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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Kenwood TS-780 Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-780
Kenwood TS-780 Reviews: 7 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 2m/70cm All Mode TCVR
Product is not in production.
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G7RHF Rating: 5/5 Sep 24, 2010 09:56 Send this review to a friend
my favourite on 2  Time owned: more than 12 months
i have used this beatifull radio for 2 years and in that time is has been brillant ,had it serviced recently as it have gone off frquency,other wise hasnt missed a beat ,i use a ft817 ,trio 9130,but always prefer the 780 ,i use a microwave modlues pre amp on rx which helps ,but it is nearly 30 years old ,good audio ,if shift and good filltering,why cant they make them like this anymore if you see one grab it
G1HBE Rating: 5/5 Feb 18, 2009 09:24 Send this review to a friend
A good old girl  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been licensed for 25 years and I've had a number of VHF and UHF transceivers. Some have been OK, some have been poor and some have felt like boring 'appliances'. I came across this sad old 780 when I was swapping a few bits & pieces with a friend. He knew I liked 'fix-up radios' and threw it on the pile, telling me it had multiple faults and would probably go to the scrap-heap if I didn't take it. A challenge!
On removing the covers I found a very solidly constructed radio with *real* components and proper RF engineering, and I decided it would live again. To cut a long story short, a new dual-gate fet in the TX IF strip, two dry joints resoldered in the PSU and one cracked track repaired in the RX IF cct had the radio working again. OK, it's a bit clunky but at least it has NO MENUS and no *&^$! com ports. The front-end filtering is done with proper BIG helical filters and the radio seems to be almost bomb-proof. Above all, I'm not scared of getting inside with a blowtorch and lump-hammer when required, which is what I enjoy doing! A proper radio from the era before wimp engineers!
W9DZ Rating: 5/5 Aug 17, 2007 09:01 Send this review to a friend
Classic V-UHF Dual Bander  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought mine recently from a fellow Amateur near Chicago. It was in pristine condition with everything except the factory carton. I have been using it for casual operation on 2M and 70CM and would say that it works quite good for something 25+ years old. I miss not having a built-in keyer but that is common with early 80's radios. The receive is much improved with the addition of a good preamp, especially on 432. Measured ouput on my Bird 43 is about 11W on both bands.

I am able to find very little info for this radio either on the internet or in print. The Yahoo group is totally inactive (only 12 members) and my request to join went unanswered. I had no luck finding a review on the ARRL site. I need to check my old issues of 73 and Ham Radio to see if there is something there. I'd be interested in knowing what these rigs sold for originally.

As has been said by others, this is a very solid radio with built-in linear power supply. It can also be powered directly from an external 13.8V source. If you can find one in good shape at a decent price go for it!
G0NIG Rating: 5/5 Mar 7, 2006 07:28 Send this review to a friend
A Real Radio Classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned this radio for about three years now having aquired it from a friend in my local radio club. I was immediatley attracted to it by it's classic looks, looking a little like a mini TS830, well in my eyes anyway.
"They don't make 'em like this anymore!!!".... A very nostalgic phrase indeed but in the case of the TS-780 it really is true. The construction is very, very solid and it's weight belies it's size.
So it doesn't have all the wangly fangly bits and bobs of the modern sets like 20 squillion memories,DC to Blue light coverage, combined multi-media entertainment centre, but instead benefits from easily recognisable RF design and the ability for the owner to perform their own servicing and repairs without a comm port in sight.
So how does it actually perform. Well I have run it side by side with the following:

Yaesu FT-817
Icom IC-7400 (746Pro)
Icom IC-R9000
Icom IC-275

Well the IC-7400 (746Pro) was a non-starter as it's VHF performance was so poor both in respect of sensitivity and rx'ed audio urrghh.

The ICOM IC-R9000 is not really a like for like test but is highly regarded amongst the serious monitors. Again the TS-780 appeared to be more sensitive and the audio from both was excellent. The IC-R9000 is renowned for it's rx'd audio quality.

The FT-817 was comparable but the internally generated noise on the one I had was rather high and the audio wasn't as crisp.

Now the IC-275H is one fantastic rx'er, and so far I have not come across anything comparable, but the TS-780 did a good job of keeping pace with comparable audio reports and very little between them in the sensitivity stakes.

I have had one or two problems with it, it is nearly 25 years old now. These have included a dry joint in the VFO cct and a 1mH inductor failing in the feed of the AGC to the 2nd IF amplifier, but both fault easily repaired without any real expence, just time and a root through the junk box.

These were very expensive radios in the early 80's with prices around 1500 GB Pounds but can be picked up nowadays for nearly the same price of new 2m/70cm handheld.

I for one will not be parting company with mine in the near future, it has the prestige of owning a classic car....... But then again I don't get out much.


Nidge (G0NIG)
K7VO Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2004 23:28 Send this review to a friend
Bult like a tank, good performance for a rig of its era  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Kenwood TS-780 is a rig you don't see around often on the used market. It was very expensive in it's day and I don't think a large number sold. Those who did buy one discovered that they had one of the most solidly built rigs of the 1980s.

The Kenwood TS-780 covers the full 2m band (plus a little) and the 430-440MHz (weak signal and satellite) portion of the 70 cm band, SSB/CW/FM. As with most rigs of the time output power is just 10W high and 1W low, but that's enought to drive most popular amps or to work plenty of stations barefoot. The rig has dual VFOs, IF shift (lacking on far too many older VHF/UHF all mode rigs), an effective noise blanker, VOX, the ability to choose LSB or USB for satellite work, the choice to scan one band or both, front panel adjustable SSB mic. gain, RF gain, etc... In other words, this rig was designed for serious weak signal work without compromising on FM. Cross band split operation between the two VFOs is possible for satellite operation but the two VFOs, sadly, do not track each other. That would have been truly outstanding but I guess is a bit much to ask for a rig intoduced in 1982. The TS-780 features a built in AC power supply but can also run on 13.8V at 5A.

I have received numerous compliments on the transmit audio, with some who know me calling it the best sounding rig I have ever had. The receive audio is equally good through the internal speaker. I don't have the matching external speaker, model SP-71, but I have run this rig through my Mizuho AP-1D Audio Processor into an SP-120 and it sounds brilliant that way too.

CW operation is typical Japanese semi-QSK. I would love for it to be full QSK like a Ten Tec HF rig. Oh well... Side tone volume is adjusted with a control under a small door on top of the rig, as is FM mic. gain, carrier level for AM, and the various VOX settings. Memory backup batteries (three AA alkaline batteries) and a place to plug in a PL board or tone burst board is also found here.

Having read the previous reviews I had very low expectations for receiver sensitivity. Well... mine is definitely NOT deaf. Is it the best receiver I've had on 2m or 70cm? No, it isn't. However, it is better than all the other 80s synthesized rigs I've tried including some that get solid 5s here on eHam. It certainly isn't as good as today's technology or some of the best 70s analog designs with their incredibly low noise floor. By today's standards it's just decent, but it certainly beats that old TS-700A I had hands down. With a good mast mounted preamp for each band you won't miss a thing with the TS-780.

I ran this rig in the CQ VHF contest on 2m. This radio is NOT prone to front end overload. A local big gun wiped out the band on the Yaesu FT-480R I had. On this rig I heard him loud (S9+40) on his frequency but not elsewhere. Yes, the FT-480 was more sensitive, but it was useless in a contest. This rig held it's own beautifully.

I bought this rig in really nice condition for $350. I've seen a couple of others in good shape go for around that price, and I've seen ones that were trashed go for almost as much. If you can find a nice one that is working properly you certainly get your money's worth with the TS-780. OK, it's not perfect, and I'd love a top notch receiver by today's standards. For the price you can't do better and this rig is built to last.

One caveat: I've only had it a month, but as you might guess, it's gotten lots of use (as in just about every day) on SSB, CW, and FM. I'm impressed and I don't impress easily.
KG4VTQ Rating: 4/5 Nov 4, 2002 16:25 Send this review to a friend
Solid and reliable  Time owned: more than 12 months
The TS-780 was my second rig, bought to replace a TS-711. It's a 144/440 dual bander, though it only receives one band at a time. RF output is switchable from 1 to 10 watts, and the transceiver is all mode on both bands.

I found the small number of memories was a little restrictive, though this seems typical of radios of this era. I also found the radio was a little deaf, failing to pick up signals that the TS-711 had reliably managed. A Kenwood engineer argued that there's no point in being able to hear something that won't be able to hear you respond, but in truth, the 780 would benefit from a pre-amp.

This must be one of the most solidly built and robust radios I've ever used and operating it is a pleasure. It can be used on 120 or 12v and despite it's age works well on packet. By today's standards of greater sensitivity and high output power, it's somewhat dated and rather lacking in sophistication, but for those who want a no-frills dual band base rig that will keep on working, and where power isn't a crucial factor, the TS-780 should still be a contender.
ON1VHF Rating: 3/5 Jun 17, 2002 15:02 Send this review to a friend
Good beginner rig.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is the first rig I bought after I got licensed. It gives you 10 W on 144MHz, the same on 432MHz. For what I can see, it's very stable and has a very good audio. It never gets hot or warm, even when using digital modes at full output power. Unfortunately, it tends to be "deaf" to weak signals, it's not equipped with notch or narrow filters and is sensible to intermods.
Nevertheless, I like this little rig. I use it on 144 MHz to drive a B1016G 150W Mirage amp on a Wimo 5 WL yagi with no problems and a Ten-Tec 6-2 transverter on a ZX Yagi 6M6. I guess it's a good rig for beginners, available at fair price on the second hand market.
Use a mast preamp to enjoy it even further!

73's de ON1VHF


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