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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: 264 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.
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AF5IU Rating: 2/5 May 24, 2014 08:03 Send this review to a friend
Audio distortion  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My SECOND TS-590S that I bought at HRO less than two weeks ago exhibited what one ham described as “talking underwater” when I talked to him earlier this week. One of the ham operators sounded like he was "talking under water" to
me as well. They both agreed that I sounded distorted or garbled. This problem happened randomly on any band. It sounded to me like digital artifacts. I was talking to two different hams on each side of the country at the same
time and they both heard the same thing. Signal strength was no issue. This happened to me on another TS-590S that I bought in April at a local ham store as well. There are others on that experienced this. You can refer to this as "distorted audio", "garbled audio", "digital artifacts" or the "talking under water" effect. They are all the same thing. My house is 10 years old. My electrical wiring is not the problem either. I have no problems with any other radio. I tried two different power supplies, the MC-90 microphone, the stock microphone, and two different antennas. I tried lowering the power from 100 watts to 70 or 80. I tried a FULL RESET. No NR, NB, or Notch. I did not use the speech processor. I have a dedicated ground rod outside for my radio. Nothing I tried made any
difference. This happens on transmit AND receive. The radio was not next to anything that should be causing this to happen. I live on an acre so there is nothing nearby outside that would cause this. It does not happen on my TS-2000. I have owned that radio for 10 months. That radio is a perfect gem in my book. From other reviews on various radios, it can take several years to work out all of the bugs in a radio. When you buy a new radio, you are just a beta tester. Do NOT pay a 15% restocking fee like so many others do when sending back a radio. Kenwood and the other radio manufacturers should be paying YOU to test out a new radio, not the other way around. I realize that many others are very happy with this radio, but it was a nightmare for me. I dealt with the ONE support guy in California and the national sales rep on the first radio and I never want to do that again. Kenwood support is lacking to say
the least. I am just being nice. I have multiple recordings that verify this problem. I can say nothing but great things about Mark and his staff at HRO in Atlanta. This second radio goes back today and I am enjoying my TS-2000 more than ever because I realize now that just because you get a newer radio does not mean it is better. The TS-2000 beats the TS-590 hands down, plus it has 2 meters (100 watts) and 70cm (50 watts). When you hear that a radio is "long on the tooth" that is a good thing. If radio manufacturers had to follow the same rules as automobile manufacturers things would be quite different. The customer should not have to pay the price for a recall. The
serial number on my first TS-590S was B3900046. The serial number on the second one started with B44. The first one was made the end of 2013. The second one was made this year but I am not sure when. I would not buy another TS-590S
and would not recommend it.
WB9MSM Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2014 13:18 Send this review to a friend
Absolutely GREAT!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have only owned my TS-590S for a little over a month but truly feel it is a great rig. Let me tell you that I think the receive is awesome. I still have a TS-2000 and think that it is a nice radio but not the same quality as this TS-590S. The receive is quiet and the audio coming from the SP-23 sounds almost FM quality. It seems that this rig has everything that I am looking for in a radio. The memory channels are nice to have for DXing. I purchased the voice recorder which I feel is a must for this radio. The free software that you download from the Kenwood site is also very nice and fully functional. All in all a really nice radio at a reasonable price. The only thing I wish they would of added was the capability to replay and re-transmit memory channel RX/4 for other hams to hear themselves. This would of been a nice feature for audio reports to fellow hams. I still like my TS-2000 but the TS-590S has replaced it as the #1 operating station in my shack.
EC2AGL Rating: 5/5 Apr 19, 2014 08:47 Send this review to a friend
El mejor¡¡¡  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Yo he tenido en mi casa el Kenwood TS-590 y el Icom IC-7600 y Yaesu FT-2000 juntos funcionando con la misma antena y he podido comparar estos excelentes equipos.
Sensibilidad: 590=7600, el mas sordo el FT-2000

Selectividad: El TS-590 muy superior al IC-7600(a 2khz de sepearacion, una estación adyacente con 9+30dB el 7600 y el FT-2000 NO podían eliminar con todos sus filtros y DSP. El 590 con sus filtros y DSP y su extraordinaria selectividad Si que pudo eliminar eficazmente.

A las personas que les guste la luces y pantalla el 590 no es su equipo porque es muy sencillo pero terroríficamente efectivo. Por el dinero que vale el tiene competidor y además el rendimiento es muy superior a equipos mucho mas caros.Si deseas un equipo bueno sin gastar demasiado, el 590 es lo mejor.

N5XRD Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2014 12:54 Send this review to a friend
Great radioi  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have only owned one for 7 days. At first it seemed to have a lot of adjustments. But as the days went by and I grew used to it, I began to appreciate it more and more. Being in a retirmenet community and not allowed outside attennas, and with no attic, I am somewhat restricted. I operate mostly PSK and some CW, as phone bothers the XYL. This radio has a great receiver and everything is working great. Of all the rigs I have owned here this is the best.
ZS5WC Rating: 4/5 Apr 3, 2014 06:30 Send this review to a friend
Good Rig.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Great rig, Great receiver-It has all been said.
On 6m CW-all I could say is WOWZER!. This rig hears past the noise level!.
I never had any ALC overshoot issue as I set the overall gain in the menu for only a little ALC action.

However I did have dislikes:
*Inferior Noise Blanker.
*Processor that NEVER sounded good.(Unlike TS-870s)
*Receive audio with weird DSP artifacts , without the DSP engaged.(With external L/S)
*Inferior fan control.
*Kenwood Shipping box that was labelled "Made in China."--so this rig was made in China?.

I now have an OLDER rig-PRO3, and although the NB is still not perfect-the Audio is very pleasing on the ears.

ZL3NB Rating: 5/5 Apr 2, 2014 19:25 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased the TS590S in December 2012. The radio has been faultless after thousands of Qso's. Being primary a cw/digital operator who enjoys chasing both Dx and Rag Chewing this radio has been a winner in all aspects.

The Filtering is great especially on CW and with the added bonus of a adjustable Notch Filter. The NR1/NR2 is much better than the TS2000 (which I own also) and will even to a point knock out Plasma TV racket on SSB. The received SSB Audio reports are always good and its a pleasure to use on Digital Modes. It is also worth mentioning this radio is a joy to use in contests.

Have not experienced any of the issues that some have had with ALC Spiking and loss of full output. On a PEP Meter the radio puts out the full power. I sometimes think that most problems come from those who have not read the manual and actually put the radio through its paces. I know of many TS590S owners who are very pleased with this radio and have had no issues with it.
KE5WIQ Rating: 5/5 Mar 28, 2014 09:30 Send this review to a friend
Context is Everything  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
My context: cut my teeth on a used TS-450SAT with all the optional filters installed, which was (still is) a solid radio. I had positive experiences with Kenwood.

I'm mainly a CW op, but use the mic for contests and enjoy (non-macro) data. In planning to move my station up a notch or two, put up a hexbeam and will next look at a listening antenna with an amp for the higher bands. Part of all this activity included upgrading radios.

My requirements: I wanted a hot receiver, a port for the listening antenna, IF DSP, integration with the PC for data, ease of use, and a bandscope, in that order. Having tested quite a few radios my primary choices were the K3, TenTec Eagle, Flex radios, and the TS-590S. I left Icom and Yaesu out of the running due to problems I've noted when the bands are crowded. I ended up deciding against the Flex due to wanting to not be completely tethered to the PC, particularly when operating CW.

In the end I went with the 590S due to price-vs-performance and features. With exception of the bandscope, it does everything I need to do, and it does it well. The K3 and Eagle would be better if I had unlimited budget; while I can afford them I decided to hold off.

Criticisms of the 590S: the DSP NR needs work. It does what I need w.r.t. CW, but it could be so much better with a little firmware work. I hope the folks at Kenwood are listening. I understand there is an ALC spike problem on these radios, but I haven't seen hide nor hair of it. That may change once I start running QRO? I hear Kenwood has a solution underway.

That said, this radio is a hoot and a nice upgrade from the TS-450SAT.

Neil, ng5ng
W6LBV Rating: 5/5 Mar 28, 2014 08:13 Send this review to a friend
The Mighty Five Ninety  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned and operated a TS-590 for two years. It is the most recent of a set of four Kenwood HF transceivers in my station, all of which were purchased new over the past twenty years. Since I have now abandoned operating on-air, and since I have little previous operating experience with non-Kenwood HF transceivers, this review will deal only with the characteristics of the ‘590 by itself. It will not draw any comparisons.

I have no evidentiary basis for presenting the type of claim often made in these pages that “the XXX transceiver is the greatest transceiver ever produced since the original Hertz experiments demonstrated the existence of EM fields.” The ‘590 is a quality product that delivers excellent value for the cost level involved. Other, much higher cost transceivers are incrementally better.

The radio is complex and a short review cannot do it full justice. So just a few highlights here.

Overall, this is a sensibly-designed and -constructed transceiver which is a bit visually understated, and which is intended for the experienced operator who is not a “pay any price” contester or DXer. It will not match the performance of the current “cosmic price level” Super Radios (among which class another Kenwood transceiver now sits), and thus the ‘590 does not warrant criticism for not performing in that rarefied class. It is priced at a level that many operators can afford, and therefore the ‘590 is more widely accessible to the public than are the Super Radios.

The heart of any transceiver is the receiver. Objectively ( it tests very well against the competition in its ability to withstand close-in overload, and this is born out in my experience. The received audio performance continues at the same high quality level for which Kenwood is known. The ability to open the receive passband to a full 5 kHz via the DSP filtering is very nice for use when voice signals are strong, as is also the ability to close the passband down to as low as 50 Hz for single signal CW.

However, the receiver’s full potential will not be reached “straight out of the box.” Even better performance can be achieved by the judicious skilled uses of the pre-amp-on/off switch, on-board attenuator, RF gain control, noise blankers, digital noise reduction functions, auto and manual passband notches, and DSP filter bandwidth controls. Achieving this skill level takes time and practice, but the effort can yield significant results.

The transmit portion features the traditional good Kenwood audio quality; Kenwood’s audio circuitry doesn’t change rapidly over the years. The transmitter makes full rated output power for most modes, but does tend to not quite reach full output on SSB peaks, as noted by ZL2TZE and others. Since the transceiver’s final amplifiers are capable of producing 100 watts of continuous RF output, it is likely that the SSB limitation is in the radio’s firmware. The user community hopes that this will be addressed and solved by Kenwood in a future firmware release. The few times that I used the '590 to drive an amplifier, the combined operation was trouble-free.

The on-board menu structure continues the Kenwood tradition of being logical, shallow in layer depth, and not often needed. The menu system packs a lot of specialized capability.

The availability of an on-board USB interface port gives this transceiver new external control capabilities (for the traditionalists, the RS-232 port also survives). For the first time in Kenwood radios, all computer-based audio and control functions can be run through a single USB line! This capability is hugely supported by an extensive array of Kenwood (free download) Windows-based applications (see below). These applications include the ability to do computer-based shaping of both transmit and receive audio paths (i.e., the audio equalization is performed graphically on the computer but stored in the radio’s non-volatile memory), the ability to operate the radio fully from a local computer (via a Kenwood application which duplicates every radio front panel control and menu function on the computer screen), and even the ability to operate the ‘590 distantly via the Internet without having to purchase additional hardware or software.

One would really like to have an on-board Ethernet port as well, but this capability would add cost and complexity to the radio. Perhaps the future successor to the ‘590 will add the Ethernet and drop the RS-232 port.

A modest number of Kenwood accessories are available on the aftermarket. The SO-3 high stability internal reference oscillator board is a very worthwhile addition; there is little excuse today for being 45 Hz off from the net or roundtable’s operating frequency. The VGS-1 Digital Voice Guide and Storage Unit is useful for internally recording and playing both transmit and receive audio. It also can provide voice annunciation of operating frequencies and control functions. However this system’s frequent announcement chattering can sometimes drive operators to distraction; fortunately it can be silenced in the menu system.

Overall, the TS-590 is a fine transceiver for general purpose HF communications. It includes all the “modern conveniences” and yet carries a price tag at or near the “sweet spot” for a large number of licensees. Mine is a “keeper” and it will be in my shack for as long as the shack exists.

For much more information about this transceiver, see the “TS-590 In Depth” (PDF) manual which describes its engineering design and operating properties. This booklet is NOT the “User’s Manual;” the “In Depth Manual” is an entirely separate publication. It, along with the regular User’s Manual (PDF) and all the free software downloads, is available at:

K4EJW Rating: 5/5 Mar 16, 2014 15:37 Send this review to a friend
An "Excellent" receiver and overall very fine product!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It was a choice between the TS2000 and the TS590, so I went with the TS590 based on more recent technology upgrades. Glad I did. The TS590 is one fantastic receiver, and really pulls them out.
Great noise blanker and noise reduction. IF DSP of course. Had absolutely no problem at all hooking it up to my Win8 desktop computer via a single USB cable. You can control the receiving equalizer much better with a computer than by the unit itself. Download the drivers, read the Kenwood instructions, and you should be good to go. Learn your menu(s). It is much easier to work with from your computer. Of course you can use it without a PC, but the PC gives you more flexibility and "tweaking" capabilities for both audio TX and reception. Been licensed 26 years. Probably the best radio I've ever owned. Thanx Kenwood.
ZL2TZE Rating: 4/5 Mar 15, 2014 17:19 Send this review to a friend
TS-590 second review  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have now had this radio nearly 3 years, I still stand by my original posting here 8th Dec 2011.

What disturbs me is the lack of response from JVC Kenwood on the built in ALC spike and the lack of urgency to keep owners informed on this. It was acknowledged 2 years ago with the V 1.02 Firmware upgrade, yet to date we as owners haven't been formally informed of the pending hardware fix which by all accounts was a Service Bulletin released only to approved Kenwood repairers. Who will be covered by this said Fix and who will fit the shipping costs etc , as this is a built in fault and by all accounts is not owner repairable . I now see many are also claiming 20 to 30 % power reduction after various Firmware upgrades and many have commented on various Yahoo groups that they have had their radios re adjusted by Kenwood service centers only to have the same happen after another Firmware upgrade .. What is going on ? It maybe time for Kenwood to man up and answer questions.. As I said its still a great radio but it can be much better if Kenwood would sort out a few issues timely.. 3 plus years is not timely..
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