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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: 113 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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K2TPZ Rating: 5/5 Jan 23, 2014 08:29 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have three fantastic rigs: KX3, Ten Tec Eagle and Kenwood TS 590. They all rate a 5+. With that said, no is perfect. If I could only keep one of these rigs I would have a tough time deciding.

The Eagle has the best received audio of the three with the KX3 following close behind. The KX3 is the most flexible of the three to operate and the TS 590 is a pleasure to use overall. On the downside, the Eagle lacks some features I wish it had, the TS 590 is a little less quiet to listen to and the KX3 is just a little (and I mean just a very little) less easy to use.

All three are on a par when it comes to selectivity, sensitivity and satisfaction of use. In my 55 years in the hobby I have finally found three rigs that I would find it hard to part with.

I am not an avid DX chaser (although I have my share of DX) or contester. I am mostly a CW operator although I spend some time on SSB Nets. Any one of these rigs would be an excellent station. I am just very lucky and satisfied to be able to own all three rigs.
WV4M Rating: 5/5 Jan 1, 2014 05:48 Send this review to a friend
This is a great rig!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased one of these little beauties second hand from a ham in Arizona. It has the internal tuner, roofing filter option, internal battery holder and I added the CW paddles. I agree with another ham in this forum...this rig is too good for QRP. I have it connected to a Tokyo Hy-Power HL-450B, with 12 watts drive I am getting 125 to 195 watts output, depending on which bands. So essentially I have been using it as my main rig. The receiver with noise blanker and noise reduction are very good, better than my old IC-756 Pro III that I sold after getting this rig. I highly recommend this transceiver to anyone who wants something state of the art. Oh, I also enjoy the PSK31 built in - of course it helps to know morse code which is the input method.
DM2LI Rating: 3/5 Dec 28, 2013 07:56 Send this review to a friend
could be much better  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
after I bought the unit I was quite satisfied with the receiver and the operational functionallity , easy and quite simple to use
but after a while I noticed that the receiver produced havy crossmodulation on the 10 m band, moreover I had to experiance that the transmitter produced unwanted sideband transmission.
all over all the mechanical construction and the finish-off did not satisfy me at all, for such a rather high priced unit I do await much more quality, but I can not complain on the support and service by Elecraft at all.they do respond very quickly!
G0OTT Rating: 5/5 Dec 26, 2013 10:48 Send this review to a friend
Awesome in all area's  Time owned: more than 12 months
#588 rx'd on 4th July 2012.
An easy assembly job, giving you an appreciation of the complexity and condensing of such technology!
This is my favourite RX ever owned, my K2 FT990 and Perseus hardly get switched on these day's.
I'm used to working dx qrp on cw but this is my first experience on ssb.
qrp /p is just incredible with this rig and a 22 foot gp over salt water.
Used it at home for this years CQWW, had a ball.
Dont listen to one on earbud's or cans', you will have to re-evaluate what your listening to and probably get one!!!
Most fun and versatile rig I have owned.
Mainly cw with a bit of ssb,
Merry Xmas es HNY Darren g0ott
K4YAB Rating: 5/5 Dec 25, 2013 07:53 Send this review to a friend
Impressed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Lots of Menus but what Radio isn't these days.
The hardest part I had was figuring out was the Menu related to the FSK D and Psk, CW. I learned how to tune in CW Stations now for it to Decode them.
I know there is auto Decode Display Graph...I had more sucess Just manually tuning with the VFO Knob slowly.
I think this is an excellent radio for $899.95. I built mine.
W3WJ Rating: 5/5 Dec 25, 2013 02:27 Send this review to a friend
Monster in a Matchbox  Time owned: 6 to 12 months

This is arguably my favorite rig in more than three decades as a ham.

The receiver is beyond all reason. I recommend a strong chin strap to keep your jaw from slamming down on the desk.

I can close my eyes while listening, and it sounds as good as my (former) ICOM 7800.

I have worked the world, quite easily at times, with its QRP power, on both sideband and cw.

This is truly a little miracle.
K9TEN Rating: 5/5 Nov 18, 2013 00:45 Send this review to a friend
Too Good for QRP  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This review of the KX3 is to bring to light the radio is too good for QRP, unless you just have lot’s of money and want overkill for QRP. I am saying this in a positive light. I have been doing QRP for a short while but doing Portable HF for a lot longer and the KX3 for QRP is wasting most of the radios great features. I will explain from my point of view on this. This is only my take on using this great radio for QRP.
For QRP, you are trying to maximize your complete system set up for the most efficiency you can get out of the equipment. Shortest/best coax you can use. Most efficient antenna system you can erect or used in relation to your location, (Most QRP is done portable), all wires, coax, battery connections are soldered to reduce resistance and increase efficiency. And if you are lucky to be able to use a gain and/or directional antenna, then this will help to get the best effective radiating power out of your QRP watts.
When you hear a weak signal station (Using normal power or more and Home station set up), you are picking up a station that do to their effective radiation of RF, are heard about the frequencies noise floor, manmade noise or nearby frequency stations. Yes, good selectivity, Noise reduction is great for this situation but it also makes trying to contact them more difficult. They are a weak signal to you for several reasons that make it difficult if not impossible for them to hear you when you try to go back to them. You are only transmitting 10 to 3 watts (Less after it finally makes it as RF leaving the antenna system) and if they are not also QRP you are making up the difference in the needed conditions for a good QSO on their end, they have a better receiving antenna system, ideal condition (Home QTH), possibly a directional antenna with gain up at a optimal height. In short they need to make up for your short comings for the QSO to take place. And along with this your QRP signal has lots of competition.
I guess in short what I am saying that the KX3 has the ability to allow you to receive stations that will never hear you with QRP power and it adds to the frustration of making contacts- It’s a world class receiver and would be better put to use in a proper Ham Shack, or in a DX contest situation. Most contact that you will ever make QRP (Minus that few times, manmade noise, close adjacent HF station, or other Receiver trick the KX3 can handle) will be made with a strong station that allowing for the good conditions will hear your QRP signal too. For this you don’t need a world class receiver, just a good one.
I plan on taking my KX3, adding some watts to it (HF Amplifier) and placing it as a Main radio in my HF station where it’s excellent receiver, dynamic range, NR and selectivity can be properly used and appreciated. If I was rich, I would just buy another and have the best of two worlds but I want to get the most bang for my dollar, the KX3 is much much more that a QRP radio. Elecraft does not even label it as a “QRP” radio; neither does “Sherwood Engineering”. See where the “other” typical QRP rigs fall on the ratings, if they are even listed.
Elecraft out did themselves with the KX3, I have only used it at the beach two days here in Kuwait and have made contacts over 2000 miles away under less that favorable conditions (on 10 meters, Non resonant antenna and longer than needed coax). It is a learning curve doing QRP, you lean what works and keep improving your set up. I plan on improving on my set up, better coax, connections and the best antennas I can afford or build for QRP The KX3 is a fantastic radio for whatever you use it for but in the “Ham Shack” you will then really be able to experience how great a radio it really is to own. If you had to drive to work or compete in a professional race which car would you use, the $500,000 sports car are the gas economy compact car for each situation?

PA7CG Rating: 2/5 Nov 8, 2013 11:14 Send this review to a friend
Good for FIRST owners!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hello, I am Kees PA7CG and bought a used KX3 s/n 1868 via EBAY from a Mexican Ham.
I used it only for short time on 40 mtrs and sold it to a ham in my country.
Then it all started;
He found the 20/30 mtrs NOT working at all and randomly the KX3 did not power on.
after a lot of E mails to Elecraft it was told that they ONLY give warranty to the FIRST Owner, who ,s name is on the Invoice. So as a second or third owner there is NO Customer relationship.!!
He put it for repair at a well known guy, who did build a lot of K1, K2 ,K3 and KX1 and KX3 in the past,
He found thet there was a faulty 16 Mc Crystal wich caused the rig not to switch on randomly.
Also found 2 broken relays..
After paying 100 Dollar for a few parts including expensive shipping they where replaced.

The Random power on Problem was Solved by then. So Thank you Elecraft.
But, the 20/30 mtr still did not work.
After long investigation time it is now found that a Relay and Coil are Missing on the RF board ???
Elecraft Only wants to sell a new board for 838 US Dollar...... A new kit is 899, so that is ham spirit...
Thet tell my frien , they give ZERO garantee on the USED KX3 , wich never could be used on 20 and 30 meters..

So a unhappy customer in Europe...
BE AWARE. The KX3 is a Beautiful RIG, But be the FIRST owner...

73, kees PA7CG
W4DRH Rating: 5/5 Nov 7, 2013 21:42 Send this review to a friend
Love it!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Love it. I take it every where. I have a small harbor freight case that it fits in with my Signal Link and a few small acessaries. I use it frequently with a hamsticks in a diapole configuration - see my pictures on qrz.

Also I highly recommend the after market end plates and protective cover and the wonderful KX3 book by Fred Cady KE7X
VE4MM Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2013 18:56 Send this review to a friend
Amazing Receiver  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought one a few months back just to check it out.

I also have an ICOM IC7800 (since Jan 2005) and this little radio's receiver is on par with the ICOM.

For $1000, this is a great value.

Thumbs up!

Mike, VE4MM
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