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  #11  
Old 04-24-2013, 04:49 PM
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Elecrafts are sweet radios. Haven't seen the KX3 up close, but the K3 is uber nice. One of the best receivers out there of any radio. Sherwood measured the KX3 above the very awesome FTdx-5000 and higher than the K3 itself. It's only second to the PT-800, which is undisputed king of the hill.

http://www.sherweng.com/table.html

Spendy, though!

Base KX3 is $900 if you assemble it yourself. Also does not do VHF or UHF. But compared to a FT-817, it's not bad. Those go for about $700 new right now and there's no question the KX3 is a much better radio. I have an '817 and do like it a lot. I think the form factor is better than the KX3 and it had a unique niche unto itself for a decade. But it's performance is that of a design badly showing its age.

The regular K3 can accept a 2m module. But to get a K3/100 starts at $2100 if you assemble and the 2m module, which is 10W, is $300. If you want to do UHF you'll need to add the transverter module to the 2m module to drive a UHF amp.

For around twice what the 2m module alone costs you can get a whole FT-857, which you can find right now at around $850 brand new. That's another reason the FT-857 is I think the best choice for a first radio. You can build a battery pack for $50 and have /way/ more radio than the $200 difference to the '817.

But of course the radios we mortals can afford are straight up lousy in comparison. The FT-817 3rd order dynamic range comes in around 83dB and the ft-857 at about 88dB/65dB. Those are around 20dB worse than the K3 class radios.
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  #12  
Old 04-24-2013, 05:09 PM
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And all of this is just dreaming because to really take advantage of performance, QRP especially, you need to know Morse. Even the FT-817 can be a very good radio with CW. All of the numbers Sherwood and others quote make a difference in contests for sure but for us, normally, ambient interference is so bad that we'll give up a ton of it just being around S5 or higher noise.
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  #13  
Old 04-25-2013, 08:14 AM
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After trying to dig stuff out of the noise on the .130 and .160 lately I think I'm ready for anything Some weird stuff going on!
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2013, 11:43 AM
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Ordered a Vizkey & code practice oscillator this weekend. I think it will be easier to learn if I can do it along with listening.

I've been watching some videos and reading a bunch of reviews and I've decided I'm going to start saving $ towards an Elecraft KX3. I plan to get the 2M module and 100W amp whenever those are released as well. I'll begin researching the best antenna and I want to build a go box setup.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:27 PM
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You will like the KX3, that is the top of the line radio. You should never feel the need to upgrade! I'm super jealous, an Elecraft is my 'someday' radio.
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  #16  
Old 05-17-2013, 09:40 AM
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This was in a recent QST. I'm planning to build one, interested?
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File Type: pdf MCW_Keyer_042013QST.pdf (471.4 KB, 144 views)
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  #17  
Old 06-06-2013, 07:44 AM
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So, I ended up buying a couple keys and a HamGadgets MK-1, so I've been practicing with those. The MK-1 is a bit overkill for a practice oscillator , but I have future plans for it. I ended up with a Vizkey and a tiny, micropaddle from KK5PY which fits in a film canister (for future SOTA stuff!)

I have C, Q, W, 0, A, L, E, M, K, R, S, O down...that's almost half the alphabet and a number!

I've been learning at 20 characters/15 words per minute. I've been using Koch Morse Trainer Pro (KMT Pro) on my Android. Go to lunch, grab your paper and pencil, throw some headphones on and copy away for 15-20 minutes.

Trying to finish my degree is definitely my top priority, but it's been fun to sit, listen and try to copy stuff. I don't know how the heck folks can send/rcv that super fast stuff! Once I have all the letters down I'll probably download the files from W1AW and try copying those.

Oh, and the KX3 dreams are on hold for a bit. I want to get a nice battery backup/go-kit set up before I buy that. I'm really liking my Kenwood HT, so I'll build that up with a Kenwood TM-710A. I wish I would have bought a dual-band mobile rig instead of the FT-2900R since the ARES guys down here use both bands.

So, Dave have you been doing any CW practice?
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  #18  
Old 06-06-2013, 09:50 AM
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I hear ya on ham radio budgets. Just keep in mind that the radio is just a pretty face you look at, what makes or breaks your station is the antenna. Any radio made in the past decade or two is far more sensitive and stable than we need.

So get what you can afford and spend the time & money on wire and a tuner. A $50 single band Altoids xcvr hooked to a decent antenna will run rings around a KX3 connected to a subpar one. Plus you won't cry when it gets crushed and dunked in a lake backpacking... The majority of hiking contacts I make are 20m so having a bunch of bands really is just a luxury.

Haven't had time to practice, nothing to practice on.
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