Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Kenwood TS-130SE

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

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
Review Summary For : Kenwood TS-130SE
Reviews: 30MSRP:
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W8OWL Rating: 2011-04-05
Good Old Time Quality Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is my second TS-130SE and bruise is now healed, kicked myself for selling the first one. But God is good: Mine now is even better, hard to believe. Like many of us older hams, I've lost count of the radios I've owned over the years since 1957. This one is for me one of the very best older radios, except for the beloved tube gear. I've had new radios that did not compare with the excellent plain-old receiver part of the TS-130SE. And audio reports are superb, just with the stock microphone. If you like a radio that's simple and superb, yet inexpensive, this is the one-to-enjoy. 73/Bob
KB0HAE Rating: 2010-10-16
Great basic HF radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is my second TS-130SE. I had to sell the first one to keep the bills paid, and greatly regreted having to sell it. I found one on eBay in very good condition, with the narrow SSB filter (YK-88SN) and the 500hz CW filter. Since I am not a CW op, I removed and sold the CW filter. No problems at all with this one, and the extta SSBfilter is a great addition. This one drifts about 27 to 30hz an hour after 20 minutes warm-up. It works very well for SSB contacts with excellent RX audio, and very good TX audio reports with the MC-30S hand mic, and the MC-50 desk mic. It also works very well for PSK31, and SSTV with a very simple interface.

The TS-130SE is a very nice basic HF radio that will serve me well for many years!

Earlier 5-star review posted by KB0HAE on 2001-07-25

I bought my TS-130SE used from a dealer. After a couple of months a couple of minor problems
showed up. (I do not blame the dealer, as I am sure they didn't run the rig 12 or more hours a day for 2 monthes like I did...when not operating, I monitor the Maritime Mobile net on 14.400 as well as a few other nets) The display would occasionally go blank with loss of vfo (no RX/TX), and occasionally the receive sensitivity would drop by about 4 s-units or so. Both of these problems were caused by bad solder joints, not unusual in a rig of its age, especially if it has been mobile. I easily found and cured these problems, and with a little tweeking of the reciever alignment, the rig has performed excellently since. Even though I have had some extended rag chew contacts, the fan never came on until I keyed it down in CW (100W) mode for about 10 minutes into a dummy load. Under normal operation the back of the rig (the whole rear panel is a heat sink!) doesn't even get warm. Very easy rig to work on. I get good transmit audio reports with a Radio Shack hand mic, or my homebrew headset. The receiver has good sensitivity, and selectivity, and the audio is very nice. An exernal speaker is nice, but not a necessity as with some other rigs. Overall a very nice rig, especially as a starter or second rig for the shack.
K2LGO Rating: 2010-07-06
SOLID, SOLID RADIO Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I feel it is redundant to say the same thing that has been said 19 times, but I just want to pay tribute to a radio that I do believe has given me as much pleasure as any I have owned...The receiver is adequate, the transmitter works fine every time, and I like the way you can QSY across a band very quickly... Good looking radio, well built, and still repairable...In the spirit of the 830, the 130 will be around for quite awhile...
NU0R Rating: 2009-10-29
Very Nice Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this rig to be used for portable operations because of its size and ease of operations. It has set on my bench unused for the last 2 years. Our local ham club is having an outing this weekend so I dug out the 130 SE. I did not have a mic so I wired a Yaesu FT101 mic to fit the Knwd. Both are 500 ohm systems. I listened in a bit on the bands and saw that I needed to do some pot and band switch cleaning. I did that last night. I fired it up today to do some on the air tests. WOW, was I ever pleased.
I love the simplicity of operations. No menus whatsoever. It does 140 watts on every band but 10 where it does 100 watts. I am getting very ggod audio reports with my substitute mic.
The receive audio quality is fantastic. It would rival any of my new rigs. It has all of the filters and they are very effective. The IF shift is marvelous. I have not seen a better IF shift in any other rig.
If I had known that this rig was as good as it is I would have been using it all along. Oh well, better late than never!!!
Find a good used one and you will have a winner!
KE6YX Rating: 2009-05-15
A great solid rig! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I am giving this rig a five because while it is not a five compared to some of the modern rigs, for the period when it was built and sold, it is a strong five.

I now have my second TS-130SE. The first one I purchased new in the 80’s along with the PS-30 power supply, remote VFO, mobile rack, all the filters, and a matching speaker. About 3 years ago in a moment of brain fade I sold it just after purchasing a used Ten Tec Corsair II.

After awhile I realized what a dumb decision that was, and started thinking about finding another one to replace it. Well fast forward to 2009, and I just bought another TS-130SE off I also acquired a 500 Hz CW filter, and now I am a happy camper.

It does not have the selectivity or QSK like my Ten Tec, but it is a very simple rig to operate, and with the 500 Hz filter CW contacts are easy. It also makes a very stable platform for PSK-31 using a SignalLink USB, and Digipan software.

If you are looking for a good backup or a first time rig, or maybe you do not want to spend a lot of money for your primary rig, the TS-130SE should be on your short list as long as everything works.

I am having a lot of fun with mine.
VE2ITZ Rating: 2008-03-07
Exellent solid simple rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Simple to use. with the KISS concept in mind.

In the Early 80's when i was a teenager i drooled over one of these.

And then one day i found one in very good condition on e-bay.

It perform very good. Many people have commented on the good audio. I run it barefoot and most of the time i get 5/9 reports no problem.

The 2 things that is are bit of a hassle is the frequency drift that takes place when the rig is not warm enough. Also it does not operate split frequencies. You have to get an external vfo.
Otherwise i would give it a 5!

This radio is exellent for a novice ham who wants to get their feet wet in the hf bands! Plus it can transmit on the WARC bands as well.

It feels like a solid rig. I really like it as a base station since it is a middle sized radio. I know these days mobile rigs are smaller but if something goes wrong how can you see the components?

I am a happy camper and think about keeping it.
W5VAN Rating: 2007-08-31
A Fun Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is my first HF radio. I set up a G5RV antenna the same day I got it. Right away I was able to make contacts all over the country. The radio is protected against high SWR, just in case there is a problem. The controls are simple, but effective. They layout is easy to understand.I was able to use it without opening the manual, but I found a few tips in it.
W8ZNX Rating: 2006-01-22
lots of radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Iv had my 130SE for over 10 years
friend found it for me at Dayton $350
my first all solid state JA rice box
0 to 5 is realy too crude a scale
i give it a 4.6
use it on cw and fone

its a very good little radio
with no real vices
solid cast iron kick around radio
I like the analog/digital dial read out

does not have all the bs extras
you do not realy need in a hf xceiver

one flaw
for a few years kenwood had probs with
cold solder joints
TS120/130 it most often happened at the feed through grommets, easy to fix

de mac w8znx

M0DSZ Rating: 2005-06-07
Near-perfect Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
With all the filters fitted I can't see any need for another rig.
PROS: This set tolerates nearby VERY strong signals and high SWR.
Good filter choice, tuneable IF useful.
Audio compression works well.
Easy to dismantle, I recommend replacing both the lamps with LEDs once one has failed. Removing the VFO entirely facilitates this.
CONS:The lack of 160m could be for saving space with the PA and other coils. It means retaining another transceiver for this band.
The VFO does drift a little to start.
Split VFO could be useful but then you can always use an external one if that's what you want.
PY3KT Rating: 2005-04-06
Great old radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My Kenwood TS130SE is a backup radio. I use it sometimes, one or times a week. It´s working fine in all bands availabe, but I prefer QSOs on 80m and 40m SSB. Very nice RX e good TX (signal and audio). The speech processor is used only in bad propagation conditions.