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 Email Logs

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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Hello Ken.

I have a d-104 which I’d like to hook up to my ts-530s. However it has the wrong cable. It have the 4 pin plug. Do you know where I can find the proper cable and instructions to wire it? My current cable has 2 wires and ground.

In addition, do you know anyone who can wire the mike for the ts-530s?

I know you are a very busy guy and I appreciate very much if you would respond to this email/
Thank you very much for your help.

Hi Hank;

You can see the mic plug wiring here:

All mics would wire the same way. You need to keep the grounds for the mic and PTT separate, otherwise you'll have hum in your signal. This requires at least 3 conductors + shield in your cable. I have a local electronics store that stocks every which cable, you might be able to get something at Radio Shack and snip off the ends if need be.

Hope this helps,
Best 73's,

Hello Ken

My name is Mike,  you did some work on my TS-830s about a year ago or so, it is my first HF radio as i am new to ham radio about 2 years and only 8 months on HF. The radio has worked beautifully in fact i have confirmed 121 DXCC entities from 8/30/08 to present with 80w and a R7 vertical antenna! However last night the rig developed a strange problem, the problem is an intermittent no transmit in SSB when it happens there will be no movement on the ALC meter and no power out to my outboard power meter (P-3000) now when this happens i will try to key the mic several times and most of the time nothing will happen but if i change the mode SW to CW and move the Send-Rec SW to send it will send about 80w to the power meter and then it will work in SSB for a short time and then quit again??? Any thoughts on what might be the problem. When you have a open slot for a repair i would like to send the radio to you as i am not all that good with radio repair unless it is something very simple, i was also thinking of having the HV caps replaced just as a precaution as i use this radio just about every day and have no plans to replace it with anything new anytime soon. Let me know what you think...Thanks and have a great day!!! Mike

Hi Mike;

Nice to hear from you again - Sounds like you've been having a blast working the DX out there! That's my favorite operation as well.

What you describe may be pretty simple. Most of the problems that crop up in these vintage rigs have to do with contacts. Switch, connector, pot, relay, all with a common thread - contact related. That's good, because you can usually clear a problem and get a few more years of perfect operation with an investment in some contact cleaner and an hour of so of spraying and working switches.

Radio Shack carries Caig contact cleaner products. They sell a small kit, enough for one or two rigs that contains DeOxit cleaner and ProGold lubricant. You might pick one up and have a go at finding the scratchy contact. If you can work a switch back and forth and temporarily fix the problem, you've probably located the problem. It sounds like your mode switch may be suspect. Sometimes the hardest part is locating a way to spray some cleaner into the "internals" of the switch in question. The high pressure at the outlet of the spray tube can really help get it in there.

It's certainly worth a try, and you'll probably fix it by trying. Let me know what happens, Good Luck,
Best 73's,

(Carryover from question above)

Hello Ken

Cleaning and DeOxit seemed to have fixed the problem!
Now i have a rookie question for you, when i tune for what ever band i want to work i tune the radio just as you describe on your web page to the letter and on 20m that will give me from 80w to 105w depending on the section of the band i am on, now here is the question sometimes when i use the TL-922a amp i just bought i would like to use less drive from the TS-830s to lower the output power from the amp as i dont like to use full power from the amp unless i really need it so can i reduce the drive by adjusting the load control down from the initial tune up to lower the drive to maybe 65w to 75w? Also i am looking at a Alpha 91b amp that is for sale very close to me but that amp will put out full legal limit at 50w drive, can you tune the TS-830s that low?

Sorry for the dumb questions, but thank you very much your help and the fine work you did on my radio. I am having a true blast with my new hobby thanks to your help and work.....Take care and have a great weekend!!! Mike

Hi Mike;

Yes, yes, and yes! The LOAD control is your power out control. Set the power output with the LOAD, dip (resonate) with the PLATE control. No harm whatsoever in turning the LOAD full CCW and dipping, which will give you minimum power out.

You should also connect the ALC from the amp to the Accessory connector on the TS-830S. This will insure that the Kenwood always provides the correct amount of drive. It overrides the ordinary ALC derived from the Kenwood finals, and works great for lowering drive power.

Glad you were able to "spray a fix!" Always easier if you can repair it yourself.
Best 73's,

Hi Ken -
I read thru your hybrid tuning instructions and FAQs, and wonder if you clarify a tuning question on the TS820.

I'd like to reduce the output power on the TS820 for PSK & QRP use.

The load control appears to essentially set plate current and output power.

On 20 meters, the load knob has some range to play with, but on 40m the load knob cant be turned down far enough for PSK, and at 80 m band, my TS820 load control is already turned nearly full CCW for full power.

I'd appreciate any advice on how to tune the TS820 output power down.

Wanting a "starter" rig last fall, I had picked up the TS820 after careful consideration.
It was great choice of rig, I dont think I'll ever part with it.

Thank you for any kind advice & 73s

Hi Gary;

The setting of the LOAD control is also determined by the impedance (real and reactive components) of the antenna at a given frequency. If you have to turn the LOAD pretty far CCW just to load the antenna properly, you won't have much left for power reduction. In that case, you can reduce the MIC control (drive) to cut back your power.

When no ALC is showing on the meter, the transmitter is operating open loop. That is, you are setting the output level directly by riding the drive. The Kenwoods are pretty stable in this regard, almost set-and-forget. I've run sessions of PSK where I set the drive for perhaps 10W out, and it stayed there for an hour or more with no tendency to move around.

If you can do it with the LOAD control, ALC will nail it there for sure. Cutting back on drive is somewhat less precise, but quite workable also.

I hope this helps,
Best 73's,

I have three problems w/ my 520S. Maybe you can point me in the right
direction and save a spot in your queue ;o)

1. I hear beat on both sides of the carrier in RX on CW mode. I tried
fixing this by:

zero beat the 520's CW CAR UNIT crystal frequency at 3395.0Khz with a
known good general coverage receiver that was calibrated to zero beat
on WWV.

2. In CW mode, power goes to near full output when the CARRIER
control is at the ZERO position. However, when increased past ONE it
rolls off sharply (not abruptly as would be caused by a dirty

I adjust the voltages on the FIX board back to speck. 9V and 3.3V. Still nada.

3. TX audio very distorted even at low Mic GAIN settings. The mic
gain does seem to work.
However, the audio seems to be bad before it gets to that stage, as
adjusting it down does not improve the TX audio just reduces the peak
output. I performed the carrier balance adjustment per the manual.

Just wondering if you have seen these issues before, and if you can
give me some other suggestions other than the ones I have tried.


Hi Chris;

It sounds like you're missing a ground connection at your MIC/CAR pots. A quick check with an ohmmeter should verify that.

The CW signal should be offset by 700Hz. You can pretty easily tune it by ear so 700Hz peaks in the center of the passband of your CW filter. If you only have an SSB filter, adjust it like you would the USB and LSB carrier frequencies - Use the calibrator and adjust for the lower corner frequency around 50-100Hz or so. The carrier frequencies depend on the actual passband frequencies of the filters installed, so they are not usually set to "spot on" frequencies, but rather so that the signal is placed into the passband of the specific filter(s) properly.

Remember that because your 520S uses shared transceiver circuitry, what you hear on receive is what you'll sound like on transmit as well. That makes it simple!
Hope this helps,
Best 73's,

Hello, Ken. I have been enjoying using my refurbished TS-520 and thank you for your work. I have one question for you. I have a local group of friends who run a 10 meter net on 28.400 MHz. When I load up my Kenwood it shows 100 watts or close to it. When I key the microphone and speak, regardless of where the microphone gain control is set it seems to transmit at 30 watts or so into the dummy load. If I whistle it may peak at 55 watts. Normal?



Hi Greg;

I'm glad you have been enjoying your TS-520!  The SSB power output on 10M should read about the same as any other band. In order to read the power when using SSB and the resultant voice waveforms, you need to use a PEP (peak-reading) power meter. the plate current and a "standard" power meter will only read average power, which for a voice waveform is about 30% of what you tuned it up for in CW. Using a PEP meter it should be exactly what you tuned up for in CW.

You can improve the average power and the "punch" by using the voice processing on the 520. It is engaged when you pull out the MIC control. If you're using a high impedance Mic that's fairly standard, you should see a noticeable increase in average power with the MIC control at 12 O'Clock when you pull the knob out. As for a whistle, if it's within the passband of the crystal filter, it should approach your CW tune up power. Singing a note will also do that!

Hope this helps,
Best 73's,

Hi Ken,
You refurbished my TS-820 about a year and a half ago, and I've got a question. Not sure if it is a performance problem or not.

I've got a really bad noise problem at my QTH (typically a steady s5 on all bands). It isn't present when I disconnect the rig from the coax, so I assume that the noise is external to the radio. I've noticed that the noise drops a lot if I use my CW filter…which I guess makes sense since less noise is entering the rig.

However, I did a test that has me baffled.
I tuned in a CW signal using my USB setting, and it was s9. I switched over to CW, and the same signal dropped several s units.

I don't think there should be a drop in the signal strength since the CW signal should be entirely within the 500 Hz filter bandwidth. Any ideas?


Hi Fred;

Yes, I remember you and your radio! Fred, the electrical noise has gotten awful - I operate primarily from the mobile, and some sections of Sarasota are S-9 +10db of solid noise. It would be flat impossible for someone living there to operate HF in any form. My own neighborhood is S5 to S7, depending on the time of day. I'm thinking of trying a magnetic loop antenna, to see if it's as quiet as some people say. If I drive 1/4 mile to a local shopping center, noise is S2.

It's normal to see a slight difference between your CW and SSB filters, as the insertion loss of a 500 Hz filter is usually a little bit higher. Several S Units is several too many, however! Use your calibrator signal, tune across a marker in both SSB and CW and see if you see the same drop in signal on CW. While using the CW filter, if you tune across your calibrator signal, does 700 Hz or so seem centered at the highest meter reading? If the signal is much higher somewhere else in the passband, it could be something needs to be touched up a bit.

How does your SSB sound? If you tune across your calibrator in i.e., USB, is the audio passband perhaps 100Hz to 2400Hz with no signal the other side of zero beat? If your carrier frequencies are close, and the IF passband is still in tune, then it could be that your CW filter is going south . . . I have seen a few high loss filters, and the only real alternative is to replace it. The filters are selected with diode switches, so you could make a few measurements in that area and rule out any switching voltage problems.

Let me know what you experience when you try those things, and I'll try to help out more.
Best 73's,

Hi Ken,

Rig : TS-830S
Symptoms: Erratic TUNE function. Works most of the time but last night, for example, when I turned to TUNE I heard the relay click but it would not tune until I keyed it with the SEND switch. Then it worked fine for a while but quit later. I also have had erratic drive and power output at times. These symptoms come and go with no pattern that I can tell.

Question: Am I looking at a bandswitch repair? New mode switch? I'm inclined to think it's the bandswitch because of the erratic nature of more than one symptom but I'm no expert!!

I GREATLY appreciate any guidance!



Hi Bill;

In the tune position, you HAVE to key it with the SEND switch (or PTT switch on mic). If you hear it key once in a while without the SEND switch, you probably have your VOX on and that's sometimes keying the rig. And that occurs somewhat intermittently, depending on your VOX settings, room noise, etc.

Erratic drive and tuning probably means dirty contacts. Try using some contact cleaner on the band switch and any/all affected switches and controls. This is very common on these older rigs.

I hope this helps,
Best 73's,

Ken.. I have a blown meter lamp.... I have looked at the schematic several times, but cannot seem to find the part # or nomanclature..
Do you happen to know the type and/or voltage of this lamp? Is it readily available in part stores or do I have to order it from you?
vy 73's Mike

Hi Mike;

It is 12V 60ma. You can also get the lamps here:

It is part number


You can see my lamps here:

Good Luck,
Best 73's,

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