Elecraft K3 Verses The Rest?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by N3TU, Feb 2, 2008.

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  1. N3TU

    N3TU Ham Member QRZ Page

    How is the K3 stand up to the Icom 756 Pro3, Tentec Omni 7, Kenwood TS2000 and Yaesu radios? My Yaesu FT 840 went up on me and I am looking a good one with good receive filters and excellent audio adjustments to stick out ahead of the pack. Any experiences with the K3, technical support, customer service?
  2. N4MGA

    N4MGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

  3. NZ3M

    NZ3M XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's if you think the ability to work on a crowded band is the only important thing with a radio.

    W8LGZ likes this.
  4. WR8D

    WR8D Ham Member QRZ Page

    Rig comparisons!

    One would honestly have to have a K3 beside each rig you mention to do a "hands on" test between them. You can't buy one then swear the receiver is the greatest you've ever sat infront of...but that's exactly what most of these guys will do...without the honest A/B test on the same antenna at the same time. Some guys like fords...some like me like the bowties. We all swear ours is better than the other brand.

    If someone does not have them all side beside though none of us can give you an honest answer.

    I'll put a plug in though for the receiver in the proIII. It's top of the line. Right there with their older flag ship the 775dsp. The 756proI and the proII could'nt touch it but now the proIII is right there with it. Some that have the 775dsp and the proIII and the 7800 say all three are to close to call on receivers. So why spend 12k when you get the receiver for 3k in the proIII??? beats me!!

    Go to one of the big dealers where you can get a close up look at some of these rigs. Most places have them hooked up too so you can play them a while.

    73 John WR8Dud;)
  5. KA5S

    KA5S Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wandering around the Sherwood site I find a maxim to take to heart: Don't be concerned with variations of a few dB. Elsewhere, is another comment that it is better to have an IMD-limited dynamic range than one limited by phase noise, with which statement I very much agree; when I "upgraded" from an Icom 730 to a 735 some decades ago I was dsimayed with how much noisier the 735 receiver was, and only the fact that I needed far-out-of-band coverage for MARS led me to stick with the 735.

    A more significant point, however, is how much of any given parameter you need. I live in a quiet area of Michigan (when my employer lets me) and even some really poor "contest performers" on the Sherwood chart are fine there.

    FWIW, if you need a tough receiver with good ultimate selectivity, get an NTIA compliant rig like a Harris 3200 etc.

  6. KD8K

    KD8K Ham Member QRZ Page

    I believe the quote from Rob's site regarding phase limited results is "I feel that all things being equal, we would rather have a radio IMD limited than phase noise limited." If I understand that statement correctly, then if the IMD numbers are equal, he would in that case prefer the radio that is not noise limited. A noise limited number that is greater then another radio that is not noise limited to me is not necessarily a bad thing.The K3's 2Khz number is at a best ever measured 101 db. The next radio on the chart is at 96db. How do you know that the 96 db dynamic range radio would not also have been phase noise limited if it was capable of achieving a 101 db dynamic range? Both radios were not phase limited at the 96db point, but because the K3 had a slightly better dynamic range, the testing continued until the 101db mark where it had a phase limited result. We don't know what the phase noise result would have been for the other radio at the 101db point because the test never made it that far. I don't believe a conclusion can be made one way or the other as to if one is more or less phase noisy from that result. I am not an expert at this, so someone can correct me if I am wrong, but that is the way I understand it. Also, the K3's LO noise numbers actually look quite good to me when compared to the other radio's on that chart. I could locate only one radio on the chart that was better. In my personal opinion, after using the K3 for a month or so, the K3 is a very quiet radio, much quieter then my TS-2000 (which to me has a very noisy, harsh sounding receiver). I have A/B tested the K3 and the TS-2000, and in my view the receiver is MUCH better. Quieter, better filtering, better DSP, lower IMD, with a very clean sounding receiver.

    Also, In comparing the K3's 2 Khz IMD numbers to the radio's listed at the beginning of this thread, it beats most, if not all of them by more then 20db. I think it beats the TS-2000 by better then 40db, which really shows up when you compare them side by side. That's a pretty significant difference to me. Whether or not you actually need that much dynamic range may be a different matter, and depends on the way you operate. To me, it was a noticeable improvement.

    As far as Elecraft technical support, it has been outstanding. I have had to contact them several times about a few minor issues, and they have responded very quickly, (usually within an hour or two) and have been very helpful, and have resolved every issue that I have had. The reflector is also a good source of help. There are very few companies where you can get help directly from the owners of the company if the need arises.


    John, KD8K
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2008
  7. K3WRV

    K3WRV Guest

    Both TenTec and Elecraft have excellent customer service, and will talk you through most problems over the phone. TenTec (in my EXPERIENCE) can provide parts for almost every rig they ever sold. Fropm what I hear, Yaecomwood can't do that. From EXPERIENCE, both TT and elecraft make very FB receivers. As far as the transmitters go, 100 W is 100 W.

    I don't have either a K-3 or an Omni-7 to play with here, but have played with K-2 and Omni V side by side, and both had very nice receivers and excellent breakin cw. I don't know about the Japanese rigs. But I'd make up my mind based on ease of operation (ergonomics).

    I realize you're fixin' to spend (or have spent!) a lot of money on a rig. There is no "BEST" any more. Go find someone who has what you're looking at and spend an afternoon playing with it and see if you like it.

    Full disclosure: I'm a Collins and TenTec fanboy.

    de Bob
  8. WA3KYY

    WA3KYY Ham Member QRZ Page

    While 100W is 100W, there is more to transmitter comparisons than just power. Transmitted IMD products, keying characteristics, etc are also important. You may be aware of the horrid key click problems on a particular otherwise impressive Yaecommwood radio. All you need do is listen on any given contest weekend to hear some of the transmitter problems on the average rig in use. Most are inherent to the radio itself and not a result of the "all the way to the right" syndrom.

    If you were able to copy VP6DX, you could hear how nice the K3 sounded in all modes. They used them to drive ACOM 1KW amps and had no artifacts detectable. They were also able to operate two rigs at 1Kw on the same band without interstation interference. Almost no rigs in the K3 price class can claim that. However, they did use all the tricks a top of the line multi-multi station would use to achieve that but the rig itself was a large part of the success.

    It would be nice to see Rob do a transmitter evaluation of the various rigs he has done receive comparisons on to see if the order changes any on his list.

    Mike WA3KYY
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2008
  9. K0DXC

    K0DXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I say the K3 wins, hands down.

    You know it, don't deny it.
  10. K4AX

    K4AX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Flex 5000 :)
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