570review


It was love at first sight, the distinctive design of the
TS570 with its ergonomically placed buttons, its big clear display and the
unusual orange black and grey colour scheme looked very attractive to me. Later
I realized why. When I was a lad of 14 years old I owned one of the first
scientific calculators. It was from Omron, and it was bright orange with a
black keyboard and round grey keys with a slightly hollow surface. It was my
object of desire....

Being a technician I have learned not to
follow my first impulse, so when I got my HF licence some time ago I went out
to see what HF rig would be suitable for me. I wanted a compact state of the
art rig and I had a few on trial for some weeks. I decided to buy the 570 and
haven’t regretted my decision ever since.

I had to get used to the audio at first.
The rig sounded very different from my R5000 receiver with its sharp almost
hissing sound. The 570 sounds very civilised, a bit dull even. The reason is
that you cannot switch off the DSP filter. So even with the filter ‘wide open’
everything above 4 kHz is cut off. Although I didn’t like it at first I soon
discovered that I could listen to the rig for hours without getting tired. Now
I do like it, it’s quiet, nice and smooth, without a hint of distortion.
                                                                                                     
A point of criticism must be the effectiveness of the high-and low-cut
of the DSP. From a DSP filter you would expect a steep brig wall type of
performance, but the filter on the 570 rather acts like a classical tone
control. The filter is not sharp at all, in fact the flanks of the IF filter
are steeper. You can’t cut high-pitched sideband splatter from a neighbouring
channel without impairing the intelligibility of the signal you want to hear.
In my opinion it is almost useless.

In CW the DSP band pass filter works
great. On the DG model you can reduce the bandwidth down to 50 Hz without any
sign of ringing or distortion. Although I prefer an IF notch, the B.C. (beat
cancel) function of the DSP is really excellent. If you are having trouble with
carrier beat notes during a SSB QSO, simply press B.C. and they disappear as
snow for the sun. The suppression is phenomenal ! I often forget to switch BC
off because you can’t hear the difference on the audio, and you don’t notice
whether a carrier has disappeared. Also useful is the N.R. (noise reduction)
especially on the DG model. But don’t expect miracles from it. I have never
heard a signal that I could copy with the NR switched in, that I could
not copy without it ! The NR makes the audio sound a bit hollow, as if
the station you are listening to is transmitting from a church or other large
empty building. But again, no hint of distortion !
                                                                                                                        
Both for TX and RX there is an audio
equaliser you can use. You probably don’t need it, since the audio on TX is
just fine. In fact some stations I worked on SSB voluntarily gave favourable
reports about the audio. You can however even program your own equaliser using
a little windows program called EQCALC. This will define the U (user defined?)
setting which is not documented. I use it as an extra bandpass filter around
1kHz for PSK.

One of the best parts of the 570 is its big bright and clear display.
The contrast is high, and the orange back lighting is smooth and equal. The
S-meter is integrated into the display. Some people will                                                                                            prefer an analogue
type, but you have to consider the advantages of digital ones. Classical needle
instruments are notoriously slow, and will never be able to accurately indicate
signal strength or power output peaks. Digital ones do ! The one on the 570
even has a peak hold build in. Besides this S-meter is one of the best I have
ever seen. It is even accurate ! From S3 onward every S point is 6 dB apart, as
it should be, and above S9 it indicates real dB’s rather than imaginary ones
(HI). But that’s not all… during TX you can simultaneously see power output,
ALC and SWR. The last one is of great help to me, since I am using an external
symmetrical antenna tuner.

The 570 is equipped with an automatic one, and during the
brief period that I used it, it worked well. It is a switching type. It
remembers the settings for each band segment, so once tuned, assuming that the
antenna does not change, you will never have to tune again. The 570 has two
separate front panel selectable antenna connectors. The antenna tuner has two
separate memories, so even if you switch from one antenna to the other retuning
isn’t necessary. For manual tuning I switch to AM and lock the PTT on the
microphone. The AM mode has a separate power level setting, so this way you can
tune with i.e. 5W, switch back to SSB and start transmitting with the full 100 W.

I run PSK, Hell and RTTY on the 570 from the soundcard of
the computer. The 570 has an extra audio input/output on the ACC2 connector at
the back so you don’t have to unplug your microphone every time you want to “go
digital”. However in order to make it work you have to use the PTT (pin 9) on
the same connector. This will also silence the microphone input, so you can
talk while you type HI.

The 570 has one position to install an extra IF filter.
This could be a 1.8 kHz SSB filter, or, much more sensible, a 500 or 270 Hz CW
filter. Now with a CW filter installed we would like to use it for lets say
PSK. But we can’t since the rig does not allow you to use an CW filter in SSB
mode. There is a workaround however. In menu #46 you can change the bandwidth of
the filter that was installed to 1800 Hz. This will allow the use of the CW
filter for SSB. Now don’t forget to set it to the proper bandwidth after you
finished your PSK operation, if you don’t you will have no output in CW. I do
all this by controlling the rig by computer using the COM port.

You don’t realise it all the time, but everything inside
the 570 is done digitally. Even if you turn up the volume, you are not just
turning up a potentiometer, but are actually setting a digital control which
controls the audio level. You will never have guest it by simply working with
the rig because it all feels like the “good old thing”. It means that you can
also control the rig by computer. And if I say control, I really mean CONTROL,
because everything you can do from the front panel you can also do with
computer commands. In this respect Kenwood has always excelled. Compare this
with the Yeasu rigs that have almost useless CAT capabilities probably
conceived in the stone age !
                                                                                                              
Using the 570 is really straightforward. The layout of the front panel is well
designed. The controls you will use in every day operation are at the most one
push of a button away, while settings you will typically set once according to
your own preferences or needs are hidden in the menu. In fact there are two
menus : A and B, so you can use different settings i.e. for two types of
operation. A useful feature is the Quick Memo. While tuning over the bands you
can store an interesting frequency instantly by pressing M.IN The Quick Memo
acts as an FIFO (First in First Out) memory with 5 cells. The stored
frequencies can be revisited by pressing MR. These memories, like the normal
ones (00-99) in fact behave as extra VFO’s. While in memory mode you can still
tune the frequency, change the mode or even change the band you are working on.
You can simply transfer the frequency of a memory (QM or normal one) to one of
the regular VFO’s by pressing M>VFO.

Another useful feature is CW TUNE . It will automatically
tune the rig so that the CW beat note frequency is the same as the one you set
for the sidetone (Menu #20). This ensures that you return to a station calling
CQ on its exact frequency. This function does not work very well while using
the smaller filter bandwidths or FINE tuning. In these cases it may even loose
the signal all together, but it is nice to have anyway.

I am not trying to sell my rig…. Never ! It is simply a
very nice rig to own. It does what you expect it to do, nothing more, but
certainly nothing less. Sure there are a few things I would like to be
different. The High/Low cut DSP filter is one, and not being able to select the
IF filter for whatever mode is another. But these are just minor points. If you
are after a nice, state of the art, all singing all dancing, solid, nice
looking little rig, the TS 570 DG may be the one for you !

73,Arend PA1ARE