New Rig – Elecraft KX2 For Portable Operation
Well I guess it just goes to show, you never know until you try.
I know the Icom 7300 has a much better receiver. The Elecraft KX2 is made for portable and Summits On The Air (SOTA) type operation, but I’m pretty impressed with it’s transmit capability so far.
Elecraft KX2 Standard Features
- 80-10 meter ham bands; general coverage receive from 3-32.0MHz (also covers 0.5 to 3 MHz with reduced sensitivity)
- All modes: SSB, AM, FM, CW, PSK-31 and RTTY (FSK).
- Ultra-compact size: 2.8”H x 5.8”W x 1.5”D; 13 oz (less options)
- Custom high-contrast LCD with alphanumeric text display
- Current drain as low as 135 mA in receive mode
- High-performance 32-bit floating-point DSP
- Built-in PSK/TTY decode/encode allows data mode operation without a PC; transmit in data modes using CW keyer paddle
- Internal battery
- 10 watts output
Used Elecraft KX2
The used KX2 I bought came with the automatic antenna tuner, hand mic, Elecraft CW paddle and case. KX2s aren’t hard to find used, but they’ll set you back $800 to $1,100. It just depends on the accessories and packages. Not cheap, considering a new Icom 7300 is only $1,149.
I updated the firmware as soon as I could. The first thing I needed was a KXUSB cable and those aren’t cheap either. $32 from Elecraft and that’s the only place I could find one. Our Icom CI-V cables evidently will not work.
It is easier updating firmware on the Elecraft KX2 than the Icom 7300/7610 IMO.
KX2 KXIO2 Real Time Clock
These little transceivers don’t normally come with a clock, so that was another thing I added. $79, but I think it’s worth it for logging purposes. The KX2 has an internal log. Nice!
Elecraft KX2 First Impression
It’s small, light and can be taken virtually anywhere. I’m pretty impressed with the build. The TX audio is good and the attached CW paddle works fine in a tight spot. It feels solid and these radios have a good history. They’ve been on top of some of the worlds highest Summits.
Very soon I’ll be updating with a video and article on the Icom 7300 and Ham Radio Deluxe. Stay tuned for that!
Thanks for coming by and if you have any questions or comments, please make them below.
Best 73 and good DX – Rich, K0PIR
Summits On The Air (SOTA)
Very cool, thanks! I’m really interested to see how you think the KX2 and 7300 compare—other than power output, of course.
Thanks Robert. I am heading out right now for the campground.
The KX2 will output 12W if you’re using an external battery at 13.6V (give or take). I have a 4.5Ah Bioenno LiFePO4 and it will run forever. I’ve had a tough time doing SOTA activation with it but I put that down to sub-optimal antenna setup. Have been using a SuperAntenna MP1, next time will try a HyEnd sloper but truth be told I have an FT-891 showing up tomorrow that likely will get used given current band conditions (I’m working SSB).
I’m close to pulling the trigger on a 7300 though as I’m curious about that relative to an FT-991A. I like the VHF/UHF capability on the Yaesu as I use that from time to time, but my hunch is the 7300 is likely a bit better HF radio. Can’t quite convince myself to plop down cubic dollars on a Flex 7400M…yet 😀
It’s nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting.
I forgot about the 12 watt capability using it this weekend and I had it connected to a RBC5 battery. Next time!
I was camping this past weekend and I really enjoyed having the Icom 7300 in the camper. It is a great little portable radio. Between the KX2 and the 7300, the 7300 is better inside the camper, but the KX2 can go anywhere. I operated it outside sitting under a tree. What a joy!
During field day and a couple of other times I had the chance to see a 991 in action and the 7300 is a much better radio IMO. The receiver is better and the real time spectrum scope sets it apart from the 991. I could be a little bias though, hi! I think if you ask around the 7300 comes in ahead, so no need to just take my word for it.
Thank you again for commenting and the reminder Todd.