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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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K5REZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 29, 2013 13:50 Send this review to a friend
Great Transceiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a great radio. It is not "plug & play". If one takes the time to use the computer interface and perfect the settings, the 590 sings. Sensitive receiver, fine filtering. Take the time to set this rig up properly and you will not be sorry.
K2TTM Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2013 17:16 Send this review to a friend
Great CW Rig  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had my TS-590S for just about a year now & I have never been more satisfied with anything I've ever bought. This rig is awesome. I operate CW, and only CW, so I comment on how well it performs on SSB, but if it's even close to CW then this is one hell of a radio. If you're a CW op and want a great CW rig then your search is over.

The receiver is incredible with great filtering options. Some of the newer rigs today are overly complicated but not so the Kenwood. It's got plenty of sophistication, but it still retains a simplicity about its operation.

I've seen some people say this rig isn't a "contest" rig. Well I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean, but over this past weekend during the CQWW CW DX contest I operated 36 out of 48 hours and made over 1,200 contacts and it performed flawlessly.

Great rig, great value. Great job Kenwood.
N5IVZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2013 15:18 Send this review to a friend
Receiver leaves the other brands in the dust !  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After 4 months, I can not complain... i am hearing much more on the receiver than i did with my Kenwood 570DG...

Power output is fine, receiver is awesome and the radio is working great !!

Getting great signal reports...
VP9AD Rating: 2/5 Nov 7, 2013 15:48 Send this review to a friend
VP9AD  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I was impressed with the demo rig at HRO, next to the Yaesu FTDX3000D (which was also impressive). The receiver was excellent and all done up in a nice compact package. After setting it up in my hotel near Boston with a 20 meter dipole, I had great fun - until one day it just stopped working. Not a general fade, but it just went DEAD! The next time I switched it on it was fine and then the same thing happened again. I took it back to HRO, and of course it performed flawlessly. Back to the hotel for a couple of days and then home to Bermuda. It has done the same thing to me twice and is now sitting here in my shack like an expensive Boat Anchor! Thank goodness I have my trusty Elecraft K-2 to fall back on. I emailed Kenwood about the problem, and they suggested that I perform a reset, which I did, but this has not cured the problem. They offered to repair it under warranty, but for me that is a real pain because it involves overseas UPS or FedEx.
PA3HGT Rating: 4/5 Nov 3, 2013 01:56 Send this review to a friend
Nice TRX  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had the TS590 a few years ago(very first productionbatch) for a month but due problems with TX-audio , i sold the radio.I tried to solve it with several mikes but i did not succeed.Tried also the software to adjust with the nice software but no succes.I hear now some owners with excellent TX audio with this nice rig.My 590 had also spikes with my Acom 2000a and Kenwood has partially solved that problem with firmware-updates, i suspect that the spikes related with my "less" quality audio.
RX with this rig is good,selectivity in my opinion is good,good enough to make QSO's on a crowded band.
For long times listen to the 590 you might be a little tired because the RX has a little hiss.
This radio has a very good price for his capabilities.

WA4AXT Rating: 5/5 Nov 1, 2013 19:51 Send this review to a friend
Revolutionary Transceiver  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Comparison using the bench mark radio K3

How the TS-590S technology represents a leap forward relative to the K3
I will look at various aspects of both radios and try to give some unique input that many might have not considered by others .

1: 160m , 80m and 20m
The two radios use roughly the same technology so the difference is minimal

2: 40m
Another name for the 1st rf amplifier is the image rejection amplifier .
Radios like my old Kenwood TS-530s with its 9 mhz IF , used a sharp manually tuned 3 stage image rejection amplifier , along with a good roofing filter , to keep undesirable signals out of the IF strip form this part of the radio spectrum that is known for have very strong broadcast and other transmitter signals .
One reason for going up conversion is that you can get away with using broadband , no tune , image rejection amplifiers.

On the Kenwood TS-590s the radios 11.374 mhz IF is more then 4mhz away form the 40m band which is important if your using a no tune broad band first amplifier .The radio uses both the rf amplifier selectivity and the roofing filter to keep unusable signals out of the IF strip
The K3 uses a IF thats within 1mhz of the 40m band so it totally reliant on the roofing filter ,which unlike dsp , only has a finite amount out of rejection .
Based on the previous analysis , I give the TS-590S the edge on 40m .

3: 30m :The TS-590s uses the up-conversion triple IF configuration given it superior image rejection at the 2nd IF but with only a 2.7khz roofing at the 2nd IF so I would have to conclude that the K3 is a better radio on 30m if the band gets crowed .

4: 17m : The K3 uses down conversion and the TS-590s uses triple conversion ,up conversion. Considering the characteristics of the band , both radios are roughly equal .

5: 12m , 10m , 6m
It used to be unless you lived on a island in the middle of the Pacific , having a radio with incredible sensitivity and a very low noise floor was a feature that had no real practical use . Thanks to dsp technology ,these performance characteristics now have value and and can be used .
The TS-590s receiver on these three bands , using the triple conversion ,up conversion mode was able to achieve a noise floor of -144 dbm and a rx sensitivity of .13 uv which is at the top of the pack .
The K3 using its down conversion IF simply can't come close to those numbers so the TS-590s has the edge .

6: General coverage RX : The TS-590s comes complete ,no extra cost , high performance GC radio that uses the up conversion ,triple conversion rx .
On the K3 you have to buy another box and it comes with a disclaimer that it may not work correctly on some frequencies because the 8.2mhz IF .
Definitely the edge goes to the Kenwood TS-590s

7 : Transmission :
The K3 uses a 70es era down conversion set up and pushes the signal through a distortion causing roofing filter to achieve a given bandwidth .
The TS-590s uses a more modern approach .
It achieves a cleaner signal by using the up conversion mode with advanced ddr oscillator feeding the mixer combined with a low distortion 15 kHz roofing filter to achieve the ssb signal .The point here is that the TS-590s uses dsp to shape the audio frequency response of the signal and not the roofing filter that I think is a better way to do it .By doing it that way , one could use a narrow , lower inter mod audio bandwidth when using a lot of processing or a wide audio bandwidth when processing is off or at a lower point.

Upgrade ability :
You might think that the K3 would definitely have the edge there with all its options if they suit your fancy and thats probably right so I give it the edge on this point . There is one point you might want to consider . I think , but don't know for sure , that on a up conversion configured transmitter if we one day get some new WARC bands that all will be needed is a software upgrade to allow the transmitter to operate on those new bands . On a down conversion radio like the K3 you might end up with a nice but very frustrating radio like what happened to me in the early 1980es when I bought a non WARC band Yeasu FT-101 ZD . I sure hope with my TS-590s radio , I won't fall into that trap again !

In conclusion , its hard for any conventional radio built today to outperform a radio that has the ability through software control to change its block diagram in a significant way as conditions warrant to better adapt to the needs of the user .The TS-590s uses software that works with you and not for you which is a important point because who really has the time to fiddle (excluding those people who are trying to win a Sherwood test lol) with all those knobs on a typical 10k radio. .Thats the secret behind the TS-590s and makes it a revolutionary as the TS-520S did in the way to made obsolete the separate transmitter , receiver configuration in the 70es . Way to go Kenwood !

Last edited by WA4AXT; Today at 09:11 PM.
ZS6FDX Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2013 03:08 Send this review to a friend
Exelent tranceiver.  Time owned: more than 12 months
After two years of use I feel that I can post a review on the TS590. Let me start by saying that I’m not baits to the Kenwood. There are ICOM and Yaesu rigs that I also won’t mind to own. However, you might be interested in obtaining a TS590 for yourself and you might be reading this review in order to get an honest opinion by someone like myself that used this rig extensively.

Well, here goes:

It is built very solid. Never ever I’ve had that plastic like or cheap rubber feeling with this rig. The touch and feel of this rig is absolutely superb. The VFO dial has the best feel to it I’ve ever felt. If you spin it for the first time, the solid and smooth feeling will set a new standard in your mind. Menu’s are easy to access. It is not complex to get in and out and no PHD are required to navigate. A lot of control is available to the operator if required. Other rigs also offer this but the 590 stands out at the ease and speed you can do this. I can make vital changes in less than a second during contesting, in and out not missing a beat. Talking about contesting, the 590 has so many features and the layout is such that I have found it been to be one of the most potent sets I have contested with. (I have moved from been in the first 20-30 to be 1st and 2nd in the local phone contests I sometimes participate.)
For digital modes you just plug the USB cable in to your PC. It seamlessly integrate with HRD. Setup for the first time is quick and easy. (Procedure can be Googled.)

For the first month I used this rig I was not impressed with the performance in any way. I then realised that if you read the manual, and if you understand the features been given to you, and if you start to learn how to use them, which is not difficult, then this rig turn from the underdog to the ass-kicking menace among your rivals. On phone I was able to “pull in” weak signals from below the noise floor. The DSP and roofing filters just work so well.

Then there is the receiver. The 590 has extremely good ears, better than most. This was the reason why I bought it. Under normal conditions reception does not really matter that much. During DX hunting myself and my friends ran into conditions of bands almost closing up and signals fading severely. I received very weak signals and still were able to make contacts. From my friends with other brands of “big rigs” told me that I’m talking to “ghosts” during such conditions because they were not able to copy to the DX station any more. All of this with wire antennas! I do run an amplifier with it. Standard output is 105 watt PEP on the CN801 meter with a 50 dummy load.

On the negative side, I had to install the voice caller as an option extra. Come on Kenwood, chuck it in as standard, you will make a lot of HAM’s happy. Besides the USB cable, everything else including ferrites and spare plugs for interfacing come out the box.

There are many nice and quality rigs on the market. For most of the time any mainstream rig will do and it is a question of taste. The TS590 can be your nice QSO rag chew set on a Sunday afternoon or It can be your ferocious predator for DX-hunting. If you are after a bit more and consider costs, quality and high end performance then the TS590 need to be sitting on the table in front of you.
KF7STP Rating: 5/5 Oct 19, 2013 18:12 Send this review to a friend
Had it for a year and very happy, Great Value  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a great rig for the money. The rig can be hooked to a PC with a USB or Serial cable and the free PC control software can be downloaded free from the Kenwood website. I use the Std. hand mic and great audio reports. I don't like the internal speaker, so I use a Bose 8 ohm speaker with excellent results.
There is a new in-depth manual now available on the Kenwood website that does a good job of explaining the features of the TS-590. The instruction manual that comes with the rig does not explain how the up conversion and down conversion works, but the in-depth manual does.

The TS590 is a newly designed Kenwood with features and performance that competes with much higher priced rigs.

K4ROX Rating: 5/5 Oct 17, 2013 18:30 Send this review to a friend
Still thrilled  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I waited a few months before posting this. I have since played with a number of rigs, old and new, and this is still the one I would buy. I hear contacts all of the time that others close to me don't hear. I have stations close to me running a KW on the same bands that don't really bother me . I have read about power and ALC issues, but I don't have those problems. I Think the menu and PC interface is great. USB setup with the Kenwood, HRD, etc. software was a breeze. Takes a little to get transmit audio set due to so much control. I do wish Kenwood would update the ARCP software.
W1TAV Rating: 5/5 Oct 6, 2013 10:06 Send this review to a friend
No Regrets  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am often amused by reviews that start with, " I just opened the box and this is a great rig!" so it is with a little chagrin that I am writing this review just 2 weeks after opening the box on my Kenwood 590. Here's where my prospective comes from when looking at a new rig. In my 54 years, I have grown up with Ham Radio and have been a Ham since 1975. The major of my activity is AM with Collins and Johnson gear. I do operate SSB and In this last 7 years I have bought (and still have) several menu driven HF rigs. Yaesu FT-817, FT 857, FT450/AT and Flex-1500. Prior HF Rigs have been Kenwood's TS-140, TS-430 (3 of them) and TS-440. I still have my Dads TS-520 on the air. While I enjoy the challenges of learning something new, I am not an overly technical oriented operator, and certainly not a contester.. So for what it is worth, I have found the TS-590 to be the most friendly menu driven HF radio of all the ones I own or have considered owning.

Out of the box and on the air in less 2 minutes! This is an very intuitive radio to operate. As I compare it to my FT-450/AT, the Kenwood TS590 is hands down a much easier rig to operate. That said, the DSP works so much easer then the FT-450/AT (or any of my other Yaesu's) It's the 1st rig that once I played with it, I WANTED to get in to the menu and see what it can do. So often with the Yaesu's, I get into the menu and find that I put the rig into never, never land, having to do a hard reset to bring it back to "normal" not so with the TS-590. I have also found the Kenwood Built in Tuner to work just as well as the high end LDG auto tuners I have had. The Yeasu tuners pale by comparison regarding versatility.

I have been able to do some receiver A/B comparisons of the TS-590 against Flex SDR and FT-817, (also a 75A-4, R390A & 75S-1) and found the receiver to have an edge over the FT-817 and every bit as good as the flex. IN part this may have to do with the ease of operation of the Kenwood's DSP filtering.

For how I use my HF rigs, all serve me well, however (and not just because I just bought mine) the TS-590 is my recommendation for those that are not techno junkies who want to own a new rig and are interested in what DSP has to offer without getting lost in a sub-menu never, never land. - Steve W1TAV
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