Elecraft kx3 transceiver tips, mods & hints
1st TIP: How to save battery power.
Use 5.0 watts or less when running from a 12-V source, and 3.0 watts or less when running from an 8-10 V source (including the 8x AA batteries). At these levels, the elecraft KX3 transceiver automatically switches the power amplifier to a more efficient setting. You can tell that power-saving mode is in effect by a decimal point after the ‘W’ in the power value (e.g., “5.0 W.”). Why not to use headphones rather than the internal speaker? You can save other precious mAh during reception (around 80 mAh) and , also, if you can …turn off the LCD backlight (Menu: BKLIGHT). The current drain of the Elecraft KX3 is around 1.20 Amps on transmit with 5 watts out. See the video clicking on the arrow down
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2nd TIP. Isolate the oscillator.The elecraft KX3 transceiver, like other radios with a quadrature direct-conversion architecture, uses a VFO (local oscillator) running at or very close to the operating frequency. If you have another radio on the same band as the KX3, and the antennas are close together, the other radio may be able to hear the KX3’s oscillator when they’re both tuned to the same frequency.To prevent this, the KX3 includes an isolation amplifier that keeps the oscillator from radiating back through the mixer. Normally this amplifier is turned off to save about 15 mA of receive-mode current drain. To turn on the isolation amp, set MENU:RX ISO to ON. This has no effect on performance.
3rd tip: going portable? Get a lipo for your Elecraft KX3 transceiver
There are many kind of LiPo batteries and these are a great addition to my elecraft KX3 transceiver package. A fully charged 3S LiPo battery is around 12.6 volts. You can use your QRP KX3 @ 10 watts output power with this battery for the entire afternoon! Down here there is a nice video on operating tips (Elecraft KX3 transceiver) click on the arrow!!!
To do this, simply tap ATU TUNE a second time within 5 seconds of the first match attempt.
In his case, a 1.0:1 match was found on the second try.Clearing out old LC data. The KX3 stores ATU LC data for many segments on each band. The LC data required to match a home antenna system is often quite different from what is needed to match a field antenna. So when operating in the field, you may find that clearing all of the LC data for each band used can save a lot of re-tuning time. This is done by locating the ATU MD menu entry, then holding CLR (a switch function of the RIT offset control). Then exit the menu.
The ATU will use the LC data from the closest segment that you’ve tuned, so when setting up a new antenna, you can tune up in as little as one spot (if the antenna is broadband) or as often as within every segment. Segments are on 20-kHz boundaries on most bands (5 kHz on 160 m).
Elecraft KX3 software
The KX3 version of Win4K3Suite provides full control of the KX3 as well as a sound card based Spectrum Scope displaying KX3 signals in real time. Full support for point and click frequency changes for both VFO’s. Unlike many Software Defined Radio software, all demodulation, modulation and filtering of the KX3 signals are handled by the KX3 itself. This “Hybrid SDR” approach leaves the digital signal processing to the engineers at Elecraft, while providing a full featured spectrum scope like the P3 and full control of the radio. All other features of Win4K3Suite are included.
Elecraft companion (shareware)
Simple app (less than 5 euro only on ANDROID market) that will let you send and receive CW, PSK31 and RTTY by using your tablet. You can set up to 10 macros to that can use dynamic symbols to have Call, Name, QTH and Locator automatically updated.
You need only the standard USB Serial cable that comes with the radio and inexpensive OTG Cable adapter to connect the serial USB to your mobile device. You can find them for 10 bucks on eBay.
Recently has been added a NEW FEATURE: Audio Spectrum and Waterfall! Selecting the “SPECTRUM” tool, the app shows the audio spectrum. For devices allowing that, you can also attach the KX3 Audio OUT to the device Audio IN for a better signal. The spectrum shows the DSP filter center frequency and its bandwidth. By touching the spectrum you can also see the shift and frequency of every single line. You can zoom in and out to have larger spectrum bandwidth. Selecting the “WATERFALL” tool, you can see how the spectrum evolved over time. It is very useful feature to spot every signal even the weakest ones!
- Send and receive CW, PSK31 and RTTY using your Android device keyboard (or even a Bluetooth physical Keyboard)
- Read and Write messages with room for hundreds of chars(depending on your mobile phone or tablet screen size)
- XMIT (Chat) Mode – Transmit as you type. Perfect mode to be used with an external Bluetooth keyboard.
- Switch mode (CW, PSK31, RTTY)
- Set the frequency and go up/down bands
- Record and recall up to 10 totally customized macros
- 4 dynamic symbols for Call, Name, QTH and Locator to be used on macros (you can customize the symbols)
- Set the CW WPM (Words Per Minute) value with a slider
- Have up to 10 presets to set power, ATU or whatever you want to program (20 macros on tablet with large enough displays)
- Customize the serial baudrate, dynamic symbols and date formats to adapt the app to your setup and needs
- Record and share full QSO logs (everything you send and receive is recorded and saved in a text file)
- Log your QSO in CSV and ADIF format and send them via email or to any external service supported by your mobile device (log date, time, mode, frequency, call, name, qth and locator)
- Log received/send RST and received/sent contest serial numbers
- Audio Spectrum and Waterfall with touch QSY to easy find and center signals!
- SWR Meter to sweep a frequency range and see the SWR values over that range
- Compatible with Elecraft K3 as well
K3NetServer for Mac OS X Snow Leopard
K3NetServer is a server application for the Mac that provides two-way communication between an iPhone via WiFi and an Elecraft K3 or KX3 radio attached to the Mac via a serial cable.
If you wish to use K3iNetwork or K3iDitDah with a Mac computer attached to your K3/KX3 via a serial port, you need to download and install one of the following available servers:
K3NetServer and SServer communicate with the K3/KX3 via a RS232 serial cable connected between the Mac and the K3/P3 or KX3. K3iNetwork or K3iDitDah communicate with K3NetServer or SServer over WiFi and commands are passed through K3NetServer or SServer to the K3/KX3. K3/KX3 responses are returned to K3iNetwork (iPhone) via K3NetServer or SServer and the WiFi connection.
PowerSDR (free, open source)
Software by flexradiosystem. Originally built to work with FLEX-5000, FLEX-3000, and FLEX-1500 FLEX Series software defined radios. But you can easily adapt to work with Elecraft KX3. Written in a combination of ANSI C and C#, FlexRadio PowerSDR software is easy to learn and modify. Source code is available to encourage amateur SDR research and experimentation.
- Real-Time High Resolution Multi-Function Panadapter Spectrum Display
- PanaFall™ and PanaScope™ multi-displays for both Frequency and Time displays
- Razor sharp, brick wall filters with resolution down to 10Hz with NO RINGING!
- Continuously variable transmit and receive Passband filters
- Visual Click Tune™ Frequency control
- All digital AGC threshold control for optimal noise control
- Dual VFOs and Dual-RX for enhanced Split mode operation
- Receive and transmit audio Graphic Equalizer controls plus advanced transmit audio controls
- Built-in Iambic memory keyer with keyboard entry feature
- Seamless transverter support
- Unlimited Memory channels
- Over the air record and playback
Elecraft KX3 firmware:
please rely on the Elecraft WEBSITE at this address (archive)
SSTV from ISS
It was great and exciting receiving the International space station .
The Russian ARISS team activated SSTV from the ISS service module as part of the celebration related to Cosmonautics Day.
My setup was FT 817 ND qrp transceiver plus ELK antenna YAGI.
www.elkantenna.com if you wanna have more info.
—- Watch here the great video 🙂 of live recording SSTV image received from ISS —–
73 de F4VQW aka IZ0JOJ and M0HKH
in Bordeaux, Aquitaine Region, France
Portable ham radio
‘Portable‘ operations is usually signified by ham radio amateur operators that loves to bring with themselves their radio. They append the suffix ‘/P’ to their callsign. Operating ‘/P’ means that stations are operating away from their licensed station address. Usually the ham radio frequency is the 0 – 30 Mhz – HF transceivers.
If you go ” portable ” you may choose to do QRP.
QRP means low power. Your transceiver ham radio is tiny and allowed to transmit only with few watts (less than 5 watts) and using a VERY portable and efficient antenna you may be able to talk with ham radio amateurs miles and miles far away from you. The record is 1 watt and 12000 miles ! 🙂
The motto of doing QRP and hence of doing ” portable ham radio ” is to “do more with less”.
These are all the QRP radio to go portable and doing hamradio:
- KX3IcomIC-703 / IC-706
QRP+ / QRP++
For mobile operation on the HF bands, many of us use the Hamstick antennas attached to a mag-mount. It’s just few bucks (less than 25$) but now out of production. These stick antennas work on a single band. They require you to change the antenna when changing bands. Another design uses resonators attached to a permanent base section to operate on different bands. The resonators and fiberglass whip antennas use a standard 3/8-24 threaded mount.
Good results from a mobile station are much easier to obtain on the 20 meter and higher frequency bands. The need to keep antennas small makes operating on the “low bands” (40 meters and below) more of a challenge. The smaller coaxial feed lines, such as RG-174 and RG-58, also have higher losses.
Best antenna to go portable are
Check here clicking on the arrow down here to see a YOUTUBE video about a DX QRP PORTABLE ham radio.