Technical Questions & Answers
For Kenwood Amateur Transceivers TS-520, TS-520S, TS-820, TS-820S, TS-530S, TS-830S, and more!
From the K4EAA Ham Radio Mailbag

Over the years I have received and answered many thousands of technical questions from Ham Radio Operators.  At this juncture, I suspect I have answered every Kenwood question that is possible to ask at least once - And several, many, many times.   While it takes a fair amount of time to add to the FAQ, with pictures and diagrams and the like, the email questions can be copied and pasted reasonably quickly.  That is what I have done here.

I will be adding to these as time permits, as I have over four years worth, after all!   You can either read through the emails page-by-page (like a novel!), or search the site for keywords which will lead you directly to your area of interest.   ENJOY!   Ken, K4EAA

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Hi Nice web site,

I have a Very nice Kenwood Ts-830-s which up to a few days ago worked perfectly put out 130 watts on 80 through 17 meters I have tried the other bands since I got it used about I year ago.

The first hint Of the problem was about two weeks ago< I turned on the rig an only the metered light came on. I let it warm up and tried the mic switch. Nothing! so I went to check the fuse and pulled out the rig, went I went to set it down got my hand struck and dropped it about 1/2 inch the display lite up and the rig came alive, so I went ahead using the rig it happened twice and so twice I jarred the rig by dropping it 1/2 inch and it came alive again.

Yesterday while on the air I got a complaint that I was sounding bad I shut of my amp and still sounded bad I looked at the display and seen was it fluctuating I jarred the rig and it stopped then went out completely. I tried finding a loose conection on the read out not much luck I'm not sure I could find much anyway. I did find the 7 amp 250 volt fuse was cracked and I put in a new one

I was told It was a one owner when I got it and appears to have had very little use and was clean inside and out like my own TS-820-S which was my novice rig new in 1978 that I still have.

Anyway if you can give some advice to me that's not to hard to follow then I can try to fix it I am ok with things that I can see and understand like burnout,broken or loose. I can't read a schematic very well and can't trace out a circut. My line of work was running a Prison, but putting together circuitry intimidates me, Hi, otherwise I'll send it in to you for repair if you'll accept it.

Thanks, O.W.

Hi O.W.;

I'm glad I got to meet you on the "outside" rather than from the "inside" . . . 8^)  Running a prison would intimidate me big-time! Probably not as bad as being a guest in one, however! "What we've got here Ken, is a failure to communicate" . . .

You might start with your bandswitch. Get some contact cleaner/lubricant at Radio Shack and lightly spray the contacts on your bandswitch while working it back and forth. Poor contact there as the rig ages is a common problem, but very easy to fix. If that doesn't do it, next would be the connectors that plug into both the Display board, and the PLL board. Again, remove them one at a time, spray them, and work them back in while sliding the contacts so as to clean them. One of those actions will probably fix the problem.

Let me know how it works out, last resort would be to ship it down here for repair, but it sounds like the kind of problem you can clear up yourself and save a hefty shipping expense.

Hope this helps,
Best 73's,

Thanks for taking the time with me it worked! I had to do the band switch twice so it was the band switch I was more aggressive the next time around moving it while spraying on each one.

I'll be singing your praise's for awhile told 3 guys today about your web site and your willingness to help hope I don't bring you problems Just more satisfied costumers - O.W.

Hello Ken, I have a TS-830S that works great except for one slight issue.. I was hoping you could give me a hint on where to look to resolve.. The issue is the S-meter works great but when it is switched to the RF position it does NOT show any output power but the rig is doing 125-watts on a external meter..
Thank You, Alan
PS: if it is ok to call you please send a phone number..

Hi Alan;

There's an adjustment on the back of the rig near the antenna connector for that reading. Just set it so it indicates 3/4 scale at nominal output power. If it won't read at all, it's probably a bad diode or resistor in the metering circuit. Those parts are right there in the final compartment near the adjustment pot as well.

Hope this helps,
Best 73's,

Hi Ken -
I recently bought front panel lamps for my TS-520 from you. Nice to see the meter and dial again!

I can no longer get 10 meters to tune up on transmit. Is there a component that might be the likely problem related to 10m only? I am not sure I am worried too much about it but also hate to have just that band not working. Everything else is working perfectly. If some things fall into place in the next month, I will be purchasing a new TEN-TEC Omni VII for my primary radio but am definitely keeping the TS-520 setup and operating too. Nothing like the simplicity and quality in this old radio but I also get to putter with new technology in the Omni VII that continues to stimulate the mind.

I have a SILTRONICS DD-1K external LED frequency display. One segment of the one of the seven segment LED's is out. I might be able to find one that will work at a local surplus electronics supplier but I keep thinking about getting and possibly adapting a Kenwood DG-5 display. It is my understanding the DG-5 is for TS-520S but surely these displays be adapted to connect and operate with my TS-520 through it's 9 pin tube-type remote VFO socket?


Hi Gene;

Nice to hear from you again. If it is the drive that is lacking during tune-up, it could be the driver tube. When it starts to lose emission, 10M will be the first to show the effects. Another suspect is the bandswitch, which might need a cleaning. Some DeOxit and ProGold from Radio Shack will help in that regard.

To use the DG-5 on a TS-520, the DK-5 adapter kit is needed. Email who is building these and updating 520's for their use. You can see pictures of his conversion here:

I have plenty of DG-5's if you need one of those.

Good Luck with your 520, and
Best 73's,

Hi Ken,

I was wondering is it possible to get a replacement relay for the antenna relay on a TS830M.
I believe it is a plug-in relay.
I was tuning up my 830 and I notice the tuneup was not as smoothe as normal.
After I tuned up my receiver went dead, I could only hear very weak signals in
the background. I also notice now that I am getting an indication of power out
on the 830 meter but no output indication on my external meter. I thought this might
be a faulty antenna relay as it was affecting both TX and RX.


Hi Marc;

That's a pretty big relay and cleans up rather easily. A little bit of #1500 wet/dry burnishing paper and some contact cleaner/lube usually does the trick. If the contacts need to be bent a little, look at the relay adjusting tool (AL-3) I have on my parts page (link below). Something like that makes it a breeze. Just pull it out of the rig and you'll see how easy it is to get at the contacts.

Hope this helps,
Best 73's,

Hi Ken,

I unplugged the Antenna Relay from the radio and found that one of the red wires
Inside the plastic cover was burned through. I believe the wire was connected to
Pin 6 on the relay.
When I saw the burned wire Ken I was relieved that I did not have to go any deeper
Into the radio. It is now back to normal, excellent rig.
I am looking forward to receiving the PA Kit from you, it is always handy to have.

Best Regards


If I may ask - I have installed the final cage repair kit (FR-100) and replaced the driver.

When I load the radio the max output is approx 12 watts via CW. I replace the 6146's with a set from my SB-101 that was working but no change. I also neutralized the finals using a receiver tuned to 28.5 Mhz and minimun reading.

Does it sound that I missed a step in the installation of the kit. Any and all help is appreciated.

Thanks ahead of time

Hi Bud;

Have you checked your cathode resistors? They should measure 5 Ohms to ground. Also, is your HV proper at about 800V, and is your screen voltage measuring about 240V? If you have voltage, drive, and the cathode R's are OK you should have plenty of power!

Let me know on those measurements and we'll go from there.
Best 73's,

Hi Ken,

I got the cap kit installed without any problem other than USPS taking 8 days to get to Tallahassee!

Following the tuning procedure on your site I'm able to get my TS-530S up to about 80 watts CW on 20 meters. This is 800v HV (key down) @ 225ma.

Do you think that's about all that I'm going to get out of it?


Hi Mike;

After having my hands on 100's of hybrids, I can categorically state, "maybe" . . . 8^) With 6146W finals, I see rigs that are otherwise fine measure anywhere from 70-100W after careful tune-up. It is usually a little higher for 6146B types. Some rigs peak at lower plate current. I've had a number that put 100W+ to the load at 200ma or a little less. By 225 ma, they were already starting to have reduced output. These numbers are all for 20M.

You can safely load your rig to 250ma, if there's anything worthwhile to be gained from it. Keep in mind that the difference between 80W and 100W is less than 1db, or 1/6 S-unit. No one in the world could hear that difference on their receiver.

I hope this helps,
Best 73's,

ken i was reading your info on damaged cathod resistors i have a 530s with the symtems you discribe,but on my 530s i dont see any resistors like in the pic you show,is the pic you show a 520 because my 530s looks different,thanks jon.

Hi Jon;

Yes, the pictures are of a TS_520S - On the 530S, the resistors are four (4) 1/2W 20 Ohm 5% all in parallel (5 Ohms), and they are on top of the board. You'll have to remove the drive wire to fold the final board over after removing the tubes & screws. If you are unsure which wire provides drive, just try folding the board back for access to the top, and you'll see which wire prevents that!

Hope this helps,
Best 73's,

Hi Ken,

I wonder can you clear up a point for me regarding your Tune-up Procedure for my TS830M.
The first part of the tune-up, while the Mode Switch is in the ALC Position is no problem.
When I switch the Mode switch to CW , flip the Send switch and dip the Plate. I then advance the Load control
Just up to the top of the first mark on the Load control and dip the Plate.
At that stage I am getting 100 watts out and 225mA Ip.
What I do not understand is....I can advance the Load control further and dip the Plate right up until I am getting 150 watts out,
but my Ip is then reading 300mA, which I know is way too high.
I had a TS830S way back in 1980 and I always thought that you tune both Load and Plate for maximum output.
Am I wrong in thinking this. Do I stop tuning when my power out is 100 watts and Ip is 225mA, even though I can get more power output, by advancing the Load control further and dipping the Plate ?.

Your advice on this matter would be very much appreciated.

Hi Marc;

You can tune for as much output power as you like, since it your radio - It just won't last as long! -

The difference between 100W and 150W is 1.7db, or about 1/4 of an S-unit. No one in the world listening to you could tell the difference on their receiver.

BTW, I've only seen one Kenwood hybrid in my life that could put 150W to the antenna. It had a screen voltage mod, and is the one pictured with the blackened and shorted plate choke (as well as a few other parts) on my web page. I have seen rigs that could put 125W to the antenna with 225ma of plate current, now that is efficient!

I suspect your metering circuit for plate current may be off tolerance, or perhaps your power meter is off a bit - I'd bet on the metering circuit, since a normally wired Kenwood would start dropping in power output after 225ma or so.

Hope this helps,
Best 73's,

Dear Mr. Ken, subject: kenwood rx R-820

I read on various sites that you are a specialist in a particular way for the receiver R-820
Dear Mr. Ken I have a receiver r-820 with a frequency counter that the problem does not mark
Its exact frequency.

After a careful analysis I have discovered that the fault is due to the card
Counter unit (X54-1160-00), this defect is due to double-sided sheet, the material of construction of this card is made of material today is so poor in the long loops do not lead to more '.

Now if she can 'help in any way with advice I would be really happy
I apologize for disturbing her recatogli, regards.


Hi Gianni;

Nice to hear from you. Yes, the early double-sided PC boards used in the Kenwoods have had many problems. The way to repair most of those problems is to do two things:

1) Place a wire through each through-hole, and solder the connection on both sides of the board. Many problems are caused by the plating in these through-holes becoming an open circuit. Soldering a wire through each hole corrects this.

2) Solder every IC pin that is in a through-hole on the top of the board. This serves the same purpose as the wires in step (1).

The above steps should solve most display problems. Always suspect the through-holes!

I hope this helps,
Best 73's,

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