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Reviews For: Kenwood TS-530S

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

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TS-530S
Reviews: 55MSRP: 800
10-160 Band HF Trancvr
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VE7AZC Rating: 2013-07-12
Oldie but goodie! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had a LOT of radios from all the brands. Now I have two, the 530 and a new Yaesu 950. My TS-530 is virtually mint ... as usual I've had to do a few repairs. But I must be honest ... even though the 530 receiver is a little noisier than my Yaesu FT 950, in a side by side test comparison the Kenwood receiver sounds a LOT crisper, and the signals jump out of the noise quite a lot better. The Yaesu receiver just sounds a little muddy and poorly defined in comparison.

CW receive on the Kenwood is also just great with no ringing. the Kenwood does not have a monitor function, so you can't listen to your own audio, but using a Shure SM57 right into it, others have said that it sounds great ... and unlike the Yaesu the Kenwood is RF bullet proof.

If anyone did a blind folded side by side comparison, I'm sure they 100% would choose the TS 530 over the Yaesu 950 ... no question.

If you can find a good 530 or even better an 830, you really ought to get it ... do yourself a favor.

I like new gear, and of course the old Kenwood does not have a lot of the new features,but in this case the oldie is really the goodie.


W3CRR Rating: 2013-06-14
My first Japanese radio and what a find it is! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
While I'm not exactly embarrassed to admit this, my forthcoming confession may tag me as "eccentric" at best. I have been licensed for 43 years. While there have been lapses in my ham activity over the decades, I have at least followed the hobby with interest most of the time. However, until about a month ago, I had never owned an HF radio made anywhere but in the U.S.

This seemingly xenophobic history is not indicative of innate prejudices or jingoism but reflects the fact that I grew up building Heathkits (later working for the Heath Company), admiring Drakes and Swans (hey! I never noticed the parallel -- each compatible with a Bird wattmeter, yet), and envying owners of Collins and Signal One gear. After the demise of my employer (Heath), I turned to Ten Tec for solace and great performance. I acquired a Collins KWM-2, an S-Line and an A-Line to satisfy boyhood dreams. A Drake TR-4CW and TR-7 sat on my operating table for a spell. Some domestic rarities wandered into the shack, too -- like my Patcomm PC-500 and PC-16000A.

But, as circumstances and fiscal fate had it, the shack was nearly bare a few weeks ago when i discovered a very nice TS-530S for sale at a not unreasonable price. Oh, I had read glowing reports about my first Japanese radio and how it was "a terrific rig -- in its day", etc., etc. But, i was totally unprepared for the quality of its construction, the ease of its operation and, most encouragingly, the sheer excellence of its performance. Frankly, I have never heard a better receiver and the oft-repeated, wholly unsolicited congratulations on my "beautiful audio" on transmission is equally buoying.

Owning this superb transceiver has been a bit of an epiphany. It's also been addictive. I have now acquired a second TS-530S, just to experience the joy of completely re-capping and restoring it, and a TS-830S to boot! My new devotion to vintage Kenwood is as rabid as a convert's can be.

So, I'll join the chorus. If you find a nice 530 -- or 830 -- buy it! But, you can't have mine!
W0BKR Rating: 2012-10-19
Great Radio Even Today! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Most have pretty much covered every aspect in their reviews. No frills, all bands and easy barefoot power. Great sounding receive audio and great transmit audio. Back when Kenwood made great radios. The 520SE is equally great, followed by the 530, a bit better and than the 830, still a bench mark. A fun radio to use and even better to listen to on a cold Winter night in the "shack".
KD6AXR Rating: 2012-09-29
I love mine Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
It is good radio for a new ham or for someone who wants a no frills radio. ALSO do not forget to check to see if the WARC bands enabled,if not it is easy to do. All you need to do is cut ONE wire. If you can find a VFO-230 get one also they work together very well.
KD2AJN Rating: 2012-08-03
An Amazing Radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I am reviewing this radio for a second time because my previous review was written when I new very little about radio, and I made the false claim of 220 watts out.(I don't know what kind of crazy watt meter told me that). This radio was my first HF, and I am glad that I didn't go solid state. The process of tuning the finals has really helped me learn a lot about how radios work. My ts-530 is over 30 years old and every part of it works exactly as it should. If you want to buy a radio, you will have more fun with this than any fancy new Yaesu. I will keep the ts-530 for as long as it lives(I might be stuck with it for a while).
VK4VDX Rating: 2012-07-01
Here to stay ! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I did buy my TS-530S of e-bay with a MC-50 Desk Mike. When it arrived, the case had 3 screws missing, the meter light didn't work, it would not let me tune it up anywhere. Was it Australia Post !!!!
First thing I did is fixed the meter light and than spent hours doing some research about the TS-530S and all the little problems people could have with it, not tuning up, drifting, I did have all that and more, yeap, it would even key up by itself.
But it is all good now, I cleaned the Bandswitch, Mode switch and Processor switch again and again.
It's receive is outstanding, the reports on the audio with the MC-50 are very good also, touch wood and the drifting has settled down as well. Thanks to all the information out there, I could bring her back to live, cheee wizzz didn't she play up. She must be female !!! She has got a permanent spot in my Shack.
KC8IMB Rating: 2012-05-04
You won’t be seeing it for sale. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I've really enjoyed reading thru the comments (er, reviews) for the 530S. What a radio! So here's how I came to care for mine.

My great uncle was always into radios. He never got his ham ticket but very much enjoyed working on rigs. Mostly he dealt with REAL vintage BCB receivers (circa 1920-30’s) or older SW sets (Hammarlund, Grundig, etc.). I always enjoyed going over to his house because the smell of tubes and solder usually wofted thru the air. His garage was a mini radio museum!

Unfortunately, Uncle John passed away and I was asked to help clean the house out. A very sad time indeed. While sifting thru some items in the den, someone called me to the middle bedroom closet. As I approached, there it was. Sitting underneath boxes of winter clothes and tubes was a Kenwood TS-530S with matching AT-230 Tuner. What? Uncle John never showed me this one. The thing was COATED (slathered might be a better term) with nicotine. John was never too much of a smoker, so I assume this was part of a trade he made.

I took her home and gave it a bath. It required a little elbow grease but the rig cleaned up exceptionally well. When I opened it up the internal electronics were spotless. Whoever the smoker that had it previously was must not have ever run it, as the fan would have drawn in the brown stuff. Everything looked like it was present and accounted for. Ah, 6146s. No sweep tubes in this final! OK, cover back on and time to apply power.

I was speechless. It worked PERFECTLY! Over 100 watts out on all bands, receiver nice’n sensitive, frequency dead-on; things just don’t happen like this. Usually there is smoke or a few segments out on a display or... nothing. Not this time, one hundred percent operational.

It’s so much fun to use. This is a real, “hands-on” radio! As has been brought out in other posts, this rig really seems to be one of the best during that transition between Hollow-State and All-Digital, combining the best of both worlds (as present at that time).

I really recommend the website of Ken, K4EAA ( Although I’ve never had to use his repair service, he has a good reputation. He also has the “Kenwood hard-to-find Shopping Cart” for those odds-and-ends needed to get your hybrid back up and running. Another recommendation for all Kenwood Hybrid users is the NET. It’s held on Saturdays, 7235 kHz at 3:30 Eastern, then Sunday on 14.316 at 1800z. There’s a lot of folks that can answer your technical questions.

In all, I have nothing but good things to say. If you ever have the chance to get one, don’t give it a second thought. JUST DO IT! I’ll always be grateful for the one I have. You won’t be seeing it for sale.

Thanks Uncle John!
W8KX Rating: 2012-04-29
Homecoming Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The TS-530 is a great vehicle for getting on the bands without a lot of the distractions and complexities inherent in the newer radios. The complete state of the radio is right in front of you.
Basic radio performance, reliability, ease of service, ease of use are all great. Audio signal quality both on transmit and receive is outstanding.
All the flexibility and performance you really need without complexity.
It's truly a joy and feels like coming home...
KE5RVY Rating: 2011-10-17
FIne piece of equipment Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Just getting into ham radio about 3 years ago, I started with a 2 meter kenwood. License upgrade led me to wanting HF stuff. As it turns out, my late uncle (SK) had this 530S in his garage in a box; had been there at least five years!...I had it checked out and some parts replaced, but it is now good as new and I would not trade it for any price. I did add an MFJ tuner feeding a G5RV antenna with 75 feet of LMR400. OUTSTANDING!
G4OTU Rating: 2010-10-26
Nice to return to a n hybrid rig Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Having recently returned to radio after a 20 year absence I started out with a Sommerkamp FT767 - but found it less than satisfactory particularly for CW.However A TS530S became available locally and today I purchased it.
Having spent that last few hours playing with it - what can I say?

What a pleasure to go back to a rig with knobs you can get hold of, with a receiver that really allows you to whittle down through the noise and with those forgiving valves(ok -tubes for you colonial types).

In my earlier incarnation I was a FL101ZD user - at first experience this is every bit as good .