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Reviews For: Kenwood TS-820S

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

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TS-820S
Reviews: 62MSRP: 5000.00
160 meter through 10 meter HF radio
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W1JPP Rating: 2022-11-26
Love this radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Over the past few months I picked up a ts-520, a ts-520S and a ts-820S...just coincidence that two different people were selling these.

The ts-820S needed some minor work, new finals, neutralizing tubes and adjusting the vfo dial so all the numbers matched up with the digital readout...

Mostly I like the sound, and the ability to adjust the af gain and rf gain to minimize noise and maximize the voice...

I do have a couple more "modern: radios - and icom 756 proii - that I like very much...but it seems whenever I come down to the shack its one of the kenwoods that gets the nod...

My audio reports are fantastic - and I've sometimes done a/b tests with my icom that has an sm-8 mic - that also gets good reports - and usually the people like the fuller sound of the kenwood

Tuning up is quick - certainly not as fast as the more modern rigs...but for listening on nets, and not band hopping its great..

Built like a tank too..

I told my nephew if he gets his general license he can have one of them and I'll teach him how to use it...
G0WBR Rating: 2022-07-06
Brought back the magic! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This was the first radio I started my ham radio career with, and I was lucky enough to pick another one up recently.
I was expecting to do some work on it to get it going, but it works really nicely.
It's obviously not as competent as my IC-7300, but boy oh boy, when I started playing with it and talking on air with it, that old magic came flooding back.
This old girl takes me right back to why I got into radio in the first place. It sounds great on both transmit and receive, has plenty of power, and just looks like a proper radio. Awesome.
LU7BSE Rating: 2022-06-26
Kenwood quality Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Excellent equipment, heavy quality, clear reception and quality transmitter, typical Kenwood audio, there is not much to say about this beast, it is a pleasure to use the 820, highly recommended for those who like vintage equipment.
KK4NWW Rating: 2022-05-11
ONE OF THE BEST! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
K1KIM Rating: 2021-08-09
Great Old Radio for The Technology of The Time! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have a mint TS-820s with the SP-820, AT2-220, VFO-820, and MC-50. Great Kenwood audio. But missing the advancements of the past 50 years! SDR's with the ability to project onto a 27" screen has won me over.
Now it never gets used and is for sale.
KC4LRR Rating: 2021-08-09
Oh My - what a great radio !! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I got my TS-820S, SP-820 and VFO-820 from a SK estate sale. In great condition (9.5 out of 10) except for a melted place on the SP-820 grill. I had been thinking about one ever since I saw the default screen saver on my TS-890S. Thanks Kenwood. Very happy with the rig. Great Audio. It was packed up in 2006 newspaper when the SK moved to TN from NM. I guess he never set it up after the move. Came with a manual. I found a Service Manual on eBay and a VFO-820 manual from Universal Radio... Running it on my 80m/40m/20m dipole with a Plaster AT2K.

A friend gave me another TS-820S from someone thinning their heard of Boat Anchors. Lucky Me.
KD8ZKW Rating: 2021-08-05
Awesome radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I haven't owned my Kenwood ts-820 very long. I've used it a lot and have no regrets of getting this rig. I have used this more than my icom 746 pro because the receive audio is better sounding than the icom. It doesn't take me long to tune everything up. I bought the Kenwood at 200 tuner and the Kenwood mc-50 mic. All I need is the Kenwood external speaker. Thinking about buying the external VFO also. To anyone who can get a nice clean Kenwood ts 820 I'd buy it just to have it. Fun to operate and Ive made more contacts in the short time I've owned this compared to my icom 746 pro.
W6SSP Rating: 2021-04-19
best bang for your buck Time Owned: more than 12 months.
One of the advantages of vintage equipment is they
have a well documented history. Any problems and their
fixes are well known. I've owned and used the TS-520,
TS-820 and TS-830 family of radios since they were
first introduced in the early 1970s and have never
regretted buying any of them.

There are a few things to consider when looking at
any ham gear; how well does it work, can it be repaired
without the need for special tools, are parts available,
and of course price. The TS-820S is the clear winner
in my opinion in all of these areas. I have four major and minor operating positions here with a mix
of older tube gear and new gear as well. I have a
TS-820S at each station. This is the radio I suggest
as a first one for new hams or for more experienced
hams wanting a vintage rig. The very best bang for your buck!
Steve W6SSP
ZL1PWR Rating: 2016-04-01
Heavy Duty Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Got one a few years back and still enjoy using it
you do have to repair things along the way as they are very old now.
The one I have is the 820 but with the optional counter.
If you like to hear people comment on your nice audio then this is the radio for you as it happens every time I talk to someone new.
I have tried several mics with it but nearly everyone prefers the stock mc10 fist mic
W5KVV Rating: 2015-01-29
Glad to have one in my shack Time Owned: more than 12 months.
What a beautiful rig. Big, heavy & built like a tank. No menus to dig thru, no hidden features. Everything is right on the front panel, exactly where it's supposed to be. I picked mine up at a SK auction & I'm honored to keep it on the air. His XYL didn't know much about it, other than it had sat in the closet since the SK replaced it in the 80's with a solid state rig (TS-430). Needless to say, it hasn't seen regular use in a long time & looks like it just came out of the box. After I got it home & gave it a quick internal visiual inspection, I plugged it up to a 20m wire. With a flip of the switch this old rig roared back to life & was RX'ing DX. However after multiple attempts to tune the old girl up, the best she would do was 40 watts out. Further investigation revealed the 12BY7 was on its way out. I ordered a new driver from RF Parts, slapped it in & did nothing else. The next tune up was magical. 100+ watts on 20m by simply swapping the driver tube. My first contact on this lovely old rig was VK2 who gave me a 5-5 with a wire antenna. The next contact was a EA4! I was super stoaked to say the least.

These old rigs a quite robust & can take quite a bit of abuse, God knows I did my best on my initial few tune ups, but they can take it. I'd advise anyone looking for a hybrid Kenwood to look for a nice survivor TS-820S. LOADS of infomation regarding them avaliable on the internet. The matching components that go along with these rigs (Speaker,VFO,tuner,station monitor, etc.) make a shack look top notch.

Bottom line: These rigs are getting old. However, they made millions of them & parts ARE out there. You might have to dig on the internet for them but they're out there. Just check eBay. You could build a complete rig from eBay donor parts. They're old tech, so don't be expecting DSP quality from a XTAL filter. That being said the RX on mine is fantastic & I have no need for anything more.

My rig is currently with Old Ham Dave getting a full once over. Once I get it back from him I expect to get decades of service out of it. They're just that well built.