Kenwood TS-590SG Review

It’s simple, it’s sturdy, and it’s surprisingly powerful. If you’re looking for an “old-school” radio that doesn’t skimp out on modern features, the Kenwood TS-590SG just may be just what you need. In this overview, we’ll discuss the basics of this base station, and help you decide if it’s right for you.

Good

  • Great overall TX and RX performance – When it comes to TX, the TS-590SG offers 100W of power on HF, and 25W of power on the 50 Mhz band, and transmits a reliable, clear, crisp signal. It also has a 32-bit floating point DSP and powerful filtering and noise removal features to ensure clear RX performance.
  • Simple and straightforward design – If you prefer knobs and buttons to touchscreens, the TS-590SG is what you want. Most of its features are right at your fingertips, with no need to hunt through touch screen menus to find the options you need.
  • Great display – The display shows what you need it to, and nothing more. It’s large, crisp, and clear, with minimal clutter. You can even adjust the LED backlight to 10 different tones, ranging from amber to green.
  • Rugged design – While it’s intended for use as a base transceiver, the rugged design of the TS-590SG makes it great if you travel with your radio a lot, or if you have a larger vehicle like an RV where you’d like to set up a mobile shack.
  • Computer control functionality – The TS-590SG is fully-compatible with the ARCP-590G, which means that you can program, control, and use the radio from your PC, if you prefer. The dedicated USB terminal makes it easy to set up and use the TS-590SG with a PC.
  • Excellent value for the price – While it lacks some of the features in more expensive radios like a touchscreen, the TS-590SG is much more affordable, and still provides comparable overall performance, making it a great value pick.

Bad

  • No backlights on the knobs and buttons – This is a minor issue, but the lack of backlit buttons and knobs means that it may be a little bit difficult to use this radio in dim ham shacks, as well as in mobile applications.
  • Old-school design – Depending on your perspective, this can be either a good or a bad thing. If you’re a ham radio veteran, you may love the minimal design and button/knob-based interface of the TS-590SG. But if you’re a newer ham, you may find yourself wishing for a touchscreen, color display, and the other features that have become more and more common on competing radios like the Icom IC-7300. It really depends on your personal preference, though.

Bottom line

The TS-590SG provides reliable, powerful performance in the HF and 50 Mhz bands. It’s not flashy. It doesn’t have fancy bells and whistles like a touchscreen or a real-time waterfall display. But it’s well-built, has plenty of features, and will stand the test of time. It also comes in at about half the cost of fancier radios that have these types of features. If you’re the type of amateur radio operator who prefers old-school radios over modern transceivers that are more like computers, it’s definitely a great pick.

Product Specs

ModeJ3E (LSB, USB)/ A1A (CW)/ A3E (AM)/ F3E (FM)/ F1B (FSK)
Antenna impedance50 W (with built-in antenna tuner 16.7 W ~ 150 W)
Supply VoltageDC 13.8 V ±15%
Grounding methodNegative ground
Current

Transmit (max.)
Receive (no signal)
20.5 A or less
1.5 A or less
Usable temperature range–10 °C ~ +50 °C (+14 °F ~ +122 °F)
Frequency stability without SO-3–10 °C ~ 50 °C±5 ppm
Frequency stability with SO-3–10 °C ~ 50 °C±0.5 ppm
Dimensions (Projections not included)W270 × H96 × D291 mm (W10.63 x H3.78 x D11.46 in)
Dimensions (Projections included)W280 × H107 × D335 mm (W11.02 x H4.21 x D13.19 in)
WeightApprox. 7.4 kg (16.31 lbs)
Frequency range160 m band
80 m band
60 m band
40 m band
30 m band
20 m band
17 m band
15 m band
12 m band
10 m band
6 m band
1.8 ~ 2.0 MHz (K type)/ 1.81 ~ 2.0 MHz (E type)
3.5 ~ 4.0 MHz (K type)/ 3.5 ~ 3.8 MHz (E type)
5.1675 MHz (K type)
5.25 ~ 5.45 MHz
(E type: Refer to applicable Amateur Radio regulations to your country.)
7.0 ~ 7.3 MHz (K type)/ 7.0 ~ 7.2 MHz (E type)
10.1 ~ 10.15 MHz
14.0 ~ 14.35 MHz
18.068 ~ 18.168 MHz
21.0 ~ 21.45 MHz
24.89 ~ 24.99 MHz
28.0 ~ 29.7 MHz
50.0 ~ 54.0 MHz (K type) / 50.0 ~ 52.0 MHz (E type)
Output powerSSB/ CW/ FSK/ FM


 
AM

Max.
100 W
Min.
5 W
Max.
25 W
Min.
5 W
Maximum frequency deviation (FM)Wide
Narrow
±5 kHz or less
±2.5 kHz or less
ModulationSSB
AM
FM
Balanced
Low power
Reactance
Spurious emissions160 m ~ 10 m band
6 m band
–50 dB or less
–60 dB or less (K type)/ –63 dB or less (E type)
Carrier suppression (SSB)50 dB or more
Unwanted sideband suppression50 dB or more
Transmit frequency responseWithin –6 dB (400 ~ 2600 Hz)
XIT shift frequency range±9.999 kHz
Microphone impedance600 W
Circuit typeRX1 (In 160 m/ 80 m/ 40 m/
20 m/ 15 m Amateur bands, IF band width 2.7 kHz or less (SSB, CW, FSK))

Double conversion superheterodyne
RX2 (Other)


Triple conversion superheterodyne
Frequency range0.13 ~ 30 MHz, 50 ~ 54 MHz
VFO: Continuous 30 kHz ~ 60 MHz
Intermediate frequency1st IF
2nd IF
3rd IF
11.374 MHz
73.095 MHz
24 kHz
10.695 MHz

24 kHz (except FM)/ 455 kHz (FM)
Sensitivity (Typcal) 
SSB/ CW/ FSK (S/N 10 dB)
 
 
AM (S/N 10 dB)
FM (12 dB SINAD)
0.5 µV (0.13 ~ 0.522 MHz)
4 µV (0.522 ~ 1.705 MHz)
0.2 µV (1.705 ~ 24.5 MHz)
0.13 µV (24.5 ~ 30.0 MHz)
0.13 µV (50.0 ~ 54.0 MHz)
6.3 µV (0.13 ~ 0.522 MHz)
31.6 µV (0.522 ~ 1.705 MHz)
2 µV (1.705 ~ 24.5 MHz)
1.3 µV (24.5 ~ 30.0 MHz)
1.3 µV (50.0 ~ 54.0 MHz)
0.22 µV (28.0 ~ 30.0 MHz)
0.22 µV (50.0 ~ 54.0 MHz)
Squelch sensitivitySSB/ CW/ FSK/ AM








FM
5.6 µV or less (0.13 ~ 0.522 MHz)
18.0 µV or less (0.522 ~ 1.705 MHz)
1.8 µV or less (1.705 ~ 30 MHz)
1.1 µV or less (50.0 ~ 54.0 MHz)
0.2 µV or less (28.0 ~ 30.0 MHz)
0.2 µV or less (50.0 ~ 54.0 MHz)
SelectivitySSB
CW/ FSK
AM
FM
2.2 kHz or more (–6 dB), 4.4 kHz or less (–60 dB)
500 Hz or more (–6 dB), 1.2 kHz or less (–60 dB)
6.0 kHz or more (–6 dB), 12.0 kHz or less (–50 dB)
12.0 kHz or more (–6 dB), 25.0 kHz or less (–50 dB)
Spurious responseImage Ratio
IF Rejection
70 dB or more
70 dB or more
Notch filter attenuationAuto
Manual
60 dB or more
70 dB or more
Beat cancel attenuation (at 1 kHz)40 dB or more
Audio output1.5 W (8 W)
Audio output impedance (EXT.SP)4 W ~ 8 W
RIT shift frequency range±9.999 kHz

Expert reviews

  • YouTuber DX Commander did an overview of the TS-590SG, and called it a “nice little radio,” and appreciated the simple-to-understand controls, though he did notice a few differences between this radio and its predecessor, the TS-590S. He also liked the ability to change the color of the LCD screen, and the overall build quality of the unit.
  • In their overview of the Kenwood TS-590SG, Steve from ML&S praised the overall size and weight of the radio, and its “simple, uncluttered display,” as well as the TX and RX performance. He also liked the ability to plug the unit directly into a PC to use digital modes, and the ability to remotely operate the radio from a computer with Kenwood’s software.
  • M0WBK reviewed this radio from Kenwood, saying that it “looks very nice” and was a “very nice radio,” with good build quality and excellent output power. He also liked the simple user interface, and the ability to connect the TS-590SG to an external computer.

User reviews

  • DXEngineering customers have given the Kenwood TS-590SG a rating of 5 out of 5 stars across 25 reviews. They were very enthusiastic about this radio overall, saying that “you can’t go wrong with this radio,” that it “is the best XCVR in its price class,” and that it has a “straightforward design and ergonomics.” Other reviewers praised its signal filtering ability, logically-arranged controls, and excellent stock microphone. Many users liked the large number of buttons on the radio, which put most of its features right at your fingertips without the need to use a touchscreen or software menu.
  • On eHam.net, the Kenwood TS-590SG has a rating of 4.6 stars out of 5, across a total of 103 reviews. They called it “an exceptionally good all-around performer,” “a very rugged piece of equipment,” and “a great radio for its price point.” Reviewers also noted the intuitive interface, high overall TX and RX quality, and great overall suite of features.

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