I have K3 #2105. It was built on November 8th, 2008.
I also have K2 #6665 under construction. It was finished
January 16th, 2009.
My K3 was initially built with the KAT3, and KPA3 modules, and 1.8kHz and 400Hz
filters on the main Recv.
K3 Workship at Lyle's QTH
ARRL updated Review: K3 Update Review. ARRL Membership required to access
The K3 is my first radio where I am getting comments like "Your signal
has a very natural sound" and other comments about the audio quality. That
must be something in the rig and MH-2 mic from Elecraft.
The tools there are:
- half a Q-tip swab. I use the broken end to lift up the top cover after the unit is done to not scratch the painted surface. I dip the Q-tip broken end just enough in the vent holes to get leverage and then lift up enough to get my finger inside. I know the diagram in the manaul has you do it from the side, but I
think that puts more risk of chipping the paint over time.
- Nut drivers
- flat and phillips head screwdrivers with swivel tip'd handles (Xcellite XP-0, and XP-2065) so you can turn the driver with your fingers as you firmly hold/press the driver.
- Scissors for opening bags and stuff
- Needle nose for holding nuts, washers, etc.. and other tasks where my
fingers are too big to fit.
- Diag cutters for trimming leads WHEN DIRECTED, and cutting the zip-tie on
the Xtal WHEN DIRECTED.
- Wrist strap, anti-static mat, and storage bin
- Not pictured: A big hunk of steel I use to frequently just touch
as I build, for ESD issues.
Sorting bin (locking lid for future use as more options are added/modified)
I would sort every screw by size and type and color. I don't show a scale
in the picture, but a scale is useful if you're not familiar with identifying
small parts on sight. Pre-sorting the hardware before opening any of the
anti-static packaging is a good idea.
- Before going to step 1, read all the errata.
Then RED-LINE the original instructions so that you have an updated
instruction set BEFORE building. You will, in your excitement, skip
a step to modify per the errata. Do the red-lining before you begin
to proceed with step 1.
Step 1 should read:
Before proceeding red-line all the following instructions in this manual
before beginning assembly.
- Find ALL the parts. Read through the instructions
to find the parts, don't just rely on the check list at the back of the
instruction manual because they combine a set of parts into one product
number. Example, the FP/DSP boards include their own hardware envelopes.
Look inside them to make sure the screws, washers, stand-offs and
nylon standoffs are present!
As you assemble mark off with a pencil where you are. Don't forget to mark
where you are!
When directed, fill in the forms as you assemble.
If you find a typo, mark it! I found a couple and cannot remember
where and I wish I had marked them so I can tell Elecraft about the
typos. I'm still trying to look & remember where they are! ;-)
- The external speaker inside the case is connected to the KIO3 board.
the wires from the speaker into the white plastic jack can become lose if
too much tension is put on them. Be careful as you open the top cover to not
yank too hard on that jack. If your ext-speaker doesn't sound right or
is silent, that's the first place to look -- jiggle the plug and socket with
the cover off to the side and the power on the K3 to test if you have
problems with the speaker.
- Order the KAT3 and KPA3. Instead of human barefoot, go "Hobbit" barefoot!
- Order the pre-crimped power cable if you don't have Anderson Power Pole (APP)
crimping tools. Yes, you can solder the kit version with the very clear
instructions for those of you without the crimper, but it's just one more
thing to build. The plastic shield around the power cable melts easily
and it takes a fair bit of heat to get the solder to soak into the connector
and wire to make a good fit. Use heat shrink tubing around the wires
to give strength to the flexing point where you stripped the wire to fit
into the APP plug. I wish I took a picture of that step, but you'll see
when you get there.
- Consider a bench power supply so you can do the testing checking at the bench rather than moving the K3 or your existing power supply to the bench.
- Filter suggestions
- The stock 2.7 filter is good for most SSB work.
- The 1.8 is a little narrow, but useful in crowded bands.
- The 2.1 might be a better choice over the 1.8, but I haven't tried it yet.
- The 400Hz filter is remarkable for CW work and I think it was a good
choice. I have not tried the 200 or 250Hz filters yet.
Here's my advice:
- When you download a firmware version. Save a copy for future reference.
You may not be able to download it again at a later time from Elecraft.
- Use a PC with a strong serial port. By "strong" I mean avoid using
a notebook computer, because the voltage level on that serial port of a notebookis not quite as high as the desktop computer (AFAIK).
- Upload new beta firmware if you want to try out new
features, AND contribute to the overall knowledge of the Elecraft user base
so bugs can be found and fixed quickly. If Elecraft has 100x more eyeballs
looking for problems, that's good!
One thing that was difficult is to get the SSB to work. I had to Google
around and found that in the CONFIG for the MIC SEL, you select (via VFO A)
the FP.L, but have to press "2" for the "B1AS" (bias) optionto appear
in the LCD. THEN the SSB works with the MH-2 mic.