Birmingham Alabama Crystal Radio Group Banner

Adding a Pan-adapter to the Kenwood TS-590S

Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S
A new radio

I like looking at the band. Not only does a good radio feel smooth to the ears, but the eyes get a treat with a good radio with a pan-adapter. A pan-adapter or bandscope expands the function of a receiver, essentially adding a picture of the band that is being monitored. It is like being blind for years and suddenly gaining sight.

Pan-adapters have been around for years. Inexpensive Software Defined Radio (SDRs) have made pan-adapters easier to implement. I have an IF based pan-adapter, using a SoftRock Lite II Combined Receiver Kit , tuned to about 8.88 MHz. The Kenwood TS-850S has an IF out connector on the back of the rig, making it a pretty easy task to implement a pan-adapter. I used the PowerSDR Software For  I.F. Stage Use software. The link nicely describes how this approach works.

When I was contemplating the purchase of a new rig, I really wanted it to have an IF out, so I could use a SoftRock for the pan-adapter. After weighing many factors, I finally bought a TS-590S; however, it has no IF out on the rig!

The Problem

The TS-590S uses up-conversion to the first IF at 73.095 MHz for all bands and all modes,. It is hard to make really good crystal filters at this frequency, so receiver dynamic range can suffer for signals that fall within the pass band at this frequency (the filter is about 15 kHz wide). The TS-590S is a medium grade receiver in the up-conversion mode.

Many rigs have moved to down-conversion, going from HF down to a first IF of 8-9 MHz. The Ten-Tec Orion and Eagle and Elecraft K3 and K2 use this approach. The first filter right after the mixer affects how well the receiver can handle strong, close-in signals. Really good crystal filters from 6 kHz wide to 400 Hz wide are pretty common at these lower frequencies.

The TS-590S receiver architecture has another wrinkle to it. For 160, 80, 40, 20, and 15m, the receiver can be used in the down-conversion mode with an 11.374 MHz IF. The filters at this IF are 2700 Hz and 500 Hz wide. The radio automatically switches to the down-conversion approach when the Hi-shift Lo/width control on the front panel is dialed down to 2700 Hz (SSB) and 500 Hz (CW). In the down-conversion mode, the FT-590S can handle signals that are 2 S-units stronger without overloading.

This split architecture works well, but it makes it difficult to add an IF-based pan-adapter. Either both IFs have to be sampled, or just one of them. Tough.

But there is another way.

Omni-Rig and HDSDR

W7KWS, Bob, and I were talking about my new TS-590S. I had decided that I could live with a panadapter for just the 73.095 MHz IF. I would leave the front-panel-selected bandwidth above 2700, so the up conversion IF would always be in play. If the band got really crowded, I would just narrow the bandwidth and lose the panadapter for a while.

Bob suggested a new approach. Using a combination of OmniRig (zip file) and HSDSR the TS-570S would track with a multi-band SDR, such as the SoftRock RX Ensemble II Receiver Kit . HDSDR includes an Si-590 driver for the SoftRock VFO. I tried it. It works.

Getting the signal to the SDR

I am a big fan of separate receive antennas. I have reversible Beverages pointed NE/SW and E/W. I also use a home-brew preamp and a passive "receiver saver" with reverse connected/parallel diodes. The system also requires a Broadcast Band stop filter on the antennas, since strong AM signals from the big city of Birmingham, AL hit the diodes and cause harmonics well into the 80M band.

An alternative approach (using an SDR-IQ) is shown here. Take particular note of page 3: The TS-590S and the SoftRock would be placed in parallel through the TS-590S RX antenna connection. A relay is used to switch the transmitting antenna between transmit and receive.

Bob suggested a really neat approach that could be used after the rig is out of warranty. Jumper the antenna input on the TS-590S receiver board to the RX antenna connector. The SoftRock would be connected to the RX antenna connector, placing both receivers n parallel. They would both be switched through the internal transmit/receive antenna relay.

Installing the Omni-Rig and HDSDR Software (Windows XP)

Here is the approach I used on my Netbook PC.

- Create a sub-directory called HDSDR in the Downloads directory (this is a sub-directory under the Documents directory).

- Go here: and download HDSDR

- Go here and download Omni-Rig:

- Download the INI files for Omni-Rig at the same URL.

- Move the HDSDR, OMNI-Rig, and INI files into the HDSDR sub-directory.

- Run the HDSDR install file. It will put the files into the Program Files\ HDSDR directory.

- Run the compressed file downloaded for Omni-Rig. It will uncompress into a file called OmniRigSetup. Run this file, and it will place create the OMNI-Rig files in the Program Files\Afreet directory.

- Run the RigIni compressed file. You can leave them in this sub-directory and extract them.

SoftRock configuration Files

If you have built the SoftRock RX Ensemble II Receiver kit, this is the reference website for building the unit and getting the SoftRock software: .

If you bought a built unit, go to the the page and download and install CFGSR and USB drivers.

- After you have finished the download and installation, be sure to copy the ExtIO_Si570.dll file and place it in the Program Files\ HDSDR directory.

Installing the Virtual Comport

The TS-590S needs a virtual comport to talk to the PC. Here is the Kenwood page:

The virtual comport file is at the bottom of the page: "CP210x_VCP_Win_XP_S2K3_Vista_7.exe" (v6.4) 8.10MB download

Move this downloaded file into the Downloads\HDSDR directory you created earlier. Now double click on the file and run it, following the direction on the Kenwood page.

Setting Up OMNI-Rig and HDSDR

- Left click the Windows Start button, choosing All Programs. Go to HDSDR, and send a copy of the executable program the Desktop. Do the same with OMNI-Rig.

- Click on the OMNI-Rig icon now on the desktop and fill out each box. Here are the settings for my TS-590S. The port is the virtual USB port; check my computer=> Hardware=> Device Manager=>Ports to get the number of the Silicon Labs virtual port.

The Baud rate for the USB comport must be set in the TS-590S menu. It is menu item number 62. Set the baud rate at the highest level in the TS-590S menu in the radio itself: 115200, and in Omni-Rig.

Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S

The best way to understand how to setup HDSDR is to review the manual for Winrad. HDSDR is based on Winrad. Click here for the manual:

You will see some differences, but the manual is very helpful. Here is a view of HDSDR in action.

Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S

The light blue ExtIO button is used to access the SoftRock Configuration Tool. Clicking on it brings up this view:

Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S

With this tool you can calibrate the SoftRock VFO.:

Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S

Tune in WWV and use that as the basis to be sure the SoftRock Si570 VFO is correctly calibrated. Here are my settings in HDSDR for the blue-green button labeled “Soundcard (F5)” .

Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S

I use an outboard Creative Labs Sound Blaster Extigy for the input from the SoftRock. For audio out to the speakers, I use the PC's internal soundcard, called SoundMAX Digital Audio.

Here are my settings for the “Bandwidth (F6)” button. My Extigy Soundcard has a bandwidth of 48k.

Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S

Next are settings for the “Options (F7) button.

Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S
Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S
Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S

The CAT to Radio (Omni-Rig) options accessed by this button affect how you tune both the TS-590S and the SoftRock. You may want to experiment with these a bit to see which settings best meet your needs.

Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S
Panadaptor for Kenwood TS-590S

The main functions of HDSDR can be changed on screen with the Soundcard, Bandwidth, and Options buttons. Be sure that HDSDR and Omni-Rig are connecting, via the CAT to Radio (Omni-Rig)+> sync Rig1 setting.


Back to my main projects page.