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eHam Forums => DXing => Topic started by: EI2GLB on March 19, 2013, 07:13:04 PM



Title: DXers K3
Post by: EI2GLB on March 19, 2013, 07:13:04 PM
Hi All

Not strictly a DX topic but I will chance it,

I hope to buy a K3 in the Autumn, I have some stuff in the shack not being used that If I sell and put some cash to it I should be ok to get a decent spec K3.

I know that the are popular with DXers so can you tell me what would be a good spec'd K3 for a DXer I do all modes,

I can't Afford a fully loaded K3 so I will not be considering the P3 at this time, but every other option is open to me,

I have a HEX beam at 70ft and a 40/30m Rotary Dipole at 60ft, So I am happy with my Antennas for the time being.

I will keep my PRO2 for RTTY Contesting.

Thanks
Trevor
EI2GLB


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: W6UX on March 19, 2013, 08:45:53 PM
My initial build had these options:

2.7 kHz 5-pole, 1.8 kHz 8-pole, 400 Hz 8-pole filters
DVR for voice macros (great for saving the throat)
100w amp
Interal tuner
The I/O board (a must for a good digital setup)
0.5ppm TXCO

That setup got me from 0 to DXCC with a multiband dipole.

I just added the following (3 years later):

Sub receiver with matching filters
General coverage module
6 kHz AM filter
P3 Panadapter

For digital modes I'd recommend a Signalink or Microkeyer II (great for FSK RTTY).

If you buy used, try to get a late model (2010 or later) as Elecraft made some board revisions that incorporate needed hardware mods for certain modules such as the sub receiver.  I got mine in March 2010 and haven't had to do any mods.


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: K2MK on March 20, 2013, 04:06:54 AM
Hi Trevor,

The K3 is a great RTTY rig. You will be able to sell your PRO2. Some people use external digital interfaces for RTTY but it is NOT required with the K3. The K3 can interface directly with your PC sound card with just 2 audio cables to produce AFSK RTTY.

73,
Mike K2MK


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: AD9DX on March 20, 2013, 05:00:09 AM
Trevor, I just bought a K3 last Saturday.  I have one of the older ones with the old DSP boards.  I will upgrade that and the other items eventually.  But I want to familiarize my self with the radio first.  I haven't had time to figure out the digi interface yet. I was hoping to do it last night but ended up working 18 hours yesterday. 


My rig had the 2.7 and the 400hz filters.  While honestly they are probably sufficient, I wouldn't mind getting the 1.8khz and the 250hz filters for contesting. 

If you are on the fence about Elecraft, I would say pull the trigger, while they are a bit intimidating at first they are really amazing to operate.   


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: KE8G on March 20, 2013, 05:06:25 AM
Hi Trevor,
You will really enjoy the K3, it is a fantastic radio!

I am sure you will get 100 different answers from as many people.  It's all personal taste in operating habits. The great thing about a K3 is that it is modular, so you can add things to it as you get used to the radio.  It all doesn't have to be purchased right at the beginning.

My suggestion would be for you to join the Elecraft reflector and take a look through the archives.  Any question you can come up with has probably already been addressed there by folks who have operated K3s for years.  The added benefit of the reflector is that Wayne & Eric, owners/developers of the K3, join in and you get the answers "straight from the horses mouth!"

Take your time, research and you will be a very happy radio operator with a new K3!

73 de Jim - KE8G


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: VK3HJ on March 20, 2013, 05:36:42 AM
The first time I touched a K3, it bit me!
This was in Vanuatu the year before last, and the owner was using an adaptor on his power supply plug that did not connect the earth pin through. As a consequence, there was around 80 vac on the case, and paddle. I don't think I actually made any Q's that time!
The receiver is superb, and easy on the ears.
I was visiting friends in Brisbane last year, and again sat in front of a K3. This one was properly grounded and I very quickly found my way around the controls and started making contacts.
I've never used a K3 on SSB, but it seems the transmit audio needs some setting up. I've heard some awful sounding SSB transmissions from recent DXpeditions. I'm sure they would sound very nice when set up properly.
K3 operators rave about their rigs, so that is probably the best recommendation.
A 100 W PA and narrow CW filter would be a must have for a DX rig.
Don't sell your existing rig. If for some reason you are not able to use your sole transceiver, you are off the air.
73,
Luke VK3HJ


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: N3QE on March 20, 2013, 06:13:39 AM
I will keep my PRO2 for RTTY Contesting.

I know of at least two major multi-multi RTTY contest stations that have converted entirely to K3's at all positions. Is it the panadaptor display that you would keep it, or computer interface details (FSK keyline?) , or ???


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: IK0OZD on March 20, 2013, 07:00:24 AM
    
I had a 4 year, K3
placed near many large caliber radio
5000 FT, IC 7800, ORION etc etc etc etc eyc,
the most comprehensive radio that you can ever have,
in ssb orion was better in selectivity,
is the radio that has it all!
serves 8 cw filter poles, for dx serves second receiver,
for rtty serves nothing
with the p3 + svga is a fantastic weapon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueom6SiGs48
After 4 years I sold for ts 990

73
Tony IK0OZD


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: KY6R on March 20, 2013, 08:19:44 AM
I have the full K-Line and its the best setup I've ever had. I've had the K-3 for 3 years, and P3, KPA-500 and KAT-500 for just months.

Everyone has their list of priorities, feature wise - read on what everyone says and choose what suits you. I concentrated on a narrow filter for CW and SSB and the Aux RX port for my K9AY loops.

Photo on my QRZ.COM page.

I use the Kenwood TS-590s as a backup rig - and for the money its a darn good radio, but I hardly ever use it - because the K3 fits like a glove for my DX-ing "style". I am mostly CW, but think the K3 is fine on SSB.


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: WX2S on March 20, 2013, 10:03:51 AM
My initial build had these options:

2.7 kHz 5-pole, 1.8 kHz 8-pole, 400 Hz 8-pole filters
DVR for voice macros (great for saving the throat)
100w amp
Interal tuner
The I/O board (a must for a good digital setup)
0.5ppm TXCO

That setup got me from 0 to DXCC with a multiband dipole.
My $0.02:

Unless you want to use digital modes, you could skip the TCXO.

The DVR is only useful if you're working a lot of SSB or contesting on SSB.

If you're working a lot of CW, I'd add the 250-Hz filter.

The subreceiver is great for pileups, especially if you don't have a panadapter.

73,
- WX2S.


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: IK0OZD on March 20, 2013, 11:21:15 AM
   
I had a 4 year, K3
placed near many large caliber radio
5000 FT, IC 7800, ORION etc etc etc etc eyc,
the most comprehensive radio that you can ever have,
in ssb orion was better in selectivity,
is the radio that has it all!
need  8 pole cw filter , 500 Hz is ok , for dx second receiver is much better ,
 the 2nd receiver is the best second receiver much much much better respect orion ,for rtty is fantastic need only k3 utility software ,
with the p3 + svga is a fantastic weapon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueom6SiGs48
After 4 years I sold for ts 990

73
Tony IK0OZD
,.


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: EI2GLB on March 29, 2013, 01:16:11 PM
Thanks for all the replies,

I have a few months to get the perfect configuration to suit my needs

Trevor
EI2GLB


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: EI2GLB on April 27, 2013, 10:01:21 PM
Hi All

Sorry to keep digging up this thread,

Here is my current plan for my K3

Anyone have any ideas on how I might improve it.

I don't want to go over $4k if possible,

I can't see the need for the general coverage board as I don't do much SWL'ing anymore.

I also only went with one filter for the sub RX as I think that should be ok with the stock 2,7K SSB Filter.

K3 spec               
               
K3/100   K3 100W Xcvr. (Modular Kit)   $2099.95   ea.   1   $2,099.95
KAT3   K3 ATU (Modular Kit)   $299.95   ea.   1   $299.95
KDVR3   K3 Dig. Voice Recorder   $139.95   ea.   1   $139.95
KRX3   K3 2nd RX (Kit)   $599.95   ea.   1   $599.95
KXV3A   K3 RX Ant, IF Out & Xvrtr Intf.   $119.95   ea.   1   $119.95
                              
Filters               
               
KFL3A-2.1K   K3 2.1 kHz, 8 pole filter   $139.95   ea.   1   $139.95
KFL3A-250   K3 250 Hz, 8 pole filter   $139.95   ea.   1   $139.95
               
KFL3A-400   K3 400 Hz, 8 pole filter   $139.95   ea.   2   $279.90
                              
               
            Total   $3,819.55


Thanks
Trevor
EI2GLB


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: WX2S on April 28, 2013, 03:37:14 AM
Consider swapping the DVR for another filter the Sub.

73,
Wx2s.


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: NI0C on April 28, 2013, 08:27:40 AM
Trevor,
Although I have both the 400 Hz and 250 Hz 8-pole filters in my K3 (as well as the 700 Hz 8-pole and 200 Hz 5-pole), most people would advise against getting both of those. 

Here's why--
If you compare the filter response curves ( http://www.elecraft.com/K3/K3_filter_plots.htm  ) you will find that the actual bandwidth of the 250 Hz filter is 370 Hz, while the actual bandwidth of the 400 Hz filter is 435 Hz.  These are at the -6 dB points; the -60 dB bandwidths are 785 Hz and 935 Hz, respectively.  Thus, there is little difference between the two filters.

This seems to be one of the dirty little secrets about narrow CW crystal roofing filters-- the bandwidths aren't always what they claim to be.  I think it is difficult to manufacture such very high-Q multi-pole crystal filters. 

So, if you're getting only two CW filters, I'd recommend getting the "250" and something much wider (700 Hz or even 1KHz), or if you like very narrow filters, get the 400 Hz and 200 Hz.

73,
Chuck  NI0C


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: W6GX on April 28, 2013, 10:14:29 AM
I never understood the reason why one would want a narrow filter on the sub RX.  If anything you want to run wide so it helps you to find the station responding to the DX station.  I would forgo the 400hz filter on the sub RX and save $279.

73,
Jonathan W6GX


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: NI0C on April 28, 2013, 10:21:37 AM
W6GX wrote:
Quote
I never understood the reason why one would want a narrow filter on the sub RX.

Jonathan, there is one important application requiring matched filters in the two receivers, and that is for diversity reception-- the application mention by Rich in another thread concerning the K3. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: W6GX on April 28, 2013, 10:35:33 AM
W6GX wrote:
Quote
I never understood the reason why one would want a narrow filter on the sub RX.

Jonathan, there is one important application requiring matched filters in the two receivers, and that is for diversity reception-- the application mention by Rich in another thread concerning the K3. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C


Good point.  I assume one also needs two antennas to take advantage of diversity reception?  One would need a lot of real estate for TWO 160m antennas :D

73,
Jonathan W6GX


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: NI0C on April 28, 2013, 10:56:28 AM
Quote
I assume one also needs two antennas to take advantage of diversity reception?  One would need a lot of real estate for TWO 160m antennas

Yes, two receive antennas are needed.  One of them might also serve as the TX antenna.  Receive antennas can be quite small, though.  See for example: http://www.qsl.net/kc2tx/loopschematic.htm

The biggest problem is achieving adequate spacing between the antennas, and yes, that's where real estate helps.

73,
Chuck  NI0C


Title: RE: DXers K3
Post by: N3QE on April 28, 2013, 11:12:18 AM
Good point.  I assume one also needs two antennas to take advantage of diversity reception?  One would need a lot of real estate for TWO 160m antennas :D

In fact many 160M receive systems are rather small (see e.g. K9AY, Hi-Z) and the null off the back of typical 160M receive loops is very very deep.

One common setup, is to use one steerable directional receive antenna on second receiver, and the transmit antenna (presumably non-directional) on the main receiver. If something is heard on the non-directional antenna not copied by the directional, time to swing direction!

Other times a station might have a really good beverage but only for one or two directions. The monster stations have multiple arrays of beverages!