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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-130V Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-130V
Kenwood TS-130V Reviews: 13 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 10W HF radio
Product is not in production.
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DL6ZB Rating: 5/5 Jan 25, 2017 12:12 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio still today.  Time owned: more than 12 months
It's been a while since the last comment about that rig. In short: I'll give it a 5/5.
The TS-130V was my first shortwave transceiver way back in 1981. Performance is great still today. TRX still works fine. The receiver mixer is simple but effective. Thanks to the well built 5 MHz VFO the PLL works fine. Frequency stability is not as accurate as with modern DDS driven oscillators, although it is good enough for CW and SSB. After 15 minutes warmup the thing is rock stable. SSB modulation is surprisingly good. Audio is clear.
The rig is easy to maintain. Spare parts are still available today, mostly on ebay.
I changed the CW AGC hold time to about 1/3 of the SSB AGC hold time, since it was too fast for me. The TS-130V switches the AGC timing with the front panel mode switch.
The receiver audio hissed between slow CW dits and dahs. The AGC modification makes the CW reception much more comfortable. The modification for that CW AGC timing is very simple. Send me a mail if you need assistance.
CW filter is a must for the serious CWer. Most offered TS-130V have this built in. Check this before you buy one.
Reasonable price is about $/EUR 250 when TRX is in good condition. Works best in SSB with genuine Kenwood microphone. The Switchable SSB processor is a great thing and works well.
What I miss with this is an internal SWR meter, an internal CW keyer and 160/60 meter band option as well as QSK, although this does not lower the fun. QSK mod should be possible.
The TS-130V draws 700 mA in RX mode and about 3.8 amps in TX. This is low enough for an outdoor day with a relativly small battery. Anyway, the TS-130V is a tiny, beautiful mobil and portable shortwave transceiver of the 80's still today. You will hardly find more fun for the buck.
GM0HKS Rating: 5/5 Feb 11, 2013 10:10 Send this review to a friend
What a rig !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was fortunate enough recently to acquire a TS130v at a very affordable price. Its all been said before but I reinforce the positive comments made by other owners. A remarkable receiver and transmitted note is superb. If you operate CW, fit the narrowband filter and see what a difference that makes. A fantastic improvement. The filter is installed at IF rather than audio and so really does what its supposed to do. I had to change the Omron IF board relay as it suffered from the historical latching problem causing loss of audio after a period of transmitting. Simple troubleshooting narrowed it down to the Omron relay fitted on the IF board. The relay contacts are extremely fine and delicate and I would not recommend any attempt to clean them. The long term solution is a replacement. No issue as I was able to obtain a few spare relays from Ebay and the installation was relatively straightforward. I have a 130v now which performs as though it has just come out of the showroom. If anyone needs instructions/guidance with photos as to how to change the IF board relay, get in touch. I've uploaded a file to the 120/130 Yahoo user group as well. It offers guidance with pictures which is always useful. 5/5 for me this little rig. I hope I manage many years of fault free operating with it. As to a previous comment re putting it up against the K2; I would not disagree with that. The receiver is extraordinarily good and front panel ergonomics a breeze to work with, even though I am left handed hi !
F5MUX Rating: 5/5 Dec 31, 2010 04:14 Send this review to a friend
Realy outstanding QRP Rig !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

I just received via the post office this radio yesterday morning in perfect condition, like new. I'm Kenwood Fan, particulary vintage RIG like TS-850, TS-930 ... It's amazing what you can do with this compact radio. Take a look on YouTube :
5 clips are now available ...

Just a quick remark, the S-meter is not generous in comparaison of the TS-850 or Pro-III. If somebody have a good idea to calibrated this analogic s-meter, It's will be fine !

See you next year and have a fun on QRP.
HNY 2011, Lee f5mux/qrp
N2UGB Rating: 5/5 Aug 25, 2009 19:51 Send this review to a friend
Follow up review TS-130V  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Just to add a few lines, now some months later.

1) No longer "scratchies" on AF or RF reception.
2) Bandswitch operating normally, if not timidly changed. Switch the darn thing!
3) Loosened and then tightened all boards where screws could be found. Solved a weakening and screetchy sidetone pitch. Couple other matters also.
4) No reports of drift or keying distortion. None to give,either. Good audio.
5) Was sold a defective used CW filter. Not cold solder so the filter NG. Using an old Timewave filter helps, but the CW filter would have been much better. Not looking for another.
6) Real QSK, not semi, would be undeniably helpful when working a DX station in a pile-up. I don't think I missed a contact because of that though. Doing pretty well with five to ten watts and a Buddistick out the window.
7) I love my FT-817ND, but I love the TS-130V too, especially it's lack of memories, worse imbedded memories.

I will keep it until it goes to a recycler. Maybe not even then.
WB2LHP Rating: 5/5 Sep 21, 2007 13:29 Send this review to a friend
Solid QRP Performance  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Outstanding little performer. This is a fully user-serviceable radio. No microprocessors or non-standard components. Solid, well built. Great receiver. Small size but plenty of nice features. I work most everything I hear with a simple wire antenna.
EA4RJ Rating: 4/5 Aug 8, 2006 06:44 Send this review to a friend
Nice vintage QRP transceiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Looking for a TS-120V or TS-130V for several years, my dream come true at last.
Found one of these transceivers on a Spanish QRP forum at reasonable price: 250. That was including a TS-130V plus VFO-120 and desk mic MC-50, and shipping. Not bad. The rig showed several scratches at the cabinet, that means could be used mostly mobile or portable. As a CW-only operator, the key jack seems to be hard to plug in (perhpas never used?). No filters included that was a nightmare... Fortunately, I have found both SSB (1.8kHz) and CW (500Hz) narrow filters, new condition, in a store located in France (70 each).

The rig itself works as I expected. Receiver is quite good and compete seriously with my Elecraft K2 (without digital filtering) and my little Yaesu FT-817 (another one with blown finals syndrome here). Power output over a dummy load was 12 Watts in all bands.
After a few hours of use in CW mode, receiver failed intermitenly. The fault was located at IF Unit, 4PDT unsealed relay (OMRON LZN4). Looking desperately for replacement, finally I learnt that there is an exact macth to make a clean fix. The original one is no longer manufactured. You will find a sealed 4PDT relay as NF4EB-12V. Brands who make this kind of relay are NAIS/Matsushita and Aromat/Panasonic.

Now I am using it as my main HF rig. Because I am not interested in split mode, I am selling the remote VFO, and even the K2. No need for more HF rigs, hi.

PROS: easy to use, QRP level, amateur bands only, clean audio, nice sensitivity.
CONS: notch filter, mechanical (relays, waffer band switch).

Rafael, EA4RJ
K2BK Rating: 5/5 Oct 21, 2005 08:52 Send this review to a friend
A Great little radio.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Back in the mid 80's, I was in the market for my first all solid state, 13.8 volt rig to use on trips and field day.
I was was looking at the TS-130V and the TS-130SE, and was leaning towards the TS-130V.

"Friends" talked me into buying the TS-130SE (MORE POWER, and POWER IS GOOD!!), and I bought the SE, loaded it with the 1.8 and 270 filters and still have it. It's a good radio.

But I always looked back and thought I should have bought the TS-130V. That little 130V would be a lot of fun with a motorcycle battery. So about four years ago, I started looking for a TS-130V. Many that I found had been mobile rigs and look real beat.

Three years ago, I found a NEW one that belonged to a collector who was getting out - it was still in the box, and had the 1.8 and 270 filters (still in boxes).

Well... I paid (and paid and paid) for it and couldn't be happier.

It is a great little QRP rig - unlike most QRP radios, it still feels like a real radio, and at field day, anyone can run it with two minutes of instruction - try that with any of the current crop of QRP radios.

I currently own a crop of high end radios, including a Icom 756 Pro-III, but the little TS-130V has a special place in my heart, and still gets a lot of use.

Paul - K2BK
DL3OCM Rating: 5/5 Feb 27, 2005 13:54 Send this review to a friend
Won't give it away  Time owned: more than 12 months
At around the time I was born - when my mom was on pregnancy leave, she passed the ham radio examination, got a SW-license and chose the TS-130V as her radio. 14 years later I really regretted she didn't take the TS-130S with reasonable power output... But she added the excellent 250-Hz-CW-Filter

I'm not active anymore myself but I will keep this rig, no matter what. It may be old, it may be heavier as other QRP-rigs, but if you want to use it as a home station you have a very compact radio. Of course featurewise it can't compete with any of the modern transceivers, but the receiver sensitivity and clarity is still great! It is a pleasure to listen to a clean, crisp signal without any audible "ringing" that narrow filters are prone to.
I tested it against a Drake TR7 and Kenwood TS-870, both are a bit better, but I was surprised to see how close the 130V got! Along with the excellent 250-Hz-CW-filter, it will be perfect for CW enthusiasts.
The only little drawback I noticed was that upon CQ-calls, most stations answered about 200-Hz above my frequency, so that when you are using a narrow cw filter, you might not hear them. I wonder if other people have made similar experiences.
However, this problem can easily be solved, it is just a little annoyance.

If you are really sure you won't need the higher output version which I assume has the same receiver capabilities, you will be happy with the TS-130V!

good DX
KE9PP Rating: 5/5 Feb 13, 2005 16:45 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have had Kenwood transceivers for many years now, several TS-520 and a TS-7500 rigs, and have ALWAYS been please with them, especially the marvelous audio reports.

I got the QRP bug last year and started looking around for a nice QRP rig. Wow, are some of them expensive. I am not much of a CW guy since I like to hear what people from all around the world sound like (I was an SWL which led me into HAM radio in the late 1950's), so I did not want just a CW only rig.

I am pretty active on eBay and typed QRP into a search one evening expecting to see the usual array of CW rigs and, low and behold (no pun intended....MUCH), a Kenwood TS-130V appeared. It said that this was just a TS-130S that was low power and intended for the Japanese home market where low power was mandated. I did some investigation, including this forum, and found mostly very positive things about it, i.e., no mods to correct inherent problems. I decided to go ahead. I took a chance, won the auction and got the rig for around $250 with shipping.

I have been using it for a couple of months now and have been working stations left and right from 75 through 10 meters. I usually don't tell them that I am only putting about 5-10 watts out to the antenna until later in the QSO and most are pretty amazed. I reduce power by having the final protection reduce power by purposely slightly mis-matching with my tuner. Even on 20, where the "big guns" lurk, I can work almost anyone who I can with my TS-520 with 100 watts. To make things more interesting, my antenna is merely a 1/2 size G5RV mounted right behind the house at 15 feet.

I worked Puerto Rico with 10 watts on 10 Meters and then I tried reducing power in steps. He said I was still Q5 S4 with 1/2 watt!

The rig is not a fully featured as most of the new menu driven QRP rigs I studied, but it works just fine for me.

The only thing that I think I might do to it is to replace the "grain of wheat" light bulbs with white LEDs to further reduce the power drain on receive.

I just worked a fellow ham in Brownsville, Texas on 17 meters who was running 600 watts to a log-periodic at 65' and we carried on a QSO for nearly half an hour. I have also worked Curacao on 17 and Belize on 20 without any difficulty.

All and all a great little rig. I'm fulfilling my urge to go QRP without having to spend a small fortune. I plan to take this rig to the top of Mt. Haleakala in Hawaii this spring and working DX from 10,000 feet!
PA3EHZ Rating: 5/5 Feb 8, 2004 14:51 Send this review to a friend
fine set  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought the Kenwood 130V second hand. The small
set is very handy and sturdy, even in mismatch with the antenna. I operate the 130V together with the Kenwood AT-230 antenna tuner who does a good job. Being a ham again after many years not being active I have a lot of fun with this set.
Specially the receiver is very sensitive. I am glad I bought this 130V to start again.
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