Elecraft’s state-of-the-art K3S transceiver offers a unique combination of ultra-high performance and affordability.
The factory-assembled K3S is comparable in both features and performance to transceivers listing at up to six times its price.
In a first for the industry, the K3S’s identical main receiver and subreceiver each feature a high-dynamic-range, down-conversion analog architecture. This allows Elecraft to provide roofing filters with bandwidths as narrow as 200 Hz for both receivers. Up-conversion designs have roofing filters typically 3,000 to 15,000 Hz in width. Each receiver has its own bus-switching mixer, narrow ham-band front-end filters, 32-bit I.F. DSP, low-noise synthesizer, and up to five crystal roofing filters. The KBPF3A option extends receive coverage down to 100 kHz, covers all SWL bands, and allows 0.5 mW transmit output on the 472 kHz (630 m) band for use with external amplifiers.
The K3S is the only deluxe transceiver that is targeted at both home and field use.
It’s well-suited to demanding DXpedition or Field Day operations. Its receive-mode current drain of typically 1 amp greatly facilitates battery or solar-powered mobile/RV/marine installations. But unlike smaller portable transceivers, the K3S’s user interface is optimized for ease of use, and its feature set rivals units many times its size and weight.
Two 32-bit digital signal processors provide true software-defined features, along with expansion memory to handle future signal processing tasks and operating modes. The operator will have full control over any operating situation, with 8-band receive and transmit EQ, stereo speaker/soundcard outputs, binaural effects, and advanced noise reduction.
Also included is built-in PSK31, CW, and TTY decode/encode, so the operator can enjoy the excitement of data communications with or without a computer. Users of new digital modes such as FT8 will gain a new competitive edge since the K3 has the industry's lowest noise floor and highest dynamic range. This combination of benefits is simply not achievable with the direct-sampling technology found in most "pure" SDRs.
The rig’s rich I/O complement includes an isolated sound card interface, front/rear mic/phone jacks, dedicated serial I/O, and band data. The K3S also provides transverter in/out and RX antenna in/out jacks. The latter allows the use of RX-only, in-line filters for extreme operating environments.
QST K3S Review Quote: "..the results are impressive. Overall receiver performance is right up there with the best radios the Lab has ever measured, and this is the first receiver we've tested with better than 100 dB IMD dynamic range at the closer signal spacing."
Many operators choose a K3S standard package. These packages emphasize different options and crystal filters that are tailored to specific needs. If you chose to configure your own K3S, please take a moment to read ELECRAFT K3S Application Note: Configuring your K3S and K-Line System, K3S Crystal 'Roofing' Filters document from Wayne and Eric, and the Crystal Filter Response Plots.
A: The K3S is Elecraft's second-generation, software-defined superhet transceiver (SDR). We've upgraded nearly every subsystem, improving performance and adding many new features. Here's a quick overview:
|New Features||Available now?|
|Ultra-Low-noise synthesizer||Unequaled strong-signal receive performance; exceptional transmit signal purity.|
|Second preamp (Preamp 2)||Built-in equivalent of Elecraft's PR6-10 low-noise amplifier (LNA) for weak-siginal work on 12,10, and 6m. Preamp 2 is part of the KXV3B module (now included as a standard feature). The KXV3B also provides RX antenna in/out jacks, transverter in/out jacks, and a buffered IF output for use with our P3 panadapter.|
|Multiple attenuation levels||Attenuation levels of 0,5,10, and 15dB; selectable per-band.|
|Dual computer ports (USB and RS232)||In addition to the legacy RS232 port, the new USB port integrates computer remote control and line-level audio.This eliminates the need for a sound card or external converters and their associated cables. Supports Windows, Linux and Apple platforms.|
|KAT3A option now includes bypass relay||Lower loss on bands where matched antennas are used.|
|Redesigned speaker amplifier||Stereo speaker outputs now have lower total harmonic distortion (THD) for reduced listening fatigue.|
|Fast transmit/receive switching||High-accuracy CW transmit timing--even at high code speeds wtih SPLIT, RIT, and XIT in use.|
|Extended coverage includes 630 and 2200 meter bands||When used with the KBPF3A option, receiver covers 630 m (472 kHz), and 2200 m (137 kHz), tuning as low as 100 kHz. Transmit output of 0.5-1.0 mW on 630 m (for use with an external amplifier).|
|Enhanced look and feel||New LCD bezel; soft-tough VFO A know with improved grip.|
A: Nearly all internal modules have been upgraded for the K3S. Some of the modules that are compatible with the K3 are already available:
|K3S Module||New Features||Available now?|
Please order KSYN3AUG
|KAT3A||Includes true bypass relay for lower loss with well-matched antennas||Yes|
|KRX3A||Sub receiver now includes KSYN3A synthesizer||
|KBPF3A||Redesigned filter extends Very Low Frequency (VLF) operation down to 100 kHz.||
Please order KIO3BUP
|Soft-touch VFO A grip||
Please order NEOGRIP
A: Yes. The following additional K3S modules and components are compatible with the K3, and will be offered once excess inventory is available for upgrade purposes:
|K3S Module||New Features||Available now?|
|Main DSP board
||Enhanced speaker amplifier with low-distortion pre-driver||
A: These upgraded modules (and components) are unique to the K3S and will not be available for K3 upgrades:
|K3S Module||What has changed
||Unique to the K3S?|
|K3S RF Board
|K3S Front Panel Board||Real-time clock frequency adjustable; calibrated at factory to better than +/-0.5 sec./day||Yes|
|Front Panel Sheet Metal||Updated silkscreen||Yes|
|K3S LCD/VFO Bezel||New single-piece molded bezel with logo and integrated VFO pointer||Yes|
A: Yes, all K3 crystal filters are fully compatible with the K3S. They are configured in the same way.
You have the option to choose one of three K3S packages that fits most amateur radio operator's needs, but if you chose to configure your own K3S, please take a moment to read ELECRAFT K3S Application Note: "Configuring your K3S and K-Line System" , "K3S Crystal 'Roofing' Filters" document from Wayne and Eric, and the Crystal Filter Response Plots.
A: A KPA3 can be used in a K3S. However, we recommend using the KPA3A PA module, because the K3S RF board was optimized for use with the KPA3A's MOSFET power transistors. In a K3S, a KPA3A will typically provide 1 to 3 dB better transmit IMD performance, on average, than a KPA3.
A: No. New firmware releases will determine automatically whether you are using a K3S or a K3, and will support both original and upgraded modules. There will be no change in the numbering of these combined K3S/K3 firmware releases. You will be able to use K3 Utility to manage firmware updates for both transceivers.
A: Yes. K3S serial numbers will begin at 10000.
A: The most important change is to the communication ports in the upper right corner of the rear panel. This is where the new USB connector is located. The original RS232 port functions are preserved, though with a different jack type (RJ45) and a supplied DE9 adapter cable. The accessory jack (ACC) is unchanged. The included adapter cable (shipped with the K3S) duplicates the original 9-pin RS232 port, so you can continue to use all of your station accessories as before. The illustration below shows the rear panel of the K3S. The fan panel shown is supplied with100-W model.
A: Yes. The K3S supports these K-Line products. All cabling will remain the same as you see in the KAT500 and KPA500 Owner’s Manuals.
A: Yes. The K3S will support the P3 using the same cables you are using now for your P3 connections, with the addition of a supplied RJ45- to-DE9 adapter
A: To use both USB connectivity and the P3, you’ll need a new cable, CBLP3Y. The CBLP3Y cable will enable direct USB connection while accommodating full P3 support.The CBLP3Y cable will be available directly from Elecraft. Price and availability will be announced prior to K3S shipments
A: With the introduction of the K3S, the K3 is no longer available. Elecraft production has already switched to the K3S.
A: Elecraft will continue to honor all warranties and will continue to fully support the K3. There is no change to this policy in any way. Anyone who has purchased a K3 will continue to receive email support and firmware updates when they are made available..
A: Currently, there are no changes planned for parts andsupport for the K3
for the foreseeable future.
A: Yes. there are no changes planned for parts and support for the K3 for the foreseeable future.
A: Yes. all cabling and Remote System products will work with the K3S.