I have a Xeigu x6100, it’s my starter HF radio and TBH I’m quite impressed with it. Some minor niggles, but main issue is its weight and the fact you have an internal battery which is sort of useless if you TX on 10w using an external LiPO.
I put myself in the queue for a KX2, which will be a while . Should I be considering buying an internal battery ? Is it useful or deadweight, or did I miss something ? What do people use ?
Or maybe just operate on external LiPO with the Wh’s I need for the day in question. Obviously, that means less redundancy……
I’ve had my KX2 for 3 years now and the internal battery and ATU are requirements as far as I’m concerned.
The battery has enough capacity, even after several years of use, to get me through a multi-summit day. A spare battery doesn’t weigh much, but I can’t remember the last time I had to pull it out. I run 10w SSB.
The internal charger option is a nice to have and facilitates charging off non-standard sources like solar panels, other batteries, etc, but can be skipped if the budget is getting stretched.
The ATU will match just about anything, event the guardrails around the parking lot of a drive-up summit.
For a mic, I just use PC headsets and a splitter. I press the XMIT button on the radio itself.
While not an option for the radio per se, I like the AX2 whip as well. It works better than you’d expect and can be deployed in seconds. It’s great when you’re pressed for time or lack proper supports for real antennas. I used it on two summits this past weekend.
I would agree with that. Althought I mainly have the battery not installed inside as I think it will not get better removing the lid on the backside that often. The internal battery charger is quite expensive from my point of view.
Battery get’s installed only on alpine summits when I need to be quick and keep it compact.
Ask 100 hams and you’ll get more than 101 answers.
But I still want to give you my opinion after over 800 activations with the KX2:
The ATU is a must!
The microphone makes sense.
I also ordered the internal battery. But it’s just my backup. I think there are now better batteries available from accessories stores. (My internal battery quickly shrinks the output power to 5 watts.)
The internal charging option is nice, but I find it too expensive…
What I would initially order from the accessories today would be a larger heatsink for the PA transistors and a plexiglass hood.
I can’t get used to the Elecraft antenna for the price. I still think that the Decathlon mast with a wire antenna is much cheaper, not much heavier, but much more powerful…
I bought my KX2 in 2016, It’s been great.
I use it with the internal battery installed, but have to remove it every time for charging, which needs care due to the risk of snagging the battery cables on refitting the back cover afterwards.
I also have the ATU option fitted. It weighs 567grams battery included.
At risk of starting another topic, I tried the Xiegu x6100 ATU on a random wire with a 9:1. I think it was 84’ with 17’ counterpoise. I had horrible rf issues with mic and headphones picking up RF, that it was a big problem. Not sure what if I screwed up with that or others have experienced this.
Despite having many resonant antennas, the ATU’s ability tune anything and everything makes it invaluable for me. Like when you forget some crucial antenna component, the ATU will still tune up your damp boot laces
The side panels and lid finish the job off nicely.
I have an internal battery but it is still sealed as I have enough other SOTA Lithium batteries to jump start the Titanic. A KX2 using the internal battery is a neat solution however.
Ask Elecraft… - I don’t have it yet… but it’s been commissioned.
In summer, when the sun shines on the black casing of the KX2, it gets warm quite quickly. It first reduces its power to 5 watts and then it stops transmitting. I always try to keep it in the shade… but sometimes that’s difficult.
The ATU gives you the opportunity to be QRV on all bands with a long piece of wire. This works well with 1:9 and wire… or I, for example, tune my endfed (40/20/15/10) on the other bands.
I would definitely get the internal battery. I have two of them, but rarely need the second one in the field. In fact, if I run at 5 watts, I can get 2 to 3 activations on one charge. Keep in mind that when people say they last for multiple activations, you have to ask how many QSOs. I often get 70-100 QSOs CW. In cases like that, the battery might only last for 2 activations. If you only have 10-20 QSOs, the battery would last for 3-5 activations. If I run at 10 watts CW, I can get about 120 QSOs.
Also, I recommend getting 2 of the batteries; you don’t want to get on the summit and find the battery is dead and not have a spare. If the battery goes dead in the middle of an activation, you can plug the second battery into the external power jack and never miss a call.
Regarding charging the battery. People make a big deal about having to remove it to charge it. It’s very easy. Plus, since I have two batteries, I prefer to alternate them at each charging. At first, it seems a little fussy, but after you’ve done it several times, it VERY fast and easy.
Also, get the internal tuner. With internal tuner and battery, you won’t have all these accesssories you have to plug in each time.
I also have the Elecraft paddle. It’s not the best paddle, but for the way I operate, I like having it on the rig. I strap a small clipboard to my leg and then rubber band the rig to the board. If you operate with the rig at your side, then you’re better off with an external paddle.
I have had a KX2 since Covid ( It was the money we didn’t spend going on holiday). I was initially sceptical about the internal battery but have since started using one as it is considerably lighter. I went for the side panels from gemsproducts, although I must admit to being somewhat nervous about dismantling a new radio to fit them - but actually it was OK. I recently added the internal battery charger, more from worry about constantly taking the back off and causing damage rather than worries about ease of operation. I didn’t buy the batteries from Elecraft at the time, but found that an Ansmann pack was almost identical with slightly better capacity - much cheaper and available in the UK. I still carry a spare (as it weighs so little and can just be plugged in to the power socket, the radio will use whichever source has a greater voltage) but have never needed it! I did go for the ATU, and after accidentally QSYing during an activation disabled the buttons on the microphone (It is in the menu somewhere). The only other thing I use is a splitter which enables the use of wired earphones - which work as both earphones and a microphone (although I do prefer the handheld microphone but on a windy summit the earphones help). I’m sure I got the idea about the battery somewhere on the reflector … Still really like the KX2 … Paul
Most SOTA operators like to operate on several bands using just the one antenna. I have a few linked dipoles which I configure as inverted V’s, e.g. 60/40/30/20, 80/60, 20/10/6, and it’s a faff to have to get up and change the links, especially the 30 and 20m ones which I can’t reach without slackening the wire ends. Also, have you tried activating 80m both CW and SSB with your ‘resonant’ antenna?
So, nowadays, I use EFHW inverted-L’s. With the KX2 ATU I can’t tell the difference [in RSTs given and received] from my ‘resonant’ linked dipoles.
As you can see from this topic and many others where the KX2 ATU comes up for discussion, KX2 owners/activators have nothing but praise for the ATU for flexibility and convenience.
In line with my latest enthusiasm, minimalist activations, as well as using short [1.3m long] monoband whips & counterpoise, I recently got myself Elecraft’s own internal battery for the KX2. After about 30 minutes activating the fully charged battery drops from ~12.1V to ~11.5V but the KX2 is still putting out 10W and doing the business.
BTW: Elecraft’s [external] mains charger doesn’t seem to be available in the UK at present (any more?). Maybe Elecraft think it will be superseded by their new internal charger. So I use a Tracer Li-ion/Li-Po charger which meets the same charging spec.