New to ham

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by FSORENSON, Mar 29, 2020.

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    Looking at a Kenwood ts 520 s with a 520 s vfo both look very clean . The guy says they work good and he wants $420.00 for both . Just wondering if this is a good deal and if this would be a good first ham setup to purchase . New to this and to be honest a little overwhelmed on all the options a guy can get I just want something to start with .
  2. WG7X

    WG7X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well... Like in most hobbies, it depends. I also started out with used KW-520s. A very good starter if it has not been abused. Plenty of folk here that know about the radio. But... Any radio of that vintage might have problems. If you are good with electronics, it might be a good choice. If you are the plug-and-play variety a new Icom IC-718 or equivalent might be a better choice. Nothing wrong either way, it just depends on you.
    KG7QJB likes this.
  3. KS2G

    KS2G Subscriber QRZ Page

    Welcome to ham radio. (just "ham").

    The Kenwood TS-520s was an excellent starter radio in it's day -- in fact, had one as my first ssb rig.
    But that was back ins 1978!
    So you'll be buying a rig that's more than 40 years old ... and as WG7X posted it could well have, or soon develop, some issues.

    Further ... the '520s is a "hybrid" radio with tube finals that require you to tune the rig when changing from band to band, and even changing frequency within some bands.

    Also, the '520s does not cover the WARC bands ... 30, 17, and 12 meters.

    So ---as a newbie-- I think you'd be better off with a newer, all-solid-state rig that doesn't require tuning when switching bands, and covers the WARC frequencies.

    Best of luck!
    WA9UAA and K3XR like this.


  5. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    With remote VFO it is an ok price. Radio works reasonably well. Without a VFO these radios sell for about $250. If local pick up you save $50-$75 shipping cost.
  6. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Just know you're not likely to need that remote VFO for some time - that's an "advanced device" for working DX and DX-peditions....

    It's not at all necessary (or even desirable) for normal day-to-day QSO use. Once you "really get your feet wet" and start working some pileups, the VFO will start to make sense.

    TS-520 is a great radio - very old - but a very decent radio to this day



  8. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The TS-520 has one of the best noise blanker ever made. It is also one of the most reliable tube radios made. I would replace the high voltage capacitors. If you look, some Kenwood TS-570s sold for $450 on ebay. I would rather have the TS-570 with built-in DNR for SSB use.
  9. VE1QFA

    VE1QFA Ham Member QRZ Page

    i bought one as my second radio (i had a very haggard ts140 before i bought the 520)
    love the 520 it hears very deep and has great audio

    id rather have a solidstate radio but im very happy with my 520 its a beast.
  10. KF5KWO

    KF5KWO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was gifted a TS-520SE by my elmer and father-in-law, WB5BLR, back in 2004 or so. I had already been on HF as a Tech Plus on 10m in the car and at home with my magnetic loop. I got my general license and made a beeline to 40 and 20. Yes, the radio was and is old, but I had the manual and learned how to do the tune-up procedure. Yeah, it was a few steps, but I got it down to a science pretty quickly. I also had the extra VFO.

    However, there came a time when I wanted a more updated radio and my elmer gifted me his TS-570S, another great Kenwood radio. This was and is a lot newer, and a terrific radio and fun to use, has a built-in tuner, etc. It's certainly easier than the 520SE to get going, so you might appreciate that as a new ham. There are more features, more bands, etc., on the new radios, so as a new ham, you'll probably be happier with a newer radio that has those kinds of things.

    There is something attractive about the older radios with tubes, etc., though, and no doubt you'll discover it's quite the niche in ham radio. Hams tuned up their radios that way for many, many years, and I remember thinking, "Hams that are my grandfather's age were doing this same stuff way back in the day. I need to get with the times!" :D:D:D Good luck to you.

    73 de Jeff, KF5KWO
    Helotes, TX

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