Unhappy With Your KX3?

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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Oliver Dröse
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rich" <[hidden email]>
I'm curious, where has Elecraft advertised or marketed the KX3 as a
"base station" radio?  My quick review only finds portable operation
references.  The only references to base station use I find is from user
comments.  Am I missing  something?

Rich
NU6T

----------

Hi Rich & all,

to my mind, yes, you are missing something. ;-)

First of all: I do not want to diss Elecraft, I like their products!
Nevertheless I think they are not that good concerning marketing and
full-filling customer expectations, that's why I bring up all those points!
So if you are open to criticism read on, otherwise directly delete this
mail, please. ;-)

So where did Elecraft market the KX3 as a base station radio? Well, it was
mentioned several times here and on the KX3 mailing lists by Eric and Wayne
themselves during the last 15 month' since introducing the radio. That was
one of the reasons why I bought my KX3 as I wanted K3-like performance in a
small package as the KX3 is that can be used portable but also be used at
home with big antennas, i.e. in contests. Sorry guys, but the KX3 is really
not up to that task yet, see belwo and also W4ZV's mail (but might improve
in the future with new firmware). Besides this I want to use it as a 2 m
portable and microwave transverter radio. So for the moment it is still a
keeper until the KX-2M comes out and hopefully proves it's capabilities
there.

Back to marketing as base station radio: If you open your operating manual
and turn to page 3 at leat in mine ;-) it reads:

"The KX3 is a compact, 160-6 meter, all-mode transceiver that's ideal for
both new and experienced operators. It's unique features meet the
requirements for home use, portable, mobile and even hand-held operation."

Maybe my English is too bad but home use = use as a base station, isn't it?
Otherwise please explain the difference, I am eager to improve my English.
Further down that same page you will read:

"For mobile and home use, you can boost the KX3's output to 100 watts with
the optional KXPA100 amplifier."

Again, home use. Why does it have an I/Q output? Isn't a panorama display
rather something you'll use at home than portable? Yes, there will be
exceptions (somebody with a netbook on a hill-top) but the typical
application for that is rather home use I suppose (but I might be wrong, of
course).

Even on the Elecraft website it says "Ultra-Compact Home/Portable/Mobile
Station" as well as the QST ad which states "... the ultra-compact KX3 is
equally at home on your desktop, in a vehicle, or in remote field
locations."

So once again: Sorry guys, but to me that is clearly marketing the rig for
use as a base station, too. And be sure it's not only me thinking that way!
I cannot preclude that it might be due to different mind-sets and thus
probably different expectations between Americans and Europeans (or Germans
to be specific) but then again that's some food for thought for Elecraft how
to market things and how to address features and capabilities when they want
to sell internationally. I am sure they are open to it!

And this base station "issue" is not about the small speaker. As I already
mentioned I know that small transducer cannot perform like a device four
times as big and have no problem using external speakers. Obviously some
guys got me wrong so please go re-read my mails (or I used the wrong wording
as a non-native English speaker). It is about the whole package, i.e. still
missing features that are clearly advertised and described in the manual but
non-existing in firmware (see my mention of voice keyer). It's about roofing
filter and dual watch (both actively marketed and with the roofing filter
even expensively paid for!) that will not work when RX shift is enabled
which you have to do in Europe when using the radio on something bigger than
20 m of wire as the radio is prone to AM breakthrough! a.s.o.

Again: *I* know that the radio will evolve over time (and Wayne already
promised at least a few fixes for those issues) but many first time buyers
don't and they are simply disappointed after opening the box and finding
things will not work! Those guys are not used to it as Elecraft is the only
company bringing out "half-ready" radios and making them better only over
time with firmware updates. No problem with me, *I* know how that works. But
all those customers mentioned above (a few of them direct friends of mine)
don't and do you really believe they will recommend such a product? Maybe 2
years after the initial launch when all features are finally in there and
working as expected. If they still own the radio then ... For me that is a
lost chance for Elecraft (and I really like to see Elecraft grow). That's
why I suggest to re-think their "marketing strategy", that's all. I don't
want to diss them, I want to help them.

73, Olli - DH8BQA
K3 #4546 + K144XV, KPA500 #431, KAT500 #???, KX3 #602
--> So yes, I like Elecraft gear, but that does not make me blind! ;-)




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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Kevin Kleinfelter
In reply to this post by Tony Estep
The K3 is certainly appealing.  However, having tinkered with an SDR
receiver, I've become attached to a 'waterfall' display, and I can't
imagine searching for signals by ear. <grin> That $20 Softrock kit was
enough to push my 'gotta-have' feature list up by much more than $20.  The
first time I saw a waterfall display, with 5 signals that were obviously
CW, and I could tell which ones were sending fast/slow, I was hooked.

At $1600 for the 10W K3, plus $700 for the P3, plus $300 or so for power
supply, microphone, keyer,  $2600 is way past what I can spend.

I saw one of your postings from about 18 month ago, where you said you
thought that knobless SDRs were a dead end.  I think I've come to the same
conclusion from a different direction -- I want a *complete* radio that
also has SDR capabilities.  The KX3 doesn't have a lot of competition in
this regard.

Kevin
KK4KIK

On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 12:07 AM, Tony Estep <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 9:34 PM, Kevin Kleinfelter <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> ...Whatever I buy will be my first radio and it will have to be my last...
>
> =========
> Then go straight to the top, Kevin, and get a K3. It is the best ham
> transceiver available and will be for some time, so you can be sure of
> having no regrets. Moreover, you can get the basic 10w version with one
> receiver and then add goodies as you go, a feature that is not available
> with alternatives. The KX3 is a terrific radio and I love mine; I have
> experienced none of the objections mentioned in a previous post, and I'd
> note that most of them are either esthetic preferences or can be cured by
> proper adjustment, construction, and/or operation. However, any radio
> designed for portability and low current drain has compromises. The K3 is
> an all-out performance radio -- and it's still highly portable and features
> pretty low current drain. Get a K3, and don't worry, be happy.
>
> Tony KT0NY
>
>
> --
> http://www.isb.edu/faculty/facultydir.aspx?ddlFaculty=352
>
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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Oliver Dröse
Hi Kevin,

you do not need to spend all that money listed below! The K3  has got an I/F
output. Simply connect your softrock to it (presuming it receives 8.215 MHz,
otherwise modify it for that), connect to your soundcard and setup your
preferred SDR application and you'll be ready to go. No P3 needed, 700$
saved. And concerning the power supply it might be a bit on the high side
money-wise as stated below. Furthermore you will need one for the KX3, too.
;-) Although you'll need a little less power than for the K3.

So the difference is much smaller than you anticipate and you'll get a
superior radio, that's for sure.

73, Olli - DH8BQA



----- Original Message -----
From: "Kevin Kleinfelter" <[hidden email]>
To: "Tony Estep" <[hidden email]>
Cc: <[hidden email]>
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2012 8:41 PM
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Unhappy With Your KX3?


> The K3 is certainly appealing.  However, having tinkered with an SDR
> receiver, I've become attached to a 'waterfall' display, and I can't
> imagine searching for signals by ear. <grin> That $20 Softrock kit was
> enough to push my 'gotta-have' feature list up by much more than $20.  The
> first time I saw a waterfall display, with 5 signals that were obviously
> CW, and I could tell which ones were sending fast/slow, I was hooked.
>
> At $1600 for the 10W K3, plus $700 for the P3, plus $300 or so for power
> supply, microphone, keyer,  $2600 is way past what I can spend.
>
> I saw one of your postings from about 18 month ago, where you said you
> thought that knobless SDRs were a dead end.  I think I've come to the same
> conclusion from a different direction -- I want a *complete* radio that
> also has SDR capabilities.  The KX3 doesn't have a lot of competition in
> this regard.
>
> Kevin
> KK4KIK
>
> On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 12:07 AM, Tony Estep <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 9:34 PM, Kevin Kleinfelter
>> <[hidden email]>wrote:
>>
>>> ...Whatever I buy will be my first radio and it will have to be my
>>> last...
>>
>> =========
>> Then go straight to the top, Kevin, and get a K3. It is the best ham
>> transceiver available and will be for some time, so you can be sure of
>> having no regrets. Moreover, you can get the basic 10w version with one
>> receiver and then add goodies as you go, a feature that is not available
>> with alternatives. The KX3 is a terrific radio and I love mine; I have
>> experienced none of the objections mentioned in a previous post, and I'd
>> note that most of them are either esthetic preferences or can be cured by
>> proper adjustment, construction, and/or operation. However, any radio
>> designed for portability and low current drain has compromises. The K3 is
>> an all-out performance radio -- and it's still highly portable and
>> features
>> pretty low current drain. Get a K3, and don't worry, be happy.
>>
>> Tony KT0NY
>>
>>
>> --
>> http://www.isb.edu/faculty/facultydir.aspx?ddlFaculty=352
>>
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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Tony Estep
In reply to this post by Kevin Kleinfelter
On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM, Kevin Kleinfelter <[hidden email]>wrote:

> ...I've become attached to a 'waterfall' display...

==========
The K3 has IF out, which can be used with a cheap Softrock to give you a
great display via NaP3 or other SDR software.


> ...I saw one of your postings from about 18 month ago, where you said you
> thought that knobless SDRs were a dead end....
>
=========
Well, they were for me. I like working DX in split CW pileups, and you
gotta have knobs. There are guys who will assert that you just spot the
station working the DX and click on him, but literally 5 minutes (or less)
in a major-league pileup will show you that that's absurd. Besides, why not
have a screen-based SDR plus knobs? The second alternative is a perfect
superset of the first, so it has to have more functionality, res ipsa
loquitur.

Tony KT0NY


--
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KX3 as a base station? Yes, because it's all relative

wayne burdick
Administrator
In reply to this post by Joe Subich, W4TV-4
Joe Subich, W4TV wrote:

> If Elecraft are marketing the KX3 as anything other than a trail  
> radio the design missed the mark by 5 km.  ... lack of headphone  
> amplifier, and lack of separate line in and line out
> audio connections, the rig is severely lacking is the "home station"  
> department - particularly for digital (RTTY/PSK/JT65/etc.) operation.

Joe,

Does "home station" actually imply a fixed set of requirements? Prior  
to starting Elecraft with Eric, my entire home station was a  
Wilderness Radio Sierra transceiver (one of my earlier designs). I was  
quite happy to change bands with modules, log with a pencil, match  
antennas with a manual tuner, and key the rig with a homebrew keyer  
based on a Curtis keyer chip.

Surely the KX3, with all-mode/all-band coverage, full I.F. DSP, dual  
watch, a generous user interface, attached keyer paddle, battery pack,  
ATU, roofing filters, and full remote-control command set, could be  
considered a home station -- at least for some operators.

I also differ on some of your comments on the KX3's audio. There is no  
"lack" of a headphone amplifier. The KX3 has a headphone amp that is  
quite capable of driving any type of headphones to more volume than  
you need, at low distortion. This same jack can drive virtually any  
type of powered external speakers. Since the KX3 excels at stereo  
audio effects, including dual watch, I would think most operators  
would want to use dual external speakers anyway. Yes, the internal  
speaker is small, but it was never intended as the primary transducer.

True, there's no separate line in/out. We will, however, be adding  
separate gain controls for data modes.

Once we add the 100-W companion amp, the distinction between the KX3  
and a much larger "home" transceiver will be further blurred.


> ....with a SIS-570 based local oscillator and direct conversion
> the jury is still out as to whether the phase noise/reciprocal mixing
> performance is sufficient for use in strong signal (receive) and high
> power (> 10W) transmit environments.  Unless SiS have improved their
> products greatly or Wayne has some magic in his implementation, I am
> very concerned (witness the phase noise in the XG3).

Actually, the jury is in :)

The XG3--a very small device--uses a CS-2100 to keep cost and current  
drain low. It has a noise floor of about -105 dBc/Hz at all offsets.  
This is appropriate for a simple RF generator.

The KX3's phase noise was recently tested a well-known third-party  
test organization. They measured -142 dBc/Hz at a 2.5 kHz spacing, and  
-145 dBc/Hz at a 20 kHz spacing. The noise was still going down  
monotonically all the way to 500 kHz (their last data point). This is  
better than almost all "home station" transceivers.

So phase noise is not an issue.

Of course a transceiver like the K3, with a superhet architecture and  
very narrow crystal filters, will outperform a zero-I.F. receiver in  
close-in dynamic range (0-2 kHz). But the KX3 is no slouch.

73,
Wayne
N6KR



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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Nate Bargmann
In reply to this post by Tony Estep
* On 2012 04 Aug 14:06 -0500, Tony Estep wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM, Kevin Kleinfelter <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
> > ...I've become attached to a 'waterfall' display...
>
> ==========
> The K3 has IF out, which can be used with a cheap Softrock to give you a
> great display via NaP3 or other SDR software.

Assuming a softrock can be found.  Whenever I check the Web page the
status is not available.  Sending an email results in a reply of no
availability planned.  :-(  Most likely the only source is someone
selling one after they've decided to move onto something else.

73, de Nate, N0NB >>

--

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all
possible worlds.  The pessimist fears this is true."

Ham radio, Linux, bikes, and more: http://www.n0nb.us
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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Tony Estep
On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 5:17 PM, Nate Bargmann <[hidden email]> wrote:

> ...Whenever I check the Web page the status is not available....
>
==========
Nate, join the Softrock Yahoo group (or just read the posts there, I think
they are visible to non-members) to find out about batches of kits. They
usually sell out in about 24 hours.

Tony KT0NY


--
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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Sebastian, W4AS
In reply to this post by Nate Bargmann
FYI, recently posted in the SoftRock group by Tony Parks, no delays anymore:

Just a quick note to let everyone know that my daughter and her husband are joining in the SoftRock fun. Together we hope to gradually increase capacity to allow more Hams access to these entry-level Software Defined Radio kits if desired.  

With the added day-to-day participants, we're creating a new corporate structure from which to run the effort.  So, as of today, the SoftRock kits are available from Five Dash Inc. via www.fivedash.com.  The kits and their prices remain the same.

73 de Sebastian, W4AS



On Aug 4, 2012, at 6:17 PM, Nate Bargmann <[hidden email]> wrote:

> * On 2012 04 Aug 14:06 -0500, Tony Estep wrote:
>> On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM, Kevin Kleinfelter <[hidden email]>wrote:
>>
>>> ...I've become attached to a 'waterfall' display...
>>
>> ==========
>> The K3 has IF out, which can be used with a cheap Softrock to give you a
>> great display via NaP3 or other SDR software.
>
> Assuming a softrock can be found.  Whenever I check the Web page the
> status is not available.  Sending an email results in a reply of no
> availability planned.  :-(  Most likely the only source is someone
> selling one after they've decided to move onto something else.
>
> 73, de Nate, N0NB >>

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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Andrew Moore-3
In reply to this post by Oliver Dröse
The KX3 as a "base station" doesn't mean it's as good as a K3 for heavy
duty contesting etc., but rather, it can serve that role.

When the modules are available, hang a 100 watt amp or 2 meter capability
on it, hook up your favorite paddle and external amplified speakers, a
computer and panadapter display, etc. The add-ons and extra wires shouldn't
matter, since it's sitting in a shack, not being portable.

So far, seems like a K3 would fit the role better.

But now... disconnect things and take it portable. Won't work so well with
the K3.

I enjoy the KX3 for what it is, not for what it isn't, and I think Elecraft
has been fair in their descriptions.

Since mine arrived, it's been my base station rig, and I'm using the
built-in speaker and built-in paddles, and loving it.

--Andrew, NV1B
Maineware.net
..



> So where did Elecraft market the KX3 as a base station radio? Well, it was
> mentioned several times here and on the KX3 mailing lists by Eric and Wayne
> themselves during the last 15 month' since introducing the radio. That was
> one of the reasons why I bought my KX3 as I wanted K3-like performance in a
> small package as the KX3 is that can be used portable but also be used at
> home with big antennas, i.e. in contests.
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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Nate Bargmann
In reply to this post by Sebastian, W4AS
That's great to know.  Thanks!

73, de Nate >>

--

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all
possible worlds.  The pessimist fears this is true."

Ham radio, Linux, bikes, and more: http://www.n0nb.us
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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Don Wilhelm-4
In reply to this post by Nate Bargmann
Unfortunately, Tony will not be offering the Softrock 62 with the
crystal for the K3 IF anymore.

You can get one of the frequency agile Softrocks and set it to the K3 IF
frequency.
HOWEVER, I need to point out that you will also need some sort of buffer
between the K3 and the Softrock to keep from feeding the Softrock
oscillator signal back into the IF of the K3 (and reducing its
sensitivity.  The Z10000 buffer amplifier from Clifton Labs is the
preferred solution.

There is also a "ready-made" solution, and that is LP-Pan from
Telepost.com.  That unit is well supported on the LP-Pan yahoo group.  
LP-Bridge is also available that will allow you to connect several
applications to your K3 (or KX3) at the same time.

The P3 does make a nice package for a panadapter, but there are lower
cost alternatives that may meet your requirements.

73,
Don W3FPR

On 8/4/2012 6:17 PM, Nate Bargmann wrote:

> * On 2012 04 Aug 14:06 -0500, Tony Estep wrote:
>> On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM, Kevin Kleinfelter <[hidden email]>wrote:
>>
>>> ...I've become attached to a 'waterfall' display...
>> ==========
>> The K3 has IF out, which can be used with a cheap Softrock to give you a
>> great display via NaP3 or other SDR software.
> Assuming a softrock can be found.  Whenever I check the Web page the
> status is not available.  Sending an email results in a reply of no
> availability planned.  :-(  Most likely the only source is someone
> selling one after they've decided to move onto something else.
>
> 73, de Nate, N0NB >>
>

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Re: Using Softrock with your K3 (was: Unhappy With Your KX3?)

Matt Maguire
Further to the topic of oscillator leakage on the Softrock, it has been discovered that there is an error in the PCB layout in the Softrock Ensemble series which increases the level of LO leakage, and adversely impacts performance.

The following mod is recommended for all new and existing Ensemble Softrocks:
https://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/softrock_ensemble_isolation_transformers

73, Matt VK2ACL.

 
On 05/08/2012, at 12:31 PM, Don Wilhelm <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Unfortunately, Tony will not be offering the Softrock 62 with the
> crystal for the K3 IF anymore.
>
> You can get one of the frequency agile Softrocks and set it to the K3 IF
> frequency.
> HOWEVER, I need to point out that you will also need some sort of buffer
> between the K3 and the Softrock to keep from feeding the Softrock
> oscillator signal back into the IF of the K3 (and reducing its
> sensitivity.  The Z10000 buffer amplifier from Clifton Labs is the
> preferred solution.
>
> There is also a "ready-made" solution, and that is LP-Pan from
> Telepost.com.  That unit is well supported on the LP-Pan yahoo group.  
> LP-Bridge is also available that will allow you to connect several
> applications to your K3 (or KX3) at the same time.
>
> The P3 does make a nice package for a panadapter, but there are lower
> cost alternatives that may meet your requirements.
>
> 73,
> Don W3FPR
>
> On 8/4/2012 6:17 PM, Nate Bargmann wrote:
>> * On 2012 04 Aug 14:06 -0500, Tony Estep wrote:
>>> On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM, Kevin Kleinfelter <[hidden email]>wrote:
>>>
>>>> ...I've become attached to a 'waterfall' display...
>>> ==========
>>> The K3 has IF out, which can be used with a cheap Softrock to give you a
>>> great display via NaP3 or other SDR software.
>> Assuming a softrock can be found.  Whenever I check the Web page the
>> status is not available.  Sending an email results in a reply of no
>> availability planned.  :-(  Most likely the only source is someone
>> selling one after they've decided to move onto something else.
>>
>> 73, de Nate, N0NB >>
>>
>
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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Sebastian, W4AS
In reply to this post by Don Wilhelm-4
Tony is most definitely going to be offering the SoftRock kit for the K3, now that he has expanded.  While you can use the more expensive SoftRocks, the SoftRock IF kit is in the neighborhood of $20.

73 de Sebastian, W4AS



On Aug 4, 2012, at 10:31 PM, Don Wilhelm <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Unfortunately, Tony will not be offering the Softrock 62 with the
> crystal for the K3 IF anymore.
>
> You can get one of the frequency agile Softrocks and set it to the K3 IF
> frequency.
> HOWEVER, I need to point out that you will also need some sort of buffer
> between the K3 and the Softrock to keep from feeding the Softrock
> oscillator signal back into the IF of the K3 (and reducing its
> sensitivity.  The Z10000 buffer amplifier from Clifton Labs is the
> preferred solution.
>
> There is also a "ready-made" solution, and that is LP-Pan from
> Telepost.com.  That unit is well supported on the LP-Pan yahoo group.  
> LP-Bridge is also available that will allow you to connect several
> applications to your K3 (or KX3) at the same time.
>
> The P3 does make a nice package for a panadapter, but there are lower
> cost alternatives that may meet your requirements.
>
> 73,
> Don W3FPR
>
> On 8/4/2012 6:17 PM, Nate Bargmann wrote:
>> * On 2012 04 Aug 14:06 -0500, Tony Estep wrote:
>>> On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM, Kevin Kleinfelter <[hidden email]>wrote:
>>>
>>>> ...I've become attached to a 'waterfall' display...
>>> ==========
>>> The K3 has IF out, which can be used with a cheap Softrock to give you a
>>> great display via NaP3 or other SDR software.
>> Assuming a softrock can be found.  Whenever I check the Web page the
>> status is not available.  Sending an email results in a reply of no
>> availability planned.  :-(  Most likely the only source is someone
>> selling one after they've decided to move onto something else.
>>
>> 73, de Nate, N0NB >>

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Re: KX3 as a base station? Yes, because it's all relative

Joe Subich, W4TV-4
In reply to this post by wayne burdick

 > Does "home station" actually imply a fixed set of requirements?

No, but one would expect the minimum standard to include such things
as (separate) fixed level input and output for digital mode interfacing
particularly if the transceiver supports digital modes otherwise.

 > True, there's no separate line in/out. We will, however, be adding
 > separate gain controls for data modes.

While separate gain controls are nice, separate I/O should be a given
in a home station rig to avoid the need to plug/unplug cables - or the
need to build an outboard audio management device just to switch modes.
Even the low power IC-703 and FT-817 provide separate Line In/Line Out
connections and they've been around for what, 10 years?  Other than the
K2 and Flex radios, I haven't seen a transceiver without separate Line
in/Line Out connections since the FT-840 (20 years?) except in some
CW only trail radios.

> I also differ on some of your comments on the KX3's audio. There is
> no "lack" of a headphone amplifier. The KX3 has a headphone amp that
> is quite capable of driving any type of headphones to more volume
> than you need, at low distortion.

Perhaps I was given incorrect information by someone at Elecraft.  What
I received indicated that the headphones were being driven directly by
the DAC which had limited drive capability which might be a problem
particularly with inefficient, low impedance headphones.

I won't even repeat the issues with the speaker.

> The KX3's phase noise was recently tested a well-known third-party
> test organization. They measured -142 dBc/Hz at a 2.5 kHz spacing,
> and -145 dBc/Hz at a 20 kHz spacing. The noise was still going down
> monotonically all the way to 500 kHz (their last data point). This is
> better than almost all "home station" transceivers.

That's is good to know - congratulations.  How will that translate to
composite transmit noise spectrum?  I would absolutely hate to see a
low power radio with "home station features" be used with 100/1500W
amps and turn into a wideband noise generator like my neighbor's IC-746.
  I realize the requirements for spectral purity are lower for
low power transceivers they should still be "good neighbors" when they
are used with amplifiers in a "home station" configuration - many of
the low power radio/inexpensive amplifier combinations are anything
but good neighbors.

73,

    ... Joe, W4TV


On 8/4/2012 3:56 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:

> Joe Subich, W4TV wrote:
>
>> If Elecraft are marketing the KX3 as anything other than a trail radio
>> the design missed the mark by 5 km.  ... lack of headphone amplifier,
>> and lack of separate line in and line out
>> audio connections, the rig is severely lacking is the "home station"
>> department - particularly for digital (RTTY/PSK/JT65/etc.) operation.
>
> Joe,
>
> Does "home station" actually imply a fixed set of requirements? Prior to
> starting Elecraft with Eric, my entire home station was a Wilderness
> Radio Sierra transceiver (one of my earlier designs). I was quite happy
> to change bands with modules, log with a pencil, match antennas with a
> manual tuner, and key the rig with a homebrew keyer based on a Curtis
> keyer chip.
>
> Surely the KX3, with all-mode/all-band coverage, full I.F. DSP, dual
> watch, a generous user interface, attached keyer paddle, battery pack,
> ATU, roofing filters, and full remote-control command set, could be
> considered a home station -- at least for some operators.
>
> I also differ on some of your comments on the KX3's audio. There is no
> "lack" of a headphone amplifier. The KX3 has a headphone amp that is
> quite capable of driving any type of headphones to more volume than you
> need, at low distortion. This same jack can drive virtually any type of
> powered external speakers. Since the KX3 excels at stereo audio effects,
> including dual watch, I would think most operators would want to use
> dual external speakers anyway. Yes, the internal speaker is small, but
> it was never intended as the primary transducer.
>
> True, there's no separate line in/out. We will, however, be adding
> separate gain controls for data modes.
>
> Once we add the 100-W companion amp, the distinction between the KX3 and
> a much larger "home" transceiver will be further blurred.
>
>
>> ....with a SIS-570 based local oscillator and direct conversion
>> the jury is still out as to whether the phase noise/reciprocal mixing
>> performance is sufficient for use in strong signal (receive) and high
>> power (> 10W) transmit environments.  Unless SiS have improved their
>> products greatly or Wayne has some magic in his implementation, I am
>> very concerned (witness the phase noise in the XG3).
>
> Actually, the jury is in :)
>
> The XG3--a very small device--uses a CS-2100 to keep cost and current
> drain low. It has a noise floor of about -105 dBc/Hz at all offsets.
> This is appropriate for a simple RF generator.
>
> The KX3's phase noise was recently tested a well-known third-party test
> organization. They measured -142 dBc/Hz at a 2.5 kHz spacing, and -145
> dBc/Hz at a 20 kHz spacing. The noise was still going down monotonically
> all the way to 500 kHz (their last data point). This is better than
> almost all "home station" transceivers.
>
> So phase noise is not an issue.
>
> Of course a transceiver like the K3, with a superhet architecture and
> very narrow crystal filters, will outperform a zero-I.F. receiver in
> close-in dynamic range (0-2 kHz). But the KX3 is no slouch.
>
> 73,
> Wayne
> N6KR
>
>
>
>
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Re: KX3 as a base station? Yes, because it's all relative

wayne burdick
Administrator
Joe Subich, W4TV wrote:


>> The KX3's phase noise was recently tested a well-known third-party
>> test organization. They measured -142 dBc/Hz at a 2.5 kHz spacing,
>> and -145 dBc/Hz at a 20 kHz spacing. The noise was still going down
>> monotonically all the way to 500 kHz (their last data point). This is
>> better than almost all "home station" transceivers.
>
> That's is good to know - congratulations.  How will that translate to
> composite transmit noise spectrum?

Excellent. I've done my own TX phase noise plots, and I can assure you  
that the KX3 is very clean. You can also read past postings from those  
using it at field day, etc.

Our original group of K3 field testers includes several who are line  
of sight with each other in the Santa Cruz mountains. They have also  
been evaluating the KX3. They have had no problem with wideband  
spectral noise.

Wayne

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Re: KX3 as a base station? Yes, because it's all relative

Rick Stealey
In reply to this post by Joe Subich, W4TV-4

Keep in mind -142dbc is a relative number, not an absolute value.  So it doesn't matter
if it is on a 10 watt, 100 watt or legal limit transmitter it's still -142 db below the carrier
(in a 1 Hz bandwidth if I understand correctly).
And those are the kind of numbers one normally expects to see out at 10 KHz
separation and beyond, not at 2 KHz.
Wayne does it again !  Bingo !

Rick  K2XT


> I would absolutely hate to see a
> low power radio with "home station features" be used with 100/1500W
> amps and turn into a wideband noise generator like my neighbor's IC-746.
>   I realize the requirements for spectral purity are lower for
> low power transceivers they should still be "good neighbors" when they
> are used with amplifiers in a "home station" configuration
     
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Re: KX3 as a base station? Yes, because it's all relative

Jim Brown-10
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
On 8/4/2012 12:56 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
>> ....with a SIS-570 based local oscillator and direct conversion
>> >the jury is still out as to whether the phase noise/reciprocal mixing
>> >performance is sufficient for use in strong signal (receive) and high
>> >power (> 10W) transmit environments.  Unless SiS have improved their
>> >products greatly or Wayne has some magic in his implementation, I am
>> >very concerned (witness the phase noise in the XG3).
> Actually, the jury is in:)

I have a loaner KX3, and recently looked at the signal envelope
(sidebands, for you non-techie types) and it is VERY VERY clean.  70 dB
bandwidth was 200 Hz.

73, Jim K9YC
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Re: KX3 as a base station? Yes, because it's all relative

Mickey Baker
In reply to this post by Joe Subich, W4TV-4
Hi, List,

I got my hands on a friends KX3 yesterday when he brought it over to my
shack. I have one on order (Dayton order, September/October, I hope) but my
friend ordered his in February and it landed last week. We played with it
for over an hour, and after I found a PL-259 to BNC adapter, I was very
impressed. Antenna is a 6BTV mounted on the ground with 30+ radials,
excellent low takeoff vertical.

As you may know, the NA CW contest was on and the bands were crowded. In a
direct (subjective) comparison with a FlexRadio 5000, the noise level was
lower with the KX3. Out of passband signal rejection seemed lower and the
front end artifacts that the Flex hears (as hiss) from very strong stations
was non-existent. Although the antenna in use gives good SWR in the bands
we tried, the antenna tuner was very quick to return 1.1 - 1 swr in the low
ends of 20m and 15m. I love the display!

The two loudest complaints I've read on this list:
1. The Knob tightness - the knob WAS tight, but it was a positive, smooth
turning feel and there was no "flywheel" effect - you couldn't spin it and
watch the frequency move. A knob tightness adjustment like on the IC-7000
could be comparable if it were adjusted tight. My observation is that it is
No Big Deal. Will it get looser over time? I hope not much looser!
2. The speaker rattling: Yes. If you turn AF gain way up, the speaker will
rattle. If you turn the audio gain up on my entertainment receiver in the
shack, I can make the windows rattle, too. ("Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when
I do THIS." Doctor: "Don't do THAT.") So it won't get really loud without
distortion. Again, No Big Deal, surgery is not required, IMO, you can hear
the radio quite fine and clear at a lower audio level (in the shack with
the AC running.)

Thanks for all of your postings, they're very informative, and thanks to
NQ2U who brought over KX3 # 0960 for a great introduction to a great radio.
I can't wait to get mine!

73,

Mickey N4MB


On Sun, Aug 5, 2012 at 10:47 AM, Joe Subich, W4TV <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>  > Does "home station" actually imply a fixed set of requirements?
>
> No, but one would expect the minimum standard to include such things
> as (separate) fixed level input and output for digital mode interfacing
> particularly if the transceiver supports digital modes otherwise.
>
>  > True, there's no separate line in/out. We will, however, be adding
>  > separate gain controls for data modes.
>
> While separate gain controls are nice, separate I/O should be a given
> in a home station rig to avoid the need to plug/unplug cables - or the
> need to build an outboard audio management device just to switch modes.
> Even the low power IC-703 and FT-817 provide separate Line In/Line Out
> connections and they've been around for what, 10 years?  Other than the
> K2 and Flex radios, I haven't seen a transceiver without separate Line
> in/Line Out connections since the FT-840 (20 years?) except in some
> CW only trail radios.
>
> > I also differ on some of your comments on the KX3's audio. There is
> > no "lack" of a headphone amplifier. The KX3 has a headphone amp that
> > is quite capable of driving any type of headphones to more volume
> > than you need, at low distortion.
>
> Perhaps I was given incorrect information by someone at Elecraft.  What
> I received indicated that the headphones were being driven directly by
> the DAC which had limited drive capability which might be a problem
> particularly with inefficient, low impedance headphones.
>
> I won't even repeat the issues with the speaker.
>
> > The KX3's phase noise was recently tested a well-known third-party
> > test organization. They measured -142 dBc/Hz at a 2.5 kHz spacing,
> > and -145 dBc/Hz at a 20 kHz spacing. The noise was still going down
> > monotonically all the way to 500 kHz (their last data point). This is
> > better than almost all "home station" transceivers.
>
> That's is good to know - congratulations.  How will that translate to
> composite transmit noise spectrum?  I would absolutely hate to see a
> low power radio with "home station features" be used with 100/1500W
> amps and turn into a wideband noise generator like my neighbor's IC-746.
>   I realize the requirements for spectral purity are lower for
> low power transceivers they should still be "good neighbors" when they
> are used with amplifiers in a "home station" configuration - many of
> the low power radio/inexpensive amplifier combinations are anything
> but good neighbors.
>
> 73,
>
>     ... Joe, W4TV
>
>
> On 8/4/2012 3:56 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
> > Joe Subich, W4TV wrote:
> >
> >> If Elecraft are marketing the KX3 as anything other than a trail radio
> >> the design missed the mark by 5 km.  ... lack of headphone amplifier,
> >> and lack of separate line in and line out
> >> audio connections, the rig is severely lacking is the "home station"
> >> department - particularly for digital (RTTY/PSK/JT65/etc.) operation.
> >
> > Joe,
> >
> > Does "home station" actually imply a fixed set of requirements? Prior to
> > starting Elecraft with Eric, my entire home station was a Wilderness
> > Radio Sierra transceiver (one of my earlier designs). I was quite happy
> > to change bands with modules, log with a pencil, match antennas with a
> > manual tuner, and key the rig with a homebrew keyer based on a Curtis
> > keyer chip.
> >
> > Surely the KX3, with all-mode/all-band coverage, full I.F. DSP, dual
> > watch, a generous user interface, attached keyer paddle, battery pack,
> > ATU, roofing filters, and full remote-control command set, could be
> > considered a home station -- at least for some operators.
> >
> > I also differ on some of your comments on the KX3's audio. There is no
> > "lack" of a headphone amplifier. The KX3 has a headphone amp that is
> > quite capable of driving any type of headphones to more volume than you
> > need, at low distortion. This same jack can drive virtually any type of
> > powered external speakers. Since the KX3 excels at stereo audio effects,
> > including dual watch, I would think most operators would want to use
> > dual external speakers anyway. Yes, the internal speaker is small, but
> > it was never intended as the primary transducer.
> >
> > True, there's no separate line in/out. We will, however, be adding
> > separate gain controls for data modes.
> >
> > Once we add the 100-W companion amp, the distinction between the KX3 and
> > a much larger "home" transceiver will be further blurred.
> >
> >
> >> ....with a SIS-570 based local oscillator and direct conversion
> >> the jury is still out as to whether the phase noise/reciprocal mixing
> >> performance is sufficient for use in strong signal (receive) and high
> >> power (> 10W) transmit environments.  Unless SiS have improved their
> >> products greatly or Wayne has some magic in his implementation, I am
> >> very concerned (witness the phase noise in the XG3).
> >
> > Actually, the jury is in :)
> >
> > The XG3--a very small device--uses a CS-2100 to keep cost and current
> > drain low. It has a noise floor of about -105 dBc/Hz at all offsets.
> > This is appropriate for a simple RF generator.
> >
> > The KX3's phase noise was recently tested a well-known third-party test
> > organization. They measured -142 dBc/Hz at a 2.5 kHz spacing, and -145
> > dBc/Hz at a 20 kHz spacing. The noise was still going down monotonically
> > all the way to 500 kHz (their last data point). This is better than
> > almost all "home station" transceivers.
> >
> > So phase noise is not an issue.
> >
> > Of course a transceiver like the K3, with a superhet architecture and
> > very narrow crystal filters, will outperform a zero-I.F. receiver in
> > close-in dynamic range (0-2 kHz). But the KX3 is no slouch.
> >
> > 73,
> > Wayne
> > N6KR
> >
> >
> >
> >
> ______________________________________________________________
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>



--
Mickey Baker, N4MB
Fort Lauderdale, FL
*“Tell me, and I will listen. Show me, and I will understand. Involve me,
and I will learn.” *Teton Lakota, American Indian Saying.
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Re: Unhappy With Your KX3?

Edward R Cole
In reply to this post by Kevin Kleinfelter
I composed a long reply on my experiences to find my web-mail had disconnected so
all was lost with reconnection.  So here it is again:

I am using my KX3 probably 90% in the shack as second radio to my K3.  K3 has heavy
lifting duties on HF and with my several VHF+ transverters.

I do plan to set up the KX3 for mobile once a quick-change mount is available and
may add a 100w HF amp.  It will get primary duty on 2m-FM using an add-on linear
(either 35w or 80w).

I did encounter highly distorted audio on my initial turn-on of the KX3. That was
using the internal speaker.  It happened on strong signals a couple more times and
has not occured since?  I figure the radio was just stretching on initila wake-up!
I do normally run with my Harmon-Kardon computer ampified speakers which improves
audio quality (though the speakers were never spectacular).  MY K3 internal speaker
leaves me luke-warm but I have it connected to a 8-inch 1950's National Receiver
speaker which gives great audio with the K3.

I bent a piece of aluminum plate so the radio is mounted at 15-degree uptilt on my
wooden radio shelf (console) using the prethreaded hole for the paddle which I
opted not to buy as I have a Bencher-2 in the shack.  Most of my serious CW sending
is done by computer anyway.

Overall I am favorably impressed.  The FT-817 which was replaced by the KX3 never
impressed me for HF reception.  The KX3 sounds almost as good as my K3.  I will add
the 2m module and EXREF options when available.  I also use the small radio for
portable operation (aka mountain-topping) for VHF- mw.  I am writing a review for
the Microwave Update Conference this October on that application.

I figured on some start-up "bumps"being it a new product.  But I am confident that
Elecraft will come forward with upgrades via firmware.  That is the nice part about
having a SDR>

73, Ed - KL7UW

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