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Overview

Elecraft’s state-of-the-art K3S transceiver offers a unique combination of ultra-high performance and affordability.

The fully 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, while up-conversion designs have roofing filters typically 3,000 to 15,000 Hz in width. Unlike some competing down-conversion designs, the K3S also provides 6-meter coverage, as well as continuous tuning from 0.5 to 30 MHz. 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 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 less than 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. 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 allow the use of RX-only, in-line filters for extreme operating environments.

*Requires KBPF3A module. Receive coverage extends down to 100 kHz. 0.5-mW transmit output at 472 kHz (630 m band) for use with external amplifier.

Configure or Not to Configure Your K3S?

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 K3SS and K-Line System" , "K3S Crystal 'Roofing' Filters" document from Wayne and Eric, and the Crystal Filter Response Plots.

 

  

Specs

STANDARD FEATURES

  • 160-2 meter all-mode coverage (2 meters with K144XV option)
  • Superhet/SDR architecture with narrow ham-band filtering
  • High-contrast, full-custom LCD with alphanumeric text display
  • 100-W or 10-W (upgradeable) models
  • 32-bit I.F. DSP (dual DSPs with sub receiver installed)
  • Built-in PSK/RTTY decode/display; send data using CW keyer paddle
  • High performance, low-noise synthesizer with 1-Hz tuning
  • All radio firmware may be updated with the K3 Utility software

RECEIVER

  • Optional sub receiver with performance identical to main receiver
  • 2nd preamp for 12-6 m weak-signal work; 3 attenuator levels (5/10/15 dB)
  • RX ANT in/out jacks included 
  • Optional general-coverage band-pass filters (KBPF3A); allows receive coverage down to 100 kHz, 0.5-mW transmit on 630-m band (472 kHz)
  • Optional crystal roofing filters as narrow as 200 Hz; DSP filters to 50 Hz 
  • CW audio peaking filter (APF)
  • Synchronous AM receive or envelope detection
  • Easy-to-use Shift/Width/HiCut/LoCut w/ DSP passband display
  • Automatic and manual notch filtering; adjustable noise reduction
  • 8-band graphic equalizer with separate CW/voice settings
  • Hardware and DSP noise blankers with individual level controls
  • Center tuning indicator for CW and data modes

    TRANSMITTER

    • Adjustable output, 0.1 to 100 W+ (K3S/100) or up to 10 W+ (K3S/10)
    • Rugged, SWR-protected finals; dedicated PA circuit breaker
    • DSP I.F. speech processor with noise gate for maximum DX punch
    • Dual 4-speed fans in K3S/100
    • Fast, silent, PIN-diode T-R switching – no relays
    • 8-band equalizer tailors mic audio to your voice and microphone

    Additional Features

    • Includes both USB and RS232 ports; Using USB port eliminates need for PC sound card and line-level audio cables (line in/out jacks still included)
    • K144XV option adds 144-148 MHz, 10W, all-mode operation
    • Transverter in/out jacks included; 9 transverter band displays
    • Internal CW keyer with message buffers; voice messages with KDVR3
    • User ‘macros’ automate often used sequences, such as custom SPLITs
    • 100 general-purpose VFO memories and 4 “quick memories” per band (plus a free memory editor utility for use on your computer) 

    Reviews

    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."

     

     

     

    FAQ

    Q: What are the new features of the Elecraft K3S?

    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.

     

    Q: What components have been changed for the K3S?  Are they available for the K3?

    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?
    KSYN3A
    • Very low close-in phase noise
    • Faster T/R switching
    • VFO tuning down to 100kHz (with KBPF3A)

    Yes

    Please order KSYN3AUG

    KXV3B
    • Built-in low noise preamp for 12/10/6 m

     

    Yes


    KAT3A Includes true bypass relay for lower loss with well-matched antennas

    Yes

    KRX3A Sub receiver now includes KSYN3A synthesizer

    Yes

    KBPF3A Redesigned filter extends Very Low Frequency (VLF) operation down to 100 kHz.

    Yes

    KIO3B
    • Adds direct USB connection
    • Eliminates need for PC soundcard and cables
    • RS232 connection remains supported; adapter cable included with K3S

    Yes

    Please order KIO3BUP

    Soft-touch VFO A grip
    • Updated design with new grip pattern
    • Softer material for improved tuning feel

    Yes

    Please order NEOGRIP

     

    Q: Will any other K3S modules or components be made available for K3 use?

    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

    Yes

    Q: What modules are unique to the K3S?

    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
    • Added 5/10/15dB Attenuator
    • Lower RF and digital noise floor
    • Better port-to-port isolation

    Yes

    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

    Q: Will my existing crystal filters work with the K3S?

    A: Yes, all K3 crystal filters are fully compatible with the K3S.  They are configured in the same way.

    Q: Can I move the KPA3 100-watt PA module from my K3 to a K3S, or do I need the new KPA3A module?

    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.

    Q: With the K3S, will I need to keep track of another set of firmware revisions?

    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.

    Q: Will K3S serial number sequencing change?

    A: Yes. K3S serial numbers will begin at 10000.

    Q: What has changed on the rear panel of the K3S?

    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.

    Q: Can the KPA500 and KAT500 be used unchanged with the K3S?

    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.

    Q: Will the P3 operate with the K3S in the same way??

    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

    Q: How can I operate the P3 and use the new USB port at the same time?

    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

    Q: What will happen to the K3 now that the K3S is available?

    A: With the introduction of the K3S, the K3 is no longer available. Elecraft production has already switched to the K3S.

    Q: Now that there’s the K3S, what should I expect for support of the K3?

    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..

    Q: How long should I expect to get parts and email support for the K3?

    A: Currently, there are no changes planned for parts andsupport for the K3
    for the foreseeable future.

    Q: Will Elecraft still provide phone call and email support for the K3?

    A: Yes. there are no changes planned for parts and support for the K3 for the foreseeable future.

    Q: Will the K3/0 Mini and Remote system work with the K3S?

    A: Yes. all cabling and Remote System productswill work with the K3S.

     

    K3/K3s Owners - Options to upgrade your K3S Quantity Price
    KBPF3A KBPF3A General Coverage RX Band-pass Filters, Kit $199.95
    K3EXREF Ext 10MHz Ref Input for K3S, Kit $109.95

    K3/K3s Owners - Crystal Filters Options to upgrade your K3s Quantity Price
    KFL3A-2.7 KFL3A-2.7 $79.95
    KFL3C-200 200 Hz Filter for the K3/K3S (CW/DATA) $169.95
    KFL3C-400 400 Hz Filter for the K3/K3S (CW/DATA) $169.95
    KFL3A-500 500 Hz Filter for the K3/K3S (CW/DATA) $149.95
    KFL3A-1.0K-IR 1kHZ Filter for the K3/K3S (CW/DATA) $149.95
    KFL3A-1.8k-IR 1.8K Filter for the K3/K3S (SSB) $149.95
    KFL3A-2.1K 2.1 kHZ Filter for the K3/K3S (SSB) $149.95
    KFL3A-2.8K-IR 2.8 kHZ Filter for the K3/K3S (SSB) $149.95
    KFL3A-6K-IR 6 kHz (AM/ESSB) for the K3/K3S $149.95
    KFL3B-FM-IR 13 kHz (FM/AM) filter for K3/K3S $149.95
    K3FLTMATCH Filter Matching for the K3S/K3 - 200 Hz, 500 Hz and 2.7 kHz filter pairs only. $39.95

    Accessories Quantity Price
    K-Pod Control Panel for the K4/K3S/K3 $289.95
    SP3 External Speaker $199.95
    SS30DV SS30DV Compact Switching Power Supply $119.95
    MH4 MH4 Hand Held Microphone (K4/K3S/K3/K2) $69.95
    PROSET-K2 Proset-K2 Boom Headset $165.00
    KRC2 Band Decoder KRC2 Band Decoder $179.95
    KRC2ACC KRC2ACC Band Decoder and Controller Kit $189.95
    KRC2ACCMDKT Mod Kit Converts a KRC2 to a KRC2ACC $24.95
    KAT3A KAT3A 100W ATU, Kit $399.95

    K3S Power Cords and Cables Quantity Price
    CBL36UHF 36" Coax Cable with PL-259s $26.95
    CBLP3Y CBLP3Y KIO3B RJ45 cable (K3/P3 owners need this cable for IO upgrade) $39.95
    E850770 K-POD AUX cable $15.95
    E980297 RJ-45 to DE-9S (KIO3B RS232) $12.95
    KUSB KUSB Serial Adapter Cable $42.95

    Books Quantity Price
    E740244 KPA500/KAT500 book from Fred Cady $39.00
    E740321 Elecraft Macro Programming Book by Fred Cady $32.00

    Elecraft Wear Quantity Price
    KHAT Elecraft Logo Hat $18.00
    T-Shirt Elecraft Logo T-Shirt /S--Light Gray $18.00
    T-Shirt Elecraft Logo T-Shirt M--Light Gray $18.00
    T-Shirt Elecraft Logo T-Shirt L--Light Gray $18.00
    T-Shirt Elecraft Logo T-Shirt XL--Light Gray $18.00
    T-Shirt Elecraft Logo T-Shirt XXL--Light Gray $18.00
    T-Shirt Elecraft Logo T-Shirt XXXL--Light Gray $18.00
    MWT-Shirt Make Waves T-Shirt SLight Gray $18.00
    MWT-Shirt Make Waves T-Shirt MLight Gray $18.00
    MWT-Shirt Make Waves T-Shirt LLight Gray $18.00
    MWT-Shirt Make Waves T-Shirt XLLight Gray $18.00
    MWT-Shirt Make Waves T-Shirt XXLLight Gray $18.00
    MWT-Shirt Make Waves T-Shirt XXXLLight Gray $18.00

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