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Reviews For: Kenwood TS-690S

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

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TS-690S
Reviews: 30MSRP: ts-690
The TS-690 was Kenwood's All Mode Multi Band HF Transciever.
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
N4SJW Rating: 2003-08-03
Trusty old friend Time Owned: more than 12 months.
It's not the hottest reciever, or best rejection, but I bought one new with the antenna tuner almost 10 yrs ago and it's like a good old dog. Just works and has been through multiple field days, several moves, and just keeps on ticking.

Likes: versatility, I can work 160-6 and has FM; easy to tune, I have the 270 Hz filter and for CW it works just FB. I also have the 1.8 Khz SSB filters, work well.

Dislikes: I hate that tiny 13 pin DIN connector; and 6M receiver is deaf - I will probably get a preamp for it if I ever do any serious 6M work, and CTCSS is dip switch programmable only.

If you can get one for under $500 in good shape, certainly worth the money. It doesn't have DSP otherwise, great rig to have.

KB1JIU Rating: 2003-02-07
With Filters Its Awesome!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is my first rig so keep that in mind. However, this review will zero in on the receiver and it capabilities. My unit was purchased used and it included THREE optional filters two of which are CW and the third is SSB.

I have alot of SWL experience and these optional filters just make this a totally awesome receiver for CW! You just do not know what you are missing if you do CW and are not fully supplied with these filters.

I have the YK-885-1 SSB 2.4 kHZ filter which makes SSB receiving a joy, cutting out all splatter from nearby QSO's.

I also have the YK-88C-1 and the YG-455CN-1. The 455CN is a 250Hz passband (read NARROW) and the 88C is a 500Hz passband. These just allow you to really zero in on CW. They are worthless for SSB being too narrow.

So in summary, the system is just as selective as my ICOM R75 SW receiver however the filters make it much more wonderful to use on CW and SSB.

The handy MCHN/VFO knob is a joy to use. The menues are easy to set up. The knobs are fine. and the meters are very good.

I am driving an external Icom SP-21 speaker with it however the internal speaker is just fine really. The unit is powered at base with an Aston RS-35M power supply. On recieve it consumes just about 2 Amps draw and the Aston does not even breath hard at all supplying this power. The unit is very very solid on RFI from my computer. The receiver is not bothered at all.

If you can find a nice specimen used, then jump on it. You cannot go wrong.
K7BG Rating: 2002-11-18
Great rig for the $$ Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Not as good as my 930, 940, or IC765 as far as selectivity, but it has a great auto-tuner and is a lot of fun on 6 meters. I worked TI9M on 160 through 6 meters with this rig. That's all 10 bands and it did itself proud.
KB2SIN Rating: 2002-01-04
Great Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This Rig is nothing Less than Fantastic! I use this as my only HF rig and have received my WAS from this radio. i would reccomend this to anyone, either new or old into Ham radio.
W8EMX Rating: 2001-07-03
Great Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this rig 4 years ago as my first 'modern' HF Rig - I have never had a single problem from it. The performance on HF is unparalleled to any other radio that I have used, and I consistently get about 110 Watts from it on SSB when the power control is set to about 85%.

I would reccomend this rig to anyone who needs a primary rig, or a very good secondary.

My only complaint is that the Noise Blanker is very weak, but that can usually be compensated through the IF Shift and notch filtering.

K7UV Rating: 2001-02-05
Great VHF/HF RIg Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought the TS690S new 6 years ago. Have worked VUCC on Six Meters and WAS on 160 Meters with modest antennas. Noise blanker is not good, but the notch and IF shift work great. Works great on PSK31 and RTTY at 60-70% of rated power. Receiver seems very sensitive and IMD seems good also. I would recommend this to anyone as a prime unit or a standby transceiver.
K6SDW Rating: 2000-11-03
Good rig....... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Bought mine new from Austin Radio when they first came out -- I think at least 9 years ago. Did have to go back to Kenwood for warranty repair, the channel selector gets flaky. Same problem again nine years later.....

Good sound radio 160-6 mtrs. Very typical performance you would expect of a Kenwood hf radio of the era. Transmitter works and works and works. Receiver is ok until bands get crowded then it shows its shortcomings, selectivity not as good as other rigs. Selectivity on 6 mtrs is particularly bad, but fortunately band quiet most of the time. Receiver sensitivity is great, but so is noise floor!

Compared to my Ten Tec Corsair II, Kenwood Receiver is second rate, but ts-690 has more bells and whistles and nice internal autotuner!

Again good solid radio and would buy one again...73
KB8UUZ Rating: 2000-10-17
Very Good Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have been using my 690-S for 6 years now. Both 6 meters and HF in one rig is great! I run 10-80 meters into a G5RV, 160 meters into a 160m dipole, and the 6 meters into a 5 element yagi. Of course, a lot of the new rigs coming out now have more bands, but if you can find a good used TS-690-S - go for it!
W7NFL Rating: 2000-10-17
Great Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had my TS-690 for a year now and I can not say enough good things about it! I run it both mobile and at home and it has never let me down. I always get excellent audio reports with it in all situations running either the stock hand mike or my Heil HM10. The operation of the radio is VERY straight forward and for the most part you dont need the manual to figure it out. The weakest part of the radio to me is the noise blanker, Kenwood could have done better with it in my opinion. If you are looking for a great radio for all purpose use, and you can find one of these gems, pick it up, you wont be disappointed - W7NFL
WA3REY Rating: 2000-10-02
Great rig for your money. Includes 6 meters. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
In the summer of 1999 I bought a TS-570 - my first new rig since 1980 when I bought my TS-430S. I kept the '570 two months and traded it on a used TS-690. The TS-690 was everything the '570 should have been.

The TS-690 had great receive audio compared to the '570. The '570 audio always had the DSP in the circuit no matter whether you needed it or not. With the '570's DSP cranked full on, the receiver sounded like a room full of voices you really could not make out. Not the thing you want to monitor very long.

The TS-690 by comparison had the non-DSP audio I learned to appreciate with my old TS-430. (I must say I have a W9GR DSP-1 I really enjoy - more of that later.)

Only one drawback with the TS-690: You cannot turn off the AGC. There's a fast or slow position. For that reason and a few others I bought a used TS-850.

To its credit, the '690 has very flexible switching that allows you to even use the 500 Hz IF filter on USB - just the thing for PSK31.

Plus the '690 has six meters included. This is a really nice package with all kinds of flexibility for a low to middle price tag.