Elecraft K3 #128

Elecraft K3

Picture: Finished K3

I ordered my Elecraft K3/100 on 1st May 2007 and #128 arrived after some production delays on 6th December 2007. The wait was worth it as it's the best HF transceiver I have used to date. The radio is 160m to 6m with 100W output (there is also a 10W version available) and mine has the following options:


KAT3 Internal ATU
KBPF3 General Coverage RX Filter Module - extends reception from 500 kHz to 54 MHz
KXV3 Transverter Interface - also includes RX antenna input
KFL3A-6K 6 kHz, 8-pole roofing filter - for AM
KFL3A-1.8K 1.8 kHz, 8-pole roofing filter - for contest SSB and wide CW
KFL3A-500 500 Hz, 5-pole roofing filter - for CW
Note that the radio comes with a 2.7 kHz roofing filter as standard

Click on all images to see the photo in full size.

K3 Build

The Elecraft K3 is sold as fully assembled radio or as a non-solder kit. I opted for the kit version to save import duty charges (0% for kits) as well as the enjoyment of building the radio. I have never built an Elecraft kit before but I found the installation guide easy to follow and the radio worked first time. The build process is supposed to take 7 hours but I ended up taking around 10 hours to complete mine.

Only standard tools are required plus a multimeter for continuity tests prior to switch on. All calibration is achieved using the radio's firmware which is impressive.

The kit is supplied as several SMD boards plus all required cables, switches, knobs, screws, bolts etc. The picture shows the start of the build process - RF board with Roofing Filters installed.

Picture: K3 - RF board with filters
Picture: K3 with side panel

Next the Low Power Amplifier is installed in the rear of the RF board and the side and front panels installed. Note that an anti-static mat is required for ESD protection whilst building the kit. Mine only cost 10 pounds from Ebay although it ended up being a little on the small side.. Also note the Green Tea which is essential for kit building. The installation manual pages can also be seen in this photo showing close-in photos of each step.

Starting to look like a radio now with all panels attached to the RF board. The ATU has also been installed in the far right.

Picture: K3 with all panels

Picture: K3 with rear IO cards

This photo shows the rear IO card and transverter interface installed. The rear IO card is impressive as it allows direct audio connection to a PC/laptop for Data modes. The IO card has the neccessary transformers built in so no external interface is required. This coupled with the inbuilt RTTY, CW and PSK decoders make the radio excellent for data modes.

Next the front panel and 100W modules were installed. Sadly there are no photos as I was in a rush to try the radio out on the air...

Pros

Early days with the radio but my first impressions are very good:

Cons

Conclusion

This is the best HF transceiver that I have used to date. The most impressive features are the RX and DSP facilities.

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