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Reviews For: Kenwood TS-990S

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - non QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TS-990S
Reviews: 111MSRP: 7999
Kenwood FLAGSHIP TS-990S has arrived. Kenwoods sets a new preformance and operating standard for the ultimate Amateur Transceiver. Advanced KENWOOD technologies deliver a Top-End receive and transmitt experience on Amateur Bands 160 Mtr to 6 Mtrs. Kenwood proudly adds the 990S to its trendsetting TS series!
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W6LBV Rating: 2023-05-28
Not your grandfather's typical review Time Owned: more than 12 months.

As an owner of several Kenwood Amateur products (among other brands), in 2016 I purchased and reviewed the TS-990. Since I already had gained previous experience with Kenwood radios at that time, I only lightly studied the very large User Manual and quickly proceeded to put the new radio into service and to use it. The 990 provided good performance and no problems.

In 2022 I began a total rebuild of my existing shack, and the 990 went into storage. The rebuild is now far enough completed that I was recently able to put the 990 back into service. As I again started to use it I found that I had memory lapses about some of its functions, and I made a commitment to study the User Manual in detail this time, to try to understand all of the built-in functions. As I studied it I learned an important lesson: there are significantly more capabilities that the radio possesses than I had either known about or had used previously. This has led to an important understanding about the design of the radio.

I began to realize that the 990 is more than just a high end radio. It is also, entirely separately from its radio functions, a good (but not spectacular) general lab instrument for testing and measuring radio signals. As other reviews have demonstrated, it can certainly transmit and receive well but it also can independently measure and analyze signals to a degree that isn’t yet very common in today’s gear.

Certainly the 990 will never be top-of-the-line in its lab measurements functions. Any dedicated-to-purpose HP or Agilent lab instrument would exceed the performance built into the 990. But with the Kenwood the instruments are already installed; one doesn’t need to purchase, calibrate, and then move separate instrumentation into an operating position. A measurement function is available at the push of one or several buttons on the front panel and it can be brought up for use in just seconds.

And that is a considerable benefit to have available at one’s fingertips when trying to optimize transmitting, receiving, or audio streams during a QSO. The front panel of the 990 is well sourced with controls which can do many tasks for the operator. And the big TFT screen makes the measurements easily viewable.

Nevertheless there has been a significant change in the 990's status during the past seven years: the introduction of the TS-890 transceiver. The 890, in basic concept, is essentially the same design as the 990, minus the second on-board receiver, the on-board 120 vac power supply, and the 200 watt P. A. And with a lower purchase price.

The 990 is clearly intended for the very experienced and advanced operator, who lives in the demanding world of contesting and DXing. The 890 contains almost all of the same operating and measurement capabilities originally designed into the 990, but it provides a lower cost and perhaps a less specialized alternative to the purchaser. The fact that both are available is a feather in Kenwood’s cap.

The TS-990 will have a “forever” location in my shack, and I may never own a TS-890. But, in honesty, if the TS-890 had been available when I made my purchase, it probably would have been my choice.


“This is not your grandfather’s era product review of the Kenwood TS-990.” And the 990 is not your grandfather’s era Swan 500, either! The 990 is a modern, very high quality, and hugely capable state-of-the-art instrument, but it may not be the best choice for every ham. This review is intended to provide some decision-making information about it, especially for those who might not enjoy and benefit from owning and using the TS-990, and who could therefore be dissatisfied with it after purchase.

The TS-990 is an outstanding “traditional” (i.e., containing discrete, hardware-based sub-systems) HF transceiver, one with unparalleled versatility. Nevertheless, it is certainly not the astoundingly best HF transceiver ever to be produced following the end of Prof. Heinrich Hertz’s experiments with electromagnetic waves. One would be naive to claim that! But it fits securely and very competently into the ranks of contemporary “top tier” HF radios.

The 990 is the result of twenty years of design work, product development, and continuing advances in technology. It is not a major “revision” of the last transceiver that Kenwood introduced; it is an entirely new, “from the ground up” product.

The TS-990 is a very complex instrument. It has almost endless possibilities for varied ham uses because of the large number of circuits and functions that have been designed and built into it. (An approximately 250 page instruction manual barely covers the job of explaining it!) It is possible that an operator will not ever fully understand everything that the 990 contains or will not ever use everything that it is capable of doing. Thus a distinction: the TS-990 is not a “plug and play” transceiver, or a “first radio” for a newly licensed ham.

Over the past thirty years this reviewer has purchased, owned, and used a number of Kenwood HF transceivers, and he understands the “Kenwood way” of designing and producing radios. Yet when the 990 arrived and was first set up on the operating bench, it was as if “the world had begun anew.” It was necessary to study the manual intently over a period of weeks, adding new “tricks” to the existing quiver-full each day. And, in reality, his work on the learning curve still continues. More of its functions are still to be mastered.

This high level of complexity is a key point. A prospective purchaser should have (among others) two different major skill sets to aid his being able to master and use the 990 with satisfaction: background and experience with current HF transceivers and modern wireless technology, and a willingness to work at and eventually complete the climb up a long learning curve. These are not impossible goals, but there will be no “zero-familiarity-to-complete-mastery-of-the-990" in just fifteen minutes after opening the box!” If a prospective buyer does not yet have these skills, then some serious considerations should be given before making a purchase.

A particular area of technical difficulty for many 990 users, judging from the volume of traffic on the Yahoo TS-990 users’ group, is wire-based digital communications between the 990 and other digital devices connected to the 990. Modern radio operations practically demand an associated computer and/or other digital devices for purposes of logging, digital mode communications, even radio remote control. The TS-990 certainly has such a requirement, but it also has three digital communications I/O ports: RS-232, USB, and ethernet (IP, pointing to a LAN/router with DHCP). In addition Kenwood provides (via a free download) essential radio remote control computer applications for the 990.

Everything required is there (with the exception of connecting cables), but it all needs a knowledgeable set-up. Prospective purchasers thus should have good skills in wire-based digital communications, and the willingness to trouble-shoot physical connections and computer communications, if needed, until they work properly. Without such personal skills, a number of the 990's capabilities may only be available to the purchaser with difficulty and potential frustration. One should think hard about this before purchasing.

The TS-990 is a magnificent radio. I will keep mine for the rest of my days, and perhaps still not master quite all of it. And in fact, the 990 could even represent a growing problem to Kenwood marketing: after producing this radio, what else could Kenwood add to a future radio to tempt a current 990 owner to abandon his present rig and buy another (even more impressive) one? I can’t suggest any really significant new capability that is now “missing” and that could be beneficially added!

The TS-990 is available at a fairly “comfortable” price point (for a state-of-the-art HF transceiver). For a senior, mature operator it will provide superior service and should earn “pride of place” in any station. For an inexperienced or beginning ham, it might just prove troublesome and difficult to master. Caveat emptor!
RA4RT Rating: 2023-03-18
Best Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I recently bought an FTDX101 and was disappointed. No transceiver can isolate signals from interference like the TS 990. NR1 NR2 features make it out of reach!
You just take a fork, push the DX and pull it to the surface. No other radio can do this.
YO3VU Rating: 2022-12-25
It's worth every penny Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Well I have to say I have checked for two years and read all about many other transceivers until I have decided. The most important review I always took seriously into consideration is Peter Hart. I was reading many comments on web, YouTube, forums,... I am most taking in consideration European comments, not than others don't know what they talking about. But buying a rig just because I can use the mouse and is like my Android phone is not that my thing. None has to be offended. Taste is no comment. The fact that is had all included, nothing little other bits to add is great. Hope that INRAD will have a go for a SSB filter of 1.8KHZ or 2. My first impression. I will let you know after I will run it more.


Well is a remarkable machine excel everywhere. Be aware of the most important part - antenna. Without a proper antenna and only with a long wire, you will not get any great result. The best of what I ever own by now? There will come some others that will come along, not for me but the future will tell. i am myself a hardcore SSB man and RTTY. I have not seen any reviews about what you can do with the audio files. The internal RTTY works well, as PSK but for beginners is OK Also CW, if signal is at a reasonable strength the transceiver can decode it. The shift and width controls are absolutely amazing, SSB and RTTY. Most controls are on the front panel which is very important if you chasing DX or in contest. Is it a winner? Yes it is.
K2GAV Rating: 2022-08-25
Very Impressed Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've now owned this radio for nearly ten years. I've used the hell out of it. I log all my HF contacts electronically, along with the rig used. So, believe me, I have today 35,208 contacts with it, not counting several thousand more operating W1AW/1 CT in 2014 and multiple years as K2D and K2J for Thirteen Colonies. I easily have over 40,000 contacts on the radio with ZERO issues, nada, nil, zilch! It doesn't get any better than that folks! It's a true classic.


Original post:

I received mine on March 26, 2013. Of course I have to love it as I spent $8,000 on it! Setting my cognitive dissonance aside, I like:
* Receiver selectivity and sensitivity
* Audio bandscope in sub display with overlaid roofing filter graphic, including notch indication.
* Dual,colorful and sharp TFT displays
* Connectivity, USB rig control with embedded audio and LAN are great
* Ease of use with many front panel controls
* Easy to use tiered menus
* SWL mode it cute
* Auto switching of modes as frequency is changed
* Bandscope with touch screen tuning
* Meter display flexibility
* DVI-D video out makes nice eye candy on my 32" HDTV. See my page for a photo.
* Kenwood ARCP-990 Radio Control Program with either USB or LAN connectivity to radio
* Clock locked to NTP at NIST via Internet
* Voice prompting extensive and very configurable
* Direct entry keypad shared with band selector, but number buttons backlight when used for direct entry
* Dual receiver with great performing sub receiver
* 18 band graphic equalizer with great graphics and easy control with fine indication of gain/cut levels
* So much more!

One thing you must do upon receipt, at least from version 1.0 firmware is to lengthen the AGC-Slow release time to maximum. As delivered is virtually indistinguishable from AGC-Medium.

AB4D Rating: 2022-07-22
Finally, DSP that works on SSB. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
It's about time to update my review of the TS-990S I purchased in 2014. There has been significant updates from Kenwood over the years, going from version 1.06 during my initial review to the current version 1.25 and that has produced improvements.

Previously, I noted an issue with the fan during standby mode, that was resolved with one of the updates. The rig can still produce significant heat but that is normal, and dealing with strong stations has become less of an issue with long term operator experience using the TS-990S.

Overall, the TS-990S still reigns supreme in my station. I haven't had one issue with the transceiver. The FTDX-9000 and a FTDX-3000 I previously mentioned, found new homes, and was recently replaced by a FTDX-5000. I enjoy using both the 5K and the 990 for various reasons. However, if I could only own one, it would be the TS-990S. The Flex 5000 remains in the shack, mainly because of KE9NS's exceptional work on Power SDR provides unmatched fun factor.

There have already been extensive reviews of this exceptional transceiver. I will try not to reiterate others comments, but will add a few initial points that I don't believe have been covered, and share my short period experience so far using a Kenwood TS-990S, Firmware Ver 1.06.
In comparison, I have owned or own the following rigs, Icom IC-7700, Yaesu FT-1000D/MP/MKV,FTdx9000MP, FTdx3000D, Flex 5000a. The TS-990S is a recent addition to my station.

I was on the fence about whether I should purchase a TS-990S or an Icom IC-7800. Both are very fine rigs. The Kenwood won out after carefully researching both, and sitting down in front of the TS-990S at a local retailer. I know I wanted to try something that was more recent in design. I concluded, the IC-7800 was probably very similar to an IC-7700 I had previously owned. I did not see any real technical advantage to purchase a IC-7800 after recently selling my IC-7700.

Let's get the negatives about the TS-990S out of the way. The first I admit is sort of nitpicky. The fan in the TS-990S seems to cycle off and on periodically when the rig is in standby mode. I understand it's purpose, to remove any heat generated during standby by the power supply (not on but plugged into the wall). I just can't say I agree with that design. I suspect that fan is going to wear out sooner than later, and will probably add additional dust migration into the radio.

The second is the amount of heat this rig generates. Wow, I can't believe how hot the rig gets based on the temperature of air coming out of the back of the radio when just receiving. It vaguely reminds me of the heat that blows out of the bulb compartment from the film projectors we all used in high school in the 60's and 70's. I did not measure it, but if you put your hand near the rear vent for a short period of time when the TS-990S is on, your hand will get uncomfortably warm fairly fast. Make sure there is plenty of room behind the TS-990S for ventilation.

The last is more important to me. I tend to work a lot of DX stations that run split. Recently, I was in the process of working VK9MT on SSB/15 meters. He was running split and listening 5-15 up. I noticed that the noise floor on the TS-990S' receiver would raise up a couple of S units whenever the pile up transmitted. Although it did not seem to obscure the DX station in that particular instance, it could be problematic in other situations, such as when the DX station is very weak copy. I do want to add though, multiple stations in the pile up were 40+ over S9 on receive, and that may have been a factor with so many strong stations calling so close.

Now the good, I've read several of the reviews critiquing this rig as nothing new and overpriced. I could not disagree more when it comes to the DSP noise reduction algorithms utilized in the TS-990S. I've used every NB and NR filter that's been provided on the rigs I've listed above, and I have used the popular Timewave 599ZX DSP filter as well. IMO, trying to dig out a weak station on SSB when it's buried in the noise is more challenging to the DSP filter than most other modes. As your not dealing with a single tone, such as in CW.

I can honestly say, the TS-990S NR2 filter has been the most effective for me to date, to assist the operator in digging out a weak stations on SSB. To say I was somewhat astounded by it's ability to allow me to hear a station in the noise is an understatement. I have never experienced anything like that in the past when using the other rigs I have owned!

At the time of this writing, Tonga is active with A35X and A35V on the island. I have worked and confirmed A35X on both 10 and 15 meters. I believe, I could not have worked him without the TS-990S. Let me explain the operating situation.

In the past, the NR circuits in other rigs I have owned did not seem to do very much in the way of assisting me to hear weak SSB stations. Yes they have reduced the noise, but at the same time, they also tended to reduce the signal as well or sometimes just changed the tone of the background noise, but really no better copy.

A35X on SSB has been in the noise for me during most of his operation on SSB around 22:00-23:00Z. On 10 meters, I have been seeing A35X running about S0-peaking less than S1, with some QSB, just about equal with my noise level. I know he was in there, but never could quite make out what he was saying. On the TS-990S, I first tried to copy him by fiddling with the Noise Blankers. They did not seem to make much difference. Next I tried Noise Reduction 1, when fully engage it helped very slightly, but still I could not yet copy him. Next I engaged Noise Reduction 2, that switches off NR1, and is a more aggressive algorithm. As I began to engage NR2 to it's maximum, A35X became more readable to where I could clearly copy him. I switched it off and on several times to just gauge the difference, and again no copy when it was off. I was really amazed, it was the first time I had experienced a NR that actually made a significant difference on SSB. I was able to make the contact and I was in the log. I caught him nearly at the same Zulu time the next day on 15 meters. Same situation, NR2 off no copy, NR2 engage I could clearly hear him, and another contact was secured.

Now let me say, I am not claiming that NR2 in the TS-990S, takes a SSB signal from down in the noise to armchair FM quality copy. Although it did allow me to clearly hear and work a weak DX station that I could not hear without NR2, like all DSP, it does add some weird artifacts to the audio signal. When NR2 is fully engaged there is an aggressive weird watery almost musical artifact sound in the background, but it did get the job done for me, more so than any of the other top end rigs I have used.

I also took that opportunity to A/B test the TS-990S vs. FTdx9000MP vs. FT-1000MP MARK V on the same weak station using a TH-11DX at 83 feet. Clearly, the TS-990S won hands down. I could copy A35X on the TS-990S using NR2, when I could not on the other two rigs using similar circuits provided in those rigs. Based on my previous experience using a IC-7700 for five years. I would say the TS-990S NR circuits are superior. Based on previous testing. A IC-7700 did not receive any better on SSB than a FTdx-9000 for copying weak signal DX stations. I am confident when I say the TS-990S has raised the bar in regard to allowing the operator to hear weak signal SSB DX. I hope Icom and Yaesu follow suit. Although incremental, I believe that Kenwood has advanced the art of DSP one step further.

I've never used the digital modes, other than copy SSTV on HF, but this radio may inspire me to try that out as well, because it does so very simply. The fact that no computer is needed to use RTTY and PSK with the TS-990S, is a great addition to any station. I've tried copying a few stations in both RTTY and PSK and it seems to work fine. I have yet to crack open the operators manual. If you are a hands on person, for basic operation, the basics are simple enough where you can jump right in and start making contacts before reading the manual.

I've also experimented with the CW filters. You can make them unbelievably tight, yet still usable. On some of the other rigs I've used, the really tight CW filters began to have an annoying "howling" artifact to them if you try to make them too tight. On the TS-990S, I did not notice that issue to be a concern when I narrowed it down to 50 Hz. Overall, it's a great rig. I have a 25 inch LCD screen connected to the TS-990S. The display is bright, crisp and clean. There is no pixilation of the display. Additionally, it was easy to interface the rig to my station logging program HRD 6.2.

M0MCX Rating: 2022-07-14
Completely Solid Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
[UPDATE July 2022]

I am updating this review because with more than 100 Pile Ups under my belt and perhaps 50,000 more QSOs, I feel I have some additional data that might help someone make a decision as to a future purchase.

In the main, I run mine on SSB with TX filters set to 300-3000 and RX filters set 200-2800 and I just leave roofing filters on Auto (my brain is better than most radios anyway). I run both VFOs at the same time. My TX antenna on main VFO and I have a selection of RX antennas on the 2nd VFO. I use the M>S button to sync the two frequencies and select SUB RX. Hidden in a menu somewhere allows me to effectively receive in stereo (this is great for pile ups BTW).

Finally, I hit the TRACKING button (just below the Multi/CH knob) and twiddling the main VFO allows the 2nd VFO to track (not the other way around though, don't touch the 2nd VFO in tracking mode!. The rest of this report is ONLY relevant if you also synchronise your VFOs like this - or wish to.

Notwithstanding the fact that this radio is genuinely superb in all respects, there are some "weirdos" when you run this radio with TRACKING on

a) You can't use the RIT for off frequency signals because only VFO #1 will change (firmware update maybe..?)
b) Some functions do not work when TRACKING is enabled, for instance hitting the M/V button will not take you to a memory channel
c) Periodically, When I release PTT (actually I normally use VOX) one of the receivers will have a very slight change of sensitivity or volume (never quite worked out which it is - or even which VFO because I'm normally straight back on again) but it's around 3-6 dB
d) Changing transmit filters on VFO#1 also changes transmit filters on #VFO2 (who cares, I'm just saying)

Some stuff that I would like to change (but it's just a wishlist, doesn't detract from usability)

Ability to change second display to something different (2nd VFO maybe)
Ability to have a pair of "analogue" meters on the main display (both VFO 1 and VFO 2)
Ability to help me sort out my "bacon frying" noise that I periodically receive on 40m band

Without reading everyone elses reports, I can't think of much else which is pretty remarkable since I've had a TS-990S for around 10 years now (first one was fried in a lightning strike - insurance paid) and no complaints.

I think the REAL question is, would I replace this with a THIRD TS-990s in the event I had to buy another radio? The answer is yes. I realise there is always a "better" radio out there but frankly almost all radios are good in the modern world. The real difference is a) transmit quality (Kenwood is normally right up there with that), the front panel - and ability to quickly drive the man-machine interface.

Finally, I am actually a fan of linear menu systems. I have an Icom 9700 that is like driving a Smartphone. Maybe it's the way I am wired up but I can remember linear menus better than button press sequences.

So. That's all for now. I might update this in a few more years... Callum, M0MCX, DX Commander.

--- Old report follows ---

I can honestly say that the TS-990s have given me more pleasure than any other radio. I compare against FT100MP with Inrad roofing filters (good), TS590 and TS590SG, K3s and also a TS2000. But it's hardly a competition.

Look, most modern rigs sound pretty good on a quiet band so why do I really like this rig?

For starters, I can get really close to my neighbour and still QSO under very heavy contest QRM conditions.

I love the filtering and having the ability to select narrow, mid and sharp filers and that they are all configurable.

Having one USB cable between my computer and my rig which does CAT and sound-card in/out is a god-send. I play with digital modes and various experimenting. Having zillions of wires and cables used to annoy the heck out of me.

I love the fact it's so configurable. The remote control program is really handy for skipping through zillions of settings to set this girl up exactly how you want her.

The 200 Watts is real. Sure, I have an amplifier too for doing big RTTY but for 99% of the time, I can squirt 200 Watts should I wish without flicking on the big amp.

On AM, she's just fine too. Had my first QSO on AM just recently on 60m band. I can achieve a carrier of 50 Watts and voice peaks at 100 Watts to stay within my licence conditions in the UK. Can't do that on a small radio.

I love that the thing is HUGE. I am a *big* guy and I like *big* things, whether that's a Harley Davidson FatBoy or my Drum Kit. Give it to me big and heavy and I'm happier.

The 2 VFOs are fun to use. Plumb one aerial in Antenna 1 and another into Antenna 2 (or 3 or 4) and you can listen to your stations in both VFOs with different aerials (I do this with a vertical on one VFO and a horizontal on another). Just hit the "Tracking" button and you have an earful on vertical and another earful on horizontal. Good fun. (And of course, also configurable about how much audio you'd like in each year as regards balance. They've thought of everything).

4 Antenna ports are cool - but I have an outboard 6-way Array Solutions RatPak anyway. However if I wasn't into big power, this would suffice.

The band scope is cool. Apparently there are some outboard band-scopes on the market. I don't care. This is good enough for me. I can see in a moment that the big station 5 KHz up from me has slid down and I'd better be careful.

Transmit and Receive audio filters are cool too. Most owners would agree that on SSB, we all sound pretty good. It doesn't take a lot to make these 990s sound fabulous.

On CW, you can squeeze the filters right down. Same with digital. Under heavy QRM, you can tighten the old girls skirts and ignore the rest.

On-board voice keyer is perfect. Thankfully it's not an optional extra. And the ability to send audio to any of a multitude of ports depending on the source is great.

The latest firmware upgrade seems to have sorted out the internal ATU which I now find much more forgiving. I can now use non-resonant coax fed antennas for bands that I'm not supposed to. OK, I can't do that when I have the amp running. I've previously read about the internal ATU not performing. I can guarantee you it does. Better than my excellent internal ATU on my FT1000MP. Tunes stuff it really shouldn't. Quite amazing really.

And the list goes on. The nice thing about this radio is that it's a joy to use. I don't care what the specs say and that Jo Soap's new rig is apparently, technically better. You will not be able to tell. Modern rigs are now at such a high quality that we should only give a cursory glance at the specs. The bottom line is that after 2-years, I'm still enjoying this wonderful piece of engineering every day.

If you are reading this and on the fence with your decision making, let me tell you.. You only live once and you can't take it with you. Buy one of these and you'll still be happy in 25 years. That's a pretty good investment, certainly better than endlessly buying lesser rigs every couple of years and moving on. With this one, you will still be learning new tricks and new abilities that you never knew she had up her sleeve.

Don't regret it. Go for it now.

73, Callum
WD8BP Rating: 2021-11-12
Typical Kenwood quality Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Have had many hf rig's in my 45 yrs of doing ham radio; from tube to sdr radio's. I decided to sell out good portion of all owned hf rig's to fund the purchase of this TS-990. My first hands on experience was at AES-Cleveland,Ohio when they were still in business. The look,sound,material used,performance,is bar none,the best hf rig I have ever owned. It lives up to Kenwood reputation of being a solid good performing rig. You're able to customize transmit audio, full receive customizable via the on-board eq. 200watts solid, clean, output and just plain puts out the wattage.The adjustable filtering is paramount in performance. It took 45 yrs and reach retirement age, to buy the TS-990,but have zero regrets. I am thankful that Kenwood has produced such a piece of equipment. Best transceiver I have owned.
MM0XXW Rating: 2021-05-26
Top Banana! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This is not a 'technical' review. Most of that's been done before and Rob Sherwood has it down pat!
This is a very expensive, very heavy and very large radio for which you'll need a fairly sturdy desk.
My previous 'major' radios included the Icom-7610 and the Yaesu FTDX-5000MP both of which are superb pieces of kit in their own right however the 990S, for me, just has the edge over them.
Sheer pleasure to use and not as difficult as it looks once you get to grips with the 300-page manual!
Take your time setting the radio to your likes and the enjoyment you'll get will tell on your face.
I totally agree with Mike, the previous poster, it's worth every penny and will probably be my retirement rig (albeit a little early!!!!!)
W3FW Rating: 2020-12-31
The best the world has to offer at any price!!!!!!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Simply, the best transceiver I have ever owned!!
W0YN Rating: 2020-05-01
Flagship loaded with features Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently purchased a new Kenwood TS-990S. I’ve always wondered about Kenwood’s flagship model and wanted to experience it for myself. This is a big attractive heavy beast with 2 displays and lots of knobs. The fit and finish quality is beautiful. I like old school big radios that center piece the shack. The radio is very heavy and deeper than the other radios. For comparison, I’ve owned many radios including an Icom IC-7610 which I sold, Kenwood TS-890S and Yaesu FT-DX101MP. The 990S has features galore that I prefer over the TS-890S and Yaesu 101MP. The 990S receiver and filtering are outstanding. I can understand it being featured Kenwood’s top model. The Yaesu 101MP is a different type of radio being SDR touch screen design. I’ve compared all of these radios in normal band conditions, crowded strong signal contesting, and weak signals. All of the radios were very close in performance and I don’t think one is noticeably superior to the other. The 990S has a top notch receiver that will compete with the best of them. I take the Sherwood & ARRL review lists with a grain of salt. Lab test numbers don’t always demonstrate real world performance advantages. IMO the best noise reduction was the IC-7610 followed by DX101MP and TS990S/TS890S. The Kenwood NR is good, the noise reduction using audio peak filter (APF) is superb. Ergonomically, the front panel is great, logically laid out and feels comfortable. The Kenwood receive audio is so nice. Transmit audio classic Kenwood, among the best. This radio really shines and I highly recommend it.