Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 ... 11 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Is the KX3 all it's cracked up to be or fake?  (Read 92988 times)
N2RRA
Member

Posts: 645


WWW

Ignore
« on: October 27, 2012, 04:39:38 PM »

I know this is gonna raise a huge debate about weither what I viewed was a misconception and the operator didn't play with the programming and such. That's gonna come from guys who will tell you there's absolutely nothing better out there than Elecraft equipment. That's the hard core Elecraft cult users!

I watched a video on YouTube of a KX3 and FT-817ND comparison. The differences believe it ,or not much different by any large margin and sometimes the FT-817ND even seemed better in receiveing SSB signals even quiet'er than the KX3. In CW the KX3 had a slight advantage but again not by a large margin, but still better. That's not only coming from me ,but the owner and operator making the comparison test. I don't wanna hear anyone say either it looks better on service equipment. When you plug the antenna in that's the real test!!

So the question is.....

How can such a modern radios receiver not shine in leaps and bounds over such an older receiver.?

I do know that there are other features I have no doubt the KX3 will out shine an FT817ND such as noise blanker and side rejection of near by signals. Sensitivity all though is usually the first thing we look at when buying a transceiver and according to B.S. Sherwood Engineering data on their site those numbers just ain't jiving if a newer radio can't out shine an older one. In my experience I never fully believed in Sherwood's data sheet and yes on a service monitor equipment looks better maybe showing true values but I go by real world data.

Next question....

Does anyone own and can compare both FT-817ND and KX3?

Lets stay basic with comparison in a regular operating condition. Not in a contest environment! I think it's safe to say the KX3 will win in a contest mode all though I think the FT-817ND could keep up. I'm a contester contested with many radios over years and even the FT-817ND. The FT-817ND did very well with strong signals near by.

So.....KX3 worth the money for a regular SOTA hiker, and occasional DX'er ,or is it not?

73!
Logged
KE5JPP
Member

Posts: 0




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2012, 05:34:34 PM »

Sigh...  Undecided

The KX3 would probably out perform the FT-817 in a very strong signal environment with many nearby transmitters.  This is unlikely to happen in typical portable operation with the low efficiency/compromised make-do antennas that are normally used in portable operation.  Otherwise, you would only notice the difference in a non-real world laboratory environment with expensive test equipment.  As you are discovering, in the real world, the differences are not generally noticeable and sometimes the results are opposite than what you would expect from referencing some chart sorted on an arbitrary number such as Sherwood's.

Even the best receivers on the list are at the mercy and limited by the poor IMD, splattery signals generated by our Ham transmitters, mis-tuned/overdriven linear amplifiers operated by LIDs, and CW key click generators that are on the bands 24/7 now-a-days.

If you have a FT-817, there is not much to be gained by replacing it with a KX3.  Keep your FT-817 and invest in a more efficient antenna system.

Gene


Logged
W4OP
Member

Posts: 441


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2012, 05:54:35 PM »



 

 . Sensitivity all though is usually the first thing we look at when buying a transceiver and according 
 

73!

Sensitivity has not been an issue with HF amateur transceivers for decades. The limit to HF sensitvity is: manmade, atmospheric and galactic noise. I can't think of a transceiver  that lacked sensitivity. In fact, jut the opposite is many times the problem. I hear guys on 75M all the time saying they are using their preamps- not even realizing what this does to receiver specs.

Dale W4OP
Logged
WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20635




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2012, 06:27:51 PM »

The KX-3 is proving to be a stellar perfomer; but if you just ragchew and don't push the limits, many other rigs will work just perfectly.

IMO "most" of the work in amateur radio, including DXing, is done by propagation and the operator, and his antenna system.

The "rig" comes in 3rd or 4th place.
Logged
KE4YOG
Member

Posts: 182




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2012, 08:08:14 PM »

I have an 817 and I have found it is about antenna, antenna and antenna because even if you have great propagation with a bad antenna you really limit yourself. I worked Australia twice and New Zealand once with my double length G5RV with the 817 on SSB. On Field Day I worked plenty of stations with my 40 meter dipole and using a tuner. When lots of strong signals are around the 817 can get a little overloaded. I would like a KX3 one day to use in the shack for QRP work and leave the 817 for field work.
Logged
N2RRA
Member

Posts: 645


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2012, 08:27:07 PM »

Sigh...  Undecided

The KX3 would probably out perform the FT-817 in a very strong signal environment with many nearby transmitters.  This is unlikely to happen in typical portable operation with the low efficiency/compromised make-do antennas that are normally used in portable operation.  Otherwise, you would only notice the difference in a non-real world laboratory environment with expensive test equipment.  As you are discovering, in the real world, the differences are not generally noticeable and sometimes the results are opposite than what you would expect from referencing some chart sorted on an arbitrary number such as Sherwood's.

Even the best receivers on the list are at the mercy and limited by the poor IMD, splattery signals generated by our Ham transmitters, mis-tuned/overdriven linear amplifiers operated by LIDs, and CW key click generators that are on the bands 24/7 now-a-days.

If you have a FT-817, there is not much to be gained by replacing it with a KX3.  Keep your FT-817 and invest in a more efficient antenna system.

Gene




Kind of what I figured!

There are some neat tricks the KX3 does of course that sometimes make a deciding factor, but if you can operate CW with out pen and paper then you don't need a decoder. That is of course if you're proficient enough up to at least 30WPM. Maybe it would make for a neat stay at home radio ,but then I'd prefer a bigger radio and turn down the power if I wanted unless I was looking for below 5 watt levels where most bigger rigs don't allow.

Need more feed back from those who own both and have actual portable outdoor use with it long distances.

Weight, packing, performance etc.... Anybody???
Logged
K0JEG
Member

Posts: 672




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2012, 03:19:23 PM »

I recently bought a used FT817 and one of our club members brought his KX3 to the last meeting for show and tell. Strictly from a first impressions standpoint the KX3 is:

  • Heavier, although it included the autotuner, roofing filters and a "full power" battery pack (the FT817's internal battery limits output).
  • larger, when you consider the knobs and such will need to be protected more than the 817s, although not by much.
  • Easier to use, in that the large knobs and display aren't as "fidgety" as trying to push buttons on the 817 (at least for my fat fingers).

Of course, I only had a few minutes to test drive it, and we didn't put it on the air, just passed it around. If the KX3 had a 70CM module (and the 2M module was available) for satellite use I'd already own one, just for the user interface. As it is, I might pick one up in the spring depending on finances (and if I know code well enough to actually use it). The FT817 was bought more for general coverage receive and for satellite work, but now I'm looking forward to portable ops, just need to learn code.
Logged
N2RRA
Member

Posts: 645


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2012, 09:35:11 PM »

I recently bought a used FT817 and one of our club members brought his KX3 to the last meeting for show and tell. Strictly from a first impressions standpoint the KX3 is:

  • Heavier, although it included the autotuner, roofing filters and a "full power" battery pack (the FT817's internal battery limits output).
  • larger, when you consider the knobs and such will need to be protected more than the 817s, although not by much.
  • Easier to use, in that the large knobs and display aren't as "fidgety" as trying to push buttons on the 817 (at least for my fat fingers).

Of course, I only had a few minutes to test drive it, and we didn't put it on the air, just passed it around. If the KX3 had a 70CM module (and the 2M module was available) for satellite use I'd already own one, just for the user interface. As it is, I might pick one up in the spring depending on finances (and if I know code well enough to actually use it). The FT817 was bought more for general coverage receive and for satellite work, but now I'm looking forward to portable ops, just need to learn code.

I appreciate your comments and your evaluation between the two.

Between trying to get the KX3 loaded with all the bands and modes as well as filters the FT817ND is capable is really far between in comparison in price tag difference.

Is it really worth it especially after watching performance difference by an owner of the two even saying how close they were just from a casual comparison receive in SSB and CW.

Not trying to discredit the KX3 because i may still buy one like you, but I'm really happy with the simplicity, performance and portability of the FT817ND. By the way you should've picked up the ND model. I've owned both models and it's better you get the latest.

Thanks for the heads up!

73,
N2RRA
Logged
AA4GA
Member

Posts: 120


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2012, 09:22:18 PM »

I watched a video on YouTube of a KX3 and FT-817ND comparison.
Got an URL for that video?

Quote
I do know that there are other features I have no doubt the KX3 will out shine an FT817ND such as noise blanker and side rejection of near by signals.
I would think that selectivity would be one of the more important characteristics to judge a receiver by. 

Quote
Sensitivity all though is usually the first thing we look at when buying a transceiver
As Dale said, sensitivity shouldn't be an issue.

Quote
Lets stay basic with comparison in a regular operating condition. Not in a contest environment! I think it's safe to say the KX3 will win in a contest mode all though I think the FT-817ND could keep up.
Which is it?  If the KX3 "will win in a contest mode", how does the '817 "keep up"?

I know I've operated contests with the '817 and, particularly on 80m, the RX doesn't hold up nearly as well as I'd like. 

And, for some of us, contesting is a "regular operating condition".  If the KX3 RX performs better in a contest, it would perform better outside a contest.

Quote
So.....KX3 worth the money for a regular SOTA hiker, and occasional DX'er ,or is it not?

I've got about 45 minutes operating time on a KX3, and own an FT-817ND, but unfortunately haven't had a chance to run them side-by-side.  I'm also a SOTA operator, DXer, and contester.  I only operate QRP, and only CW.

With those qualifications, here are some advantages (for me) that the KX3 has over the '817 that don't even address the RX performance: 

1) Ergonomics - yes, this is subjective, but I can't imagine anyone preferring to use an '817 over a KX3.
2) Current consumption - the Elecraft uses less juice than the Yaesu
3) Flexibility - the KX3 has more options and can be tailored better to the user's preferences...maybe that's all part of the ergonomics factor.

There are other non-RX-performance advantages the KX3 has over the '817 as well, but they don't matter that much to me, but may to some:  CW decode, built-in digital modes, 10 watts output, etc.  Specs-wise, the KX3 is lighter, but the published specs on the KX3 exclude batteries, which are included for the Yaesu - when both have batteries, I doubt there is a significant weight difference either way.

For some, the lack of 2m and 432MHz is a significant disadvantage of the KX3 compared with the '817 - but not for me, as I don't use those bands now on my '817. 

Current price on the '817 is about 700 bucks with no filter.  Add a CW filter and you're up to $840 (that's with an International Radio filter - the Yaesu brand is $50 more).  The base KX3 is 900 bucks - add $20 for a set of NiMH batteries and the Elecraft is only $80 more than the Yaesu.  Yes, I'm pretty sure it's worth the difference.

I do hope to get a KX3 when the budget allows.  The '817 is not a bad radio - I use mine a lot.  But I'm fairly certain the Elecraft is noticeably better.

73 de Lee
Logged

KE5JPP
Member

Posts: 0




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2012, 03:40:29 AM »

I recently bought a used FT817 and one of our club members brought his KX3 to the last meeting for show and tell. Strictly from a first impressions standpoint the KX3 is:

  • Heavier, although it included the autotuner, roofing filters and a "full power" battery pack (the FT817's internal battery limits output).
  • larger, when you consider the knobs and such will need to be protected more than the 817s, although not by much.
  • Easier to use, in that the large knobs and display aren't as "fidgety" as trying to push buttons on the 817 (at least for my fat fingers).

Of course, I only had a few minutes to test drive it, and we didn't put it on the air, just passed it around. If the KX3 had a 70CM module (and the 2M module was available) for satellite use I'd already own one, just for the user interface. As it is, I might pick one up in the spring depending on finances (and if I know code well enough to actually use it). The FT817 was bought more for general coverage receive and for satellite work, but now I'm looking forward to portable ops, just need to learn code.

I appreciate your comments and your evaluation between the two.

Between trying to get the KX3 loaded with all the bands and modes as well as filters the FT817ND is capable is really far between in comparison in price tag difference.

Is it really worth it especially after watching performance difference by an owner of the two even saying how close they were just from a casual comparison receive in SSB and CW.

Not trying to discredit the KX3 because i may still buy one like you, but I'm really happy with the simplicity, performance and portability of the FT817ND. By the way you should've picked up the ND model. I've owned both models and it's better you get the latest.

Thanks for the heads up!

73,
N2RRA

Are looking for a response from someone here to justify spending the money on a KX3?  If you already have an 817 and use it as a portable rig, then the difference in performance is not going to be all that noticeable.  If you just want a shiny new toy, and you have the money burning a hole in your pocket, go ahead and get the KX3.  If you use the 817 as your home/fixed rig with a decent antenna, then in the same conditions, the KX3 will perform noticeably better.

Gene
Logged
N2RRA
Member

Posts: 645


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2012, 04:38:53 AM »

LEE and Gene,

Thanks for the responses,

Here's the link to the video and in the first couple minutes he made the comparison between the two in CW he even says and I quote "The Yeasu's audio power out shines the KX3" then goes to saying "I give that one to the FT-817" meaning the CW signal was better.

So it's not that I need anyone to justify anything to me Gene. Just would like to get the opinion from active operators than own both radios just like the gentleman in the video. You always hear from people who had either one ,or the other at some point and even from people more so than didn't have one ,but not the other. Then stories get blown out of proportion. In the video the KX3 and the FT-817 was too close ,or could've gone either way but not by a large margin. One would think the KX3 would've blown it out the water ,but it did not.

Enjoy the vid then tell me what you think based on what the owner says.

73!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3M_oMZHQ_o

Logged
KE5JPP
Member

Posts: 0




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2012, 04:59:18 AM »

LEE and Gene,

Thanks for the responses,

Here's the link to the video and in the first couple minutes he made the comparison between the two in CW he even says and I quote "The Yeasu's audio power out shines the KX3" then goes to saying "I give that one to the FT-817" meaning the CW signal was better.

So it's not that I need anyone to justify anything to me Gene. Just would like to get the opinion from active operators than own both radios just like the gentleman in the video. You always hear from people who had either one ,or the other at some point and even from people more so than didn't have one ,but not the other. Then stories get blown out of proportion. In the video the KX3 and the FT-817 was too close ,or could've gone either way but not by a large margin. One would think the KX3 would've blown it out the water ,but it did not.

Enjoy the vid then tell me what you think based on what the owner says.

73!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3M_oMZHQ_o



After watching the video, I'd say that the Yaesu 817 won out over the KX3 a few times, otherwise they were neck and neck.

The KX3 looks like something built in someone's basement (kind of amatuerish), while the 817 looks like a quality piece of gear like you'd expect from Yaesu.  If you have the 817 I would keep it and forget the KX3.

Gene


Logged
K0JEG
Member

Posts: 672




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2012, 06:31:08 AM »

One other thing I read about PSK31 decoding in the box. You can use the paddles to send PSK31, but you can also use the computer interface to send (somewhat) plain text and have it transmitted. It's not quite like hooking up a dumb terminal, but I think it should be fairly trivial to hack a terminal program together on an Android phone (or just use the Windows software) to make it happen. There are already people working on this. So it turns PSK31 into a one USB cable solution, with no screwing around with soundcard interfaces, tweaking levels (oh, yea, I was watching that video before and had the volume cranked up... Sorry guys I didn't mean to blow out the band for the last half hour), and Windows system sounds going over the airwaves.

Similar system could also be used for CW.
Logged
WX7G
Member

Posts: 6204




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2012, 06:31:17 AM »

A big difference is the angle of the face. I had a KX-1 and the face was horizontal and I did not like it at all. And the KX-3 is similar in that respect. I have an FT-817ND and it is like a big radio that a has been shrunk. I like it.
Logged
N2RRA
Member

Posts: 645


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2012, 09:04:52 AM »

One other thing I read about PSK31 decoding in the box. You can use the paddles to send PSK31, but you can also use the computer interface to send (somewhat) plain text and have it transmitted. It's not quite like hooking up a dumb terminal, but I think it should be fairly trivial to hack a terminal program together on an Android phone (or just use the Windows software) to make it happen. There are already people working on this. So it turns PSK31 into a one USB cable solution, with no screwing around with soundcard interfaces, tweaking levels (oh, yea, I was watching that video before and had the volume cranked up... Sorry guys I didn't mean to blow out the band for the last half hour), and Windows system sounds going over the airwaves.

Similar system could also be used for CW.

That is another cool attribute the KX3 has for working PSK31. I guess maybe for those that work strictly PSK type digital it may be worth while more. I'm not a big digital type guy so it would kinda be like a novelty option unless the world was in serious turmoil and digital needed to be the primary mode on the road for a prepper, but on the top of a mountain waiting for that text to roll across the screen being it's not a big screen would make for a waste of time. If you really think about!

Gene,

See what I'm saying that it didn't blow it away in leaps and bounds. I would expect it too for the price and technology primarily based on what you receive in both modes. All the other crap don't mean anything if you don't have a clean and strong enough signal. Glad you watched it!

Look guys,

I'm not saying don't buy one because again I may, but will I rush out now and pay the astronomical prices and wait months or a month or two.....No! It's just crazy!

Guess if I had the money to burn like that maybe I would've and maybe not. I've had the thousands for my IC-7600 when it came out ,but waited to see what others reported. Thats being a smart consumer!

This post was to see how many others have both currently and I've yet heard from anybody else that has both currently in their shack. I like too evaluate things based not by just one person, but by a few. Maybe this guy on YouTube has a bad KX3...who knows! So if we can get a couple others too say their too have the same experience then we know it's not just isolated to that one individual.

Thanks for all your responses!

73,
N2RRA

BTW: I won't be getting rid of my FT-817ND!  Cheesy
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 09:07:52 AM by N2RRA » Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 ... 11 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!