PETER HART, G3SJX ♦ E-MAIL: PETER@G3SJX.FREESERVE.CO.UK Kenwood TS-590SPeter Hart reviews the latest HF & 50MHz transceiver which is a customised abbreviated menu list, or by al ocating menu items to programmable function keys. There are two programmable function keys on the front panel and a further four with the MC-47 microphone (available as an optional extra). Alternatively, the up/down with the radio can be reassigned as function keys. Al menu items, second level key functions and some otherwise inaccessible functions can be assigned to any of the programmable keys.
There are two antenna sockets on the rear panel and there is also a separate receive- only antenna connector. Key jacks are only fit ed on the rear panel, one for connecting a paddle to the internal keyer and a separate socket for external keying. Other rear panel PHOTO 1: General view of the Kenwood TS-590S.
connectors are fairly minimal: a DIN connector for audio and interfacing lines for the data of the key forces in the design and supply linear control. Menu items al ow for both of amateur transceivers ever since these first a triple band stacking register where one of fast and slow linear switching separately for three last used combinations of frequency, HF and 50MHz but there is only one linear mode and other set ings is returned for each control line. A dedicated connector interfaces the years and the excel ence of these designs press of the band key. Individual but ons also is borne out by the number that are stil in select the usual modes, with both sidebands For connecting to a PC, a USB interface and use by their loyal and contented owners.
available on CW and FSK and wide or narrow a 9-pin D connector COM port are provided.
deviations on FM. A data but on selects data has reduced; indeed, it is now seven years and for passing audio to and from external since the last Kenwood HF transceiver so the interfacing to PC applications (via the sound applications. Software and port drivers are announcement of a new model, the TS-590S, card); shifts and bandwidths al set able. Modes available from the Kenwood US website [1].
has (not surprisingly) been greeted with a great can be selected automatical y by set ing up a amount of interest. Shortly after receiving the built-in firmware is upgradeable. Again, ful review radio I produced a short summary of The front panel is wel laid out, with most details are given on the Kenwood US website.
my first impressions for the December RadCom functions directly accessible from front panel controls in a logical way. The display uses with the radio is comprehensive and writ en LCD technology with selectable yel ow or green in a very compact style but in some cases is LED backlighting. It is clear and bright with a not particularly clear. There are no technical good viewing angle. It also retains excel ent descriptions, circuit diagrams or CAT details visibility in bright lighting or direct sunlight, is suf iciently smal to be easily transportable unlike many other display technologies.
downloadable from the Kenwood website.
but of adequate size to be comfortable to A further five instruction manuals in dif erent operate. The radio requires a 13.8V supply.
and receiver filter bandwidths are similarly languages are provided with the radio, which It contains a single receiver tuning 30kHz shown as a graphical bar. A separate but on to 60MHz, although the performance is not displays filter bandwidths and shifts numerical y specified over the ful range. The transmit er for about 1 second. The frequency is displayed is enabled on the amateur bands and delivers to 10Hz resolution and both frequencies are The receiver in the TS-590S uses a rather displayed for split frequency operation.
novel architecture. Over most of the tuning operation on 5MHz is standard in US models range it is a triple conversion superhet, up- but can be enabled by Kenwood dealers in the with 88 items and is easy to access and set. It converting to a first IF of 73MHz, then to the UK. This gives continuous transmit coverage uses scrol ing display annotation. Two entirely second IF of 10.7MHz and final y to 24kHz across the 5MHz band for al modes but the separate sets of parameters may be stored, as to feed the DSP. A 15kHz bandwidth roofing discrete channels are best stored to memory Menu A and Menu B. This can be useful for filter is fit ed at the 73MHz IF with 15kHz, for easy access. A low-level drive output is optimising dif erent operating environments provided giving about 1mW transmit signal such as contesting and local rag-chewing or for field day operation where two operators bandwidth. On certain amateur bands (160, drive from any of the HF bands. The low level have dif erent preferences for the way the radio 80, 40, 20 and 15m) and with bandwidths LF transmit range can be extended to 522kHz is set up. Access to selected menu items can less than 2.7kHz a separate first mixer down- with a dealer modification, useful if 500kHz be simplified by set ing up a quick menu, converts directly to the second IF, now at PHOTO 2: Top view with covers removed showing PA, output filters and PHOTO 3: Underneath view showing signal processing boards.
double this value. On CW, FSK and SSB data process. Narrow roofing filters of 2.7kHz or modes these dual controls adjust bandwidth 500Hz bandwidth are selected automatical y it combines precise tuning with fast frequency and centre frequency (shift). The default shift in the down-conversion path, depending on navigation. Fine-tuning at one tenth of these rates is selectable, as are lower steps per pitch frequency. Bandwidths are portrayed revolution if desired. Rapid tuning in a variety graphical y on the display but actual values up-conversion path. A 32 bit floating-point of mode-dependant step sizes is performed are displayed for about one second at the DSP is used to provide IF channel filtering, by a smal click-step rotary control, which push of a key. Bandwidth set ings are stored is also used to select menu items, memory separately for each mode. Two separate sets channels and other functions. The frequency there is an additional conversion from the may be entered directly using the band keys from a front panel key, the equivalent of as a numeric keypad and a history list of the normal/narrow set ings on other radios but last 10 frequencies entered this way is stored more versatile. There is no user access to the audio to the DSP. On this mode the DSP is roofing filter selection; this is set automatical y used purely for audio filtering functions.
together with split frequency operation and Four dif erent notch circuits are provided.
bipolar preamplifier with nominal y 12dB gain a TFSET key for quick monitoring and tuning the transmit frequency during split frequency adjustable centre frequency and wide/narrow is a switchable at enuator for real y strong operation. RIT and XIT are both available signal situations and 13 input bandpass filters to give incremental tuning over a range of covering the total frequency range of the receiver. ±10kHz. An auto-tune feature fine tunes single interfering tone on SSB. Implemented Both first mixers use a quad arrangement of the receiver to give the correct CW pitch, at audio are two beat cancel ation filters for MOSFETs and the local oscil ator feeds are but this is best avoided if there are any interfering signals in the passband. There remove multiple tones. This is the function without the usual PLL. This can result in normal y cal ed auto-notch on other radios.
a further 10 for storing programmable scan One beat cancel ation filter is more ef ective on low-level spurious outputs can be more of a limits. The usual memory transfer functions continuous beats and the other on intermit ent problem. There is a normal crystal reference are provided and name tags of up to eight oscil ator but a 0.5ppm TCXO is available as an characters may be assigned. A separate quick functions are provided that use dif erent optional extra. The transmit signal path uses access memory is included, which stores up algorithms and dif er in their ef ectiveness the up-conversion frequency scheme in reverse. to 10 channels. Comprehensive scanning is depending on the prevailing situation. Final y provided between frequency limits, across in the armoury for combating interference are conventional style using a substantial diecast two noise blankers. NB1 is a conventional IF frame on which the circuit boards are mounted Two dif erent methods are used to set the IF together with a wrap-around case. A bail stand channel bandwidth, depending on the mode, tilts the front panel to improve visibility and using dual concentric rotary controls. On SSB, operating ease. Dual internal fans cool the PA, AM and FM, slope tuning is used, with separate operating only when the temperature rises.
control of the low and high frequency cut-of s. a programmable decay time constant. There There is substantial internal heatsinking so The net bandwidth is the dif erence between are no separate audio filters for CW or data these fans rarely operate in normal use. A 7cm the two. On AM and FM the quoted bandwidth is somewhat misleading. On FM it relates to the enabled that has eight selectable profiles.
audio filtered bandwidth; the IF bandwidth is fixed at 12kHz. On AM it also relates to the audio bandwidth after demodulation but it output is variable on al modes down to about smooth in operation and with drag adjustment. is the IF bandwidth which is filtered to about 5W and can be set separately for the HF bands later. The radio can also be control ed remotely over a network or over the internet using the uses the ARCP-590 at the operator (remote) ARHP-590 host program running at the radio end of the link and with audio lines carried programmed from the separately using a protocol such as VOIP.
Kenwood does not supply the VOIP software, which is readily available from other sources, but the control and host software is freely downloadable from the Kenwood website [1].
message stores can be access to the radio, perhaps from the garden used to pass receive and transmit audio and al control signals. In the USA other Kenwood VHF/UHF models are also suitably equipped.
VHF/UHF packet cluster network by connecting FIGURE 1: Composite selectivity curve on USB. Frequency is 1.9MHz.
radio and there are several Kenwood models Black line - Rx1 bandwidth 2.3kHz, red line - Rx2 bandwidth 2.8kHz.
suitably equipped. Incoming cluster spots can be passed to the TS-590S, which is then set and 50MHz. This is useful if you use a linear guide and message store is an optional extra.
I had the radio linked satisfactorily to the The voice guide provides voice readout in Logger32 logging program using the generic output is indicated on the display meter, English or Japanese of the status of various Kenwood protocol for control of the radio and radio set ings depending on how it has been logging data and for passing DX Packet Cluster level. The radio includes a built-in auto ATU set up. This includes the frequency, meter covering the bands 1.8 to 50MHz (including readings and virtual y any other set ings and 5MHz) and wil tune antennas with up to 3:1 key presses and can be a great help for those VSWR. The ATU can be set to be in circuit on with impaired vision. The second use of this measurements is given in the table. Sensitivity option is to provide an audio store. This can be measurements showed that the up-conversion used to record up to two 30 second messages receive path Rx2 was slightly more sensitive a transmission monitor are provided and the than the down-conversion path Rx1 and had audio bandwidth may be tailored by adjusting playback on air as CQ cal s or contest about 2-3dB higher gain within the signal path.
the low cut and high cut response. In addition, The receiver is very sensitive, particularly on an audio equaliser may be enabled that has record the receiver output continuously and six selectable profiles. FM repeater operation retain the last 30 seconds. This can be stored has an extra 8dB of gain. The sensitivity holds is best achieved by set ing the transmit and receive frequencies in split operation and cannot be played back on air and there is an (preamp on) and only starts to reduce at 50kHz.
storing to memory together with the relevant annoying delay of 20 seconds initial y whilst Sensitivity is reduced by about 16dB over the access tones. There is no direct repeater shift the contents are stored to flash memory.
set ing. Rx/Tx tone decoders and encoders are For use with transverters, the display can calibration was moderately linear and showed provided for CTCSS operation, which can use be set to indicate the transverted frequency.
about 3dB per S unit. Al modes were the same, Three digits are available for the MHz segment, except FM which was highly compressed.
On CW the rise and fal times of the keying eg 144 or 432. Of sets can be stored to a envelope are set able from 1 to 6ms and there resolution of 100Hz. The transmit drive source is the usual provision for ful and semi break-in.
for the transverter in most cases wil use the Semi break-in drop back delay is adjustable low-level 1mW drive output which disables path these figures were typical y bet er than the transmit er PA, but there is a menu option 90dB. I searched careful y for other spurious set ing it is ful break-in. One useful feature to use the PA at its lowest power level (5W).
responses as DDS circuits tend to be prone if you often tune around in dif erent modes is Make sure you avoid transmit ing into the to this problem. Rx2 was very clean with no the ability to select automatical y CW mode transverter IF output when the transverter is disabled by using the receive-only input on exceptional y clean with no other responses feature is to al ocate one function key for less than 100dB down except an internal y tune-up. This outputs a carrier, ir espective of generated birdie on 1827.5kHz, just above mode, at a power level that can be set separately areas of communication linked with the PC the noise level. In the most popular part of from the normal transmit power level.
An electronic keyer is built in using a paddle similarly supported. Kenwood provides a connected to the dedicated rear panel jack.
problem with ful -size antennas. However, It operates over the speed range 4 - 60wpm.
enable access to virtual y al functions of the with smal receive-only loops and Beverages The speed in wpm is indicated on the display. radio from a PC running Windows XP SP3 or it wil be an issue. Switching to Rx2 by selecting a bandwidth greater than 2.7kHz makes this The close-in strong signal performance is limited in some cases by the AGC. A somewhat Ukranian DX Contests. The receiver performed complex AGC system is used, detecting signal very wel : sensitive and lively on the quieter level in three places within the DSP signal bands, it coped wel picking out weak signals amongst strong signals and QRM on the lower channel selectivity. Hence a strong signal PHOTO 5: The front panel hinged down showing bands. I could not detect any real dif erence in fal ing inside the roofing filters but stil performance on-air between the up-conversion outside of the final channel filter wil result in AGC action, reducing gain and sensitivity conditions I experienced at the time. The audio and result in blocking. This can be heard as quality using the internal speaker was excel ent a quietening of the receiver from a very strong measured for Rx1 are excel ent, similar to signal just outside of the channel passband.
or bet er than top-end radios costing two to performance extended down to LF, with the The ef ect is most noticeable with the wider time-code transmissions and was also good roofing filters and is not an issue with the is best on the lower bands. For Rx2 the RM in the AM broadcast bands. The receiver birdie 500Hz roofing filter in circuit. In other performance is fairly average, similar across respects the AGC performance was general y the bands and nowhere near as good as Rx1.
160m receive loop and significantly stronger clean but the at ack response inserted a hole This is surprising considering it is the same than the ZL8X DXpedition that was active on of up to 10ms in the signal. This is seen in the hole was not as deep as in some radios results, it was possible to measure over 80dB down the channel filter skirts in some cases (500Hz), although AGC was having an ef ect figures on dif erent bands for Rx1 and Rx2.
where the wider roofing filters were in circuit.
dif erent from the noise reduction systems The table shows the results down to 60dB, on other radios. They could be very ef ective bands use Rx2. For bands that use Rx1 the which are fairly typical for DSP filters. Figure 1 in certain circumstances and quite aggressive shows the composite selectivity curve on USB in operation but tended to produce a digital bandwidth. The results show excel ent front- for Rx1 and Rx2. The skirt widening with Rx2 sound with strange artefacts if overdone.
is due to AGC close-in and reciprocal mixing reported as being excel ent using the supplied On transmit, two-tone distortion products microphone and the processor was clean and were particularly low for a 12V operated PA and added extra punch. The default microphone the processor was very clean with negligible gain set ing is a bit on the high side and the 2.7kHz bandwidth filter at the second ef ect on wideband products. The audio was IF (15kHz bandwidth filter at the first IF).
very clean with low distortion and most tolerant the sidetone were clean and wel behaved.
The results for Rx1 are real y excel ent, of high ALC levels and overdrive. The auto ATU reduced power by about 10 to 15%. CW rise spacing and 90dB at 1kHz. The results for and fal shapes were clean with negligible distortion or character shortening at 40wpm, real y useful features, easy to operate with filters. At spacings below 10kHz the dynamic even in ful break-in mode. There was a 15ms wel thought out and friendly ergonomics.
range reduces by around 10dB as the signals delay on keying. AM transmit was clean with The performance on the key five bands where approach the first IF filter passband. Then at it is a down-conversion radio is equal to the 2kHz and below the signals enter the second best radios available but at a fraction of the IF filter passband: AGC takes ef ect (see ON THE AIR PERFORMANCE. Over the period price. Even on the other bands it returns a that I had the radio for review, I came to real y meaningful measurements cannot be made.
like the ergonomics and appreciate the thought that Kenwood has put into implementing the general y available with a significant discount front-end can handle very strong signals.
various functions and features in a user- and at this price it is excel ent value for money.
Close-in, the ef ects of the roofing filters can friendly way. The tuning is smooth and positive, be clearly seen and signal handling reduces, display clear and bright and functions easy to although Rx1 with the 500Hz filter maintains access. The dual rotary controls are a bit smal express my gratitude to Kenwood Electronics excel ent blocking performance down to 1kHz and fiddly but this is inevitable in a radio of this UK for the loan of this radio.
spacing (where reciprocal mixing noise starts size. The bandwidth set ing controls are a lit le to be seen). With the 2.7kHz roofing filter confusing, with CW bandwidth and SSB high [1] Kenwood USA website for software downloads: cut on opposite controls, but it is something 0.28µV (-118dBm) 0.08µV (-129dBm) 40µV 100dB above AGC threshold for <1dB audio output increase Max audio at 1% distortion: 1.8W into 8 ohm Inband intermodulation products: -45 to -55dB INTERMODULATION (50kHz SPACING) ON USB. BANDWIDTH 2.3kHz (Rx1) 2.8kHz (Rx2) ---Rx1 PREAMP OFF--- ---Rx1 PREAMP ON--- ---Rx2 PREAMP OFF--- ---Rx2 PREAMP ON--- CLOSE-IN INTERMODULATION ON CW WITH 500Hz RECIPROCAL MIXING 500Hz BW ------------ BLOCKING PREAMP OFF ------------ Intermodulation product levels are quoted Transmit er AF distortion: Less than 0.1% wide SSB T/R switch speed: mute-Tx 15ms, Al signal input voltages given as PD across made on USB with receiver preamp switched

Source: http://uu2jj.ltd.ua/RadCom_Review_TS-590S.pdf

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