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Reviews For: Kenwood TS-480HX

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

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TS-480HX
Reviews: 125MSRP: 1499.95
All mode AM/FM/SSB/CW, HF/VHF (six meters), 200 watts, detachable face, 13.8 VDC, DSP.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
AA2AU Rating: 2023-04-29
top notch rig Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
got a ts 480 hx in october 2013 . been extra class ham over 40 years . played with my share of rigs . nuff said . got optional ssb and cw filters . waited about a week before installing them so i could better evaluate the rig . the filters are a must . after installing cw filter the rig became a beast . worked a few hundred guys in the past cw contest . i could slice and dice out who ever i wanted to work despite the madness . on ssb i always get great audio reports with stock mike and i dont ever ask for them . one thing . the default settings are terrible . most every setting must be looked at . both tx and rx equalizers must be set to your preference . { default is off } . cw side tone , pitch , key weight , dsp , compression , noise reduction amounts and more . the whole 9 yards needs attention . shame on you if you settle for good enough ! with some time and tlc that is easy to do within the menu you can truely make this rig your own . price ? for about 1400 bucks for a 200 watt rig { with optional filters } its a no brainer to take a very serious look at this rig . base or mobile it will do the job and dont be troubled with a smaller face or size . once its set up properly its your basic no touch rig like all the rest . simply a joy to use ! well its now 5/01/2023 . i been beating on this 480 hx many years now its never missed a beat . im 95 % cw these days and have had many a long cw qso running full power and i always see the same 200 watts + my palstar meter reads 218 watts ive never turned up the power totally stock . the radio always remains cool to the touch . i have worked 300 countries plus with this radio always running barefoot into a simple home brew half square wire at 35 feet . if that doesnt convince you this is a great rig nothing will . i have installed the extra filters and i can work cw just tenths of a kc away from even 5x9x9 signals . i can slice and dice the cw band up on a razors edge . these rigs are getting harder and harder to come across so my advice if your thinking about one and come across one GRAB IT ! you wont be sorry you did .
N8PEP Rating: 2022-12-18
The TS-480HX is a remarkably good radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned two TS-480HXs for 15 years. I especially like the simple user interface, whether I use the control head or the control software. In my opinion, the transmitter and receiver are very good, at least for SSB, FM, and digital modes. I am not a CW operator; and I rarely operate AM. I installed the VGS-1 voice module, the SO-3 TCXO, and the YF-107SN SSB filter in both units. I have never seriously considered another radio. The PROs are: Good user interface; compact size; well-made; highly reliable; good performer; many useful features without "fluff." The CONs are: Discontinued in 2019; some parts and accessories are becoming difficult to find; the rigs are "pricey" on the used market; newer rigs have more features at roughly the same price. If you find a good used one at a reasonable price, and you know it has the features you want, you won't regret the purchase.
SV2BWM Rating: 2022-03-27
Great radio! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
It's still a great radio though it needs a wider SSB filter and not a 2.4KHz (300-2700), or no mods for that! Good job 73...
HB9TSI Rating: 2020-06-21
Still convinced! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I am running my Kenwood TS-480HX for more than 12 years now and I am still convinced about this nice transceiver. I am running it with a Yaesu MD-200 microphone and with a Lingua voice extractor. I always get good modulation reports and the receiver is also very sensitive and even compareable with high end rigs. For the price you won't ever get a better transceiver!
W3VT Rating: 2019-07-11
Needs the TXCO Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I really like this radio. It does the full 200w and I get unsolicited compliments on the audio with my Heil HM10 with the HC5 element. The stock hand mic sounded great too. The receiver is quite sensitive and although is a dual conversion superheterodyne versus a triple, I saw no discernable difference between it and my Yaesu FT-891 in a side by side comparison.

Overall a great radio. In a world of heavily menu driven radios, this 480 is well thought out, with controls that are easy to navigate and many one touch features. The dual antenna input is a nice touch also.

I give it 4 instead of 5 stars for two reasons: 1. It should have the TXCO standard. Without it, especially for mobile use where temperatures vary greatly, it would be off frequency and in need of vfo adjustment. This should not be on an $1100 radio. I bought and installed a Chinese TXCO (a very inexpensive and simple DIY mod), and it is dead on freq on all bands and does not move. Reason 2: No notch filter. There are great DSP filtering built in, but sometimes the notch filter is missed. Knowing that, In still highly recommend this radio. Kenwood put together a winner, which explains why they're still making these rigs.
N4TAD Rating: 2018-01-20
Great Radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I thought I would never buy a rig other than an ICOM. I had the ICOM 740 and wanted something more up to date. I purchased the TS 480 HX off of eBay in nearly new condition. The TS 480 HX is a great rig. The comments I often receive during signal reports is that the audio is great. I have the Yaesu FL7000 amps. However I seldom turn it on now. The TS 480 HX's 200 watts output is more than adequate for most QSO's. Again, it is a great radio.
M0VPL Rating: 2018-01-03
theres nothing better for the price point Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is my 2nd TS-480, the first being the 480sat.this time i went for the HX 200w version fully filtered with TCXO. For the price point and proven reliability its outstanding. yes the DSP shows its age but with filters it performs really well. feed it with 50amps and you have 200w on tap if you need it. no other radio in this class can say that. Hooked up for PSK and Ritty it performs every time. for mobile use its a breeze to use. you do sacrifice the ATU with the HX but use a properly tuned antenna or external smart tuner and your set to work the world. fantastic value for money.
K2IZ Rating: 2017-12-13
What a work horse Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is my 2nd review of the 480, I can honestly say I've owned this radio for over 10 years, it replaced my TS-530S. Over the years it was my primary radio, contests, DX and general use, I installed both CW filters with good results. When I joined MARS I made the modification for the MARS frequencies. So what I am doing with it today?, I use it for MARS voice and CW nets, MARS digital communications, FT8, PSK and any other type of digital communications using FLDIGI and a SignaLink USB. Over the years I've used a couple of different types of mics, the first one was a Heil but I was getting problems, I contacted Heil and they told me that up to a certain serial number they had wired the audio one way and then they switched to a different way, my serial number was in between the old and new way. I wanted to use a foot switch, W2ENY makes a nice plug for the mic and PTT that plugs into the 480, of course every time I change mics I have to go into the settings and set the audio up for the new mic. A few years back I decided to give the 480 a break, now for contesting and DX I use the TS-590.
I mentioned MARS CW nets, when I first got the 480 I was using the WinKeyer, since then I have gotten a 590 and use the WinKeyer with that radio, for the MARS nets I use the internal keyer for the 480, when I first got the 480 there were many discussions on getting the internal keyer set up correctly, I'm glad I noted down what changes people made to the options, the internal keyer works as good as the WinKeyer, I also use the 480 for straight key operation, that means I have a paddle and a straight key plugged into the ports.
As I mentioned it's been over 10 years since I put my 480 on the air, I guess I can say I've gotten my moneys worth out of this radio.
VE3FST Rating: 2016-11-24
Best One I Owned in 42 year ! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought mine second hand , so please listen to my advice . I found the radio awesome on receive and transmit , always heard . Very strong receive wise with a very low noise floor. The filters take a bit to get use to , but they work well . Personally for the cash , I don't think you can buy a much nicer radio . Now what you have to be careful about is someone tapping into the service menu , which is hidden . To access you have a 2 pin jumper , stay away from attempting this ! Once you adjust the first 19 menu options , a Kenwood Service Tech will have to set it back up with a computer . Very few individuals can perform this at home . My radio had this done to it and I never even saw its full potential . The guy I bought it from , said he wasn't a ham at the time and didn't want to talk on the wrong bands by accident . I was told this after purchase and already making a trade for a Yaesu FT950 . Obviously I was not impressed . So if you buy used , check all bands out for full operation at key up . Also for full output power . Just a heads up to future buyers ! I will be buying another . I also have a dual band Kenwood TM-D700 which looks like a baby version of this radio . They make a nice pair .
VE7AGW Rating: 2016-09-05
Power house Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Bought my Kenwood TS-480HX for a mobile hf and I was very impressed with the punch the radio delivers. I've had an IC-706 and 706MKIIG as a mobile but the 480 out performed them with no effort at all. I paired this mobile up with a Tarheel 200A-HP screwdriver antenna and I was totally caught by surprise with the performance it actually delivered. I no more than got the face installed and the radio mounted and turned it all on 20 metres and heard a JA calling. So I went back to him not really expecting anything but he actually answered my call. I live in a bit of a raven about 30 feet deep which is where I was parked, it didn't seem to make any difference, but then the vertical Tarheel antenna out did it's self as well. This little radio has a lot of punch at 200 watts PEP, it delivers, but it also draws 41 amp on transmit, I plan to run a second battery just for the radio so I can operate even when the engine is shut off.