Saturday, 17 June 2017


Several years ago, I bought a TS-480SAT from Kenwood.  My first rig was a Kenwood TS-50s, with which I was mightily pleased.   I sold it on for the same price I bought it for, such was the TS-50s's reputation.

Sadly, I became very frustrated and disappointed with the TS-480SAT.  Despite being a superb sideband radio, it had terrible and widely-known crystal oscillator drift.  For some utterly ridiculous reason, Kenwood shipped the 480 with a wobbly oscillator that made it, if not unusable, then certainly an embarrassment on digital modes.  Drifts of +/- 4Hz were typical for my rig.

The 480 then variously saw service for a couple of years as a mobile sideband rig, and then as a manpack unit.

Last week, I decided the 480 should see more use, so I bought an SO-3 clone TCXO from this guy on E-bay.

I thought the unit might come from the US, but it was delivered from China.  It didn't take too long to arrive, and today, in just a few minutes, I installed it into the 480.  Nervously, I soldered the crystal in and switched back on.

Look!  No drift!

To say I was amazed by the performance improvement is this year's understatement!  With this £15 TCXO installed - a saving of about £80 on a Kenwood unit - the wildly-varying standard oscillator has gone, with zero drift, even when the fan comes on mid-transmit cycle.  From a quick look, it doesn't even lok as though I have to trim the crystal any.

It's a pity I didn't grab one of these TCXOs earlier.  Don't hesitate to get one yourself if you're unhappy with yours.

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