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Reviews For: Elecraft XG3 RF Signal Source

Category: Tools & Test Equipment for the amateur radio work bench

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Review Summary For : Elecraft XG3 RF Signal Source
Reviews: 8MSRP: 169.95
The XG3 is a miniature RF signal source that provides output from 1.5MHz through 1,400MHz. Four commonly used selectable output levels are calibrated from 1.5 through 200MHz.

The XG3 may be operated from its internal battery or from an external 11-14VDC source. It is housed in a protective enclosure with easy-to-use front-panel switches and LED indicators.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K7SSS Rating: 2021-04-05
Excellent Ham signal source Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've used the XG3 to check many rec both in my shack and in other locations. Small, battery power plus multiple freqs that covers 160-2 meters, that can be changed. You can adj the reference osc. There is a fuse if you tx into the XG3 that can be repaired. The battery can be turned around to prevent draining the battery. Very handy at hamfests. The XG3 Utility (free) works well. Another Elecraft winner.
AB4D Rating: 2016-10-26
Disappointed Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently had a birthday, My family always gets me something ham radio related as a gift. This year, my sister-in-law, who is not a ham, purchased an Elecraft XG3 for me, after I mentioned I would like a new signal generator.
I never tested the function of the XG3. Out of the box, I was surprised at the cosmetic condition and also the quality of the enclosure. The decal for the front panel had been applied out of alignment, and it was already peeling up on one corner. The enclosure also had some minor blemishes, and was made of thin plastic. If I didn't know better, I would say a used item was sent. I felt bad, that I had to even ask my-sister-in-law to return a gift. I tried to do that on my own, but Elecraft insisted on speaking to the person that ordered the unit. Ultimately, Elecraft accepted the return, but also kept $40.00 of her money as a fee. Which just made the situation more awkward. I suppose their other offerings are better, but I was very disappointed with the item I received and returned.
N3CAL Rating: 2015-02-13
Great Test Tool Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Elecraft has hit a home run with this Signal Source. So many possible uses for this tool. I purchased to use with aligning and testing my Transverters. Software and supplied USB cable works great with Windows-7. You can even program the unit to TX CW.
N2UJN Rating: 2014-09-19
Accurate, Easy to Use, Software Configurable, Durable Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought this to thoroughly test my FT-1000MP receiver. Detailed results may be found at:

FT-1000MP Receiver Performance:

Coupled with a good dB step attenuator, Elecraft has hit a home run with this instrument. The instrument is highly accurate (see data compared to QST benchmarks above). Furthermore, the instrument is durable, software configurable, and, easy to use.
Lastly, I phoned Elecraft with a question, and, not only did a person pick up the phone, but, I ended up getting to know one of the Elecraft test engineers.
For anyone looking for a good, four level, frequency programmable (can put in any frequency for testing in software including), signal generator, the XG3 really is the way to go.
AG7K Rating: 2014-05-10
Another Nice Elecraft Product Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I do a bit of tinkering on old obsolete hf gear so a stable signal generator is a must. When my old CT-3000 service monitor let the smoke out of the power supply transformer I ordered the XG3 and the attenuator to provide a stable signal for aligning/testing receivers. I have a good scope and a frequency counter connected to a B&K 1040 servicemaster console to tie everything together with a rf activated switching relay so the XG3 was easily integrated. Setup was a breeze, programing very east. VERY STABLE! It also takes up a few inches on the bench instead of a few feet!
K5JAX Rating: 2011-10-25
Very stable signal Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
First impression. Down loaded the software from Elecraft. It works great with a Windows 7 64 bit machine. The USB/DB9 adapter used is a "USB Serial Adpter-Professional" from ($35). This adapter was purchased just for this application since many tried before never interfaced correctly with my Palstar ZM30 (ZM30/DB9 interface worked well). The adapter has some configuration settings under "device management" but no changes were required. I tried the XG-3 on 1.6 khz to test the stability of the generator with my portable radio and a paper clip for an antenna. It was very stable. I will test it further and report back.
W7RDP Rating: 2011-09-15
Very cool tool! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
A very useful tool for the shack. I recently used it to tune the receive section of my W1GHZ 222MHz transverter and the receive section of my SWL Retro 75 transciever. I have used it as an experimental CW beacon on 6M.
5B4AIY Rating: 2011-06-01
Highly versatile programmable test signal generator Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Now that I'm retired, I really miss all the "toys" I used to have, the spectrum analysers, RF power meters, frequency counters, synthesised signal generators, oscillooscopes, etc. Whilst over the years I have been acquiring used test equipment, one of the things I sadly missed was a synthesised accurate signal generator.

Not any more. Elecraft have recently introduced the XG3, a pocket-sized accurate signal generator tailored to amateur needs. Not a kit, but a fully assembled unit that can be powered from an internal 9V alkaline battery or an external 11-14V DC supply. The power consumption is a modest 25mA on the lower output ranges, but increases to about 50mA at the 0dBm level. It covers 1.5MHz to 200MHz in 1Hz increments, and has four switched output levels of 0dBm, (0.224mV), -33dBm, (5mV - S9+40dB), -73dBm, (50uV - S9), and -107dBm, (1uV), into 50ohms. As the output waveform is a square wave, the harmonics are usuable up to about 1,400MHz. The manufacturers claim that the phase noise is reasonably low at -105dBc/Hz.

Out of the box, it is programmed to provide signals in the 160, 80, 60, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, 10, 6, and 2 metre bands, but these can easily be altered to suit you own requirements with the utility software package available for download from the Elecraft website. In addition, the unit can used as a sweep generator, with user-programmable start and stop frequencies.

The latest firmware, version 1.07, now has an additional facility in that the output of the generator can be keyed in morse, and the unit can store up to 50 characters. It even includes a simple scripting language allowing you to turn the carrier on for a specified time and level, to pause for a specified time, recall a band memory, as well as repeating a sequence. The sequence is retained in flash memory, and can be recalled by pressing and holding the PF1 button.

Provided with the generator is a serial cable with a 3.5mm stereo plug at one end, and a DB9 connector at the other to enable the unit to be connected to a computer using either a RS-232 serial port, or a USB to serial convertor. Full information is given concerning all the serial commands and responses that are available, allowing you to customise its operation to almost any desired degree using a simple terminal program. Indeed, the XG3 utility program envisions this by providing for a number of user written macros that can be initiated at the click of a mouse.

When mated with the Elecraft AT-1 41dB step attenuator, you have an amazingly comprehensive test package.

On a precautionary note, when testing an amateur transceiver, UNPLUG THE MICROPHONE AND KEY! The unit will not survive having a large amount of RF injected into its output port. There is a fusible link, but it still pays to be extra careful in this regard. Since there is no attempt at shaping the keing waveform, the output morse from the unit is clicky, but more than adequate for identification, and its speed is adjustable from about 5 to 50wpm.