Friday, September 16, 2011

The Elecraft KX3 a need or a WANT

Over the past week I have been doing some radio soul searching..... it all started with some operating time on my Elecraft K3. For some reason I turned to my left and there also on my desk was my Elecraft K2 with literally "0" operating time. At the begining of the summer I wanted to get the K2 portable and use it along with my KX1 on outings. I have the 100 watt module installed in the K2 and that would have to be removed and remote mounted for home use. So I went ahead and ordered the enclosure from Electraft to do this. I had planned this project to begin in the fall along with some other radio projects. Then it hit me "if I have the K2 why am I purchasing another portable rig ....the KX3" I shook my head wondering if Julie had slipped something in my tea!!!! So began the soul searching........the gears started to turn...what was the radio smarts thing to do....

My Elecraft K2 has...
  1. KNB2 noise blanker
  2. KDSP2 DSP module
  3. KIO2 serial interface
  4. KAT100 auto turner (to be built and for home use)
  5. KPA100 watts module (for home use)
For this rig to go portable I need....
  1. KAT2 internal 20 auto tuner
  2. KBT2 internal gel cell battery
Both of these items including shipping come to a grand total of 283.00

The KX3 and  options at approx prices
  1. The KX3.....................................800.00 
  2. Battery..........................................80.00  
  3. Paddle..........................................90.00
  4. Mounting bracket..........................30.00
  5. Filter..............................................60.00
  6. Mike..............................................60.00  
                     Sub total................1289.00                                                                                           
                     Shipping....................50.00 (approx)
                     Total cost...............1339.00

So again I asked my self "Do I need the KX3 or do I just WANT it!"

Don't get me wrong the KX3 is a GREAT radio and has many many things the K2 does not and will not ever have. I do have the cash on hand to purchase the KX3 it was all earned selling equipment around the shack. But after looking over what I already have....a fantastic fully loaded Elecraft K3 for home use. An equally fantastic portable rig being the K2 I am afraid I have to bow out of the KX3 race for now. I can't say the KX3 may never darken the shack but at this time my radio smarts tell me...."not now"


Paul Stam PAØK said...

Hi Mike, I want a lot of nice equipment, but I tell myself often that I must be satisfied with what I have. It ain't always easy... 73 Paul

VE9KK said...

Good morning Paul, this is so very true and with ham radio it's not all about the toys all the time.

Dick said...

Mike this can fall under impulse buying. Here is what you do.

Make a note to yourself regarding a possible purchase. Write, in bold numbers, a date two weeks ahead. Attach it with one of those magnets to the front of your frig, then put the purchase out of your mind. Two weeks later, read the note and it's content.

Now, do you still absolutely want the thing mentioned?

73 Dick

Unknown said...

I have come to the same conclusion. My K2 is already portable-ready, it just needs a new battery to replace the one that failed after 10 years. I also have an FT-817ND that gets very little use and does more (i.e. 2m and 70cm as well) than the KX3 will do. A KX3 would be nice to have I sure don't *need* it.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I want a KX3 but do not need it. I have a K2 and FT817 both not used as much as they could be. For a small outlay they can both be
spec'd up and used on SOTA. Thank you for this thread and sensible thinking!
KX3?............maybe in a few years time when bugs sorted out and the rush has died down -


VE9KK said...

Good evening Julian, well that's good to hear the battery lasted for 10 years..was it the battery that Elecraft offers?

VE9KK said...

Good evening Ian, thanks for your input and I have heard lots of folks talk about the FT 817 and how happy they are with it. It must be a great rig.

Casey Bahr said...

Since when are radios about "need"? HI.

But, seriously, if you are not even using the K2 then you need to ask yourself if you should part with it. I've taken my K2 portable and frankly it is a bit bulky for that. The KX1 is a fun rig, but of course limited.

I think if I were to get the KX3 I would sell one K2 and the KX1 (I have that luxury since I have two K2s).

BTW, my wife bought me another (non-Elecraft) radio for Christmas, but she doesn't know it yet, hi....

VE9KK said...

Good evening Casey,how very true a radio really is never a need...but is it a need when you have but are not using a rig. True the K2 is a larger rig than the KX3 but I sure do want to get some use out of the K2. The K2 is not finding any radio time beside a fully loaded K3. I have often gave consideration to selling one of the Elecraft rigs...but I have an attachment to them as they were built by me. You never know what I may find under the tree at Christmas !!!

DL1SDZ said...

Hello, I had the same questions some time ago
Have a look at my answers :

72 de Hajo

VE9KK said...

Thanks for stopping by Hajo, the transceiver on your site looks very interesting and similar to the Elecraft unit.

Anonymous said...

I have been asking myself the same questions. I have an FT-817ND with the dual Collins filters and a DSP unit. It does everything I want but the display is so small that my 47-y.o. eyes have trouble at times. I saw the display and form factor of the KX3 and fell in love with that radio at first sight.

Once I added up the numbers though, I decided that I can buy a lot of pairs of bifocals for $1,400.

Honestly, if I was doing everything I wanted to in ham radio and my radio was holding me back, I would have no trouble justifying the purchase but I haven't even come close to exhausting the capabilities of the 817. Until that day comes (or I hit the lottery), I think I'll just focus on being happy with what I have.

VE9KK said...

Good morning Greg, I know a lot of hams who are very pleased with the 817. The new KX3 is very well priced for what you are getting. In my case I really didn't need to add one more HF radio. I already have the K3, K2 and the KX1. Thanks for yor input Greg.

Anonymous said...

What do you gentlemen think about a KX3 for a first rig, if the money was not a factor? 73 BK

VE9KK said...

Good morning Anonymous, first off thanks for stopping by the blog and for the question as well. There are lots of first rigs out there both used and new. As for the KX3 it's not out on the market as of yet but Elecraft is taking orders. I personally think this rig would be a great step as a first rig. I would imagine it would be one you could hold on to for some time as well. You are able to purchase a basic rig and add to it as needed as well which is handy considering this to be a first rig and as the hobby grows on you it is easy to add to.

Anonymous said...

TY VE3WDM for you response. I have ordered the KX3 w/ all the bells and whistles. I look forward to joining the ham universe AR! 73

VE9KK said...

There is the ham universe and then there is the Elecraft ham universe!!! Do email with any questions in the future....thanks for taking the time to stop by and to comment as well....73

O.W. Smith said...

I have been wanting a ic-703+ had the ic703 orig didnt keep went belly up so went looking for a plus prices to high $700+ so when I seen the kx3 on page 19 of qsp this month June I believe I pulled all my wants for the ic-703 the one feature of having it copy for me was, enuff! I love cw I know it won't cpy perfect bad fists but it will help me to form the words in my head for head copy and I can get rid of the sloppy can't my copy later copy and I save my qso's to my lap top WOW! thats all it took now I don't need any radio.

I take my wife out for dinner for $40 at once or even twice week so how long does it take to pay off a $1400 total bells and whistles rig like this.
let see 4 time $40 equals $160 or twice that, times, Heck you do the math. You may eat at McDucks to save a buck! but won't take me long plus tips!

VE9KK said...

Good morning KF6GC,yes the KX3 sure is a great radio and the CW copy feature sure is a nice option to have on a radio. I have the K3 that does the same and it sure does help out with head copying CW. Good luck with the KX3. Do email me with a review of how you like the rig.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gang!!
Thanks for this web-site and topic!!
I know the last post was in 2012, but maybe someone here can still pick it up?
I've had the K2 for 7 years as my only rig.
I'm not a portable op so its on the bench.
I am cw only.
I have both the analog and DSP filters...currently running the DSP due to high band noise on 80 meters cw at night.
I've posted this question on the Elecraft list...but I think its a little bit of a taboo topic on that forum so got some friendly as well as (don't-ask-don't-tell) responses.
The reason I would purchase a KX3 is that it out-performs the K2 on cw receive.
Can't find anyone who will dare to give a straight-up comparison.
Hope this doesn't get me flamed!!
But would really love to see a side-by-side comparison of the K2 and KX3 on weak signal cw contacts.
It would be awesome if someone would do a Youtube video on that.
But that will probably never happen. :-]
Thanks again!