Review: Piexx Digital Upgrade for Kenwood TS930

My lovely wife coordinated a family-wide birthday gift for me, the Piexx TS-930SE Upgrade Digital Board for my venerable 1980's Kenwood TS-930SAT.

The new features added by this upgrade are:

  1. 3-speed VFO tuning
  2. 99 additional memories
  3. Band start frequency memory
  4. True RS-232 port for computer control
  5. 10Hz tuning
  6. UP/DOWN changed to 500kHz from 1MHz
  7. RIT control with VFO knob when in D.Lock
  8. Firmware upgradable
  9. MARS frequency transmit enableable

The board is designed as a direct drop-in replacement.

The trickiest part of the installation is the optional S-Meter wiring, but this is such a fundamentally valuable feature in computer control that I'd say you wouldn't want to not perform the extra steps; which include routing the cable through to the bottom of the machine and soldering it to the S-Meter feed line.

Piexx provides new stand-offs. They suggest drilling out the mounting holes, due to the difference between the original metric hardware and the new SAE hardware, but that is not necessary, the standoffs will thread in with just a little effort.

i have used computer control with the free flRig software on a Mac, and also with Ham Radio Deluxe running in a Windows 7 virtual machine on a Mac. The model radio needs to be set for a Kenwood 570. All tuning features work, VFO A-B and split features work. However, the controls on the radio that are not part of the Digital board, cannot be controlled through the RS-232 port; such as volume, mode (USB, LSB, CW, etc), SSB slope tuning, Notch, RIT, etc.

Overall, this is an excellent upgrade to the aging radio, which can be reverted back to original configuration by reversing the installation.

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