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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Elecraft K1 Help

Reviews Summary for Elecraft K1
Elecraft K1 Reviews: 150 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $279
Description: 4-band QRP CW kit
Product is not in production.
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VE3FN Rating: 5/5 Sep 18, 2014 17:08 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful little radio!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought my 4-band K1 second hand because 4-band boards are no longer available from Elecraft. I have previously owned a TenTec (YouKits) R4020 and an MFJ 9040. Both have filters comprised of 4-crystals which I found to be inadequate, so I was concerned about the K1 which also has only 4 crystals in its filter.

I need not have worried! The selectivity of the K1 blows away both these radios. Its filter works very well. And its quality of construction (especially its solidity) is an order of magnitude better than the TenTec or MFJ radios. It costs a lot more but is worth every penny.

I am having a ball seeing what I can work with only 5 Watts!


Ray Perrin VE3FN
N0TES Rating: 5/5 Sep 13, 2014 20:40 Send this review to a friend
The one to have  Time owned: months
A rig that's sure to be a classic and already is for me. As a CW only station for 31 years, I know this rig is a keeper. I've got one for show and one to abuse; I mean use. Receiver sensitivity is outstanding and you can't beat the performance when paired with a portable 10-40 meter loop antenna. This rig uses very little battery, so I enjoy a full day of operation before needing to recharge!
MM0AMV Rating: 5/5 Jun 10, 2014 12:13 Send this review to a friend
Superb Service  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I built my K1-4 about two weeks ago, and during the build I directed a few questions at Elecraft.
Bowled over by the almost immediate response from California.
I have just finished building a T1 ATU to go with the radio, and I had some questions on this also.
Once again immediate response from Elecraft.
This company cares.

So,to my review.

Quality of Elecraft products, excellent.
Top class boards, superb idiotproof instructions.
More than enough wire, extra hardware etc.
All the little details that matter.

Delivery very fast.

Communications, top class.

Service, top class.

Thinking about buying from Elecraft ?
Go ahead, you will not be disappointed.

GM0HKS Rating: 4/5 May 30, 2014 01:32 Send this review to a friend
Elecraft K1  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my K1 (Serial No.01672) a little under two years now. It is fitted out with a four band module including 17 metres. It also has a noise blanker, auto ATU and battery pack fitted. The K1 stand is very innovative too. I was slightly perturbed about the drift in this rig but, having read Dave (G4AON's article), I went and bought, built and installed Cumbria Design's X Lock VFO stabilisation circuit board. Available @ It has completely eliminated drift as a noticeable feature and the K1 is rock solid from switch on. Unlike most, I use my rig as a main station transceiver and have great fun working Stateside, the caribbean and all round Europe with it. I do, from time to time, use the K1 to "excite" my home made solid state amplifier which, with low level drive, radiates 15 to 45 watts carrier. Its a great combination, giving the K1 an easy ride at 200 to 300 mw output and has landed me some great DX. The K1 is great for /p operating and, with its low current draw, means you get hours of operating with a 7 a/h SLA battery. The auto ATU is really handy and, provided you don't rig up wire aerials which prove difficult to neutralise reactance on, you end up with a great portable station which will reel in great results. I really like the QSK feature in this little box; having used some older transceivers and been driven nuts with the clunking of those old Omron relays, this is a really nice experience with total silence ! Yes, the receiver is limited but nonetheless, for inter G and European working, it is very acceptable and with the 14db attenuator and variable bandwidth filters, this little fella holds up very nicely indeed. Try putting a Datong FL3 external audio filter ahead of the output and you really do notice a significant difference in receiver performance. I applaud Elecraft for bringing such a good performer to the stage as it ticks a significant number of boxes here in my shack. The only downside for me is that if you wish to work say 80 metres, it involves a bit of "jiggery pokery" to swap out the boards. Not ideal if working portable as some of those washers are kind of small and hard to see; if you drop one, that's it !! Packing everything back together is not as simple as it sounds but nonetheless, its possible and should not deter you from doing so. The K1 gets my vote.
MI0SRR Rating: 5/5 Mar 24, 2014 14:31 Send this review to a friend
best radio ever  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
brilliant radio just got a 559 report from a k9 station and was just running 1 watt and a gp antenna
KC4URI Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2014 23:04 Send this review to a friend
Work Horse  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built this K1 12 years ago and it is a great portable or at home HF rig. Great keying and wonderful receive audio and filters are worth the price of admission.
I installed ATU and NB, I opted out of the internal battery. My wife calls it the little radio and she always asks if the little radio is going on vacation with us. I use it as a daily driver while my other hf rigs gather dust. Simple to operate and with internal ATU has a very small foot print.
AC4BN Rating: 5/5 Apr 2, 2013 15:01 Send this review to a friend
A great QRP transceiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was looking for a small CW transceiver to use in my camper, but wanted one that had an excellent receiver, and a decent frequency readout. Also very important was that the current drain be very low on receive. And even better if it was available in kit form.

I settled on a K1. These days everyone knows about high quality of the innovative Elecraft products, and after I completed building it (and trouble shooting it!), and trying it out, I can say that I am exceptionally pleased with the result. My K1 is for 40m and 20m, and I ordered and built (but have not yet tried out) the antenna tuner.

The LCD readout is perfect, showing the three digits I need on the CW band. With the microcontroller everything can be set up and displayed on this little three digit readout. Very nice indeed.

Front panel space is at a premium, and getting my paws on the volume and RIT knobs is a little tight, but I will get used to it. Elecraft has done an exceptional job of putting all functions on only six pushbuttons, with a lot of careful thought put into making the most frequently used functions easy to reach... such as be able to change the morse code keyer speed, and read the speed while sending. Good job! And Iíve gotten good signal reports on the air. The receiver sensitivity and low noise seem exceptional to my ear.
WB0KFC Rating: 5/5 Mar 26, 2013 09:08 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just finished K1-3211. It was a joy to build with top end boards and manual. Support was excellent from Elecraft regarding the K1 but I just had some basic questions but always had a timely, professional response. I did not note any excessive drift after warm-up. This design is a great compromise of performance vs. power requirements. About 50 QSO's with great reports. Also great features for a QRP homebuilt rig. Shipping was timely and Elecraft a pleasure to work with. I would recommend this QRP kit over any other I have used or built in the 40 years as a ham.
WB3T Rating: 2/5 Jan 10, 2013 09:48 Send this review to a friend
Follow Up  Time owned: more than 12 months
After building my K1 a couple of years ago, and purchasing an extra 2-band filter board to expand the band coverage, I quickly realized that the filter board in a K1 with ATU cannot be quickly changed. To do this you will need tools with you in the field (at the very least screwdriver and tweezers) and this is NOT a quick process. Elecraft's claim that "you can swap either type in at any time" is only true IF you CAREFULLY read their product description. Yes, you can swap at any time... IF YOU HAVE A HALF AN HOUR AND TOOLS ON HAND. I would not advise doing this in the field as there are small parts that might slip away into the grass.

My solution for this problem was to call Elecraft and order a K1 kit without filter board, so I could have one with the four bands I originally selected, and one with the bands on my two-band board. But alas, Elecraft insisted on selling me a whole two-band K1 WITH the filter board I already have that is homeless. That would leave me right back where I started - with an extra board.

I now have a KX-1, K1, and K2 and I will say this: each product has had issues. Read my previous reviews to find out some of the other things Elecraft will not tell you about their products - most notably the excessive drift in the K1. I emailed with Elecraft tech support about that issue to no avail. Then I found out through Elecraft user groups that this is a known problem in the K1 design. I fixed mine by exhaustively replacing capacitors in the VFO with carefully selected series and parallel combinations of caps of various temperature coefficients until the VFO stabilized, running a one-our stability test after each change. Fixing the problem took months. Make sure before you buy a K1 that you have an extensive assortment of NPO, N750, N1500, polystyrene, and Silver Mica capacitors in all values between 27 and 2200 pF. I was only able to stabilize mine by falling back on 30-plus years as an RF engineer and a thorough understanding of reactance vs. temperature curves.

Buyer beware. Elecraft does not seem interested in the QRPer and would rather sell you something you don't need and pocket your cash. And btw, remember that the engineering team at Elecraft NO LONGER SUPPORTS the K1 and K2. According to the tech (who has failed several times to help correct technical issues), you cannot escalate to the design engineer. He has abandoned the K1 and K2 in order to work on the KX3. When the tech can't help you, you're on your own. And once they've sold you something on information that says "easy to swap," and you find out you can't, you've wasted money on that too.

Check out my web site for many photos, mini-reviews, and recommendations for some great QRP products from more supportive suppliers.

K4EQ Rating: 5/5 Sep 11, 2012 20:00 Send this review to a friend
Super Radio / Service  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Finished my K1 last week. Everything was fine except no AGC. I emailed Elecraft and got a quick response from Gary. We went back and forth several times as he offered suggestions each time but to no avail. When he finally had me measure the voltage on a certain capacitor, I discover it was unsoldered on one lead. That took care of the problem. Enbarrassing! Anyway, I couldn't be happier with his quick replies and helpful suggestions. As to the radio itself, it's quite impressive, especially on receive which is hot. I've got several other QRP rigs. but this is my new number one.
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