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Author Topic: KX2 First Impressions.  (Read 6638 times)

gil

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KX2 First Impressions.
« on: July 02, 2016, 04:28:10 PM »
Hello,

I am now the proud and very broke owner of KX2 #471. I had to pay €300 in importation and sales tax to the mailman upon delivery... Ouch, I wasn't expecting that. Welcome to Socialism. So my KX2 is essentially a $1150 radio... The FT-817nd would have cost me €620. Do I regret it? Choosing the KX2, no, paying that much, yes.

The KX2 is a mini KX3. I am not missing 160m, 6m, AM and FM. I never used them anyway on my KX3, which I sold because it was too much radio and I needed the money. I should have kept it, but it would have ended up being lost with my sailboat, so oh well.. The KX2 does everything I need and then some, except being rugged and weather proof. That's why I have the RT-320 for.

Filtering is of course excellent, a must for CW, my favorite mode. SSB is also excellent and DSP makes the rig very pleasant to listen to. You can leave the radio on without getting tired of the constant hiss. Current draw on receive is about 145mAh, 300mAh less than the FT-817nd, and the main reason I did not buy one. With added filters and DSP, the Yaesu would cost as much as the KX2, well, for a U.S. buyer...

The KX2 for me is still somewhat of a luxury item. I could have done without. The FT-817nd would have been sufficient and given me VHF/UHF... The Elecraft is a better radio. In the end, it's a toss-up really. Next year the extra money spent won't be felt anymore and I still will have a better radio.

I will say that for the price it should come with the microphone.

I tried to fit an 18650 battery holder into the case but it is too big. I will probably end-up making my own 3-cell 18650 battery pack.

I do have a couple issues with the radio and I hope there is away around them in the menu or a future firmware release:

You can't switch from USB to LSB and vice-versa within the same band using the band button, WTH!? The KX2 forces you to use USB on upper bands and LSB on lower ones. You can switch by diving into the menu and changing the ALT-MD menu item, but who wants to do that? Wayne, please change that, it makes no sense! There are HFPack and military radio frequencies on the lower bands in USB... I also want to be able to listen to CB in LSB as well, but nope, I must go into the menu every single time and it gets very tiring.

It seems like your VFO-B has to be set to SSB for the VFO-A to actually transmit voice.. So you can't listen to say, 14060 CW and 14300 USB and hope to transmit on 14300, because VFO-B is on CW. Again, this makes no sense at all and is a major pain in the ass. Anyone knows a way around that?

Both these issues were not present on my KX3.

If I could go back in time knowing I would have to pay €300 extra for the KX2, I would have bought the FT-817nd. It would be a financial decision however, and I would still have preferred the KX2. U.S. buyers only have to pay a bit more for the KX2.

I hope someone makes a watertight case for the KX2 with waterproof connectors and speaker. Maybe I'd better do that myself rather than wait, we'll see...

Gil.

Wayne

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2016, 01:39:00 PM »
Hi Gil,

>  The KX2 is a mini KX3....

That was the plan :)


> I do have a couple issues with the radio and I hope there is away around them in the menu or a future firmware release:

> You can't switch from USB to LSB and vice-versa within the same band using the band button.... I must go into the menu every single time and it gets very tiring.

There's a very quick way to do this on the KX2: Just assign the ALT MD menu entry to the PFn switch. (To do this, hold PFn while in this menu entry.) From then on, you don't have to go into the menu or change bands; just hold PFn to switch from USB to LSB on a given band.

The KX3 has a larger control panel and more switches than the KX2, so we had the luxury of including an ALT switch in that case.


> It seems like your VFO-B has to be set to SSB for the VFO-A to actually transmit voice.. So you can't listen to say, 14060 CW and 14300 USB and hope to transmit on 14300, because VFO-B is on CW.

The KX2 and KX3 have exactly the same rules for per-VFO mode control, split operation, etc.:

- If you're not in SPLIT mode, transmit uses the mode of VFO A.

- If you're in SPLIT mode, transmit uses the mode of VFO B. (You can set VFO B's mode by swapping it with A, changing the mode, then changing it back.)

- You can do cross-mode SPLIT with VFO A in CW mode and VFO B in SSB mode or vice-versa. Just set up the VFOs as required and engage SPLIT.

- There's an easier way to do CW while one or both VFOs are in SSB mode. Just make sure the CW-in-SSB feature is turned on (see CW WGHT menu entry). You can then keep the radio in SSB mode and hit the key when you want to do CW. The radio will automatically offset the CW TX frequency so the other operator will hear a tone, not a zero beat.

- In the specific case you mentioned: Set VFO A to 14060, CW. Set VFO B to 14300, SSB. Engage SPLIT. You'll be listening on VFO A (CW), but when you transmit, you'll be in SSB mode on VFO B's frequency. If you need to listen on 14300 briefly, just do a VFO swap (A/B switch). Tap A/B again to go back to listening on 14060.

- Over small splits, you can use dual watch (MENU:DUAL RX), in which case you'll be simultaneously listening to VFO A's frequency in the left ear and VFO B's in the right. (This requires headphones or dual external speakers.) Both the split- and non-split methods can be used with dual watch. I use dual watch for working DX pileups.

73,
Wayne
N6KR

gil

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2016, 07:35:21 PM »
Thanks Wayne!

Excellent about the PFn button, that solves my problem nicely. As to the split mode, I must have been accidentally in it.. I get a rash every time I hear "5NN" so split mode isn't for me..

I plan on testing the KX2 during a summer trek in the Pyrénées next month and make a bunch of videos. There are few trees in those mountains so I will need some sort of free standing antenna. I was hoping to review the Chameleon Hybrid Micro with the whip but I doubt I will be able to afford it before then. I will also take my MTR for its ultra-low current draw.

I am really liking the KX2 so far, more than the KX3, mostly for its diminutive size. A whole HF station should fit in a small Pelican case; I might try the 1170.

Stay tuned for more...

Gil

RadioRay

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2016, 06:35:32 PM »
Hey Gil -

for antenna support, have you considered  one of the SOTAbeams pole? Good for either the linked dipole or a EFHW.

https://youtu.be/79hwZOf_hOI


>Ray  ..._  ._
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

cockpitbob

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2016, 09:43:48 PM »
Hey Gil -

for antenna support, have you considered  one of the SOTAbeams pole? Good for either the linked dipole or a EFHW.

https://youtu.be/79hwZOf_hOI


>Ray  ..._  ._
I had forgotten about those.  I like my end fed antennas more than a vertical.  I think that a pole and an endfed will be what I use if I ever have to live without trees.  That SotaBeams one is 23' tall but weighs only 1.5lbs.  To me, the longer your antenna the better.  A 32' or 64' end fed wire has got to be better than a 15' vertical.

ETA:  Oh crap.  The 23' one only ships to the UK.  They ship their 33' one world wide, but it's 3lbs, more $ and longer than I want. :-[   Oh well, I'm sure there's similar things available in the USA.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2016, 09:47:07 PM by cockpitbob »

gil

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2016, 02:26:33 AM »
Hi guys, yes thanks, I have thought about those. Similar poles can be found on Ebay, made in China and shipped from there.. I might go that route..

Gil

gil

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2016, 03:16:28 AM »
Quote
There's a very quick way to do this on the KX2: Just assign the ALT MD menu entry to the PFn switch. (To do this, hold PFn while in this menu entry.) From then on, you don't have to go into the menu or change bands; just hold PFn to switch from USB to LSB on a given band.

That does nothing but bring me to the menu option when I press PFn... It does not switch voice modes when pressing the button.. ??

Gil.

Wayne

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2016, 12:18:39 PM »
Quote
There's a very quick way to do this on the KX2: Just assign the ALT MD menu entry to the PFn switch. (To do this, hold PFn while in this menu entry.) From then on, you don't have to go into the menu or change bands; just hold PFn to switch from USB to LSB on a given band.

That does nothing but bring me to the menu option when I press PFn... It does not switch voice modes when pressing the button.. ??

Gil.

I'll have a fix for this soon. Thanks for the report.

Wayne
N6KR

gil

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2016, 12:31:36 PM »
PM sent..

Sparks

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2016, 12:06:54 PM »
You can't switch from USB to LSB and vice-versa within the same band using the band button, WTH!?

Seems to be related to the problem(s) discussed in this public FB group (Ham Radio Outdoors):

https://www.facebook.com/groups/QRP4fun/permalink/1243964125648237/

gil

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2016, 01:20:02 PM »
I got a new firmware update from Wayne. Problem solved! It's great when a manufacturer actually listens..

Gil

Rescue9

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2016, 03:30:21 PM »
Was this a beta_test firmware?

gil

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2016, 03:44:09 PM »
I think so, not sure, got it via email.. I also did the MARS mod, which allows TX everywhere but CB frequencies. Not sure why since most other radios allow it.

Gil

Rescue9

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2016, 04:41:33 PM »
I read on other forums that the cb band disable is likely a legal protection factor for elecraft. Since the mars mod is a software mod whereas other radios have it a hardware mod, enabling the cb portion keeps them part 97 compliant. Can you email me the fw version you have plz.

gil

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Re: KX2 First Impressions.
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2016, 05:45:47 PM »
Sure, here you go..

Gil.