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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Elecraft K3 Help

Reviews Summary for Elecraft K3
Elecraft K3 Reviews: 209 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $1,399
Description: ELECRAFT K3 Transceiver
High Performance 160-6 Meters 100 W
Dual 32bit DSP, "switched mode mixer"
Factory Assembled or No-Soldering Kit
160-6 meter ham-band coverage; optional general-coverage filters
High-contrast, full-custom LCD with with alphanumeric text display
100-W or 10-W (upgradeable) models
32-bit I.F. DSP
Rich I/O complement (see rear-panel drawing above)
All modes: SSB, CW, Data, AM, FM
Built-in PSK/TTY decode/encode allows data mode operation with or without a PC use CW keyer paddle to send PSK/TTY too!
High performance DDS/PLL Synthesizer with TCXO reference
Product is in production.
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M0ZMX Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2014 20:07 Send this review to a friend
The best so far  Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased direct from Elecraft,, great company with customer support second to none..

Never missed a beat,, Able to resolve signals that other units just can't do.... Owned for two years and haven't even looked at another radio.
Receiver is spot on and keeps on amazing me day after day after day...

Previous radio yaesu FTDX-9000D
Would not swap back if a gun was held to my head ...

Well done Elecraft, my money is with you.. thank you so much for a great product and support.

Mark (m0zmx).

VE6AMI Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2013 20:04 Send this review to a friend
What Makes A Top 3 Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Decided to semi-retire the Yaesu FT-1000D about a year ago. Moving from analog to digital, sounds simple right! What a curve.

So many radio's and so many opinions.... here's my list.

a) Knobs & dials for local operation & software driven for remote Ops.

b) Portable and airline carry on friendly, not a 60 lb. unit like my FT-1000.

c) Solid I.F. signal output for programs like "CW Skimmer" etc. for contesting.

d) Multiple antenna inputs including one "receive only" for beverages.

e) Rangeable to 100 watts output with 100% duty cycle in digital modes with crystal filters as needed.

f) Two independant receivers with equal options for diversity operation.

g) Basic cost range in $5000 area.

h) Separate power supply - both AC / DC feeds.

i) Internal tuner with ability to correct a 8-1 mismatch.

j) A solid user support group via Internet.

In the end, I had spent time on 8 different radios. What became obvious is the top 5 units had each specialized in a different way, for a somewhat different market. My new radio, a K3 (#7843) was a kit. Assembly and operation was a breeze, and I am very happy.

Good luck on your radio choice - mine is over....

NK8A Rating: 5/5 Dec 28, 2013 12:45 Send this review to a friend
Makes CW more interesting  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is my second review because it took me time to learn about the K3.I didn't operate my K3 for the amount of time I would have liked to when I first got it due to work and home responsibilities. But now that I am retired I have learned a lot about this radio.I am mainly a CW Op,and the features for this mode on the K3 are great.I have had other rigs that were good for cw but not like the K3. The size of this radio is easy to work with for me. It all depends on the person...Just my opinion.
AD9DX Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2013 15:23 Send this review to a friend
Head and shoulders above the rest  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have been a ham since I was a kid and have over the years tried a lot of different radios. What the K3 does better than anything else is give you a chance to work the ones that are either buried in the mud or the weak ones adjacent to very strong signals.

The K3 will not ever win a beauty contest or be hailed the ergonomic champion of the world. It also has noisy RX if you don't learn what settings to play with. Also the RX does not sound as smooth as a Kenwood. These are things you learn to live with or you sell the rig... It is like a Ferrari F40, you deal with a few less creature comforts to go really fast. Same is true with the K3, you get a bit more noise and "harsh" audio but selectivity is second to none.

Another big plus for me is since I don't have a ton of money to spend on ham radio, I can buy bits and pieces I feel I need as time goes along. Things like a digital voice recorder and 10mHz input that I'll never use never have to be added. Trust me just because a radio has options as standard, does not mean you are not paying for them. Meaningful things for me like exceptionally narrow roofing filters IF out and an antenna tuner can be purchased when money is available. This means I can have a world class radio on a working man's budget.

The other big plus of the K3 is the customer service. If you ever do have an issue with your rig, Elecraft will bend over backwards to make sure you are satisfied and you K3 is up and running.

Finally if you are someone who likes to try rigs and then sell them to try something different. Elecraft radios seem to hold their value better than anything on the market.
W0LD Rating: 5/5 Dec 18, 2013 16:50 Send this review to a friend
Excellent 6 meter radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought the K3 because I needed a radio that could handle a high noise environment at 50 Mhz. Since extremely long haul DX on 6 meters is extremely weak signal, a radio that could compensate for high noise levels was needed. The K3 has superb noise reduction and noise blanking capability.

I must comment on the service from Elecraft, it is unequaled! When I faced problems I phoned the service department and received step-by-step guidance on the phone.

Coupled with the P3 pan adapter, this is the ultimate radio.
W4KA Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2013 10:26 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own the K3 elecraft. I have owned Yaesu, Kenwood, Icom, Ten-Tec, even Hallicrafters and the K3 tops them all. It has excellent receive compared to the other rigs, some were close. CW weak signal is a breeze with the APF. I just received the KX3 QRP rig and the receive is better than the K3, what's up Elecraft? I kid you not it is awesome. I use to change rigs every 2-3 years but have owned the K3 4 years and no plans to change it. Service has been exceptional for me also. I enjoy pulling out the weak signal cw and the K3 does a wonderful job.
OD5ZZ Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2013 07:52 Send this review to a friend
Great experience  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased a second hand , early version of the Elecraft K3/10 , serial number in the low 3 digits , simply there was no extras in it , I wrote to Elecraft and the technical assistance was great , I was told what do I need to add to the existing rig in order to upgraded it to the present K3/100 , and what a difference it made adding the modifications that the technical guys at Elecraft suggested , the audio have changed , I am sure some of you have worked my station at times I get very weak stations and I wonder how would I be able to copy the station but the K3 have never let me down the sound comes out of the noise amazingly clear and the SSB sounds like an FM signal , some of those stations I would have never worked before.
K3 is a great rig, upgradable hardware and firmware , the technical assistance is great , I highly recommend it for DX'ing , I have many rigs from different brands none comes close to the reception and audio of the K3, they are all in storage now , only the K3 is still in the shack.
N0CN Rating: 4/5 Dec 14, 2013 18:03 Send this review to a friend
Needs big improvement in RX audio  Time owned: months
The receive audio in the K3 is the worst I have heard in my 57 years of being licensed. The audio is harsh and tinny. I have tried working with the RX EQ and using different speakers. I did not find any improvement. I know this subject has been beaten to death, there is a lot of background noise that annoys me. I have played with the AGC slope and threshold but find no improvement. I purchased the K3, KPA500, and K3/0 for operating remotely. The KPA500 is a real jewel. Most of the time I use my FT-1000 MP mark V. It is much easier on the ears and has a sweet sound. I can copy weak signals on the mark V that I can not hear on the K3 due to the noise. I will keep the FT-1000 MP mark v until it turns to dust.
The K3 will not win any prizes in the ergonomics arena but I can live with that. The receive audio and noise I can not live with. The radio will eventually find its way out the back door. I would give it a rating of 3 but the support from Elecraft is the best, and thus I am giving it 4.
KE2TR Rating: 3/5 Dec 13, 2013 07:23 Send this review to a friend
Good but needs work  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had a chance to get a K3 for about one month but that was all I could take. The selectivity on this rig is top shelf, with the right roofing filters its tight but after comparing it to a Yaesu FTDX3000 I find the RX to grade on you as far as received audio on the K3, sorry maybe after being in the audio biz for so long I am to picky but the K3 sounds harsh were the Yaesu sounds clean and I can use the FTDX3K for hours on end. During contest time I find little difference between the two rigs in the SSB mode on receive except for RX audio, they both can slice between stations that are 2Kc away and there DSP filters work very well but at no time did the K3 beat the FT3K. On CW the K3 had sharper roofing filters and I had not gotten the 300Hz roof for the Yaesu yet so that was not a fair compare but here again the CW note sounded cleaner on the Yaesu were the K3 was harsh. On transmit the Yaesu was far better, maybe its the way the whole audio chain is handled in dsp but here again the Yaesu was cleaner and there EQ did better than the K3, here again the Yaesu could be made to sound smooth and clean for ssb rag chews or tight and penetrating for ssb contests. Front panel layout and control flexibility the K3 I found horrible, way to many multi function controls and there menu's drive me nuts were the Yaesu did have menus but they were in plain text and most all controls were laid out for very easy operation. Some find the band scope on the Yaesu to small but I have had very little issue with it and its not grainy at all, I didn't have the K3 option on that but I am sure its better but the dam option cost allot and that is were I feel the K3 options you to death. After many who have told me that the K3 is a contesters/DX'ers dream well maybe if I had tin ears but I don't, now that I am older but in the late 90ies I owned and operated a very competitive contest station on LI,NY, I feel that I know what it takes in RX performance to be competitive and I feel the K3 is good but falls short and by the time you get all the options you need its not a cheap rig anymore cause they option you to death. Like the TS590 the K3 is way to small but at least the 590 front panel is laid out for easy control and its price/performance ratio is hard to beat(yes I owned a 590 for 9 months). I find between the three radio's the Yaesu is best in class and after a month I traded the K3 for something else, I might pick up another 590 if they ever get the alc overshoot issue resolved cause for traveling and its size its great but I am sorry the K3 was told to me as being tops , maybe on someone's lab bench but in real world use I find it comes up a little short. Looks wise the K3 is one of the ugly ones, the ole Heathkits looked better. For the money they charge this rig IMO need allot of extra work, there K2 was a much better rig when they first came to market but here again they optioned you to death and buy the time your done its not cheap. Way to many off us buy rigs cause were they end up on R. Sherwoods lab tests, I did that two times now and from now on go with QST reviews and playing with the rigs at my own QTH if I can or just buy the different rigs and do side by side comparo's, mind you maybe I could do only two radio's at a time but you get the idea.
NL7Y Rating: 5/5 Dec 12, 2013 20:03 Send this review to a friend
Best so far for me  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My recent purchase of another K3/P3 has convinced me it's the best so far. I've owned and operated most new rigs in the last 20 yrs. Of those I've owned I've kept the best: a MK-V Field, IC-765, TS-590, and now another K3 with P3 bandscope.

Why again the K3/P3? Like me it's matured as I've grown to appreciate the complexity, features, flexibility, and upgradeability. The product support from Elecraft is unmatched.

I recently went from a TS-990 to the K3, and while the 990 has a wonderful user interface with great entertainment value, I found it no better than the 590 on weak signal CW reception in my city environment.

In comparison, my K3 edges the 590 with weak signal recovery, but the 590 is still very competent. My old IC-765 is solid and dependable and still performs well in a pileup. The MK-V Field hybrid is very good, and if well filtered, holds its own.

73, Gary NL7Y
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