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Reviews For: Kenwood TS-990S

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TS-990S
Reviews: 104MSRP: 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
K4ZMI Rating: 2013-04-02
downsides Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I appreciate WA1GZY's honest comments, especially about the digital NB and digital NR being less than expected. I've fooled with this radio quite a bit and right away noticed NB and NR not that much diffenent from other radios. This one question keeps nagging me, "Is there any manufacturer who can get it right?"
K2GAV Rating: 2013-04-01
Very Impressed Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
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.

NE4CW Rating: 2013-03-29
Super Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
My first 990S came in dead...I have a video on youtube showing the issue..The radio would not fully boot up. That unit has been sent back to Kenwood so the engineers can find out what went wrong. HRO quickly sen me a replacement 990. The second unit has worked flawlessly so far. Compared to my previous IC 7700, I am enjoying the 990 much more. This radio is big, the large size makes the front panel layout easy to use. Connection to my Ameritron 811 amp was simple and you use a menu option to activate amp control from the 990. I have used CW and SSB modes but no digital modes yet. All in all, the radio is super build quality with smooth controls and a heavy duty feel to it.
N4XT Rating: 2013-03-29
outstanding!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
had a lot of hight end radio's in the pass.but first time with kenwood got to say this one of the best yet, roofing filters work very nice also the menu is very easy to use. iam sure there are more
to come from kenwood:

Hat's off too Kenwood

EA3VO Rating: 2013-03-28
The best ¡¡¡ Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Only two days with this ABSOLUTE BEST transceiver

Kenwood as always over all

The Best ¡¡
XE2X Rating: 2013-03-26
EXCELLENT RADIO Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Totally agree, after two weeks of use, I can say is that it is an excellent radio, works great, until this day I have not found anything wrong with it, not heated as other radios, very quiet in all aspects, I am of the idea that kenwood scored a great goal with this radio, just hope to see some improvements in the function of the touch screen and have more options to use, also consider that not a plug and play radio as each day discover something new in it, overall a very good radio, if you're considering buying the radio I'm sure you will not regret it, my previous radios were ic7800, ftdx9000d, k3 and some more of this new generation of radios and definitely the best for me are the 7800 and the 990, but I think the new roofing filters in 990 make the difference over the 7800, is my simple point of view, I will continue discovering this great radio and will try to re-write something in the future, 73 to all and see you on the bands .....
K7NCG Rating: 2013-03-20
Fantastic !! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had the TS-990 just a little over a week now and I have to say this is one fantastic radio. having previously owned a TS-430, TS-2000, TS-950SDX, I got used to the 'Kenwood sound' and audio reports. This one is no exception in my opinion. I see features and controls from the 950 and 2000 applied to this unit and laid out in a very intuitive manor. Basic operations are quick to be seen and easy to's 'plug and play'. The band scope is great but the addition of the audio scope really sets this apart from most others. It's really nice to have a visual display of what's happening with the audio and to see how some of the controls effect it. I was blown away when I turned on the manual notch and could visually see in the band scope the effect of the control. Menus are many but extremely well laid out and the manual although quite large is easy to find the needed information. It has been well worth it for me to have sold the 64 Chev Impala SS to be able to get this fantastic regrets.
WA1GZY Rating: 2013-03-20
Kudos to Kenwood! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Kudos to Kenwood for an excellent transceiver. Performance is second to none with more than enough transmit/receive customization features to please the most demanding operator. (is it worth the $$$ ...of course not... but life is short so enjoy!!!

Sensitivity, Selectivity and audio (transmit and receive) are impressive with many unsolicited compliments on transmit audio.

Connectivity with Ham Radio Deluxe, the SteppIR SDA 100 Controller and SPE Expert 2K microprocessor controlled linear amp is simply plug 'n play taking minutes not hours to install.

LESS CLUTTER on your operating desktop!
USB cable to computer with Kenwood online drivers software was a breeze to install and eliminated the need for the West Mtn Radio RigBlaster Advantage computer interface.

Due to the robust features of the TS990S, other "indispensible" operating aids were also eliminated from my desktop --
Farewell to the Timewave DSP599zx digital audio filter, Goodbye to the W2IHY 8 band equalizer (Kenwood has 18 band EQ),along with the W2IHY EQ Plus. (Sold on eham in the first few hours!)

Major shortfall is the instruction manual which at 300 pages is an embarrassingly poor translation from the orginal Japanese to English. (Look for future online updates).

Digital Noise blanking and Noise Reduction performance are disappointing but so are they all.

Roofing Filters and selectivity to combat QRM are superb with "brick wall" blocking of offending QRM signals.
W6GPS Rating: 2013-03-18
Awsome Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I hae been playing with this radio fow 3 weeks now. I had the honor of going to Kenwood and the day after they arrived in the USA and release was able to use the radio and check out the draft user manual.At first it was overwelming but after a few hours got the hang of it.
Played with RTTY PSK and CW. Everything worked right out of the box. No bugs flaws freezes..worked prefectly. Lots of added features I REALLY like the bandscope and the touch screen QSY is very responsive. NR1 works great for SSB. I have constant S3 ground noise. I quick touch of the dial and the signals pop out of the noise. The TX eq for mics is very good andeasy to adjust mic eq while online. I was able to open up the radio and take a few photos. Workmanship was great. The RTTY and PSK scopes are very helpful for tuning in. Waterfall scope is a great added feature.Buttons and knobs are layed out very well. Menus are logical and intuitive, easy to make changes on the fly..
So far I have not got one bad report on the air. People have made comments about my TX audio..all good...They have put some much thought in thei radio. 2 thumbs up and High fives all the way

IT9JCB Rating: 2013-03-14
Good but not as expected Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have been a Kenwood fan for about 30 years, I owned TS-930 (3 units),TS-140 and I got a suberb TS-520S from the 70's a month ago enjoying too much the good old Kenwood sound.
I tested the 990S in my friend's shack last night, the expecting was high, may be too high...we tested side by side with a Ten-Tec Orion V: well, it can be sound strange but we didn't like too much the 990S receive sound even using its external speaker, its sound was a bit robotic and the digital artifacts where evident, the receiver did'nt appear as quite and soft as expected, a direct comparison with the Orion confirmed our impressions, the AGC seems to be too fast (even working with the menu), this leads to a "nervous" reception on SSB.
Quite a different result we observed in CW mode: the note was clean and spectacular, weak signals where copied very easily, noise reduction works so well.
The look is impressive but in my opinion something wrong is in the receiver section when in SSB.