Front coming along
The KX3 is not a full built kit but rather you have a choice of purchasing a fully built unit from Elecraft or you can opt to receive the radio as a no solder kit...and save some money as well. I decided to order the kit along with some of the options. All the boards come soldered and pre-tested its a matter of putting the kit together. It took me about 5 leisurely hours to put the kit together, there was some hiccups along the way but over all the build was a smooth one. At a fast glance the KX3 has the looks of the front face of the Elecraft K3. This radio is meant to be and is a very powerful but portable radio, it has a (optional) rig mounted keyer, internal AA batteries, weights only 1.5 lbs, 10 watts of power, it has the front end and filtering that all Elecraft radios are know for. Last but not least even powering the radio off and on has portability in mind. To power up and off the radio two front panels buttons must be pushed......why you ask??? The folks at Elecraft figured this would stop the rig from being turned on accidentally when in a travel sack.
Roofing filter edge to be removed
The options I ordered were the KXPD3 (CW paddle) KXFL3 roofing filter, KXBC3 NiMH battery charger and finally the KXAT3 internal antenna tuner. The kit assembly as I said earlier did have some hiccups. The roofing filter I found to have some ridges on both the top and bottom of the PC board. These ridges did not allow the KX3 cover to close flush. The ridges had to be filed off ( I called Elecraft to make sure of this and all was ok to file). The AA battery holder did cause me some grief, once I figured out I had installed the two holders backwards all was well. Before the AA holder problem was solved I was not able to route the cable from the AA battery holder to it's matting connector. That was solved with the reversing of the two holders
Battery holder in backwards

There was also some confusing whether or not the roofing filter had to be calibrated or not. I was reading on the Elecraft reflector that it was now done at the factory BUT the instructions that came with the filter did say a calibration was needed. So it was back on the phone to Elecraft and I was told that yes in fact the filter is factory calibrated. There is a ribbon cable that connects the two main boards to each other. I had read on the Elecraft reflector that this could be a tricky step. I just took my time and followed the instructions and all went well.
ATU added

There was one last problem I encountered that in the end turned out to be a problem on my end and not the rig itself. When doing the ---------------- calibration the rig would not finish the calibration procedure. After contacting Tech support at Elecraft it was determined the power supply I was using was not supplying the proper amount of current for the test. Once hooking up my Astron 25 amp supply (more than enough power) to the radio the test ran without any troubles. The rig is ready to go, time to use it and blog about it!!!
Tricky ATU connection

1 comment:

KE2YK said...

Enjoyed building my KX3 and thoroughly enjoy operating the bands with this sweet rig. Got all the goodies to install at the same time. 72 KE2YK