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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-820S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-820S
Kenwood TS-820S Reviews: 56 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $5000.00
Description: 160 meter through 10 meter HF radio
Product is not in production.
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ZL1PWR Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2016 13:17 Send this review to a friend
Heavy Duty  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got one a few years back and still enjoy using it
you do have to repair things along the way as they are very old now.
The one I have is the 820 but with the optional counter.
If you like to hear people comment on your nice audio then this is the radio for you as it happens every time I talk to someone new.
I have tried several mics with it but nearly everyone prefers the stock mc10 fist mic
W5KVV Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2015 21:48 Send this review to a friend
Glad to have one in my shack  Time owned: more than 12 months
What a beautiful rig. Big, heavy & built like a tank. No menus to dig thru, no hidden features. Everything is right on the front panel, exactly where it's supposed to be. I picked mine up at a SK auction & I'm honored to keep it on the air. His XYL didn't know much about it, other than it had sat in the closet since the SK replaced it in the 80's with a solid state rig (TS-430). Needless to say, it hasn't seen regular use in a long time & looks like it just came out of the box. After I got it home & gave it a quick internal visiual inspection, I plugged it up to a 20m wire. With a flip of the switch this old rig roared back to life & was RX'ing DX. However after multiple attempts to tune the old girl up, the best she would do was 40 watts out. Further investigation revealed the 12BY7 was on its way out. I ordered a new driver from RF Parts, slapped it in & did nothing else. The next tune up was magical. 100+ watts on 20m by simply swapping the driver tube. My first contact on this lovely old rig was VK2 who gave me a 5-5 with a wire antenna. The next contact was a EA4! I was super stoaked to say the least.

These old rigs a quite robust & can take quite a bit of abuse, God knows I did my best on my initial few tune ups, but they can take it. I'd advise anyone looking for a hybrid Kenwood to look for a nice survivor TS-820S. LOADS of infomation regarding them avaliable on the internet. The matching components that go along with these rigs (Speaker,VFO,tuner,station monitor, etc.) make a shack look top notch.

Bottom line: These rigs are getting old. However, they made millions of them & parts ARE out there. You might have to dig on the internet for them but they're out there. Just check eBay. You could build a complete rig from eBay donor parts. They're old tech, so don't be expecting DSP quality from a XTAL filter. That being said the RX on mine is fantastic & I have no need for anything more.

My rig is currently with Old Ham Dave getting a full once over. Once I get it back from him I expect to get decades of service out of it. They're just that well built.
VK6NSB Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2015 19:06 Send this review to a friend
Got the bug  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My TS 820 was purchased for $50. The owner said it rec but no trans. He changed valves and said it was no good. The only problem I found was the shorting plug wasn't making contact.It's fully optioned ie cw filter, DG1 etc making it basically a TS 820S. It's now joining my TS 520S and TS 520SE and has been re-painted and neutralised and looks and sounds like new with great audio reports. I think the TS 820 is a superb rig, if you find one grab it with both hands. I think I've got the hybrid bug bad
KD2ACO Rating: 5/5 Jun 3, 2014 15:31 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio. Easy to align/repair. Good price/performance.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine's an 820 without the digi readout. I got it 4 years ago on eBay as a starter radio. Paid $250 for it as it needed a lot of work to bring it up. I knew that going into it and the work was easy to do. Now, it's tricked out with shunt regulators for the screens, InRad filters, a nifty Pongrance VFO. This radio gets me exceptional audio quality reports. I have used the regs to run the driver and finals at 80 watts and very clean according to the Wave Node analyzer (out of band <-35dB and usually a bit lower). All in all, I'd say it'a a great value and a good radio to learn on and keep!
KK4RXN Rating: 5/5 Oct 7, 2013 12:22 Send this review to a friend
Glad I have been able to learn on my TS-820!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
6 months ago I was getting ready to take my Technician's license exam to get started in ham radio when I bought an inexpensive HT to learn with. I also found out my Great Uncle was going into a nursing home after 55 years of being a ham. When I met him and my cousins at his shack the day he was moving, I found out he had a TS-820 in great shape (he just hadn't used it in a long time) along with a Kenwood external speaker, a VFO-820, an MC-50 mic and some other assorted equipment.

I didn't even know what the stuff was... but I did a quick lookup through my phone on to see what I could find out (never had even been to the site in my life). I saw great reports on this radio and saw on ebay that they were going for $250 - $400, so I figured I'd buy his TS-820 and other equipment to learn on.

I couldn't wait to get it all home! I had no idea what I was doing, but after joining and getting more information all over the Internet, I connected a copper wire with a banana plug just to receive what I could while I was studying for the Tech license. I stayed up many nights just listening and writing down contacts in my Uncle's 30 year old log books to see what I could do once I actually could get on the air.

I was thrilled the day I passed the Tech license and could try to get on the air, but the few frequencies that I was allowed were not very strong. I had to wait longer to pass my General... but once I did, I was extremely impressed (once I learned how to tune the thing) how far I could get out with it. With just 450 ohm feedline that I also got in the bundle and some wire, I was quickly able to receive (loudly and clearly) and broadcast into Europe. I was pleasantly shocked!

My Uncle's TS-820 includes the digital display and a CW filter, but I don't even know CW yet. I'll learn it one of these days. I have too much fun talking all over the world on it on the homebrew antennas I come up with all the time. My neighbors get a kick out of seeing what I have put up and what I take down to replace the existing antennas with!

I am extremely happy with my TS-820 (especially for how little my Uncle took for it and the other equipment to get me started). Eventually I will work up to a mobile rig, but for now my TS-820 is and always will be my best!
N8WGM Rating: 5/5 Sep 10, 2013 19:05 Send this review to a friend
One of the best hybrid radios  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently picked up a Kenwood TS820. Not the S version but the 820 with the display option. The original display was replaced with a better version.

This radio is heavy. Around 45 lbs. It does have a presence to it with huge knobs and switches. It looks like a radio. Great for those with eyesight that is getting weaker and for those with big fingers.

The receive audio is excellent with the internal speaker and even better with high quality phones.

The VFO on my rig has a tendency to drift but it will get better when I clean it up according to those with lots of experience with these radios.
Running the heater does help and after a while it all settles down. But there still is a bit of drift.

You will need an external tuner with this rig as it does not have an antenna tuner that are in most of the modern rigs. I found that with a resonant antenna, this thing outperforms the higher end rigs like the 950sdx on receive. I even like the audio on this better than the digital rigs like the 870.

Drift is a problem though. It does drift and there are a few ways to take care of that. There are VFO stabilizers that are available and also a good cleaning and tightening of the boards can help.

Seeing how I just got this rig, I have not transmitted with it as of now. But I will after a good cleaning and checking it out. I have used a TS820 at a friends shack and I am impressed with the signal reports and the audio reports that I got with his 820. That is why I decided to get one.

There are a few folks that will do a complete overhaul of these rigs and that may be an option for those not able to do the work.

From what I can tell, there are still lots of parts available for these rigs and keeping them running is fairly easy.

I've owned many rigs over the years, mostly Kenwoods. A TS450sat, a TS850, a TS950 SDX and a TS870 along with an Icom 745. Running this rig is a little bit different from running the newer transceivers and takes some getting used to. But I really am starting to love the TS820. Make sure if you are thinking of getting one that it has the digital display and the problem with it fixed. The dial indicator is nice but it does require a bit of figuring to know where you are at on the band. So the digital frequency indicator is almost a must have. And don't think you will use it for general coverage receive. It is only for the ham bands.

So far I am loving this radio. If you can find one in good shape for under $250, buy it. It is a great transceiver.
W4IOA Rating: 5/5 Jun 21, 2012 23:32 Send this review to a friend
A Great Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
It was the 1st HF radio I got, over 3 years ago and still loving it. I have a IC-718 but it is currently only being used if I want to do some PSK or do some SWL. The Kenwood audio is what makes this radio come to life. I work bareback off of a TH-3JRS 35' in the air and I have little problem getting past the pileups, the tone is just that good. Learning to peak and dip is quite easy, I have used this radio on verticals and yagis with never an issue. It's a radio that I feel would benefit every new ham to run and operate. The only problem is that it will spoil them, for this radio will do things at a fraction of the cost of a comparable modern radio.
W5WAA Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2012 07:29 Send this review to a friend
Still a top-notch rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
While selling all my ham equipment I was forced to test everything to make sure everything still worked. As I checked out the 820s I was reminded of just how good a radio this is. Few radios made today can do much better. No, it doesn't have as good a receiver as the 850s, but there is a whole lot less knobs to deal with so you don't have to re-train yourself everytime you operate it (I have always been a casual operator, sometimes going over a year without being on the air). I'll hate to see this one go, just as I was to see the 850s go.
AD5WO Rating: 5/5 Dec 27, 2011 10:41 Send this review to a friend
Great old rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I stored an 820s in my shack for my club for about a year and then decided to hook it up and use it a bit. Well I am now hooked, I bought the 820 from my club, and now use it daily on 75 meters. I am very pleased with it, and will never let it go. The display goes haywire from time to time, but is an easy fix by cleaning the pins. The original tubes are still installed and measures about 120 watts on 75 meters. If you can find one at a reasonable price, buy will not be sorry.
VA3SQ Rating: 5/5 Mar 8, 2011 09:46 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Old Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
This TS820S has been my main CW rig since 1979, Still has the original Finals and still going strong. The only repair done on it since I bought it, turned out to be a faulty transistor in the VOX circuit. The only main concern I had with rig was that about every 6 months the display would stop working,and you would have to take it all apart and clean the board grounds and connectors and re assemble, then it worked like a charm. I primarily use this rig today for my PSK work on 20 and 40 meters. I have got very good reports from fellow hams on this rig when running around 20 watts. I still think this rig has a lot of life left, and I have been very pleased over these years with the TS-820s.
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