Posts Tagged ‘Gadgets’

The KX3 Case – Decision Made

I’ve had in my possession my new Elecraft KX3 for over  a month.  I’ve watched and waited and watched some more.  I’ve seen many of our fellow hams post pictures and such on the various reflectors about things that worked and things that didn’t work.  Even I speculated on how an existing case would work using a short 2×4.  I later realized I hadn’t taken into account the knobs with my 2×4 prototype.  While the bag which works fine for my 817 does work, I wanted something a little more specific for the KX3. 

My primary selection criteria was maximum protection.  I really didn’t care how many other accessories I could cram into the case….I wanted something that was crush proof and water proof.  In most circumstances, the KX3 case would always be carried inside the backpack I use for SOTA activations.  I carry a smaller pouch which will hold the microphone, power cable etc. 

While I would have gladly spent the $$ for a Pelican case, the size wasn’t right for my application.  Again, I wanted something to protect the KX3…but I didn’t want the added bulk and weight.  I also found a few, what I’ll call Pelican like models, but in the end they simply didn’t make the cut.

What I finally decided to purchase was the SIGG Aluminum Survival Kit Box.  The large size measures 9.0” x 5.7” x 3.0”.  The SIGG Aluminum Box is both durable and leak proof, so my two basic requirements are fulfilled.  The lid locks in to place with two latches on each side and has a rubber gasket to keep moisture and dust out.  Thanks to both Steve, wGØAT and Guy, N7UN for the idea.


While the inside of the box is just simply aluminum (no padding), working in the IT field does have its privileges.  I receive weekly shipments of computers, servers and other computer hardware gadgets.  I have a variety of different foam bits and pieces which will work perfectly to provide a nice comfortable nest for my KX3 to sit in. 

Right now I’m still in basement construction mode.  I start painting this weekend and there just is no time for SOTA activations.  But I’m staying busy with conducting presentations to both local clubs and via remote connections to clubs outside the area.  I’ll update once I have all the foam padding work completed in the new KX3 case.

Until then…

73 de KDØBIK

KX3 Delivery Day

On Tuesday afternoon, I received the email notification that many of my fellow amateurs are waiting for.  That email of course was from Elecraft and the subject line read “Package Shipped to You”. 

I ordered my Elecraft KX3 within 30 minutes of the email notification which was sent out on 27 December (or 28 December UTC time).  I can’t remember ever ordering anything in “pre-order” fashion prior to the KX3.  Although within a few weeks of ordering the KX3, I did submit another pre-order for the Raspberry Pi

Anyway, if you are familiar with the KX3 order and wait process, then you know initially it was expected to begin shipping in late February or early March.  This date slipped and slipped another time or two.  However, about three weeks ago, we began seeing the first of the factory build units shipping out. 

I have worked in the IT industry for over 20 years.  I’ve worked for both hardware and software vendors and I’ve personally seen products rushed out of the door and felt the impact as a result.  I’ve also been on the other side and purchased products which were not ready for prime time.

While no one wants to wait, I’m extremely impressed with what I have seen from the Elecraft company regarding the release of the KX3.  Certainly in the amateur radio transceiver category, you won’t see the kind of interaction between company and customer like we are experiencing with Elecraft.   The other element I’m impressed with is the way Elecraft listens to their Customers and as a result, we’ve seen many changes go into the KX3 and some have even been in the last 7-10 days.  WOW!

So as I write this, I just checked USPS tracking and my KX3 left San Jose on Tuesday evening and arrived and was processed through the Denver USPS sorting facility.  This should mean, Bob (my mailman) will have a box to deliver to my QTH on Thursday.  Again WOW!

I will take pictures and perhaps video.  I may not be as lucky as one ham yesterday who actually photographed his KX3 box while still in the hands of his mailman.  In any event, there has already been a few videos showing the unboxing and operation of the KX3.  I may not be able to do anything “original” but will at the very least try to get a little footage.

Finally, I’m sure everyone wants to know the burning question of when will my KX3 make her maiden SOTA voyage?  I would truly love to say it will be this weekend.  Perhaps it will be.  Also, next weekend is the QRPTTF Contest.  I blogged about the QRP To The Field contest earlier in the week and mentioned it was joining forces with SOTA.  While QRPTTF is a CW contest (I’m still struggling to gain altitude with this endeavor) I did feel it would still be worthwhile to activate a SOTA summit on SSB. 

Of course, some might say….Why not do both weekends?  I’d love that!  If you’ve been following my blog you also know I’m working most every weekend on the new ham shack.   With drywall now covering the walls and ceiling, we have reached the tape, mud and sanding phase.  As someone who suffers from dust allergies, I think I’d rather just push through this phase as quickly as possible.  This will also make the XYL happy as dust from the construction zone has reached just about every point in the house.  It will continue to get worse until this is completed.

Well that is about all the news I have for now.  Expect another blog posting in the next few days once I have my KX3 in hand. 

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK

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

HamLog App Upgrades–WOW!!!

I’ve blogged about iOS apps before, but I can’t remember if I’ve previously mentioned anything about HamLog.  I’ve owned HamLog for a few years now.  I’ll honestly say for the record I don’t currently use it, but feel that will soon change.

HamLog is an iOS and Android application developed by Nick Garner, N3WG.  Nick has developed over a dozen different apps.  One I mentioned briefly in another blog post is his Pocket SOTA app.  You can view Nick’s listing of Apps from his website

As I mentioned, I’ve owned HamLog for a few years.  I believe Nick developed and released it in 2009.  I’ve watched Nick make many changes to the HamLog app over the years.  While I’ve tried using it to log contacts, I found I could log via pen and paper much faster.  Especially with operating SOTA, you can easily find yourself generating a large pileup.  The extra time it takes to manually key in all the info was just something I wasn’t interested in for my own operational setup.  Until now…

Please take a few minutes to watch this video.  Nick introduces some new enhancements to the HamLog App as well as a new piece of hardware called Pigtail Air.  Pigtail air will allow for true rig control through the HamLog app and of course will speed up the logging process. 

I believe the Pigtail Air device, coupled with my new KX3 (when it arrives) and my iPad will make a fantastic SOTA or portable logging setup.  I’ll now have an excuse to buy that Otterbox Defender iPad case.

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK

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