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


Reviews Summary for Elecraft P3 Panadapter
Elecraft P3 Panadapter Reviews: 46 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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KG6AF Rating: 5/5 Dec 11, 2014 10:01 Send this review to a friend
An outstanding panadapter  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After using NaP3 and an LP-PAN for a couple of years, I found my hardware/software setup to be somewhat unreliable. (That's no criticism of either N8LP or F5VNB; I have the highest regard for both. The real problem, I suspect, is my laptop.) So I decided to buy a P3 without the SVGA adapter, since I'd heard that the SVGA's frame rate was rather low. Through a happy accident, I purchased an assembled P3 at Pacificon, but when I got it home I found that the unit had an SVGA adapter. It was Saturday, so I figured I'd contact Elecraft on Monday and arrange a swap for a non-SVGA unit.

In the meantime I tried the SVGA feature, and I'm very glad I did. While it is true that certain settings can slow down the frame rate below a point I consider acceptable, I found that if I (a) kept the sweep range to 10 kHz or greater and (b) kept the resolution set at 1280x1024, the frame rate was just fine. I usually object to running monitors in anything but their native format, but if I run my 1920x1080 monitor with the P3 set at 1280x1024, the resulting display is excellent, with no noticable aliasing. So when Monday rolled around, instead of returning the unit, I told Elecraft that I wanted to buy the SVGA option.

I love the tight and smooth integration of the K3 and P3. At first I missed NaP3's ability to use the mouse to move the panadapter cursor, and while I'd still like to see that as a feature, I'm now used to turning the P3 knob or K3 tuning knob to move it. Just about everything you need to do to operate the panadapter is intuitive, and anything that isn't can be figured out by reading the manual. And as others have noted, using a good panadapter completely changes one's approach to monitoring the band.
 
AA4BQ Rating: 5/5 Aug 1, 2014 04:39 Send this review to a friend
A new way to find DX  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In 50 years of CW operating (and operating in general), I have not had a tool more useful than the Elecraft Pan Adapter. I have a K3 and that is a marvel in and of itself, but the P3 adds a dimension I couldn't quite anticipate as to its usefulness and effectiveness. Instead of the slow back-forth searching of the band, the visual display of, say 50 Khz at a glance, lets you quickly spot the presence of signals. I have found that you can quickly pass up a station only to be able to look back at the spectrum display and see him "pop" up AFTER you have tuned past. So, without the P3, I would have missed the station completely. But by far, the most useful feature has to do with pileups. By being able to see the station that is currently being worked by the DX, I can simply match his freq (during split ops) so that when the contact has finished, PRESTO, my signal is there and centered in the DX's bandpass. It works beautifully. While I still enjoy searching the bands without such aid, my P3 is getting addictive. Without it, I know that I am missing stuff. It's a beautiful thing and I recommend adding the SVGA adapter to get the big video display going. See my QRZ.com page photo. You can see it clearly there. All the gear I have from Elecraft is just top notch stuff. I sure hope it all keeps working a very long time.
 
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.
 
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