I found the review by James to be complete and not biased, he pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of both rigs and made no conclusion that one is “better” than the other. He did rightly point out that the two rigs are different generations of technology, the FT817 being an older design than the KX3.
I wonder how long before we get a portable SDR from one of the three major manufacturers, ICOM have just released their mobile SDR rig the IC-7300, but they don’t have a truly portable HF rig any more. It would be nice to see a third or forth “mainstream” option for a commercial multimode HF portable rig suitable for SOTA, Parks, WWFF etc. usage.
P.S. my preference is my reliable solid FT817 - the KX3 is simply too expensive for me to take bouncing around on a hilltop, even though I know it would perform better.
Without having ever tasted the KX3, my preference for SOTA activations is also FT-817.
The obvious reason is price vs performance.
I’m certain that I won’t do any better if I was activating with a KX3 instead of the FT-817.
Even worse if the KX3 was my rig, as I also find it less robust and more delicate for having it bouncing around in the mountains.
All those filtering features of the KX3 won’t make any difference with respect to the FT-817 when activating from a Summit.
The higher output power will make no or very little difference when activating from a Summit with a decent and well performing aerial.
In my opinion, all those more refined features of a KX3 with less menus, bigger screen, more buttons on the front panel, more sophisticated RX filtering, less current consumption on RX, etc, simply don’t justify having to spend 3 times the price of a FT-817.
To me, the FT-817 is clearly the winner too.
Best 73 de Guru.
I lusted after a KX3, but the price was simply out of my budget. I’ve had my FT817 since 2001 and it’s done all I need.
Sure, we all agree that technically, the KX3 is a far superior radio, but personally, I’d rather see fewer controls and knobs whilst SOTA activating! I want to turn the rig on, set the volume and make contacts.
I saw a KX3 fairly early on and I couldn’t believe how poor the case seemed to be protecting those precious electronics. The speaker was also very weak. Not too long after I saw that particular radio, it was in pieces having rotary encoders replaced, due to the lack of proper seals on the front panel.
Give me a KX3 in a Yaesu style case and make the price reasonable, and I’d do all I could to scrape the cash together to buy one.
I do think a KX3 would make a great shack pet though
Its more robust then you think actually and its easy enough to repair if you do damage it. The buttons have a membrane around them to stop water ingress from the top.
The 2 meter module cost is absurd you can get a very good hand held for the same money which can stay outside your back pack whilst walking. The same applies to the cost of the microphone.
I am not satisfied with it in all honestly for the money they should have sorted out some of the problems wrt the firmware by now. Not messing around by increasing the drive to the PA. It is very much a rich mans toy…
If I had the decision again I would choose the FT817 I think.
Thanks for picking this up Wayne! I posted this on Monday night and it’s been a really popular article, 430 views as of yesterday.
Thanks Ed. The majority of other comparisons seem to say one is better, but for me it really depends on what you want from your portable rig. Plus neither of them are bad rigs in any sense
True, no real use unless you have a very nearby station causing QRM, then you can filter them out. I tend to use my KX3 for contests as well, this is where the filtering really comes in!
This is the crux of the choice for most. The expense is not a few pounds/euros/dollars, it’s significantly different!
Correct Jonathan. I have the 2m module and it’s not worth it. I got it mostly for VHF contesting but after testing with another local ham we discovered the signal has massive spurs across 12kHz. Certainly fine at 3w but not if you want to add an amplifier in line