Kenwood TS-830S

Kenwood TS-830S

As I began my project to get my TS-530SP on the air, many searches on operating manuals, restoration, troubleshooting, and articles referenced the TS-830S. Further, most videos I found were for the TS-830S. Although the tune up procedure and many other aspects are the same, I noticed many additional features the 830 had compared to the 530.

The TS-830S is the top model in the line of hybrid radios that Kenwood produced. Some of the features which the TS-530SP does not have that the TS-830S has are: Adjustable processor ( compression) and meter indication, monitor, tone control, variable bandwidth tuning, and IF outputs for panadapters.

After using the TS-530SP and enjoying the radio, I set out to see if I could find a working TS-830S at a reasonable price. I monitored eBay weekly, and saw many of these rigs come and go. Most listings will indicate “as-is” or “parts only” condition. I can’t blame sellers, most of which are not licensed amateurs, and many of which don’t know these rigs well enough to rate their operating condition.

As I scoured the listings as they came up for sale, I would notice water or moisture damage on the back of the case, modifications of some kind (switches or wiring added to the back of the case), or other indications that the rig was not well preserved.

As luck would have it, I spotted a new listing with a “buy it now” option. The pictures weren’t the best quality but the condition of the rig looked to be very good. No mods on the back of the case, no dents, rust, scratches. Oddly the listing included the remote VFO. Even more luck – the listing had the option to pick up, and the seller was only 3 hours away in my old home state.

The asking price was less than the going rate for many of the “parts only” listings I would see. I figured I could always re-list the rig for parts should it be completely unserviceable.

I contacted the seller and asked where the rig came from. I prefaced my question by explaining that it is difficult to find these in good condition, many are damaged or modified. The seller responded the next day explaining that the radio had come from an estate sale. I immediately clicked the “buy it now” button.

Testing and Maintenance

The radio was very clean, very good condition. I’m not too familiar with the production dates on the 530 versus the 830, but the 830 I bought seemed like it was 10 years newer. No scratches on the faceplate, very clean and new on the inside.

The only maintenance I needed to do before trying to tune up was to lubricate and clean the fan and tighten up the SO-239 connector. I also applied some solder to the RF output to the center connector.

I was hoping both extra CW filters were installed, but they were not.

The band switch couplers did not have any small cracks appearing, nor did the load shaft coupler.


The radio powered up with no obvious issues on receive, and I set the bias to 60ma. However, on attempting to peak the drive, there was no ALC indicator on the meter. It actually appeared to pull the meter back slightly from the zero point. I checked the HV voltage which appeared to be just above 800 volts.

I noticed the band switch was a bit intermittent. I used DeoxIT D5 with some lint free “Q-tip” style applicator wands on the contacts on the band switch. I didn’t spray the cleaner anywhere near the radio. Instead, I sprayed some into a cup and used the applicator wands to touch the contact areas of the band switch. I rotated the switch a bunch of times after applying to each section of the switch, even into the HV cage.

I also noticed the 12BY7A driver tube was crooked, as if it may have wiggled loose, so I pushed the tube back into the socket.

I let the rig dry a bit after spraying compressed air around the parts of the switch I cleaned and powered up the rig. I let it sit with the heaters on for about an hour, hoping that would catch any stray gasses that might have built up inside the tubes from sitting idle so long.

I started the tune up procedure again, and this time I had strong ALC indication on the meter when peaking the drive in tune mode!

The tune up on 40 meters worked, and full power output was observed on the external tuner. Full power output was observed on all bands.

Final Thoughts

I was lucky to have found a TS-830S that was well cared for, or not used very much. I took a chance buying a rig off eBay and it ended up working out. Having owned the TS-530 and understanding the usual maintenance and what the common issues are with these rigs, even if a repair was needed, I was willing to take the chance and do the repairs if necessary.

Kenwood Hybrid Group and HF Net

There is a Kenwood hybrid group on and an HF net on weekends.


After using the rig for a few days, I noticed that it became more difficult to tune up. I observed low power output when switching to CW mode for full power tuning and dipping the plate and increasing the load. I checked the HV voltage on the meter and saw that it had dropped to just over 400 volts.

I ordered new HV caps from K4EAA and replaced them. I also ordered a remote VFO cable kit, as I have one to test with this rig.

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