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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Elecraft KX3 Help

Reviews Summary for Elecraft KX3
Elecraft KX3 Reviews: 123 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $ See Desciption
Description: Elecraft KX3 QRP Transceiver

Ultra-portable, all-band/all-mode high-performance transceiver for home, mobile, or field use.
* 160-6 meters (2 m with KX3-2M module)
* SSB/CW/DATA/AM/FM modes; 10 W+ PEP (100 W with KXPA100 amp)
* 1.7" x 3.5" x 7.4" (4.3 x 8.9 x 18.8 cm); only 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg)
* Current drain as low as 150 mA; internal battery (8 AA cells, any type)
* Advanced DSP provides dual watch, noise reduction, noise blanking, autonotch, stereo audio effects, audio peaking filter (APF)
* Software-defined radio (SDR) architecture plus optional roofing filters
* Operates in data modes (PSK31/RTTY) with or without a PC
* Includes RX I/Q sound-card outputs; works with PC RS232 or USB ports; free firmware upgrades
* Options: internal wide-range antenna tuner (KXAT3), interal NiMH battery charger (KXBC3), dual roofing filter module (KXFL3), attached high-performance keyer paddle (KXPD3), internal 2-meter module (KX3-2M), MH3 compact hand mic with UP/DN buttons, KXPA100/KXAT100 100-W amplifier and ATU

$999.95 factory assembled, $899.95 kit

Product is in production.
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KJ4FGI Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2015 21:36 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic/Great Customer Service!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased the KX3 because I wanted a QRP radio that I could travel with and self powered. I read a lot of reviews on other radios, I wanted an American made radio.

The reason I chose this radio: Reviews on Customer Service (which I have had interactions with and they are Outstanding! A++), Software upgradable and it does it automatically, General Receive straight thru 30Mhz, Self Powered, Auto Antenna Tuner, Dsp. I purchased the KX3 with ATU, Internal NiMH Charger / Real-Time Clock,Simple 49.380 MHz Signal Source, Roofing Filter, H3 Microphone, Heil Headset, Male-Female Right Angle BNC, "The Elecraft KX3" by Fred Cady.

I have to say, I'm very happy with the KX3 and especially customer service something that's disappointing with Japanese radios. It was expensive but you pay for what you get and the internal parts are American made which is better quality than foreign components, Much better.

I did wait a while before writing this review because I wanted to write a fair review. The image rejection is great, I was having a QSO and there was another station with an amp splashing on my conversation, the KX3 was able to block the noise out, wow, I'm impressed.

I've had a Kenwood TS-440sat, I still have an Icom 706MKIIG fully loaded and I had a TS-520, the KX3's filters are fantastic especially because you can adjust them.

I could keep writing but I think you know how I roll with this radio.
Listen, Buy American! My next radio will be the K3 after I buy the 100 linear amp for the KX3.

Again Customer service is the BEST and that's what we Hams like, SERVICE! Amen!

Eddie KJ4FGI
W1XV Rating: 5/5 Dec 11, 2014 09:15 Send this review to a friend
Many feataures per cubic inch  Time owned: more than 12 months
The KX3 is a bargain when one considers the number of features packed into 18.36 cubic inches!! This transceiver does it all. You can pick the options that you want. Elecraft service, should you need it, is second to none. The folks at the "factory" do listen to those who own their products and take any and all suggestions and complaints seriously.

It's an outstanding QRP rig that is perched at the top of the receiver spec charts even when compared to today's choices of QRO transceivers.

All of the great features of the KX3 have been previously touted so I'll leave my review short and sweet. I have worked the world with the KX3 and a 135 foot dipole.

Thanks Elecraft for another superb product!!
VE7HJ Rating: 5/5 Dec 5, 2014 19:40 Send this review to a friend
KX3 & Bob Nagy Mic  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I love my KX3 which I have owned for 4-months or more. I did not order the Hand Mic from Elecraft. Instead I use a David Clark headset which has been modified by Bob Nagy who changed out the Element with one that he tested. Man what a big difference.
I can set the KX3 Mic gain at 12 and drive the ALC 6-7 bars. I don't run any compression.

Here is a link to his web page.

Tell him James VE7HJ sent you.
AA1QG Rating: 5/5 Nov 17, 2014 07:29 Send this review to a friend
Near perfect radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I use the radio with the PX3 and KXPA100 as the main rig, with the Flexradios and the IC-7600 now in the closet. Love the quiet receiver and sharp filters. It is a pain to listen to the hiss in a non-DSP receiver after being spoiled by the KX3.

Now if they only could add SSB squelch, a more aggressive speech processor, the ability to define special CW characters and maybe even developing a more rugged and splash proof model..
KB3RUN Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2014 13:27 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently acquired a used KX3 loaded with all the options except the 2M module. I have been totally impressed with its RX/TX capabilities.
I use it side-by-side with my FT-817ND and this radio is equally good. Some of the additional features I use are the PSK decode/RTTY modes.
It is an all-in-one radio and can easily be carried around on travels.
I now look forward to owning the KXPA-100 amplifier so that I can get rid of my IC-7000.

If you are considering this radio, you will not be disappointed.
K6YLG Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2014 07:37 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding, but not cheap  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've long been a QRP fan and have built a number of low-power rigs including Elecraft's KX1. The KX3 is definitely the Cadillac (Mercedes?) of QRP, with specs to match all but the most expensive transceivers. The panadaptor is far and away the best out there, and something I now couldn't live without.

While outstanding the KX3 isn't cheap; with the built-in ATU it's more expensive than a very good 100W transceiver. And if you add on the panadaptor and the KXPA100 linear you'll wind up paying 2-3x what you'd pay for an integrated xcvr with comparable specs. They're all exceptionally well engineered units, but they don't come cheap.
ON6KE Rating: 5/5 Sep 13, 2014 13:06 Send this review to a friend
KX3 ATU  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My TS-990S ATU can't tune the 16,5m long wire with 9:1 balun I have on 160m, the KX3 however has ZERO problem tuning the wire to 1:1, HA!!!!
KQ4YA Rating: 5/5 Aug 12, 2014 09:58 Send this review to a friend
Lives up to the hype  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First off, I'm not a QRP enthusiast. I just wanted a tiny radio to take along when I travel by air. The lower power was the compromise I made to get a tiny but capable transceiver.

I have been reading about the radio since it first came out and I assumed - as is often true with reviews and owner comments - that the radio was over-hyped. Still, I could also tell from the professional reviews that it was a nice little rig.

And it is. I won't bore you with all the details since there are plenty of them here and elsewhere. So I'll just mention a few of the things that struck me:

1. I had worried (and even seen some comments that echoed those worries) that it would be too fragile for travel. But it actually has the feel of an old 35mm Leica camera - very solid. Obviously the knobs are the vulnerable areas. But there are after market solutions to protect the radio - with those it stands up pretty well to travel.

2. Like I said I'm not a QRP guy. This radio hasn't magically turned me into one, but it has shown me - even using SSB - how well I can do with 10 watts or so (using an external power supply). Luckily that's how it will mostly be used - with a power supply. I'm glad to have the battery capability but that's not how it will be normally used.

Finally, it's a fine toy and a good way for a person like me to learn a bit about SDR. I'm pleased with the radio and impressed with its performance, especially the receiver.
OR5A Rating: 5/5 Aug 7, 2014 07:55 Send this review to a friend
Great performer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I agree with VE3EGA. The KX3 can do 12 watts out (8 on 6 meters) but only when power from 13,2 to 15 Vdc is supplied. With 8 cells inside only 3 watt is guaranteed.

Considering most of the KX3 owners will use the device portable in most cases, antennas are already compromised to so 3 to 4 dB extra power comes in handy.

Another item to watch out for. In direct sunlight the PA section gets hot rapidly when using full power. I monitored the PA temp on the display running a CW CQ in a loop on a dummy load and after only a few minutes power dropped back to 5 watts.

Solutions: yes. I'm using LIFE battery packs with 4 cells. Nominal power is 13,2 Vdc. Fully charged they have 14,5 Volts and therefore this power pack makes you run full power until the battery is discharged. They are also light in weight, an extra bonus. I'm using a 4200 and 8400 mAh pack.

Using an extra heat sink mounted on the top side, the KX3 runs cooler for a very long time. Up to 400%. So when used in normal qso, ssb or cw and even in digital modes, the KX3 can run for longer periods at 10 or 12 watts without the PA section getting to hot.

Receiver wise the KX3 to me is a great performer. I still prefer the K3 with decent roofing filters but for an SDR radio the KX3 has good ears and selective filtering. Most K3 features are included in this small box. A big bonus. I would have loved a single USB cable does it all approach for CAT, audio, etc but maybe that's something for the roadmap.

Using the stock mic (option) I get really great audio reports (not using compression). Mine has most options but since I'm using outdoor battery packs, I think I would skip the internal charger. You will need it if you want a real time clock.

The internal tuner is very good. I was surprised.
Also tuning in RX path is nice to have.

I think most have been said by former reviewers. It's not a perfect radio but I deserves 5 stars because to me it's more than just four. 4,5 is justified to me. I like it a lot. I have made a small set to take with me on my motorcycle using the KX3 with handmic, small keyer, fiber pole with wire. Great /P station while on the road.

WA2TPU Rating: 5/5 Jul 27, 2014 16:53 Send this review to a friend
An update on owning/using my KX3 for a couple of years now.....  Time owned: more than 12 months
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