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Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Elecraft K3 Help

Show all reviews of the Elecraft K3

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WV3E  Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2013 16:42  Send this review to a friend!
My go-to rig.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased a used K3-100 from a CW op over the winter. I spent some time and money updating the filters and options to tailor it to my needs and habits, which currently involve ragchew and nets on phone. I've worked both AM and SSB with it, and I frequently receive unsolicited compliments on my audio.

One of the rig's nicest features is the ability to select from either the front panel mic connector or rear panel mic or line-level inputs. I primarily use the rear line-level input, I run an outboard Behringer mixer with a Sennheiser microphone. I occasionally use a Heil ProSet K2, which is basically a ProSet IC with a Kenwood adapter. The K3 provides the needed bias power for the IC element.

Where the K3 really shines is receive. The receiver is hot, the DSP is effective and highly configurable, and the automatic notch filter is outstanding. I've seen it blank three carriers at once, and was easily able to make out the station I wanted to work between them. The rig has two different noise blankers. Both are user-configurable and I find them to be quite effective.

Having a selection of up to five filters is one of the K3's key features. For phone, I've got the 6kHZ for AM and ESSB, the 2.8 kHZ 8-pole, and the 2.1 kHZ 8-pole. The filters serve to take load off the DSP and allow it to function more efficiently as I narrow and shift the pass band. I'm pleased with the performance my filter selections provide, I can comfortably narrow the pass band as small as 1.4 kHZ without audible degradation. That's about as narrow as I ever care to operate on SSB.

I kept the 400 HZ and 250 HZ filters installed by the previous owner. I use them primarily for digital work, which I dabble in from time to time. The filters work as expected. It's nice to be able to narrow the pass band to reject strong unwanted signals and zero in on a weak one.

I've seen some folks complaint the K3 is difficult to operate. Ergonomics are highly personal and everyone has an opinion, but I for one have had no trouble learning to work the K3. Yes, it has a menu system, but it's easy to navigate and holds items I mostly use infrequently. All of the commonly used stuff is out on the front panel, with the exception of the mic selection and ESSB enable/disable. The K3 has several user programmable function keys, I assigned two of them to these two functions, problem solved!

I have one important annoyance, but the receiver's performance more than makes up for it, so I'm not going to deduct a point. In SSB mode, the K3 is limited to transmitting through the standard 2.7 kHZ 5-pole or optional 2.8 kHZ 8-pole crystal filter. I can go to 4.0 kHZ wide in ESSB mode using the 6 kHZ AM filter, but I can't narrow the transmit bandwidth like some other rigs, my lowly Flex 3000 among them. On a crowded band the ability to narrow up on transmit is useful.

In closing, over the past 7 months the K3 has become my primary rig. It's reliable and hears very well. I often copy stations that can't hear me, even when I'm running the companion KPA500 amplifier But that's another review... 
Product is in production.
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