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Author Topic: I built an Elecraft K2!  (Read 10176 times)
GILGSN
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Posts: 208




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« on: August 30, 2012, 12:03:04 PM »

Hello,

Here it is: http://radiopreppers.com/index.php/topic,120.0.html

Have a great day :-)

Gil.
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KC9QQ
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Posts: 45




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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 04:55:54 PM »

Congratulations on the K2.  It is a fantastic radio.  I built my K2 about 3 years ago and i was enjoying it so much on CW QRP that I did not add the KSB2 until last month.  I have been amazed at the number of SSB QSOs I have been able to make running such low power. 

My K2 has a very hot receiver so you must have some sort of simple construction issue (hopefully it will be simple to find).  Actually, I found a  solder joint issue in my K2 when I installed the KSB2.  The problem had not shown in the 3 years I had  been using the radio before I installed the KSB2.

Good luck finding your problem.  You'll really enjoy operating the K2 once you get it operating a peak performance.  Be sure to post on the Elecraft reflector if you need help trouble shooting the problem.

http://elecraft.365791.n2.nabble.com/

You'll get quick and accurate help.

Fred, KC9QQ
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N2RRA
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Posts: 645


WWW

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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2012, 05:53:57 PM »

Congratulations on the K2.  It is a fantastic radio.  I built my K2 about 3 years ago and i was enjoying it so much on CW QRP that I did not add the KSB2 until last month.  I have been amazed at the number of SSB QSOs I have been able to make running such low power. 

My K2 has a very hot receiver so you must have some sort of simple construction issue (hopefully it will be simple to find).  Actually, I found a  solder joint issue in my K2 when I installed the KSB2.  The problem had not shown in the 3 years I had  been using the radio before I installed the KSB2.

Good luck finding your problem.  You'll really enjoy operating the K2 once you get it operating a peak performance.  Be sure to post on the Elecraft reflector if you need help trouble shooting the problem.

http://elecraft.365791.n2.nabble.com/

You'll get quick and accurate help.

Fred, KC9QQ

After building these rigs do you need test equipment to align the receiver end and transiting end?

Think I'm gonna pull the trigger on one, but so much money for a limited in feature radio in comparison to others.

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GILGSN
Member

Posts: 208




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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2012, 09:39:37 PM »

Quote
After building these rigs do you need test equipment to align the receiver end and transiting end? Think I'm gonna pull the trigger on one, but so much money for a limited in feature radio in comparison to others.

Hello,

You don't need test equipment, but it helps... I built and tuned mine with nothing else than a good digital multimeter. Though you could do without one. The K2 has a built-in voltmeter and frequency counter, which you can use for tuning. You can adjust your frequency display listening to WWV on 10MHz or W1AW on 7,047.5 and 14,047.5. To anyone building one, if you can afford it, I would suggest getting the XG2 signal generator for $80 from Elecraft. If I had lots of money, I would get a calibrated frequency counter and the XG3...

Gil.
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ZENKI
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Posts: 989




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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2012, 05:49:48 PM »

Congratulations! WOW a real ham that can build something as simple as a K2 without saying his eyes have gone. You Sir need a medal.

Seriously you will have a lot of fun with your K2, its a great all round radio with a superb receiver.


Hello,

Here it is: http://radiopreppers.com/index.php/topic,120.0.html

Have a great day :-)

Gil.
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GILGSN
Member

Posts: 208




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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 11:36:26 PM »

Well, it turns out that the lack of sensitivity was more of an antenna problem than anything else. I tried a 20m perfectly tuned dipole and now the K2 with preamp-on hears as well as my K1. I had also used the K1 with the ATU turned on, and didn't spend much time comparing it after turning it off. The ATU makes a noticeable difference in receive. I tuned around until I found a barely audible CW signal and switched antennas. I could hear it on both transceivers! What threw me off also is that the K1 has actually better audio "oomph" than the K2, so the signal sounded more powerful, or fuller. Now I need to get the K2 ATU. I probably won't get the SSB board until I get better at copying Morse code. Too easy to slack off then...

Gil.
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KC9QQ
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Posts: 45




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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2012, 05:16:34 AM »

After building these rigs do you need test equipment to align the receiver end and transiting end?

Think I'm gonna pull the trigger on one, but so much money for a limited in feature radio in comparison to others.

I was able to build and align my K2 using just the internal volt meter and frequency counter.  You can calibrate the dial to within 100 hz using WWV and your ear. 

The one thing that I would add is that to align the filters it is very helpful to use a free software package called Spectrogram.  The details or show on the following website:  http://www.w3fpr.com/index.htm.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to the section on Filter alignment.

Fred, KC9QQ
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VE3WMB
Member

Posts: 290




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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 07:34:58 AM »

After building these rigs do you need test equipment to align the receiver end and transiting end?

Think I'm gonna pull the trigger on one, but so much money for a limited in feature radio in comparison to others.

If you consider the performance of the K2 I think it is still quite a reasonable price !

Keep in mind that the 10+ year old $739 K2 design will still blow away the majority of
commercially assembled HF rigs out there w.r.t receive performance. To get better
receive performance than the K2 you would need an Elecraft KX3, K3 or high end "TenYaeComWood"
rig. The K2 outperforms some rigs that cost nearly 10 times as much.

There are lots of rigs out there with many knobs and bells and whistles ... it is a question of what you want to spend your money on.

For me, operating my newly built K2 in the CQ WW CW contest in 2010 as 14Mhz Single Band QRP for 20 hours  and placing 1st in NA and 11th in the World, convinced me that this little rig is truly "World Class". Needless to say, the 20m band during CQ WW is not a QRP-friendly place !

Michael VE3WMB

« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 07:36:56 AM by VE3WMB » Logged
W7ASA
Member

Posts: 268




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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 08:21:29 AM »

" ...the 20m band during CQ WW is not a QRP-friendly place ! "    Grin   Grin   Grin


I'll saaaaay!  If you can be victorious THERE you can make skeds ANYWHERE!  ha ha


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._
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AD9DX
Member

Posts: 1519




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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2012, 01:58:03 PM »

" ...the 20m band during CQ WW is not a QRP-friendly place ! "    Grin   Grin   Grin


I'll saaaaay!  If you can be victorious THERE you can make skeds ANYWHERE!  ha ha


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

20m is becoming an unfriendly band in general.   
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
W9GB
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Posts: 2659




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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2012, 02:09:23 PM »

Gil --

Congratulations on your build.  The secret sauce is:  You can even REPAIR IT !!
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WB8YYY
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Posts: 159


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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2012, 09:41:49 AM »

Glad all is well with your K2.  Because the receiver is aiming for high dynamic range it works much better with a reasonably matched antenna as you found. 

One comment to the reviewer on cost.  Yes - when adding up the full price to compare it to say a TS-590 or an FT-950, one may not choose a K2.  Most of us choose a K2 for (1) the adventure of building (2) its very low power consumption on receive. 

Yes I highly recommend the Spectrogram alignment.  It makes a huge difference.  It is not quite as sharp as DSP, but operates similarly and sounds better.  If you align your rig so that all 4 CW filter settings are on the same frequency it works wonderfully!  For mine I have 700, 400, 250 and 150 Hz settings for CW (note that later when you add SSB, it has has digital mode settings that can be selected for RTTY (I use the CW settings) and PSK31 (I just have one wide setting same as SSB). 

Honestly I think that the SSB board is a good option as the rig works great on digital modes.  If you have interest in 160m that is a nice add-on.  I don't consider the audio DSP to be a great enhancement (nor the audio filter as a much cheaper NESCAF does the same thing).  As for ATU -- first determine if the PA is ever in your future - because then you would need the 100 watt ATU.  (Also the serial interface to communicate frequency/mode to the PC is included with 100 watt PA, otherwise its a separate add-on for QRP version. 

Enjoy your rig.  73 Curt
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GILGSN
Member

Posts: 208




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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2012, 10:14:15 AM »

Thank you Curt. I yet have to do the spectrogram alignment. I'll need to find it first, because it doesn't seem to be available for download anymore from the company. They have a more expensive new version now it seems. Or maybe I am not looking in the right place.

I am building the ATU now, started last night.. No 100W for me.. I will get the SSB board and internal battery option. Not sure about the audio filter..

The only thing that bothers me with the filters is the attenuation they create. I better have a good signal if I want to use them...

Have a great day,

Gil.
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NI0C
Member

Posts: 2437




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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2012, 02:36:02 PM »

Gil,

You might consider using the alternative K2 BFO alignment procedure that I developed when I built my K2 a few years ago.  I described it on the Elecraft Reflector on Jan. 21, 2007:
http://www.mail-archive.com/elecraft@mailman.qth.net/msg30127.html

73,
Chuck  NI0C


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GILGSN
Member

Posts: 208




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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2012, 04:45:45 PM »

Thanks Chuck, I'll check that out..

Gil.
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