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Author Topic: FT-817ND vs KX3  (Read 51387 times)
AF6WL
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Posts: 145




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« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2013, 07:24:33 AM »

Even though the FT-817 is nominally larger than the KX3, I find the slimmer profile of the FT-817 makes it easier to slip into a backpack pocket ; the KX3 with the protective end plates is a bit of a brick.

I have also been doing some side by side comparisons of my KX3 and old 2002 FT-817.
The KX3 sounds so much smoother  - and surprisingly easier to tune i.e. zero in on SSB speech.

Three things narrow the gap:
  • My FT-817 internal speaker adds a lot of distortion - my task this week is to find a mylar cone replacement ( doing so worked wonders for my K1 )
  • I get a lot of high frequency hiss - permanently dialing in 200Hz offset in the extended menu, or use front panel IF shift, cuts this down a lot.
  • Turning the RF gain control back acts like a noise gate; quite effective on the lower bands


Now all I have to do to get my FT-817 back on the air is replace the W4RT battery pack which has gone high resistance, shutting down whenever the rig is keyed   Sad
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 07:29:36 AM by AF6WL » Logged
AF6WL
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Posts: 145




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« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2013, 07:39:49 AM »


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

Last week a message went out from Bonnie Crystal on the VX-1210 yahoo group saying that the radio has now been discontinued - so the odds of getting it are diminished.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 07:42:19 AM by AF6WL » Logged
W4KYR
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Posts: 582




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« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2013, 09:33:08 AM »


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

Last week a message went out from Bonnie Crystal on the VX-1210 yahoo group saying that the radio has now been discontinued - so the odds of getting it are diminished.

Thanks for the info I don't really have the money for it anyway. It was one of those items that you wish you could get but can't for one reason or another. I'm sure we all have our dream setup ideas, mine was the VX-1210, SCS Pactor 4, roll up non breakable solar panels and one of those military spec tough book laptops.

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N0EVH
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #33 on: November 13, 2013, 12:30:54 PM »

Have had both rigs for some time.  Both are nice, but the KX3 outshines in ergonomics, ability to hear and select weak stations.  I love the I/Q output for monitoring around the shack.  Strong point of the KX3 of course is portable use where it has no competition in multiband all mode transceivers.  The tuner on the KX3 will tune a paper clip to a school bus!  Unless you just have to have the small loop I would go with an EFW.  You will find the loop about 3 to 4 S units down from a wire antenna.  That is a lot to give up when running QRP.  You will certainly enjoy the radio, have fun.  If you want to try a no cost small loop get a bent bicycle rim and build one from internet plans.  They do work.....but low power ops should always go with the best antenna possible.
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WB4TJH
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Posts: 192




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« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2013, 10:30:11 AM »

Go with the Elecraft. It has a world class receiver, ten watts out, and is backed up by one of the best companies in the business, and is US made. I have an Elecraft K2 and it is has the best receiver I have owned in the past 40+ years.
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ZENKI
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Posts: 960




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« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2013, 06:22:26 PM »

Why bother with these impractical ham radios.

Receiver performance means very little when you are operating portable with restricted antennas.

I just bought myself a new HF Manpack thats the ultimate HF portable radio.  The DSP noise reduction on this radio just leaves the KX3 and FT817 for dead.
Its also vastly more practical and reliable.

http://www.codanradio.com/product/2110manpack/

The best part is that it runs 25 watts output on SSB. 25 watts is just brilliant.

Elecraft should come up with  a packaging kit for the KX3 that turns it into a 25 watt manpack. A 100 watt amp with a  KX3 is a ridiculous concept. The  overall concept of the KX3 would fail in 1 day of  bush walking in a tropical jungle. The connectors on my KX3 already have green gunge and rust spots just from casually  operating on my sailboat. If I left it sitting in a box on my sailboat it would probably be faulty just from sitting in the box. Non of the boards are conformal coated so has no ability to resist weather and a corrosive atmosphere. The FT817 has the same problems.

Anyway I have no worries, i have retired all my junk ham radios as desk play things. I own a real radio. Its shame ham radio companies do so little market research and are stuck on their own individual planets with  no lateral thinking ability. All we hear is excuses about no market,  how expensive it  is to do this thinking and research. All research and thinking thats 30 years old. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.

TenTec could have done the same with the Argonaut 6. Yet all they chose to do is release something that is  as cheap as a CB radio.   What good is excellent receiver performance when if you drop the radio or the radio gets wet  when you operating. I would would have been happy to pay double the price for the Argonaut or KX3 if they did a better job at packing  these radios for real hard use in the field. The radios also need better battery packs. How ridiculous is it that a company expects you to run  your radios on AA  batteries. especially a 10 watt radio. A AA battery accessory pack would have made sense but for the price I would have expected a lithium or SLA battery.

I am happy I have a fantastic radio with no faults. I am very impressed with the CODAN. If you serious ham investigate the CODAN HF manpack you will not regret the purchase. It can even do ALE. Its a fantastic radio that has no equal   from any ham manufacturer.
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W7ASA
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Posts: 258




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« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2013, 08:06:53 PM »

That looks like an EXCELLENT manpack.  I've operated only older, legacy manpacks and other mil HF gear, once-upon-a-time, when I was in that "business". The new generations of manpack radios are simply amazing with auto-linking, data, built-in CRYPTO, spread spectrum on some models, usually fast-hoppers and etc.

Manpacks are fun for some hams and the international appeal of the HFpack group shows that there is a niche' market for them.  To compare mil manpacks with Elecraft however, seems an 'cocoanut -v- oranges' argument: both hang from trees - yes, but very different. KX3 was never designed to be competition for a military manpack, because it's not servicing that market. Now, if a person DOES need or want a portable, channelized radio transceiver capable of operation in jungle, at sea in extreme temperature/humidity and is designed to take a great deal of physical abuse yet to keep working,  then yes -  full mil-spec manpacks are designed for that. CODAN, BARRET, HARRIS et al have a mil/para-mil/NGO market focus which hams like you enjoy - cool!  

I don't speak for Elecraft, but it's clear that the KX1 & KX3 are not even remotely designed for that market - and never intended to be. The cost, weight, size and current consumption etc. for manpacks are generally considered excessive for most hams doing civilian/recreational backpacking, for example.  Paul - W0RW/pm out wandering the Rockie Mountains with one of several military manpacks is a delightful exception, who I have talked with a few times, usually in CW while he is slowly being covered in snow during in howling winds...   Shocked

Looking at the CODAN spec-sheet, the weight listed with one 8 A/H battery was just over 10.3 pounds, to which must be added the essential mil-spec accessories for actual operation like handset - or phones, key & antenna(s) . We're probably beginning the day with 13-15 pounds of radio gear, not counting the ability to recharge in the field. That's very light compared to what I carried decades ago as a soldier, but in an entirely different Size, Weight and Power class from what casual ham hikers and SOTA guys are likely to carry in addition to their backpacking gear for fun.

I'd love to hear more about your CODAN manpack, how you use it and perhaps some of the design features and how they integrate into ham use.  CW filtering informaiton was lacking in the spec sheet I saw, so if you could discuss your experiences with that, it would be helpful. Your preferred antenna types for pedestrian as well as for camp are also something I am curious about.  In decades of carrying HF radios, I still prefer the basic dipole, high and in the clear for all but easy NVIS shots, though a half-square run from the ATU post against a counterpoise wire has helped me much on long-haul/low take-off angle shots in times past.  I never did talking while walking until I did this for fun as a civilian. As a civilian, it was enjoyable mild-exercise while hamming or when car camping.  I did exactly ONE civilian backpack trip with an old PRC-74 and spares in my rucksack -ONE. I was a tough-guy back then.  These days, to be perfectly honest, I would not even attempt that, so I have my light weight, small, 'Up-Armored' KX1 instead.



73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

Ps.  I always prefer the best, most selective receiver I can have with me.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 08:20:54 PM by W7ASA » Logged
AA4GA
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Posts: 120


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« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2013, 06:04:06 AM »

Why bother with these impractical ham radios.

Impractical?  I've used one or the other of the two subject rigs as my primary transceiver for almost three years now, and have completed over 6000 QSOs in 170 DXCC counties, all running 5 watts to an 80m doublet up 45' or so.  What's impractical about that?

Quote
Receiver performance means very little when you are operating portable with restricted antennas.
But what if you are operating with larger antennas, whether portable or not?  What if you are operating in close proximity to other strong stations?

Quote
The best part is that it runs 25 watts output on SSB. 25 watts is just brilliant.
Congratulations on the new radio - however, I'll remind you that 25 watts, while fairly low power, is not considered QRP by most sanctioning bodies (QRPARCI, contest sponsors, the stated purpose of this forum, etc.) when defining "QRP". 

Quote
The  overall concept of the KX3 would fail in 1 day of  bush walking in a tropical jungle.
What does that have to do with anything?  I'm fairly certain that the vast majority of KX3 owners don't live anywhere near a tropical jungle, nor to they have any plans of spending any time there.

Quote
Its shame ham radio companies do so little market research
I find it pretty amazing that the radio manufacturers have been so successful with "little" market research.  Please, tell me, what exactly do you know about the various manufacturers' market research?

Quote
What good is excellent receiver performance when if you drop the radio or the radio gets wet  when you operating. I would would have been happy to pay double the price for the Argonaut or KX3 if they did a better job at packing  these radios for real hard use in the field.
So, just because you would be happy to pay that difference, you think the rest of their customers would be?  You think that their sales and profit margin would be greater had those radios been twice as costly?  This is based on your market research, or just what *you* want?

Quote
The radios also need better battery packs. How ridiculous is it that a company expects you to run  your radios on AA  batteries. especially a 10 watt radio. A AA battery accessory pack would have made sense but for the price I would have expected a lithium or SLA battery.
I use 8xAA Eneloops in my KX3 successfully all the time when I go out for remote operating - usually from a SOTA summit.  I have never depleted the battery, although I do usually carry a LiPo backup for "just in case"...but I've never had to use it.

Quote
I am happy I have a fantastic radio with no faults.
A quick review of the brochure indicates that the radio does, in fact, have faults.  First, it's just way too big!  Second, I did not see anything that looked like a "VFO" knob, nor even any UP/DOWN frequency control.  Is it even possible to "tune a band" with that thing, or is it only a channelized radio?  If the latter, it is very impractical for amateur service, no matter how good the specs are or aren't.  Obviously, this company did absolutely zero market research, as it seems like it would make a horrible QRP rig.

Or, just maybe, the amateurs aren't the people that these folks are marketing to...not unlike the the fact that Yaesu and Elecraft don't market to the "manpack" crowd.  Nah, that can't be it.  They obviously didn't do any market research.

Here's a question for "ZENKI":  Do you have an amateur license?  If so, what is your call sign?  Judging from your radio preferences and failure to identify yourself here, I find it hard to believe you are a licensed amateur.  Prove me wrong.
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KD7TWI
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2013, 10:21:03 PM »



I just bought myself a new HF Manpack thats the ultimate HF portable radio.  The DSP noise reduction on this radio just leaves the KX3 and FT817 for dead.


Me thinks thou art a schill.  I don't know if you have a license, no mention of experience with either radio, doubtful you purchased a manpack and if you did I am quite sure it was not nearly in the same price range of either of the other two radio's in question.  I am betting I could get 3 KX3's or 4 FT-817's for the price of one milspec manpack.   Who is impractical?   Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 10:23:19 PM by KD7TWI » Logged
K7LZR
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #39 on: January 25, 2014, 03:48:34 PM »

OP: I'm sure that you've long since made your buying decision but I'll add to the discussion. The KX3 is a nice little rig but not nearly as versatile as the FT-817nd. Nor is it as ruggedly built.

As to receiver performance, truth is that there is little if any real world difference between the two in terms of weak signal performance, especially on CW with narrow filters selected on both radios. The FT-817nd works very well on HF if you understand how to use it correctly.

The KX3 is a great HF rig, no doubt. But the FT-817 is that also and so much more.

« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 03:52:43 PM by K7LZR » Logged
KB1GMX
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Posts: 786




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« Reply #40 on: January 25, 2014, 05:58:17 PM »

Nest info I could get put the Codan-2110 at about 4500$ (new) minimum.  I can kill several
KX3s, FT817s, FT857s, or even IC7200 with cash left over.  In fact for that kind of money I
could have all of those and pick which suites me for the proposed trip.

Having used a large population of green radios plus a prc1099 at beck and call all of them do
not easily cruse up or down the band for an active QSO.  You can easily pre-program a band or
frequency but moving around is a PITA.  Some only go in 100hz steps, not so great for SSB
and split is a real pain if at all possible.  All of the green radios (some are black or beige) are
rugged but far from battery friendly those that are like their brand battery (not cheap).

If you going to drop your radio in water there are waterproof cases that are inexpensive
and allow a personal pick of radio and even store the battery, tuner, and antennas.

An enterprising ham could make a replacement outer case for his or her favorite radio
to make it like the manpacks. 

Likely the best comment I can make is... Its a hobby and one can do what ever they please
and enjoy.


Allison
 
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W4KYR
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Posts: 582




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« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2014, 11:06:08 AM »


An enterprising ham could make a replacement outer case for his or her favorite radio
to make it like the manpacks. 


Indeed some have, I found this 'Manpack FT 817' in Google Images.


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KE7TMA
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Posts: 471




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« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2014, 10:29:18 AM »

Here's a clever KX3 manpack mod:  http://www.oe2atn.at/tom/gobox/
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AF6WL
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Posts: 145




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« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2014, 12:47:41 PM »

Here's a clever KX3 manpack mod:  http://www.oe2atn.at/tom/gobox/


Sorry, that does not count as  a manpack in my book; it's a radio in a nice box.

However the W4KYR's picture does count for me as a manpack as the radio, battery, tuner and whip antenna mount are all in one package.
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VE9AAE
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Posts: 31




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« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2014, 06:57:18 PM »

Found this short video of that manpack.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=txned0p69q4

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