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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Elecraft K2 & K2/100 Help

Reviews Summary for Elecraft K2 & K2/100
Elecraft K2 & K2/100 Reviews: 305 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $599. USD
Description: SSB/CW 160-10M HF Transceiver Kit
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Elecraft K2 & K2/100.

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KE1L Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2017 23:29 Send this review to a friend
Easy to operate  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my K2 (S/N 1984, personally built) for a long time now. I have the 160m option, the SSB option, the internal antenna tuner, and the audio filter in the main box. I don't have the DSP. The KPA100 is in a separate EC2, which may someday also contain the KAT100 if I ever get around to building it. (I rarely operate high power so it hasn't been a priority.) I chose the two box approach because it means that I can take the radio out to the field without needing to open the box and swap things around.

These days it's almost entirely a field radio, mostly because the noise level on HF in my dense urban neighborhood is now so high that it's nearly impossible to hear anything at home. Another reason that building the KAT100 hasn't been a priority; my field operations are 100% QRP.

The K2 is a pleasure to use. There are a bunch of menus but you almost never need to use them in the field. There are enough front panel controls to do everything you need during normal operation; you're not in menu hell like you are with a smaller radio like an FT-857, nor are you confronted with a sea of knobs and buttons like one of the big base rigs. For me it's "just right" in that way; it's about as small as it can be while still having all the essential controls easily available. Front panel knobs for CW speed and power output are a nice touch.

The receiver front end doesn't quite come up to the dynamic range of the current state of the art and might be a disappointment at a multi-multi contest station, but it's more than good enough for everybody else. Very quiet, enough sensitivity for any band conditions I have ever encountered on HF, and good selectivity once you get the crystal filters aligned properly. It can't match the signal slicing of DSP, but in exchange you get the smooth sound of an analog radio. (And you can get DSP if you want it.)

In summary, it's a classic. And you can still buy a kit and build it. If you don't want to do that, it's not difficult to find a used K2. (You might have to build an option or two if the one you find doesn't come configured exactly how you would like it.) Or you can buy a kit and get somebody to build it for you; check the Elecraft reflector for builders.
WA7WJR Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2017 22:09 Send this review to a friend
Amazed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I picked up a K2 at the Mike & Key Flea market/hamfest in Puyallup this past weekend b/c I wanted to start working qrp and wanted a rig to travel with. The K2 was built in 2002 by a local ham who loaded it with everything except the 100w amp.

I replaced the battery and charged it up and tonight made my first qrp cw from Seattle to SF with 5w on 40m. Band conditions were marginal at best, and I was on my back patio with a Buddypole.

Anyway...the rig did everything it was supposed to do. It is easy and straight forward to operate. I even thought the menus (albeit a bit cryptic) are easily accessible and easy to figure out once you know what your looking for.

The internal speaker is pretty worthless (as is just about any built in speaker on any rig) so I plan on removing it. Use ear buds or a small external speaker.

I love the key speed adjustment on the front, and the LCD readout tells you the wpm. While I can adjust the key speed on my ICOM rig, the adjustment is small and I have to guess the wpm rate I am setting it to. Zero beating is a snap, and the installed filters made hearing the signal painless.

I still have a lot to learn, but I sure can't wait to get this up in a mountain, or down to the ocean to give it more of a workout.
WZ6P Rating: 5/5 Feb 3, 2017 09:25 Send this review to a friend
A Home Run!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I am so thrilled with my K2.
By far the best (and most involved) kit I've ever built.
Elecraft support is 2nd to NONE!
I had a couple challenges during assembly and I was able to solve them with the guidance provided by the Elecraft engineers, all via email.
I added the internal tuner and ssb modules.
Made my first contact on 40 ssb and got a great report running 10 watts. Not bad for a Southern California to Sacramento contact! The antenna is a Zero Five vertical.
I HIGHLY recommend this radio, especially if you like to build radios!
K7EXJ Rating: 5/5 Aug 12, 2016 14:13 Send this review to a friend
Excellent!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought my K2 via eBay in the fall of 2015 fully assembled with a serial number close to 3000. It was a QRP unit but with SSB. I later bought the internal antenna tuner and then the internal battery and RS232 port and installed them. I now have the DSP unit I bought from a ham via QRZ that I have not yet installed.

I use the K2 mostly outside in the back yard attached to my MP-1 "SuperAntenna" vertical baseplate with an MFJ 17' stainless steel vertical fully extended and no tuning coil. This gives me a clean 1:1 SWR and I have no trouble getting reports from the RBNs.

I removed the gel battery from the internal battery unit as it was both defective and heavy. I typically operate from either a 2000mah lithium power pack or 3 18665 lithium batteries in holder external to the radio.

The KAT2 antenna tuner is excellent but what is handy is the ability to tune two antennas, remember the settings, and then let you switch between them with just a push of a button. So I can use a sloper and a vertical and just determine which one is likely to be best.

The filters on the K2 are excellend. I typically use a Datong FL-3 on my main QTH radio (Yaesu FT767GX) but find that no filter at all is necessary for the K2; especially if I'm portable.

I also have an Electraft K1 (4 band) with internal tuner that I operate portable with. The K2 is a much better radio but the K1 is pretty darn good.

No idea how it works on SSB. I have a mic but have never connected it. :P
WB4TJH Rating: 5/5 May 18, 2016 10:52 Send this review to a friend
16years and still fine  Time owned: more than 12 months
My K2 is a 300 serial number and has been fully updated to current models. It still has one of the best receivers I have ever owned and for the portable qrp role I originally got it for, it still shines, both on CW and SSB. This is longest I have ever owned an HF radio in 45 plus years on the air. The K2 is a keeper.
N4QT Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2016 16:55 Send this review to a friend
Small package Big Bang for your money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I lucked out found a late model K2 on EBay. I was looking for a used K3 to use as a backup to my Yaesu FTdx5000mp.Even on the used market the K3's that I found were to expensive for my budget. After readingi the many reviews on the K2 on this WEB sight most very positive I decided to change my focus and look for a late model K2. The ham I bought my K2 from did a super job building my K2. Alignment is perfect audio reports are great and the receiver is almost if not just as good as my 5000! Amazing in such a small package. Almost disapears next to the 5000. This rig has been on the market since the turn of the new century. It does have Down conversion technology as does the 5000. I love mine it's a keeper. I saved about 50% of the new rig price through eBay.
M0AUW Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2015 07:46 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
A great kit with good instructions and excellent back up in the Forums. If you're thinking of buying one, do it. It's not a first build kit, you need to have some experience, I did that with Rock-Mites and then built the K2. The joy in knowing you have built a kit with such good receive capabilities, its just amazing that a small kit can have big rig performance! A keeper.
WA7NCL Rating: 3/5 Oct 18, 2015 15:04 Send this review to a friend
Its not perfect  Time owned: more than 12 months
Its nice to build if you want the kit experience.

Nice as a qrp rig. Low rx draw and nice package. To big to backpack though.

The warts:

Synthesizer is 80s tech. Makes for chunky thumpy tuning plus the needed calibration. Lack of frequency accuracy for digimodes. You miss dds performance.

Xtal filters also give 80s style performance. Though many like the xtal filter sound. Also because of this you have slight tone differences due to carrier offsets. Narrow filters cant be used on digi modes due to frequency offsets between filter settings.

The atu is good but will not match "anything". It will fail for wire lengths of even 1/4 wave lengths. Especially a half wave wire. It lacks an input shunt cap that would allow it. The L network tuning software has trouble with the high Q of the high impedance antenna.

There is a lot of tweaking involved in the "alignment". I spent as much time figuring out the tuning procedure as i did building the k2. Granted i was a little picky with the results.

Bottom line:

I like it for what it is, a nice little qrp rig. But I'm not getting rid of my TS870 or IC7000. I'm not gonna put it in my pack like my ATS-4.

My K2 is sn3030 built in 2002.
AI4BJ Rating: 5/5 Oct 18, 2015 08:03 Send this review to a friend
Superb audio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built my K2 about 12 years ago and enjoyed it for several years before upgrading to a K3 and KX3. I recently repaired a K2 for a friend, and what struck me (again) was just how pleasant the K2 sounds to the ear! There's nothing wrong with the audio in the K3, but in comparison, the K2 just sounds mellower, smoother. Maybe this is due to the K2's all-analog design, I don't know, I just know that I love to listen to it!
G0HVS Rating: 5/5 Oct 18, 2015 04:24 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built my K2 over 12 years ago - too long for this old brain to remember exactly. Loved building it. Used for years and then it went in a box after moving house. Dug it out again earlier this year, as I finally put up a long wire. Fired straight up - atu is a delight and tunes anything. I keep thinking of building the 100W PA, but find I'm quite happy with QRP. Managed to get a GM record in CQWW RTTY with it too.

If you are thinking of building one then stop thinking and do it NOW.
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