Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Elecraft KX2

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - non QRP <5W

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
Review Summary For : Elecraft KX2
Reviews: 54MSRP: 749 Factory Assembled
The KX2 is a pocket-sized SSB/CW/Data, 9-band, 12 watt transceiver for portable, SOTA, hand- held, mobile, and home use. State-of-the-art design provides the features of a desktop radio in an extremely small, go-anywhere size. Also ideal for first-time HF operators on a budget.
  • 80-10 meters (+RX coverage of SWL bands and 160 m)
  • SSB/CW/DATA/AM/FM modes
  • 12 W PEP (100 W with KXPA100 amp)
  • size: 1.5" x 2.8" x 5.8" (3.8 x 7 x 14.7 cm)
  • weight: 13 oz. (0.35 kg)
  • Current drain as low as 135 mA
  • Li-ion internal battery option (11 V, 2.6 amp hours)
  • Advanced DSP provides dual watch, noise reduction, noise blanking, autonotch, stereo audio effects, audio peaking filter (APF)
  • Software-defined radio (SDR) architecture for versatility
  • Operates in data modes (PSK31/PSK63/RTTY) with or without a PC
  • Built-in logging of CW/DATA QSOs
  • Free firmware upgrades


    Internal wide-range antenna tuner (KXAT2), internal Li-ion battery (KXBT2) and matching external fast-charger charger (KXBC2), attached precision keyer paddle (KXPD2), real-time- clock with 2 aux outputs (KXIO2), MH3 compact hand mic with UP/DN buttons, KXPA100/KXAT100 100-W amplifier and ATU.

  • Product is in production
    More Info:
    # last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
    K4COP Rating: 2023-03-22
    Jury is out. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
    3/22/2023 - Update -Okay, after having more time with the KX2 I can honestly say it is an amazing rig. I have taken the KX2 to parks, hotels , or just in the yard and it has performed great. What I really like about the KX2 are the filters, the ability to hone in on a weak signal using the EQ RX and TX, turn off AGC ( careful for my ears)) and enabling AFX using AF gain with headphones. What a great receiver, especially considering the size. I am finding myself using the KX2 more than my IC-705. Again, 10 watts with internal battery , internal ATU and less than a pound. Incredible rig even after all these years. I should have bought it earlier. I'm hopeful the rig will be problem free for a long time, time will tell.

    2/9/2023 - Quick turn around from Elecraft to get me a working KX2. There customer service was as many had said, excellent. Since I received a non-working unit initially, I was sent a completely new unit and this one appears to working well. I have not had a chance to do a thorough review but I am impressed with the size, quality of voice reception, and yes the tuner which is now able to tune my little AX1 1 to 1. I am still learning the menu, making fine adjustments for better TX and RX, but overall very happy so far. After more time with the KX2 I will update this review again.

    1/24/2023 - After ordering and waiting for approximately 14 weeks I finally received my KX2 in the mail, but it was inoperable upon receipt. My long awaited rig, ordered with clock and tuner installed at Elecraft was not working properly out of the box. I initially charged the battery pack, and got to reading the manual. I couldn't wait to understand the menu system and hook up an antenna, fire it up and hit the tune button, but to my surprise it would not tune. The readout said 25 4-1 when using the AX1 antenna I bought with it. I switched to another HF antenna thinking this little compromised antenna was the problem, and still it would not tune a Chameleon MPAS. I then bypassed the internal tuner through the menu and hooked it to my loop in an attempt to tune it manually, and still no luck. At this point, I called Elecraft the next morning and I have to say Doug, in their service dept., was very apologetic, understanding and promised to get me out a new KX2 ASAP. He also stated my unit was put on the rumble table and working when it left them. That did make me feel a little better. I am hopeful this is a temporary blip and is not a real reflection of the quality of this unit, after reading all the glowing reviews and spending all this money. We will see. I will UPDATE this review when I receive my KX2 back from Elecraft and had some time to actually evaluate the product. I am hopeful the turn around time and customer service of Elecraft is as good as others have said.
    N4MJG Rating: 2022-11-21
    AWESOME RIG ! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
    NOV 2022


    since i can't drive anymore .so i stay at home to run my kx2 again that don't having fun kx2 more so small and lite weight rig !

    SKCC 7305 SINCE 2005
    NAQCC 5233
    OMISS 11548
    W6KIC Rating: 2022-09-27
    Beautiful Tiny Rig, When it Works Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
    UPDATE 11/26/2022: This was the second time I returned the KX2 for repair under warranty, and they they turned it around in two weeks this time, despite their backlog, which I appreciate. So I'm raising my rating from 3 to 4 stars. Fingers crossed this time. (I just took it to a local Los Angeles park with the AX1 antenna and worked a SOTA station in Idaho, 559 both ways.) If I can get through a few more months with no problems, I'll upgrade the rating to 5 stars, which is what a trouble-free KX2 deserves.

    Here's my earlier review:
    I ordered the KX2 in late December, 2021, and with supply chain issues, received it four months later, in April, 2022. No problem there, since supply chain issues have affected everyone. The radio is tiny, well designed and superbly engineered, definitely worth five stars, when it works. The problem is that it has spent nearly as much time with Elecraft customer service as it has with me. I would take it to a local park whenever I could for a quick CW QSO or two. In mid-June, the right-side controller seized up, so I returned it to Elecraft for warranty service. Six weeks later in late July, I received it back, I was told with a new controller. In late August, the same right-side (new) controller seized up again and Elecraft has had it, again under warranty, for the past 10 days. I'm told the repair will take 6-8 weeks. (It took just 2 weeks). I love the transceiver, but feel like the owner of a cool British sports car that spends most of life in the shop. I now rely on my backup QRP rigs, a Xiegu G90 and X5105, neither of which is as refined as the KX2 but neither of which has given me any problems. If I can get through a couple months without issues after the current KX2 repair, I'll update the review.
    W3DX Rating: 2022-04-09
    Ultimate Trail Friendly, Grab and Go Radio! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
    The Elecraft KX2 was announced just today, but I’ve had the pleasure of being a field tester for the radio and have been using serial number 0005 for the past three months. I don’t have any affiliation with Elecraft (other than being a big fan of their products and testing other radios), but was asked to test the radio because of my involvement with Summits on the Air (SOTA).

    In the short time I’ve owned the radio, the KX2 has become my favorite radio of all time. It puts an incredible feature set into a 13-ounce package that fits in the palm of my hand. It’s ideal for SOTA and other grab and go applications: National Parks on the Air, vacations, business trips, bicycle mobile, etc.

    The KX2 has too many features to enumerate in a review, so readers should consult the Elecraft website for details. But I’m impressed to find features normally reserved for competition class radios. These features include dual receive, high performance antenna tuner, CW/SSB/Data, CW text reader, Data text reader, Split, RIT, XIT, programmable CW memories, digital voice recorder, adjustable filter widths and offsets, 100 VFO memories (which actually give you 200 memories because you can program both VFO A and B), and 4 “quick memories” for each band (actually 8 because of the two VFO’s).

    I particularly like a number of features that make it a “complete station” for taking to a park: built-in internal microphone, built-in speaker, mini paddle that’s compatible with the KX2 and KX3, tilt-stand, built in 2.6 Amp-Hour Lithium-Ion battery, built-in clock (with the KXIO2 option), etc. The KX2 even has a battery consumption amp-hour meter and voltage meter so you can monitor the state of your battery. These are examples of features that were designed into the radio to make it the ideal trail friendly, travel ready, grab and go rig! A lot of thought went into the design of this amazing little radio.

    As a result, I have my entire SOTA station packed in a tiny LowePro CS60 soft case, which also includes room for the paddles and all of the parts for my home-made SOTA antenna. And, if I want to protect the KX2 for really rugged travel, I can fit the entire station into a tiny Pelican 1120 waterproof hard case.

    When you first see the KX2, you’ll notice the knobs and pushbuttons are very economically used, with a number of functions accessed through the menu system. My experience has been that everything I need to use regularly is available through the front panel, and the features accessed through the menu are not frequently used.

    If you already happen to own a KX3, you probably won’t need to read the user’s guide to get started (but it’s probably a good idea to do so anyway, especially with respect to the proper management of the battery). The menu system is very intuitive, and based on the KX3.

    But do be aware that the KX2 is NOT a KX3 in a smaller package. Sacrifices were made to fit the KX2 into such a tiny package. If the KX2 is the ultimate portable, trail friendly radio, the KX3 is still the ultimate QRP rig. Features found in the KX3 that are not available in the KX2 are: 15 watts output (10 for the KX2), 160 and 6 meters, VHF option, roofing filter, internal battery charger, PX3 pan adaptor compatibility, and other features.

    If size and weight (and price) are important, the KX2 is a really amazing solution. If your radio is never going to leave your station, the KX3 still brings additional features to the table.

    My prediction is that many users will want to own both!

    Update: I first reviewed the KX2 after I field tested it in 2016. Since then, it's been my go-to radio for SOTA and expeditions. I wanted to take a moment to mention that the radio has had extensive firmware updates to add cool features. Today, the firmware was updated to enable more time transmitting at 10 watts. Other cool features include internal battery charger support, improved ATU tuning, max power increased to 12 watts, and a very cool built in logging function.

    If you own a KX2, be sure to go to the Elecraft firmware page to peruse the release notes and download the latest cool features for the radio.
    F4HPX Rating: 2021-06-21
    Great SOTA on Indian Ocean Time Owned: more than 12 months.
    Using still as preferred portable radio for some 4 years now for SOTA and Mobile (Maritime) - not planning to go for IC-705 although such waterfall might be appealing.
    No problem at all on SSB (I am very weak on CW side but I try to work that out).
    I love the size, power consumption vs features. Yes it might be seen as complex to operate but once the things are set properly you don't need to change a lot and dig into the menus.
    Once completed with solar panel and charger it will work virtually forever.

    I think this one will stay with me.
    LNXAUTHOR Rating: 2021-06-20
    awful Time Owned: more than 12 months.
    purchased one w/tuner, paddle, clock, battery, and book

    - battery was not Tenergy as advertised, got cheap substitute
    - paddle never functioned properly, threw out errors
    - clock never kept time even after compensation
    - serial i/o worthless, not implemented
    - book was required to decipher an awful manual
    - too fragile without 3rd party rails and cover
    - no AM BCB reception (knew this before purchase)

    receiver is excellent with great filters, but too complex for /p

    worst purchase in 20 years, sold it and moved on
    NO9E Rating: 2021-06-20
    No competition for its size Time Owned: more than 12 months.
    Fairly easy to use after owning kx3. Very compact for 10w with its internal battery and tuner. Even built in microphone. Tuner a bit less capable than kx3 but tunes everything with miniature 4:1 balun. Hears very well. A built in battery charging would gave been great
    KA1YBS Rating: 2021-06-12
    Perfect SOTA companion! The IC705 is for POTA Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
    Rarely will I give a 5 star review, so here goes...

    I do about six, 10-point (sota) summits along with as many others as I can during our short New England snow-free seasons. I'm not a mountain goat (yet) but as many sota enthusiasts will tell you, even with spotting, it's not always "a walk in the park" with 5watts and a wire.

    I used an FT817ND for 15 years prior to the KX2 (long before I knew what sota was) and made hundreds of memories with that rig.

    One of my biggest hurdles was tuning the bleeping antenna. I did not bring an external tuner, so I did things by hand, with good success.

    I had 5w with the 817. For CW, that is fine, for SSB, (my favorite mode), you need a great opening!

    With my Elecraft, I can do, in one package, that neither the 817 or Icom 705 will do... that is put out 10w using the internal battery, and also provide an efficient automatic antenna tuner!

    With the 705 and 817, forget it... you have to drag an antenna tuner as well as external battery pack, and for that least the 817, a mic, to boot... this all adds weight and bulk to your pack. Ok, use an end fed resonant antenna.. what happens if you have no support for it? Ok, Buddipole and Buddistick are kinda heavy...

    My KX2 is charged up prior to the hike and the only accessories that come with me are extremely light-weight antennas and CW paddle, which affixes directly to the rig!

    I get the other rigs if you want 6m, 2m and 70cm. 2m especially could complement your SOTA. However for me, those bands don't always cut it. I know with the AX1 vertical and some radial wires, or a dipole/random wire... all of which I can make up depending on peak conditions at deployment time... I use the ATU and I'm OTA. No fuss, no headaches.

    The KX2 is the lightest HF all mode you can ask for. Your back will thank you after a 16+ mile trek!

    My FT817 will stay with me until I find a good deal on the Icom 705, but the Elecraft KX2 is a solid keeper for a long time coming.
    N3EG Rating: 2020-12-29
    A modern HF handheld Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
    Elecraft had shipping delays, so I found an open box unused one on Ebay. I also ordered the 1899T antenna. Then I made jumpers, batteries, and a charger - Elecraft accessories are way expensive! Next up - a Motorola clip for the back and rubber feet so it will stand up vertically. I made a few contacts on my home antennas, then went mobile with some hand-wound NMO coil HF antennas, slightly scaled down from the 100 watt versions I made years ago. A 3000 mAh battery lasts over 2 days, and the speaker is good even in a noisy mobile. The memory management software and included cable is a plus - no CHIRP or RT Systems necessary! Filtering is excellent - sharp skirts on SSB and CW goes really narrow.

    I did have trouble with the multifunction buttons - was hitting the button below the yellow lettering instead of above before I figured it out. The most power I can get is 8 watts out, which is good. Like others, I would rather see the #5 knob used for something other than mic audio, like squelch/RF gain/push-hold-turn to select memories or coarse step FT-817 style. Bumping the mic gain is a little annoying. I solved the chassis opening problem with small screws and black tape. The XMIT button is a little low for handheld PTT operation. I also would have preferred a smaller LCD in HT orientation and an overall HT vertical form factor, but it's still better than the conventional FT-817 orientation which always has been difficult for walking or vertical operation. An external charge jack would have been nice, and I'm still working on where to install one. I use the 100 memories as "bands" and like all my other radios I rarely use the band button. As for the lack of a SDR waterfall, since the Chinese radios only have a 48 kHz waterfall and it would be a huge distraction while driving, I don't really miss it.

    Overall, it's a great portable radio for the size. I don't miss anything in performance, even on the big antennas.
    IK3RIY Rating: 2020-12-06
    The best QRP rig ever Time Owned: more than 12 months.
    This radio is a dream come true. Just its dimensions, the built in battery pack, tuner, the double receivers (and double tuning knobs) and its 127mA drain make of it a dream radio. No competitors as Icom, Yaesu or Kenwood have ever made something tailored around the needs of a QRP/backpack lover. Moreover is the only radio I think that can perform voice loop playback as a cq call in SSB, a very useful feature not to lose your voice and/or your hope to be heard. I love the big display which gives me the feeling of using a desktop radio. Just to make everybody knows that the drain in receive mode with light off is only 127mA while on TX with 5 watts has 1430mAh drain and at full power 12 Watts 2030mA. The 2.6Ah battery can give you a full day of fun in the outdoors. When it is fully charged it can give 10 W of power (for some minutes then it switches to 5) which after so many tests even during transatlantic SSB QSOs the 10W made the difference. The receiver is amongst the quietest I have ever had, to receive CW signals it’s a real pleasure. Regardless you are a newcomer or a very experienced OM I invite you to try it with a small antenna at the side of the radio and a ¼ wave radial and try to make contacts. I used a Diamond rhm8b and I worked all Europe in 40m and 20m CW with 5 watts and its built-in battery and amazingly I did it with the antenna (1,6mt long) indoor !! Not to talk about 3500 km away reports I got from many WSPR stns. Apart loop phone playback that only Elecraft can provide, very surprising was the special “stereo-like” headphone mode. A very comfortable way to listen to the HF, every brand should implement this feature. The KX2 presents features that only big radios can get, it is a complex tiny radio, a little jewel for outdoor QRP lovers so my congrats to Elecraft for their masterpiece.
    Said that, there is some space for improvements I think. I am perfectly fine that to recharge the battery I have to remove it. What I don’t like is the bulky battery charger. In the future I would like to see a compact power supply with also the capability to recharge the battery not to carry two boxes (PS and charger) in the backpack while I go on vacation. The VFO knob is not the best possible so I bought the new knob very well made by Jemsproducts, great piece of kit. My radio has a little glitch: time to time it seems that it gets an input from the up/dwn buttons of the microphone changing the frequency. I disabled them. KX2 is an exceptional QRP radio built by hams for hams. Hams who focus on features and not on bells and whistles.