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Author Topic: Station Upgrade  (Read 12281 times)

Posts: 2

« on: October 18, 2012, 05:03:12 PM »

Hi all,
    I am looking to upgrade my current radio - a Kenwood TS-180s - and am debating between several rigs, along the lines of a FT-950 or a TS-590S. Anyone have any experiences with these rigs, or have any that should be added to consideration? I understand that the Kenwood is said to have a better receiver, but also sometimes has transmit power issues. If it helps, I would like one that will work well for all modes and does not require a Signalink to do PSK or RTTY. It will be driving a 5-band hex beam.

Thank you and 73's,

Posts: 1485

« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 04:24:17 AM »

I bought a 950 last year; I use it mostly for CW on 30-10m.  I *love* the radio; it's a much better performer than anything else I've owned.  The filtering seems amazing to me, though I'm no expert.  And the 950 seemed like a great value for the price, when I bought mine.

It's one of those "what flavor do you prefer?" things, though:  There are plenty of folks who will tell you how much they love the Kenwood.  Smiley

I suspect you'll be happy with either of these two radios, whichever you pick!

Posts: 13268

« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2012, 05:13:15 AM »

The FT950 is not even in same league as a 590. 590 is a better rig hands down and more user friendly too.

Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..

Posts: 25

« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 03:16:40 PM »

I have an FT-950 (I think I bought it in 2008) and a TS-590 (bought it in Dec. 2012). The 590 is definitely the better performing rig, and I prefer the ergonomics of the 590 as well. You can operate digital modes with the 590 with just a USB connection, while the FT-950 will require some type of interface. If I could only have one of these rigs, I would definitely choose the 590.
That said, I do like the FT-950 and use it regularly (a change of pace is nice sometimes). Probably about 75% of my operating time is with the 590, and 25% with the FT-950.
Whichever route you go, I highly recommend you make sure the latest firmware updates are installed; both rigs have definitely benefited from their respective firmware upgrades.
Jeff, KC1MK

Posts: 2

« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2012, 04:51:51 PM »

Thanks for the input, everyone. I'm leaning towards the TS-590s - if I can afford one on my teenager's budget Smiley

Posts: 370

« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2012, 10:41:36 PM »

Ahh, the memories.  AA6OO/Chris, I was in your situation in 1978 when I wanted to get a TS520S as a teenager.  Fell in love with the thing, posted a pic from QST in my bedroom/shack corner above my old Johnson Viking Ranger.  Took me a long time to save up the newspaper route money and a loan from my Pop.  I still have that rig, was just using it this evening on 40 CW.

First, off, I don't have either rig.  I have owned a TS520S, TS570D, TS480SAT, Flex 3000,  ICOM IC-910, FT817ND.  I have also operated LOTS and LOTS of other rigs Yaesu, Icom, Ten Tec, Elecraft, Swan, Johnson, Kenwood, Alinco, etc. and lots of military gear over my 35 years in the hobby and through work.

So my guidance really applies to anyone contemplating the purchase of a rig (and it's not anything official, just one person's perspective, so take it with a grain of salt).

1. Head over to Ham Radio Outlet (Sunnyvale store looks to be about 10 miles from your QTH) or another ham's shack and try these rigs out.  It's not a small investment, and you will want to play with each one for ergonomics, options etc.
2. Computer interface...what are your expectations here?  Both have capabilities, but not the same.  Do you want remote control?  Do you want the digital management capabilities?
3. Operations - are you looking to DX, rag chew, do digital, etc.?
4. Have you read the reviews on eham for more anecdotal info?  Always good to see what others are saying...
5. Why just the 590 or the 950?  What about mobile/portable ops (TS480/FT450).  Why not one of the ICOM rigs?  (Just wondering, I don't have an ICOM, but I am curious).  Have you looked into Elecraft?  For a couple hundred more you could get a TS2000 which covers VHF and UHF, would allow you to get onto those bands for FM repeater and weak signal work.  You could also get a Flex 3000 in that price range (yes, somebody had to say it, so I did.  Please don't anyone "flame" me, I am not a rep for the company nor am I looking for a debate.  I simply have a Flex 3000 and I could not be happier,
6. Consider buying slightly used, you could save some $$ there also.
7. Save money for accessories: keyer/paddle, software for logging or digital ops, and of course the most important element: the antenna.

Please keep us posted on your quest.

Posts: 1092

« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 02:48:48 PM »

I do not have a TS-590s, but I've used one, and in my opinion, it's got the best bang for the buck of any rig in that price range. The FT-950 is an okay rig too, but it's not in the Kenwood's league.

Posts: 70

« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2012, 04:22:13 PM »

Suggest you check with, a dealer in OH that I have used several times for good equipment. They update used part of site every few days. Whatever you buy, you have 10 days to change your mind after you get it...and 30 days warranty on the equipment. good ppl to deal with, no complaints. No, don't work for them...they are in OH, and i live in AZ:)Smiley  Good luck! Jerry W7TNS

Posts: 179

« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2012, 07:37:29 PM »

The Ham Station is actually in Evansville, IN.  I will agree that they are great to deal with.  I have bought a few rigs from them myself.

John AF5CC
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