[CQ-Contest] TS-850SAT -- interesting rig for contesting

Zack Widup w9sz.zack at gmail.com
Tue Mar 30 19:59:08 PDT 2010

When I got my 850, the first thing I did was the mod to open up the
transmit for the full range so i could use it with a VHF transverter
that had a 22 MHz IF. This was before we got the 60 meter band, so I
was ready when we got it. At the same time, I also did the mod to
remove the broadcast band attenuator and also the noise blanker mod,
which involved changing a couple capacitors. All these were well worth

I've since put in the INRAD filters for CW. I don't plan on doing the
INRAD roofing filter mod because it kills the excellent audio quality
of broadcast reception and I also use the radio for SWL'ing and tuning
the LF bands.

The last thing I will probably do to it is replace the battery for the
memory with one in a coin cell holder and replace the caps that go bad
and leak electrolyte on the PC board before that happens. I hope to
get many more years out of it.

73, Zack W9SZ

On Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 4:17 PM, Rick Lindquist, WW3DE
<ww3de at comcast.net> wrote:
> Hi, Bob
> In case no one else has mentioned it, N6TR maintains an excellent Web page
> on TS-850 mods, repairs and hints at http://n6tr.jzap.com/850repair.html.
> I had a TS-850S/AT that I bought new on sale, just after the TS-870 - its
> successor - debuted. I equipped it with 400 Hz Inrad CW filters in each IF.
> It's an excellent radio, despite its 1990 technology, and I enjoyed using
> it.
> The only major problem I had with mine was that the '850 can be susceptible
> to RF ingress that takes out a chip on the RF board that, as I recall,
> controls switching on the LPF board. The main symptom is that power output
> will be low, esp on the higher bands. The good news is that the chip is very
> inexpensive. I bought 10 of them. The bad news is that it's a bear to pull
> the old chip off the board; it is not socketed. I installed a socket in
> mine, just in case.
> One issue for CW: As it comes from the factory, you can only set up the rear
> apron key jack for KEYER or for KEY (ie, external keying). If you use a
> computer to send CW for you in contests, you'll have to switch or, as I did,
> keep a manual keyer handy and put its output in parallel with the keying
> line so you can do fills, etc. It's possible to modify the radio, but it
> involves cutting a PCB trace and installing a second jack.
> The 850 will operate on 60 meters, if you have any interest. The downside
> here is that you must remove all the screws holding the front panel in place
> in order to reach the diode that keeps it from transmitting outside the ham
> bands. I did this on mine and had no ill effects, but keep in mind that the
> LPFs were not designed with a ham band at 5 MHz in mind.
> 73 and good luck!
> Rick, WW3DE
> -----Original Message-----
> From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com
> [mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Bob AD5VJ
> Sent: Monday, March 29, 2010 12:33 AM
> To: cq-contest at contesting.com
> Subject: [CQ-Contest] TS-850SAT -- interesting rig for contesting
> Hi all
> I must say I had my doubts about my new to me TS-850SAT when I first got it
> in the shack. I said: "Too small, no filters, no dual watch, no scope, no
> roofing filter, etc", I said to myself: "I don't know how they ever called
> this a "contest radio".
> Well, I just finished CQWW WPX Contest single operator all bands.
> (I had to know abt the rig)
> Total: 1059 Prefixes = 514 Total Score = 1,318,410
> My first EVER - over 1 million points out of all the rigs I have owned-
> using this rig and it performed flawlessly and was effortless and was
> untiring to use.
> I would recommend this radio to anyone for any Ham Contesting Adventure.
> I thought about selling this one BUT NOW:
> I am going to get two and gang them together.
> Bob AD5VJ
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