First impression of KX3

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First impression of KX3

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Just though I'd post my thoughts on my recent KX3 purchase (Serial # 4005). I, like most people, was interested in the KX3 for the thrill of doing QRP work like SOTA and other QRP events with a lightweight, low power consumption rig that put out more than 5 Watts. Without a doubt, the Elecraft engineering team did a great job in combining these main traits that we are looking for into this rig. Those three traits alone would make any "Ham Hiker" do backflips (which I know I am). So I thought I'd really emphasize the good points I noticed in the little time I've owned it (did a couple of SOTA activations as well) and I would like to express a couple of "needs improvement" regarding the radio so the Elecraft team may or may not take action on it to PERFECT this rig.

-Lightweight (also fits in a Pelican 1200 case with ease)
-Pwr consumption at 150mA confirmed (My 7000 drawed 1.3 Amps....IN RECEIVE)
-Pwr out at 10-12W!
-Display is clearer than my TS-590S! Well done!
-Receiver is top of the line! No BS, my recent activation a couple weeks ago I hit the Czech Republic (OY1 call). All others in the US were 59 crystal clear.
-Hot keys for most functions instead of drilling through menus (like the 7000 and 817)
-Knob quality is great! Very well made.

Now for some flaws (in my opinion):
-Pwr connector...after time I can see this breaking. As a matter of fact, I saw someone on the SOTA Watch website where his broke when he was getting ready to activate a peak this past weekend. You should put a Powerpole connector on it!!

-Mic quality (not the audio!!, just the feel of it). It feels very cheap. Almost like one you would get with a midland CB radio. You can tell there is a cheap spring used as well. Over time this can be an issue. Yaesu's seems much better. The audio reports though were fine.

-Speaker...I've seen many compaints on this one. But I can see the space issue being the number one problem. BUT, I'm hoping there is a fix down the line. Distortion is there over level 30 with a decent signal. Yes I use headphones most of the time, but sometimes a friend joins me on my SOTA hikes and would like to listen in. So I suppose an external speaker would have to do (blah!). I heard what an 817 sounds like on youtube. THAT would be perfect. But I dont see how a 3" or so speaker in this tiny footprint would fit. Maybe something of better quality??

-Flutter heard while tuning the VFO in the speakers/headphones. This is annoying to say the least. Especially if you're dialing in some weak signals.

-Noise reduction adjusting!! This should be an easy fix. I understand now, after contact Elecraft because the user manual is wrong, that the noise reduction adjustments are done though the menu. NOT good for adjustments on the fly and during a QSO. Please fix!!

-Lack of heatsink. Although this may not be a problem for most people, I'm in Arizona, where the summertime temps can reach 90,100+. I still plan on activating summits during that time to get some bonus points :)... So I can see where I probably will run into issues with overheating. I can't comment from experience, but I'm assuming this will happen. I see some aftermarket options, but I would prefer if Elecraft would create one!

OK, I think that wraps it up. I definitely love this rig especially as a SOTA activator that likes to play in the outdoors with the top three pluses of this radio (weight, pwr consumption, pwr out) making it the ONLY choice for this type of work. BUT, as I've heard before, the Elecraft team really seems to listen to their customers. I ask that they please look at my comments and address these minor concerns. Please let me know if you anticipate any fixes for some, if not all, of this minor issues. Thanks again Elecraft for designing a radio like this! It's making a lot of Hams happy!

Mike P.