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Author Topic: Is the KX3 all it's cracked up to be or fake?  (Read 76722 times)
LA9XSA
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« Reply #135 on: April 06, 2013, 02:39:23 PM »

Remember "zenki" is the guy who thinks that if you take the final PA circuit out of an acceptable radio and put it in a detachable box, it has suddenly become a horrible CB splatterbox. Unless it's 20 watts, because then it's perfect and all the radio you will ever need.
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AB7KT
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« Reply #136 on: April 06, 2013, 02:47:46 PM »

Don't feed the trolls
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I thought you said this was a weak signal mode ? I HAVE a weak signal and he still didn't hear me.

FWIW: My callsign is AB8KT
OY1R
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« Reply #137 on: April 06, 2013, 09:20:16 PM »

Started hamradio with an ft 817, great radio worked some 200+ countries only abt 100 confirmed tho. mostly SSB. over a year and a half.
only started with CW once i got the 817's big brother the 897, now i cant wait to get the KX3, ordered it a few days ago Smiley
QRP is great fun indeed.
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WB4TJH
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« Reply #138 on: June 12, 2013, 07:50:57 PM »

I just have a K2 but have several friends with the KX3 and they love them. The great thing about all the Elecraft radios is the uncanny selectivity of the receivers. With my K2 on CW, I have worked an S2 signal 500hz away from an S9+40db signal without any problems. That would have overloaded every other radio I have ever owned, except the K2. All the Elecraft radios have amazing receivers. Like the old adage, "You can't work  'em if you can't hear  'em".  If you can't hear them with an Elecraft, you likely won't hear them with any other radio.
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WX7G
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« Reply #139 on: June 13, 2013, 05:36:47 AM »


I just read the  RSGB report of the KX3 and the radio got a glowing review. However as expected the transmitter IMD on the higher bands was a lousy -22Dbc.  And as expected most stations will be feeding this radio into a CB amplifier or some other crummy splatter box...

http://kx3-se.deimert.se/Elecraft-KX3_review-QST-dec-2012.pdf

The ARRL review shows the KX3 3rd order IMD to be -30 dBC. This is the same as nearly every modern amateur HF transceiver.

What amplifier will hams be using with the KX3? From the eham.net reviews and other comments most who plan to use an amplifier are going to use the Elecraft KXPA100.

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N2RRA
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« Reply #140 on: July 09, 2013, 09:38:26 PM »

Finally got too play with a KX3 and it is impressive. Unfortunately do too an injury (owner of the KX3) on our last SOTA hike our time became limited and didn't get the chance to compare with another radio. I'm sure there wouldn't have been much of a contest, but would've been nice.

I've heard the transmitting audio from the KX3 and it is very very nice. Reciever is great and cool features. Nice too look at and I'm sure with more time would love it even more.

From a QRP feasible prospective I still like the size, and additional bands of my FT-817ND and its capabilities. Not saying that its any comparison to the KX3 because its in a class all by itself. I guess for my accommodating reasons the FT-817ND suits me better.

Many compare the receiver aspect to be superior and it is with all it's full features, but if you could hear a station 1 s-unit stronger on the KX3 than on the  FT-817 doesn't necessarily mean you're going to work that station any better. You can just hear him/her better. So even if the receivers better it all comes down too propagation. If the station is weak there's a 90% chance you're weaker running QRP. So does it really matter in a QRP portable situation if the KX3 hear's a bit better?

If it's HF that is your focus and don't mind not having 2m, or 70cm then the KX3 has the advantage other than some other obvious things.

The FT-817ND holds its own for being the smaller, truly all band/all mode get it done radio that's a bit more portable versatile. If you can hear them good chance you can work them. If you can't hear them then what difference does it make?

Will you have plenty fun with both? HELL YES! That's all that really matters!

73!
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KE7TMA
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« Reply #141 on: July 10, 2013, 12:58:29 AM »

Finally got too play with a KX3 and it is impressive. Unfortunately do too an injury (owner of the KX3) on our last SOTA hike our time became limited and didn't get the chance to compare with another radio. I'm sure there wouldn't have been much of a contest, but would've been nice.

I've heard the transmitting audio from the KX3 and it is very very nice. Reciever is great and cool features. Nice too look at and I'm sure with more time would love it even more.

From a QRP feasible prospective I still like the size, and additional bands of my FT-817ND and its capabilities. Not saying that its any comparison to the KX3 because its in a class all by itself. I guess for my accommodating reasons the FT-817ND suits me better.

Many compare the receiver aspect to be superior and it is with all it's full features, but if you could hear a station 1 s-unit stronger on the KX3 than on the  FT-817 doesn't necessarily mean you're going to work that station any better. You can just hear him/her better. So even if the receivers better it all comes down too propagation. If the station is weak there's a 90% chance you're weaker running QRP. So does it really matter in a QRP portable situation if the KX3 hear's a bit better?

If it's HF that is your focus and don't mind not having 2m, or 70cm then the KX3 has the advantage other than some other obvious things.

The FT-817ND holds its own for being the smaller, truly all band/all mode get it done radio that's a bit more portable versatile. If you can hear them good chance you can work them. If you can't hear them then what difference does it make?

Will you have plenty fun with both? HELL YES! That's all that really matters!

73!


I also have the FT-817ND and I bought a KX3.  Why?  The 817's internal battery sucks, it has no internal tuner, and the receiver is not that great.  Still it was in a class all its own until the KX3 showed up and it is still a pretty good runner up.  I don't think I could bear to part with it despite owning the KX3!
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AA4GA
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« Reply #142 on: July 10, 2013, 12:00:14 PM »

From a QRP feasible prospective I still like the size, and additional bands of my FT-817ND and its capabilities.
The FT817 is heavier than the KX3 by about 39% (with no batteries or options), and the KX3 is also smaller (or slightly larger - depending on how you measure) than the FT817, but the size difference is very small.  Add in an antenna tuner, and the KX3 is much smaller because it can use an internal tuner when the FT817 can't.

Quote
Many compare the receiver aspect to be superior and it is with all it's full features, but if you could hear a station 1 s-unit stronger on the KX3 than on the  FT-817 doesn't necessarily mean you're going to work that station any better. You can just hear him/her better.
The aspect of the KX3's RX performance over the FT817 has nothing to do with signal strength - both are pretty much limited by band noise.  The advantage that the KX3 has is in selectivity and dynamic range - the ability to reject loud signals nearby.  Depending on condx, that can be very important, even if you're running QRP.

For example:  I'm tuning the low end of 20m and sandwiched between two loud TX stations is a much weaker European station...the European isn't bothered by the Texans.  If the Texans aren't there, the European may be a piece of cake to work.  But the Texans are pretty close, and on the FT817, they obliterate the European station.  But, on the KX3, the European is perfectly copiable and QSO is possible when the FT817 wouldn't do the job.

That's more than hypothetical - I've had the exact scenario present itself when comparing the two rigs.

There's nothing wrong with the FT817 - I still haven't sold mine.  But the KX3 is better in all respects other than obviously missing 2m and 432MHz...which is a problem for some folks, but not for me.  BTW, the word is that the internal 2m converter is almost ready, which will make the only missing band 70cm.  I'll bet it's expensive though.

Also, IMO, the performance/$ ratio in the KX3 is better.  If I had neither and was shopping today, knowing I was going to buy one of those two rigs, the only reason I would buy the FT817 would be because I didn't have the extra couple hundred bucks to move up to an option-less KX3.  
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 12:03:44 PM by AA4GA » Logged

WX7G
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« Reply #143 on: July 11, 2013, 03:03:06 PM »

Bits and pieces of KX3 IMD data are being reported in this thread. Until the expanded report is released here is all the data published by the ARRL.

"Third-order intermodulation distortion (IMD) 3rd/5th/7th/9th order:
HF, 10 W PEP, –30/–40/–51/–55 dBc (worst case, 12 meters), typically better than –36/–42/–54/–60 dBc. 50 MHz, 8 W PEP, –32/–54/–52/–51 dBc."

Note that this is dBc. Add 6 dB for IMD relative to PEP and the 3rd order IMD is -36 dB (worst case, 12 meters) and typically better than -42 dB. Even on 12 meters this meets the standard for marine SSB, which is said by some to be the standard to aim for.

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WB2WIK
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« Reply #144 on: July 11, 2013, 06:08:45 PM »

Note the August QST/ARRL lab review of the new Ten Tec Argonaut is now on line for members.  I just read it today, and it fares very well against the KX3, although does not cover 60/12/6m at all.  So if those bands are of interest, forget it!

But for 160-80-40-30-20-17-15-10m, it did extremely well.

I've never used the new Argo, but have used the KX3.  To me, the KX3's performance is amazing, but it still has the feel of a toy and the user interface sucks.  By the time you plug everything into the "side" of the rig, the cables can drag the rig across a table.

The new Argo has normal front panel/rear panel I-O connections and isn't menu-dependent at all.  It's more of a "home station" type rig, and not so much a "portable" rig.  But its 2 kHz offset performance was only 4 dB down from the KX3, per the lab report, so either is really very good.

If it covered 12m, I'd buy it.  I don't know why they left that out, although the ARRL report states it had to do with lack of space for the extra band filtering.
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WX7G
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« Reply #145 on: July 12, 2013, 07:34:57 AM »

Bits and pieces of KX3 IMD data are being reported in this thread. Until the expanded report is released here is all the data published by the ARRL.

"Third-order intermodulation distortion (IMD) 3rd/5th/7th/9th order:
HF, 10 W PEP, –30/–40/–51/–55 dBc (worst case, 12 meters), typically better than –36/–42/–54/–60 dBc. 50 MHz, 8 W PEP, –32/–54/–52/–51 dBc."

Note that this is dBc. Add 6 dB for IMD relative to PEP and the 3rd order IMD is -36 dB (worst case, 12 meters) and typically better than -42 dB. Even on 12 meters this meets the standard for marine SSB, which is said by some to be the standard to aim for.


This table by AD4C summarizes the worst-case 3rd/5th order IMD reported by QST from 1995 to 2005. Note that IMD is reported relative to PEP. Out of 79 SSB transceivers, eight equal or exceed the 3rd order IMD of the KX3 when operating class AB with three more achieving this performance in class A.

http://www.ad4c.us/Tentec%20HF%20manuals_/Orion%20I/Radios%20specs%20comparison.pdf
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AA4GA
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« Reply #146 on: July 12, 2013, 08:42:14 AM »

To me, the KX3's performance is amazing, but it still has the feel of a toy and the user interface sucks.  By the time you plug everything into the "side" of the rig, the cables can drag the rig across a table.
What kind of cables are you using??  I can't imagine them dragging the rig across the table...it certainly doesn't feel toy-like to me.

Most of my cables end in angled connectors and, while different, it's not a problem at all for me.  As far as the rest of the user interface goes, I disagree strongly - the radio is very intuitive to operate, the knobs are all useful, and control parameters that you might want to adjust on the fly - the menus are for rarely-changed settings.  After nearly two years with an FT817, the KX3 interface is superb. 

I'm sure the little Ten-Tec is a good rig, but I haven't played with one yet.  The omission of 60m doesn't bother me at all, but I would miss 6 a little...12m not so much, but it is odd they couldn't figure out a way to squeeze it in.

The KX3 serves me well as my main rig at home, the form factor works really well as it sits next to my laptop or keyboard - super convenient for operating.
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WX7G
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« Reply #147 on: July 12, 2013, 01:23:39 PM »

"The feel of a toy and the interface sucks?" I find my KX3 to have the feel and interface that my K3 does and it's no toy.

For everything plugged into the left side I have a right angle plug adapter. Radio Shack stocks these.
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AD5X
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« Reply #148 on: July 13, 2013, 09:45:37 AM »

... I've never used the new Argo, but have used the KX3.  To me, the KX3's ...user interface sucks... 

Talk about a poor user interface, compare changing CW speed on the TT539 to the KX3.  I'm surprised TT made this as clumsy as they did for such an important QRP mode.  The TT also doesn't have any CW message memories (the KX3 has 6).  I use the KX3 primarily for portable operation.  The only cables I plug in are DC power (I prefer an external LiPo battery pack) and a key.  Hasn't been a problem for me.

I also don't understand the TT statement that they didn't put in the extra bands because of room for the additional hi-Q front-end parts needed.  The KX3 includes all HF ham bands plus 6 meters, and shortly will include 2-meters as well.  Plus the KX3 has an internal autotuner and an internal battery pack.  All in a smaller package than the TT. 

I did wait until I knew more about the TT before I ordered my KX3, as I have had two TT radios in the past that I really liked (an Argo 505 and an OmniVI).  But for the same price (or $100 less if you don't mind spending a few fun-filled hours bolting it together), it was hard to justify losing three bands (plus 2M optional), internal autotuner option, and an internal battery pack.  All in a smaller package.  The KX3 also has internal CW decoding, and RTTY & PSK encoding and decoding and a digital voice recorder - but I don't use those features.  I find the user interface very intuitive, though it might be because it is so similar to my K3.

But - The TT does look more like a conventional base-station transceiver.  And I/O cables come out the back.

Phil - AD5X 
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WX7G
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« Reply #149 on: July 19, 2013, 09:31:04 AM »

If the new Argonaut was built and sold by Alinco at $499 not a one would be sold. But put the TT name on it, price it at $995, and it will sell. 
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 09:33:10 AM by WX7G » Logged
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