Ultraportable Elecraft KX3

UPDATE: Steve G4GXL’s 10 minute YouTube video of Wayne N6KR’s quick overview of the new KX3 is available from http://qrparci.org. Also there are early photos on Twitpic here – courtesy of Jeff Davis KE9V including this one:

One of the earliest – and clearest – photos of the new KX3 taken at the Elecraft stand in Dayton by Jeff Davis KE9V

Under the tantalising subject line “Something *really* new at Dayton from Elecraft” and while en route to Dayton – Elecraft’s Wayne Burdick N6KR announced to the Elecraft email lists a very interesting new offering to be launched there – the KX3 and a companion 100W amp, the KXPA100.

According to Wayne, the KX3 handles all modes, SSB/CW/AM/FM/DATA (the latter including built-in PSK31 and RTTY encode/decode/display).

He promised to post full details and photos later this weekend. But that was too intriguing for the list. This is an edited and probably repetitive summary of what they managed to find out about the new set.

KX3: Ultra-compact K3/KX1 hybrid, 160-6 m, 10/100 W, all-mode, 32-bit DSP/SDR, 1.5 lbs.


  • 1.5 lbs (680g)
  • 1.7″ x 3.5″ x 7.4″ (4.3cm x 8.9cm x 18.8cm)
  • extended KX1 form-factor (KX1 – 1.2 x 3 x 5.3″ (3 x 7.5 x 13 cm) KX1 base weight 9oz / 255g)
  • internal battery pack & charger
  • internal wide-range ATU
  • new adjustable, attached keyer paddle

…and a K3-like front panel, including the same LCD.

RX-mode current drain ~150 mA. Very efficient on TX, with dual-output-impedance 5W/10W PA.

The optional 100W amp is in an external chassis. The internal amplifier is 10W with switchable impedance matching so it can also operate with maximum efficiency at 5W.

PA output impedance switch allows efficient 5-W use from internal batteries, or 10 W from external supply.

KXPA100 – 100 W+ with new high-performance external amp/ATU that works with most 5W to 10W rigs.

>Same flat layout as the KX-1 – just bigger box I would assume????

Yes, but with new fold-up rear tilt-feet.

>…and a K3-like front panel, including the same LCD.
> And it makes use of EVERY display on that LCD?? Carumba!

Not quite. I think there are a couple annunciators that are not used. But it’s amazing that the design team managed to fit almost all the features of a 10W K3 into a box that is a small fraction of the size and weight. And with space left over for an internal battery pack!

By the time we’re done, we’ll be using every icon.

Totally different architecture than the K3, of course. (Wayne N6KR)

RX-mode current drain ~150 mA. Very efficient on TX, with dual-output-impedance 5W/10W PA.

> More $$$ or less $$$ that the regular K3?

Much less.

> Dual output impedance 5w/10w pa? I don’t understand.

The MOSFET 10-W amp stage includes an output transformer with both 1:4 and 1:1 windings. When using low power, or when running from internal batteries, the 1:1 winding is used, which optimizes efficiency at about 5 W, greatly reducing transmit current drain. The 1:4 winding is used when running higher power (using an external supply).

> One email said 10w/100w models. Is that correct?

The 1.5-pound radio itself puts out 10 watts+. We’ll also be describing a new, high-performance 100-watt+ companion amplifier/ATU for fixed-station/mobile use. It will work very well with other 5 to 10-W radios besides the KX3.

From follow-up discussion etc it appears as if the base price of the KX3 will be US$799. Availability towards end of 2011. See video for a pretty comprehensive outline of features. Options for the KX3 include roofing filters, internal battery pack and ATU similar to one of K3. Truly an exciting trail friendly radio!

I’ve created a page where I’ll pull together all the available information there is about this ultimate trail friendly radio.



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