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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Kenwood TS-590S Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TS-590S
Kenwood TS-590S Reviews: 306 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $1799.99
Description: The TS-590S marks a bold new chapter in Kenwood's proud history of manufacturing high-performance transceivers. Featuring a narrow-band Roofing Filter the TS-590S significantly reduces interference from unwanted signals that would be hidden to lesser rigs. With IF AGC based on advanced DSP technology, Kenwood has essentially redefined HF performance.
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W8NLZ Rating: 4/5 Nov 13, 2018 13:29 Send this review to a friend
Unbeatable for Price & Value  Time owned: more than 12 months
The best endorsement one can give a radio - I bought a 2nd one.

Disclosure: I am an old school ham - still thrill to the knob twisting and morse code of as they did it when I was first licensed. And, I am a Kenwood man - the displays, knobs, and buttons are just what and where you want them. I am content to stumble along without a pan adapter.

To me, it is unbelievable that you can buy such a good transceiver used for less than half of the MSRP. 3rd order intercept statistics aside, the TS-590S has as much capability as the average ham can use. Beyond this point, the antennas become much more important. The "SG" suffix will add little to your daily ops.

The other 31 reviews ahead of me have extolled its fine points. I will just reiterate: at the going price for "lightly used", the TS-590S is a terrific buy.
ON5HB Rating: 5/5 Feb 24, 2018 10:41 Send this review to a friend
Compared to few others, it's by far the best!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own this radio for quite some time now and compared it to others. There is simply no comparison, it sticks out way above the rest.
One of it's "problems" is the sensitivity, it's very high, as such I run it with ATT on all the time.
Because if you do the DSP is far better in filtering rubbish away.
I run it with an Acom 1010 and it has no problems or spikes or other stuff, the Acom doesn't complain one bit.

The newer radio TS-590SG is not worth switching unless you need a Pan-adapter, both are equal in performance and options.

Few remarks are in order:

1) The build in speaker isn't very good, with an external it shines.
2) The USB connector isn't very well protected against overload, I had a surge spike due to lightning and it blew, beyond repair! (everything is double so no problem but still)
3) The Multi-rotation-knob isn't very well build, if you use it often it will start to give false readings and jumps up and down in values/freq.

Other then these small issues, it's an excellent radio.

Another remark, there are a lot of extra jumper-settings inside the radio to change e.g. sensitivity, if you are on expedition on a remote island you may want to switch jumpers to gain more signal as it can be jumped a lot higher!
There is a DX-jumper inside!! But not useful in crowded areas.
W0XX Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2017 15:43 Send this review to a friend
The best!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great radio, very affordable, still stands neck to neck with many radios far more expensive.
W1AST Rating: 5/5 Apr 29, 2017 16:30 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Rig for any user!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my TS-590s for nearly 6 years now. It is my 3rd 5 series Kenwood from my original 520s, 570dg and now the 590s.

A few basic points in that it has fabulous transmit audio. I get compliments all the time. I do use a Heil PR781 mic with it. But I get those comments with the hand mic and my Heil headset too. It also has great receive audio. Given Kenwoods audio history they have incorporated that into the 590s too for audio that you can list to for hours on end and it won't tire you out with it's mechanical or electronic sound like some other transcievers (some that are much more $$ too). The menu is set it up and rarely go back to it. All the keys are laid out ergonomically and makes sense as they are grouped together to make use and especially to remember how to use it if away for a while.

During last years NPOTA chasing I really put the DSP filters to good use and learned more about them while making stations in the noise come up and the noise go down. After all this time I'm still mastering that and it works great! This is for both SSB and CW.

I have a Dayton audio speaker on it and that sounds great and also use a Elecraft KPA-500 amp and KAT500 tuner with it. Both work exceptional and track bands and modes thru a series of cables.

All in all you won't be disappointed with the 590s and the audio reports you'll get from DX and everyone may surprise you too.

I still love my 590 and hope to be using it for many more years!
WB9MSM Rating: 5/5 Apr 14, 2017 11:27 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my TS-590S for three years and I still like it a lot. It has been a real workhorse and does exactly what I need it to do. I have it now set-up with the SDRPlay which makes for a beautiful panadapter. This rig has been to Kenwood East for their free ALC mod. The only real downside is that I would of liked to have an illuminated front panel display for all the buttons and knobs. If you come across one of these for sale I don't think you could go wrong with buying it. It is truly an excellent Phone,CW and Digital rig.
WD5ACP Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2017 09:09 Send this review to a friend
Update - at 4 years - Better then ever!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Been a ham since 1975.

I've been enjoying my TS-590 now for almost 4 years and in my opinion of the radio keeps getting better. I've kept the firmware up to date and also sent the radio to the East Coast service center for the free ALC mod (cost only the shipping to the service center). I use the radio with and without HRD and sometimes with the free remote operation software from Kenwood for operating the station remotely when I travel. Kudo's to Kenwood for the level of support they provide their customers.

I don't have a solid state amp, so I didn't really need the ALC hardware mod, but since I wanted to keep the radio up-to-date I sent it in anyway. Not only did the service center complete the mod, they also did some minor calibration. Upon return the relative output on SSB seemed to go up. My "punch" improved.

The radio has been 100% since the day I purchased it. Never a burp or issue. I've tweaked the menus so I have it operating smoothly in SSB, digital modes, computer control, with and without amp... it just works, and works well. The speech processor is especially impressive with both a processor IN and an processor OUT setting. Take time to adjust these and you'll be very impressed.

SSB transmit reports I get back are stellar - I'm not exaggerating... I get a ton of unsolicited comments on how good the Tx is! (I use the processor, but keep the Tx and Rx equalizers flat). I use the matching MC-60 desk mic with the preamp wiring bypassed (to prevent RF issues).

The Rx is just what you've read. Selective and sensitive. Connected to an external speaker the audio sounds great.

I've looked at other radios since I picked up the TS-590 but honestly I can't justify any other Radio. I was never a Kenwood fan-boy, but this rig really has me convinced. You'll be hard pressed to find a better performer. If you're buying new, the SG variant is the one to get.

My only MINOR wishes are I wish the buttons were back-lit and the IF bandwidth Hi/Low ... Width/Shift knob is more complicated and limited than it should be. Simple High/Low cut with full range would be preferred, though what the rig has works fine. I'm just nit-picking to find something to complain about.

For a good read download the engineering guide that Kenwood put out for the radio - covers everything from the electronic design to the selection of the color of the paint and the design of the main tuning knob. Kenwood put a LOT of thought into this rig and it shows.
NT9M Rating: 5/5 Dec 4, 2016 16:45 Send this review to a friend
Extremly pleased  Time owned: more than 12 months
Going on 29 months with my TS-590S and I'll offer my first comments about it.

Having used a TS-2000 for more than a dozen years, the user interface of the 590 is very familiar and IMO very user friendly. All the things you would want to adjust on the fly and in the heat of the contest are right there on the front panel.

Just worked some of the ARRL 160 Meter contest this weekend (CW) and the band was packed with signals. The 590s receiver easily handled the cacophony of signals, working weak signals a whisker away from S9+ signals.

I did find some slight variation of frequency calibration on the 6 meter band, but one of the very low cost TCXO modules purchased on ebay corrected that issue.

My 590S was one of the last ones built before the 590SG came out, so it already had the ALC mod done at the factory, and I have never had any difficulty making 100 watts output with my audio input adjusted to just where the ALC meter starts to indicate on peaks. No need to run audio any higher. I've received many a compliment on my audio using a Heil Goldline and a Heil ProSet Plus mic with the equalization set to HB1.

My only gripe is my own bad timing. I purchased my 590S new and paid full price, only to have the 590SG debut a couple of months later. Win some and lose some.

At the prices these are currently bringing on the used market, they are an absolute best value for the dollar.
WD5ENH Rating: 3/5 Nov 19, 2016 04:37 Send this review to a friend
Just OK  Time owned: more than 12 months
This past August I traded in my Kenwood TS-590s for a Kenwood TS-2000 because I got interested in working satellite. I have read the reviews about the Kenwood TS-590s about the receiving and I will omit it receives very well. But what I don't like about the radio is the transmitting power. Yes a dead carrier will show you 100 W out, but speaking into the radio and yes I do have a peek reading watt meter and it was showing to be about between 50 to 60 W out. And I feel that I have lost more contacts because of that. I will omit that I do like the DSP features of the radio but I did not like the transmitting performance. As for as power output my Kenwood TS-2000 works great, I have made more contacts with this radio than I did with the 590s working with the same antenna. Would I have a Kenwood TS-590s as a backup radio? Probably not.
RW9RN Rating: 3/5 Nov 11, 2016 01:43 Send this review to a friend
This transceiver is done in a hurry  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Interesting receiver, not ergonomics, incomprehensible transmitter.
AA5AZ Rating: 4/5 Jun 1, 2016 06:53 Send this review to a friend
It's like listening to chocolate  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've been a ham now for five years and the first thing people say when Kenwood comes up is "Kenwood has a long history of great audio in their rigs." This is no exception. I swear, it's like listening to chocolate. That's the best way I know to describe it.

I am coming from three years with an Icom 746. It's a remarkable rig, pretty versatile for it's time, but it is outdated, especially on receive. I saw my 590s on QRZ for $850 (neg to $830) and it was a 4.5 hour drive to go get it; he offered to ship, but I wanted to see it. It performs just like a brand new rig and looks like it just came out of the box. I sold my 746 for $750 with the desk mic. So, with $40 in gas and $80 to boot, I just upgraded to a very comparable contest rig to an Elecraft K3. Yes, I said Elecraft and K3.

I was at our PVRC ( club meeting and one of the guys heard a couple talking about the expense of the K3, so one very veteran contester and member of the club, spoke up and said, "Guys, I think you're missing the boat. There's not a radio, Dollar for feature, to beat the Kenwood 590s." He pointed at one guy sitting next to me and said, "Nathan has two of them and that's what he's using and I've got two." Nathan just happened to be a contestant in the WRTC '14 in Mass. Nathan and I had a quick conversation about the radio later and so did I and the guy who started the conversation. Two days later, I was a TS-590s owner.

If you do your research, the whole premise behind this radio by Kenwood was to be a "K3 Killer." While it hasn't killed the K3 and still lacks some of the K3's ability, it is still an amazing radio at half the price MSRP of the K3. I hear things I never would've heard in the 746. Never.

The price is remarkable. When the coupons are hot, you can get a refurbed 590sg from HRO for $1300. I have no qualms buying refurbed. I know this thread is about the "s" and not the "sg," but I'm just saying these things are cheap when comparing feature and price; just to clarify, mine is an "s" model. Try buying a used Elecraft K3 in the $900 range? It's not happening.

If you are a wannabe contester or a contester, but especially one of those like me on a budget, this rig is for you.

The reason for 4/5 is I do think the DSP needs to have a finer, more granular tune, but then again, at 4 months, maybe it's me and not the rig.
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