Dreaming of the KX3

Like so many of my fellow amateurs, I ordered the new Elecraft KX3 within minutes of the order form going active on the Elecraft website.  Like so many of my fellow amateurs, I also wait anxiously for word that the new KX3 is shipping.  Finally, like so many of my fellow amateurs, I also look forward to seeing my credit card has been charged as that will signal the end is near.  The end of the wait that is.

Back in late December, the hope was the new KX3 would begin shipping in late February.  Even with the extra day added to the calendar, the month of February expired and no KX3’s are shipping.  It is now Friday, 9 March and the latest shipping status as displayed on the Elecraft website states “KX3 shipments are estimated to begin Mid-March, between the 16th and 26th”. 

While the excitement and anticipation is certainly very high for those who are chiseling their marks in stone waiting for that package to arrive on their doorstep, the level of patience is also just as high.  There is a certain calm which proves amateur radio operators are a professional and respectable group of individuals.  There is an understanding that each and ever delay experienced will just simply make a better and more reliable product in the end.  I doubt we would see this same level of calm and respect in the iWhatever community.

I’m really writing this blog article in response to a few emails I’ve seen on the Elecraft Yahoo Groups reflector.  The subject of cases and bags suitable for protecting our beautiful investment has been mentioned several times over the past few weeks.  Wayne Burdick with the Elecraft company has suggested the LowePro Edit 140 camera bag.  He stated in an email to the Yahoo reflector that he owns this bag and uses it to protect his KX3.  Many other members and anxious hams have ordered this bag for their soon to be KX3.

Just like everyone else, I want a bag of some sort to protect my new KX3 but I just don’t like the look of the LowePro Edit 140.  It looks like it might be a bit on the bulky side and if it were just going in the back of the SUV it would be one thing.  But I want a multi-purpose bag that can go in the back of the SUV, in a carry own bag or in my backpack for SOTA activations. 

A few months ago I purchased the LowePro Apex 120aw camera bag after seeing it featured in a K0MOS Youtube video.  Like Matt, I currently own and use the Yaesu FT-817 for SOTA activations.  I wanted a bag of some sort to protect my 817 while inside my backpack.  I ordered the LowePro Apex 120aw and it works beautifully for the 817. 



The LowePro Apex with my 817 and accessories protected inside.

photo (2)

A view inside showing the Yaesu FT-817, Yaesu microphone, Buddipole 4S4P battery pack, Doc Watson meter and power cables.

While I’ve watched every video I can find of the KX3, it is hard to judge size until you can actually hold it in your hand.  Like everyone else, I also want to be ready for the day the KX3 arrives.  Having a bag suitable to protect it if scheduling could allow for a SOTA activation is important.  But like I said  the LowePro Edit 140 looks bulky.  In my mind, bulk equals weight and extra weight makes my back hurt. 

But how do I know if my new Elecraft KX3 will fit inside my current LowePro Apex bag.  I could measure…but how fun is that?  Now if I’m reading the KX3 manual which was released just last week correctly, the KX3 measurements are 3.5 x 7.4 x 1.6 inches.  If I just had something of those measurements to test with I would know for sure. 

Now it wasn’t until I walked into the unfinished portion of my basement which I’ve been working on the past few weekends.  You can read blog postings here about my progress along with pictures.  Anyway, I had failed to clean up my mess after working for about an hour last night and just nearly tripped over my KX3….huh I mean the block of wood that is the same size of my KX3. 

As we all know, a 2 x 4 is not actually 2 inches by 4 inches.  The exact measurements are roughly 3.5 inches by 1.5 inches.  Hmmmm, that is pretty darn close to what the KX3 manual states for the KX3 dimensions.     I picked up the block of wood I had kicked away and measured the length.  It was 7.5 inches.   But would it fit in my bag?  Perhaps another way to ask this, if it fits…will it zip?

photo (4)

The KD0BIK KX3 prototype.  I sure hope my real KX3 receives better than this block of wood. 

photo (5)

Yep…it zips.  It’s a nice fit and still room for the large battery pack and other accessories.

Of course there is a fundamental design difference between the Elecraft KX3 and the Yaesu FT-817.  The control buttons and knobs and that super large display of the KX3 is a not factored into my 2×4 KX3 prototype.  However, if you review the above picture (the inside view) I will still have room and these will be protected.  I will probably slip the KX3 into a felt bag just for extra protection.  Where’s that Crown Royal bag I’ve been hanging onto?

Now please don’t rush out and purchase the LowePro Apex 120aw bag just because my 2×4 fits and zips.  I’ll make certain to create a new blog posting once my KX3 arrives and I have a chance to model it with the bag.  But if you already own this bag, it might just work out for you with the KX3.

Well this blog post and trying out my KX3 block of wood has been fun.  I now must get back to work. 

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK

Jerry Taylor, KD0BIK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. He is the host of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “Dreaming of the KX3”

  • Ernest Gregoire, AA1IK:

    I like your Kx3 ‘mock up’! You know people are getting anxious when they play with a ‘Stand in’!

    Waiting is so hard, but that’s part of the fun. It will be a sweet day when that magnificent rig finally arrives, won’t it!

    de AA1IK

    Ernest Gregoire


  • Tony Hoffman, AA2TH:

    I guess I should stop waiting for that availability e-mail that Elecraft had promised me when I signed up for their KX3 list at Dayton.
    73, Tony

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