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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-440S/AT Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-440S/AT
Kenwood TS-440S/AT Reviews: 101 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $1200 price class
Description: 160-10 Meter HF Transceiver/Auto Tune
Product is not in production.
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N0FMO Rating: 5/5 Apr 28, 2019 13:53 Send this review to a friend
Hamfest Purchase   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Found one at a Hamfest was extremely cheap Must have been an Estate radio (under $100). No mic no P.s--Brought it home, was extremely dirty, cleaned it up, knobs and case. hooked it up to a P.s. connected a Kenwood mic I also found for $20 at the same Hamfest . And it came on --no dot problem, receives and transmits fine. Replaced burned out S-meter light. When I opened it up. I found it had a SSB & Cw filter installed, Voice synthesizer installed, an At Tuner installed. Memory holding good. What a find. I fell in love right away. I had had the original sales brochure already so I was a little familiar with this girl already and so I printed service/owners Manuals for it. (Download)
N7JS Rating: 4/5 Dec 24, 2018 23:35 Send this review to a friend
VCO 5 may haunt you  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is actually a great radio (which is why I gave it a 4) but here is my experience with the infamous VCO5.

I've had this board (PLL Unit) pulled out and installed so many times, I could probably do it with my eyes closed. My radio developed a distorted RX audio which would usually happen about 10 min after startup. It also affected TX. I tried cleaning the synthetic rubber in VCO5 without removing parts. It is next to impossible to do this effectively and I simply made the problem worse AND the dreaded dots showed up. Depressing! I then decided to pull all the parts that had any of rubber on them whatsoever (a lot of parts) and do it right...just clean that whole area properly...very time consuming! (Pick, scrape, and then finish with some rubbing alcohol). Be careful not to get the alcohol on adjoining parts. I also decided to replace the electrolytic caps as well as Q34, Q35, and D14 (per recommendation by Kenwood). I put everything back together again and the dots are gone but the same audio/tx issue! Uggghhh. Remembering the initial problem after warm up - led me to start focusing on D13 (called a varistor temperature compensating diode). Testing it showed open on both ends with the VOM. I tried applying some DC voltage and the same thing...maybe on to something here. The bad news. It is an extremely difficult part to obtain. The original part is a MV203. Good luck finding that. Kenwood recommends a replacement of a MA27T-B (just as difficult to find - must be a T-B not A). That sent me looking at a whole bunch of diode data sheets and I came across an NTE601 with the right specs. A discontinued part but someone on Ebay has a bunch of them for sale. It arrived today and I installed it and Whalah....everything works beautiful and the radio has been on for several hours. (Below is the cleaned out VCO5 with some new parts installed including the important D13 in my case). PS: If you do this repair, don't forget to adjust T20 for 5 volts (off L20 and ground) on 14.200 before buttoning it up.
VK2JEM Rating: 2/5 Jul 25, 2017 19:43 Send this review to a friend
Get one while they last - because it wont last  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Had one years ago. A great radio in its day. Love the size, the layout, the looks, the features, the performance.

Whats not to love?
The fact that due to the goop on the motherboards and the Keypad" bounce they die. Parts are impossible and remediating the VCO goop and re-aligning is a long painful job (or expensive if you're not doing it yourself)

It soon becomes just something nice to look at

For the same price as one of these there are better choices from icom or yaesu that stand the test of time.

This one like its sister RX the R5000 were great in their day but werent built to last.

KJ4RZZ Rating: 5/5 Jan 12, 2017 03:47 Send this review to a friend
Great radio, owned many of them  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm on my 5th TS-440. I've purchased them over the years,some in poor condition, restored them, used them for awhile, and then sold them for a small profit. I purchaed one recently which was in mint condition with a high serial number (90600 i think) and it does not have brown sonybond goop, but instead a white wax. This one is a keeper and will never get sold. This is now my main radio :)

I'm surprised to read of people selling the TS-440 because the dot problem was "too expensive to repair". I've fixed several of these myself... you simply chip the old brown glue away with a pick. I could teach my 12yr old to do it.

The trick though to getting a good working TS-440 is to pay attention to the details. A lot of deformed screw heads, missing screws, bent panels, are signs that someone has been inside the radio with poor skills. Knowledgeable people dont strip screws or pry apart cases. Steer clear of a beat up radio unless the owner can prove its working correctly and the price is under $300.

Look for the cleanest unit you can find and ask that the seller transmit with it until it feels warm to verify it is working. I have one TS-440 now with a bad IF board which stops transmitting after 5 minutes (even in receive mode). The deformed screws and bent case was a clue something was going to be wrong.

I wouldnt worry about the dot problem its not a hard problem
to resolve. The temporary fix is just to leave the radio on for a long time (use it often) to keep the glue from absorbing moisture.

If the radio doesn't transmit, or is stuck in transmit, or has intermittent transmit... these are radios to avoid unless you want a project.

The beauty of these old radios is that that circuit boards are single sided discrete components. Very easy to repair and find parts for if you know how to troubleshoot a circuit.

As for peformance, these radios sound great as is and can be improved further by adding a DSP to the audio output.
KC0EKQ Rating: 5/5 Jan 6, 2017 00:25 Send this review to a friend
Great RX, too  Time owned: more than 12 months
You can read all about the famous 'dots' issue and other generally easy-to-resolve aging issues with this radio in other reviews and all over the internet in the right places... but for this review, I'm focusing on an aspect I don't see mentioned too often in regards to the 440...

It has an excellent receiver.

By itself, its RX earns it an eham 5, solid.

The TS440 was made at the same time as the much-venerated Kenwood R5000 receiver, and as such the 440 has very similar high quality of receive audio, selectivity and sensitivity.

I've used the TS440's TX for many years, and it's certainly solid Kenwood in the TX department... but I've used it far more often just for RX, either as a separate receiver while ragchewing and DXing, or just SWLing. It is just a pleasure to use.

Certainly it's a workhorse rig, a well-respected transceiver for a lot of solid reasons, but even if you only used it as a receiver, you could hardly do better with any other transceiver from its era, and in many cases even modern rigs.

For RX alone, a great big ol FIVE from this old radio man.
KB0HAE Rating: 3/5 Sep 24, 2016 22:02 Send this review to a friend
Could be good...or not  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I owned one of these briefly a few years ago. Turned out it had the famous "goop in the VCO) problem. Too expensive to have fixed, so I sold it for parts.
R2ABT Rating: 2/5 Feb 7, 2016 13:51 Send this review to a friend
Bad luck  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first TRX ever… Bought it as soon as I licensed. Have been happy for about a year and a half. Then so called “dot-problem” appeared. Had it repaired at Kenwood’s authorized dealer. In three-month time, the problem appeared again. Then over again. Repairing was a beating a dead horse... Nice radio. Nice receiving. Nice transmitting. Easy to operate. Nevertheless, much too old.

73! Peter R2ABT
KD8VQH Rating: 5/5 Sep 7, 2015 07:56 Send this review to a friend
love the radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have my TS-440sat for 2 years now. I started with a HTX100 after taking part in Skywarn Recognition
Day 2 years ago. That got my feet wet for HF and only having my Tech class 28.300 to 28.500 wasn't enough. Getting my 440 was motivation to upgrade to General. Mine has the dot issue, but it is has been left on for a while it goes away. I did the RF power mod and added 2 filters, and added the MC-85 desk mic. I love the radio and always get good reports on the audio. Our club does a 10 meter net every week and my 1st time using the 440 on the net everyone as what I did to the HTX100. I know I will use this radio for a long time. My next radio will be the TS-2000
W4VFZ Rating: 5/5 Sep 7, 2015 06:19 Send this review to a friend
Easy to operate and service.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Having been a ham since 1952, I've tried just about every radio out there, and Kenwood has always been a delight to own, operate, and service. It keeps up the tradition of Drake, Hammalund, National, etc.

Particularly in the area of service (which ALL radios need, sooner or later), the Kenwood TS-400 series feature "fold-out" boards and assemblies. You can get at every section without having to unsolder anything!

From an operating standpoint, it has all the "bells and whistles" that you'll really need. Bottom line: I have three TS-440SATs, and am "care taker" for three more of them!
W4BDX Rating: 5/5 Jun 17, 2015 13:10 Send this review to a friend
Simple & Ready  Time owned: more than 12 months
Very simple and ready to go where you need it! I had my 440 for over 4 years now and it has served me well, it misses a lot of great features from many modern rigs but still hold its own. If you are looking for a reliable radio and easy to operate in any conditions then this could be a solid candidate for you! You can find many on the web for sale but be careful and ensure that the one you buy has been serviced recently and all issues taken care of. Jankeelectronics from WI sells this rigs totally refurbished and guaranteed. I highly recomend them, they totally refurbish them before posting an ad on ebay. Great field day radio or even mobil use. For their current price in the market I consider this rig a great buy since it will not break your back pocket and will provide you with many years of Kenwood sound both on Rx and Tx. 73'
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