I’d lusted after the 2m module for my Elecraft KX3 for some time now and finally succumbed after good reports from Michael (G0POT). I wanted the transverter for two main reasons; one for VHF SOTA activations and two for 2m contests. The receive performance on the Elecraft KX3 blows my Yaesu 857 and 817 out of the water and I wanted to make use of this better performance during contests.
This post won’t outline all of the steps to install the module but will talk about my experiences during installation. Elecraft have already written an excellent installation guide.
The first step was to fit the SMA connector, the KX3 uses the existing BNC connector for 160m-6m and the SMA for 2m. To do this I had to remove the ATU module and then struggle for some time to make space for the connector. The location of the toroids was right next to where the connector comes in and I had to move these as carefully as I could to make some room:
The 2m module comes with ultra-miniature coax (UMC) cable to take the signal from the SMA connector to the main KX3 board and another one to connect the module to the main board. I’d never worked with these UMC SMA connectors before and they are difficult to line up properly, so that you can snap them into place. The make a distinctive snapping noise once fitted correctly, but this requires a worrying amount of force employing the use of the flat end of a pen, as they’re too small to use your fingers!
The next step was to refit the ATU module and then fit the 2m Module on top of this. If you have an Elecraft KX3 you’ll know it packs a lot of performance for such a small portable rig, this means there’s very little space to work with inside. I found the fit to be extremely tight when I added the 2m module and it took some getting right to ensure everything was correctly aligned.
Once I had finished the installation I needed to setup the transverter options in the KX3 menu system. The installation guide takes you through all of this and I found it easy enough. With this I had completed the installation and my KX3 is now ready for 2m… I just need to test it in anger now!
In conclusion the installation was harder than expected. I had built my KX3 from a kit and found this quite straight forward, but I did have difficulty with this module due to the tight fitting components and the UMC coax connectors. In hindsight I should have had it installed by Water Stantons for a couple of quid, but instead sweated for about an hour!