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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Elecraft KX2 Help


Reviews Summary for Elecraft KX2
Elecraft KX2 Reviews: 34 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $749 Factory Assembled
Description: The KX2 is a pocket-sized SSB/CW/Data, 9-band, 10 watt
transceiver for portable, SOTA, hand-held, mobile, and home
use. State-of-the-art design provides the features of a
desktop radio in an extremely small, go-anywhere size. Also
ideal for first-time HF operators on a budget.

* 80-10 meters (+RX coverage of SWL bands and 160 m)
* SSB/CW/DATA modes
* 10 W PEP (100 W with KXPA100 amp)
* size: 1.5" x 2.8" x 5.8" (3.8 x 7 x 14.7 cm)
* weight: 13 oz. (0.35 kg)
* Current drain as low as 135 mA
* Li-ion internal battery option (11 V, 2.6 amp hours)
* Advanced DSP provides dual watch, noise reduction, noise
blanking,
autonotch, stereo audio effects, audio peaking filter
(APF)
* Software-defined radio (SDR) architecture for versatility
* Operates in data modes (PSK31/PSK63/RTTY) with or without
a PC
* Free firmware upgrades

Options:

Internal wide-range antenna tuner (KXAT2), internal Li-ion
battery (KXBT2) and matching external fast-charger charger
(KXBC2), attached precision keyer paddle (KXPD2), real-time-
clock with 2 aux outputs (KXIO2), MH3 compact hand mic with
UP/DN buttons, KXPA100/KXAT100 100-W amplifier and ATU.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.elecraft.com
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N7BAV Rating: 5/5 Oct 8, 2017 14:19 Send this review to a friend
New Firmware Is Huge Improvement  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this radio for over a year and have used it in the field and at home. The KX2 is a specialized QRP radio which really shines in the field. My principle complaint with the radio has always been the low audio output volume when using the speaker. Many of us don’t have the hearing we used to after years of exposure to noisy work environments and loud music. One advantage of these SDR radios is the ability of the manufacturer to write updated software. Well along comes Elecraft in Sept of 2017 with beta release firmware update 2.79 which fixes a whole range of minor issues with the radio. After downloading the update I find the audio volume output seems to have about doubled and the receiver seems more pleasing to the ear. If you own a KX2 you will be happy with all the improvements in this new firmware, what was a good radio is now a great radio.
 
GM1SXX Rating: 3/5 Sep 7, 2017 11:06 Send this review to a friend
Just OK.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had the KX2 now for just over a year and I still have very mixed feelings about it. What's good? The RX performance. It's excellent. The current consumption on RX is barely OK. So what's bad? Where do I start..... rubbish ergonomics, not even remotely water resistant, cheap plastic encoders used for all the rotary controls, Crappy cheap control knobs. The ergonomics are IMO a disaster. That HUGE display is a total waste of space and adds nothing. In fact it takes away useful space from the controls area. Almost everything is hidden in menus, As a result, you have two choices. #1 just use the non-menu stuff... or #2 learn to navigate through all the menu options. For me at least.... it needs help... and a lot of it. I also have a Yaesu FT817. much easier to use and although the RX is VERY greedy, it's a better outdoor radio if you live in a rainy country, like me. Did I mention that it has a decent receiver?
 
AB5IE Rating: 5/5 Aug 25, 2017 11:19 Send this review to a friend
Works well ... could use some changes  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I could be snarky and rate this radio slightly lower, but because it is such a great performer I had to give it a "5". More about this:

Elecraft had a "deal" on these this month, so I went crazy and purchased TWO of these, sight unseen, based on the manufacturer's reputation and great reviews and I love the built-in digital modes. I have no regrets ... they work quite well and are easy to use (after a couple of hours in the manual). They compliment my other low power radios, including an FT-817. Much easier to use than the 817, with a big display and all the controls are up front. The internal transmatch or "antenna tuner" will tune everything from an open coax to a nail ... as a matter of fact, it tuned a match for 75 feet of RG8-U that accidentally had the other end unconnected. The receiver is excellent and really shines under crowded, crappy conditions.

Multiple small beefs with this radio is that is seems flimsy and unsuitable for real rough outdoors activities with too many holes in the case for stuff to get inside. In addition, the plastic covering the display needs a gasket and more fasteners to hold it flat. The main tuning knob wobbles and is light weight. I'd also like for the internal battery pack to be rechargeable without having to remove it. For the price, Elecraft should have embedded a roofing filter (it's just some op-amps).

What I would like to see is a KX4 that is simply a nice, water tight, rugged die-cast box with an antenna, USB and power port. This would connect to your iPad, tablet or whatever for all the control and display functions. That is, kind of a Flex 1500 concept, but with all the heavy lifting in the radio box and all in a tough enclosure.

All in all, I love these little transceivers from Elecraft, they work like a million dollars for my casual portable operation.
 
VE3HG Rating: 5/5 Aug 24, 2017 08:20 Send this review to a friend
QRP Contesting   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I love QRP contesting with my Flex 1500. I've got a bunch of QRP rigs (NorCals, LNR Mountain Topper) plus I use my Flex 3000 at 5 watts only resorting to 100 watts when no one can hear me due to rotten conditions. Having said that I bought the KX-2 after trying one at Field Day this year and it's now my main QRP contesting rig. Sherwood rates the receiver very well for contesting and has it just under the Flex 1500 which is an excellent contest-quality QRP rig. With built-in 8-hour battery (and the ability to easily be powered by any external 12-volt source); excellent fast auto-tuner; CW and voice memory keyer; RIT; dual-watch receive; QSK; VOX; decent filtering; and the amazing ability to transmit and decode CW, PSK-31 and RTTY internally what's not to like? In a quiet shack the built-in speaker works fine and the rig sounds great in headphones. SSB reports so far have been universally excellent with the optional hand mic. And Elecraft support got back to me via email in three hours after I mysteriously managed to change the default LSB on 40 to USB. If there is a challenge it's the multi-layered menus which take a day or two of operating to figure out. Yes you can get on the air without reading the manual right out of the box but you do not want surprises from your rig when contesting at 2 am and you push the wrong button. Trust me on this as a Flex owner :) Yes the KX-3 has a better front-end but you can't carry it in your jacket pocket! Not that you'd use it very often when contesting but the noise reduction and noise blanker work very well. Now to start buying the accessories I need to contest effortlessly with the KX-s (headphone/mic set; logging and digital interface; CW paddles (although you can buy attachable paddles from Elecraft I'm using ZN-QRP paddles which are excellent) and a tilt-up stand and I'm sure I'll find more stuff online. All in all a great QRP contesting rig that fits in your coat pocket.
 
G4PWO Rating: 5/5 Aug 3, 2017 12:38 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've been using my KX2 as my main rig since getting back into ham radio at the end of last year, it has incredible performance and feature set for it's tiny size. Combined with a linear amplifier it gave me all the features and performance I needed to make 1,000's of QSOs and run some very big pile-ups in my recent trip to the Maldives as 8Q7PW.

In comparison with the KX3 (which I have also just bought) the KX2 is the better portable rig, apart from being smaller and lighter, the internal battery arrangements are superior, unlike the KX3 the KX2 can transmit at full power for quite a few hours on it's small internal battery.

The KX3 does however benefit from some extra features I found myself wanting such as IQ outputs, top band, the 6m band and the possibility of adding a 2m transverter. The KX3 also has a better receiver - the two receivers are compared here: http://www.remeeus.eu/hamradio/pa1hr/productreview.pdf and also here http://www.sherweng.com/table.html

In both cases, the receiver is a direct conversion design, a downside of this is somewhat poor opposite sideband rejection (only around 60dB) which I personally find a reasonable trade-off for the small size and low power consumption the architecture allows, and in all other respects the performance of this receiver design is very good.

 
F4HPX Rating: 5/5 Jul 2, 2017 15:09 Send this review to a friend
Great SOTA on Indian Ocean   Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Finally had a chance to play with KX2 in real SOTA conditions.
Activated two summits in FR/RE land and these were first activations ever done on Reunion Island.
I was working SSB only so was thinking about having little bit more power in case of.
KX2 got a company of small Chinese amp from eBay.
3W out of KX2 from internal Li-Ion battery and 30W out of amp (from acid lead 12V 7AH battery) into an endfed antenna from HyEnd in Netherlands (inverted V on 10m long telescopic pole). The duo was winning as I made 11 QSOs with Japan on 15m band (10.000 kms) with good reports (usually 57).

The receiver was great but I preferred to work with headphones rather than internal speaker.

Looking forward for future activations.

73 Thomas
 
N2QGV Rating: 5/5 Jul 2, 2017 02:32 Send this review to a friend
What a neat little rig..  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
# 1910 arrived two weeks ago. I have had several FT-817's and currently own an IC-703+ (original owner) to compare the KX2 against. Pretty steep learning curve for this radio, but after a day or so operating it is becoming more natural for me as I begin to understand Elecraft thinking and layout. This little rig is the "Bomb".
 
N5GDM Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2017 13:23 Send this review to a friend
I am in Love!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got my new KX2 last week and I cannot put it down. Have started carrying with me in my backpack to work and looking for QSOs on my lunch break. I am just beginning to see al that it can do and am so excited to do park benchtop SSB and digital modes (JT65, JT9, WSPR). It is everything the manufacturer says it is. I am planning to revive my CW and PSK. If you are looking for a renewed passion in a small package, this one is for you! Worth every penny.
 
N2DTS Rating: 5/5 Mar 7, 2017 17:46 Send this review to a friend
Great!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a quick initial review by a casual operator who does more listening then transmitting.
I got just the radio, no options yet.
It came with a free hand microphone.
It has the usual compressed Elecraft button/knob/menu setup, but that is to be expected on such a small package. The major stuff is easy to get at and adjust.
The receiver seems to be very quiet, the built in speaker is not bad, it goes quite loud, but the radio really sounds great in headphones.
I made an 80 meter contact on AM with 2 watts carrier out with someone 800 miles away and was 10 over S9, and got good audio reports.
Their audio sounded great in the headphones.

CW operation seems to be all you could ask for, the CW decode works quite well, the amount of letters you get on the screen is small, but the decode works quite well.
Filters are nice, tone is nice, nothing bad about the CW at all.
I set the program function button up as the RF gain, that works out very well.

Another vote to put the mic gain in a menu and not the knob, its not something you would need to change.
One small glitch sort of, the monitor in phone modes operates all the time if enabled, fine when using headphones, feedback with the speaker, but there is likely no way for the radio to know if the headphones are in use or not.
The monitor has a slight delay, but not enough to cause problems, and it sounds good.

Amazing performance in such a small package.
It IS expensive I suppose, but its not a mass produced radio and Elecraft is a small US company that only makes ham gear.
Nice people making nice stuff and they deserve to make a good living.

This COULD be someones only radio, maybe add an amplifier at home, its not missing anything important for HF use...
 
NI0C Rating: 5/5 Jan 1, 2017 21:04 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful-- for travel and home use   Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I’ve used Elecraft’s KX1's for about 10 years now, almost exclusively for portable QRP operations. These worked well, but often I found myself needing more power than the available 2-4 watts, especially when using very compromised antennas.

So I purchased the KX2 in August 2016, shortly after they become available. Although roughly the same size as the KX1, it is a multi-mode radio that covers all the bands 80-10 meters, with up to 10 watts output. The receiver has virtually all of the features of my K3, including DSP filtering, NR, NB, APF, and split mode, plus something my single receiver K3 does not have– dual watch.

Although I purchased the KX2 for occasional use on vacation trips, I find myself operating it a lot from home. In fact, it has now completely replaced my trusty K2-10 as the QRP rig in my shack. I like using the dual watch feature– listening to both sides of a pile up using stereo headphones. Both the AGC characteristics and the APF (Audio Peak Filter for CW) sound better on the KX2 than on my K3.

Back in October, I took the KX2 along on a trip to EU, and operated from several hotels using a short (15-22 ft.) wire antenna and counterpoise. The ATU did a good job of matching my antenna on 7 MHz and higher. Propagation conditions were generally poor during this trip, but one afternoon, I caught a good opening on 12m and managed to work a couple of US stations from Portugal, running only 9 watts.

In November, I used the KX2 in a 5 watt QRP ARRL CW Sweepstakes effort. Although the rig does not use a roofing filter, I dialed in sufficient attenuation using the RF gain menu setup to enjoy the contest.

At home, my DC power supply is set to 14.2 volts, and on trips I use either the optional Elecraft internal Lithium battery or a similar external Lithium battery that I purchased from Amazon. The Elecraft charger is bulky and the battery must be removed for charging. Since I typically use short duty cycle CW transmissions, usually with the KX2 power dialed down to the 5 watt QRP level, I have not experienced the excessive temperature rises reported by others.

This radio is packed with features, but housed in a small package, with multi-function controls, so it takes some getting used to. The programmable function key is worth its weight in gold– I wish there were one or two more. I use mine to turn the dual watch feature on and off..

I did not purchase the optional Elecraft keyer paddles– I don’t like the looks or feel of them. My N3ZN Mini-Mite paddles and spare battery fit nicely in the Pelican 1170 case that I use for my KX2.
 
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