New from Elecraft


The Dayton Hamvention is basically SHOT show for Ham radio, going on this weekend. Of the new, interesting products unveiled, info on this one was sent to me via a close friend and wealth of communications knowledge.

kx2-1As you can see, its a little smaller than the already compact KX3, and retains the features and same great top-notch quality we’ve come to expect from Elecraft. The specs on the set can be found here. At only 13oz and being a 9 band, 10w set (80-10m) with standalone PSK31/RTTY capability, there has never been a better time to get into field radio. It’s price is set at $750 for the base unit, which for what this set does, is not bad. Add in the internal tuner and battery option, and one would have a very formidable standalone HF set. With a 135mA draw at minimum, it can run a long time in the field keeping the power cut low, with arguably the best receiver on the market.

If you’ve been on the fence about amateur radio, or are an operator but not warmed up to QRP, it’s never been easier than the capabilities offered these days. Communications are just as critical to creating your own infrastructure as anything else, and all of the big manufacturers are really making it easy. It’s also never been simpler to at least get your General Class and get on HF, starting here, and then finding a place to take the exam. While you’re at it, check out the great resources of AMRRON, Tom, Dan, SW Listening Post, and Mike for a great knowledge base. Prices are coming down and the capabilities are going up for lots of critical items these days, take advantage of it while you can.

27 thoughts on “New from Elecraft

  1. Pingback: Brushbeater: New From Elecraft | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  2. idahobob

    My Gawd!

    Now I’m going to have to scratch together the FRN’s to purchase this little jewel!

    It will go with my kit just great!


      1. Well, to that, I’ll say hold on to your Yaesu. The reason why (and in an upcoming post) is that it’s one of the very, very few remaining rigs that will do all-mode VHF and UHF. Most on the market only do FM, and Yaesu’s support of all-mode VHF/UHF is looking to be waning as well.

        2M SSB or AM is an interesting animal, as is 70cm SSB/AM, and adds additional capabilities outside what’s commonly available.

        Think of it as another tool, like a finishing hammer vs. framing hammer.

      2. Would make a great addition to the 817…

        Considering Icom’s abandonment of the 7200, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yaesu do the same with, what I would argue, is the one radio to have if shit went sideways (817).

        The options, at least on the current market, for rugged, reliable radios, intended for use somewhere other than on a Hoveround, are, unfortunately, shrinking.

      3. Unfortunately I think you’re right. Yaesu unveiled the FT-891, possibly the replacement for the 857, and there is no support for 2m/70cm.

        I say possibly the replacement because they did not announce it as such, but the 991 did replace the 897, so who knows. As for Icom dropping the 7200…all I can do is say if you have the means, get one while you can.

      4. Roger that.

        And I really hope I’m wrong, but there’s definitely not a lot on the market for dedicated field rigs.

        I was hoping to see news out of Dayton of a surprise unveiling of a new successor to the 7200, or a 20-watt 817 replacement with built-in TNC.

        The KX2 is definitely a positive, and as you stated, if the means are available, a 7200 should be on everyone’s short list, while the few remaining are still able to be scooped up.

      5. I think we all were.

        On the 7200, I picked mine up from Universal Radio, used, for $699 a while back. It needed a mic, but otherwise was brand new.

      6. Have you checked out I agree, there is alot to learn, but the guys at amrron really help sort through all of the information to get you what you need to be effective. Plus there are alot of other great resources like blogs that are doing the same thing. The best (and only) way you are going to learn is by doing it. Get your general license and an hf radio and start practicing. There are apps and websites dedicated to helping you pass your test. You don’t actually need to know all of the information to pass the exam, you just need to know the right answers to get a good grade. Once you get your license, then worry about learning the information that applies to your interests and needs. Search “qrp portable” on youtube and you will see all the different ways ham radio can be used practically in the field. You will learn alot too. It’s kind of like that saying ” there’s the text book way, the wrong way, and the way that works”. That’s how my ham radio experience has been so far. If you need more help don’t be bashful, the only stupid question is the one that doesn’t get asked.

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong. Its basically a state of the art QRP rig, that must be how they where able to design it so small. Don’t have as much heat to get rid of, hence no big heat exchanger, everything can be made smaller cause your not running high amps. Put the cost into the high end tech part of transmit and receive. Make it modular, allowing add ons so you can go bigger than QRP.
    Nifty rig in any case. What you save on weight can go towards extra battery power or other gear.

    1. Yeah you’re pretty much on it. It’s a high end Software Defined Radio (SDR), essentially using a computer to emulate traditional radio components.

      Elecraft offers a heat sink for the KX3, and I’m sure they do or will with this one. It’s likely that many of the nifty add-ons will work on both rigs due to the inherent similarity.

  4. That’s a sweet little setup. I’ve always wanted a kx3, but this might suit me better. So right now my only rig is an SG 2020, which maxes out at about 25 watts. So would it be smarter to go for more power like an 857, or smaller and lighter weight like the KX2? I know that’s just a real vague question, I’m just curious what other people think.

    1. Honestly the SG2020 is THE field rig, and sadly discontinued.

      In your situation, I’d shoot for the 857 simply to have the all-mode VHF/UHF capability, and of course 100w.

      1. mtnforge

        If you don’t mind my asking you, how are you getting along with jungle antenna’s and N9TAX’s SlimJims”, have you worked off a jungle NVIS antenna, with your 817? Like to have your thoughts if you don’t care.

        Asking cause I’m slowly scrounging up the scratch for an 817 after you and the other great cadre in this community of small unit comm guys have so highly recommended their tactical utility. It just strikes me as a darn good rig much suitable to austere tactical conditions. (As a consideration, I’m thinking the 817 because it seems to me to be the peak of its generational development, where the Elecraft as good as it looks, is still young in its type of technology. It is a practical and ruggedness thing).

        Was giving the SlimJim a good think regarding how to run one as a “Jungle” LOS antenna on 2 meters, without having to pack sections of pipe, or slinging one over a branch. As on N9Tax’s info page he shows how to use a piece of plastic pipe in the bow configuration which gave me an idea. Thinking why not use what’s in the bush? Pick out a 10-20 foot sapling tree, one that is skinny enough to grab and bend down, strip off the branchlets, at the tip attach the top end of the SlimJim, bend the tip in a bow, attach the bottom of the SlimJim, and let the sapling go back to its free standing height. Presto, a JPole jungle antenna mast. If you did this on a ridge or summit, you could have some decent height for increasing LOS using natural resources. Just need a long enough lead, and some of those velcro tie wraps to attach the SlimJim.

      2. I’ve done well with it.

        The roll up J-pole (N9TAX’s antenna) are great for a couple of reasons; they can be stashed anywhere, and even better, they’re easy to hide. Running one in a tree, above eye level, is very hard to spot in thick woods. I personally wouldn’t bother with the bow or using branches. It increases its signature(doesn’t look natural) and the only real reason for it is to completely stretch the antenna out.

        As for running NVIS, cutting a wire dipole for the specific frequency you’re using, then tuning it as you get it in the air to match impedance by observing the SWR on the display till its 1:1( or close enough) will ensure you’re getting out there.

        I personally don’t like running HF and VHF at once out of one rig (even though you can with the 817) simply because it gets complicated remembering which plug does which when you’re tired.

  5. Wrench

    Just recently invested in an 817 at a Hamfest but sure adimre the Elecraft equipment. One day in a few years, I may find the KX2 at a fest. In the meantime, I am excited to start the adventure in QRP and assembling a pack for the 817 to do some mountain topping. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Possibly, I’m sure it’s been done on the KX3. Email Elecraft or browse around QRZ.

      And of course, that is if you’re a MARS operator and all that jazz.

  6. PSYOP

    nice rig…..for me, i would rather spend the $$ on the 857 and have something more versatile, and robust, plus the wattage if required, and of course vhf/uhf too..

    in order to make the most of the Elcraft it looks like one has to buy various add ons, where the 857 is good to go out of the box, tuner the exception….Am i correct in that?

    As far as antennas, i use a roll up 2m/70cm Roll up J-pole to great effect, for mobile ops, hanging it off my tilt up milmast rig, attached to suv, the white suv is mine….I also take it camping with my little go kit, Kenwood 281, and toss some 550 over a branch and haul it up, just let it hang, connect rig to 50ah battery and it performs very well.

    I have a smaller version i attach to my dual band HT when i need the extra range/gain, and it performs very well…

    Here’s a good little versatile, multi band antenna, packable to, i have the 2 reel, 2-40m unit:

    Perhaps because i’m in IT, know how pc based kit can fail, and used to military style/grade equipment, i don’t quite trust the Elcraft just yet…. ymmv…

    Otherwise, the premise is spot on, get licensed, get kit that you can afford and learn to use, NOW, because one won’t automagically learn it on the fly under “real world,” conditions when it matters…

    1. Well…they’re different tools for different purposes. It comes down to realizing what you need and where you fit in the food chain.

      If you’re a militia member, or building some sort of organized group, the 857 is very well the best bet going to do wear the most hats. The 857 is very well suited to a mobile TOC, and is probably the best suited radio to this role, edging out the superior Icom 7200 only because it adds LOS capabilities.

      If you’re the RTO of a small team, powering your rig becomes a serious issue in a hurry. All of the 100w options on the market, even the better suited rigs to backpacking, are power hogs. Enter the QRP radio. That doesn’t just mean it pushes low power, but that it uses less power to do it. So less battery, meaning less weight. And with that, also means smaller radios, meaning a smaller footprint in my ruck.

      If I’m a Survivalist on a budget, looking for one rig to do anything/everything, then Yaesu definitely is a strong contender. But the world is much larger than the individual, and having equipment for different purposes is a must.

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