SKCC 5123T----- FISTS 14979----- Flying Pigs 2331----- NAQCC 3610-----QRP ARCI 14176-----Polar Bear 257

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Elecraft KX3 SN 963 Received

I ordered a factory built KX3 in February and it arrived just short of six months later. It was worth the wait. If you want one, the delivery time has come down to 60 days for new orders. The web page is Chances are if you are into portable operating you have looked at this rig. It is very portable but has big rig features. The rig is a Software Defined Radio (SDR) with knobs  It's features can be tweaked and expanded via firmware updates.

I have spent a few days getting familiar with the controls. There is lots to learn.The controls are well thought out and once you learn a feature it is easy to remember. One of my favorite features is auto tuning for CW. In other words you can have the rig automatically zero beat to put you on frequency. I was never sure how good of a job I was doing by mentally matching my sidetone with the received station tone manually.

I did purchase the paddles that mount on the case. I have never tried any automatic keying. I can do some sending with the paddles but, I am a long time from being ready for on the air ops. Also, I can explore the iambic keying. Just turn the power to zero to make the KX3 a code practice oscillator Hi Hi.

With so much time to wait for the KX3, I made a change of my shack location within the house. The good news was the spare bedroom is a great shack. The bad news was it took a 100 foot run of coax through the attic to the back of the house. I went with a SGC 237 remote coupler that is located at the end of the coax run and from there it is 300 ohm line up to a 80 meter inverted vee. I had concerns since my IC 703 would not work with the tuner. The initial SWR would cause the power to fold-back to the point that it was too low for the SGC 237. The good news is the KX3 does not have that issue.

So the KX3 is going to be my base rig as well as portable. I did some operating today from the house to see what it would do. I checked into the Sunrise net on 40 CW. The net control was in TN. Checked good there. Then I up to the South CARS net at 7.251 SSB. I checked in with a good report from VA and no request for repeats.  Feeling good. Then on to 15 SSB and I worked "2012L" a special events station from London. OK it works! The desert was a 30 minute CW QSO with KB4JR Bernie in Lake Wales on 30 meters.

Certainly the true test will be portable ops with the KX3. I am holding off opening the case to put in the internal batteries. The KX3 internal battery charger module is back ordered. When it is installed it will allow me to put in eight XX Eneloop batteries and leave them. I have a 10 AA NiMH pack and a 10AH LiFePO4 battery for portable external power.

So the KX3 Yahoo group had various ideas for cases for the KX3 I got several of them. The Think Tank Stuff flash case looks like it will serve me well. I even procured a Alexloop to complement the KX3. So looking forward to portable ops and meeting up with the QRP folks at the Huntsville Hamfest. I hope to see Eric or Wayne from Elecraft there. Elecraft hit a home run with this KX3.

73s Greg N4KGL