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Elecraft KX3 - Hands On preview

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by Moleculo, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Moleculo

    Moleculo
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    Today I was lucky enough to have a personal preview of a pre-release Elecraft KX3! Field tester W6NIA brought his serial number 6 over today to show it to me and let me play with it a bit. In the process, I also snapped a few detailed pics to share.

    Here is a standard front facing picture with the rig plugged into a power supply and antenna with the optional key and mic attached:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the display look and feel is very much like it's big brother, the K3. Although you can't tell, the rig actual has it's flip up feet deployed in this picture.

    Here is a pic of the bottom of the rig showing the attached key and external speaker. The key simply attaches with two thumb screws and is a really nice feature (for all you hard core CW enthusiasts). You can also see one of the flip up feet partially deployed on the left.

    [​IMG]



    This picture shows the left side of the rig where the various interfaces are located:

    [​IMG]

    One neat feature is the On/Off method: holding two buttons simultaneously. This accomplishes two purposes: First, you don't need to waste space with an additional button. Second, if you're packing this radio in the field, this method pretty well ensures that you won't accidentally turn the radio on and drain the precious batteries.

    Here is a close-up view of the right side controls:

    [​IMG]

    And here is one of the left side controls:

    [​IMG]

    Because the firmware of the radio I played with is still preliminary, I won't go into great detail about all of the controls. However, I can say that after about 20 minutes of playing with the radio, I had a good understanding of the operating principles and could make pretty much any adjustment I wanted.

    This is the HF antenna port on the right side. The covered slot to the left is where the eventual 2 meter module antenna jack will be.

    [​IMG]

    This is an interesting shot that adds some perspective to the overall size of the KX3.

    [​IMG]

    It really is an entire HF transceiver in your hand! Personally, I find the fact that Elecraft has made an HF rig of this caliber to be this portable truly amazing. I can't wait to have my own :).

    Of course, I have to give some respect to the guy who was gracious enough to let me preview the rig, so here's a pic of W6NIA holding the rig with a Wonder Wand antenna attached:

    [​IMG]

    This test KX3 does not have the internal tuner option yet, so an antenna like this Wonder Wand would make for a fun combination while operating portable. Here is an up close picture showing this combination in detail:

    [​IMG]

    To cap off the preview, here is one more pic of the rig:

    [​IMG]


    Next, I'll give some initial impressions of the KX3...
     

  2. Moleculo

    Moleculo
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    KX3, What to Expect

    After previewing a test KX3 for a couple of hours, here are my thoughts on what to expect from this rig. Keep in mind that many features and functions were still disabled in firmware on the rig I got to see. When I have my own, fully functional KX3, I will spend considerable time reviewing the functionality in detail. Until then, I can honestly say that the unit I played with was really impressive, even in its preliminary condition.

    I'll be honest: My CW is terrible. I'm an avid camper, RV'er, hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman. This rig should have every outdoors-type ham who also loves ham radio salivating and it makes me want to brush up on my code just to take advantage of what it offers. The voice modes appear to offer most, if not all of the features found in the K3 including transmit and receive 8 band equalizers and a noise gate.

    It's obvious that a considerable amount of effort has been put into making the complex features of this radio easy to use for the average ham. Even the method for opening the radio to add options has been simplified: Four thumb screws, two on each side of the radio, crack the radio in half to reveal the batteries and boards inside. Since the radio is in testing, I didn't feel that it was appropriate to post pictures of the inside, but I can honestly say that I was truly amazed at how much has been crammed into such a small space. The best part is that because this is a truly Software Defined Radio, Elecraft will be able to add features and functionality over time. If the K3 is any indicator, we should see no shortage of software upgrades.

    I should have another opportunity to play with the radio in the near future. I have a lot of questions about various features that I'm anxious to discover! In the meantime, stay tuned to the Elecraft website for KX3 announcements and check back here for more info as I have it!
     
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  3. Bubba

    Bubba
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    Great! Thanks for sharing your impressions with us, Moleculo!
     
  4. W6NIA

    W6NIA
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    Good pics, Tim! Thanks for this opportunity to show off KX3 #6!

    matt W6NIA
     
  5. W5JCS

    W5JCS
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    KX3 review!

    Thank you!

    Excellent photography and very interesting and informative comments about the new Elecraft KX3

    Your review adds to the excitement of this rig being released! Thank you.

    Viva Elecraft!

    W5JCS
     
  6. N0NB

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    Nice job, Tim. Your pictures are the most comprehensive of any I've seen to date. I'd love to see pics of the inside, but I respect your decision to hold off.

    One thing I had not noticed from previous pictures is the method chosen for direct frequency entry. Clever!

    I am not a camper nor operate portable except for Field Day. I already have an FT-817 that I don't use enough. Should that situation change, I'll definitely have to give the KX3 a look. In the meantime, the K3 just keeps humming along.
     
  7. kk5na

    kk5na
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    KK5NA

    Thanks Tim,

    Great pictures..Excellent details. I can't wait to get one
    of these beauties.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and views.

    Joe KK5NA
     
  8. oe6cud

    oe6cud
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    Hello to all!

    Thanks for the nice pictures and excelent details. I am also a camper and RV'er, it is graet to work with QRP Rigs and on Field days. I will wait for my KX3.

    All the best
    Chris, OE6CUD
     
: elecraft kx3

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