Review of The Sidekar, CW device for the KX3 - K6UDA Radio Episode 40

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K6UDA, Jan 8, 2017.

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  1. K6UDA

    K6UDA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm startin' the year with a long overdue review of the QRPworks Sidekar. A super portable CW appliance built for the KX3. Oh yeah, theres a new weather girl in town & you don't want to miss her first time propagation report. I know, It's a bit rough but we're just learning about all this wacky solar stuff.
    EP40 The Sidekar Review.jpg
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for posting this.

    The Sidekar also works with the KX2-- and that's what I will be ordering for:) The store also has mounting clips to go on the kx2.

    Frankly, the KX2/sidekar combo is preferred for backpacking. I have a kx3 also, and can tell you this sounds like a winning combo for the KX2/backpacking fans.

    Ultimately, some future KX2/Sidekar on JT65 will prove to be a powerful DXing tool for portable. Hope we see a JT65 possibility someday.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  3. K7ZOV

    K7ZOV Ham Member QRZ Page

    JT-65??? Well unless Elecraft adds JT-65 and the SideKar adds a internal clock that can sync to a GPS for accuracy, I doubt that will ever happen. This is a nice product, however all the decoding is done in the KX2/KX3 and not is the Sidekar. Therefore you are locked into the limitations of the KX2, with the exception of seeing more lines and other nice features... My 2 cents, take it or leave it. I am sticking with my $100 2 in 1 tablet with keyboard for now.

    Harry K7ZOV
  4. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page


    Perhaps an outboard sound card controller? In-Reach linking (now de rigeur for hikers) for GPS? MFJ has those soundcard boxes for other rigs, for example.

    A KX2 (or some future equivalent) able to run JT65 is a powerful portable hedge against very poor propagation and very modest ERP's. Granted: slow bit rate.

  5. K7ZOV

    K7ZOV Ham Member QRZ Page

    What I plan on doing is adding a GPS time sync to the Win 10 tablet. I found a article from October 2014 on how to "hack" the Meinberg Windows NTP so that a GlobalSat Bu-353-S4 USB GPS can sync the computer clock anywhere. If this works then I can run WSJT-X with the KX2 or KX3 anywhere I am and do JT-65 probably J-9 and WSPR from any camp ground, mountain top or park. Well that is the general plan. I got the GPS from Amazon for $35 a week ago. Next will be to scheduling the hack time to get it to work. I already have the NTP loaded and it is working FB through the WiFi. Next stop will be locking into satellites and getting my clock that way. I would be nice not having to do this and letting the KX2 do the decoding like PSK. But the decoding is only half of the problem. Getting the time sync is just as important, if not more so. Loose a few second and you lost your qso.. One thing about ham radio that stay constant the pass 54 yrs I have been a ham, is that the only way this hobby can become boring is if you work at it... There is always new things to try and do. Failing only means you learned what not to do as you learn what to do...

    73 Harry K7ZOV
    K3RW likes this.
  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is really cool, Harry. Truly portable JT65 will open up new worlds.:)

    Chip W1YW
  7. KF0UR

    KF0UR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    And just to round out the features Bob didn't have a chance to cover (cause there's a lot)...

    The SideKar's features are equally applicable to PSK and RTTY. It will allow you to send PSK, RTTY , and CW with a wireless or wired keyboard. It'll take the rig's scrolling 8 character display and put it on a 40 character screen, where you can freeze it and scroll back (and not lose the incoming data).

    Plus it has a built in log that automatically gets the Freq and Mode from the KX2 or KX3 (or K3/K3s). Date and time are provided by it's own real-time clock. All you do is enter Call and Exchange. And that's how I logged 5300 NPOTA QSOs over the past year! When I got home, I'd export them out of the SideKar and upload them to LoTW.

    And it's messaging capabilities include call substitution in messages, which also was used extensively for the NPOTA QSOs, as well as routine QSOs.

    The 2 buttons are user configurable so you can have one button access to 2 of your favorite functions. All functions are accessible by the keyboard.

    There's lots more and the full manual is online at


    Shel KF0UR
    KE8EAZ likes this.
  8. KF0UR

    KF0UR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I also forgot to mention that the new SideKar case design does not have a fixed tab on the side to mount to the KX3.

    Instead, it has removable brackets that allow it to be mounted on a KX2 or KX3.


    Shel KF0UR
  9. N6RY

    N6RY Ham Member QRZ Page

    How about a text review so we don't have to listen to all the commentary on other topics?

    Tnx, Terry N6RY
    VK2WP likes this.

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