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Reviews For: Kenwood TS-590S

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

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Review Summary For : Kenwood TS-590S
Reviews: 275MSRP: 1799.99
The TS-590S marks a bold new chapter in Kenwood's proud history of manufacturing high-performance transceivers. Featuring a narrow-band Roofing Filter the TS-590S significantly reduces interference from unwanted signals that would be hidden to lesser rigs. With IF AGC based on advanced DSP technology, Kenwood has essentially redefined HF performance.
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
2E0EES Rating: 2023-09-21
World Class and inexpensive Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I'm going to compare this to my old IC7410.

The reciever is a revelation. You do not need to use the DSP tools to have noise free QSO's. Blend the the RF and AF gain gets you amazing SN ratio.

My rig does overshoot the ALC. Hours of time spent playing with the many Tx tools will help and you will get a good tx audio but you need the hours and the Kenwood software - it's worth it.

Once set up, it's a doddle to use. The 2 menu profiles are handy and always giving you a "last known good" or data/ssb or cw profile if you prefer.

I use an external speaker (old SP230) with a BHI dsp unit grafted in. This, and the great receiever, makes the Kenwood noise free to the ear in normal use - S9 noise on 40m? Who cares!

The atu is not as good as, say a ATU130max (Chinese cheapy) but its lightning fast.

The usb port is very convenient but use the Kenwood com port drivers.

Overall, operating a TS 590s, if it is your first top rig, is a thrilling experience. It just blows me away. It can do everything and do it very, very well. The power output is often mentioned. I have heard conflicting opinions...some say it is down on power. Some blame cheap power meters giving poor readings. Others say its fine and it is just a myth. My experience is you will hit all that you can hear and you can hear a lot! I think it peaks at about 85w on ssb but I'm not too confident my meter is that accurate over 50w. Will I be getting a linear amp at some point - yes! I operate hf and love dx'ing. In which case the power issue is a mute point. I only need the extra power to compete in pile ups not to hit distant stations in favourable conditions. A dozen or so watts really doesn't make much of a difference. I use a 20m long Resonant end fed wire antenna at about 12m high. SWR on 10, 15, 20 and 40 is 1:1.4 or better.

The lack of waterfall, to some, will be an issue and I can see the validity of this. There are options however.

I see the TS 590s this way: I have a world class receiver. My Kenwood forms the centre of my station, not all of my station. As the neverending road of discovery called Ham radio progresses I can build on the TS590s and it will still be a great tool for another 10 years and I will grow with it.

Oh, and finally, this easy to use, smallish rig cost me £480. Best money I have ever spent.
M0SRW Rating: 2022-06-07
Overrated Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Having some older TS range found this radio a let down RX is good but trying to get full 100w out of it is not easy my Alinco DX70 just blows it away every time even after 3days of messing with the audio settings with a friend that knows my voice
give me the old TS440 over this heap anyday
AF5CC Rating: 2021-12-06
Kenwood has a winner! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Last summer a friend and I were discussing favorite rigs we used to own and the Kenwood TS430 came up as one we both really liked. It was a good performer and probably my favorite in terms of ergonomics-just very simple to use and did everything you needed an HF radio to do. The Kenwood TS590S is like a modern day TS430 with very updated performance.

From an ergonomic standpoint this radio is one of the best out there today. Everything you really need is on the front panel, and the menu items are pretty much set and forget things. Plus Kenwood took a lesson from the Yaesu FT450 and added some of the nice features from that radio-you can program the UP and DOWN buttons on the microphone to control various features of the radio. I use them to send CW memories and voice keyer memories, much easier than reaching up to push the appropriate button on the radio. Since Kenwood doesn't sell a remote keypad for this radio this is the next best thing. If you can find the MC-47 hand mic you have 4 additional programmable buttons on that mic. Also from the FT450, you can program a button to send a low power carrier to use while adjusting a manual antenna tuner. More radios need this function.

I won't go too much into performance as many others have already done that. The DSP noise reduction works better than it does on the earlier Kenwood radios, at least on NR1, making the voice signals sound much less muffled while taking out the background noise. The dual noise blankers work very well on the power line noise I get at my QTH. There is some other RFI crud they don't completely remove, though.

The built in antenna tuner matches antennas well beyond their published range, and with the dual antenna jacks, and the Kenwood ARCP-590 software, you have a nice package for remote operation. You can use any of the various remote desktop programs to control the radio via WSJT-X or the ARCP-590 program, and at least send canned messages for chasing DX on CW or SSB, and switching between antennas as well. The tuner in the 590 (as well as the one in the TS2000) will match my TGM Communications MQ-26 miniquad when it is raining and the SWR is thrown off, many other internal tuners won't do that.

The built in soundcard is nice for digital mode operations, requiring only a USB cable for rig control and digital modes audio. It seems much less sensitive to RFI and SWR than the Icom 7300 is-where it would keep disconnecting on my low band antenna, no matter what I did. With the TS590, I wrapped the USB cable around a ring torrid and no problems yet. I also like the fact that TS590 is opened for 60 meter transmit from the factory instead of having to rely on memories, which don't work so well with WSJT and FT8. Plus the tuner works great on 60 meters, unlike the tuner on the TS2000.

If I had a few changes I would like to see on the TS590, they would be:

1. Backlit keys like on the TS2000. Makes it easier to use in a semi-dark shack.
2. APF filter for CW. Yaesu can put these on their low end rigs like the FT100D and FT857, but Kenwood can't? The TS890 does have one.
3. A multistep antennuator. 20DB is usually too much. 6db/12db/18db would be more appropriate, like Yaesu has on many of their rigs. The TS890 does have this.

Overall, just a great sounding, great performing, easy to use rig at a great price level. If you look around on the used market, you should be able to find a TS590S for $700 or less, which is a great deal for this level of performance!
EA4AZZ Rating: 2021-05-15
Great and nice rig Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Nice radio for Dx and contest. I had a ts870 but the 590 selectivity is much better than the 870. The rx is clear. The DSP NR1 works great for me and NR2 for cw and some situations also works great. I know you know and we know that the Yaesu´s DSP are more aggressive in the new models but the 590´s dsp works great. Great radio with a lot of fun.
F6DEX Rating: 2021-01-22
Good transceiver but old dsp Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The ts590 has good ergonomics and is pleasant to handle. The reception is good including the selectivity. it is however a pity that kenwood did not update the code of its dsp, in depth, since the ts2000 or even the ts870. The sound is less harsh but overall I feel the same impression. the nb and nr are useless. unfortunately the ts890 does not look better from this point of view despite these other undeniable qualities. While the reception chains have improved considerably over the past 10 years, the dsp have a great importance for the feeling and the quality felt. Kenwood needs to update its copy. that said, it is a transceiver that I can recommend, especially in cw.
N1UMJ Rating: 2020-12-14
very good radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought the ts-590S, because the price was right, back in the spring. I have it setup along side an Icom IC-756ProII. the 590S does receive bettter, and I have a high noise level at my qth on 40 and 75 but the filtering in the 590S takes it down a bit better. I go back and forth depending on what I'm doing. I have or have had many of the Kenwood radios and amazingly each one is better than the last. they're a pleasure to use. I love the separate profiles, I have one menu setup for rag chewing, and another for DX'ing or contesting.
KE4WBS Rating: 2020-07-02
Awesome Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Just got me a nice well taken care of Kenwood TS-590S been having a great time. sounds great recieve is very good also i was looking for a radio that would be able to use digital and connect though usb this fits the bill. if latter i want to have dual recieve i can also get a ts 590sg or the ts890 in the future...
G3OS Rating: 2020-03-01
great rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had this a good few years now and it does everything I want, terrific RX performance. simple to operate and easy to live with. what more could anyone ask
KB3IBT Rating: 2019-06-14
The answer for noise level at my QTH Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I walked into my local HRO back in March to purchase a FTDX3000. Their stock was depleted. So my second choice was a TS-590sg. While there, I played with a 890 and an Icom 7300. I have done exhaustive research on the 590, 3000, and 7300 for the price point. I was leaning towards the 3000 because it has a color screen and usb port. I was so impressed by the ergonomics of the 590 that I had to take it home. Minimum menu intervention while operating. The receiver is amazing with the options available right out of the box. The noise level at times at my QTH is so unbearable, (s7-9 at times) that it makes dx impossible. I am happy to say that the NB1 and 2 work very well for me along with the notch filter. The usb connection was so easy to setup. I have been working mostly FT8 lately with good results. I have owned a TS-2000 that I sold so I can experience a new radio. This 590 is a keeper! I am still learning the potential it has. I can't wait to purchase a TS-890 so I can use the 590 as a sub receiver. In my opinion, this radio is the best bang the the buck at the moment. Rumor has it that the receiver is very much like the one in the 890 without all the bells and whistles it has! (but you didn't hear me say that!) I also have an 870, that sadly, will be up for sale to help finance the 890. Life is good!
W8NLZ Rating: 2018-11-13
Unbeatable for Price & Value Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The best endorsement one can give a radio - I bought a 2nd one.

Disclosure: I am an old school ham - still thrill to the knob twisting and morse code of as they did it when I was first licensed. And, I am a Kenwood man - the displays, knobs, and buttons are just what and where you want them. I am content to stumble along without a pan adapter.

To me, it is unbelievable that you can buy such a good transceiver used for less than half of the MSRP. 3rd order intercept statistics aside, the TS-590S has as much capability as the average ham can use. Beyond this point, the antennas become much more important. The "SG" suffix will add little to your daily ops.

The other 31 reviews ahead of me have extolled its fine points. I will just reiterate: at the going price for "lightly used", the TS-590S is a terrific buy.