Elecraft Announce New KX2   May 19th, 2016

kx2

 

Elecraft have today announced the introduction of their new KX2 “Stealth” HF transceiver. This has come as a complete surprise, but is clearly derived from the famous KX3 that has been in production for several years now, but is still enjoying a high level of sales. The new KX2 is entering the market at a somewhat lower price level so how does it differ from the KX3?

Well it is significantly smaller and certainly will appeal to those who want a very compact portable rig. It measures just 5.8 x2.8 x 1.5 inches. There are less controls on the front panel, and this in turn means that some of the operational features of the KX3 will not be available on the KX2. But cleverly, Elecraft have retained the same display size as the KX3 (and indeed the K3S). This will please many of us who have grown to love the clear Elecraft panel display.

The KX2 retains the output power level of the original KX3. (The current KX3 firmware permits the KX3 to now produce 15W on all bands up to 20m.) However the KX2 does miss out 160m and 6m, thus offering 80m -10m (9-band) coverage. The KX2 also has no additional roofing filter provisions but it does have an auto ATU option with the dedicated plug in KXAT2 module. This ATU has a very wide range capability and can match coax and end fed wires, plus whips. There is provision for the Elecraft paddle key, (both the KXPD3 and the new KXPD2) but an alternative key can also be plugged in. One notable feature is that while the KX2 will accept the Elecraft MH3 microphone, it also has its own built-in microphone. Can it be described as a handheld HF transceiver? Well its size qualifies it for this description, but there is always the problem of the antenna. On 20m upwards, it may be possible with a whip and I am sure the pedestrian mobile enthusiasts will have their own ideas on the possibilities.

Unlike the KX3 that relies on generic AA cells for internal battery operation, the KX2 has its own optional Li-ion 2.6 amp-hour battery that Elecraft claim will provide typically 8 hours of operation. Features that have been carried over from the KX3 includes the memory keyer, voice recorder and PSK31/RTTY operation, with no need for a PC. There is however no I/Q SDR output and there is no provision for using the PX3 panoramic adaptor. The FM and AM modes have also been dropped, but this will be of little consequence to many operators.

So exactly where in the market is the KX2 aimed? We see it primarily aimed at those who want a “pocket sized” radio that gives significant power (10W) yet is totally self contained in terms of DC power, mic, ATU and paddle key. There is nothing else like it on the market other than the larger KX3. As such it is going to find favour with many enthusiasts, not the least of which will be SOTA operators and pedestrian mobile fans. Indeed it may well encourage new enthusiasts to this form of operation. At this point in time we do not have a delivery date, but this, together with the prices will be be announced shortly.

Peter G3OJV

How often do we get calls from customers who want to install an HF antenna in a small back garden? The answer is quite often. There is always the feeling from many newcomers that there must be an antenna that covers all bands. Well there are options here, but the truth is that if you want to operate on HF from a small garden, there are compromises that have to be made. You either sacrifice the performance or you accept that you cannot operate on all bands with reasonable efficiency. Newcomers often don’t want to spend too much money on an antenna system until they get a feel for the various bands. It’s all too easy to be phased by the wide range of commercial options and magazine designs. Well here is a recommendation I have often made. It is based on simplicity and certainty of good results, even without an ATU.

I have chosen just two bands, for operation, 40m and 17m. This may seem as a less than obviouscnhoice. The reason is that 40m is open all day and night and 17m is as good or better than 20m (on many occasions) and does not get crowded out with contest operation at the weekends. My recommendation is to purchase a pair of 17m traps, a centre 50 Ohm balun and a pair of end insulators. Then just add wire. I advocate an inverted V because it uses a single support and gets the centre of the antenna up high. Try to aim for 25 ft or more.

Make yourself a 17m dipole and check that the VSWR is low. Add length to lower resonance and reduce length to raise resonance. Once the length is correct, add the traps and then add wire so that the total dipole is around 60ft long. The exact length needs to be achieved by trial and error using a VSWR meter. The 17m portion should not need any further adjustment. Once completed the antennas will automatically cover 17m and 40m with no need for an ATU. You may also get reasonable resonance on 15m. And all this is achieved at a low cost outlay.

Peter G3OJV.

WIN A BRAND NEW YAESU FT-897D!   March 13th, 2013

To be in with a chance of winning a brand new FT-897D or 19 other prizes- simply return your Yaesu warranty card to us for any Yaesu purchase made through W&S between 18th March and 3pm Saturday 28th September 2013. Draw will be held at RSGB National Hamfest 2013.

Send warranty cards to;- Mark Francis, Waters & Stanton, Spa House, 22 Main Road, Hockley, Essex. SS5 4QS.

All KX3 owners will soon get a FREE Voice Recorder.  It won’t come through the post but through the internet. The two channel recorder will become a feature that will be switched on via a coming firmware update. This recorder will have 2 channels of around 10 seconds each. Great for CQs and contests.

Yet another example of how Elecraft look after their customers. Keep checking the Elecraft web site!

The Whispering Giant   August 2nd, 2012

We are now building the 500W Elecraft KPA500 Solid State linear amplifier. Almost unbelievably it is only 4 inches high and about 11 inches wide. This linear amplifier delivers 500+ Watts out – even on PSK31 and RTTY. Switch it on and you hear silence. Press the PTT button on your rig and you hear silence, There is no switching noise whatsoever and the KPA500 can easily follow 40wpm full QSK. There is a fan that is thermally controlled, but you hardly ever hear it come on unless the room is really warm unless you are operating extensively. Drive needed is around 40W for full output. It has a silent analogue built in power supply and two large bar graph meters show power out (inc PEP) and VSWR. There is extensive protection against overdrive and high VSWR. A separate LCD display shows voltage, power out in 1 Watt steps and other operational information. There is even an RS232 on the rear for firmware updates. And it is not necessary to be a K3 owner to enjoy this masterpiece of engineering – it will work with any transceiver that has an external PTT to earth line.

This amplifier is normally available from stock.

Flexradio are offering limited pre-order prices on their new Flex-6000 series radios, these prices will go up to the RRP – Act now to make sure you get this special price!

                                                       PRE-LAUNCH                 RRP

FLEX-6700     SDR TX 8RX VHF      £5799                         £6995

FLEX-6500     SDR TX 4RX             £3449                         £4049

FLEX-6700R   SDR RX                   £4799                         £5995

You can find out more information on this pdf leaflet or at the FlexRadio Website.

Call W&S now on 01702 206835 to order yours at the special preorder price – numbers are limited!

Elecraft Arrives In The UK!   June 19th, 2012

Well as I write this, the first shipment has arrived via East Midlands Airport. Sadly no KX3s, but we knew that was almost certain because there is a world back order of around 1000 pieces. Talking to some USA hams, they have been waiting several months. Stock arriving will be K3s, P3s and the 500W linear. Prices are being posted on our web site this week, but if you phone, we can give you them on the phone.

We already have some items sold so there is a possibility we will be sold out pretty quickly on this shipment. You are welcome to place an order for the KX3 and we will put you on our list. But be prepared to have a wait of around 2 months.

Finally, thanks for all the interest. I personally built a K2 about eight years ago and love it. I have tried to make prices as competitive as possible as I know how much Elecraft is loved around the world and it has long been my ambition to bring it into the UK.

And please remember, we can offer our normal part exchange deals and you get a 2 year UK warranty on Elecraft.

Peter Waters G3OJV

Heil Pro-Set-3 Headphones   June 14th, 2012

Having an interest in both ham radio and music, the arrival of the new Heil ProSet-3 headphones proved interesting in both directions.

They fold down into a compact size, and with the trend towards wearing headphones on the move for portable music, this seems a welcome feature. They come with three detachable leads. One is dedicated to iPods and other Apple family products. whilst the other two are straight and curly respectively. All are terminated in 3.5mm stereo connectors and a 1/4″ adaptor is included. As soon as you put them on you notice the significant reductio in external sounds as a result of the close fitting acoustic earpieces. However, they are not heavy and I found them easy to wear for normal listening periods.

The specification indicates that they have a nominal impedance of 32 Ohms, and they are certainly easily driven. My iPhone would have produced uncomfortably loud audio at full volume. What did please me was that there was no artificial bass produced from excessive EQ design at the low end. Something that you get too often on a range of headphones. Having said that. it was the bass that caught my attention. The low end response extended well down the spectrum, but the bass was always natural and firm. The upper frequency range extended well and close miked recording of drums and cymbals confirmed this. I suspect there is a slight rise in the response on the mid range. But the stereo placement seemed good and there was no fatigue. I can imagine these headphones being ideal for live recording or monitoring work. Certainly, for using with MP3 players, they gave a good account of themselves. I also used them briefly in my music studio and they beat the pants off a pair of AKGs that I often use.

For ham radio use, they also work well. You don’t need the AF gain control turned up very far. If you open up the bandwidth on the receive side, you certainy can create some nice sounding signals. On CW they worked well for me, although some may question why you would ever need such a wide frequency range on CW? I think the straight answer to that is that you don’t but on the other hand if you want a pair of headphones that are well made, sound great on music and work well on SSB and CW, it’s a case of one fits all!

Peter Waters G3OJV.

Elecraft First Arrivals   June 1st, 2012

The first arrivals will be the K3 100W transceiver, ready built and in kit form. The price includes UK VAT of 20%, import duty and clearance, and a European 2 year warranty. Part exchange is welcome and we will continue to extend this px offer to non working ham gear. The stock will be held in Hockley and shipped direct to you. The projected retail price is £1999 for the ready built units. Kit price to follow.

If you wish to be advised when available, then mail or phone us and we will update you as we approach delivery dates.

Other models will come on stream in the coming weeks. Keep in touch.

SCOTLAND WON’T MISS OUT   May 31st, 2012

In answer to the many enquiries being received, Elecraft will most definitely be available through Bill at Jaycee in Glenrothes, Scotland. He will have a demo K3 installed so that visitors will get some idea of the look and feel of this fine transceiver. We expect Bill to be up and running with Elecraft at some time during July.

Check www.wsplc.com and www.jayceecoms.com