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Reviews Categories | Specialized Amateur Communication Products | Elecraft P3 Panadapter Help


Reviews Summary for Elecraft P3 Panadapter
Elecraft P3 Panadapter Reviews: 44 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $699.95 kit, 749.95 assembled
Description: The new Elecraft P3 Panadapter display adds a visual dimension to signal hunting with fast real time spectrum and waterfall displays of band activity. The P3 offers superior sensitivity and DSP processing, giving you the ability to see signals down to the K3's noise floor. The P3 can also be used with any other radio that provides an IF output of 455 kHz to 21.7 MHz.
P3 features:
  • High-resolution, full-color LCD
  • Fast, real-time spectrum and waterfall displays
  • Excellent sensitivity and advanced 32-bit signal processing
  • Simple, 5-minute plug-in integration with the K3; no PC needed
  • 200 kHz max. span; 2 kHz min. span (wider spans with future f/w update)
  • Point and click by tapping "select" knob to move K3 to desired signals
  • Cursors show K3's VFO A and VFO B locations and main/sub RX bandwidth
  • Multi-pass signal averaging mode shows weaker signals, averaging out noise
  • Peak detection mode to show total activity on the band
  • User calibration of display to show absolute signal level in dBm
  • Programmable function keys for both P3 and K3 commands
  • Programmable IF input (455 kHz to 21.7 MHz) for use with other transceivers
  • Supplied software utility can send screen captures to a PC
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.elecraft.com/P3/p3.htm
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VE4AMN Rating: 5/5 Jul 16, 2014 09:11 Send this review to a friend
New experience  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have never owned a radio with panadapter capability, so I have no standard of comparison. It has opened a new dimension of operating. With a little experience, it is easy to identify signals and use the markers to change frequency, then pounce on the signal. The integration with the K3 is seamless and it is fascinating to narrow the bandwidth, watching the display marker narrow as one slices away the interference. This is very powerful in cw. Great piece of gear and worked immediately. Minor quibble - would have appreciated a Y RCA splitter so that I can use both the 6m pre-amp and the panadapter from the K3 power outlet. Oh well... time to be a real ham and make one up!
 
N1UW Rating: 4/5 Mar 16, 2014 20:22 Send this review to a friend
Almost Perfect  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have used the P3 with my K3 for almost a year and with HRD 6.1 for several months. I find no filtering or command conflicts with the K3, the P3 and HRD. They all play together flawlessly. Whatever problems earlier reviewers may have had with this combination, I cannot duplicate them now.

Immediately before I owned the K3, I owned an Icom IC-7600 and before that a Flex 5000. The panadapters on the 7600 and all other bigger-box radios are a joke so there is so sense comparing them in this review. The panadapter in the Flex 5000 was incomparable. The main benefit of the 5000 panadapter over the P3 was the point-and-shoot feature.

Having said that, I can say that going from a radio with a real-time panadapter to one without is like losing one's eyesight on the air. The difference between efficiently seeing what is happening on a band and moving from station to station compared to blindly twiddling the dial around looking for signals is staggering.

For a number of reasons I switched to the K3 and bought the P3 without hesitation. It does not have the point-and-shoot operation with a mouse that I miss but that is likely to change soon. (Hopefully at Dayton 2014.) It may not have the band edge-to-edge capability that the 5000 has but, really, if I am working CW on the low end of 20M, I really don't care what is happening at 14.345 MHz. It really does well what I am focused on at any given time.

Although it does not have the point-and-shoot capability that I miss (yet), it does have an interesting ability to listen to one QSO while tuning around the band with VFO B as indicated by a second marker on the display. It is cool to move the magenta marker down to another signal and sample it with the push of a button and either stay there or immediately move back to VFO A without disturbing any settings.

This is extraordinarily helpful in pile-ups and/or split frequency dx operations where you can discreetly move your transmit VFO to a currently transmitting station (you can see he is the only "blip" where there were many before) while still listening to the target (DX) station. If you have to decide to spend your money on a second receiver or the P3...buy the P3.

I am old and my eyesight is not what is used to be. I bought the P3 with the SVGA adapter and, whatever your age or whatever your eyesight is, I strongly urge that you get the SVGA adapter with the P3. It is a killer combination.

 
M0TRN Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2014 00:51 Send this review to a friend
A great DX tool for the K3  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought the P3 + SVGA having read the reviews here and knowing about its limitations compared to a SDR+computer panadapter solution, in terms of FFT speed and flexibility. But, as I had expected, having a dedicated tool paid off.

It's very well integrated with the K3, the controls are simple and quick to use once you learn them, and the sensitivity of the panadapter display is simply great - I can see signals I can't hear.

The FFT update speed on very narrow spans on the SVGA isn't ultra fast, but everything shows up and it doesn't cause any problems for me.

It's an incredible help in a pile-up, and also when searching a quiet band for signals. I couldn't live without this now, I used to have a hoembrew solution with a SoftRock IF, 192 kHz sound card, Linux PC, and Quisk, but I have to say I very rarely bothered to fire it up in practice. Now I always have panadapter display and I use it constantly.

The unit looks great next to my K3 and KPA500. I use an old 14" 1024x768 TFT monitor as well, which is more than adequate.

Highly recommended.
 
K6JEY Rating: 5/5 Oct 17, 2013 22:20 Send this review to a friend
Great Panadaptor  Time owned: more than 12 months
When you think about getting a P3, I think you need to decide on whether you need an SDR radio on the IF port or the P3. I have had both for about a year. They both do different things on purpose. As a DX'er, I wouldn't be without a P3. It makes split operation a breeze and gives you an advantage a second receiver alone doesn't give you. The limited control of the P3 is there on purpose- to keep you out of trouble. It is maximized to give you the information you need for DXing. I have used the VGA card, but prefer the original when I am contesting. I use N1MM logger and the total combination is excellent. For what it is designed it is excellent. I have no hesitation in recommending it.
 
K9TWO Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2013 17:44 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought my P3 to use with my Yaesu FTDX-3000. That rig has a panadapter but much to small.
The P3 works great. No it's not like a 21 inch monitor, but I did not want one that big. I have limited desk space because I have a lot of rigs and I need room to play with them. Plug and play.
Set the IF frequency on the menu, plugged a patch cord from the P3 to my FTDX and away it went. It also works much better than my Icom 7600
panadapter.

I have been reading some chatter on the sensitivity of the P3 vs other gear and I would like to say it will display signals one inch tall that can be barely heard. I connected my IFR-1200S service monitor to the FTDX-3000, injected a .15 uv signal and observed an inch tall signal. I think anyone that believes it has poor sensitivity may have theirs set up wrong.

It will not do everything it does with the K3, but I am not using it with a K3. I don't care about all the fancy point and click stuff so it's just fine with me. Great addition to the FTDX-3000. Of course it takes some time learning how to operate it and what you are looking at.
I had no problems because I work with a commercial spectrum analyzer for a living.

73 K9TWO
 
AB9TX Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2013 13:33 Send this review to a friend
QSY!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After a year with the K3 decided to buy this great "option" for my radio. After looking at the panadapters built in to other rigs, other than the new Kenwood- they all appeared to be eye candy, as others have described- having the waterfall split screen in real time detecting signals right down to the K3's noise floor is a large advantage detecting those weak dx signals.
I find I most like the qsy function, zipping around the band with one push on the knob.
I think I would like 400khz of display, but not complaining.
Not haveing to tie up my PC with I/O boxes, and software- leaving extra cpu power for other important fuctions is great to have. If the power goes out I can run the P3 on DC along with the K3.
Well worth the money- nice job Elecraft.

Earl
AB9TX
 
KF1C Rating: 5/5 Apr 4, 2013 13:52 Send this review to a friend
P3 review  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Don't listen to the 1 or 2 out of 5'vers. They are obviously spoiled and no doubt have 12x12 radio rooms filled with gear. Its perfect for what its intended purpose is (finding dx) . I have no idea why you would buy one of these for another purpose. Integrates to the K3 perfectly.Its the perfect pan adapter for the majority of us with 1 desk to fill up.
 
W6LAX Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2012 10:14 Send this review to a friend
Has become center of my station  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the P3 on impulse while I was ordering the K3 kit about a year ago; I immediately experienced “buyer’s remorse” for having spent a couple of hundred bucks on what I assumed would be a not very useful piece of “eye candy”.

However, the P3 quickly and surprisingly became a central part of my operating. Now I can see my way through pile-ups - for example, easily spotting where the last station called as well as open spots between signals. The result is that I am breaking pile-ups more quickly, and more often not going QRO. It allows me to spot scattered stations on the band, quickly pouncing on CQ’s, and it makes tuning RTTY much easier.

For me, the size of the P3 is just right, although I know many people are sold on the external monitor options.

The P3 turned out to be a great purchase.
 
NO9E Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2012 04:28 Send this review to a friend
Useful and reliable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I used SDR-IQ as a panadapter. Pretty good with amazing NB but too many software crashes. So unsuitable for contests.

P3 never crashes and does not need computer for operations. Fast changes via buttons and knobs.

P3 became indispensable for me in contesting. First to identify and adjust the run frequency. Second for spotting weak signals. With 2 KHz span in CW, one can see more than one can hear.

The only feature that I am missing from SDR-IQ is NB.
 
W1NEJ Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2012 07:08 Send this review to a friend
New Firmware Reinvents P3  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This review is for the P3 with the P3SVGA option when used with a K3 transceiver.

The most recent firmware makes a lot of the (few) negative reviews below incorrect, and adds data capabilities.

I really like the ability to operate RTTY/PSK31 directly from the P3. I would rather have this feature than bringing out all the radio's functions to the external monitor because it allows for a simple and compact set-up.

You divide the external monitor only to display the transmit and receive windows for RTTY/PSK31, and can operate those modes without a computer or any other external equipment. You can configure the size of these windows. No need for a Rigblaster, etc.

The small monitor on the P3 continues to just display the pan adapter / waterfall.

You can set up 50 memory locations for CW, RTTY, or PSK31 that are stored in the P3SVGA's non-volatile memory

You can also set up macros on the P3 to control the K3. Again, these are stored in the P3SVGA's non-volatile memory.

The waterfall display on the external monitor can be adjusted to suit the band conditions, noise, etc. You see the changes you make immediately without leaving the menu.

 
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