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Author Topic: FT-817ND vs KX3  (Read 42587 times)
N3AEG
Member

Posts: 37




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2013, 03:22:39 PM »

That's for all of the advice and feedback.  I've decided to go with the KX3 unless I can find a good deal on a used 817 this weekend at a local hamfest.  If not, I'll order the KX3 and Alexloop on Monday.

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KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




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« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2013, 03:43:09 PM »

I went ahead and ordered a KX3 today as well.  I needed a unit that would be able to serve me in both field and base use, and it's hard to argue against the quality of this Elecraft.  I'm excited for the kit to arrive so I can put it together!
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KE7TMA
Member

Posts: 459




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« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2013, 03:49:44 PM »

I own both of these radios, and the KX3 is much better all around.  It does 10+ watts on DC power, 5 on batteries.  It has better filters, a quieter receiver, and built in digital modes with the CW paddles.  It also decodes CW in case the other guy is too fast.  Also, I like to hook it up to my iPad running iSDR as a panadapter.  This is a really cool way to operate and it allows you to get a much better picture of the band's conditions, as well as seeing other stations in operation off your tuned frequency.

The 817 is a decent little rig, but it is blown away in every important area compared with the KX3.  Operating with a compromised antenna and 3w of power, I can reliably have QSOs with stations hundreds and thousands of miles away on CW.

If you really need the 2m / 70cm operation in the same box obviously the 817 is a better choice.  However I'd rather use an HT as well as base station.

10w is plenty of power to start out with, and if you need more you're going to need an amp with either rig.  The main difference is that the KX3's receiver is on par with any transceiver made, at any price, and the 817 can be ranked as moderately good at best.
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K5TED
Member

Posts: 690




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« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2013, 04:49:43 PM »

The OP's QTH actually offers a couple of good antenna options. For one, there is a 4 story downspout. Is it plastic or aluminum?

The balcony is a bit cramped for good magloop performance, with walls on 3 sides, but the eave is close and the structure has a broad roof just right for slinging a weighted length of magnet wire backwards from the balcony eave, over the top if possible, then tuning with an appropriate coupler or tuner. It would likely never be noticed.

Use a balun to feed it, if end-fed. The holy grail in this setup would be if the downspout is metal, and could be used as a counterpoise to 30' to 40' length of magnet wire slung over the rooftop.

I disagree that "10w is plenty of power" for this particular situation, but the good thing about ham radio is that you can ask for advice, then evaluate it, and if you make a mistake, all is not lost. It's just a hobby. You can try many alternatives til you hit one that works.

If you look around my QRZ or homepage you'll see QRP is not foreign to me. Just stating my experience with working low power from a compromised location (see the 4NEC model of my "over the top" wire at the bottom of the QRZ page).

The FT-817ND would truly be a poor choice for a fixed station in this QTH (I own one), and the KX3 will likely not be much better on HF unless some really creative antenna deployment is used.





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K5TED
Member

Posts: 690




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« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2013, 04:54:05 PM »

Helium balloon + Wire + Late at night = Good Signals and no nosy neighbors

Be careful with that!!! (static buildup)
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GILGSN
Member

Posts: 199




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« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2013, 12:17:20 AM »

Hello,

First, you won't need the roofing filter. The existing filters on the KX3 are excellent and can go down to 50Hz! Only hard-core contesters need roofing filters. I use a $1.50 microphone with my KX3, works like a charm (I got two for $3, shipped). The "kit" version (I can't bring myself to call it a kit) is just bolting things together, no big deal and you save $100.

As many have mentioned, as far as performance, the KX3 wins hands down. You also get 12W with an external battery... On CW it doesn't really matter, but it can help with SSB.

Now, deppending on how you will use your radio, if you plan on operating away from a power supply, the KX3 uses 150mA of current on receive, VS. 450mA for the FT-817ND, which means that the KX3 will run three times longer on the same battery! That is a big difference.

The KX3 internal battery charger isn't that great and you might want to skip it. It's just an unbalanced time-set charger. Better use alkalines or/and a small external battery. A Lipo 3S pack is light and small and since the KX3 seeps current, you won't need to buy a big one.

I also hesitated between the two, but since I like camping for a week at a time, the lower current draw of the KX3 made the difference for me. The KX3 also has a giant screen and that is a big plus. The firmware is still evolving and udating it is easier than stealing ice cream from a baby. The Elecraft ATUs will tune a wet noodle. I once accidentally tuned a 25' length of coax with nothing plugged on the other end! And that was with the less capable K1 ATU...

2m/70cm is nice, but I like using an HT, wich allows me to listen to both at the same time. I do hope the KX3 2m module is released soon though, just to try 2m CW..

The only extra I'll suggest you buy for a KX3 is a Pelican 1200 case, because it is far from waterproof! Otherwise I am glad I got it instead of the Yaesu. I love Yaesu radios, but the KX3 is simply better.

Gil.
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WX7G
Member

Posts: 5916




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« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2013, 07:35:26 AM »

I would skip trying to run the KX3 with internal alkaline cells. They go flat after a very short time and are essentially useless unless all you want to do it receive.

On Field Day I ran my KX3 at 5 watts with the internal 1200 mA-hr NiMH cells. It ran 4 hours per charge in heavy contesting mode. Had I used 2800 mA-hr NiMH cells it would have gone 9-10 hours per charge.
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N1DVJ
Member

Posts: 382




Ignore
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2013, 08:25:30 AM »

For radios and cameras where I can use an AA cell, I personally use the Lithium X4 cells  Under $5 at Walmart for 4 of them.  They also have an X8 for about twice the price.  The reason I use the X4s is that if you forget or bump the thing on, it's cheaper to have the X4s go dead.

But if weight or physical pack space is an issue, then the X8 cells might be a better choice.

Be aware that alkaline AA cells have a high internal resistance that really limits how my current (and power) you can get out of them.  But AA cells have a big advantage.   You can get them almost anywhere.  Hiking a trail in the woods?  If you can find a trailhead store, you can almost certainly find AA cells.  If I wanted to make up a 'pack' that would give me more power, I would use "C" cells.  "D" cells would last longer, but you may want it to be light.  A 'strip' of 2xC cell holders on a strap might give you a decent time operating.
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KJ4FUU
Member

Posts: 162




Ignore
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2013, 10:46:41 AM »

I have a Yaesu FT817ND. I would recommend the KX3, not because I don't like the 817, but because the KX3 is a few years more up-to-date than the 817.

Additionally, if I recall correctly, the KX3 draws a lot less current on receive than the 817, so you'll get more battery life.

The 817 has a lot of the settings buried in menus. As many buttons and knobs as the KX3 has, I think it's still simpler to operate.

-- Tom

P.S. I just recently bought a new radio: The Ten-Tec Argonaut VI, which, while it doesn't cover 6, 12, or 60 meters, and no AM without an optional filter, I think is simpler to operate than the KX3 for what I do, and I've been happy with it.
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W4KYR
Member

Posts: 461




Ignore
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2013, 04:34:05 AM »



I am interested in the KX3, but I also want the Vertex VX-1210. Can't have both...
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Still using Windows XP Pro.
AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2232




Ignore
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2013, 01:04:32 PM »

Helium balloon + Wire + Late at night = Good Signals and no nosy neighbors

Be careful with that!!! (static buildup)

And with high tension wires! Roll Eyes
This a plan best done on the beach........
Logged
KE7TMA
Member

Posts: 459




Ignore
« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2013, 11:56:10 AM »

Hello,

First, you won't need the roofing filter. The existing filters on the KX3 are excellent and can go down to 50Hz! Only hard-core contesters need roofing filters. I use a $1.50 microphone with my KX3, works like a charm (I got two for $3, shipped). The "kit" version (I can't bring myself to call it a kit) is just bolting things together, no big deal and you save $100.

As many have mentioned, as far as performance, the KX3 wins hands down. You also get 12W with an external battery... On CW it doesn't really matter, but it can help with SSB.

Now, deppending on how you will use your radio, if you plan on operating away from a power supply, the KX3 uses 150mA of current on receive, VS. 450mA for the FT-817ND, which means that the KX3 will run three times longer on the same battery! That is a big difference.

The KX3 internal battery charger isn't that great and you might want to skip it. It's just an unbalanced time-set charger. Better use alkalines or/and a small external battery. A Lipo 3S pack is light and small and since the KX3 seeps current, you won't need to buy a big one.

I also hesitated between the two, but since I like camping for a week at a time, the lower current draw of the KX3 made the difference for me. The KX3 also has a giant screen and that is a big plus. The firmware is still evolving and udating it is easier than stealing ice cream from a baby. The Elecraft ATUs will tune a wet noodle. I once accidentally tuned a 25' length of coax with nothing plugged on the other end! And that was with the less capable K1 ATU...

2m/70cm is nice, but I like using an HT, wich allows me to listen to both at the same time. I do hope the KX3 2m module is released soon though, just to try 2m CW..

The only extra I'll suggest you buy for a KX3 is a Pelican 1200 case, because it is far from waterproof! Otherwise I am glad I got it instead of the Yaesu. I love Yaesu radios, but the KX3 is simply better.

Gil.

I am not a "hard core contester" and I noticed a large improvement when I installed the roofing filter in my KX3.  If you live anywhere near broadcast antennas, plasma TVs, radar installations, and so on, the roofing filter is a great aid.
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KE7TMA
Member

Posts: 459




Ignore
« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2013, 11:57:36 AM »



I am interested in the KX3, but I also want the Vertex VX-1210. Can't have both...

Lots of people have both a hatchback and a big pickup truck, same deal here.
Logged
SWL377
Member

Posts: 108


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2013, 04:24:43 PM »

I've had a lot of fun with a used FT 817 (not FT 817ND)  that cost me $400 and a PAR end fed dipole for 10 20 40M. It's not as good as a KX 3 but it is "good enough" and provides handy VHF and UHF coverage on road trips. The earlier 817 (non ND) goes for quite a bit less than the ND models and I've had zero problems with mine. I used the 817 for 2M SSB parachute mobile contacts during the 2010 VHF QSO Party. Cant do that with a KX3 without spending a lot for an extra module.  http://forums.qrz.com/archive/index.php/t-251093.html

AF6IM
www.parachutemobile.com

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W9LSL
Member

Posts: 5




Ignore
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2013, 06:11:33 AM »

I'm enjoying the heck out of my KX3, but I still wouldn't mind having an 817 as a second portable rig.  817s are a modern day classic.
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