.

The handy MCHN/VFO knob is a joy to use. The menues are easy to set up. The knobs are fine. and the meters are very good.

I am driving an external Icom SP-21 speaker with it however the internal speaker is just fine really. The unit is powered at base with an Aston RS-35M power supply. On recieve it consumes just about 2 Amps draw and the Aston does not even breath hard at all supplying this power. The unit is very very solid on RFI from my computer. The receiver is not bothered at all.

If you can find a nice specimen used, then jump on it. You cannot go wrong.
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