21 Jul 2013

KX3 purchase?

For the last 6 months I have been saving the pennies in my amateur radio kitty towards the purchase of a new transceiver for general use at the new QTH. I am still very tempted to splash out on a new KX3 from Elecraft, despite the high UK cost when fully loaded with auto-ATU, narrow roofing filter, battery pack, charger and mic. As I tend to hang on to gear for a LONG time, this may be a good investment. All the www.eHam.com reviews are very good and it does appear to be a first class radio. What bothers me though is that for the same price I could buy 2 FT817 transceivers and still have change! My main interest is e weak signal mode experimentation and I am not sure that the KX3 is an ideal radio for use as a base rig for this application: there seems to be a need for lots of cables to connect to a PC, whereas the FT817 is easy using a Signalink USB interface.

As was the case when pocket calculators came on the market in the 1970s, the default position here is to "wait and see", which means I buy nothing and hope that a clear winner becomes obvious in the months ahead. In the 1970s I ended up not buying a scientific calculator at all, HI.


Dick said...

Roger, perhaps you should read again your last entry in your "Misc" blog? Pretty good advice there.

If you have the quid for a KX3 and are sure it would be very helpful in your specialized operating, then go for it. If we were entering a new "hot" cycle, a "hot" new rig would be tempting.

But, we aren't. Quite the contrary.

If your FT-817 is suffering the pains of aging, a new one might be called for and extra spare cash saved for further purchases required to support your experiments.

Just my thoughts.

Mark said...


I sure enjoy my KX3. You don't need to hook up all the cables... I mostly just use a paddle and headphones - but I have used it with panadapter software just to see what it can do. You mentioned your Signalink. I have a Signalink - I had to purchase a new $14 cable that just has two plugs on it... so I don't think the number of plugs is anything to worry about. For home use, I got some of that flex-tubing with the slit up the side to insert the cables so the cable management looked a bit more tidy.
My son and I used the KX3 for ARRL Field Day this year in June. We both agreed that radio made it easier to work the contest. Previous radio was a K2 - so we were comparing against a very fine radio.
For QRP, I don't think you can do better than a KX3. It gets expensive if you try to make a QRO radio out of it (might be better off with a K3 or K2/100 in that case) - but for QRP, the KX3 is the best I've ever seen/used, and worked great in the portable setup at our camping spot - just as it does while sitting on the table at the home QTH.
73 de WU7F

Roger G3XBM said...

Dick and Mark, thanks for your feedback. I am tempted by the KX3's impressive figures but cannot honestly justify paying the asking price. As Dick says, buying a second FT817 would leave a lot of "the kitty" for other experimental things.

va3qv said...


I am a faithfull 817 user and have one of the early North American ones... No 60m... Its been bashed and misused over the years and keep on working great...

However I have also test driven a few KX3s and love the rig...

If my 817 ever dies... it might outlive me... I would replace it with a KX3... the receive section and filtering is much superior but... I don't think I need 2 qrp rigs to take to the park so for now... it still the 817


Anonymous said...

Don't do it. Paying the outrageous asking price for the KX3 will only encourage this practice of gouging. I can very easily afford a KX3 but won't buy one.

By the way, I didn't get into the position of being able to easily afford a KX3 by letting people take advantage of me.