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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-50S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-50S
Kenwood TS-50S Reviews: 84 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $749.00
Description: The compact TS-50S packs a hefty punch.
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VE3FST Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2017 20:52 Send this review to a friend
Perfect Rig for my motor home !  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well this is my 3rd Kenwood TS-50 over the years . They make a great , fun and easy to operate mobile rig . They sound good with the supplied hand held mic too . Factory speaker has nice audio to boot . Put your favorite channels into memories and your ready to go .
VE7REN Rating: 5/5 Jan 15, 2017 16:32 Send this review to a friend
fantastic  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
over the years ive acquired many models of mini radios.. the ts50 is one ive owned twice before and have always managed to better myself by selling or trading them.. I recently acquired another I feel will be with me for some time.. its great size,and do it all quite well features keep a regular operator happy.. it doesn't have all the dsp featues and such of todays radios,but it does work well for a secondary receiver or main radio.. I have nothing bad to say of this radio.. nice size,features/performance factor vs the pricepoint..20 years later from my first one... I'm still impressed
N2MDV Rating: 4/5 Jan 11, 2017 21:10 Send this review to a friend
Good bare-bones rig! Decent AM TX.  Time owned: more than 12 months
After having the 6M TS-60 for a number of years, and loving that rig, I didn't really need the TS-50, but wanted it to compliment the TS-60, and to have a good back-up rig. AES had one more AT-50 complimenting auto tuner for this rig, so I bought that out. The only thing that was wrong with the rig when I'd gotten it was a dead Li Memory battery. That was easy enough to replace. Also, I've opened up the rig for 60M operation, which it does well. However, the AT-50 auto tuner will not do 60M. (The auto tuner in my TS-2000X doesn't either.) So, I use a manual tuner for that band. I agree that the NB (Noise Blanker), isn't that effective. I never really did understand what that AIP feature was for on RX, but I used it like it was a -10dB attenuator. RX itself is pretty good. It's got better ears than the TS-2000 and my Icom IC-7000, and way better than the Yaesu FT-857D. AM TX on this rig is quite good, and I've received compliments on it. And that's on the stock mic. What's strange it you have to drop Mic Gain to Low for that. (Same with the TS-60.) Only gripes? TX power levels are 10W, 50W, and 100W, non-continuous. Not very effective NB. And not really great for portability since this rig draws over 1A on RX. However, this rig will work in -10deg below Zero F. One big plus is all FM features are included for 10M FM repeater work, splits and CTCSS. Not many HF rigs in the early 1990's had this. 100 Memory channels is nice as well. It's a keeper.
MM0HRL Rating: 4/5 Nov 13, 2015 03:03 Send this review to a friend
Nice, with one caveat.  Time owned: more than 12 months
And that caveat is inescapable nowadays - it's age. Just that, age. These are old radios now, and despite how much they're loved by owners the effects of all those years on circuit boards and components just can't be ignored any more, much as I like my TS50.

Mine has no particular foibles, but capacitors do begin to leak and other matters like traces separating and burning can begin to spoil things.
Unfortunately the cost of professional radio repairs is now such that even a simple recap+realignment will consume a large part of a TS50's used-rig value, or maybe surpass it.

On the other hand, if you should happen to come across a little-used example and can check the board closely for visual signs of localised overheating/cap leakage - and with your nose for olfactory signs of fishy-similar once it's warmed up and after a few minutes of TX - then it's probably worth pursuing.

That's pretty much how mine checks out - I was lucky with mine - it came from a (careful) 11m DX operator, so mine is "opened" - and so is handy to check over the 60m frequencies from time to time - my other rigs are undoctored, so can't access that band.

On to the radio itself. Not a lot to say that hasn't been said previously. It is very effective, given certain limitations of its receiver. Even so, these rigs are usually well liked by their owners who often keep them as a backup once they've graduated to a younger/better radio.

Its audio quality needs little coverage from me - it's a Kenwood after all - and responds well to the use of good quality aftermarket microphones as well as the MC47 fist-mike original. I've used an Astatic Teardrop (original power mike) which sounds strong and lusty on the TS50 as well as a Sadelta Echo Master Plus (with the echo disabled, naturally) - which also gives strong, creamy audio.

The mike has four programmable buttons, and it's so easy to cycle through the several power settings using the mike - needful if using a manual matcher after a QSY. While using a different mike you need to access the menu to change power level for tuning.

There's not really a lot to criticise about the TS50. It's not feature-rich, but that's a blessing in many ways for a mobile radio, there's so much less to press unintentionally and bugger up settings on the road. It's a heavy little lump, and while it may look fairly-CB like, it certainly doesn't feel like that when you're holding it - it's one solid little radio.

Like most mobile radios, the RX audio routed to the inbuilt speaker isn't going to win prizes. It's better than many others, but it's still a small unit in a small enclosure. I use a Kenwood SP230 speaker, got it for 45 on ebay - what a great buy that was. This is one of those things you didn't know you needed so much until you have one! If mine died, I'd buy another as soon as one could be found.

For mobile use, I'd recommend one of the small BHI DSP speakers - mine is the little rectangular one, and its noise cancellation is very effective indeed. if you hear one working, you'll want one for yourself if your rig lacks decent noise cancellation.

A mention should be made re power output. There is info on the web about boosting the TX power. In short - don't. Your signal will become rich in harmonics, you'll give interference all over and if you could analyse the result you'd quickly restore it to spec output. Also - the finals stand a great chance of burning out if run like this.

That's it really. Mine's a keeper for the present, but might have to go at some point to fund something younger/better - I now use an FT857d for mobile use so it's fairly redundant these days.
KA4ETV Rating: 5/5 Jul 12, 2015 08:57 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great simple radio. Built like a tank. Good buy at any price.
AK6ZZ Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2014 06:22 Send this review to a friend
Great inexpensive mobile  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just picked up a TS50 from a ham in town for $125 that works great. I quickly installed it into my truck using the existing HF infrastructure I once had installed for a more significant mobile and it was plug and play. I feel now I have the right amount of investment in my mobile system. A couple quick checks and I made some contest SSB contacts using mid power 50W this weekend to Estonia, Canada, US on 20m and one post contest contact to Japan on 10m last evening. Overall thrilled with how the TS50 rig works. I am using a combination of hamsticks and a frankenantenna of a 6m hamstick and a super antenna vertical coil. Believe it or not it tunes from 40 to 10m. Mobile in motion is only the hamsticks because the super antenna would break apart at highway speeds. Best small investment in ham radio in quite a while.
W4KVW Rating: 5/5 Sep 30, 2013 23:11 Send this review to a friend
Still GREAT! {:>)  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Well I now own my 3rd TS-50.As in a review I did several years ago I still think this is the simplest HF rig I've ever owned base or mobile.I us the one I have now just for when I'm goofing off & not running the amplifier or main rigs & HF yagi(756 PROII & 746 PRO).It works well with the Antron 99 vertical at 30 ft & an MFJ-945E tuner.I just enjoy playing with it & even with the stock MC-47 hand microphone I get great audio reports.I also use a ClearSpeech DSP Speaker with this unit & it's a BIG PLUS since the TS-50 is a bare bones rig but well worth what one can be picked up for these days.I'm still an ICOM Man but boys & girls I love the TS-50 for an all around HF mobile or base rig that just works & it works well.Kenwood should start making the TS-50 again & just add a filter or two & it would be a WINNER all over again.Pick you up one & you won't be sorry you did.It's a FUN little All Mode HF radio & ham radio is suppose to be FUN.{:>)
VK2IN Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2013 10:50 Send this review to a friend
for the price - awesome!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If your on a budget dont even bother with anything else. Its small light weight 3kg does 100 watts and has virtually no menus with a fantastic RX to boot!
Do yourself a favour and buy one! Its THAT good.
AG6RN Rating: 5/5 Feb 10, 2013 12:35 Send this review to a friend
Can't be beat for the money  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I picked up a TS 50 with the matching AT 50 tuner this past summer for $500 from a friend. I got it right when 10 meters was opening up and worked the world from a 10M ham stick on my Chevy Avalanche. Europe, Asia, even broke through pile ups on some rare stations (calling out mobile after your call sign helps).

Large easy to read display, even with the sun on it, no need to go into menus once operating, and 100 watts out on 160-10 makes it the perfect mobile rig for me. I also love that when changing functions, it gives an audible cue in CW so that you don't have to check the display
KG4FET Rating: 5/5 Aug 11, 2012 04:47 Send this review to a friend
Great bare bones HF rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This was purchased to keep from using my FT450AT in the mobile. The 450 is just to big for comfortable operation in our Tuscan. For a bare bones HF radio this is one heck of a rig. I haven't had it but a few days but initial impressions are the receiver is nearly as good as my FT450AT with all the "toys". Transmit audio is very good on the stock mic. Everyone I have talked to has told me it sounds like me. It is a nice compact radio for mobile operation and with the quick release MMB it's easy to pull in and out of the mobile. I don't run hf mobile often so it doesn't stay in there. With the AT50 this is a very good base/portable too. On the bench with a Mystery hooked up the AT50 has tuned 160-10 with no balks except 15M before I hooked a ground up.
Cons: No extra filtering, added a Autek QF1A on the bench and BIG improvement.
You can wire and after market mic but you will loose a bunch of functions
over all this is a great first rig, or as a backup. It has been used more then my 450 the last few days because of the AT and the ease of use. If you have a chance to get one do so!
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