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Looking to buy my first HF Rig
#1
Hey Folks,

I am looking for an HF rig to buy. I am going new, not used. I am leaning towards an Icom 7200, Kenwood TS-480 or even possibly a KX3. The receiver specs on the KX3 look pretty amazing, but the radio itself will hit my max budge, and this would only give me 10 watts! So may have to shelf that idea. Anybody have any info on these various rigs they would like to share? Try to to keep it factual vs. what you have read, because I have read about all there is, except for the KX3.

Thanks!
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#2
That 13, 000 dollar yahoo!

Later Stacey
Those who plan and prepare, endure the weather!!
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#3
I like my 706 m2g.. and the 857d

Later Stacey
Those who plan and prepare, endure the weather!!
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#4
The only consideration with the KX3 is this. It's very easy to add power later. There are quite a few choices you can make to get the 10W-12W to 100W or beyond. The upcoming KXPA3 is one of them, or TenTec makes another nice one. It's very difficult to upgrade the receiver in any of those rigs.

The other advantage of having an external amp is that you have a QRP rig when you want it, and it's easy to plug it in and up the power.

It also depends on what usage case you're looking at. The KX3 is designed to be run portable and off of batteries. There are internal AA sized batteries that you can power it with. I use LiPo model airplane cells for mine when portable. But, just having batteries isn't enough. The KX3's receive current draw with headphones on is around 160 mA. Since your radio is in receive for a great amount of time, that saves you a lot of battery. Also, you're not going to want to lug the large battery to reach 100W when you're doing portable operation as well as antennas that are going to take that much power. These are important considerations if you're wanting a "field radio." If it's going to stay on your desk all the time, it doesn't matter at all.

The other advantage of the KX3 is that it's fairly modular. All the options available are something that can be added after your initial buy as you get more money. That lessens the pain quite a bit as you get used to it.

The Elecraft support story is also pretty good here. The mailing list is quite active with knowledgable folks. And if they don't know, the owners of the company regularly post about things. Telephone support is excellent and the company is based down in Aptos, CA.

I've owned a 706-MKIIG, a 746, a K2 and a handful of other HF radios. My Elecraft rigs are the best I've owned.

Obviously this is all personal opinion. I've been a ham since the 80s, but that surely doesn't mean I know everything. If you'd like to try out the KX3 yourself, I'm happy to try to set something up to show it off.
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#5
Thanks Jeremy! I know it is a very impressive receiver. Rates high on ALL of the sites I have seen. I like the idea of QRP work, but after dropping $1G on a rig, it will be a long while before I put more into the hobby. I am stretched thin already with repeaters etc. Anyway, I appreciate your response and am still looking at them.

Thanks!!
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#6
Hey Jeremy,

I did forget to ask, All of the rave reviews on the KX3 receiver, is that with optional filters installed or the base unit. I did see some additional filters you can get for it, however, now after watching some INSANE receiver YouTube video comparisons, I am back to putting the KX3 in the mix here.... Uugggggg How hard are they to build as a kit? I would almost opt to pay the $100 to have it factory assembled and tested. This could avoid getting a bad component
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#7
There is only one additional filter that you can get for it. That's the KXFL3 "roofing filter."

The filter doesn't give you any additional filter widths. The filtering in the rig is done pretty much all in software and is essentially continuously variable. It's not like a more traditional superhet where you only have the choices of the crystal filters you have installed. What the roofing filter is for is to protect the ADC in case of a very strong signal being very close to the frequency you are trying to listen to. If you don't, the ADC overloads and bad things happen. That being said, the performance without the roofing filter is very good, and if you're doing SSB, is probably entirely adequate. I don't have the roofing filter installed in mine. It will be more useful for things like Field Day where you're going to have strong closely spaced signals. Note that the IMDB3 drops to 96 dB instead of 104 dB according to Sherwood, but this makes it tied for 6th on the list with the Flex-5000.

The kit is completely no solder. It's just screwing components together. All the boards are completely factory tested even in the kit version. The main tool you need is a phillips screwdriver. I highly recommend that you save the $100 and just build it from kit. If you have questions about the assembly process, the assembly manual is available here: http://www.elecraft.com/manual/E740164%2...%20WEB.pdf
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