Kenwood TS-590 or Icom IC-7410 as main HF/6M rig -- which is better, pros and cons?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by KC3PY, Sep 29, 2013.

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  1. KC3PY

    KC3PY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello everyone,

    I just got my Extra license in the mail and would like to explore the wild, wonderful world of HF, with all its quirks and idiosyncrasies. My knowledge of HF propagation and antenna theory is very elementary (I know about ionospheric bouncing of HF waves and so on), but I'm trying to read everything I can about different sub-HF bands and their characteristics.

    Though I've a college degree in electrical engineering, it was quite awhile back and it was mostly theoretical mathematical masturbation. HF operation is quite complex in practice and I feel like someone who's just read a book on how to swim being pushed into the swimming pool for the first time.

    My current main (and only) rig is an Icom IC-7100 which I use for VHF/UHF. I'd like to get a beefier radio for HF/6M operation below $2000 and the TS-590S and Icom IC-7410 are what I'm considering (I know the IC-7410 is a wee bit pricier, but not an issue). I live in an apartment building in Brooklyn, NY so of course, my antenna choices are somewhat restricted.

    Was wondering if anyone owns or has owned both and could comment on differences (both pros and cons).

    Thanks and 73,

    Patrick KC2VQK
  2. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have not used both radios, and may not help much with your decision.

    Both radios have decent performance numbers, with a slight edge to the Kenwood. People I know who have used the Kenwood and some of the higher end ICOMs are impressed with the Kenwood. However, there have been some issues with the TS590 and 'ALC overshoot' reducing SSB power output. Firmware updates have reportedly fixed, or largely fixed that issue.

    The eham reviews on the 7410 are very positive. There is mention of a different kind of overshoot, and if you are using certain amplifiers, it might be something to want to know about. The 7410 is also firmware upgradeable, so I hope this has been corrected.

    Overall, since I like ICOM's and have a few, it's nice to have some commonality between radios, and the 7410 has much the same DSP system that your 7100 has. Indeed, I think the 7100 ought to be a decent HF radio.
  3. N1JGE

    N1JGE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Before I bought my 7410 I had the 950 and played with the 590 a lot at HRO. The 7410 has a slight edge on both. But I tell you this if you can find a new 950 buy it.Get the latest updates. There's no need to spend the extra on the 7410. I bought the 7410 before I did the updates on the 950 and shame one me.
  4. KY3W

    KY3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    7410 & 590S

    Hi Pat

    Congratulations on your Extra. I got mine in 1985 and things were quite a bit different then.

    I got a chuckle over your EE description. I too have a degree in EE. I still have calculus flash backs.

    My main rig is a ProIII but I recently compared it to a 7410. I can email my findings if interested but you're looking at the 590 as a comparison.

    The 590 is very popular. I don't hear many complaints from the guys using them. It has excellent receiver for a rig in that price range. I've heard rumors of an ALC overshoot and saw a few videos of it on youtube but I don't know if this an early model, all models or a firmware issue. I believe you can change the display from green to amber. I was told there are DSP artifacts with certain controls.

    The 7410 has a huge frequency readout. I can see it across the room. The rest of the display, however, is small. This is the power, ALC and SWR/Compression. Parts of the menu are somewhat small. Icom went cheap on the front panel in a few areas. The small knobs have no white paint in the indents so it's difficult to see where they're set. The silver function buttons are also difficult to see. The 7410 also has an excellent receiver. So I think features would make your decision as opposed to performance. I can confirm the 7410 has an ALC overshoot and it is hardware, not firmware. This means you're not going to drive a solid state amplifier with it. The band scope is ok but nothing like the Pro series. If you're a CW op the full-breakin keying falls apart around 15-18wpm. So it is not a true QSK rig.

  5. M0GVZ

    M0GVZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    ALL and I mean ALL modern solid state transceivers suffer from ALC overshoot....
  6. WD5JOY

    WD5JOY Ham Member QRZ Page

    In your search for information I implore you to AVOID the popular but nut-filled "Yahoo Groups" for the Kenwood TS-590S. Never in my life have I seen a group filled with so many nit-picky so-called 'experts' who challenge the design and operation of the '590'.

    Over the years if one person claims to have an issue suddenly it is a design defect and of course they claim Kenwood refuses to acknowledge or repair said defect. The 'experts' produce modifications that others blindly follow not knowing how wide and far their IMD may travel .... I doubt many have a clue what they might actually be doing - they simply 'follow along'.

    While there are certainly minor issues / dislikes with the 590 Kenwood will gladly service the rig in warranty and I have yet to read about a rig with a REAL problem that did not come back re-aligned and fully functional. Early on with models built in Singapore it appears that low PEAK SSB output was OLD main complaint - not seen of late from what I observe. Many complaints were due to owners being new to the "DSP Equalizer" functions, running the processor wide open (to get more 'power'!) AND not having a true PEAK reading watt meter. These and other non-issues from what I personally experienced (I read the manual - even with its minor typos) were bantered back and forth on 'Yahooie' so much I finally had to dump the group to keep my heart rate in check!

    Short Version: If I were asked to recommend the TS-590S to someone I had to look in the eye everyday I would do so. If this person was an avid DX chaser / contest maniac - I would hand him off to someone else. My everyday operation is perfect for me and as for 'DX' QSO's when conditions are great contacts abound. I might be down the list a bit - but I get through quite well.


    Senile Old Don / WD5JOY
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  7. KD2CJJ

    KD2CJJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would would suggest the ftdx3k over both of them if you can stretch the higher cost.

    both are superior in features and function.

    Real world performance will be similar with a slight edge to the yaesu

  8. KJ7QR

    KJ7QR Ham Member QRZ Page


    I own the IC-7100 using it quite a bit on HF and have absolutely nothing to complain about.

    i suggest you start with it, then look seriously at other choices in a few weeks/months at one of the stores or hamfests when you have more experience to compare against.

    if you're rewarding yourself on receiving the Extra though, both the Kenwood and Icom are very nice.

  9. NM9K

    NM9K Ham Member QRZ Page

    The better radio is the one hooked to a better antenna. The radio does not matter.
  10. BH3MDE

    BH3MDE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a friend used KENWOOD TS590 feel like better than another
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