The Kenwood TS-50 was a great radio in its day and still holds its own against modern radios over 30 years later.
When Kenwood released this mobile 100W HF radio back in 1993, it was in the early days of modern computer aided transceiver or CAT evolution.
This article explains how to add USB based CAT control to a vintage Kenwood TS-50 and maybe squeeze some extra life out of this great radio when it comes to digital modes.
The bottom of the TS-50 has a small removable plastic disk that allows the user to access a 6 pin connector which the no longer available (and expensive) Kenwood IF-10D computer interface connected to along with the also expensive (and no longer available) Kenwood IF-232C serial converter.
The original Kenwood IF-232C accessory permitted the inverted TTL communications native on the TS-50 to work via standard RS-232 serial communications at a blazing 4800 baud which is more than fine for simple communications between a radio and computer.
While there are some other aftermarket solutions still available in 2020, there is a cheaper way.
For less than $20 in parts, you can add modern CAT control to your TS-50 for easier use of digital communication modes like PSK31, FT-8, FT-4, JS8CALL and so much more.
We will also not need to be removing that little plastic disk, so leave that alone.
To add modern USB CAT control to a Kenwood TS-50 you will need:
- CP2104 USB-TTL UART Serial Adapter
- JST ZH 1.5MM 6 Pin Female Single Connector with Flat Wires
- Some ingenuity to mount the CP2104 in your TS-50