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

Reviews Summary for Elecraft KX3
Elecraft KX3 Reviews: 143 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $ See Desciption
Description: Elecraft KX3 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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DL2NEP Rating: 3/5 Jul 1, 2015 08:58 Send this review to a friend
Nice TRX, poor mechanics, unsolved hardware bugs  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
My first contact to Elecraft was an K2 with nearby all options. I was very happy with this TRX so I deside to switch to an KX3 because of less weight and smaler package. The KX3 is realy nice and the receiver is outstanding. But on the other hand there are (too) many negative points.

- small package
- many many features (PSK31 read, voice memo, ...)
- perfect receiver performance
- tuner can handle EVERYTHING

- machanic design is very poor.
- Loudspeaker is very poor and craky.
- VFO tuning noise on 10m and 6m.
- battery charger only work between 0C and 40C temperature inside the case. There are many situations charging the battery is not possible.

At all I would say the KX3 is a very very good transceiver but it is too expensive. The mechanic design should be much better!

I will keep mine but I would never buy it again.
K5UX Rating: 5/5 Jun 30, 2015 20:17 Send this review to a friend
Ham radio is fun again  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've owned my KX3/KXPA100/ATU/PX3 for a couple of months and Elecraft has done it again...produced an outstanding product at a price point that doesn't break your pocket book. Ham radio is fun once again and a real pleasure working QRP. As I got older and started downsizing my station, Elecraft was a perfect fit. Great specs and small enough to fit just about anywhere in the house or in your backpack. I've owned the "heavy iron" rigs and also some of the latest SDR's, but have yet to find anything that approaches the KX3 when you compare features/price with the other manufactures. Product support is extremely important and they have a couple of very active user forums that provide a venue for just about any question relating to the Elecraft product line. If you can't find what you are looking for there, it's easy to get in touch with someone in tech support.
KB1UYR Rating: 5/5 Jun 30, 2015 11:16 Send this review to a friend
I love it after getting used to it!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own my KX-3 now for more than 1 1/2 years and after a learning phase and some issues I started to love it.
I bought it with the ATU, optional NF "roofing" filter and the microphone.
The first impressions were amazing, I never owned a portable TRX that was even close to it. To get used to the menu took just a few hours, to understand and learn all the functions a little longer. But there was one issue I really felt upset about...the VFO noise, due to the optional filter. I finally removed the filter, as the recommended "solutions" never fixed it 100%. After more than 6months I read about a software update that should fix the issue, so I installed it again and it was really gone. From that day on I just love this tiny radio and take it with me on almost every business trip. In January 2015 I finally could no longer resist and ordered the PX-3 and the 2m module. I never was 100% happy with software panadapters and don't want to miss the PX-3. It does need just a few mA's and works perfect for me. After installation of the 2m module, I noticed an Frequency offset, so I did the official temperature compensation procedure with the XG50...worked perfect, now it's spot on. I struggled with the 100W amplifier for a while. It's really expensive compared to other ones, but finally I got it to have the full KX-3 line. The amp works like a dream, I got it with the ATU option and basically that's my portable setup.
My FT-817 and my IC-7200 are basically now just sitting on the shelf. In the shack I usually use my TS-590S, but even there from time to time I set up the tiny KX-3 and just enjoy it.
So I would definitely buy it again. Yes it is not cheap, but there is no competitor in its class with even close performance. I owned the IC-706MK2, I tried a friends IC-7100 over the weekend ==> no comparison.
WA7NDD Rating: 5/5 May 27, 2015 11:37 Send this review to a friend
Radio is fun again!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've owned the KX3 and PX3 for a month and have not turned o my Kenwood TS-590s since I received it. It is just fun to play with a full featured radio in a small package with a big display. Don't worry I will get back to the 590 - on occasion.
AD0HT Rating: 4/5 May 4, 2015 17:03 Send this review to a friend
1.5 years owned  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my KX3 for about 1.5 years now - I really do enjoy the radio, however it has had several quality issues.
1: Battery holder wires over crimped and broken at the crimp points - this issues was known to Elecraft and replaced easily and promptly under warranty.
2: The KXPD3 "Precision" paddle - the paddle I received worked - often on its own (sending uncontrolled dits) making CW communication impossible. My paddle was replaced easily and promptly under warranty. I am out of warranty now and have not had a chance to fully test the replacement paddle - fingers crossed that it work as it should and will last for years to come.
3: Radio feet thumb screws - be careful with these such that when you open/close the feet that these screws are reasonably loose - the left one tightens the thumb screw when closing the foot, the right one tightens when you open the foot, and if these actions over stress the thumbscrews they break off leaving the foot itself dangling from the radio and un-removable without taking the radio well apart. Elecraft replaced the screws and feet under warranty (even though my warranty had expired about a week prior).
4: MH3 mic failure (several months out of warranty) this is a 4 pin mic and Elecraft indicates no replacement parts are available, but they will sell original owners who are out of warranty a new MH3 for $30.00 (about 1/2 off new). The MH3 mic is in my opinion of extremely low quality - mine was certainly not heavily used. The mic rattles (on inspection the internal rf choked was slapping around) and seems to suffer for the same over crimping problem as the battery holder wires. I did not (yet) decide to take the $30 replacement deal as the MH3 is such a low quality (fit/finish/operation/durability) that it seems a waste of the cash. I have read that others have had issues (different from mine) with the MH3 mic, but that also noted the mic internal wires were damaged upon inspection.
"In the red wire there was also a gash so it seems there was a fault with the original wires. The exposed copper of the green wire was shorting to the uninsulated copper shield wire when the cord was flexed.:
Please note that the internals of my MH3 do not match that provided in the link, so some upgrades must have been made at some point, but the quality of the mic remained low.
5: The internal speaker is buzzy, rattles and is nearly un-listenable and as far as I know, is not fixable, however head phone audio quality and other features for headphone use are excellent.
1: Very fun radio to operate "especially" when the transmit features work (MIC/paddle).
2: Excellent receiver (compared to my mkIIg and FT897), probably similar to (probably better) my former FT-101 zdmkIII.
3: Excellent customer service (in or out of warranty to the original purchaser). Knowing the cons I encountered in a new radio, I would be hesitant to purchase a used model or would negotiate the price anticipating replacement of the low quality parts/workmanship I described above.
Other comments: Originally I had hoped to add the 2m module and 100w amplifier, but given the issues I encountered, I decided to buy (used) the mk2g and the 857d for non-qrp qso's.
KG9H Rating: 5/5 May 2, 2015 04:15 Send this review to a friend
Don't fool yourself with it's size  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is my third KX3. Each time I sold them, I did not have the Roofing filters.
Do yourself a favor - purchase the KXFL3 OPTION.
If you do.. you will find yourself pushing the "big" rig aside and listening more to the KX3.
See the Sherwood reviews on the receiver.
The support on this radio is simply amazing, as compared to any other manufacturer.
I built a K2 back in 2000 back in February 2000, it is still a go-to CW radio for me.
Summer will be fun for me with the KX3 into my AlexLoop. See you on the air. Frank KG9H
WD1V Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2015 03:36 Send this review to a friend
Elegant Design  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This radio is very special in so many ways. It has a feature/function set that isn't seen in any other radio at this price point - and - its RF receiver and transmit performance is up there on Mt. Everest. My TS-990s has been turned off since my KX3 arrived. My top "wows" are 1) size and weight 2) SDR (running free NAP3 in minutes) 3) Receiver with headphones is spectacular and not fatiguing. Love the spacious delay on SSB. 4) Craftsmanship - its like a piece of jewelry 5) User interface is intuitive 6) Get great reports on CW, SSB, and PSK-31. I've owned K2s and a K3 - very happy with them. KX3 is concentrated compressed engineering. I'm a very proud owner.
W3PAL Rating: 3/5 Mar 30, 2015 17:06 Send this review to a friend
Not a bad radio for it's size.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've owned this radio for about a month. It is a nice little radio considering it's size and many features. I use it primarily for portable operation with an End-Fed 10/20/40 dipole. My other QRP rig is a Yaesu FT-817D which I like a lot too.
KX3 has a lot of features not found in any other small QRP radios. I would give it a 3.5 on a scale of 0-5. It has a nice receiver but it's a bit too noisy when receiving weak signals. I also wish the KX3 had a better internal speaker or at least an audio output capable to drive an external speaker. The radio also has an MFJ-ish look and feel to it. I was also surprised to see the battery holders placed between the two control boards. It can be a recipe for a disaster if batteries leak as there is nothing to protect the boards from damage.
I like having a lot of nice features in the radio. An internal antenna tuner is fast and works very well. DSP works very well too.
The radio is definitely no match for my base FTDX3000D radio, especially when it comes to receiver performance and RX audio. The Yaesu is a lot quieter and handles weak signals a lot better, especially when listening a few kilohertz above or below to a strong signal. I don't really intend to use the KX3 as a base station though.
I added optional aftermarket SideKX side panels with handles and a lexan cover for the front face, purchased from GEMS Products. It gives it a better look and added protection.
W4RQ Rating: 5/5 Feb 17, 2015 07:37 Send this review to a friend
A different look  Time owned: more than 12 months
The weakest point of this radio is Audio. The radio is made for headphones, Dont skimp here,, get a good set and do this radio justice. I chose Bose over-the-ear and am glad I did. The KX-3 receiver will match any QRO rig out there, so get a good pair of stereo headphones. I also built a Hard Rock 50 Amp which works seamlessly with the KX-3 for those times when QRP is inappropriate, and for running Digital modes. I also use the Win4K3Suite software, Altogether this makes an awesome package for RTTY & PSK31 as well as CW and SSB.
VE3FLT Rating: 5/5 Feb 12, 2015 06:55 Send this review to a friend
Excellent quality and performance!   Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Love Qrp and versatile portable operations. Also own a Elecraft K3 Yaseu FT 817, Ten Tec Argo V1.
The KX3 is a true delight to operate.
Elecraft is a model North American Company for Innovation, Customer Service, and Quality!
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