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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
OH2KW Rating: 2017-11-22
5/5 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had this now more than three years.
Very good radio, no failures and works fine.

I am surprised e.g. VE3GZB comments of the RTTY
reception. In my tests TS-990 decoder is the best! Better than MMTTY and 2TONE!

Of course there are some features that I would like to be added from Kenwood:
- TX tune signal (for solid state linear tuning)
- CW decoder (as its already in TS-590SG)
- IF out to DRV (as in TS-590SG, but might need HW mods?)
- better NR functiosn (now quite as in TS-2000 so rather old algorithms with "watering effect")

73 de Arto, OH2KW
PA7M Rating: 2017-08-30
value for the money Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Hello fellow amateurs I have the Kenwood now about 1 year in my possession.
I can tell that I am very happy with it and it's a fantastic radio to work with
I'm not going to tell you that it's an easy radio is but I still learn something every time and that bored my total not
It is best to search for the correct settings but that make the fun
of course there are for every radio have to find things that could be better but that will always remain so, I fear
but 1 thing I know for sure you do get value for money
I have had a lot of radios over the years but this is still high on my list with a good reception and look just a showpiece in the radio room.
W4MSW Rating: 2017-08-29
Piece of cake for Kenwood Owners Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
So, this beauty replaced a TS-870 and a TS-590, that vaporized, along with my house, in the Gatlinburg wildfire (28NOV2016) Since the second radio in the 990 is a TS-590 clone and I have much less space now, I opted for just one box. The 990 is a superior performer and at $6700 is a bargain. Yes it has a hundred knobs and buttons, however if you are at all familiar with Kenwood radios (like my 870 and 590) you will be instantly at home and operating with no difficulty. Only the more esoteric features not found in other radios, will require a trip to the manual. Everyday operation is intuitive.
M0MCX Rating: 2017-02-25
Completely Solid Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Having 2 years under my belt, 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
W8NWN Rating: 2016-12-18
Great, but not fantastic. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This radio is the heaviest boat anchor radio ever built.....Once you place it on your desk you will find it hard to move especially to get to the back. I think the heaviness comes form the built in power supply for the 200 watt transistors. Then when you add all the screens, buttons and switches it all adds up. Yeah,,,,,it is one fantastic radio that I will probably keep for a long time....Actually I can't HEAR any difference comparing it to my K3S, but maybe its just me. After I have owned it longer,,,I will give it another review.
WR0F Rating: 2016-11-20
Owner 2 1/2 years Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had my Kenwood TS 990S now since the June 14 2014 . I have been the owner of many radios over the years and this one is a high quality radio that we plan on keeping for many years.
We get awesome transmit audio reports using our Heil PR781g boom mic setup with the audio equalizer setup that is built into the radio .
The receiver on weak signals is right up with the best of them with the noise reduction options notch filters and a receiver equalizer as well.
This radio has a place for life in my radio room and is a keeper .
N6UG Rating: 2016-09-11
Great radio! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
After owning the TS-990S for a year I'm still very happy with the radio. I love having all the controls out front. I've worked a lot of CW this last year. The filters make it easy to pull out difficult signals. I also work digital, ex. JT65, the computer interfaces are simple to use and work very well.

For me, this radio is a good value and just plain fun to operate!
VK4FO Rating: 2016-09-03
Great Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Whilst I've only owned the TS990 for a relatively short period, I thought I'd take the opportunity to make some early observations.
For those of you contemplating a purchase of the above radio, please be assured that the setup procedure is nothing at all to be feared. The accompanying manual, in pictures and text, provides the average ham with all of the information necessary in an easy to read, simple format.
On air this radio is brilliant, the last time I said that was when using my TS950SDX and in my short view, the TS990 is in that class and probably better.
I will update this review at a later date when I've had more time to evaluate this radio.
AL1H Rating: 2016-08-28
The Best Transciever yet Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought my TS 990s about 6 months ago now and as the previous ham said very very programable fior what the user wants and has a great reciever. I have
had lots of radios over the years which includes the icom 7800 and the yaesu DCT 9000 amoung others,
but this one, the TS 990s is really nice. My only complaint is the egonomics are not laid out very well and the owners manual is hard to understand ( the way it is written and set up). Other than that
I can customize it the way I want and the performance is great. Reciever is great and so is the dual screens.
AK9S Rating: 2016-08-28
Beyond Expectations... Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Only after using this rig for several weeks does one realize how great of a value it truly is. Worth every penny and then some. The main receiver is beyond outstanding, with a sub receiver (TS-590sg type) just good enough for ordinary reception. The radio can be highly customized and offers sensitivity and filtration which work wonders under extremely heavy QRM situations. I can understand why some reviewers may not give it a 5 rating, the radio has many buttons and can be intimidating to operate until one becomes acquainted with it.