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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-130s Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-130s
Kenwood TS-130s Reviews: 37 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $700
Description: HR transceiver. 100 watt, WARC, SSB/CW, noise blanker,and speech processor
Product is not in production.
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OE3HPU Rating: 3/5 Jul 24, 2017 06:59 Send this review to a friend
Works well, but its time is over  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my first shortwave radio in the late 1970ies. Recently I got one of these TS130s again on a flea market. It still looks nice, it works and brings me good DX contacts in CW and SSB. The punchy TX audio is great, the RX sensitivity is comparable with modern sets and the oscillator is stable enough. BUT: the frequency generation system is noisy,the strong signal performance of the RX is far from todays requirements and internal plugs, switches and potentiometers always need some care and periodical services. Could be a nice piece,rather for collectors than for operators(3,4...)
W0BKR Rating: 5/5 Feb 20, 2017 03:47 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Radio - SOLID  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my super clean little 130 for a while and really enjoy using it. Only problem is nowadays, it doesn't get used much. Easy to operate, solid like Sherman tank, very reasonably priced ($300-350 with filters, less than 300 w/o). Performs very well, good performance and simple to use. Great mobile also ( did that a long time back and really enjoyed it ). Radio doesn't need a tuner since most real antennas are within the 2:1 swr rangs. Good audio reports, fun to tune in signals with the shift and filters, etc. All in all, if you want one, they are getting harder to find as folks hang on to them.
NY1S Rating: 5/5 Jun 7, 2016 15:27 Send this review to a friend
Solid State, built tough, Going Strong  Time owned: more than 12 months
My TS-130S is a joy to use. After 35 years of use, it is still going strong. Solidly built, it may outlast many of the new rigs that are robotically built today using surface mount components. It puts out a clean 100 watts and more on all the bands it has. In today's dollars it would cost $2,400 to purchase. If you have a chance to pick one up at a good price in good, clean condition, grab it... you will not regret it.
ZS6BWW Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2016 04:53 Send this review to a friend
Great little radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first 130 was bought in 1982 for shack use, my second was bought in 1985, for mobile use.
Sorry I ever sold them. I now have my third TS130s.
A great,radio, simple to use, and it works well, for my needs without bells, whistles, waterfalls or dancing girls.
I just worked VK0EK on 40m SSB and 20m SSB using 100 watts into a Windom up about 30 feet.
Need I say more!
KM4DEO Rating: 5/5 Oct 26, 2015 07:22 Send this review to a friend
Oldie but goodie  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my 130 from a Ham who was the second owner and had had it for 20-25 years and was downsizing his shack. I was a new Ham, having just gotten my Tech and wanting to find a radio that would fit my limited fixed income. I was buying blind, knowing NOTHING about Ham radio.

I found it on the classifieds on, and after talking to the seller several times on the phone I bought it.

Now, a year and a half later, with my General, I couldn't be happier. In the states I use a ZS6BKW antenna (computer modeled G5RV, resonant on 10, 20, and 40 and tunable in 80) and find the receive to be excellent and get very good signal reports back. For DX (10 meter only) I use an Antron 99 cut for 10 and have good results across the east and west ponds as well.

I am extremely happy with this good, basic, simple little radio. I see no need for aanything newer with any of the newfangled bells and whistles.
W3AFC Rating: 3/5 Apr 27, 2015 09:44 Send this review to a friend
Good, but not great  Time owned: more than 12 months
A lot has been written about this little rig in these reviews, so I'll just list what I think are the Pros and Cons:

1. Good power output, a bit over 100 watts with a solid power supply.
2. I get a lot of "great audio" comments. I use mine with a Cobra power mike set at 2 or 3 with no compression and the PA kicks out 100W or more on all but the 10M bands. The OPs on the other end say the audio is clear and crisp. I beat out monster kilowatt stations sometimes in pileups.
3. The receiver seems to be very sensitive, comparable even to my 930S. But that's where that comparison ends.

1. The receiver is very noisy, and there's NO notch filter. It has IF shift which helps with adjacent stations, but I can't take this to my beach location because there are neon signs around and the noise blanker is only so-so. Without a notch filter, the noise is deafaning. I have the optional SSB narrow filter, but that has only a limited effect on impulse noise.
2. I've experienced five or six electrical failures with this little rig. I even sold it on eBay and had to take it back because when it arrived at the buyer's QTH it had an intermittent where it would drop into QRP mode and he filed a claim against me. I've had to remove all of the interconnect cables and clean the plugs, repair failed foil traces in the Low-Pass filter unit and the PA, and in power regulator Q2. The base-bias carbon resistor for Final Q5 failed, which makes no sense since it only has to handle a fraction of its half-watt rating. I suspect that the former owner was a heavy CW fan, and the resistor baked due to heat from the final. It was baked out on the circuit board end,

Overall, I would not buy another one. In addition, it's heavy for such a small radio, making it a poor choice for a portable rig
GM0WNR Rating: 5/5 Jan 23, 2013 12:52 Send this review to a friend
Nice bare-bones rig!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had a TS-130V a few years ago, but foolishly sold it. I found this 100w version on eBay for a very reasonable price (180). It was, to put it mildly, in rag order, but importantly still worked perfectly. A week later it was resprayed and looked spiffing. I am a cw man first and foremost and quickly found the stock audio just a tad wide, so a quick advert on our wonderful flea market website in the UK and 42 later I was the proud owner of a 500Hz cw filter. So now I have a very nice looking and great sounding cw machine. I use an external cw keyer so never missed the '130 not having one. The RX is very good, and I compare it often to my 2 other rigs: an ICOM IC-736 & a Yaesu FT-450. The '130 hears just as well as the other two, but is just "different", the audio is a bit higher in tone and sounds a bit less "processed" than the other two but immensely enjoyable none the less. I really do enjoy firing up the TS-130S and love the analogue and digital readout and analogue s-meter, which seems a bit on the conservative side. You really feel like you have achieved something when you have a QSO with this radio, and normally drive it at a cruising power of 10w so hopefully the finals will stay unstressed for a few years to come. These rigs are getting harder to find nowadays so I would advise you to buy it if one turns up in good nick even if it is to switch on occasionally in the shack just to get the analogue experience every once in a while. For me, this time, its a keeper.

VK2MS Rating: 5/5 Mar 5, 2011 21:00 Send this review to a friend
yes well, ok....same set wrong model  Time owned: months
Hi...all my writing about this brilliant radio and the great reports on 8W then I just rembered mine's a 130V!!..not a 130S...Oh well,if the S is anywhere near the performance of the 10W V it's a great set!The rest of what I wrote is worth pondering so go for it..cheers Tony
VK2MS Rating: 5/5 Feb 19, 2011 07:37 Send this review to a friend
Great set  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hi..I don't want to repeat the plusses others have done.I also don't want to be as ambivalent. I have used many sets and made many..starting with the 1 valve regens with plug in coils. Without a doubt the best RX was my URR391 which I bought during Vietnam and sold only 3 years ago...My uprated Drake comes close. The greatest fun I have had with any set is the TS130S since I contacted the wonderful and so generous Sandy Lynch (SK) 7J1ABV/WA6BXH when I was almost distraught, in tears ,with the ignorence towards a first day Ham on cw. Don't keep telling us what it "can't do as well as something else...I have had reports which would shame your KW users on 8W input. Someone complained about only an LED power meter..easily fixed...use an ampmeter in the line and read input power...nothing is really going to give you true OUTPUT power as cheaply as input power. It's a great set, has at least some feeling of ham tradition as opposed to those button pushers and console operators who want push button perfection when maybe once upon a time they actually enjoyed making gear perform through their own skills and not selecting someone else's with a button. What's "Ham Radio" about hooking up your set to a computer using manufacturer's softwear? For me the 130 is a closer connection to the tattered remnant of Ham Radio which remains today. It can run QRP.You have to put some effort into making it work best it can. You can literally make an antenna "the difference" Sure I like the cigarette tin QRP one can take up a mountain in France, string up some litz wire or take a small directional loop and run cw and get the excitement...but in the interim stages, this is a great set...sensitive and simply a great set. 4/7 into Wales at 10W on an offset dipole at 7pm on 40m is as good as you'll get running a kw....A kw!!, it's the mentality which is way past the technical skills of Ham origins of actually building a linear when they were uncommon. It also bred a ham pretentious culture..I have called on a net for hours being over-ridden by massive overpower when the controller is too lazy to listen for low power rigs...Someone says eventually "some guy has been coming back every over since you logged me 2 hours about giving him a go...ok,"... "huffy" controller "can we back off a minute whos's the VK been calling for 2 hours or so?...ok VK2...take 4/5..thank you...I'm 4/8?? is your beam pointing at me? You are using a diole...ok fine QSL QSL...ok let's get back to it...KW1...The point if it isn't clear is that Ham Radio is dead in the water with kids as young as 7 being licensed,not even having to make a low power set and show they have some ability to become a real ham. It keeps sales of commercial gear up though and provides students for electronics schooling run by the advocates of the "foundatio" licence. Amateurs operating with digital modes and so on is hardly even in the panorama of traditional R but the excuse is "we are experimenting".Really?! Commercialised highpower use is just a glorified CB radio with killer power. Fortunately some diehards trying to hang on to the traditions using hand keyed cw and I am very much appreciative of their work and skills ...Tragically some think AR is using a keyboard to generate cw....I could weep!. We also have computer operation...I'm sorry, for me that's just not Ham grab a little 130, run it at 10 watts and get the real joy when someone has enough manners to answer a 3/5 or 3/4 or some fading cw...and not sit there waiting to use their set as a glorified telephone. Did I make a dent? I wonder.

I have been off the air for some years owing to the kw culture and also with US contests spread right across the bands so you can't even use it...and doing what "ok ZL..5/8 Qsl...That's not Ham Radio. It WAS when you could QSL for a puropse and then move away for some CO's or a sked but sometimes now there's just nowhere TO go with highpower rigs, vastly overpowered and dB inefficient controlling all the bands at once. It has one big plus though gives the impression we actually use our bands...and that's essential but it doesn't have to be in huge power. Personally I'd limit Hams to 100Watts so they have to become real hams again, guardians of tradition, experimenters.It's a tragedy that post WW11 Hams didn't demand their bands be enshrined in law...they certainly deserved it as they were the passage to where we are today.

This letter actually IS about the's the core. I mentioned Sandy Lynch . He wrote to me on 26 November 1991 when after years of hanging around hamshacks and disposals stores I became seriously injured and studied for my licence. I did all three including cw on the one day and highest marks were in the advanced. As VK2GPN I was so excited and went on the air from 10am to 2am on the 11th November 1991 I think it was . The last 2 hours were spent on cw with Sandy. The condiitons were so bad Sandy, an ARRL examiner then in Japan, sent me a long letter and a"First Contact ARRL Certificate, dated 12 Novemeber 1991 for communication under impossible conditions: "in recognition of the courage, perseveranceand tenacity rquired to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds against the establishment of two way communications by Amateur radio.

I was using an icom 735 I think with a V dipole about a meter above a galvanised roof.I later found the RFI was enough to blank my tv when I pressed the key so I felt guilty in case my neighbours were affected but no one complained and I ensured it never happened again. I doubt I was radiating much efffective power but was booming into Japan and Russia all daylight hours.W operators would come back and when I asked, please be patient, this is my first day on the air as a licensed Amatuer they would without exception, not come back. I went from embarrassment to rage and then to tears. Then cme Sandy at about 11.30 pm out of the mess of noise.He saved me!

He wrote to me he didn't understand how I could understand the Japanese address so well on cw..and then made a mistake when IO addressed a letetr to him. Sandy wrote "I can copy 45-50wpm' and then later "During our 1.5 hour QSO it became clear to me you possess rather good skills. Your nervousness subsided(probably from fatigue)..actually I think I was at my best whilst asleep..which I was!!...after 20 minutes or so then your sending and receiving ability came shining through...etc...He wrote about not getting "automatic" after a few hundred QSO's. He wrote that his wife Akiko could no longer read my cw as it was going so fast.

He wrote many things. I used to write letters to him with yarns...all in cw. He was so pleased then to have a child back in USA, then he suddenly died, a young man.

I met all kinds of Hams from post war pilots, great people using old airforce equipment so very well (348's and 1930's panel board transmitters, rrebuilt AR8's and home brew Tx's waiting for a signal from Antarctica on some sked,concentrating for the the signal,suddenly getting a cw at at low headphone level then rising ...Lovely men like Ted Barlow VK2GQ and Terry Thorpe, VK2TT as I recall always gave their time...down to the to the lowest of human beings posing as "Hams" in our primary Ham Radio Society in my first 16 years of life .

Of them all I met, Sandy Lynch was the epitome of Ham radio even though he preferred "powerful modern gear" he reckoned..because as a man he was sensitive, caring, communicative generous and encouraging... and as a Ham, he was still connected to the roots of Amateur Radio tradition. He didn't need a kw signal...he was prepared to hang in with a first day Ham for 1.5 hours in the worst conditions short of bllank-out solar flares. The roots of HR are so very important and I hope that there's a sudden rush on TS130's or other sets which can operate QRP!! My view...don't worry about what the 130 can't do as well as something else or some deficiency which makes it 'less desirable" what it WILL do is wht it's worth buying-for and cherishing. Then work on your antenna. Cheers
N6MYA Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2011 11:57 Send this review to a friend
Excellent rig.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The one i have now is my second TS-130S. I wish i had never sold the first one. I spent a few years chasing all of the 'latest and greatest' transceivers from various manufactures with the digital this and the digital that until i happened upon a good deal for another 130. Bought it and put it side by side with one of the last digital rigs i owned. No comparison .... the microprocessor loaded radio could not pull in the weak stations that the 130 could hear. In fact couldn't even hear them or tell that they were even on frequency while the 130 gave me smooth clean audio on a signal that did not even move the S meter. I have built a DDS VFO as a stand in for the companion VFO-120 and now i have the exceptional RX along with zero drift from turn on to shut down.

I will keep this one, i learned my lesson.

'Nuf said.

Cheers and 73.

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