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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF+UHF models) | Kenwood ts-450 Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood ts-450
Kenwood ts-450 Reviews: 89 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $1,639.00
Description: HF Radio
Product is not in production.
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KD3GM Rating: 4/5 Apr 28, 2005 14:54 Send this review to a friend
4 - 4.5 almost excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After having so much grief with my recently purchased then sold Kenwood TS 430S, I purchased the TS 450S/AT on Ebay with a bit of trepidation. Much to my surprise, pleasantly I might add, the TS 450S/AT is a dream to operate. This particular radio was extremely well cared for and looked almost brand-new. It has what seams to be the right combination of filters and other bells and whistles to satisfy my operating style. The advanced features are easy to use and understand and the built-in ATU is really quick to respond. Transmit audio reports have been excellent even with the stock hand microphone as well as excellent signal reports. After one month I have used the rig for both a fixed and mobile operation and am quite impressed with it.

Now for the downside, I rated the rig 4 out of five for the following reasons;

A) In a side-by-side comparison, the unfiltered receive audio and dynamic response is still better on my TS 520SE vs. the 450 unfiltered audio.
B) The 450's recieve is more sensitive, but Strong local stations overwhelm the front end vs. my 520
C) The RF Gain control is a bit non-linear which makes it a little difficult to operate mobile.

Overall the rig is a good value for a early to mid nineties vintage rig. I paid $435.00, which I feel was a steal considering that the seller mis-listed it as a TS 440S/AT then later revised the listing. Fully loaded, the rig goes for between $500 and $600 on the used market normally and the HF + 6M TS 690S variant goes for around $650. Either rig is a good investment in my book.
KS4HY Rating: 4/5 Mar 7, 2005 07:11 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio. Sensitive receiver. Effective noise blanker  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Very nice radio. Very sensitive receiver on sideband and CW, and an effective noise blanker. The antenna tuner works well and tunes quickly. The transmitter sounds nice with a Shure 444d.
The only negatives I've run in to are small. When you turn on the noise blanker in the presence of very strong adjacent signals (20db +) the amount of bleed over increases. On 75 meters and 40 meters I sometimes have to choose between eliminating the static in exchange for more bleed over. A very strong AM signal (like shortwave broadcast) will distort when the noise blanker is turned on. Turning off the noise blanker clears up the audio.
The internal watt meter was generous compared to my external watt meters by about 10 to 15 watts. If you have the service manual the watt meter can easily be brought in line. Very pleased with the radio over all. I would give it s 4.5 if I could. Voice peaks on sideband were showing up to 80 watts and CW showed 100 watts with the factory setting.
KE4MOB Rating: 5/5 Jan 21, 2005 13:27 Send this review to a friend
Ten years down the road....  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got my 450 for Christmas 1994...I've had the radio almost as long as I've been a ham. It's still alive and well, thank you very much!! Only real problem has been a leaky memory battery almost ate the ATU trace in two a year or so ago, but other than that, been working CW, RTTY, PACTOR, and SSB for over 10 years...
KC8MIG Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2004 16:11 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first HF rig was a TS 450 SAT. This little rig was a great performer for the four years that I owned it. I picked it up used from a local ham shop. Always enjoyed the self-contained aspect of the ATU built into the rig - especially for portable use. The ATU always made a match, even on "iffy" portable setups and I make a lot of nice contacts with the rig. I recently sold the radio - should-a kept it!!!
W8BDH Rating: 5/5 Aug 18, 2004 04:30 Send this review to a friend
Great rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a excellent rig, I have not had it very long and I am quite impressed with it. Have a dipole at home that my yaesu will not tune without a manual tuner, put the coax on the kenwood and the antenna was tuned very quickly and on all bands except 160 and 17 meters. If you can find one for a good price, grab it.
LISTENER007 Rating: 1/5 Jul 25, 2004 07:03 Send this review to a friend
Can't Handle It  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am a Kenwood fan from way back. I have owned/used mainly Kenwood HF/VHF/UHF ever since I can remember being interested in amateur radio. Kenwood always represented the best in quality and features in ham radio gear. In the recent past (the last 10 years or so), I have owned a few great rigs like the TS-50 and a TS-570 and both of them served my needs right down to the wire - they were great and also they were trend setters which were followed by other manufacturers. Alas, I had to sell the TS-570 as it was a dark time for me as far as finances went and I was forced to part with it, needless to say that the guy who bought it from me had a huge smile on his face. Anyway I managed without any HF equipment for a couple of years and besides, I had an Icom R-8500 receiver so at least I could still listen in.

Just one week ago I saw a second-hand TS-450SAT for sale and I had thought it was about time I got back into it, so I took the plunge and bought it, thinking that this baby would be similar to the TS-570, only a bit older. How WRONG I was..!!! I don't know if I bought a dog or a lemon, or whether all TS-450's are like this one but boy oh boy, I hate it..

The "thing" has lots of internal noise, sounds like synthisizer noise which is really annoying and what's worse is that more than one of them happens to be right on a few favourite frequencies of mine. The thing has dead spots right through the entire HF band, where nothing can be heard at all for about 50Hz of tunable frequency at a time. The thing is quite often off frequency, sometimes as much as 1.5 kHz. Take the 20m band for example.. On the Icom R-8500 I can receive a transmission on say 14.210 mHz USB whereas with the TS-450 it comes in at an indicated 14.208.50 mHz, yet, if I transmit back on that indicated frequency, it would be almost dead on the true 14.210 mHz... NO..!! It is not just the sideband indicator doing this. It varies from band to band. I might re-tune to say 14.300 mHz and wow, now the difference is only about 50 Hz - yes 50 Hz. Again, this happens from band to band and seems to be at random rather than with some sort of pattern. I would have to map each entire band to find just where I was receiving transmitting, to be accurate. I can't just tune in and work that station, I have to know the exact frequency I am on and the TS-450 is all over the place from one end of each band to the other.. Because of this, I have to make full use of the RIT and XIT each time I work a station. I have never had to do this to "this" extent before and I am sure that this was not how this set was designed to be operated.. From reports, the TS-450 transmitter sounds great at the other end, as most Kenwoods do, but that's of little consequence if the receive can't live up to its name.

At a guess, I can only say that this set has either gone wildly out of tune, has a fault or somebody has had his fingers in where they don't belong although the dead spots and internal noise have me worried as they tend to make me think that they are permanent. What do I mean by dead spots..?? Try tuning to 10.000 mHz for the time signal - right.!!!.. Now changing from AM to USB then LSB should give you zero beat if the tuning is spot on.. Well in LSB I can get lots of internal noise from 10.000 up and on USB I can get to 9.999 then it goes dead as 10.000 is hit and it is comes back about 50Hz later where I get the usual sound of an AM signal going out of tune on USB - you know - that hum and then squeal..!!! These dead spots are also heard on other parts of the spectrum - in and out of band and are really a major bitch. I tried a full reset to get things back to default, just incase it was a bad setup from the previous owner, but that did no good...

The one saving grace with the TS-450 is that with all Kenwood HF gear (I'm sure) it has a fantastic ability to receive even the very weakest signal on LSB/USB. It beats the Icom R-8500 hands down in this department but the R-8500 does a nicer job with what it does haul in. The TS-450 has to be tuned spot-on frequency or it sounds like it is warbling whereas the R-8500 has an acceptable sound in its SSB reslove for quite a tidy spread of tuning. Once again, I think it's synthisizer related...

Anyway - Crunch time...!!!

I have only had this radio for a handful of days and I hate it. In my world it is against the law to hate Kenwood HF equipment. I mean - it's the best.. For this reason, I am at odds with myself over this radio. I like certain things but I hate more and I have decided to either get rid of it or simply lock it away in my cupboard never to let it see the light of day again.. I am going to buy another set since I have saved a few pennys in the past few months. I have decided on a budget related purchase and I will not buy any more second-hand equipment. I will buy a compact job AND have decided to try another brand. I have more or less decided on any of the following - Icom IC-706 MKIIG, Yaesu FT-857 or FT-897... I would really like to get an FT-847 but let's face it, not everyone has that sort of money to throw around, although, if I didn't buy the TS-450, "I" would have... By this time tomorrow, I may well have another HF rig. I am sure it will do better than the TS450 I have right now...

Here's hoping I make the "right" choice...
KD4FUN Rating: 5/5 Feb 12, 2004 21:46 Send this review to a friend
Love my TS-450  Time owned: more than 12 months
Previous rig was a Kenwood TS-430 which I really liked. Bought the TS-450 and did the mod fro Navy Mars Transmit and extended recieve. This is my main station rig. Extremely stable...(the rig not the operator). I run Pactor, Amtor & RTTY with this radio as well as CW and phone. The memories are great for switching net frequencies. I have read about the noisy reciever in the past but I have not noticed any problems with my radio..I have worked plenty of DX with this rig. Would not hesitate to buy another one. P.S. get the optional filters they really help.
KB0NQA Rating: 5/5 Feb 12, 2004 16:30 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my Kenwood TS-450S for about a year now and am extremely pleased. I previously had a Kenwood TS-520SE, which served me very well for many years. I was simply ready for an upgrade, but not being one of those rich Hams who can afford to own several rigs, I had to sell the 520 in order to buy the 450. I bought the 450 from another Ham who had been using it for a number of years. This rig does an excellent job of pulling in those weak signals. I am really enjoying using the channel memory storage and scan capability. I get good audio reports...
K4LLA Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2003 17:40 Send this review to a friend
Not many features, but still a very good radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a TS-450S (with internal tuner) in 1994 for about $1250. The ham club I was in had one of these radios and I had already learned how to use one inside and out, and it seemed like a decent buy.

I've used it in the 10 years since then and it has performed extremely well. I use the Kenwood MC-60 microphone with it and I consistently get reports that the SSB audio quality is excellent. The transmit power is still rock-steady at 100 watts after 10 years of use. The automatic tuner also does a really good job. The notch filter and pair of noise blankers that come with it also work fine, and the IF shift feature does come in handy when the band is jammed.

Now, the downsides. It does not have any built in voice or CW memory features, which is something I have come to desire over the years. There is no built in CW keyer, which SUCKS. The SWR meter, at least in my unit, seems to be inaccurate compared to external meters. There is no DSP or other fancy electronic gadgets in this radio which is fine as long as you're good at using the filter inside your head.

I've also not seen any mods for this radio that will eliminate the transmit lockout without undesirable effects. While this isn't much of a big deal for now, new bands (like 60 meters) will be out of my reach.
N4SRT Rating: 5/5 Oct 7, 2003 12:55 Send this review to a friend
Best HF bang for the buck  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
My main HF rig for many years has been a Yaesu FT 757GX. I've tolerated the Yaesu's well-documented weak receiver for many years. I decided it was time to shop for a different rig, and I had my eyes set on a Kenwood TS-440S or similar rig. In shopping for 440s I found a TS-450S for nearly the same money as the older 440; it didn't take long for me to decide to jump on it.

In short, the radio has exceeded nearly all my expectations. The receiver isn't perfect, but runs circles around my Yaesu. With the optional filters, the AIP, IF Shift, 2 Noise Blankers and the Notch Filter, you're pretty well prepared to handle most QRM/QRN situations.

The rig's receiver has taken some hits in a few reviews, but I'm tickled to death with it. I've worked some really nice DX with the rig -- several with signals so weak they were down in the noise. With the Kenwood, if I can hear 'em, in most cases I can work 'em. With the Yaesu if there was a stong signal within 10 KCs, it made it hard to pick weak signals out of the splatter.

My complaints with the rig are minor. I miss the built-in CW keyer on the Yaesu, and I really liked the way the Yaesu handled the RIT function. Like I said, minor gripes.

If you're in the market for a used HF rig, I believe the TS-450S is one of the best values. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.
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