How will you use your KX3?

A rhetorical question and one I’m asking trying to justify my own purchase…

For the past several weeks, I’ve returned (temporarily, thankfully) to my post-Navy roots:

-totally QRP and with a makeshift antenna in a place that would rather I not have one at all.

I’m only on 17 and 20 meters and not hearing any of the DX I see spotted on the cluster. Most QSO’s fade in and out and are not on QRP freqs  – my antenna is doing all it can to hear 100-watt stations. Expecting it to reliably copy QRP’ers is unrealistic.

There are many in that situation. To alleviate the dual burdens of antenna restrictions and low power, they take to the hills, parks and summits. Portable operation has never been more popular, thanks to all the wrong reasons.

If I lived here with these restrictions, a KX3 would be high on my Things To Buy Next list. I can fully understand its appeal to the antenna-challenged.

But those who go portable with QRP already have a rig – a K2, FT-817, an Argonaut, etc. What will a KX3 provide for you that those rigs don’t?

For those who don’t operate portable but have nonetheless ordered a KX3, as the daughter’s father said to the scruffy young man, “What are your intentions?” Will you be more apt to operate portably now that you have a KX3? If so, how often?

To Elecraft’s credit, Elecraft customers tend to be repeat buyers. I’m betting that more KX3 owners already have a KX1, K2 or K3 taking up shack space – what is the KX3’s place in that line-up? What will it do that they won’t – sit there and look sexy until the new wears off?

Maybe you like its modularity – take it along for the ride as is or enjoy it in the shack at 100 watts with the add-on amp. I wonder how many new hams will make it their One and Only, Do Everything rig.

Me, I’m pondering the price and how little the rig would likely get used at my home QTH…and am wanting one anyway! Damned if I know why, but for the price tag, I’d better come up with something that allows proximity to justification.



  6 comments for “How will you use your KX3?

  1. April 4, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    posting from Guy N7UN has already answered this question!

  2. April 5, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Hi John, I was first licensed at the age of 12 (1962) and operated through my high school years. I then got buried in my career and never touched ham radio and also foolishly let my license expire. I just spent a couple of months studying for and passing all the exams. I researched and placed an order for the KX3. I intend for it to be my one rig. I will mostly use it for CW. I live on a lake in a rural area (Grafton, NY) and will take it with me on hikes to nearby Taconic Mountain peaks, although I am 1,650 ft up. I plan to use only wire antennas. An 80m dipole is currently under construction with a 40m to follow and then a 20m. This rig looks to me to be just what the doctor ordered! 73, Bob

    • April 5, 2012 at 7:14 am

      Bob, I used to live a few hours south of you and hiked around Newburgh & New Paltz a bit with my KX1. I miss the area – my current QTH doesn’t lend itself at all to that sort of activity.

      Like you, I think a lot of people will see the KX3 as a do-all rig and I’m curious as to how it will be portrayed in the eventual QST review. There really is no other single rig to compare it with.

      73 and welcome back to the hobby,

      John AE5X

  3. April 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I operate mostly portable QRP. My reasons to order a KX3 include

    1. For portable ops it combines the items I use into one small package. That is batteries, tuner, speaker and maybe the key if I can learn how to use the paddles.

    2. I have never owned a “big” rig. So it looks like the KX3 has some big rig features in that small package.

    3. The KX3 has an upgrade path to 100 watts. But guess what, I can’t think of a reason I would need 100 watts.

    4. My cherished Icom 703 is discontinued and might die someday. The big manufacturers did not get around to or want to replace it. Well Elecraft did!

    Note. In the mean time I still enjoy my SST-20, Sierra, HB1B and Icom 703 and will likely keep/use them all.



  4. January 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    John, so did you ever pick up a KX3? I finally saved enough mad money and have coming this week. I have promised myself I will unload some other rigs…..promises! At least it gives me another excuse to keep going out and working in my favorite locations…away from the shack.

    • January 7, 2013 at 5:59 am

      No John – the radio money this year (and next!) went into my tower/Yagi. I would love a dedicated QRP rig for the reason you mention (portable ops) but it will be a while now.

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