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Reviews For: Kenwood TS-140/680

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

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TS-140/680
Reviews: 51MSRP: 1,190.00
100w, 160-10m HF SSB/AM/FM/CW rig
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VE7POE Rating: 2023-01-22
A Great Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased this radio in Jan 1990 (18 years ago) shortly after getting my ticket. at that time it was the recommended rig in its price class at
$1199.00 CAN.

The choice was between the TS140s, ICOM's IC725 and the Yaesu FT 747 GX. After all the research, talking to local hams, playing with all 3 in the local ham store, etc. the choice for me was clearly the TS140S. The slider pots are a slight annoyance, I would have liked the RF gain as a round knob. This rig works well! is built like a tank, and still looks (I think) really good after 18 years.

I have the optional computer I/F and have used several control programs and even written one myself. I see a third party company has produced a drop in computer interface for those who may not have one. it's available on the Internet.

The only real issue, is no additional narrower SSB IF filter option. I am currently using an outboard audio filter and this makes an incredible difference to the sometimes noisy receive audio. The fidelity has always been awesome, and no distortion, just the bandwidth is a bit too wide.

FM was also an attraction I have worked 10M repeaters DX and even a Japan simplex contact at full quieting during solar cycle peak.

I gave it a five based on the class (Entry level), the features it offered against the competition in its class, overall ease of use, and the fact that I feel it still holds its own today. A great little entry level rig and not totally bare bones either.

KE4AMQ Rating: 2022-06-11
Great old rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned this radio for about 25 years, bought it at a hamfest for 200.00. Just lastyear the audio amp went out in the radio. You cant hear anything unless you use a amplified speaker. Which is no big problem for me I would like to fix it just never seem to get around to it. I have owned lots of radios in my day and the kenwood ts140s is a workhorse of a radio. I get great audio reports with the stock hand mic. Thinking about setting it up at the hunting camp and leaving it there with a dipole for 75 meters. I cant say enough good things about the 140.
AA7BI Rating: 2018-07-20
No Problems after 30 Years Time Owned: more than 12 months.
As I am the original owner, I am a completely satisfied customer. Unlike many many radios this vintage, it works up to specs night after night. Mine has a 500Hz CW filter, and I am often surprised how many times I've recently seen straight key ops at Hamfests and Field Day using this radio.

It's no lemon! New or old, it works, and is a pleasure to operate.

Earlier 5-star review posted by AA7BI on 2012-02-29

Bought this rig new in 1988 for $589 with narrow CW filter to celebrate my Extra ticket. I expected it to last a lifetime because I'm independently unwealthy. It has.

Two noise blankers, CW filter, an outboard DSP and a Timeworks ANC-4 antenna noise canceller help me deal with just about any QRM the ozone can dish out. I've performed all the mods on it with ease and am particularly happy with the all-mode squelch and 60 meter capabilities. It took me some years to realize that I needed to boost the drive and audio to full in order really get out a good signal. I have used it in contests as a QRP rig and had no trouble setting the slider pots (probably because I have long, thin fingers). I've also seen this rig adapted quite nicely for Handi-Ham operators so the pots could be more easily manipulated.

I've played with more expensive radios but have great difficulty justifying the price difference to any small performance that might be gained. While I've often wondered if I should sell it and upgrade to keep up with the Jones', I believe that would be like giving away the family dog. I am tempted to get a smaller rig, but at my age I now need the larger TS-140 readout and controls. It's been with me 24 of the 37 years I've been a ham. I'm keeping it. It's a classic.
KJ4RZZ Rating: 2016-12-14
Great first radio. Old but solid. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This was my first HF radio. I purchased it with a PS-430 and an AT-250. I use it in digital modes with a Signalink USB and found the power slider extremely useful. Sometimes these get wonky... spray with contact cleaner and they are back to normal. I did the squelch mod (for SSB), lots of googling required to find this. I finally upgraded to a TS-440, but in many ways the TS-140 was better. The AT-250 was excellent and had wider range. The power slider was perfect for digital modes. The radio was simple and solid, I never had problems with it. The PS-430S was barely up to the task of digital though.. the fan would come on often. A PS-50 would be better for digital. Great first radio. I really loved mine.
KG7OTQ Rating: 2016-05-12
Great radio, excellent starter and beyond. Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I purchased my 680 at a hamfest in 2015. The price was right, and I haven't regretted the decision. Sounds great, doesn't have any DSP, but the IF shift and RF gain does compensate for a lot. I get good signal reports with the hand mic, and it is a handy rig for PSK31 and other digital modes with a Signalink USB. I have added an Autek QF-1A for more filtering, and I am really enjoying the radio. 6M hasn't been active until lately, so cant comment on the receiver there. But other bands has great RX.
KC1ACL Rating: 2016-04-25
ts-680s Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
got my 680s at a hamfest.using it as a backup radio.i put it on my skyloop and I could hear quite a bit of signals.and no bad signal reports.
IS0KYB Rating: 2016-04-25
Reliable and better than its reputation... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had the TS140 since I was a teenager with a fresh licence. The transmitter is quite good and the difference with respect to a 850 or 870 is just a lack of processor options.

The receiver part is a mixed bag:
- sensitivity is higher than most HF radios, especially on 12 and 10m it hears better than most when it comes to very weak signal;
- audio quality is quite nice, if you have a better SSB filter (K12 I think) install it and listen to a 930...
- the noise blanker, at least in mine, is broken by design: even when disabled, it degrades a lot the dynamic range and you have a lot of filter blow-by. the solution is simple if you live in the countryside with no impulsive noise: remove the coil cores (I believe they are L60 and L61 but I may be wrong) and the problem is gone.
- after performing the above mod, you can install a 500Hz CW filter and you'll think you're using an 850, sort of... :)
- AGC slow could be a bit slower, one day I'll change the capacitor for this...
- one day I'll exchange the squelch pot with the RF gain slider...

All in all, I like this radio and its aluminum VFO smooth knob.
Try the noise blanker mod and please let me know if yours too was defective!

(cogoni AT gmail DOT com)
KC6RCM Rating: 2014-08-09
Nice... easy to operate too. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased my TS-140S new and have not experienced any issues with it in over twenty years. Most transceivers today seem to be of the same color, so its gray case and front panel is a pleasing alternative for me. The vacuum fluorescent display and an actual analog S-meter are nice touches, that are not found in current entry-level rigs.
WP4OEK Rating: 2013-05-17
It's Good Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I got one, a friend sold it to me. TX audio y great. Reception Audio is good. Easy to use. The only reason I give it a 4 is because Power, Mic/RF Gain and NB Level controls are sliders.
KB0HAE Rating: 2012-10-18
Good basic radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my 680 mainly for the 6m coverage. I am a Kenwood fan, and the only non-Kenwood radio at my station was a Yaesu FT-690RII 6m mono-band radio (I still have it put away). I got a good price on the 680 because the top edge of the front panel looks like something heavy was dropped on it. Kenwood has really not made many radios with 6m.

The RX is slightly noisier than my TS-430Ss, but its pretty good. Works good for 6m, HF, and SWL. Operation is simple. RX sounds good with or without an external speaker. TX sounds good with the MC-42s and MC-50, better with an Audio Technica ATR-30. The only con is that one of the LPF relays (10m and 12m) is dirty or wearing out. Some of the keys bounced at first, but with use they work better now. Nothing unusual for a radio of its age.