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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Kenwood TS-590S Help


Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-590S
Kenwood TS-590S Reviews: 262 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.
More info: http://www.kenwoodusa.com/Communications/Amateur_Radio/HF_Base_Mobile/TS-590S
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<— Page 11 of 27 —>

GI0ZGB Rating: 2/5 Aug 30, 2012 15:12 Send this review to a friend
Flawed Diamond  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I’ll ignore the many good points about this radio as they have been previously outlined by various authors.
Instead I’ll focus on the bad points which, for me, make this radio pretty limited in what I can use it for.
I refer to the power spike problem which has not been fixed in firmware update 1.06, and which prevents me using my LA as a consequence, perhaps my amp is too well protected.

This issue is well observed here: http://5tx.de/?tag=ts-590
Kenwood have tweaked the ALC reference to minimise this problem at the trade-off cost of average SSB output, readjusting the ALC reference is not advisable as it makes worse the power spike problem and does nothing positive with average output, leave well enough alone.

For me, the rig is only useful for low power digital modes or local rag chew and occasional use as a spotting receiver, a good qrp rig if that’s your thing.
All new rigs have their fair share of teething problems, but Kenwood have had ample time to fix the issue properly, this they have failed to do.
By comparison I can tell you the rumours that the TS-590S was a K3 killer have been greatly exaggerated.
Hand on heart I would not recommend this rig until the problems are sorted.

Update: Having spoken to Kenwood concerning the power spike issue it seems that any future firmware update can only minimize, not fix entirely, the power spike, by how much remains to be seen. Also, Kenwood do not approve of the ALC reference being altered to increase PAR or eliminate the overshoot as this is set for the individual rig by the factory and should not be tampered with.
 
AC7X Rating: 5/5 Aug 26, 2012 18:02 Send this review to a friend
Should be 6/5 It's that Good  Time owned: months
OK, the basics by an extra class who got a 1st fone at age 16 and has worked in a variety of HF-instensive positions including for one US mfgr.

I've gotten rid of all my old gear because this is the one radio that truly does it all for me. I've run a couple of amps with it - just fine. There are some provisions, to this glowing endorsement however.

1. You have to take the time to read the manual. This little sucker is more complicated than a redhead with a hangover.
2. It will work best with an external mic but if you get the Kenwood mic, I had to put rf bypassing on it...well documented on the web and a design issue on the optional desk mic, but not the 590. And only an issue then if you are running power...
3. You need to download the latest version of the software. How hard is that, really?
4. You need to spend some time on a dummy load adjusting everything so that it is to your liking. Then do some a/b testing on 75 and some more on 20. You may find different likings between bands...which is no surprise.

Got to mention Rob Sherwood was kind enough turn me onto this rig almost a year ago...great guy - great gear add-ons (it's like ordering a box of radio magic online). So if you want to skip a lot of misinformed opinions (which are like what? Hint: We all sit on one...) go to his site and look at his numbers.

Now, about "power surges" and static issues, and so on. Give me a break! I wasn't going to even write a review, but when I saw a radio which is the closest thing to a 6/5 I have ever owned (incl. Drake, collins, etc) I just couldn't sit back.

No clue what the complaint about agc and static arose from...but here in East Texas we get huge problems with static from t-storms, tornados...you name it. From my chair the agc and digital processing is spectacular. Let alone never imagined a 50 hz bandwidth on cw before...

And on an amp kicking out? Geez...adjust the alc if it's out of whack - I've been plenty of infant part drift in smt components...hardly a reason to knock the radio down to a 2/5 from what should be 6/5. That would be like calling my old 930 a beatle.

On second thought...sure...go ahead an listren to the complainers. They're doing me a huge favor: By making a shorter line for the 990's arrival. When you find good gear, vote with your wallet! And if you post a review, a 2/5 rank implies 60% of radios are better...which sure as hell ain't the case here. Nuff from me... 73.
 
WD5ACP Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2012 13:25 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio - 4.8 out of 5  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There are plenty of reviews that go on about how good the radio is, so I'll just concentrate on my minor criticisms. I've had the rig for about 4 weeks now and can mention just a few quirks or things I wish were just a little better.

1. The DSP IF Filtering seems limited. In USB the lowest the high cut is allowed to go is 1000 hz. I'd prefer if the DSP filter's low and high cut limits were not there, making it easier to block out unwanted data signals. In general the two different schemes for setting the IF ranges are unnecessary. I'd have been happy with a simple IF width and IF shift control. Coming from a Pegasus I was spoiled by the ability to shift the IF passband around anyway I saw fit. I bet this could be 'fixed' in software. I'd like to see Kenwood update the code to allow more flexibility. As it stands it isn't bad, but not quite fully flexible.

2. Although I applaud Kenwood for getting back to basics on the design and layout of the radio, I do wish they would have provided back-lit buttons. Hard to read in a darkened room, and since many of the buttons have dual functions, some of the operation isn't intuitive.

3. The Kenwood software is pretty basic. It would have been nice if they would have taken advantage of a software display to enhance what you see and what you control - but there's always good stuff like HRD which works pretty well with the rig.

4. Note - the radio draws about 5-6 amps when key'd on SSB even if you're not transmitting audio! I suspect it has to do with how the output is biased, but as mentioned elsewhere, I urge using at least a 25 amp power supply with this rig.

On the plus side, the built-in LCD display is superb, the audio reports are great, and the rig is a joy to use. Can't go wrong with this one. It's not very large and packs a lot of features for the money and size.

 
GI0ZGB Rating: 2/5 Aug 19, 2012 12:37 Send this review to a friend
Flawed Diamond  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I’ll ignore the many good points about this radio as they have been previously outlined by various authors.
Instead I’ll focus on the bad points which, for me, make this radio pretty limited in what I can use it for.
I refer to the power spike problem which has not been fixed in firmware update 1.06, and which prevents me using my LA as a consequence, perhaps my amp is too well protected.

This issue is well observed here: http://5tx.de/?tag=ts-590
Kenwood have tweaked the ALC reference to minimise this problem at the trade-off cost of average SSB output, readjusting the ALC reference is not advisable as it makes worse the power spike problem and does nothing positive with average output, leave well enough alone.

For me, the rig is only useful for low power digital modes or local rag chew and occasional use as a spotting receiver, a good qrp rig if that’s your thing.
All new rigs have their fair share of teething problems, but Kenwood have had ample time to fix the issue properly, this they have failed to do.
By comparison I can tell you the rumours that the TS-590S was a K3 killer have been greatly exaggerated.
Hand on heart I would not recommend this rig until the problems are sorted.
 
G3NRW Rating: 5/5 Aug 10, 2012 13:12 Send this review to a friend
Superb radio!  Time owned: more than 12 months
What can I say that hasn't already been said before? I have owned this radio since December 2010, and it just works. Extremely well. Absolutely nothing has gone wrong with it. I frequently use QRP SSB, with typically 5 watts to a dipole at 18 feet, and always get excellent reports. The receiver is superb. Digital operation is very straightforward, with no need for interface units, isolating transformers etc.

A couple of points to watch: to achieve full SSB power output, the DC supply at the input to the radio must be at least 13.8v, and the SWR must be close to 1:1. If either of these conditions is not met, the output power can noticeably suffer.

I have collected a lot of information about the radio in the "TS-590S Resources Page", at:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/wadei/ts-590s.htm

The Resources Page includes:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> "Hint of the Week" -- readers' suggestions for operating the radio.

>> TS-590S Reviews.

>> Kenwood's TS-590S documentation -- all the manuals.

>> Kenwood's TS-590S software.

>> Technical Notes on how the radio works.

>> TS-590S HOWTOs -- how to set up the radio for digital operation, remote operation, SSTV operation, use with N1MM and HRD, monitoring CAT commands, and more.

>> MemSet590 -- using an Excel spreadsheet to manage the radio's memories.

>> A collection of other tools.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

--
73
Ian, G3NRW
g3nrw-radio@ntlworld.com


 
CX8BR Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2012 08:22 Send this review to a friend
Nice RIG!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
hello all, I had the opportunity to test the TS590 in my shack with a FT1000MP mark5, and had the tough selection which was in my station.
Today I am the happy user of a TS590, and I can assure you that the choice was correct. the FT1k works great, but I prefer the 590, but is smaller, its performance and ease of use impressed me. A receiver of excellent quality and superior performance to FT1k, the hard reality, 10 years of technology make a difference.
The best quality price ratio can be achieved today, I recommend the TS590, try certainly will not regret it.

hola a todos, tuve la oportunidad de probar el TS590 en mi shack con un FT1000MP mark5 , y tenia la dura seleccion de cual se quedaba en mi estacion.
Hoy por hoy soy el feliz usuario de un TS590, y les puedo asegurar que la opcion fue la correcta. el FT1k funciona muy bien, pero prefiero el 590, aunque es mas pequeño, su funcionamiento y facilidad de uso me dejaron impresionado. Un receptor de excelente calidad y prestaciones superiores al FT1k, la dura realidad, 10 años de tecnologia marcan la diferencia.
La mejor relacion precio calidad que se puede conseguir hoy dia, recomiendo el TS590, pruebe sin duda no se va a arrepentir.
 
AB3NK Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2012 07:55 Send this review to a friend
Good - Great  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I don't understand what PA1ZP is complaining about. Although a person who drives a Ferarri probably would find things wrong with a Corvette.

When mine was new, the manufacturer failed to include a operators manual in English.
There was one in French - but I don't speak or read French.

I tried to operate it by guessing.
First complaint is - the rear of the transceiver does not have it's ports marked.
When the entire panel is white and you cannot read the writing - it is hard to know which SO connector is antenna 1 or antenna 2.

I tried operating it on the wrong port, but it just folded back to 15 watts and wouldn't transmit - go figure.

I was afraid that I had damaged it, because all my experience was with 11 meter transceivers and tube type radios. And most transceivers - if not hooked to a proper antenna - will burn up faster then a firecracker on the 4th of July.

The Kenwood protected itself just fine.

I called Ham Radio Outlet (DEL )- Bob was not there. Got some comedian who said to turn the owners manual upside down. I still couldn't read it in French.

About two weeks later they sent me a store copy and about 4 weeks after that, Kenwood sent me a copy.

I would have to say, it is probably one of the best transceivers I have ever owned. One of the only transceivers that you can take out of the box, and with no knowledge - other then which port to put the coax on - can operate with no problems.

PS - they turn down the power and the mic gain from the factory when shipped.
By going into the menu and increasing the power to 100 watts and turning the mic gain up to about 85 - I had excellent audio reports with the stock handmic.

I was able to navigate all bands except 60 meters. I wish they would have been more thoughtful and included a preset button for 60 meters and a way to program buttons for favorites that didn't need your parents social security number and birth certificate to access.

I too was dissappointed in the size of the transceiver and thought it should have had more knobs and larger buttons.

But this transceiver can be used as a mobile - so the size is comparitive to the TS 480, and I guess that is the thing to come in the future.

Out of the box, it had the filters set to a good level, where you could tune out unwanted RF.
After advice from a friend, I turned the knobs and pushed the buttons and it got worse instead of better.
Even a full factory reset did not help to put it back to where it was before my adjustments.

Out of the box, I would compare the quality of the reception and rejection to the Ten Tec Orion I was previously using.

The Ten Tec was a piece of junk - which died after a couple of years of use. All the encoders were shot and it worked when it wanted to. You would think that they would make it a little better for the amount of money you spent to buy it.

I cannot say the same thing for the Kenwood.
It seems to be a very durable transceiver.
I have taken it on several expeditions so far with no issues.

I have used it to make over 5000 contacts in the past 10 months.

I used it on field days, along with a off center fed dipole antenna - K3CC design, which blew away the other club members.
690 contacts on 15 / 20 / 40 / 80 meters - in 10 hours - without any external antenna tuner, and the antenna was only 30' off the ground.

I WOULD WHOLE HEARTEDLY PROMOTE THIS TRANSCEIVER AS THE BEST TRANSCEIVER FOR THE MONEY FOR ANYONE THAT IS A NEW HAM OR ANYONE WHO HAS NOT EVER OWNED A AMATEUR GRADE TRANSCEIVER BEFORE - NEW HAM!

One complaint is - the relay on the back of the transceiver does not close the contacts on the Ameritron ALS 600 - I need a module for this or a foot switch to use a amplifier.
Other complaint - even with the antenna tuner off, it only shows about 65 watts drive - max into the amplifier.

( ALS 600 looks for 75 to 80 to make a full 600 watts output)

600 watts - equals 1 S Unit into the other persons receive - if you are between S 1 and S 8.
Which means - a amplifier is not of much use unless it has at least 1200 watts - or 2 S units!

With all the RF in the shack, it lost 3 hard drives in the computer on the desk beside the transceiver in one year. Not to say that they were brand new - but that they didn't like being around the amplifier.

I now run barefoot - 100 watts into the Solorcon A 99 below 20 meters and 100 watts into the Barker and Williamson above 20 meters with no antenna tuner and no issues and have made thousands of contacts with this transceiver, including Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand, Austrailia and have heard Japan with my antenna's 30' off the ground.....

The best BANG for the BUCK - is the way I would describe it.
You can buy something better - for a lot more money. But you cannot buy something new - just as good for $1500 - $1799.00
 
M3WBK Rating: 5/5 Jul 15, 2012 14:39 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic   Time owned: 6 to 12 months
HOT RECEIVER,HOT AUDIO with PR20..2e0wbk.
 
KE2TR Rating: 5/5 Jul 14, 2012 11:18 Send this review to a friend
Small n Powerfull!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I finally ended up sellin my ole 1000MP, have always enjoyed that rig and wanted to try one of the new down convergen xcvr's and something with roofing filters so I looked at the K3,TS590 and the IC7410. Both the 7410 and the K3 were over the $2k mark when I got all that would be needed by me and the Kenwood was under $1550 with two roofs all set up, I also wanted to see what all the great reveiws were about this rig, QST and Radcom both had fantastic reveiws on the receiver so what the heck, I ordered one up. When I got the rig I almost placed it back in the box, its small like a TS450 size and I was used to the more manley radio's but heck when cell phone came out there were really large now look at what they do and there size so I placed it on the bench, wired up the plugs for the amp and the PR781 mic plus footswitch and away we went.
First off you gotta go into the EQ menu and set it for the flat position, that gives a full bodied sound to this rig then if your like me set the proc control for hard and Hi62(I like a meat grinding DX audio but can also get some hi fi sound out of it too on the fly). The radio is very easy to use, I only used the manual for the wireing of the mike and ACC socket. The AGC is adjustable, its not like the Icoms but static crashes dont take it over either, NB1 and NB2 are very good but I like NB2 cause its not as touchy around strong adjacent signals plus NR1 works great for SSB, NR2 is more like CW but they both work well. The first night on 40ty I was working a 9A2 that was running 50 watts ssb and some 30ty over S9 station opened up 2KC above me plus someone who was S9+10 was down 2KC, I adjusted the hi/low cut controls and was able to make perfect copy on the 9A2 and he was between S5 to S7, that was a good test and I was very impressed how well this receiver can pull a station in next to big signals without folding. On CW is was smooth as silk, I really thought it would have short comings here but it can slice threw a crouded band like a knife threw butter, everything works and works well. I dont know what some of these guys are talking about low ssb power output but this radio dives the snot outa my amp almost as well as the FT1000MP did(the MP had a little more than 100W out though and RF clipping but the 590 does real fine). The keyer I'm still getting used to and its easy to adjust on the fly, I thought I would have a problem getting in and out of the menu's but its real easy.
This radio is one of the biggest bang for the buck in a long while, I have use FTDX5K's and IC7800(between the two I like the 7800 better) and this little receiver is not far off the mark from the big box rigs, I only wish Kenwood would have made it a little bigger and maybe a few more knobs. I am sure there new TS990s will be a big hit in over the $5K range radio market but I really hope they bring out a rig in between this rig and the 990, with a few more knobs and a second receiver around the $3K range, if they did that I think they would be putting a huge dent in Icom,Yaesu,Elcraft and TT sales.
When I installed the voice keyer module I got a look inside, very clean and well laid out plus it seems very solid, yes I am getting to like the little box, still getting used to the size but the performance this rig has is excellent and its price is ice cream on the cake plus if we ever get a chance to op somewere down in the islands this and a switching supply could be packed up real nice an tight for a mini DX vaca. Is this radio a K3 Killer, I dont think thats the right term, I think it holds its own next to the K3 and at that point its a personal preference but its allot better looking than the K3 or the TT Eagle. I wanna do another reveiw after I bring it to a big contest station, that will be the acid test but it dont fold on 40ty running phased verticals for nothing.
Kenwood could do something I belive to re write the software as far as the bandwidth control adjustments,noise reduction settings,AGC sttings, they seem to be driven by an optical encoder so maybe there next rev software they could give some controls more finner adjuctments(I am sure a few more adjustment also could benifit from finner adjustments on there controls) and thats the only thing that I feel they might improve on but its a fantastic rig, small but great!
 
K8ALM Rating: 5/5 Jul 10, 2012 07:08 Send this review to a friend
Great rig for the money!  Time owned: more than 12 months
After more than a year I still feel this rig is outstanding for the price. No problems with SSB PEP, AGC, ALC, etc. For the lower bands (30 meters and below), I use a separate receive antenna with a very good S/N ratio which greatly reduces QRN effect. As I've stated in a previous review this rig is great bang for the price. Does it compare to a $5K+ rig? Probably not but I don't own a $5K+ rig to compare it too. If you're looking for a medium priced rig with a lot of very nice features and a decent receiver you will like this radio.
 
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