Kenwood TS-520 classic rig

Went to a ham radio garage sale in Newmarket and now I am a happy owner (the third owner) of a wonderful Kenwood TS-520 hybrid rig (SN#250226) – thanks to VE3NX (was the second owner).

The rig is very clean and seems to be in great shape!

Also, thanks to VE3IZZ, who practically donated to me an MFJ-941E tuner and a 20m dipole along with coax cables. Thus, by 7pm I was dipping plates and CQ DX!

One problem though – the tuner has no internal dummy load. That I discovered a little late.. after tuning the rig a couple of times… but seems like luckily did no damage to the finals.

So I ordered 20 x 1000 Ohm 2W carbon resistors on eBay to build a dummy-load myself.

K4EAA has provided great building instructions on his wonderful website dedicated to Kenwood hybrids:

Kenwood TS-520 Manual

About va3paw
Ham radio enthusiast, software developer

7 Responses to Kenwood TS-520 classic rig

  1. Congratulations Paul. That’s a great rig and you should have lots of fun with it.

  2. AA7EE says:

    Classic rig Paul. I had one just like that in the early 1990’s and loved it – not quite sure why I sold it now. Solidly built and a pleasure to operate. I hope you get much enjoyment from it.


  3. Bob says:

    Hi Pavel, glad you like your 520… Bob Ve3nx

    • va3paw says:

      Hi Bob, it works fine! I use a separate sdr homebrew receiver sometime with it as a bandscope or to narrow down the signal during contests; but the TX is just awesome. thanks, Paul

  4. Marc says:

    I own a TS-520 en a TS-590. The 520 cost me 150 Euro and the 590 cost me 1200 Euro. Both second hand. The 520 is over 40 years in use and the 590 has been used one year.

    The 520 is far better in use. It receives more and is more clear. Its easier to hear stations. For daily operation (rag-chew and DX) I use the 520. Because of the tubes the signal is very easy for the ears and clear. The 590 has a digital sound no matter how it is configured. Therefore you can use the 520 and still watch TV or work on a computer. There is no hiss or noise and stations are clear coming out of the original speaker. I leave the 520 on the whole day without turning it off. If I hear something there is an opening on the band.
    This cannot be done with the 590. It hisses and the noise irritates the ears.

    The 590 I only use when the band is completely ful like in a contest or the JOTA. When every channel is filled with SSB signals the 520 receives too wide and cannot be used for operation.
    In this case (One evening in the year) I use the 590. The 520 therefore is my contest transceiver and the 520 is for normal use.

    All in all I advise all starting hams to go low budget and get one of these cheap tube radios because they simply outperform the new radio’s except for contesting.

    • va3paw says:

      Mark, glad to hear you’re happy with your TS-520. After 35 years it is still a good choice for casual operating. I even do casual contests with it, although it would help to somehow narrow the audio to exclude close QRM stations.
      I heard about experiments with tapping into IF with a simple soft rock sdr kit so that you get a panadapter and a narrow SSB/cw filters on your PC.

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