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Saturday, 22 September 2018

TS-890 - really?


I'm one of the first in the UK to receive a new Kenwood TS-890.

Here it is:

Unbelievably (as was the case with the TS-990) there is NO microphone supplied with the radio (LAM have kindly given me one).

Here's a few screen shots of what I've done with it so far:

Now, it DOESN'T transmit on 5MHz out of the box - that's a shame.

It's going to be a good radio for Meteor Scatter on 4M (above) and 6M below:

I have connected a MicroKeyer II to mine, and in turn interfaced the CI-V output from the uHam device to the linear for automatic band switching. The linear covers all HF and 6M plus 4M so we are in good shape.

Initial impressions of the waterfall are that I think its a bit clunky compared to the IC-7610:

and I really can't figure out what the "Expand" button does, that seems to just make it more chunky. The averaging applies to both the panadapter and the waterfall - I would have expected that to work just on the band scope, you can see the difference in the waterfall here:

The CW Decode and Encode (from key/paddle or USB keyboard) seems spectacularly superb:

The ability to use "internal" memory for capture of config, screen shots et cetera is fabulous. You can then tell the rig that you want to copy the files to the connected PC and the radio becomes an external USB drive - now that's clever:

Anyhow, some time with the radio is needed before drawing any conclusions, but so far, so good.

I plan to keep a list below of fab and not-so fab stuff on this new rig.


  • Power output stored by band
  • 70MHz included
  • CW Sidetone in audio output
  • Ergonomics
  • Max Power Out configurable by band
  • CW decoder and CW keyboard
  • CW tune function far better than Icom
  • NB and NR superb
  • Copy files to PC functionality 
Not-so Fab:

  • No mic supplied with the rig
  • 270Hz roofing filter not supplied as standard
  • No TX on 5MHz without modification (perhaps because mine was an early version)
  • Waterfall seems very chunky compared to IC-7610
  • Bandscope too small when displayed with waterfall in both normal and expanded modes
  • Preferred frequency markers same colour as bandscope grid so hardly visible
  • No VBW or RBW controls on the bandscope (included on 7610)
  • No colour setting options for any of the waterfall or bandscope options
  • y-axis gain in bandscope seems low - no way to adjust - signals all at the bottom
Here's a video of 4M RX pm 23rd Sept 2018:

Here's Miss Luna Cat keeping one eye on me from high up in the shack:

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