Kenwood TS-890S Review

The TS-890S one of Kenwoods’ flagship HF + 50 MHz transceivers. It’s only beaten in features and power by the TS-990S, its “big brother” that’s also thousands of dollars more expensive. It may not be the best option for newcomers. But for hams who dedicate most of their time to the HF + 50 MHz bands, it’s one of the best of the best. Let’s get into the details about this radio.

Good

  • Built to last – Every inch of this radio exudes quality. From its high-quality buttons to its heavy weight, large footprint, and tactile knobs and switches, it’s a pleasure to use, and it is definitely built to last in any ham shack.
  • Excellent controls – Unlike some other top-of-the-line radios, the TS-890s skips a touchscreen in favor of plentiful buttons, knobs, and switches. That means there’s usually no need to go digging through menus to access the radio’s options – they’re typically just a click or a twist away.
  • Large, clear 7-inch screen – The large, 7-inch screen is fully equipped with a “waterfall” style spectrum scope, which makes it easy to pick out signals when operating the radio. It’s clear, bright, and big enough to be seen easily in pretty much any operating conditions. It also has partial touchscreen functionality, though most of the functions on the radio are button-controlled.
  • Exceptional TX and RX quality – It’s tough to find another radio with the same overall transmission and reception quality of the TS-890S. Thanks to its advanced design, it’s exceptionally quiet when receiving, and can pick out even the faintest signals. And with a maximum of 100W of output power, you can make connections worldwide with the right antenna setup.
  • Nearly silent operation – This is a great benefit if you’re using the radio in a quiet environment. The fans take a while to turn on, and there are no relay clicks or other noises during operation.

Bad

  • High learning curve – This isn’t exactly a bad thing. But there are so many features, functions, and controls on the TS-890S that it may take a bit of practice to get used to all of them. The manual can help, but rookie ham operators may find themselves to be overwhelmed, particularly if they’re used to operating radios with touchscreens.
  • No true dual receive mode – The TS-890S has only a single receiver. For the price point, there are competing dual receiver radios from other manufacturers. Some users also get around this by coupling another radio to the TS-890S, such as the TS-590SG. But if you want a comparable Kenwood with a dual receiver, you’ll need to upgrade to the more expensive TS-990S.

Bottom line

If you want a truly top-of-the-line, single-receiver HF and 6-meter band radio, the Kenwood TS-890S is a great investment. It’s a fantastic choice for intermediate or advanced hams who are looking for the next step up from less expensive radios like the TS-590SG. It isn’t cheap, but it will serve you well for years to come whether you’re contesting, long-range DXing, or prefer CW transmission.

Product Specs

Frequency range
(Transmitter)
160m band
80m band
60m band
40m band
30m band
20m band
17m band
15m band
12m band
10m band
6m band
1.81 ~ 2.0 MHz
3.5 ~ 4.0 MHz
*1 5.1675 MHz, 5.25 ~ 5.45 MHz
7.0 ~ 7.3 MHz
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
Frequency range (Receiver)0.13 ~ 30 MHz, 50 ~ 54 MHz,
VFO: Continuous 30 kHz ~ 60 MHz
ModeA1A(CW), A3E(AM), J3E(SSB), F1B(FSK), F3E(FM), G1B(PSK)
Frequency stability±0.1 ppm, +32 °F ~ +122 °F (0 °C ~ +50 °C)
Antenna impedance50 Ω
Antenna tuner load range16.7 Ω ~ 150 Ω
Supply voltageDC 13.8 V ±15 %
GroundNegative ground
Current DrainTX
RX (No signal)
22.5 A or less
2.5 A or less
Operating Temperature+32°F ~ +122 °F (0 °C ~ +50 °C)
DimensionsWithout projections

With projections
W15.59 x H5.56 x D13.38 in. (W396.0 × H141.3 × D340.0 mm)

W16.13 x H6.23 x D15.25 in. (W409.6 × H158.3 × D387.4 mm)
WeightApprox. 34.8 lbs (15.8 kg)
Output Power (AM)Max 100 W / Min 5 W, (Max 25 W / Min 5 W)
ModulationSSB: Balanced, AM: Low Power, FM: Reactance
Maximum frequency deviation (FM)wide: ±5 kHz or less, narrow: ±2.5 kHz or less
Spurious emissionsHF: -50 dB or less
50 MHz: -60 dB or less
Carrier suppression60 dB or more
Unwanted sideband suppression60 dB or more
Transmit frequency responseWithin -6 dB (100 ~ 2,900 Hz)
Microphone impedance600 Ω
XIT variable range±9.999 kHz
Circuit typeDouble Superheterodyne
Intermediate frequency1st IF
2nd IF
8.248 MHz
24 kHz / 36kHz (FM)
Sensitivity
(TYP)
SSB / CW / FSK / PSK
(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 MHz)
0.13 μV (50 ~ 54 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 MHz)
1.3 μV (50 ~ 54 MHz)



0.22 μV (28 ~ 30 MHz)
0.22 μV or less (50 ~ 54 MHz)
Squelch SensitivitySSB / CW / FSK / AM





FM
5.6 μV or less (0.13 ~ 0.522 MHz)
18 μV or less (0.522 ~ 1.705 MHz)
1.8 μV or less (1.705 ~ 30 MHz)
1.1 μV or less (50 ~ 54 MHz)

0.2 μV or less (28 ~ 30 MHz)
0.2 μV or less (50 ~ 54 MHz)
Image Rejection RatioHF:70 dB or more, 50 MHz: 60 dB or more
IF Rejection Ratio70 dB or more
SelectivitySSB
CW / FSK
AM
FM
2.6 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 kHz or less (-50 dB)
12 kHz or more (-6 dB)
25 kHz or less (-50 dB)
RIT variable range±9.999 kHz
Notch filter attenuation60 dB or more (Auto), 70 dB or more (Manual)
Beat cancel attenuation40 dB or more
Audio output1.5 W or more (8 Ω)
Audio output impedance4 Ω ~ 8 Ω

Expert reviews

  • In his review of the TS-890S, The Radio Shack By Mark called this Kenwood radio “the best rig I have ever owned.” He loved the large size, configuration options, and easy-to-use controls, calling the radio “very solidly constructed.” He also said the menus and options were “very intuitive” despite their sheer number of features and functions of the radio. He also praised the receiver quality, waterfall display, and customizability of the TS-890S.
  • YouTuber DJGeorgeTheOriginal reviewed the Kenwood TS-890S and compared the radio to the popular Icom IC-7610. He said that the TS-890S, while comparable in most aspects, was the superior radio due to its lower price, ergonomics, and high-quality knobs and buttons. He loved the overall look, feel and workmanship of the radio. He also found the menu system of the TS-890S to be far better than that of the Icom IC-7610.

User reviews

  • eHam.net users have a good opinion of the Kenwood TS-890s, which has a rating of 5 out of 5 stars, across a total of 64 reviews. They said that this radio has “the best I have heard in a long time,” said the “band scope is a pleasure to operate,” and that “the noise reduction and noise blankers really do dig out those weak signals.” A couple of users noted the lack of a dual-band receiver, but overall, most users loved this base station.
  • On DXEngineering, the Kenwood TS-890S has a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars over a total of 18 reviews. Most reviewers have a glowing opinion of this base transceiver from Kenwood, calling it “beautifully designed,” “amongst the very best on the market” and “full of great features and functionality.” Users also complimented the durable build quality, excellent ergonomics, and incredible TX/RX quality of the radio, with one calling it “probably the last radio I’ll ever need to buy.”

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