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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Kenwood R-820 Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood R-820
Kenwood R-820 Reviews: 6 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $1000 (1978-79)
Description: Double Conversion Ham Bands Digital L.E.D. Receiver Matches TS-820 transceiver. Circa 1978. Japan.
Product is not in production.
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FPX77 Rating: 5/5 Mar 6, 2013 12:02 Send this review to a friend
Great RX  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have just got a nice R820 (as new) from a french radio ham for 250 (325 dollars).Just a problem: the VFO frequency was varying ,particularly on the top end,for example on 7500khz,the frequency jump to 7900,then to 7600 ,sometimes the display light off.I supposed a bad contact in the VFO.Happily removing it is easy,As I supposed the flat spring on the capacitor rotor was the cause.I retensioned it by adding a glued small piece under an edge of the spring,put deoxyd,then all is OK!The R820 is a marvellous receiver,sensible and stable,and well constructed.It fare better than my ICR70 and is quasi equal to my JRCNRD525.There is mods to increase SW coverage by actuating 29;28.5;28Mhz with internal converter (see N8YX blog).I look for the 6khz AM filter.I have the special connector to TS820.
VR2XMQ Rating: 5/5 Aug 23, 2009 04:37 Send this review to a friend
It's a Keeper  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Fortunate to find one in good condition in Austria and snapped it up since I had been looking for one for a long time. The knobs were worn from use, but these have been replaced with spares found on the web.

Allot of cleaning, TLC and refurbishment has brought it back up to grade.

This is a very unique receiver and the other reviewers have already stated the pros and cons, so no need to repeat what has already been stated.

There were not many of these receivers produced by Kenwood. This receiver is definately a keeper!

Steve, VR2XMQ
N8YX Rating: 5/5 Jun 30, 2005 19:55 Send this review to a friend
One of my favorites  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned an R-820 for a number of years and recently picked up a couple more of them (one operational; the other, a parts rig). The original rig has seen daily use for ham-band/SWL comms receiving since the moment it entered the shack. The radio has performed well over that time; I use it in a transceive configuration with a TS-820S. Together, they make a great station.

I added the 12M WARC band to mine; it will already receive 17.7-18.2 MHz via the "RX Converter" function. The rig also has a full complement of filters; along with the VBT, notch filter and IF Shift they make short work of QRM.

As other reviewers have noted, make sure you get the TS-820/R-820 interconnect cable if you wish to run the station in transceive mode. The rectangular connector used on the transceive cable can also be found on the TV-502/506 series interconnect cables.

One common annoyance with the 820 series of radios is the propensity for the digital display to flicker or go out altogether. Most of the time, this can be traced back to bad connections in the Counter Board/VFD connector. Some have removed the OEM tin-plated connector from the Counter Board and replaced it with a gold-plated equivalent, which is less likely to oxidize over time. I've replaced my share of meter and dial lights over the course of ownership. One other bit to watch for is VCO unlocking. Although rare, this is usually caused by (you guessed it) bad connections in the plugs which connect the main harness to the PLL/VCO boards. A cleaning with DeOxit or similar and reseating usually takes care of this.

The R-820 is a great performer - people are beginning to take notice of this fact. As a result, prices are starting to edge up... particularly on eBay.

It's a classy looking radio to boot, and one that has a permanent home in my shack.
KB9IV Rating: 5/5 Dec 11, 2004 17:47 Send this review to a friend
Killer Radio Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I was fortunate to locate one in Mint condition. Once fitted with all filters, mainly CW filters I find this radio will hold its own against current receivers.

Also very very difficult to obtain is the "R820 Transcieve cable" that can mate it with TS820S,520 and others. What's the best kept secret is with this cable "Diversity RX" is possible along with crossband operation....and a host of other configurations.

The R820 is very sensitive, selective and flexiable. Has great Kenwood audio and major SW bands to boot. I beleive the R820 was only available to buy for 1 1/2 yrs back in the early 80's.

I would say this is great receiver. I'm greatful to own one with the cable(s). A real quality made receiver.

Best 73,

Bill KB9IV

N9OO Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2002 09:27 Send this review to a friend
One of the best kept secrets!  Time owned: more than 12 months
It is often amazing just how cheap you can sometimes find these receivers on the used market. This receiver will run rings around many and if you deck it out with all filters the VBT tuning is just wonderful. One short coming is that in the used market the interface cable that connects between the R-820 and Kenwoods TS-820 transceiver is missing. That's a problem as Kenwood uses a very non-standard connector on the R-820 side (at least not standard in the USA). If you buy a used one from an original owner make sure they look for this cable.

As already mentioned this receiver is pre-full HF coverage found in receivers and transceiver manufactured in the 80's. However, it does offer all pre-WARC ham bands plus all major HF SW bands. In addition, Kenwood did allow an AUX position for adding bands. However, Kenwood never produced any kits to perform this expansion as far as I know. Considering it involves adding crystals, inductors and caps this may be too involved for the casual user. Although, there was an article in QST that covers adding the WARC bands to a TS-820. Those mods will also apply to the R-820 as well. So it is indeed feasable to add a ham WARC band if you really need it.

The S-Meter is rather unique as it not only provides the standard S scale, but also dB/uV too.

A great receiver that compares well with just about every rig in my shack. Plus, it's extremely rare!!
AD4E Rating: 5/5 Aug 6, 2001 13:35 Send this review to a friend
an elegant radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
this receiver matches the TS-820S. however, unlike the TS-820S, it uses a triple conversion IF scheme. this enables more filtering, since there are more IF stages. although not general coverage, it does cover all major SW bands. i've found this radio to match that of my TS-850S in terms of sensitivity, selectivity & overall front-end performance. the radio is very flexibe in terms of filters, IF shift, & the notch filter is very effective. the only complaint i have of the radio is that of AF stage "hiss". its stability is excellent & anyone would be pleased w/its performance. its also a beatiful radio to look at too, in my opinion. self-contained power supply & i think its capable of 12 VDC too. the QST product review had the list price on this radio as $1,100; MDS = -138 dBm; blocking dynamic range = 115 dB; two-tone 3rd order IMD = 85 dB.

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