TS-990s Review

I finally took delivery of my TS990s in 2021 and it came with the latest firmware. First impressions, distilled into single words: massive, engineered, beautiful, functional, imposing, radio bling. But not a microphone in sight which I thought was pretty odd but they must have got their sums right, I would never had used a cheap mic on this wonderful radio anyway since I use a Rode Broadcaster on a mic boom with some aditional audio equipment.

Everything about this rig is solid. My expectations had been managed by all the articles that I’ve read on the internet about the radio and I double checked the radio when I compared my FTdx101d for a week next to eachother. For me, the TS-990s was the winner, although more expensive. The main reason for switching my allegiance from Yaesu was the size (I like very large radios), the in-built monitor and scope function, and particularly the fact that a single USB cable connects the rig to my WIndows PC, effectively de-cluttering my MK2R+ SO2R system. I was fed up with all the wires everywhere because of the 3 com ports this radio have.

Initially, I connected the rig to my SteppIR antenna (6-40m), a full size beam in the garden at about 89 feet. It took a few days to build my confidence but I heard some stations working and I played with the roofing filters. I set up three main parameters, wide, intermediate and very sharp. Together with the width and shift, these seemed extremely effective in dialing out close QRM. There appeared to be no overload with close-too stations.

Hooking up to all of my computer programs that i’m using for Ham Radio was a breeze, however like all things on the TS990s, the definition of a breeze is sitting for two hours and a cup of coffee thumbing the manual and cross referencing many chapters. Finally PSK31, PTT and the rest of the regular rig-controls were working.

NOW 2023…finaly the new firmware 1.26 comes along….what a feeling, the flagship is stil alive! I am testing it from the 3th September 2023 and i can tell you, great performance! Well done Kenwood!!!

73s Sascha de PF9Z

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