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Kenwood TS-480sat Review

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by BTPost, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    TS-480sat1. TS-480sat2. TS480sat3.

    Here is my "New to Me" Kenwood TS-480sat HF All Mode Radio. Control Head, Tx/Rx Unit with AutoTuner, and the third Picture is with the Top Cover off, just after I did the MARS/CAP Modification. It is NOW a 1.7 Mhz to 30 Mhz, and 49 Mhz to 54 Mhz Tx/Rx Radio. Under the Piece of Scotch Tape is the chip Resistor that I removed, for this Mod. I was very fortunate in that the Previous Owner, installed the Optional 500 Hz CW Filter, on the Filter Board. I have ordered, the Optional, TCXO, and 1.8 Khz N SSB Filter, that get soldered to the same board as the CW Filter. They will be here, on next weeks Mail Plane. I also ordered the USB Computer Programming and Control Cable, as well as an Optional USB, SDR, Full Bandwidth, Spectrum Monitor Kit. I have all the Software, from Kenwood to upgrade the firmware in the Radio, and Program all My Memory Frequencies, that match the Memory Frequencies, in my other HF Radios.
    This radio is destine to be installed in our Red 4X4 Toyota Pickup Truck, which we use when "Road Tripping" down in the FlatLands, when on vacation, and visiting the GrandChildren. My friend "Crazy Bill" has given me some ideas, for an Antenna System, for the Truck, but I still have to do the research, and figure out, exactly what I will mount. I will post updates to this thread, as I install the Options when they come, next week, as well as when I actually get it up, "On the Air".... and as I install in in the Truck....
    Seepalaces and kellory like this.
  2. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++


    My TS-440S AT clipped a diode to add Mars frequencies; you cut resistor D221. They change things faster than we can keep up. :)

    Not of importance to us; however for some Europeans; they can cut resistors to get the same 40 Meter band as US Hams do. I guess their band expanded???

    BT: A very nice rig and I wish you years of enjoyment.
    Seepalaces likes this.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Good start. Mine is factory good to go on 160 to 6, surprised you needed the mod.

    The Kenwood programming software works, but it's clunky. Suggest RTSystems, I've used both and prefer RTS. RTS uses the same cable as Kenwood does, so you don't need a special or dupe (but 2 is 1--).

    Also suggest a spare power supply cable so you can take the radio inside to work on rather than sit in the heat, rain, cold, snow with a laptop trying to mod the program.
    Seepalaces likes this.
  4. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    That is great. In the 1980s, they required a license for the 10 Meter mod for my RF amp.
    Seepalaces likes this.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I needed to do the Mod, in order to add the 60 Meter Band Channels, as well as add the Alaska Emergency Calling Frequecy 5167.5 KHz USB... These are Legal Frequencies for Hams, in Alaska, and it also makes the Radio more "Useful" in the Event of SHTF....
    Seepalaces likes this.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Ah, gotcha on the useful features. I have the "legal" 60s alive and well, just need a skyhook for anything longer than 40M.
    Seepalaces likes this.
  7. techsar

    techsar Monkey++

    May be an early model, Bruce...mine had 60m enabled out of the box. Regardless, the ts480sat (and the 480hx, according to my brother) are great little radios. They do have a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the many settings.
    Seepalaces likes this.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Seepalaces likes this.
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I have a TS-590 here, already, so many of the settings are common, between the two, and many of the Operational Controls are similar...
    Seepalaces likes this.
  10. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    I have an older TS-530 SP, 2X 6146s. I believe the SP meant WARC capable for cutting a wire. The TS-440 has QSK same as the 500-ZB's Jennings vacuum relay which is the reason I bought the 440S..
    The only other advantage of the 440 over the 530SP is QSK and it transmits anywhere it receives.

    As you have both; I'd be really interested in reading your pros and cons of the 480 as compared to the 590. Other than base & mobile.
    As I am a CW only Op, both rigs are running cascaded Fox Tango 250Hz filters. How do you like the roofing filters as compared to crystal lattice?
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I will write that up once I get the TS-480 online...
  12. I was selling a Heathkit HW-101 years ago, and a prospective buyer asked if it had the CW filter. I, great salesman that I am, told him it didn't, but I said that CW use had dropped so much that he didn't need to bother.

    He looked at me like I had two heads, and said "I run pactor".

    [Sour Grapes]
    Sigh. He could at least have claimed to be interested in narrow-shift RTTY!
    [/Sour Grapes]

    William Warren
    BTPost likes this.
  13. AD1

    AD1 Monkey+++

    Have you tried any of the dogital modes? A lot of fun.

    I am just now learning CW now after 6 years in to the craft.
  14. I'm an "old law" Extra, but truth be told my speed is probably around 5 WPM again. I still have my Iambic key and a left-handed Vibroplex (one of the last they made), and I get the urge to pound brass sometimes, but the problem is that there's no "slow speed" section of the bands anymore - it seems that everyone is using keyboards and sending 30 WPM.

    Still, the code was always a special part of the hobby, and I spurred myself to pass the 20 WPM test, just before the requirement was removed, so that I would know that I could, indeed, play with the big boys and maybe even be a "sparks" on a tramp steamer the way I dreamed of when I was a kid (I actually qualify for the 20 WPM part of the Second-Class Radiotelegraph license). For all the new digital modes and equipment, CW remains the simplest, least-cost method of getting through when nothing else will. It's still used by some countries' militaries, and is the mode-of-choice for insurgent and irregular forces the world over - which is why the CIA still hires intercept operators - and hams still have the limiting factors (low power, low/short antennas) that made it the preeminent mode for so many years.

    It's Friday and the snow is piling up, so I'm waxing nostalgic, but there's a serious point too: prepper hams would do well to keep current in CW, since all of the reasons that Uncle Sam wanted hams to know it in the first place will come back if the balloon goes up.

    William Warren
    kellory and AD1 like this.
  15. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    I used 2 Meter packet and a J pole about 60' up on the tower to access the Potomac Radio Club's DX cluster. That was back in the 1980s; I don't know if the cluster is still on the air.

    HF has always been CW except working people I put on the air. That kind of stopped when I was a VE. I would have but no one set up a sched.
    After I received my ticket, I built a Windom worked my Elmer. Scanned the band and my next contact was Chile; I've been hooked ever since.
    Voice was club activities on 2 meters.

    I've been mulling over focusing on DX'ing the low bands. I'm leaning towards a K9AY for RX and no firm thoughts for TX.

    PS: Old school Extra; once I could copy W1AW at 35.
    AD1 likes this.
  16. I don't know why, but I've never had any luck with loops or OCF antennas. I could never get loops to null out noise, no matter what I tried, and OCF antennas seemed to direct my transmit power into every phone, AM/FM receiver, and TV set in the house!

    From a "prepper" standpoint, there's a lot to be said for dipoles and open-wire feeders: AFAICT, OCF antennas (yeah, sour grapes, I know) tend to be "one location only" setups that can't be moved to another QTH without re-cutting and re-tuning.

    William Warren
  17. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    @William Warren
    The Windom I built was coax to a 4:1 balun then TV twin lead. Excellent broadside, not good off the ends. Initially it was East to West so it did quite well North and South.
    I've had decent results with Windoms and OCFs. As you know a lot depends on height, orientation and size. Back home I had very good performance with a Delta loop. Wire antennas are fun as they are inexpensive.

    Six-Band HF Center‑Loaded Off‑Center‑Fed Dipole
    This one worked right well for me.

    The K9AY is a RX only so I have some thinking to do for low band TX. ON4UN's book is excellent on low band DX'ing. It provides a lot of food for thought.
    ghrit likes this.
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