N9EWO Review :
LW / MW / SW
(as stock, no modifications or accessories)
R-5000 Communications Receiver. Manufactured in Japan from 1987 to 1996.
In our view was not the best
Kenwood made for audio quality
(but is the most advanced HF receiver they produced).
Please see our Kenwood
R-1000 review page here.
Certain (but not all) used samples CAN suffer from the notorious PLL
VCO potting compound failure (dots on display) and the keyboard bounce
issue. Our excellent condition late 1992 test sample did not
suffer from either one of these ills. Dual conversion (except FM
mode) using a second oddball IF of
8.83 MHz. Has no
W-I-D-E 12~15 kHz
filter for greatly improved audio quality (when conditions warrant as
older R-1000 model). Receiver runs very warm to HOT depending on
temperature (just as with
the Kenwood R-1000) ! (N9EWO photo)
Origin : Japan
Approximate "Test Sample" Serial Number : 2110013x
(Manufactured in Nov 1992)
We have used / owned
the Kenwood R-1000, R-2000 models for
Review on the Kenwood R-5000
- Excellent overall sensitivity (above 1600 kHz) (see con).
- Above average audio quality for a communications receiver, including
distortion free SSB modes.
- Excellent dynamic range / front end filtering / image rejection.
- Decent included stock bandwidth filters (2.5 and 6.3 kHz) (see con).
- Bandwidth filters are independent of mode.
- Tunes and displays down to 10 hz increments.
- 2 VFO's
- RF Gain Control.
- 2 antenna inputs with front panel switching.
- 3 step plus off attenuator switch.
- Selectable FAST and SLOW AGC decay rates. (see con)
- Extremely important 1 step display dimmer button (which is NOT
provided with the TS-440 transceiver cousin) (see con).
- All mode squelch.
- Adjustable AF Notch that performs as it should.
- Dual width Noise Blanker (see con).
- Muting function via rear accessory jack.
- 2 time zone clocks that display independently of frequency (can also
be turned off).
- 1 event timer with activation relay for old school tape recorder etc.
- 100 memory channels that store frequency, mode and antenna port (see
- Front panel "Record" output is clean and at a proper LINE level
(except early samples), it is also buffered and isolated from ground
(eliminates any ground loop issues).
- VC-20 VHF converter option (not tested).
- VS-1 Voice Synthesizer option (not tested).
- Solid build quality with built in AC power supply (see con).
- 4 inch internal speaker while above average still greatly
benefits with an external one.
- Memory information is battery backed and does not store bandwidth or
attenuation settings (see text).
- Fair ergonomics overall.
- Some may find the stock 6.3 kHz wide bandwidth filter with too wide
skirts (see text).
- Oddball 8.83 MHz second IF makes for limited additional voice
bandwidth filters (see text).
- No tone control.
- Dimmer button does not reduce the brightness of the front panel LED
- Both noise blankers were near useless in testing.
- Low level hum detected with headphone use (see text).
- AGC cannot be turned off.
- Weakly lit S-Meter (made even worse with dimmer in use).
- Direct keyboard entry requires leading ZERO with frequencies below 10
MHz and also requires one to hit the ENT key before and after entry.
- Direct keyboard entry is in a nonstandard 2 row 12345 by 67890 format.
- No frequency UP-DOWN tuning buttons.
- LW and MW sensitivity deliberately made lower.
- Variable florescent display quality over it's entire production run
(just as with the R-1000 and R-2000 models).
- Tilt bale has lacks any tabletop protection.
- Use of hard plastic feet allows the receiver to slide around the
- In normal operation runs very warm to downright HOT (depending
on ambient room temperature).
- Old age failures for some samples include PLL unlock
(caused by acidic VCO potting compound), and keypad multi-entry bounce.
Same Size as it's TS-440 Transceiver Cousin
but Dual Conversion / Dimmer Button / VHF Converter Option
The Kenwood R-5000 receiver cabinet is sized at 10.6 W x 3.78 H
x 10.6 D inches and weight is 12.3 pounds (5.6 kg). This is the same
main body size as the related TS-440 transceiver cousin, but minus the
440's rear power amplifier section.
Some come to think that the receiver scheme is identical to the TS-440 and that is
incorrect. The R-5000 uses DUAL conversion (except on FM mode which is
triple) with the first IF at 58.125 MHz and the oddball second IF is at
8.83 MHz. With the TS-440 it's TRIPLE conversion with a bit
different first IF of 45.05 MHz, second is that oddball 8.83 MHz again
and finally a 455 kHz third IF.
One major plus to the R-5000 is it's DIMMER display feature (button).
This is something sorely lacking on the TS-440. One nagging issue that
Kenwood forgot with this is only the display and meter lamp are dimmed.
All other front panel LED indicators are not, so this makes the eyes a
bit tired after awhile.
A nice tilt bale is included, but lacks any tabletop protection. Also
in Kenwood tradition it uses the dreaded HARD plastic feet , so it
tends to slide around in use (say when plugging in headphones etc.).
Optional accessories include the VC-20 VHF converter. This adds 108 to
174 Mhz coverage and mounts internally (on the top of the IF Unit). The
VS-1 voice synthesizer option mounts just left of the top power supply
PC board. VS-1 was used in many other Kenwood sets over the years the
year including the TS-440 / TS-940 /
TS-711 / TS-811 and TW-4000 transceivers. DCK-2 option allows
operation from a 13.8 DC power supply or battery (rating at 2 amps).
These options were not tested for this report nor were any accessory
Inconsistent Florescent Display Quality
One MAJOR quirk that I have observed with the Kenwood R-5000 (that
equally plagues the R-1000 and R-2000 models) since day one on various
samples is the brightness / quality of the custom FIP13BM7 FUTABA
florescent display used varies greatly from sample to sample. That is
some segments of a digit can be severely diminished , or one side of
the display can be brighter than the other. This quazi defect is more
noticed with the "Dimmer" on with affected samples. Not to say this
issue has not inflicted
other sets over the years that use florescent displays (it sure has),
just that Kenwood did not have much of a rejection curve for semi sour
looking displays in production. Some samples look perfect in this
regard , while others are not so hot.
Our test sample display was a perfect one, even and bright as can be
seen in the top photo.
Sensitivity / Image Rejection /
Dynamic Range / 3 Step Attenuator
Sensitivity is excellent as is image rejection and dynamic range.
LW and MW (below 1600 kHz), have been deliberately made less sensitive
to keep local signal overloading / bleeding into the HF part of the
receiver. However it's not as bad here as found on the R-1000 and is
most tolerable. There
are modifications posted around the internet that restores full
sensitivity, but is not recommended for most owners.
3 step attenuator "0 - 10
- 20 and 30" db is provided (uses relays). These are much more useful
the "0 - 20 - 40 and 60 db" ones as found on the R-1000.
2 VFO's / 10 hz Tuning and Display /
Nice Weighted Knob
Two VFO's are provided and are a most welcomed feature.
The main tuning knob is solid metal that uses a set screw. No rubber
rings used around the knob to deteriorate (unlike with the R-600 and
R-2000 models) . The actual tuning
encoder is of a optical type, so no skipping that can happen with
mechanical encoders). Yes the knob
lacks a speed dimple, but this was not felt to be a drawback.
Tune and displays in exacting 10 hz increments which is fine enough for
See the display / reference oscillator alignment information
in the links section on the bottom of this page.
Ergonomics Fair along with Weird Keyboard Layout / No Slewing Tuning
Ergonomics are mixed bag. Where the real stinker is with the weird 5
under 5 keypad layout. It gets even worse as for direct keypad entry
one needs to hit ENT first
then the frequency (in kHz thank
goodness) and then hit ENT
AGAIN ! To top off this difficult keyboard
procedure, IF it's a frequency below 10 Mhz you also MUST enter one or
two leading ZERO's before the frequency.
One can also use the keyboard to direct entry to a certain memory
channel. This is reasonably easy to use (just remember to enter the
leading zero if under 10).
No UP-DOWN slewing buttons are found which is pity.
Front Panel Antenna Switch for 2
ANT 1 and ANT 2 buttons on the FRONT panel for selection of a 50 ohm
antenna (SO-239 connector) and a high Impedance OR another 50 Ohm
antenna (ANT 2 uses binding type posts for connection). This
antenna switch is accomplished with a relay near the antenna
Filters - Oddball 8.83 MHz filter makes for limited filter choices /
Filters still Available
Two bandwidth filters are provided as stock. First a soldered in 2.4
kHz filter and a just over 6 kHz filter used for AM broadcast
listening. These filters ate independent of mode. So one can use the 6
kHz filter on SSB modes.
Using the oddball 8.83 MHz second IF makes for very limited voice
bandwidth filters available. Many might say that the stock 6 kHz is of
no use as it's skirts are pretty wide. We say different as switching as
to a narrower (skirt) filter will give for decreased audio quality. For
tough listening situations, just switch over to the narrower filter and
use SSB mode (ECSS). Even the stock 6 kHz filter restricts audio
quality of course.
International Radio still
offers add on bandwidth filters for the Kenwood R-5000 (as this
report was being assembled). These are plug in AND soldered in type
Sadly the R-5000 has no W-I-D-E 12~15 kHz filter for much improved
audio quality (nor can it be easily added) for when conditions warrant
as with the R-1000 model. This was huge disappointment to our ears.
Even the JRC NRD-525 (which
was also sold at the same time as the R-5000) featured this WIDE
no-filter setting and sounded great.
100 Memory Channels with a Useful
Scanning Feature / Rechargeable Backup Battery
1000 memory channels are provided which store Frequency, Mode and
Antenna port. They do not store the bandwidth filter or AGC settings.
If one just keeps the Bandwidth selector in AUTO mode then it will just
toggle the proper WIDE filter on AM and Narrow on SSB modes when
flipping through the memory channels (which is done with the main
knob) This makes that drawback less of a concern.
Memory channels are tunable, but only after the M>V button is pressed first.
The memories are backed using a rechargeable lithium battery. This is
NOT a Lithium ION type. Please see the important information located in
section at the bottom of this web page.
Decent Record (Line) Output
It’s front mounted record jack output is at a proper audio line level
and quality with zero hiss. No other audio preamp is required unlike
with the elder R-1000. As I check the schematic it also has anti-audio
ground loop protection (ground is isolated). It is also buffered with a
transistor preamp. Kenwood did this right.
Reports indicate that early production samples exhibited
distortion at the record output jack. We did not experience this with
the Nov 1992 test sample. So it appears that Kenwood made production
changes to correct this too "hot" level ?
Above Average Audio Quality / Internal Speaker While OK - External
The Kenwood R-5000 audio quality is most agreeable. It's very
clean, lacks hiss, proper amount of bass response and SSB is definitely
above average even with
comparing to SDR receivers of today. The 4 inch internal speaker is
above average. However it is still recommended that a external speaker
be used (the old classic 2 way Realistic Minimus 7 or 77 worked
excellent in testing).
To help reduce or eliminate any R-5000 audio amplifier hum issues, try
removing the top IF board and clean (with 91% isopropyl alcohol) the PC
I will NOT be held responsible
for any info that is listed here
ALL DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK !
Good AGC with Fast and Slow Decay
Rates but no way to turn it OFF / Nice
Well chosen FAST and SLOW AGC decay rates are available and good
overall AGC performance. However there is no AGC OFF and this
could have been easily been added as there is a RF gain control on the
that generally works well. It's tends to read a bit high, but so does
Kenwood R-1000's s-meter.
Both Noise Blankers Pretty Much a Wash Out / IF Shift
2 Noise Blankers are featured on
the R-5000 (NB1 and NB2). However in our testing neither one was of any
real use. The adjustment knob not helping the cause.
IF SHIFT performs as it should however it does not function in the AM
All Mode Squelch / AF Notch That Works
Well / Scanning (Memory Chanel or Band)
All mode squelch works well in the HF bands even if one does not have
optional VC-10 VHF converter installed (not tested).
There are 2 scanning modes. One for a selected segment of a band, and
the other memory channels. It's a bit slow and quirky, but can be
useful once mastered, One can scan all memory channels or selected ones
in groups of 10. Memory lockouts are also available, Band
scanning are between channels 8 and 9 in each 10 channel bank (this is
Dual Clocks That Display Independently From Frequency / 1 Event Timer
With Old School Relay Contacts
Two clocks that display independently from the frequency. There
is a flashing colon for seconds (but no seconds display). One can also choose to shut the
clocks off all together. One
event timer is available (not tested). Just as with the R-1000 there
are low current / voltage relay contacts for a old school analog tape
recorder on the rear panel accessory panel DIN jack. Also receiver
muting is available on this same socket.
Very Warm to HOT Operation
The R-5000 runs very warm to HOT depending
on ambient room temperature (just as with the Kenwood R-1000) ! One
should NOT block the any part of the cabinet at any time.
The Dreaded PLL / VCO Potting Compound / Skippy Push Buttons
Certain (but not all) used samples CAN suffer from the notorious
PLL unlock / VCO potting compound failure (dots on display) and the not
as serious keyboard bounce issue. Our excellent condition test sample
did not suffer from either one of these ills.
Communications Receiver Kenwood Manufactured / Audio not the best but
still very good
The R-5000 even with it's
possible old age traits, and very warm / HOT operation is still
a very respectable table top communications receiver in 2020 +. We wish
would have offered the THREE stock IF bandwidth filters as with the
R-1000 model including the super wide 12~14 kHz one for when conditions
warrant to enjoy the greatly improved audio quality.
N9EWO, all rights reserved
Internal Kenwood R-5000 Photo's (click on photos for
larger view) (N9EWO