Kenwood TS-120S

I believe this radio was purchased sometime in the 1960′s.

I am the second owner.

It still works but not without incident.

The first problem it has is loss of digital display accompanied by a complete loss of function. No receive and no transmit. Lifting the radio by a corner and letting it fall to the table usually solved the problem. This indicated a poor connection somewhere inside the radio.

This situation continued for over several decades. Nothing was done to correct the problem because is occurred rarely if at all.

The second problem was a hum in the audio. A loud hum. This was solved by bypassing the audio line to ground inside the microphone connector. Problem solved. Evidently RF was getting into the microphone line. Interesting to note that the hum was only present when the radio was run at power through a linear amplifier. It did not have hum when run barefoot and for a long time we thought the hum was caused by the amplifier.

The dissappearing display problem began to occur more and more frequently in the last few months. So the radio was opened for the first time and inspected.

This thing is a maze of cables, wires, and cheap connectors inside the covers. Not knowing where to start we started at one end and worked our way to the other end unplugging each connector, giving it a shot of Deoxit, and reconnecting. Then we turned it over and did the underside.

We let that first application sit for a day and did it all over again the following day. The radio was then powered up with the covers still removed and seemed to work just fine.

That was two months ago. The covers are back on and it has been working fine. We use it at least two hours a week. So far the maintenance has been successful. No more loss of display or other malfunction.

It is a good rig. Works on SSB and CW. The receiver is okay. Mine narrows down to 500hz bandwidth when in CW mode. Power is a solid 100watts OUTPUT on all bands. It needs a good match to a decent antenna to work well. SWR above 2:1 will drastically reduce the power output. It will still work but you won’t be heard as well. It has a built-in fan that only comes on when the finals get hot. That only happens on long transmissions at full power.

It only covers the old ham bands. No WARC bands and no hope of doing so without designing and building a transverter.

Does not do well with SWR greater than 2:1. That might be a plus. You should not be running an SWR higher than about 1.5:1 into the radio in the first place.

Audio sounds tinny. That may also be a plus. With more of the lows removed, the audio is easier to understand under adverse conditions.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 admin on 05.27.09 at 6:40 pm

What is it worth? Not sure but I bet you could get one for under $300 complete with P-30 power supply. It might have minor problems. Minor problems are problems you know how to fix.

My radio is worth $300 because it has no problems at all. That is without the P-30 supply which I would not sell.