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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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N6GEO Rating: 4/5 Nov 16, 2010 08:43 Send this review to a friend
2 yrs later and still good!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Back in May of '08 I wrote a review on a DOA TS-130 I picked up at a swap meet. After replacing the relays and adding filters I placed it "on the shelf" as a backup rig. In the last two years I have used it as a contest rig, most recently the Cal QSO party. I take it when I'm operating remote and don't want to worry about damage. The TS-130 has been very dependable and has a "bullet proof" transmitter as I've had to operate into less than perfect loads. I've also used it for demonstrations to Scouts because it's so intuitive to use. I recommend it as a good backup rig!
KF7DMY Rating: 5/5 Sep 22, 2010 08:04 Send this review to a friend
Its an old rugged rig.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Its my first HF radio and I think I would not be able to part with it.

Like any old radio it is inferior with its design, performance and features. I bought my TS130s used from a ham who doesn't need it anymore. First problem encountered was the blown lamps. I did replaced them with white LEDs after blowing the lamp replacement so many times. The LEDs enable me to see the meter and dial clearly as my site is poor.

Second problem was the frequency drift. It happened for two months. After settling in the backroom of the house the drift issue slowly faded away and it has been months since that bad experience. It is stable now. Temperature possibly contributed to the freq drift but I also suspect myself tinkering and replacing the pilot lamps might also have something to do with it.

I've made so many QSOs with my TS130S. The radio didn't come with a narrow band filter so my CW QSOs were a little challenging. As a new ham, I was excited enough to experience the world of DX communication. The receiver is sensitive.

The radio becomes hot during long contacts or when I'm engaged into CW ragchewing. It also happens when my SWR is less than perfect. There is an automatic cooling fan that takes care of that.

I really like my TS130S. It will work for you as long as you know how not to abuse it. Its an excellent entry level rig.

Hope my little TS130S review would be an encouragement to the new ham.

73, Al
GI0LGV Rating: 5/5 Jun 9, 2010 06:29 Send this review to a friend
Excellent basic transceiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought mine 10 years ago and don't intend to part with it. I is as good as many modern entry level tx/rx. It frequency drifts for 30 minutes from cold.
Every year I spray switch cleaner on the band-change switch contacts, also into the front panel control pots. Use cleaner that leaves a trace of light oil.
Also it is good to tighten down the screws that hold down the circuit boards.
Check that the cooling fan hasn't unplugged.
It is sturdily built and the PA is pretty bomb proof.
It is nearly 30 years old, so there will be some that have been badly treated or badly stored.
If you find a good one you will not regret buying.
The controls are well set out and it is easy to operate. I use mine most days, mostly to listen around the bands.
WD5NOT Rating: 4/5 Oct 29, 2008 19:01 Send this review to a friend
First HF Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The TS-130S is my first HF rig and I must say for what it is a no frills rig it has already paid for itself with the hours enjoyment of listening. The only downside is not with the radio itself but the antenna system that I have been forced to use by the CONDO COPS where I live. So I have had to improvise and I am using a Hustler mobile mast and the assorted resonators mounted on a bracket that I clamp to the carport at night and that has given me some decent results and good contacts. While it is no TS-870 or TS-2000 I am very pleased with the results that it has given me.This is a good first rig or backup. I will be keeping this radio for a long time to come.
KE4ZHN Rating: 4/5 Sep 23, 2008 10:35 Send this review to a friend
Good little rig  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I had one of these when I first got my general. The receiver wasnt the greatest in the world as it was quite noisy. But, if you ran the RF gain throttled back and adjusted it to the noise on the band it wasnt too bad for what it is. Mine had no optional ssb filters so this is why it wasnt exactly a Collins. The receiver AGC would pump on strong signals just a bit. After all, its not a 950SDX. TX audio was good as one would expect from a Kenwood. The processor was all but useless as it was either blasting or nothing. No adjustment to tame the compression down so unless you use a very low output mike this is a waste of time. Performance on CW wasnt all that bad as I made quite a few contacts on 40m with this little radio. It would drift a little but thats to be expected from an early pll rig like this. No crystal oven so it would shift around a few hz when it was cold but wasnt bad once warmed up. For a back up rig, or portable operation this is a nice little radio. Also good for a new ham on a budget to get started on HF. Its no world beater but its compact and performs adequately for its class.
KA4WJB Rating: 5/5 Sep 23, 2008 09:29 Send this review to a friend
Great rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased new in '82. It was my main rig for years. The 130 is great for Field Day use, easy to use. A great mobile rig also. Dedicated knobs, no menus to fiddle with while driving. A digital readout and dial readout also a plus when radio in full sunlight. I'll always own this great little rig.
KC0ZZH Rating: 4/5 Aug 4, 2008 09:04 Send this review to a friend
Good backup/starter rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Let me first say that even I gave this rig a four I think it is more around a 3.5 out of 5 due to several reasons stated below. I also have a spare TS-130S for spare parts.


First the PTT relay is very loud, but I got used to it fairly quickly. Second, I miss a true power meter, the Ic meter is a different approach than I am used to. I prefer a relative idea to output power.


Solid construction, good rx audio with an outboard speaker. No menu's or sub-menus to contend with...everything you need is right out in the open with decent sized knobs and lettering. Analog S meter and analog dial knob. Decent size to allow for good fit into my operation.


My main goal with this radio was to aquire a backup/fielday rig. The TS-130S provides all of that easily. The clean look of the rig, decent layout of all functions and a good audio quality does make this little rig a good performer but not as great as my Kenwood TS-440SAT.

I am the second owner of this rig with all but one optional filters installed and with a MC-50 desk mic. I get great audio reports. My receiver does not seem to overload on strong nearby stations.

I've owned several radios over the years and as far as simplicity and basic operation goes this radio is hard to beat. The new all mode all band radios may offer a lot but I think the overal preformance starts to suffer in those. There isn't anything this TS-130S can't do the thousand dollar rigs can't on the HF bands in my opinion.

I can say I love this rig a lot for the purpose it was boughten. I you find one that has no problems, don't hesitate to get it into the shack. It is a very nice 'no nonsense' rig.
OE5BFM Rating: 5/5 May 29, 2008 00:14 Send this review to a friend
Unproblematic Transceiver!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I donīt want to repeat the statements before, just want say the following:
I bought mine not from a smoker, he was the Master of smokers! So I found the S-Meter showing much to less, and 12 Meters suddenly failed (no indication from the digital readout)
Some contact spray, turning a bit the VR1 (S-9 adjustement for the S-Meter) and ready. By the way, the service-manual is wrong here, it shows VR2 even for the starting-level for the meter and also for S-9 adjustement.
This radio can be repaired easily in comparison to modern Transceivers.

So this little rig impresses me with his really fine audio, the sensitive receiver, the mechanics of the switches, the pleasing cabinet and you never need the manual again after reading it one time!

Small, but nice! And the perfect extension in my shack to the big brother, my TS-930S.
ON4VP Rating: 5/5 Nov 25, 2007 06:13 Send this review to a friend
Love the back to basics approach  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Let me first say that even I gave this rig a five, every transceiver has room for improvement, but from my point of view the TS-130 got a solid five for several reasons.


First of all the PTT relay is loud. I got to get used to that. Second, I miss a power meter, the IC metering on the 'S' is a different approach. I prefer a relative idea to output power.


Solid, all metal frontpanel, good sized knobs, fast vfo dial (a little difficult to adjust very small steps), needle signal meter, easy to use overal, no hidden menus, no double or triple button functions. Good receiver.

In a nutshell:

Being off the air for over more than a year I had to look for a rig all over again. Since I don't have that much time to spend in my shack I was looking around for a simple but decent HF rig. MY main goal was to go 'back to basics' where I have an easy frontpanel, decent knobs, and functional layout. The TS-130S provides that. The clean look of the rig, decent layout of all functions and a good audio quality does make this little rig a good performer.

Mine came second had with all optional filters installed and with a MC-50 deskmic. I get good audio reports, and with both filters I can make a selective and good reception of most stations. My receiver does not seem to overload on strong nearby stations. But I use the attenuator and filters in line when going lower bands when the going gets tough.

Just dial in, set power (carrier or mic gain) and make the qso. Easy to use, does warcbands and I get the feeling the rig makes it all worth all over again.

I owned all kind of transceivers, from the big guns to the smallest ones. I can tell that most of the allmode-allband rigs today don't even come close. They are a lot more difficult to operate and reception is loud, noisy and worse.

I worked around a solution to hook up a laptop ussing ubuntu 7.10 linux and gMFSK to work digimodes like RTTY, PSK31 and others. I use the AF out on the remote connector on the back of the rig and the same connector has a lead out for keying the TS-130S. Input I provide to the mic connector in the front. I needed a little experimenting to adjust the mic gain, the TS-130S seems a little dificult to adjust but once you got the feel of it, it works just fine.

I only can say I love this rig a lot. I was lucky to find one that was in mint condition and had all optional filters installed for a small price. I you find one, don't hesitate to get it into the shack. It is a very nice 'no nonsense' rig.
AB9LZ Rating: 4/5 Jul 12, 2007 06:49 Send this review to a friend
Great Old School Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Fired mine back up after moving to N.C. and setting up a shack in a hot outbuilding, didn't want to subject the "nice" radios to that environment.

I agree that the intermod can be bad with strong signals around... the reason I stopeed using it in chicago... otherwise the receiver is better than average otherwise, quiet, and almost as sensitive as the TS-850 and much better than some newer radios, like the FT-897. Otherwise the thing is great, nice solid feel, metal front panel, little or no plastic anywhere.

The relay is a little loud for CW, once you get over the distraction it works well enough. A simple mod allows the wide/narrow button to switch between a 500 and a 270hz filter, great for DX work.

The it's reputation for good SSB transmit audio serves it well for PSK31 use, although the rx intermod mentioned above can swamp the waterfall when there are strong nearby signals.

Overall a keeper.
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