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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Elecraft KX1 Help

Reviews Summary for Elecraft KX1
Elecraft KX1 Reviews: 87 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $279
Description: A unique 3-band HF CW transceiver optimized for backbacking and lightweight travel; only 9 oz., 1.3"H x 5.2"W x 3"D. Includes DDS VFO, internal battery, optional internal automatic antenna tuner, plug-in keyer paddle. Covers entire 20/30/30 m ham bands (30 m optional), plus SWL segments.
Product is in production.
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AI5RB Rating: 5/5 Feb 15, 2007 02:24 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This rig was fun to build. All parts were included and the fit-and-finish is perfect. The assembly instructions were very clear.
Magnifying glasses are a must to read component values and inspect the PCB. The step-by-step approach allows construction of one section and testing - just using a DMM. I used a fine-tipped ESD-safe temperature controlled iron with thin solder, as recommended, and had no prblems. Toroid wnding and stripping is also easy.
I assembled the basic unit and made an instant contact the first try! Then, I added the ATU, and then the 30/80M unit. My initial output with the 30/80M unit was very low, but I discovered a toroid lead that was shorting against a pad (it's a tight fit in there). After adjusting the position, the rig fired up fine.
The accessory paddles feel nice and are easy to use, too.
In summary, a very well designed kit, easy to build, and works great!
WA6RSV Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2007 01:43 Send this review to a friend
Impressive  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well I just finished a QSO with FO/N6JA on 40 meters at 0135 PST using the KX1 at max power (4w)and a High Sierra motorized antenna on the a 449.(4100 miles on 4 watts on 40 meters)

I look at this little rig and I can't believe that someone with mediocre building skills such as myself was able to build it plus the antenna tuner and the 30/80 mod and then make it work.

What can I say..their manual took me by the hand and their emails were prompt and curteous.

N4BGR Rating: 5/5 Nov 5, 2006 04:21 Send this review to a friend
Ditto & Kudos  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Ditto to everything said. This is one that QRO types would enjoy. An easy build, setup is a snap, menus are intuitive, manual gets 2 thumbs up and QSOs are fun. I take mine to the park about a block away and kids are curious...yes, the KX1 is an ambassador for ham radio. Recently took it to JOTA (scout jamboree on the air) and used it as a tool to teach morse code. Code is not dead, folks and this little rig is here to stay!
AE6CP Rating: 5/5 Sep 10, 2006 17:42 Send this review to a friend
Another awesome K-Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built one with the tuner, 30 meter option and paddles. It worked perfectly the first time and is amazingly small. I have one of those little yellow waterproof pelican cases and inside that I can fit the radio with lithium batteries, the paddles, laminated quick reference cards, a small notepad, pen, BNC to bannana adapter, a 41 foot piece of wire and a 16.5 foot piece of wire, a set of earbuds, a small pocket knife, a roll of fishing line and an aux power cord with power pole connector. The whole box is about 7"x4"x2.5". An entire station in a box!!!
Thanks again Elecraft!
-Larry AD5VM
NZ0R Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2006 11:44 Send this review to a friend
Fun project; great radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm not a backpacker and really have no need for an ultraportable transceiver. But I have already built a K1 and K2/100 and was looking for another project.

The kit went together easily. It has a taste of everything you'd do to build a more complex radio like the K2 but in smaller doses. It helped to have built the K1 and K2 but not in any major ways. For example I knew to look ahead and find the torroids and transformers and go ahead and wind those when I had a few minutes.

I've been surprised at how much fun it's been to use this radio. The integrated paddle is a little quirky but once you get it set up it's quite nice. When it's screwed in tight I like it as well as the $400 hand-crafted March paddle I use with the K2. Recalling the frequency you're on takes some getting used to. Since it's only a 3-digit display it takes a button push to get it to tell you the full frequency.

The KX1 is a nice project for someone new to Elecraft kits or someone who's built a K2 and is just looking for something to keep the bench busy.
W7AAR Rating: 5/5 Apr 13, 2006 13:42 Send this review to a friend
The little rig that could...  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Would simply second the preceding positive comments. Was listening to a Russian station the other night on 20 with the KX1. Switched the antenna to my new Mark V Field for a side by side and could not hear him. The Field is a complex machine and I may have had something set wrong but the KX1 has all the receiver I need. Noise level seems way less than the Mark V. Amazing rig and fun to build. QRP really can be a way of life.
IW0GXY Rating: 5/5 Feb 25, 2006 14:31 Send this review to a friend
incredible rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got mine in 10 days after order. I didn't expected so early tought i choose the cheaper delivery to Italy (50 bucks). Well after i started to assemble strictly following the manual. I took 2 days of work to build it with 30mt and ATU options. Well it works well since i turned it on the first time. I'm not a kit builder and it's long time i didn't built a kit. Anyway, this was the first surprise. The second didn't last to come. I prepared an "emergency" antenna using a roll-on portable receive only antenna (that one that usually come with receiver like Sangean or sony) cutting the original 3.5mm plug and soldering the BNC. I tried last evening to listen and I was amazed of clear and loud signals i could get on the low bands. Today then I unrolled the antenna between the tents holder in my living room and a bookshelf 4 meters away. Well, I tried to answer to calls and unexpectedly i got response from UU5,LY2 and DA0 on 20 and 30mt (between 1100 to 1700 kms away). Uhu, I was feeding it with 6 fresh NiMh Batteries. What can I tell you more. I'm very happy with this little piece of rig and I'm amazed of good reception even tought a piece of wire is connected.
DL6XAZ Rating: 5/5 Dec 7, 2005 08:50 Send this review to a friend
Excellent little radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am not a trecker, backpack addict or similar, but I wanted a pocket size cw transceiver for whenever I stop with the "best of all wives" at some scenic place, throw a wire into the landscape and play ham radio. The FT-817 has got its role for holiday, but this one is absolutely stunning in performance, ergonomics and design, just right for what I wanted it. I love it and do not regret anything except that I did not get it earlier. Elecraft: my sincere compliments.
NI0C Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2005 09:59 Send this review to a friend
The most ham fun per pound!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It took a while for the appeal of this radio to grow on me. When I discovered that the KX1 offers a complete QRP CW HF station in a pacakge that I can take literally anywhere with me, I downloaded the assembly manual for serious evaluation.

After determining that I had the tools and skills to assemble the radio, I placed my order and the kit arrived within three days. By working a couple of hours each evening at the dining room table, I managed to complete the basic KX1 in about ten days. Within three more days, I completed the automatic antenna tuner and keyer paddle. I'm putting off the 30M module for a while, just because I'm having so much fun with the radio that I don't want to take the PCB out of its case just yet.

I purchased a Pelican 1120 case for the KX1, and my plan was to pack the rig away until I go on vacation. However, I'm discovering that QRP CW is a blast, especially making two-way QRP contacts.

The assembly and operating instructions are superb, and by carefully following the instructions and checking my work, my unit worked flawlessly upon completion. The assembly instructions have been meticulously planned so as to minimize the chances of damaging components with one's soldering iron.

The KX1 is truly a great engineering accomplishment-- a complete 2-3 band HF CW radio, complete with an internal auto-tuner, keyer and paddles-- and power source in a small package weighing less than a pound!

I'd recommend this radio to any ham who enjoys CW, and the kit to anyone who's comfortable soldering small components on a PCB.
W6CJ Rating: 5/5 Aug 19, 2005 17:34 Send this review to a friend
Finally- a truly portable QRP radio that also works  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been waiting a long while for someone to design a travel-friendly/trail-friendly/stealth QRP-CW portable transceiver that also works. Let me explain. I've built an HW8, HW9, and other QRP-CW transceiver projects I hoped would fulfill my requirements. None measured up. The radios were too bulky; required too many peripherals; unstable; numb; required mods just to make them work; or were "cute" or theme radio kits and not communications equipment. I'd considered an FT817ND or IC703+ but too large and complex for my travel needs, plus I prefer to travel light and leave the microphone behind.

I thought the initial cost of the KX-1, 30-meter module, key and internal ATU was expensive- But seeing the quality of the manual and the product resolved any buyer's remorse. When you purchase an Elecraft kit, you also have access to very professional people (not a call center) who will help you with your kit.

You can read the specs on the Elecraft website. The variable bandwidth crystal filter, 600 Hz offset and adjustable (freq and volume) sidetone make the KX-1 a much better player on receive than my IC728 and IC735; their piercing 800 Hz note and their "CW narrow" filters. The transmitter is stable and clean. The tuner will load several lengths of random- or long-wire antenna over all three bands.

In my KX-1 I had a slight problem of low power output for given internal or external battery voltages. Gary at Elecraft's tech help gave me helpful suggestions for adjusting the windings in the PA filter and provided a "mod"; a change of two resistors in the PA to bring up power closer to 4 or 5 watts (the absolute max for the KX-1).

On internal battery and about 1.5 watts into an AC 1.8-30 antenna (a broadband QRO wire antenna)I worked a few stations stateside and also bagged the "Fox" in a QRP "fox hunt" radio contest. Though new to squeeze keys, I am adapting to Elecrafts KXPD-1 paddle key. If you want speaker audio, a pair of amplified computer speakers will do the job; Elecraft says the KX-1 works best with earbuds.

My suggestions for building the KX-1 are to get a good temp-controlled soldering station, lighting, optics and all of the assembly and ESD tools you think you will need before starting. Take your time and assemble a little of your KX-1 in each session.

A few suggestions for Elecraft- I hope there will be a "KX-2". I'd like to see the same KX-1 design but with the addition of 80 meters.. possibly even 17 and 15 meters. Not sure how to keep the size the same with 80-meter PA filter and ATU additions.

This radio is going into a Pelican case and then into my briefcase!


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