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Author Topic: KX3+Panadapter+Amp OR KX2 + IC-7300  (Read 1880 times)
AA7AJ
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Posts: 2




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« on: August 07, 2018, 12:52:25 PM »

I recently got some money which I can use to upgrade my Ham radio gear and I'm trying to figure out what to buy.

I have two primary use-cases:

- At home in the shack. Mostly CW and occasionally digital (FT8). Transmit up to 100W. Its rare that I'll do any kind of rag chewing on SSB, but it is nice to have the option.

- Portable operating while hiking/camping. Very interested in SOTA. Mostly CW, but I would like support for SSB.


Right now I have an IC-718 which works well and an older FT-301D that I have brought back to life as a side project (it still has an intermittent issue where it sometimes doesn't want to transmit  Angry ). I've been using some DIY QRP transceivers for portable operation.


I've been doing a lot of research and have found two options which may work:

KX3 + Panadapter + KXPA100 Amp = $3500   (configured with ATU, roofing filters, etc)
KX2 + IC7300 = $2400


Even if I take the roofing filter off of the KX3, that combination is a lot more expensive. Otherwise it feels fairly "Apples to Apples". What am I getting from the KX3 that I wouldn't get from the KX2 + IC-7300 combo?

Here are some thoughts:

Pros for KX3:
- It is more modular. I could potentially use the KXPA100 amplifier with other transceivers in the future.
- I will have one interface to become comfortable with both in the shack and in the field.

Pros for KX2+IC-7300
- Cheaper
- More redundancy (I have two radios if one of them breaks)

Am I missing something? Is there something else about the KX3 that justifies the price difference between the two options?





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PD2R
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2018, 01:51:33 PM »

Hi Eric,

I don't know enough about the KX3 and KX2 to tell you anything about it so I'm not even going to try.
Personally I would go for the KX2 and the IC-7300 and save some money for antennas or other stuff you may want in the future.
I used to take my K3 with me on holidays, field days and to the contest station. After a while it became a pain in the bottom to disconnect all to stuff from the radio and the PC and stuff it into a box for transportation. And I didn't even have the external amp or the panadapter which would mean even more cables. After the event you obviously need to put it all back again.
Get two rigs and you can leave the 7300 set-up permanently. I sold my K3 and got the 7300. Absolutely love the little radio. I used the K3 for almost a decade and had a lot of fun with it. That said, I could never get used to the RX audio on side band and the way it looked and felt.

Just my two cents.

73, Maarten PD2R
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 01:53:55 PM by PD2R » Logged
NA4IT
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2018, 03:54:06 AM »

Having used none of the above, my take... a 100W radio can be turned down to QRP. A QRP radio cannot be turned up to 100W.
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K0RS
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2018, 10:03:25 AM »

Having used none of the above, my take... a 100W radio can be turned down to QRP. A QRP radio cannot be turned up to 100W.

But a 100w radio makes a lousy SOTA rig.  Lugging a 100W radio, even a small one, and an LA or AGM battery on hike is a no-go.  Not many SOTA activations are drive ups.

I have a KX2 for SOTA.  I picked the KX2 over the KX3 because it's smaller, lighter, less expensive and battery life is better.  It has a killer antenna tuner, important on the trail where you're likely to use a compromise antenna.  6 and 2m aren't important to me, but if you want VHF coverage, then the KX3 is a better choice. 

Personally, I would keep my home rig and SOTA rig separate.   You can optimize either for its environment that way.  That said, I do use the KX2 in the shack, just for fun.  In fact it's on right now.  It will even drive my amp to about 600 watts!  But it won't replace my base station radio. 

Your SOTA rig will likely take a bit of a beating and you probably don't want to submit your home station to that.  Most of my SOTA friends use KX2s.
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AA7AJ
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2018, 11:39:42 AM »

Quote
But a 100w radio makes a lousy SOTA rig.  Lugging a 100W radio, even a small one, and an LA or AGM battery on hike is a no-go.  Not many SOTA activations are drive ups.

I have a KX2 for SOTA.  I picked the KX2 over the KX3 because it's smaller, lighter, less expensive and battery life is better.  It has a killer antenna tuner, important on the trail where you're likely to use a compromise antenna.  6 and 2m aren't important to me, but if you want VHF coverage, then the KX3 is a better choice. 

Personally, I would keep my home rig and SOTA rig separate.   You can optimize either for its environment that way.  That said, I do use the KX2 in the shack, just for fun.  In fact it's on right now.  It will even drive my amp to about 600 watts!  But it won't replace my base station radio. 

Your SOTA rig will likely take a bit of a beating and you probably don't want to submit your home station to that.  Most of my SOTA friends use KX2s.

Thanks for this. I think it is confirming my bias towards getting the KX2 + IC-7300 combination.  I've lugged my IC-718 around on a couple of camping trips (no long hikes, obviously!) and its a huge pain.

Do you end up missing 2M at all on the KX2 for SOTA? I assume I will just use an HT for that.

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K0RS
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2018, 06:41:14 PM »

Do you end up missing 2M at all on the KX2 for SOTA? I assume I will just use an HT for that.

No, I don't miss 2m, but that's me.  One of our local activators is a VHF specialist and often doesn't even carry HF.  Yes, an HT is perfectly viable for SOTA as most of your QSOs will be on FM anyway.  Not lots of SOTA action on 2m SSB or CW.  A huge help is to ditch the rubber duck for a light weight 3 el beam.  It's easy too build one that only weighs a couple of ounces.  Your area may be more productive for VHF than mine.  I'm high in the Rockies with no urban areas close by.  HF is the way to go for me, besides, I'm a CW guy.
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G4AON
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2018, 11:51:19 PM »

My KX3 came from a fellow ham who is a SOTA activator, he replaced it with a KX2.

My use for the KX3 was to replace my K2 for holiday use, it's a nice radio to take in hand luggage on aircraft. You don't need to buy the Elecraft pan adapter if you have a PC or laptop to hand, there is free pan adapter software that works well using the IQ output on the KX3. I also found a second hand Hardrock 50 amp that I fitted the QSK board to, it's not as good in several respects as the Elecraft 100W amp, but it's good enough for my holiday use and a lot cheaper.

The KX3 does work much better with the optional audio "roofing" filter, at least on CW. So if you are looking for the best CW receive performance in a pocket size "shack" radio, the KX3 wins, but for SOTA the KX2 is the better choice.

73 Dave
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N6MST
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2018, 02:15:48 PM »

I have a 7300 on my desk and a KX2 in my backpack. It truly is radio nirvana for me. I might take the KX2 out of the pack when I get a QSX built in a few months, but I definitely won't sell it. I love the KX2.
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AB9TX
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2018, 02:06:19 PM »

Eric go with the Yaseu FT-891 and a portable antenna that is pre tuned. I use it mobile and I really like its performance. Save yourself a thousand dollars...
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