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Author Topic: KX3 / Sherwood Engineering Inc.  (Read 79307 times)

Posts: 302

« Reply #45 on: December 22, 2013, 09:49:15 PM »

I have read a lot of Zenki's posts, some of which I agree with and some not. My take on his point is that he is not against qrp per se, but has little patience for those to whom qrp is nearly a religion - you know, the type of hams who suggest qrp to beginners as the ONLY path to follow for "true" hams.



Posts: 1560

« Reply #46 on: December 25, 2013, 12:32:46 PM »

There is a level that I will agree with Zenki, there are a lot of good radios and all offer
more than is often needed in the portable space.

However there are niche parts of the hobby that people pursue and its not religion or
whatever its about their idea of fun.

After many messages in this thread there are a few points to take away.

A good antenna beats a crap antenna.  A dipole with modest height will slam any
portable vertical every time.  The latter is more portable though.  Conditions, mode,
and what you want to carry may lead to compromise.  Examples, in the mounatins
trees or other high things are often missing and a dipole (or EFHW) is a nonstarter
unless laid on the ground or hung over a cliff.

Power is nice.  What you back can carry over time is the balancing factor.  That means
for a day on a easy access hill something like an 857 and gell bat are a winner.   Hiking
a 20 mile trail segment on a weekend may limit you to a 817 or KX3.  Make that a week
on the trail with food and a lighter radio is a must.

On receivers...  While a RX like the KX3 is nice often in the boonies its performance will
be less appreciated.   The upside is its performance is not a power or weight cost factor
so why not.  Also its not uncommon to fire up in the back yard or a local park and then
a good RX is desirable as there is power line noise and someone less than 4 miles away
to give the receiver a work out.  This goes to thinking ahead to all the possible uses the radio
may see.

Lastly on power.  What we use is often what we have.  There will always be time when the
KW is longed for. There is also a low end for things like SSB and Data modes that can make it
easy and fun.  On that point Zenki is right 20W is a threshold but not a hard one.  To that
I'd say 5W on 10m into a good dipole is going to work and if there is no propagation forget
it even at 100W. Again if you working 10M ground wave power helps, but from the bottom of a
valley forget it.  Use of the many frequencies and awareness of the location will have greater
success than a simplistic mandate of "must have 20W".  So some level of frequency agility
is important.

Why are HF manpacks special?  They are usually not light.  They carry useful sized
batteries.  They are often frequency agile and work common modes SSB CW and data.
Their receivers are often optimized for low power and long run times on battery.  They
are often complete (transceiver, tuner and antenna).  They are also rugged and waterproof
though both of those are less certain due to their age or abuse.  They are rarely cheap even
used and often lack the common operating controls hams prefer.

What exists is a new generation of radio like the IC7200 that are light enough for portable
and when throttled back will run fine on a 10-20AH battery for a good while.  This is the middle
ground for those that need a radio that works at home and portable/field day for the few times
they do. Add a portable tuner and some for a dipole or EFHW and its good to go.  I've already
done same with my TT Eagle.

We have the small like KX1, K2, KX3, the medium like the FT817 and an the IC703 and then
we drift into the whole range of "other".  Those others include the compact mobiles like the
IC706MK2G, IC7000, IC7200, TenTec Eagle and the Argonaut V and VI, FT857 and a few I
likely forgot.  Most all of the "other" have the same liabilities, high current needs on RX
and TX even at low power.  That means a larger battery is a must or LIPO types in the
10AH or larger range for useful operating time.  Too heavy, not really just not backpack
for a hike of any distance.  For example the TT Eagle I have is 8.5 pounds with mic, 18AH
AGM SLA in a case is 15 pounds and a PAR EF 40/20/10 plus 25 ft of LMR195 is still only
under 27 pounds or about 6 pounds lighter than the PRC1099 I use.  However it is more
battery than the 6ah PRC battery and I can run up to 100W (for short periods) and the
Eagle adds 6M against 1.6 to 29.999mhz. Unlike the PRC it works nicely on the bench
at home and has a built in speaker rather than the handset with a stiff button (H250).

Its all about how you use it, what you wish to carry and the spare dollars.  Its a hobby and
we often take those more seriously because we can and not because we have to. 


Posts: 763

« Reply #47 on: January 10, 2014, 06:43:46 PM »

My experiences with KX3 are very good on CW but so so on SSB, worse than with K2/10. This is due to an unfinished speech processor. At 12 W, KX3 with max comp gets signal reports 2 S below K3 at 12 W. K2/10 would get 1 S less. 1 S here is about 3 db.  See comparisons of KX3 and K3 proc in FILES on yahoo KX3 site.

With a good processor, KX3 could sound like the current KX3 with a 40W amplifier. Without extra weight/cables/batteries. 

I tried to persuade Elecraft to put resources in making KX3 proc effective (if this is possible). But little support from the KX3 community, which seems to be mostly CW types.   

Ignacy, NO9E

Posts: 21

« Reply #48 on: January 12, 2014, 01:35:06 PM »

Last weekend I made a contact on 20m with my KX3 through a EFHW with 12 watts on SSB.  My signal was not a whopper, report came back 3,3, but I made it.  Funny thing is the guy I was speaking with was on the same rig, portable, using a small vertical similar to a one armed buddipole (texas bugcatcher type).  I am on the Oregon coast about 2 miles south of the Washington boarder (Columbia River), he was on a hilltop in the bay area.  The band was not stellar and I had to wait my turn because my signal could not match the kilowatt big antenna boys, but the contact was readable and the signal report was exchanged (he was a 4,4).  QRP is about the challenge, I could have gone upstairs and fired up the Icom into the Alpha and hit him with legal limit power but it was a lot more satisfying to make contact with 12 watts through a wire suspended from a tree. 
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