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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
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KD7TDC Rating: 2005-09-27
Wow what a rig!! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The Kenwood TS-530s is the best rig for anyone. I got mine 1 year ago at age 14 at a ham fest. Now at age 15 it is still running like it was just built. Great audio, great features, all bands, easy to tune (hey, if a 15 year old can do it, so can you), all around great rig. It is a very hardy rig that can take some abuse. And if it does go broke, it it a very easy one to fix (like before, a kid could do it) They are also rather cheap rigs too. So go buy one whether you need it or not, It is worth your money

Chris KD7TDC
LW4DYI Rating: 2004-09-28
All terrain 4x4 HF machine Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Outstanding. I have this rig since my beginning like ham, as a gift from my parents when I was 13. Without optional filters or external VFO, I love this rig. I was #3 in 1994 CQWWDX CW, in the low power category, single operator 10 meters. Also #1 in 1995, #2 in 1996 and #1 in ARRL Ten Meter Contest '96. It was only my rig, my 3 el. quad and I (never used more than 100 watts). In SSB I receive always excellent audio reports (using the built-in compressor). I have compared against many other receivers and it's incredible the reception quality... clean and quiet.
Old but reliable.
KG4GLI Rating: 2004-02-27
Great ! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This is the best Kenwood Rig that I have owned.
I have owned the TS 570D,570DG and 570SG also the TS 120 which is basically the same as the 570 it looks like the 570 series was built on the same technogoly as the 120. They are not the best of rigs seems like to me that the 120 is even better than the 570's. So I went back in years and purchased the 530s and it by far is a much better built rig than the 570s. The reciver is hotter and the tx audio is much better. The filter on the 570 are just alwful, they sound hollow. I really dont know what happened to Kenwoods qualty, although in their defence I havent operated the TS 2000 or the TS 870 I wonder how well they did on those rigs. Howevery I did get to compare the audio on the 2000 and the 570 and could not tell any difference. It seem like to me the Older Kenwood Rigs were made better.
G0WPA Rating: 2004-02-20
A complete joy to use! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I sold my IC706 to finance purchasing this rig and I havent looked back since. It looks stunning, the knobs and dials are silky smooth, the layout is spot on, the meter, dial and display lighting are great and it just feels like a quality piece of kit!

On the air it performs well, very well indeed. The VFO is stable, RX is very quiet and these rigs have a lovely audio! I find the 500Hz crystal filtering excellent, although I suspect it has twin peeks. This is not a criticism, in fact it gives you a wide-ish band to place your received CW, while totally blocking signals outside the passband. Tuning up is quick and easy. (Incidentally, the rig outputs 100-120W across the bands which can be wound down a little with the mic gain on SSB. DONT wind it down too much or your TX audio will sound flat and thin. For those requiring QRP-ish power levels on SSB, it is possible to do this with a simple circuit putting a negative voltage on the ALC line. E-mail me for details, if you like.

All in all, I love this rig. It outshines my IC706 in ALL practical respects. If you're looking for an older rig with a quality feel and performance to die for, you couldnt do much better than a TS-530S.
VK2IMM Rating: 2003-10-17
Reliable radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned this transceiver for 7 years.

The radio is built based on a single IF design with crystal filters. Coverage of 9 HF amateur bands is provided. The transceiver has a single VFO and an external VFO is required for operation on split frequencies. The RIT/XIT function can provide up to 2 KHz frequency offset. The circuit is of a hybrid design with a power amplifier utilising two 6146B valves, one more valve is used as a driver. The construction of the radio is very solid although I would not rate it as of a “military quality”. Modes of operation provided - CW, USB and LSB.

This radio performs well. The transmitter delivers 100-120 W output on all bands. There is a very quiet cooling fan on the back of the radio and it does a very good job, so the radio can be run at full power in CW mode for hours (without constant key-down). It is recommended to reduce the power when operating in the modes using continues carrier. The receiver sensitivity is sufficient in most cases. Measured MDS of this particular radio is in –134 -136 dBm range with slight variations from band to band. Blocking dynamic range is acceptable and I have not experienced blocking problems with full size resonant wire antennas on 20 and 40 M.

This is possible to install two optional filters into the radio. In my case 1.8 KHz and 500 Hz filters are installed. Quality of these filters is good but the limits of filtering performance can be discovered e.g. very strong CW signals can be heard outside of pass-band of a 500 Hz filter. This does not create major problems but it may be a bit confusing.

Stability of the VFO is acceptable to operate CW and SSB but the frequency drift becomes visible when operating BPSK31 or MFSK16 modes. This is much less pronounced when temperature of the unit stabilizes.

The reliability of this radio is very good. During the years of ownership it has developed no problems. One or two push-button switches may require some cleaning but I would consider this is to be normal for a 20-year-old radio.

Overall, this radio does very well what it was designed for. Although it does not offer all features of the modern radios and it can be considered to be somewhat slow in operation i.e. band changes, it can still be successfully used in most cases.
KC5NIS Rating: 2002-01-22
Good Deal Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Had mine for about 5 years. First and still only HF radio. The 530 is a mix of solid state and tubes. Digital freq display and tube finals. I bought it off of another ham for $250 in excelent condition, woopee! It plugs straight into the wall so no need for a heavy power supply. Signal reports are great. Unlike the new rigs, EVERY function on this radio has its own "honest to goodness" knob. If you need a first or backup rig and you hear a ham friend offer to sell his, call his bluff before he has a chance to back out. He will kick himself later.
ON4VP Rating: 2001-12-03
Enjoy it very much ! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently bouth a secondhand TS-530S.
The 500hz CW and 1.8khz SSB filters installed.
The rig comes without a scratch and an extra pair of final tubes + drive tube and added extra was the MC-50 Mic.
I had a similar rig about 5 years ago but sold it and I know now I never make this mistake again.
I love the s-meter (needle) and the size of all knobs. I also like the features that comes with this rig knowing it's build more than 15 years ago. And I 'feel' the difference when it comes to the switching diodes and the 530's bandswitch that outperforms any diode (aprox 40 dB att.).
I rewired the mic plugs to use it togheter with my rigblaster (RJ-45 model) originally bought for use with my IC-706. But all is multifunctional now. I just have to drive it a little more (mic gain) when using the rigblaster. Audio is crisp clear. And when it comes to tuning, I guess it's a habit that feels natural after you done it a few times.
KC8HXO Rating: 2001-08-24
Just LOVE it!!! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have owned my TS-530s for a few months now, and I wouldn't have any other rig!! I was using an Icom IC-735, but this rig outshines it for SSB operation! The only problem I encountered so far is a bad audio driver tube, giving static on the recieve after it got good and hot. Replaced it, and she works fine business once again. Using a Radio Shack Mic, I cannot believe all of the great (unsolicited)reports on my transmit audio!! ($15 on sale at the shack.... poor man's Heil, I guess.)
Anyway- find a 530s reasonable - about $300 - and enjoy!!
KD7IZZ Rating: 2001-05-31
Absolutely Great Rig Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I was out of ham radio for about 15 years but owned an FT101ZD in my earlier days. I wanted another radio with tube finals like the 101 and found a TS-530s on the internet and bought it. What a great radio for such a reasonable price ($350). Handles antennas fine no matter what the SWR and will also go down to 5 watts when I want to QRP. The audio is great when I do audio, but I do alot of CW and its a wonderful rig, particularly with the 500 hz filter and the IF shift. I wouldn't mind having the 270 hz filter and will probably put it in soon as I work alot of CW. I liked the radio so much I got the antenna tuner for it, which is really helpful and a nice accessory (AT230). I also got the matching speaker (SP230) and the Remote VFO (VFO240) I really recommend getting the VFO 240 since it is so much cheaper and works great; you will pay much more for the 230 and the 240 works fine for splits and all other uses for the 530s. Also got the SM220 Station monitor which is fun but not necessary. It is handy to check your signal once in a while and I can use it for other kit rigs that I construct to check the shape of the CW signal. All in all, this rig, with all its accessories, is truly a gas! The price is relatively cheap and I enjoy the tuning up and the quality signal. I recommend this rig to anyone who wants to get on the air without enormous expense and have loads of fun.
N8CDN Rating: 2001-04-26
A Real Bargin! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I received my TS-530-S for Christmas 1992 as a gift from my wife. It has served me well since. I was not real active for the last 8 years. However, recently I got bit by the "bug" again and am back to working the hf bands and my trusty 530 is working well! This rig does need to be "exercised". I found out it does not like to lay around unused for too long! I have a slight problem with the band switch but a shot of cleaner will take care of that. I get consistant good audio reports with the MC-50 mike. I do not use the speech processor all that often. the IF shift is a big help on this rig. It really helps when the QRM is high.The 6146 finals cannot be beat as they will handle a "not so good" SWR with no problem! The bottom line is that the 530 is a great bargin on the used market. You cannot go wrong with either the 530 or the 830.

Terry N8CDN