15 Feb 2013

FT817 v KX3 (part 2)

Thanks for all the many comments both here an in private emails. Basically I am looking for a good second QRP transceiver to work along side my existing 12 year old FT817 that continues to work perfectly. There are times when I'd like to WSPR on one band whilst operate CW or SSB on another. Also, the second transceiver allows me general coverage RX whilst TXing on the first unit. Since I sold my IC703 to a friend the year before last, this has not been possible.

At the moment, I am still inclined to buy an FT817ND rather than the KX3. As YO9IRF said in the earlier post and on his blog, the FT817 is close to the ideal for a portable QRP radio, even after 12 years. Although it does not match the RX performance of the KX3, it does perform remarkably well, and of course it also covers the 144 and 432MHz bands and with all modes. And it is half the price.


Dick said...

My friend, in spite of an old-tech FT-817, I worked the Uganda DX station twice on 17M cw and Israel this morning on 20M cw with 3W from the 817 and a few feet of wire nearly on ground from here near Cannes. . Would a new wiz-bang QRP rig done better? I honestly don't think so.

Having said that, if you have the quid and an itch to scratch, go right ahead and get some other rig.

At least before the next meteor wipes us all out.

Anonymous said...

All 817's have a 'gritty' sound on ssb/cw receive. which i dont like.
i like purity!

Graham said...

This discussion of FT-817 vs KX3 has been interesting.

I have a FT-817nd and no intention of ever getting a KX3. Price is one reason but also form.

Now, the 817 doesn't win many friends due to it's ergonomics but it truly has much band for the buck and it's versatility.

As to a second radio so that you can do as you describe, have you considered something like the FT-450D? Not QRP but still a small radio, more suited to staying home but also quite at home being used portable. It is more a real radio than the 817 with respect to having knobs to turn rather than menus to travers, a good general coverage receiver but lacks VHF/UHF. I don't know what the current cost is but is less than a KX3 but a bit more than a 817.

I have one of each and they each have their place and I would surely one or other if I had only one.

cheers, Graham ve3gtc

Roger G3XBM said...

Hi Graham,

Yes I've thought about an FT450D. It looks a nice radio now the TX hum has been properly fixed. People rate it very highly.

73s Roger G3XBM

Anonymous said...

Hi Roger,

I have a KX3 fitted with all options.

As a fixed station rig it's really nice to use. As it's basically a small version of the K series. But personally I'm not sure that it's what I actually wanted (or wish to use) for QRP portable operation.

My experience of portable QRP (although somewhat limited) is that you don't really need a contest grade RX. As I'm using compromise antennas, and the majority of stations I have worked. Are running higher power, and are usually having difficulty hearing me. So having a super hot RX is not high on my list of priorities.

On SSB the split band speech processing in the KX3, needs a bit more work. With my bassy voice. I have to roll off the LF end, and boost the HF end of my TX audio to give it a bit more punch. However processor doesn't seem to like this and just reduces the overall average TX power. I'm sure this will be fixed in time, but it doesn't help me at the moment.

The KX3 construction is not really suited to the rigours of portable operation. As there are many gaps and crevices in the case. Which necessitates the use of an additional cover to stop soil, sand, water and insects coating the internal circuit boards.

The internal battery pack (limits O/P power to 5W max) and charger option is a bit of a disaster too (Takes too long and needs at least 13.8V into the rig to achieve full charge).

The lack of 2m & 70cm is another other serious drawback for hilltop use in the UK. Especially if you intend to use it in conjunction with microwave or Visible light gear.

I like the KX3, but not for portable operation (which is a pity because that's what I primarily bought it for). The poor ergonomics of the FT-817 are not too much of an issue for me for portable operation. As I tend to stay on specific frequencies, and don't need to tune around too much.

In retrospect I think for my activities it may have been better (and cheaper)if I'd chosen an FT-817, with an external QRP tuner and audio processor.


Martin - G8JNJ


Roger G3XBM said...

Thanks Martin. Useful feedback.

Currently getting back on 481THz and even the KX3 doesn't help with THAT band, HI.