TS570 Review

 

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 havenít regretted my decision ever since.

Audio

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 Ďwide opení everything above 4 kHz is cut off. Although I didnít like it at first I soon discovered that I could listen to the rig for hours without getting tired. Now I do like it, itís quiet, nice and smooth, without a hint of distortion.

 

DSP

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 canít 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 canít hear the difference on the audio, and you donít notice whether a carrier has disappeared. Also useful is the N.R. (noise reduction) especially on the DG model. But donít 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 donít 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.


Display

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 dBís rather than imaginary ones (HI). But thatís not allÖ 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.

 

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 isnít 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.

 

Digital modes

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 donít have to unplug your microphone every time you want to ďgo digitalĒ. 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 canít 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 donít forget to set it to the proper bandwidth after you finished your PSK operation, if you donít you will have no output in CW. I do all this by controlling the rig by computer using the COM port.

 

CAT

You donít 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 ďgood old thingĒ. 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 !

 

Easy to use

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 features 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 VFOís. 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 VFOís 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.

 

Conclusion

I am not trying to sell my rigÖ. 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 !

 

Arend , PA1ARE