Monday, May 23, 2011

An amazing piece of "kit"

That's what the Brits call ham radio gear..."kit."  And let me apologize right up front for two amateur radio blog posts in a row.  However, I think this one speaks well to the rapid technological change that is going on in the hobby.

I remember when I started out...way back when Marconi was spitting sparks off an energized bit of wire...a ham radio station usually consisted of a big transmitter--like a Viking Valiant or a Heath DX-100--and an even bigger receiver.  I had a Hammarlund HQ-180 and it was the size of a larger microwave oven.  Only the rare amateur radio operator dared put radios into his vehicle, and the thought of putting any kind of station into a pack and heading for portable operation was unheard of.

Things have changed dramatically.  I have a Yaesu FT-857D that is about the size of a cigar box and it, along with a tiny switching 12-volt power supply and a simple wire antenna, gets me on the air from anywhere there is AC.  And Yaesu makes a version of my radio that has a built-in battery pack that removes the necessity of AC altogether.  There are many other examples of very small, very advanced radios that can sit on the desk at home with a full set of features, be easily installed in the vehicle for mobile operating, or head for the campground or beach (or some emergency shelter somewhere).

Now, I have seen the most amazing bit of "kit" yet.  Elecraft, a company that has really created some elegant new gear that takes advantage of emerging technology, announced a transceiver at the Dayton Hamvention in Ohio last weekend.  The Elecraft KX3 is a truly remarkable slice of technology.  HERE is a demonstration of this thing.  I have no idea what the price will be, but I want one! 

No, I want several!

Don Keith N4KC

(PS: Somebody wrote that if you just use the words Elecraft and KX3 in a blog, the search engine robots beat a path to your site.  We'll see!  Any of you robots interested in hooking up with a KX3?)


Anonymous said...

Don, the preliminary price on this KX3SDR is said to be around $800 for the 10 watt basic unit. Of course, no hardcore Elecraft buyer will be able to resist hot-rodding it with available (and yet-to-be-introduced) options. American ingenuity at its best. And this company REALLY listens to its customers (and potential customers). I'm one of them.

hapi said...
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