Hand Microphone Setup

Setup for the TS-590sg hand microphone

A common question in the user groups is how to set up the Kenwood hand microphone for the TS-590 radios. I'll begin by saying this hand mic is a rattly, creaky, noisy piece of garbage and it sounds like a tin can with the baseline settings, but it can be tamed a fair amount with some basic settings and use of the ARCP-590 which is a free download from Kenwood. 

The radio really shines with optional microphones or even feeding digital audio processed on a PC via the USB cable that I've outlined in a different article on this site.

First step is to get the free control software from Kenwood at this link, it's called ARCP-590.  The software works via USB cable to the radio and allows for PC control of the settings but most importantly it allows you to set the User EQ which is far superior to the default EQ options in the rig firmware.

Once you get the software working, you should be able to click on Connect and it should read the rig's settings and allow you to control the rig using the software.  If you have the menu open on the radio or hit controls like mic level it locks the software until you exit the controls on the rig panel.

In the software, at the top line staring with "File", to the right you will see DSP/Filter menu, click on that.  When it drops down, select Audio Equalizer. This is where the User EQ is set up, which is menu 36 in the current TS-590sg firmware (it can change based on model of radio and firmware version).

Before you start adjusting the EQ, set menu 31 which is SSB/AM low cut to 10, and set menu 32 which is  SSB/AM High cut to 3000. These set your TX bandwidth to 3kHz which is the widest it will go. This allows for the best high frequency definition and the most natural sound from the rig. You also need to set menu 36 DSP TX Equalizer to "U", this enables the User EQ that the software will configure. Again, these menu numbers will work with a TS-590sg with current firmware as I write this, but the descriptions should match other variants.

Now the best way to do this is to monitor the transmit from a second receiver off the air. You can put the second receiver on a multi port antenna switch to get a sample.  Put the rig on  port 1, put the COM port to a dummy load, select port 1. Stick the second receiver on port 2 and tune it to the same frequency the rig is on.  Set power to the minimum necessary to get a solid signal on the second receiver, it doesn't take a lot of power. You can use the  Tx moni function (press and hold the power button to enable) and use headphones, but it isn't the best representation of what you are actually transmitting.

You can set the TX Equalizer in the ARCP-590 software as you transmit and listen, there's a small lag in adjustments but it works pretty well. Basically you can set it however you like, but my cookbook to make it easy will follow. In the EQ display there are numbers for the slider values at the bottom of each slider. The values that follow are what I recommend as a starting point for what should help alleviate the awful stock mic sound quality and give a clean, clear and fairly natural sounding response.

Each column of the EQ has a frequency value at the top and the level values at the bottom, this list is each frequency and the values I recommend to start with, just drag the sliders down for the negative values and boost up for the positive values.

Frequency Value

0 -3

300 -8

600 -7

900 -4

1200 -3

1500 -4

1800 0

2100 0

2400 1

2700 2

3000 6

All the rest are outside the bandwidth the radio can use for TX, leave them at 0.

When you finish, just exit the ARCP-590 software and the settings will persist in the "U" memory bank for the TX EQ menu. You don't need to have the ARCP software running from this point forward, just "U" selected in the menu option.

This will give you are far better and more natural sounding response compared to the stock settings. Feel free to adjust them however you like, but many people get lost using EQ settings. As I mention in other articles here, it's always a better idea to cut EQ than to boost, particularly below 1kHz as you seldom need more bottom end, it's far more common that you need to cut low and low-mid in order to clean up your articulation over the air.

I set mic level to 55 with these settings and it results in a very clean output signal without splatter. 

The proc setting radically reduces low end response and boosts the high frequencies for a sharper DX setting, with proc I hate the sound quality but  the settings I have are , touch proc to activate it, then press and hold proc to set the processer input level,  this is how hard you hit the limiter in the processor and set PRO.I to 10.  tap proc again to exit and tap once more to re-enable the processor.  Then for the processor output level, tap mic once and set PRO.O for the output to 100.  These settings will give you a sharp tone for DX or noisy conditions and result in a clean signal without splatter outside the TX channel width.