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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-590S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-590S
Kenwood TS-590S Reviews: 298 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $1799.99
Description: The TS-590S marks a bold new chapter in Kenwood's proud history of manufacturing high-performance transceivers. Featuring a narrow-band Roofing Filter the TS-590S significantly reduces interference from unwanted signals that would be hidden to lesser rigs. With IF AGC based on advanced DSP technology, Kenwood has essentially redefined HF performance.
Product is in production.
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M0ZCM Rating: 5/5 Apr 14, 2013 07:21 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading numerous reviews I decided to upgrade from a FT450D to this rig and I have not been disappointed.
The receiver on the radio is first class and I am delighted to see how the noise reduction settings on this radio take the fatigue out of long operating periods.
Whilst it is still early days for me and this rig, I am sure it will be in the shack for years to come.
KB5PQL Rating: 4/5 Apr 8, 2013 17:00 Send this review to a friend
Good Rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The receiver on this radio is equal to my Icom 7700 after it's properly adjusted. All of the positive points that others have said about this radio are correct. However, this review is about the SSB relatively low power output problem compared to other radios. Mine came with low PEP and average power levels (according to different meters)so back it went to the Kenwood repair center. It arrived back to me with excellent output power (over 100w) on all bands and the average level is now up there with my TS-850S. Kenwood knows about the problem because they were able to fix mine. So far, ALC looks good and all watts are accounted for. The only reason it gets a "4" is because I had to spend $60 for shipping and insurance. The radio is now doing what it's supposed to and it seems to be doing it well. I've even thought about getting rid of all my other radios and keep this one. Yep, It's that good. Receiver is very pleasant to my ears and the Transmitter is now biting hard. Good Luck!
WB2KSP Rating: 5/5 Apr 7, 2013 07:58 Send this review to a friend
Possible fix for the 590's average power issues  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned a TS-590 since December, 2011. For the first year or so I used the radio for CW operations but in the back of my mind having read the reports of relatively poor SSB performance was disconcerting. I am using a Heil Pro-Elite headset with the radio. Heil recommends that the radios EQ (menu 30) be set to the C (conventional) position. That is how I have been using the radio for the past 10 months or so. The results were so, so but I am only running 100 Watts to an inverted Vee and so I figured this was a matter of not enough antenna or power to compete. On the other hand my CW results were and continue to be truly remarkable. The Kenwood allows the user to create their own EQ through the use of their free software, arcp-590

By setting the transmit EQ so that everything below 1800hz and everything above 3600hz is brought down to -24 (their lowest setting) and everything between those 2 points is brought up 5 or 6db and adjusting the input and output of the radios compressor/limiter so that the meter does not exceed the alc limit, I am now getting the kind of results on SSB that I have been receiving on CW. The audio is now bright and loud but not distorted. I've had many experiences of getting through a pile up even though my RS reports are slightly lower than others have received who were trying to make the contact. It wasn't a quick fix and it required a lot of experimentation but by properly adjusting the mic EQ and compression for the type of operation you're pursuing, the results can be quite gratifying. It was much easier setting up my old TS-430 and desk mic which didn't have the flexibility of the 590 but simple isn't always better. The TS-590 with it's adjustable vox setting allow me to operate comfortable without using the foot switch I had purchased to use with the headset.

SV9DJO Rating: 4/5 Apr 6, 2013 12:56 Send this review to a friend
Good CW radio -contest radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Finally i can write a comment for this radio.
Things that i do not like in this radio:
The problem with power spikes on SSB mainly.Some experts saying that is software problem but there no any movement from kenwood to fix it. There are some modifications but with poor improvement.Lot of hams saying that i am splattering ( no splattering with other radios and same tx BW-QRO)
The need of buying the TCXO to be exact in frequency which means 100 120e more(most new radios in such amount of money has it built in)
The speaker sounds terrible and is necessary use of external one.

And what i like in this radio:
Excellent roofing filters (the main reason that still hold it )especially on CW operation.
Double menu settings which is very useful for Contest/Every Day coffee use.

The magic button which i discovered it almost after a half year of use the NR 2 on CW which when engaged stations appear from ... nowhere!!!

The USB sound card and CAT, easy to record QSO's and work digital modes (has a bit delay but acceptable)

And finally the nice remote control software , easy and full control of radio.

My last word
Great RX radio for money but leaking on TX side, I hope Kenwood to fix this problem with ALC in a future upgrade.

PA1ZP Rating: 3/5 Mar 30, 2013 13:42 Send this review to a friend
Update fter 1 year of intense use  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hi All

Used my TS590 for over 1 year now.

I am starting to apriciate the filters a bit better.
The SSB TX power on SSB still sucks.
I tried all kind of things and settings but the average power output on SSB is still low in compare with other rigs.

I solved my problem with power spikes on CW by reducing carrier level a lot.
I found that tip on the Yahoo group.
SSB power spikes are still there no matter what I try.

Still find the reciever noisy and sounding digital.
Recieving on CW is even worse if there is QRM from power lines or plasma TV or static.
You can set the filter at even 50 Hz or 500 Hz or 1KHz no matter what you do run NR1 NR2 NB1 or NB2 this RX sounds awfull, and even gets beaten big time at those moments, by my cheap FT857D with Collins filter and audio DSP.
When there is no QRM from powerlines and plasma TV or switching power suplies, The TS590 is a dream to work on and listen to in CW and in SSB, and makes my FT857D a big lemon.
But as I have about 16/7 QRM it is often a pain in the ... to listen to the TS590 in CW.

It is a hard verdict but I will not ever buy a Kenwood TS590 again, and I will not recomend this rig to people that live in a crowded city area for CW use.

I you are living in a relatively quiet area with low QRM levels this is a very good rig for CW.
Th filters are wonderfull on SSb and on CW but if you live in a city like I do and you want to do a lot of CW find yourselve another rig.
KI0Z Rating: 5/5 Mar 28, 2013 05:37 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: more than 12 months
I wanted to let you know the TS-590 Has the very same system that the IC-7800 Has for AGC-VR . It's called on the TS-590 AGC-T. so when having problems copying a signal you push the AGC-T and select fast or slow and go adjust the knob just like the Icom. It will make the difference from marginal copy lots of noise with the signal Buried in it .Adjusting it it can go from no copy to perfect copy just from one click like peaking it . The NR also helps even more .. Gud DX Dave KI0Z.. no need for mod's here.............see IC-7800 for more info ..
KI4WMO Rating: 5/5 Mar 26, 2013 08:23 Send this review to a friend
Really Great Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There's not a whole lot I can add on the rig's performance that others haven't already said. I can operate easy digital modes through the USB interface, the rig is an outstanding CW rig, especially for the price point, and the receiver has to be heard to be believed in this price point. I've had most of the other current offerings in this price point, or at least spent a good bit of time working with them, and even doing A/B comparisons. This receiver really will let you cut down and through the noise and pull out weak signals you would not hear with a lesser receiver, particularly on the bands that are using down coversion.

As for transmitting, I have a fairly recent vintage, and have not had any ALC overshoot issues with my set up. As for the weak punch/power out, I initially saw that the average SSB power out was a little low for a 100W PEP radio out of the box, although it did occassionally peak pretty close to 100W. Well, after working off and on for a while with all the settings, my average power our is now up around where I think it should be on SSB (normally 40-60 watts or so) and my voice peaks frequently hit 100W on external meters and on the rig's meters. The trick here had nothing to do whatsoever with using the service menus, although that isn't to say that some earlier production models may need that tweaking. Rather, it was understanding that this radio is sufficiently sophisticated in the audio department so as to require thinking of the average power out issue as part of a system consisting of the entire audio and RF out chains.

I use a Heil GM-Elite Mic. After some tinkering, I found settings that worked for me to accomplish a good power output setting with lots of punch, no distortion, and minimal ALC activiation. This involved adjusting numerous settings, including processor in, processor out, mic gain, and creating a custom transmit equalizer setting for my voice. The specific settings to use will vary with you voice and microphone. But, mine are as follows:

P. Input: 32
P. Output: 37
Mic Gain: 22 (note, as far as I can tell, with processor on, the radio uses the processor settings and the mic gain setting did not make a difference. With Processor off, the mic gain controls).

0: 0
300: +1
600: +1
900: +2
1200: +5
1500: +5
1800: +5
2100: +3
2400: +1
2700: -1
3000: -5
(over this I just worked in an even curve down to -17 5100 - these are beyond the DSP transmit bandwitdt anyway and make little difference as far as I can tell)

My voice has a bit of bass in it, and not a lot of high overtones, so this will vary with others. Those with more high overtones or a stronger midrange will obviously need a different setting, and so on. But, fot me at least, this has resulted in a lot of good audio reports, and since I've been using these settings, no one has had any trouble understanding me, even if my signal is reported at the noise floor by the receiving end. This is true using both the "wide" setting and the "narrow" setting on the Heil Mic. Indeed, one of the challenges was getting a set of settings that required little to no adjustment regardless of which mic element I'm using. These seem to accomplish that, at least for me.

I also ran across a site where someone said reducing the CW and FSK carrier levels will help if you have an ALC overshoot. I did this just to see, and I noticed a slight decrease in the amount of ALC activation, although I don't seem to have the overshoot problem to start with.

In any event, I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that this is a great rig in its price class, with a great receiver and good transmitter.
G4PNF Rating: 5/5 Mar 26, 2013 03:51 Send this review to a friend
Getting better!   Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a return review as I have changed my opinion of the rig since I first reviewed it over a year ago.
The more I use this rig the more I like it especially for CW. As they all say it really has an excellent receiver and as a CW rig is just great to operate. The features like the auto tune, superb easily adjustable inbuilt keyer/display and sharp/flexible filtering are spot on. I also really like the separate RX antenna facility. The rig has clearly been very well thought through and has a pleasing robust feel to it.
However I did have serious issues with the transmit SSB signal and lack of "talk power" when comparing it on air with other rigs.
It now appears that my 590 may not have been quite up to par in the first place. I have recently had it checked over by a main UK Kenwood dealership. They found it necessary to adjust some of the settings on the service menu to bring it up to spec with their current stock of TS-590's and I find it is now considerably improved.
With a reasonable quality dynamic mic (the supplied fist mic does not do the rig any favours) and the right TX equaliser and processor set up my 590 can now put out a decent SSB signal with very good sounding audio. The reported transmitted SSB still does not have quite the punch/talk power when compared to the Icom rig I have in my shack but it is now not that far behind. I have also had excellent reports on the audio quality when using the rig in AM and FM modes.
I don't know if I was perhaps "unlucky" with my 590 but it could be an explanation for this problem being reported so often in some of the earlier production.
W5NM Rating: 5/5 Mar 25, 2013 12:09 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my TS-590 for almost 2 years. Sold my favorite Yaesu FT-1000mp MK5 Field to pay for it.
I have been a ham for 44 years and as I have been through a lot of radio's in my time and this radio has the best receiver I have ever owned. The Noise Blanker is BY FAR the best I have ever seen and that alone is reason to keep this radio a long time. For CW and digital modes this radio is outstanding with its
500Hz roofing filter. For SSB, I would say its talk power seems to be a little weaker than some, but audio quality is excellent. I love the combination of serial and USB ports and the fan is very quiet and rarely comes on. I have no fears of overheating his baby. I was constantly worrying about finals going bad with my Icom radio's so I gave them up. Been a Yaesu fan for a long time, but some of their radio's have some poor engineering also. Let's face it Kenwood Engineering is Awesome! Now if I can just figure out how to afford a new TS-990. Have a great day!
N0AH Rating: 5/5 Mar 25, 2013 10:34 Send this review to a friend
A Year Later.......  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I got this rig, I was told it was ready to go outside of the box- not true- you really need to take time for learning custom settings or you'll never appreciate just how custom you can set your audio tx and rx and filters- I have lost most of my high pitch hearing, but this rig allows me to make up for it with the audio settings- very FB! Like others have mentioned, the AT is amazing- much like my Yaesu FT900 which until the Kenwood TS590S, I did not think there was a rig with one that actually worked- In 2012,I worked 250 DXCC's and over 1,100 band countries- mostly CW.... this was the best year I ever had, and this was running without an amp- the reason for much of my success is ability to custom tune in weak signals with the filtering- In fact, I became so use to adjusting the filters with each QSO, I rarely left these settings in place- It became part of my operating- Most impressive was how the DSP setting allowed me to hear over the pole weak signals from zones 17 and 18 in the summer time on 20M- also, you often hear advertising that states this rig can pull weak signals right out of the noise, well, the TS590 can- But I can't stress this enough, what certain DSP settings did wonders for with some signals, the same setting might trash others, so using this radio and never taking advanatage of using the mix of possible settings for various signals, propagation, QRN, etc with the dsp settings is a waste of money- Its like driving a race car in first gear and never putting the tires on- so if you are new to the hobby, not sure if I would suggest this rig unless your experience builds with the radio's use- if not, you might write cheesy reviews whining about how the radio sounds this and that- As for some improvements, the only trouble I have is hitting certain buttons by mistake with my fat fingers- but that could be with any rig- I did buy the very affordable internal sound chip for PH recording messages- it was under $100 and easy to put in- I only run 100 watts, so can't speak for how well it works with an amp- and on the record, I hate the rig's internal meter measuring average power out on ph vs peak to peak- Also, wish the WARC bands had the same filtering as built in for the contest bands- but over-all, it works very well on the warc bands with what it has- its just amazing to me that these bands are considered of lessor importance- then again, it is pushed as a contest rig, right? Awesome radio- use with HRD and could not recommend it higher- especially if you are a low band nut like me- just awesome to hear on these bands with the DSP this radio has to offer-
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