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Reviews For: Elecraft KX1

Category: QRP Radios (5 watts or less)

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Review Summary For : Elecraft KX1
Reviews: 92MSRP: 279
A unique 3-band HF CW transceiver optimized for backbacking and lightweight travel; only 9 oz., 1.3"H x 5.2"W x 3"D. Includes DDS VFO, internal battery, optional internal automatic antenna tuner, plug-in keyer paddle. Covers entire 20/30/40m ham bands (30 m optional) plus SWL segments.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
F8FEO Rating: 2022-11-18
genius qrp Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have one from a long time
It has all in one and a Tuner exceptional
what more
A good repair service in Italy ( I had a problem with
it : a second hand)
and Elecraft service in USA are very professionnal
For a Novice french operator the manuel is a little complex but it is efficient
EI5IKB Rating: 2021-08-20
No regrets Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The KX1 hardly needs a review at this stage, but I've recently gotten a second hand one (40/30/20 + tuner) and I'm as happy as a porcine in excrement. It's an old one and I've had to replace the encoder on the VFO as it was intermittent, but apart from that, it's done the job for me on all SOTA summits this year. I've had my first transatlantic QSO with 2W with it, and the variable filter is pretty good.
The enclosure with a 7 segment display is dated at this stage, but it's solid and will last for years more hopefully.
WA1GJF Rating: 2016-08-02
Great Rig! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Received the rig as a gift, so I did miss the pleasure of building it. However, I did build and install the tuner, which was a snap to do. So far, the radio has been more than a pleasure to operate. Only one issue has come up, and that is lower transmit and audio output on 20 meters, which I am working on.
A minor inconvenience, but the VFO jumps or freezes on occasion. Not often enough to be a problem, but it is there.
Elecraft support is legendary, so 'nuff said there!
The Yaesu FT-950 sits idle, as the KX1 is more fun.
G4YVM Rating: 2015-03-11
Excellent kit, Excellent radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is a fabulous radio. The kit is a demanding build - you must concentrate all the time because de-soldering is going to be very, very difficult if possible at all. Best get things right first time. Took me about a week to build in all, probably 20 or 30 hours of concentrated build time.

The builder must measure the heights of components above the board: to 0.1mm! It's not as hard as it sounds...just use a ruler or make a measuring stick as I did.

I added the 3080 board and the auto internal ATU which REALLY gobbles up space, but provided you build accurately and in the prescribed manner, there really is NO problem. Mine worked FIRST time.

Don, W3FPR, has given a good set of notes about the build sequence for builders making the rig, 3080 board and ATU. His notes save you time.

The Elecraft manuals are excellent. Like I say, mine worked at first power up.

In use the rig is simply amazing. I get 4 watts out on 13.8v and whatever I get on internal cells! I was out and about yesterday and it said I was running 0.9w. I ran this into a 1/4 wave on 40m stretched out at about 6ft hight in trees and worked anyone I could hear. It's a lovely rig to use. No issues at all. I have added the Elecraft paddles and they work fine too, a good match.

I have a K2 as well with an internal gelcell, and that's a good rig but for portability nothing matches the KX1. I used to own an HB1C also, and that is a superb radio, but the build quality and the internal ATU make the KX1 the better option.

So thats my review; top marks again for Elecraft for delivering such a fabulous kit. It's not for first time builders or those who think melting lead in a bucket is soldering, but if you can be neat and accurate this is a great way to get a first class radio.
VR2XMC Rating: 2014-12-16
Great little radio but rooms for improvement in the manual Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently built a Elecraft KX1 for a local ham in VR2 who cannot DIY himself due to some reasons. This KX1 comes with the KXB3080 30/80 module and KXAT1 ATU module.

The construction of the basic KX1 was straight forward and required less skill than K2. Although the manual of KX1 is well written, it does not clearly take into account the possibly of the future construction of KXB3080 and KXAT1. This is the major deficiency of the manual and I would not expect that from Elecraft after constructing many K2s in the past.

The space tolerance with the installation of KXB3080 and KXAT1 is very tight especially near the low pass filters L1 & L2 area. Therefore, the construction manual of KX1 should forth warn and draw the builder great attention.

Page 32 of the KX1 manual, C46-C49, C54 should be soldered at the top (i.e.component) side with all the legs cut flush at the bottom side. This will give more space for the future installation of LPF1 (tiny PCB) of KXB3080.

The tiny LPF1 pcb of KXB3080 is to be situated in the tight space formed between the C46-C49& C54 area of KX1 and R3-R4 & C10 area of KXAT1. Therefore, Page 3 of KXAT1 manual, R3, R4& C10 should be soldered on the component side and cut flush on the other side.

Finally, back to performance, KX1 is a real nice little QRP radio with good RX selectivity and sensitivity. However, the radio is very expensive when you add up the KXB3080 and KXAT1. Try to compare with K1, K2 and KX3 in terms of price Vs performance before making your purchase decision.
KL7CW Rating: 2014-08-21
Still my favorite radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned my KX1 about 10 years. I have found its 1.5 W output with internal cells very satisfactory especially for my travels to Europe the UK and in populated areas of the US. A set of lithium cells lasts an estimated 30 hours (I listen more than transmit). My favorite feature is the internal antenna tuner which enables me to operate effectively in the field on 20, 30, and 40 meters with a simple 26 ft piece of wire and one or two 17 foot counterpoise wires or often just a ground wire clipped to a metal picnic table. I have other small rigs, but this is the one I backpack and travel with. The companion paddle is "OK" for portable use, but most of us
prefer other keys for more extensive home use. Many QRP folks (backpackers included)prefer a full 5W QRP rig, but I find the 1.5W internal cells and 3 or 4 watt external cells quite satisfactory. Rick KL7CW Palmer, Alaska
WI6T Rating: 2014-08-04
Elecraft repair service Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Built my KX-1 about eight years ago with the ATU and 30 meter option. Performed perfectly. About two weeks ago the display partially failed. I did not have the test gear to clearly identify the problem. Took advantage of the Elecraft repair service. Outstanding! Fantastic turnaround time for the repair, a complete "tune-up", and a full report of everything done. You may save yourself some frustration by using this repair service. I would be pleased to share my experience if you wish; send an e-mail to me at rexg at aol dot com. Simply stunning service. Rex WI6T
VK7JB Rating: 2014-05-04
Pure CW fun... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I built my KX1 about 2 years ago and later dropped in the 30/80m module and the internal ATU. It's part of a collection of QRP rigs in my shack, but the little KX1 is special - it's my favorite QRP rig. Why? - the receiver is exceptional; it's a tiny, lightweight package, but robust for portable use; it's configurable and feature-packed, but intuitive to operate and most importantly, this rig has given me hours and hours of listening and CW pleasure. Through good quality headphones, the audio is remarkable in its clarity and timbre and the filtering is effective for such a simple design.

From VK7, I've worked 50 entities with this rig, without really trying, and all with simple wire antennas supported by fishing poles. Output is 3W on all 4 bands using a 12VDC external power source and that's enough to do the job while being current thrifty - ideal for portable operating.

The KX1 embodies CW fun. It's a gem to use and was fun to build too. I might even build another....


KC7YRA Rating: 2014-04-28
Astonishing radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I purchased my KX1 kit several months ago. Summer is extremely fleeting in Wyoming and I needed to have a radio ready for hiking.

Once received, I started assembly immediately. Let me preface this by pointing out that I am not an experienced builder. However, I consider myself a decent solderer with experience on thru hole repair, and I can follow instructions.

The assembly went fairly well. I discovered a missing capacitor, which Elecraft quickly mailed out once I pointed out the error. I did have a few sections that I needed to read through several times before performing the task described. Some of the language was not written how "I" would prefer, but I think it did a great job of breaking everything down for even the most timid of builder.

Once assembled, I had a problem though. The receiver worked, but I was not getting the correct transmit power out (no output actually). I spent a few days with emails back and forth, followed by phone calls.

Tech support was EXCELLENT. Not only are they very competent about their products, but they obviously have a true love of ham radio. I found conversations drifting away from the build, and into DXing and contesting.

After quite a bit troubleshooting, I got a bit frustrated with the project. I simply did not have the time to keep going. Fortunately, Elecraft has a repair service. I sent my radio in where a few minor build errors were found. My eyes simply cannot read the capacitor values very well.

With radio in hand (and functional), I put it onto the air. WOW!! I was and still am blown away by the receiver. With simple RF Gain and "Filter" adjustments, any band condition is easily dealt with. Even attached to large, multi element beams, the little receiver held it's own. The receive capability absolutely blows away the Ft-817, IC-703, and several other popular QRP rigs.

On the transmit side, the radio put out a clean signal at it's rated power. Current draw is nil at most and miserly at best. With internal batteries, you can run at the 1-1.5 watt level for hours.

Most recently, I had my KX1 on 20 meters, playing in the Florida QSO Party. A lot of fun and very capable.

All in all, despite my build frustrations, I love this rig. I will give it's mechanical strength a test this summer.

This is my first Elecraft product, but it won't be my last.
KG9H Rating: 2013-06-10
Excellent little radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I also did not make mine but bought it used. (Hope this is not a trend - see the other postings below.!)
In any event, I had a small issue - sent one email to the support group and Gary nailed it in one email. This radio is an amazing performer. I will now be selling the others, this one now fits the bill. Excellent performance, excellent technical support. Thank you. Frank KG9H