eHam

eHam Forums => QRP => Topic started by: DAVER on February 22, 2017, 02:09:21 PM



Title: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: DAVER on February 22, 2017, 02:09:21 PM
So I love building kits and I want to transition to having a more portable set up. I really want to build a k2 as Ive allways wanted one since getting licensed. But... Then theres the kx2 and kx3. From what little time ive spent with either are great and both more than enough portable for my needs. Dont need a mountain topper for example.

So the dilmna do i build a k2 which would cost a crap ton for some older tech that loses its value instantly. Or get a kx2 or kx3? And then can just use an amp while at home. What are your guys thoughts? The k2 is just so expensive by time it gets the options! And then is not as portable. And then do i need a kx3? The kx2 does everything i need but does lack of roofing filters kill it for non ultraportable use?#

73


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: G4AON on February 23, 2017, 01:51:46 AM
I built a K2 back in about 2001, it was a great radio for CW, less useful on SSB. As you say, by the time you add the extras it's very expensive and old tech. For someone who loves to build kits and also wants a CW transceiver, it's a good kit to keep you busy for about 35 hours (basic 10W CW kit). I still have mine, but like my K1 it gathers dust...

My K2 spent a few years in Spain where I regularly operate on 30/20/15m with 10 Watts of CW and a ground plane. Recently a friend was replacing his KX3 with a KX2 for his hill walking use, I made an offer and bought his KX3. The KX3 is ideal for use from a holiday shack if you can use a mains power supply. The frequency stability is first class (there is an easy self calibration routine involving cooling it in a fridge, then warming it with a hot air blower), it is significantly more stable and accurate on frequency cal than a K2 will ever be. TX audio on SSB from the KX3 is superb.

There are a few areas where a KX3 isn't so good:

Without an additional heatsink they get quite hot, Elecraft added one eventually but the earlier ones benefit from a heatsink such as the Windcamp ones. I don't know if the new KX3 has an adequate heatsink or not.

On CW there are images of signals stronger than about 59+10 or +20, it and the KX2 are direct conversion receivers... The audio images are notched out by DSP, it is very effective at the image of your chosen sidetone frequency, but only about 45 dB down a few Hz away from that. Generally it's not an issue, but can cause you to call strong stations well off their real frequency!

The KX3 S-meter is calibrated with the pre-amp on... The pre-amp isn't generally needed so your S-meter will always read a bit low. There is no way to calibrate the S-meter in the current firmware.

The KX3 speaker is awful, why can a tiny speaker in a mobile phone sound so good, yet the one in a KX3 rattle so much? If you mostly operate SSB (or CW with earphones) it's not a problem - it doesn't resonate/rattle on SSB so much.

The KX3 internal battery holder is useless, opening the case to change batteries risks damage to the ribbon cable between the boards on each half of the case and the spring contacts aren't up to supplying much current, so you are limited to about 3W and then the battery level soon starts to bring on warnings of low battery Volts. So stick to external power.

While you can add a lot of extras to a KX3 via the accessory sockets on the side plate, they are via flimsy 2.5 and 3.5mm jack sockets, it gets quite messy when you connect a few cables.

Overall a KX3 is a nice radio to use on a bedside table, or a picnic table. It's quite novel to use in the shack too, but it's real use is /P with external power.

73 Dave


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on February 24, 2017, 05:13:19 AM
I built two K2's, with most of the options, including the 100 watt amp and antenna tuner in a separate case.
You should buy one just for the build, its a lot of fun to build.
Its likely the last big kit to really build, its not just sticking pre built boards together.
The DZ Sienna might be the other last big kit, much more money...

I would not say its a rig I would use in the shack a lot, all the Elecraft stuff has their annoying every button and knob does 3 (or more) things and large menu's.

The K2 makes a very nice portable rig, room inside for a big battery, nice built in tuner, built in speaker works fine.
Its ok as a home qrp rig, and the power goes up to 15 watts out I think.
Another thing about the K2 is since you built it, you can fix it if need be.

So, as a CW rig with just the built in antenna tuner, its quite good, SSB works well, but at 15 watts is not a lot of fun long term.

Get one just for the build.

 


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: K4JPN on February 24, 2017, 05:24:35 AM
 ;) I built my K2 in 2000 and in the next couple of years added the various accessories including the 100 W amp and tuner built in the separate case.  While I have yet to operate one of the new super duper rigs, the enjoyment of building the K2 and accessories are well worth it.  I am not a DXer, but will pick up a new country when I hear one on, mainly CW QRP and some of the digital modes, also the SKCC and NAQCC Sprints.  In other words a laid back operator, who is on 3 or 4 times a week.  So if you are into hard and heavy operating I would think a rig with all the latest capabilities is the way to go, but for regular operating the K2 is a great rig, and you have the fun of building it.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: KU3X on February 24, 2017, 05:51:03 AM
I have to agree with the comment about the KX3's internal battery. All it's good for is keeping the time on the internal clock. I use an external LiPo with both my KX3.

Building is always fun but hands down if I had to pick only one QRP radio, it would be a loaded KX3. The Elecraft 100 watts SS amp interfaces with the KX3 perfectly.
The amp"s operation is transparent to the radio. You could actually hide the amp under the table since the KX3 fully controls the amp. It's really a neat setup. I don't
have the amp but I do have both the KX2 and KX3. The KX3 became my QRP primary station radio and the KX2 is my out the door radio.

Get the KX3 in kit form since you like building. I'd call it a semi kit, some assembly required. Hi Hi

Barry
http://www.ku3x.net/portable-qrp/elecraft-kx3


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AA4PB on February 24, 2017, 06:59:03 AM
If you want a kit that's a real challenge to build, try the Juma TRX2. It's nearly all surface mount components that you have to install yourself. If you want the best performance, sort the actual measured capacitance values for the filter boards. It'll keep you busy for a few weeks and when you are done you'll have a nice 10W CW/SSB transceiver.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AK4YH on February 24, 2017, 10:55:22 AM
Today I would rather build a K1. Less expensive and a great radio. I have a KX2 but honestly, it might be just too much radio for me. I should have kept my K2 and never have bought a KX3 and KX2...

Gil.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: DAVER on February 24, 2017, 02:19:56 PM
A lot of good info there...

I thought about the juma kit but had a hard time finding info on it and the lack of rf knob bothered me. Or is there a function for it? I like knobs :(

Yes the K1 would actually allready be orderd f it came in the 4 band version still. Although when propogation is blasting its fun to work over the 1k miles per watt ssb! So wouldnt mind having it there even if not allways used. Although the bitxs provide plenty of sideband fun on there own :)

thats where the k2, kx2&3 come in. Let me research the juma a little more...



Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AA4PB on February 24, 2017, 03:11:08 PM
The Juma doesn't have an RF gain control but I've never experienced a case where I needed it, even on the 3 element Yagi. Once you have a Juma up and running correctly, be sure to upgrade the firmware to 5B4AIY's latest version for lots of extra features.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on February 24, 2017, 03:25:15 PM
I found the K1 agc in stock form very poor, liked the Sierra better in that respect.
I would go for the K2 over the K1 to get all the bands and a good display, and room for a good battery inside.
I just love how the K2 goes together, it has to be the peak of kit building.

I wonder why they dropped the 4 band option, or the KX1, what happened there?


Today I would rather build a K1. Less expensive and a great radio. I have a KX2 but honestly, it might be just too much radio for me. I should have kept my K2 and never have bought a KX3 and KX2...

Gil.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AC6AN on February 24, 2017, 03:41:02 PM
So the dilmna do i build a k2 which would cost a crap ton for some older tech that loses its value instantly. Or...
A few points regarding "old tech"... Go on youtube and look for Sierra vs K3. You'll be the judge.
Here is another one. Today I was trying Icom 703 on 40 meter voice. QRN, QSB and a very weak signal forced me to use the IF shift and aggressive DSP NR and it was not comfortable copy.
Pulled out the "old tech" K2. Armchair copy.
But that was no fluke.
First time I listened to CW on a K2 prototype I thought it was broken. Then out of nowhere a pure CW tone emerged.
Haven't had that experience with my TS-850 or IC756 pro II, both utilizing multiple DDS and cleanup filters. High tech?!
Remember that guy, what's his name. Something Einstein... "Everything should be made as simple as possible but no simpler" (I imagine it was with a heavy German accent...). Amen!
I'm not an Elecraft groupie but I appreciate the brilliant design trade-offs in the K2 for its target market: QRP main radio that is also small and portable. Nothing is perfect, the K2 comes close.
And then what other radio is still selling after 18 years in almost the same configuration? There is something to be deduced from product longevity and true customer loyalty.
K2 is a keeper in my book.




Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AK4YH on February 25, 2017, 01:44:39 AM
The K1 is still a good buy as a two-bander. I will be looking very hard at the Weber MTR4b from LNR Precision... I have the 3b and it is a great little radio. The 4b draws only 15mA on receive and has 80m!

Gil.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: WB0GAZ on February 25, 2017, 05:45:39 AM
The original poster asked a question about KX3 and roofing filters. My experience may provide some insight (from CW operator perspective):

I used my KX3 during field day a 2015 at a really large contest station (multiple towers, beams on 40M, phased array on 80M, and so on), here in rocky mountain area. Numerous really enormous signal levels, particularly on 20 and 40 meter bands! The station has otherwise won a number of large contests and is well regarded.

I experienced no problem at all due to lack of roofing filter (I didn't include one in my kit), and still don't have a roofing filter (I still have the KX3). However, I did run into a DSP firmware bug where the total attenuation (ultimate rejection) of the DSP filter with even-bandwidth (xx00 Hz) CW bandwidth settings was not adequate - you could hear (and in some cases see S-meter movement) on very strong signals well outside the intended CW passband. I raised this with Elecraft at the time, and by fall of 2015 they indicated they could reproduce the problem (I provided a procedure using benchtop RF test equipment which they duplicated in their facility), but they indicated at the time correcting the bug was not a priority vs other activities (I was disappointed), and after several back-and-forth with senior people there, I gave up pursuing the problem.

So, I'd go ahead and opt for the KX3 given the choices you enumerate (K2, KX2, KX3) - the KX3 provides IF out (the K2 and KX2 architectures don't enable this) as well as supports VHF operation, and I am (with exception of the DSP bug) very happy with my unit.

Dave


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: KB1GMX on February 25, 2017, 07:55:42 AM
Before you assume the K2 will loose a lot of value after being assembled look at what
they are going for used.  You might be surprised, they don't go cheap.  If you can get
near the radios in question and use it you may have other preferences for the choice.

Digital radios are interesting but like others have noted they can have bugs and
newer designs are tied to surface mount and other tech.

If you building a kit the K2 is a serious build for a very good radio.  If you just want to
assemble as in screws nuts and cables then KX2 or KX3.

If you only CW then the K1 or KX1 are choices too.


Allison


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N4OI on February 25, 2017, 08:09:13 AM
Agree with the K1 decision.  K2 would be nice, but it is over twice the price, even without options.  The K1 is an excellent CW-only QRP rig that I often use during the CWT mini-tests (with compromised attic dipole).  I suspect my power out is a bit north of 5W, so the difference compared to the K2 at the receive side of the QSOs is not significant much of the time.  And the K1 has been trouble-free since I built it over 10 years ago...

73   :o


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on February 26, 2017, 07:56:25 PM
I was looking at various video's of the various small and qrp rigs, and I remember how much fun the K2 was to build and use, I want to build another one.
Basic K2, antenna tuner, and maybe the ssb option just for fun.
Its really a slick package all the way around.



Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: KB4MNG on February 27, 2017, 06:44:32 AM
Buy the kx2 or kx3. I had a horrible experience with building a elecraft k1. I'm not new to this type of building. put it together and it would not work. The problem definitely did not fall into the bad solder joint-using lead free solder problem. It was a component failure. I had not choice to send it for repair. Even under warranty, it was not covered and I have more money in the thing than I want to admit.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on February 27, 2017, 08:12:53 AM
Gee, I have built a huge pile of their stuff with no issues at all!


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: G4AON on February 27, 2017, 08:42:15 AM
Gee, I have built a huge pile of their stuff with no issues at all!

Likewise, I've built a K2 with extra modules and upgraded the crystals in the CW and SSB filters, built a K1, assembled a K3, P3 and KPA500. No issues with any of it not working.

My K2 dates from 2001, the K1 from 2002 and the K3 from 2007, all still going strong.

73 Dave


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on February 27, 2017, 10:30:18 AM
The K2 is the most complex kit from Elecraft ever, and with all the accesories, its thousands of parts.
I have built two of them so far with almost all the add ons, along with a couple of K1's, and a Sierra, and never had one extra part, was never short a part, never had a bad part, and never had something not work.

Confession: I never even think about static protection, but never had an issue.
The first K2 I built, I put one turn too many on every toroid, the 1st pass through the core is a turn, who knew?
The radio worked just fine, before and after I removed a turn from EVERY toroid....

I tend to build VERY fast, but, I used to be a quality control inspector of circuit boards a long time ago and have been building all sorts of things since.
My eyesight is going, but I DO want to build one more K2 (and keep it) before they stop making them, and before I will not be able to build one, or its no longer fun to build one.

It has to be the slickest kit ever made, a joy to build and use, and a good buy at the price they sell for, if you like to build.

 


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: OZ8AGB on February 28, 2017, 04:08:58 AM
Got my license in 2014 and bought a K2 kit a few months after. Also built the SSB, RS-232, internal ATU and DSP kits for it.
My first U.S. QSO was with the K2 running 5W PSK 31 with a homebrew 20m vertical in a tree.
It was my main rig until January last year where I bought an FTdx3000. The K2 still lives and is now my /P rig.



Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on February 28, 2017, 11:25:13 AM
Don't you find it amazing how well it goes together and works for something that two guys developed?
I think the company was very small when they did the K2 which was the first Elecraft I think, after the Sierra.



Got my license in 2014 and bought a K2 kit a few months after. Also built the SSB, RS-232, internal ATU and DSP kits for it.
My first U.S. QSO was with the K2 running 5W PSK 31 with a homebrew 20m vertical in a tree.
It was my main rig until January last year where I bought an FTdx3000. The K2 still lives and is now my /P rig.




Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AC6AN on February 28, 2017, 11:44:56 AM
Don't you find it amazing how well it goes together and works for something that two guys developed?
I think the company was very small when they did the K2 which was the first Elecraft I think, after the Sierra.
The Sierra was pre-Elecraft. It started as a Norcal project but the development cycle was much longer than a typical club project and included field tests.
K2 is a much more complicated radio. Just the logistics of including provisions for all future options is daunting. Firmware is quite comprehensive and circuit refinements (high level first mixer, AGC in the LO circuit, etc) are beyond trivial.
Elecraft benefited from Wayne's reputation and had many field testers that bought the early radio. It wasn't an after thought of a product, even the prototype at Pacificon looked well thought out.
I'd say there is a little bit more to the success of the K2 than two guys in their garage...


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: 4X1KS on March 01, 2017, 03:48:57 AM
I still have my K2 sitting right in front of me.  A month ago I worked YB and VK.  Yesterday I worked a few stations with 1 watt.  The K2 is still a great radio.  I run mine off of a battery.  I recommend dusting it off and making some QSO's.  It helps to have a directional antenna with a little gain.

73

Mark 4x1ks


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: OZ8AGB on March 01, 2017, 05:22:47 AM
@N2DTS

Yes impressive work.
Fun to build.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AI8IA on March 01, 2017, 10:55:20 AM
Buy the kx2 or kx3. I had a horrible experience with building a elecraft k1. I'm not new to this type of building. put it together and it would not work. The problem definitely did not fall into the bad solder joint-using lead free solder problem. It was a component failure. I had not choice to send it for repair. Even under warranty, it was not covered and I have more money in the thing than I want to admit.

Had a similar issue with my K2. The main MPU was bad. I was really good about the static strap when I built it. They insisted I ruined it, and had to buy a new one.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N4OI on March 01, 2017, 03:39:53 PM
The elecraft dilemma:

So many incredible radios, so little time... (and money)

73  :o


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AK4YH on March 02, 2017, 10:19:28 AM
Quote
The K2 is the most complex kit from Elecraft ever, and with all the accesories, its thousands of parts.
I have built two of them so far with almost all the add ons, along with a couple of K1's, and a Sierra, and never had one extra part, was never short a part, never had a bad part, and never had something not work.

Same experience here, K2 with SSB and tuner, worked the second I first turned it on. Same with K1. Elecraft customer service is top notch, if needed...

Gil.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: KB2FCV on March 02, 2017, 06:07:41 PM
I built a K2 a number of years ago while I was living in an apartment with little access to antennas except for a long wire. I had it loaded with all the options - tuner, battery, ssb, audio filter, rs232 board, 160m. With everything it took 50+ hours to build and was a lot of fun to use.

To operate portable.. the K2 was kind of limiting. With the battery it was kind of clunky if you wanted to go hiking on foot to operate. When I changed apartments I eventually picked up a 746 as an everyday radio and the K2 then sat. Eventually I decided I wanted something smaller than the K2 that was much lighter and easy to take with me. It wasn't an easy decision but I decided to sell the K2 that I spent so many hours building.. and I bought a KX1 & all it's trimmings. I've taken this rig out far more than the K2.. so I am happy I built it.

The KX2 and KX3 are great rigs from what I've heard.. but I prefer through-hole soldering kits.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on March 02, 2017, 07:47:07 PM
Well, I ordered a KX2 so I can hold it in my lap and tune around while my wife watches TV.
Its an all mode radio, so I can tune around the bands and listen to anything.
The K1 and K2 need to sit on a table mostly, sdr's need a computer and laptops get hot when used.
I think I will get another K2 at some point, just to build it, and hold onto it and use it for a cw rig at home.
I bet they won't make the K2 much longer....its hard to think its been around as long as it has.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AE5X on March 04, 2017, 11:58:42 AM
Years from now when we look back at the K2, what Yaesu/Kenwood/Icom rig will it be compared to, ie its closest equivelant? I'm asking because I just looked at the price of a K2 outfitted in the same way that most other rigs - 100 watts, SSB and 160m capability - and the cost is around $1500.

In terms of the performance it offers and compared to other rigs with similar features/performance, is this a fair price? I never bought a K2 but "almost did" many times. Then the K3 came out and put an end to my K2 fever.

But there is something about a traditional all-band, all-mode kit and the K2 is (and will likely remain) the last of them.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on March 04, 2017, 07:04:57 PM
It is different NOW, but when the K2 came out, its performance was as good as anything out there (or very close) I think, and much better then many rigs.

Its a kit, and its a qrp radio more then a high end radio, its not a mass produced rig, and very few products have to support the people at Elecraft.

Today, the Icom 7300 is a much better buy, unless you like building your radio one part at a time, or you run off limited power, or packing the radio to the top of a mountain or something like that.
Even the KX2 is a better bargain I suppose, but the K2 is just so cool how it comes together.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: DAVER on March 11, 2017, 06:03:12 PM
So ended up getting a kx3. After weighting all the options it matched what i needed the most. Ill keep hammering away on my own homebrew stuff to keep the iron hot and after next deployment when i have a little more time will see if i can swing a k2 kit.

In saying that, the kx3 is incredible! Very much enjoying using it. Cw is great and ssb on it is really nice as well. Havnt bothered using any digital modes.

Now have a fun kit that fits in a photo strobe belt bag. And can easily travel with it. Love using it in the shack also! Keep it powerd from 4 lipo cells with two diode voltage reducer at full charge. Last several days from charge and moderate use!


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: G4AON on March 12, 2017, 12:52:55 AM
So ended up getting a kx3. After weighting all the options it matched what i needed the most. Ill keep hammering away on my own homebrew stuff to keep the iron hot and after next deployment when i have a little more time will see if i can swing a k2 kit.
I have both a KX3 and a K2, the latter built over many hours back in 2001. I personally wouldn't bother getting a K2, they were OK 16 years ago, but aren't a patch on the stability and filtering found in a KX3. My K2 was great initially, then relegated to holiday use in Spain. The K2 now gathers dust and the KX3 is the holiday rig of choice. Neither are used for day to day operation in my shack, it's either the K3 or more often my home brew separates. The KX3 wins for portability, but for both sheer performance and my user/builder satisfaction the home brew SSB/CW TX and RX twins beat the pants off everything else.

73 Dave
http://www.qsl.net/g4aon/


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on March 13, 2017, 05:18:52 AM
Yes, the K2 is a clunky rig today, but the build is really fun and the design is very impressive.
Its also got lots of room inside for a big battery even if you have the antenna tuner.
The KX2 is a much better radio at the same price, but its not a kit at all.
Once the K2 stops production, that will likely be it for good kits, its all software now....


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: ZENKI on March 15, 2017, 03:16:49 AM
Elecraft should produce  KX2 or KX3 with 25 watts of output that can run 18650 batteries.

Better still will be an all in box PX3 and KX3 with 25 watts  running on 18650  batteries that looks like a Tablet with 10 inch screen. This would include an inbuilt antenna tuner interface that can drive a remote antenna coupler on 100ft or less drive cable. This tuner could tune  balanced line or a short vertical. Another option would be to include a drive circuit for stepper motors that could drive a magnetic loop.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on March 15, 2017, 11:36:08 AM
You are not going to get a 25 watt KX2, or even a 15 watt version.
Not enough battery space, but even less heat sink area for the transistors.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AC6AN on March 15, 2017, 05:55:17 PM
I hear the 25W number from many SSB operators.
25W SSB would not be too bad, because the average RF out is much lower.
For CW in contest mode (50% TX with spaces between RF out) the average is about 1/4 of the peak output or around 6W. Even if the efficiency of the final amp is only 40%, that would mean around 9W power dissipation for the heat sinks, which is reasonable size especially with a small fan.
As for battery life, that would be an average power consumption below 20W and at 14.4V battery you'll need around 1.3A average. It's a similar requirement as a laptop and that makes it reasonably portable.
So... never say never...
 


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on March 16, 2017, 05:20:48 AM
Small fan???
Ever look at the KX2?
The heat sink is the side panel which is a flat piece about 2 inches by 2 inches.
It gets hot fast over 5 watts.

The KX3 overheats also, and a big ugly heat sink is sold to upgrade that.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: G4AON on March 17, 2017, 03:23:41 AM
The Chinese "Windcamp" finned heatsink for the KX3 isn't ugly and is about half the cost of the Elecraft add-on. They are available via eBay and are a good fit.

73 Dave


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on March 17, 2017, 05:03:40 AM
Well, I do not think it looks 'good' unless you are into heat sinks...
It also makes the radio bigger...


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AC6AN on March 17, 2017, 08:27:59 AM
Small fan???
Ever look at the KX2?
Doesn't matter. Look inside a typical laptop...
They clear 15+ watts off the tiny CPU with hardly any space.
They do run hot inside - no free lunch.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: ZENKI on March 18, 2017, 12:36:08 AM
Theres more than enough military HF manpacks that run 25 watts all day long on batteries. Why are so many hams  so closed minded to what technology is  available today?

All that hams have to do is go to their favorite power tool store and look at the battery packs that are available today. You can buy 54 to 100 volt  battery pack operated drills, 9 inch angle grinders, chainsaws and everything under the sun that consume a lot more power than a 25 watt transmitter.

Are hams that backward that they cant figure out that you can run a 25 watt radio from readily available batteries? I just dont get these  nonsensical arguments  about making a  miserable 25 watt HF ssb radio  that runs on a battery. I would like to see these same hams carry  and put up a 4dbd gain antenna up on top of hill. I dont need to do that with a 25 watt HF radio when combined with a decent dipole or wire.

These same hams who make stupid arguments against 25 watts carry a massive sports bag full of crap to operate a 10 watt radio  and then do something even more ridiculous like adding a 100 watt amplifier to this same kit. They carry this bag of junk around and call this portable/qrp operation? Cmon this logic is bizarre when I can achieve the same thing with small 25 watt backpack and get the message through just as effectively. This  Dick Tracy size watch radio  and a trunk full of junk  to run a dick tracy radio is getting ridiculous.  Companies are making a ton of money selling all the accessories and crap that goes with the radio but few are thinking about the practical effectiveness of what they are selling.

All the stupid arguments against a 25 watt transmitter   are really ridiculous.  The effectiveness of this power level on HF was researched and widely adopted by the military because at this power level it "produced effective and reliable communications"  They chose this power level because the message had to get through, they were not chasing awards or counties for pieces of paper on the wall.

A 25 watt HF radio with built Lithium battery packs  is the best solution for portable  radio operations.  I own several of these military HF manpacks including a Racal Syncal 2000 and they are fantastic portable radios. You cant buy one ham radio that is the equivalent of the Racal Syncal Today. Something that the FT817 or KX2 or KX3 could easily be. Its just hams who are closed minded to this high effective concept that the  military forces around the world have accepted as the most effective.



I hear the 25W number from many SSB operators.
25W SSB would not be too bad, because the average RF out is much lower.
For CW in contest mode (50% TX with spaces between RF out) the average is about 1/4 of the peak output or around 6W. Even if the efficiency of the final amp is only 40%, that would mean around 9W power dissipation for the heat sinks, which is reasonable size especially with a small fan.
As for battery life, that would be an average power consumption below 20W and at 14.4V battery you'll need around 1.3A average. It's a similar requirement as a laptop and that makes it reasonably portable.
So... never say never...
 


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: W7ASA on March 18, 2017, 07:08:37 PM
The 1.5 kilowatt "QRP Rig" from ZenkiTronix .

(https://ozhike.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/huge-backpack.jpg)


I've carried a lot of mil-manpacks and they are designed for combat, to be carried by young EXTREMELY strong soldiers with high endurance - not hams. A wire over a limb will give me a huge gain increase over the standard mil-whip on HF. Carry what you like and we will do the same. Plenty of HFpack people do that and love it.  The KX3 at 12 Watt would do nothing more if it were pushed to the  25 Watts Zenki obsesses about. The half an S-unit difference i/e,  3dB is not found to be zignificant to Elecrafts' market share. 

Gain Not Pain

de Ray



Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: DAVER on March 19, 2017, 11:14:38 AM
I like that bag! If using wire antenna the strobe stuff by think tank bag works and fits on your belt (or into pack).

Re running kx2 or 3 on 18650s. Thats what i do all the time. I use 4 in series wich is 16.8v. Then made a reducer using diodes that drops it down to the 15 max. When voltage get down under 13 just remove reducer and youre right back up. I got the stuff on amazon for a handfull of dallors. Included fuse and led indicator for good measure. Works great!

This is not unique several people run their portable ops like this. Allows full day use with no issues.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: VE7SGI on March 21, 2017, 10:14:19 PM
I built my K2 and I wouldn't have missed that experience for the world. It may sound romantic but there IS something special about building your own rig ! When you finish the first stage and get to power it up to test your build so far you get to see the display come alive - it's magic.
You will know this radio better than any other radio you will ever own and on top of that it's a great little performer. It's not going to put my Orion or Flex 5000 out of business in the contest role but it's very light and current efficient and outperforms virtually every other QRP portable. Do yourself a favour and build a K2 !


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: OZ8AGB on March 22, 2017, 07:11:42 AM
I built my K2 and I wouldn't have missed that experience for the world. It may sound romantic but there IS something special about building your own rig ! When you finish the first stage and get to power it up to test your build so far you get to see the display come alive - it's magic.
You will know this radio better than any other radio you will ever own and on top of that it's a great little performer. It's not going to put my Orion or Flex 5000 out of business in the contest role but it's very light and current efficient and outperforms virtually every other QRP portable. Do yourself a favour and build a K2 !

Indeed!  8)


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: KG4NEL on March 24, 2017, 04:57:00 PM
So ended up getting a kx3. After weighting all the options it matched what i needed the most. Ill keep hammering away on my own homebrew stuff to keep the iron hot and after next deployment when i have a little more time will see if i can swing a k2 kit.

In saying that, the kx3 is incredible! Very much enjoying using it. Cw is great and ssb on it is really nice as well. Havnt bothered using any digital modes.

Now have a fun kit that fits in a photo strobe belt bag. And can easily travel with it. Love using it in the shack also! Keep it powerd from 4 lipo cells with two diode voltage reducer at full charge. Last several days from charge and moderate use!

I just placed my order for a KX3 today :)

I love my Think Tank Urban Disguise, but my Canon has taken up permanent residence there.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: KG4NEL on March 24, 2017, 04:57:40 PM
I've carried a lot of mil-manpacks and they are designed for combat, to be carried by young EXTREMELY strong soldiers with high endurance - not hams.

Some of us see the inside of gyms ;)


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: W7ASA on March 25, 2017, 07:48:55 PM
Working out is great. Though I've never had to be airdropped into and fight my way out of Gold's, I was a gym rat for quite a while and miss it ( health reasons)


However , the question here is the research model and market share of military manpack  vs the market research for Elecraft products. Elecraft continues to do brilliant work servicing a market not generally well served by large, heavy HF radios with no dial. The less than 3dB gain increase of 25 Watts of some SSB manpacks, is more than offset by using the KX3/KX2 with a wire antenna rather than the 8 to 10 foot miitary whip. CW is the best "amplifier".

Form fits function.




73

Ray

Ps. On the other hand ; Paul - W0RW (?) is often /pm in CW with various manpacks
From Pikes Peak and other amazing venues! Ham radio is amazing.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: W9ZIM on March 31, 2017, 10:19:49 AM
Years from now when we look back at the K2, what Yaesu/Kenwood/Icom rig will it be compared to, ie its closest equivelant? I'm asking because I just looked at the price of a K2 outfitted in the same way that most other rigs - 100 watts, SSB and 160m capability - and the cost is around $1500.

This is the part I find both baffling and frustrating.  You would think that building it ourselves would make it cheaper than the pre-built competition, but if I'm going to spend $1500 on a radio, why not get a Yaesu that is already assembled, calibrated, and has every imaginable bell and whistle?

Well, I suppose I only have myself to blame.  I was one of the original purchasers of the K2 kit back when it actually was lower priced, and I had a great time building it.  Great looking radio, easy to operate, I could modify it myself.  I used it off and on for a few years and then got laid off from my job, money got tight, so I sold it.  At the time my wife said, "Are you sure?  This is a temporary situation, and I don't want you to regret it."  I should have listened to the wife, because over a decade later, I still regret it.  Now I'm looking at trying to bring the magic back, but that price tag is daunting.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: ZENKI on March 31, 2017, 04:35:20 PM
Try carrying a 80 through to 10 meters only "only 3db gain" antenna up a hill or try and fit it in your backpack. This only "3b" argument is a nonsense when you are talking about any communications circuit. Better SNR  results in more reliable communications its that simple and if technology   can deliver that  extra 3db why not. I suppose if your a purist you can argue that you 5 watt radio is just an excessive use of resources and you may as well climb up a tree  like a monkey and use a jungle drum and CW!

The other point is that a 25 output radio can  have its power turned down as well!

Its not the "manpack"  military gung ho  mentality  that is important its the packaging ideal. IE one convenient box. Hams here seem to think that this is some kind of prepper or  wannabe soldier boy thing. Its not about that, its about convenience, packaging, technology and  convenience. Do you want to hand crank you car like the old days? probably not but  hams are operating using equipment in such a backward fashion.

The EMCOMM bandwagon of  building 1 box emergency radio kits is  basically the same thinking. This technology can deliver this 1 box solution today. Military HF manpack radios operate from DC to 512mhz  with everything needed in  1 box. A IC703, FT817 could  achieve these goals without all the "military" BS nonsense.

Take a look at this new HF Manpack radio from Namibia, a  African country

http://www.sat.com.na/leopard.html

70 hours of operation, all bands all modes ALE

Now how can you argue with the above convenience and design brilliance? You can have this thing standing on the charger at the front door. Grab it with your jack and hat and be out the front door on 2 minutes flat. You can have this radio operating in less than 1 minute on any band and any mode. Anyone who says that this concept is not brilliant  and would argue that ham grab bag full of QRP junk is better is an idiot I am sorry to say.

I am never going to suggest that a 9ft whip on a manpack is going to beat a wire antenna. Its a lousy antenna period.  Its the HF manpack box and the wire that is the magic combination. Do hams really think that the military forces most use and communicate with the radio strapped to their back with a whip?  This is the least used way of using a HF radio. Most of these manpack radios have base cradles and mobile cradles with 400 watt amplifiers that are used with center fed or end fed long wires just like hams. Just like QRP hams figured out that the best antenna was a bit of wire the military discovered 50 years ago that a wire antenna was  the best antenna. The military understands the laws of physics better than most hams who think that they can turn 5 watts into 25 watts and also turn  a Ebay packet antenna into  a 3db beam.

Now will due respect to hams who come up will all sorts of stupid and nonsensical ideas of what  technology can deliver today, hams dont get it and portable QRP operators dont get it yet. Hams can sometimes be very ignorant people for what is supposed to be a technical hobby. Our ignorance can be so backwards to the point that we are just becoming  poorly educated consumers and the same old companies sell the same old crap to these ignorant consumers. Hams need to get out into the real world a bit more and explore what technology is delivering today.

There are many ways to skin the cat, hams  and QRP radios have been skinning the cat the wrong way. Maybe one day they will enjoy the convenience of a real HF manpack radio to understand what this nirvana is all about. But  hey its free world they can continue to drink the cool aid and snort the drugs from the ham radio manufacturing lobby that sells the same old worn out thinking and  crap every year. Maybe  one day they will get it, and think why cant i they buy 1  portable radio that has 25 watts of output  on all bands through to 500mhz including digital modes in box including batteries that allows them to operate for 48 hours? This must be evil thinking. OMG!


quote author=W7ASA link=topic=113707.msg988004#msg988004 date=1490496535]
Working out is great. Though I've never had to be airdropped into and fight my way out of Gold's, I was a gym rat for quite a while and miss it ( health reasons)


However , the question here is the research model and market share of military manpack  vs the market research for Elecraft products. Elecraft continues to do brilliant work servicing a market not generally well served by large, heavy HF radios with no dial. The less than 3dB gain increase of 25 Watts of some SSB manpacks, is more than offset by using the KX3/KX2 with a wire antenna rather than the 8 to 10 foot miitary whip. CW is the best "amplifier".

Form fits function.




73

Ray

Ps. On the other hand ; Paul - W0RW (?) is often /pm in CW with various manpacks
From Pikes Peak and other amazing venues! Ham radio is amazing.
[/quote]


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: N2DTS on March 31, 2017, 04:56:09 PM
So what does that radio sell for, $25,000.00?
I doubt its $700.00 like an Elecraft.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: W9ZIM on April 01, 2017, 05:11:36 PM
Now will due respect to hams who come up will all sorts of stupid and nonsensical ideas of what technology can deliver today, hams dont get it and portable QRP operators dont get it yet.
Do you really think today's hams use what they use because they are ignorant of the wonders of modern technology?


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: W7ASA on April 01, 2017, 07:48:56 PM
In THIS link, the Radio Firm of Zenki & Zenki are finalizing their their new QRP-Magnum (The MOST POWERFUL QRP rig in the wooooooorld!)

https://youtu.be/mjCRUvX2D0E (https://youtu.be/mjCRUvX2D0E)

Elecraft is DOOMED!

and it comes in this convenient SOTA / Invasion of Afghanistan configuration (EZ if you're a Special Operations soldier.)

(https://protonex.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/MARINE-CORPS-300x198.jpg)

It's a little heavier than the KX-2, but you'll NEED all that lead shielding because of the plutonium power pack.

With customer support found ONLY only in Namibia.

Poor Elecraft, Zenki-Tronics has cut them out of the market.

Built it - built it, build it!  Zenki - Elecraft must be closing shop now, for fear that you will.




'I cannot violate the laws of physics, Cap'n! ' (but Zenki can.)


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AF6WL on April 02, 2017, 12:57:05 AM
In THIS link, the Radio Firm of Zenki & Zenki are finalizing their their new QRP-Magnum (The MOST POWERFUL QRP rig in the wooooooorld!)

'I cannot violate the laws of physics, Cap'n! ' (but Zenki can.)

Sorry but this seems like an outdated viewpoint whereas  Zenki's arguments apear valid based on today's technology.

100 watt-hours of battery can be done in 2lbs these days.
Elecraft have finally broken the fear of Lithium batteries ( fires , litegation etc. ) by going to a established OEM source for the KX2 pack.

No one questions the validity of running 100 Watts mobile into a -10dBi system; whats so offensive about running 25W portable into a less than perfect rapid deployment antenna.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: W7ASA on April 02, 2017, 07:05:06 AM
The first point is that if the market is there , then build it. Military modeling for HF manpack used in combat has little to do with recreational ham , especially where Morse/CW is concerned. Batteries are lighter , for which I am grateful. However, larger battery systems require more charging capacity.

Point two :Anyone can market anything ( legal ) so if this is seen as an unserviced market niche merly front the funds and go into business. That seems a reasonable solution.

Finally: Zenki has his feelings but in every and all debates on this topic - for years - he shuns  the simple math of gain , drain and what difference it may or may not have on intelligibility on the far end of the radio link. In short: math matters, dB vs Size, Weight and Power are design points and define what is going to Service a particular need.

This is a QRP forum. I don't rail against contests in the contest forum or preach QRP in the QRO forum. I love mil manpacks and was an HFPack fan for any years. That's great.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: W7ASA on April 02, 2017, 08:29:32 AM
Remember too, that this is the QRP forum. Some flexibility is normal and welcomed. However, we don't go to the QRO forums and preach QRP, nor do we encourage anti-contest postings in the contest forum. Remember too - Zenki has been treated very respectfully in the past years as he makes the same blanket statements - repeatedly , but that never seems to matter to him , so a little ARGUMENTUN AB ABSURDIUM is used from time to time.



Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: KG4NEL on April 03, 2017, 05:21:07 PM
Now will due respect to hams who come up will all sorts of stupid and nonsensical ideas of what technology can deliver today, hams dont get it and portable QRP operators dont get it yet.
Do you really think today's hams use what they use because they are ignorant of the wonders of modern technology?

There are so many points that could be taken apart there, I won't even try.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: AC6AN on April 05, 2017, 05:18:25 PM
Quote from: ZENKI
hams dont get it and portable QRP operators dont get it yet. Hams can sometimes be very ignorant people for what is supposed to be a technical hobby
The keyword is "hobby". The rules are set for different reasons than best technology available. Perhaps they are set for developing better skills, arbitrary as these may be.
Your argument translated to golf (hobby) is that robots can shoot balls better than humans and GPS-guided balls can hit the target hole at 100%. Yes, but that's not the goal of that hobby.
QRPers turn down power to miliwatts just for the challenge. To some, making a QSO is not the goal, making it at a certain power is!
Just like for some contesters running a contest without 1500 watts is a waste of time. Their goal is max score at any cost, obviously a different aspect of the hobby.
We each find a niche in the hobby that pleases up and we pursue that. If you like 100 watt portables, then go for it. It's just as valid as running QRP levels or hitting balls with a club.
Just don't insist that everybody should enjoy what brings you pleasure. Some people just don't like golf... Live and let live... ;D



Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: WB4TJH on April 09, 2017, 11:41:41 AM
My K2 is a 300 serial number, one of the very first from 1999. It has been totally updated and is still perking along like new. This is the longest I have ever kept an HF transceiver. Build it yourself and you can take pride in it. My K2's receiver is still the most selective I have ever owned, and I have owned dozens of HF radios over the past 46 years as a ham.


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: W3WN on May 10, 2017, 08:24:32 AM
Regarding the question of why the KX1 was discontinued, I found this information posted online...

#61148 Feb 10 10:09 PM

For those of you that may have missed it...
The KX1 has been discontinued by Elecraft. This is reported to be due to the fab house that was making the cases being out of business, and other houses would have charged too much in small quantities to make it economically feasible to continue production. Options and parts are still available from Elecraft.
73,
Bruce N1RX


Title: RE: The elecraft dilemna...
Post by: W7ASA on May 11, 2017, 07:28:53 AM
No case - that's a shame, because I threw my case away and built my (former) KX-1 into a watertight, more field usable case.

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.qrz.com/a/w7asa/KX1_Mk5.jpg)

Personally, I'd buy a KX-1 without case any day, if the price was right. The KX-1 is an excellent QRP rig, and a fair general coverage receiver.

73 de Ray  ..._  ._