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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-680S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-680S
Kenwood TS-680S Reviews: 17 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 160 Thru 6 All Mode Transceiver
Product is not in production.
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N4MJR Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2012 11:00 Send this review to a friend
Fine simple rig  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've had this radio for about 9 months. It is a very simple to operate rig and works very well. The sliders are an issue but I keep a can of spray cleaner handy and clean the controls regularly. Use very small amounts of the type that doesn't have lubricant and repeatedly work the slider back and forth.

The coarse tune / memory encoder is easliy cleaned by pulling the knob off, spraying spray cleaner into the port on the face of the encoder housing, then rotating the shaft. I use very small squirts and repeat the process several times. Don't use spray cleaner with lubricant as it may wind up making the problem worse.

The radio works fine now. 73 N4MJR / C6AMR
KX9RJ Rating: 4/5 Nov 28, 2011 18:11 Send this review to a friend
Easy to use first (and so far my only) HF/6m rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is my first and only HF/6m rig. I got it new for $900 at HRO when it first appeared. I am a casual SSB ham and do not have any extensive experience with any other rig.

Turn the memory knob SLOWLY and it will behave.

The rig is 20 years old and I still have not had to replace the lithium battery which back up the memories!

My favorite feature on this rig is memory positions 20-30, which are programmable band markers. You program in the low and high frequencies for each band, and then just turn the main tuning knob to troll through the band. When you get to the high frequency, it wraps around to the low frequency, and you just keep turning the knob. You don't go outside your license limit, and you don't have to reverse your turning of the knob or otherwise keep track of where you are. Just tune and operate! Memories 10 - 19 allow split frequency operation too.

Controls are well laid out and easy to use. It has just enough features without requiring menus.

Noise Blanker 1 works well for pulse-type noise such as ignition or powerline. NB 2 was designed for the woodpecker which is rarer nowadays, so not as useful anymore. I wish it had a notch filter but it does not. The IF shift works but I personally don't like using it to clear QRM.

The receiver is sensitive but a bit funky. Occasionally, reception will fade out, and then I have to push the RF gain slidepot in or wiggle it to have it make better contact. It does have a blocking problem with strong signals just off-frequency. Also, I usually just leave the AGC control on Fast.

The transmitter is a bit funky because the slidepots for power and mic-gain need to be diddled to make sure you are modulating enough and transmitting full power. The speech processor generally overloads, and my QSOs are better with it off. If you turn it on, be sure to reduce the mic-gain to about halfway.

I have taken this rig to Scout campouts and JOTA, so its size and sturdy build are good for portable use. I have worked 6 meters to New England from my Chicagoland QTH on 10 watts so if the magic band is open, you don't need 100 watts. All-in-all, this is an easy-to-use approachable rig with well-rounded features for the casual or first-time ham.

KB0HAE Rating: 4/5 May 23, 2011 19:45 Send this review to a friend
Good radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have only had my TS-680S for a few weeks. I got it for a a lot less than they usually go for as it is cosmetically fairly rough. It looks as though something heavy was dropped on the top front edge. Otherwise it doesn't look bad. It works well on all bands. I get reports of very good TX audio using an Audio Technica ATR30 mic. RX audio is pleasant to listen to. My only gripes are rhe slide pots, and no option for a narrow SSB filter. Thats why I gave it a 4 instead of a 5.

Would I recommend that a friend buy one? Yes I would, especially if they are looking for HF and 6m capabilities on a budget. A note about 6m power. One of the things I like about Kenwood is their conservative designs... turning up the power on 6m from 10 to 20 watts may shorten the life of the 6m output module. And the power difference will only make about 1/2 an S-unit difference on the receiving end.
KC0YBX Rating: 4/5 Nov 30, 2010 14:31 Send this review to a friend
I like the rig, lotta of fun on 80  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have had reasonable luck with this tranciever with a mini-windom. Could be better with a better antenna(next week)I do like the radio but it did have an issue with the memory knob! The memory locations jump all over the place when used so is hard to set them. But like has been said, clean the slides and ect. and there you go. Also same thing with the noise blanker. generaly it has no affect. But I love the A&B switch. and am generally fond of the Rig. it is my first...If I do get another rig I shall keep the 680 for a field day field bas station....or pass it down to one of the Boy's at Christmas...
Could use any comments on setteling that Memory knob down(jumping around to different memory locations) though...would like to use that part more. 11-2010
thanks a lott.

N8WWM Rating: 5/5 Feb 20, 2010 15:10 Send this review to a friend
Excellent for a beginner or an old timer!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Owned this rig about 2 years. All I can say is the price is about the same on the used market as a first model IC-706, but has a receiver that makes the 706 look like 2 paper cups and a string. 10 watts on 6 is not exactly high power, but I have done a lot with less power in the past. If you want to putz on VHF get a 706, but if you want to have a good sounding and good listening rig on HF with 6 meters thrown in, get a '680.

There has been some comment about the "all or nothing" nature of the slide pots for various functions, but that has been a non-issue for me. I keep them clean with some spray treatment, and occasionally blow some canned air into them. It is very likely a lack of attention that causes this problem.

If you have a friend who owns a TS-140 you can get an idea by listening to that rig as well. It is a '680 without 6 meters. The big decider will be if you can listen to a 706 and a 140/680 side by side on an antenna switch. The '680 will blow you away in comparison.

Besides that, maybe I am just fussy, but since I have owned all 3 models of IC-706 over the last 15 years, I feel like I am allowed to say this: The 706 looks like a car stereo, the 140/680 looks like communications equipment. The beauty is also far more than skin deep. :)
AUSHAMUSER Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2010 13:25 Send this review to a friend
For the price you can't go wrong  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have owned this rig for a while now and couldnt be happier, easy to use and does the job it was intended to do. As for the slider controls, like anything different it will get criticism but once you get used to it you wont even notice, great rig for the beginner or expert.
VE7IG Rating: 4/5 Dec 4, 2008 22:07 Send this review to a friend
Works fine for me  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I got this radio from a local amateur who wanted to upgrade. I got it mainly for 6 metres. It drives my amp fine on 6 and using a 5 el cushcraft I made several hundred QSOs this summer(summer of 2008) on both SSB and CW, including 20 JAs during one opening. It was sensitive enough and did the job.

On HF, it is also sensitive enough and the only negative things I noticed are the IMD from nearby stations, that has already been pointed out in one of the reviews here and the sensitivity of the power slider-- all or nothing. I am using it now as a backup rig since my main transceiver is off to the repair shop. I intend to keep it for backup. Also, it is fantastic for listening on the AM broadcast band with a 160m sloper.

All around, a decent radio.
KI4CRA Rating: 4/5 Aug 4, 2008 17:51 Send this review to a friend
Not a bad transceiver at all.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I got this little gem about 4 months ago in a trade, and first impressions are pretty good. I have received some good audio reports when using this rig. Yea, it has those dad gum sliders for most if not all of your most important functions, RF power, Mic gain, and the RF gain, and the NB. Currently I have this rig connected to a 67' Off Center Fed dipole up about 43', and it works very well. I have been thinking of connecting my Mosley TA-33 Tri[band 3 element bean to it and see what happens.

No it doesn't have the bells and whistles that my Icom 746 Pro has, but then again we're talking 20 year old technology here. For all the bellyaching I've heard about this radio IMHO this is a decent little transceiver. I have learned through trial and error, especially since I'm using a manual tuner, that it takes a LOT of patience to fine tune this rig. That being said. all in all not a bad rig once you get to know her secrets. This is just my first impressions of the rig, at this point in time I'm not even sure its a keeper yet or not, time will tell.

73 de Mark
G8KSM Rating: 3/5 Feb 26, 2008 10:42 Send this review to a friend
Keep a tin of switch-cleaner handy  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well, as a starter rig, I suppose this is OK and, to be fair, I've had a good few years of challenge with it, but there's a time that comes when the challenge gets a bit, well, frustrating !!!

On SSB for natters and non-serious use, its fine, and I've always had good reports using it, even with a fairly mediochre microphone. I always use the processor and I'd say that the Tx audio quality is quite fair and definitely a great deal better than some much more expensive offerings I've heard on the bands.

Trouble-is, I now operate mostly CW and even with the optional 500Hz filter that I managed to get at a ridiculous price on eBay, it's not really all that good. The receive is pretty noisy and not exactly the most sensitive around - the S-meter's quite pessimistic as you go up the scale. Mine's not too hot on image performance either which is a real pain on 30m, in particular.

But worse than the above is the controls. What idiot thought that those stupid little slider controls were a good idea ..... especially when some of the functions like RF Gain, Tx power and Mic Gain actually get used sometimes. Yes, Mr. designer, you give use manky controls for the important functions then place a rarely-used squelch control on a 'sensible' rotary pot ..... AAAARGHHH !!!! 'spose that's because it's got 6m and 6m operators all use FM, dont they ???!!!!

It's got Kenwood's famous NB1 and NB2 buttons and another of those ruddy sliders for the noise blanker that is fantastic at getting rid of noise provided it is precisely the right wave-shape - trouble-is very little of the noise my radio receives seems to conform, so two yet more entirely useless controls.

Despite all the above criticisms, I suppose its OK. The display's OK, the tuning dial's OK, it's got two VFOs which is OK and it's good enough to pull-in a fair log-book of DX, so why am I complaining ? Well, simply-put, own one of these things for long-enough and the frustration will eventually put you on the road to buying something that works properly and had an ergonomist designing the front-panel, so as far as that's concerned, it can only be a good thing. If you're going to keep it and use it, however, it's just OK ..... OK?!
YD1TDL Rating: 5/5 Jan 4, 2008 05:32 Send this review to a friend
good rx and tx in all band  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have the Radio more than 5 years. but still in a good operation.I also have TS 140S. both are very good radio. I always bring the Radio Around the Country and never had a problem.My wife use TS 680S at home in JAKARTA and I use TS 140S around Borneo,Celebes,Sumatra,more than 2000 mils away home.Never had a serious problem. if you can find them for $450 harry bring then in your shack. than you will enjoy having thus Radio. 73 ...

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