Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Amateur Radio Gear Reviews

Elecraft: Worth the premium??

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I was thinking how nice it would be to have an HF rig with internal tuner that could match >3:1 SWR and found myself looking at the Elecraft K3 rigs.  It looks like the company has a loyal following and the reviews at eham are stellar, but $4,000 for a typical K3 kit, after adding in the usual options, seems kind of steep, but maybe the performance really is worth it. 

Anybody have any personal experience with Elecraft?

I have a friend who has built most every model of ELECRAFT radio and added ALL of the options to them, he swears that he can tell the difference...I can't . Most have been compared and stand well against other brand radios , but at ,for most,a high cost for really small advantage. Might just be the ROLEX of pay that better think it is better.

  Don't get me wrong ,they are great radios...but dollar for dollar ,I think you will find TENTEC radios are just a tad better.

  I've used the K3 twice on field day. They are a nice radio, but the menu can be confusing. The radio does so much you don't want to push the wrong buttons. We locked one up during the final hour last year. Opps! The receivers beat anything out there, even my Ten-Tec's. I love Ten-Tec's.
   We had two K3s, matching amps, and band displays at the EOC where we operated from. We also had a Flex 6700. All we needed was some killer operators. Next year.
    If your willing to learn the radio it will do great things for you. I think a K3 with most of the goodies is closer to 3000 dollars. 73

Frequency stability on the KX3, especially when using their built-in 6m/2m transverter is CRAP.  They try to "compensate" a junky crystal oscillator with their microcontroller instead of spending money on a good TCXO.  A buddy of mine just went through Elecraft's "temperature calibration" procedure twice, even using the nice equipment we have here at work (good signal generators, controlled temperature chambers), and still it goes off frequency when it transmits.  It's a self-heating problem. 

If I cared about 6m and 2m, I definitely wouldn't buy the KX3.  For HF?  You can get more for your money elsewhere.

  I just bought a Argonaut V from one of the club members who has 2 KX3s and one of the K3s we used on field day. The Argonaut has a TCXO option in it. It is about 4 times larger than a KX3. A little larger than a IC706MIIG. I've made 15 PSK31 contacts with it in the last two weeks. That's with a very poor antenna. It's rock solid. The K3 has a receiver that hears things my Ten-Tec has trouble with. The difference is small, but it's there. There's something about direct conversion receivers that make a signal come alive. If you want to talk and walk there is a Yahoo Group for that.


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