Radio W4KAZ

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K2 Impressions – Part 6 – K2 vs K3

After spending some time operating the K3, I’ve been trying to decide how I liked it. Truthfully, I liked it a lot.

But I must also admit that I still feel like the K2 is a better fit for my own purposes.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done a side by side comparison, and all of my judgements are subjective and anecdotal rather than measured scientifically. But one does not operate a rig scientifically, one hunkers down and spins the dial, looking for the pearls amidst the flotsam and jetsam.

The K3 variable bandwidth and bandwidth shift features are outstanding. I really enjoyed operating the NAQP with the K3. Its receiver is every bit as good as anything else I’ve heard. But I think the K2 holds its own against big brother. Without a side by side A/B test, it seems the receive quality was very similar.

The K3 has many features the K2 lacks. It will have a true second receiver. There are also the RTTY and CW features. Etc., etc. Some of the ergonomics are better on the K3. But for my own uses I won’t normally need most of the additional features. The K2 receiver, with the DSP filters, is very close to the level of the K3. So, for my own part, an upgrade would not pay for itself.

None of that is really a knock on the K3. It is more an indication of how much I’m enjoying the K2. I just prefer the simplicity of the K2, and its performance on the bands is very close to top notch. I would probably buy a second K2 if it came down to brass tacks.

If money were no object, the stack in the shack would be K3, Orion, Omni-VII, K2, Omni-VI+,Omni-V, sorted by how well I like their receivers, not by the most loaded. But to contest on a budget, the list re-sorts as K2, Omni-VI+,Omni-V,Omni-VII,K3,Orion. Maybe wedge the FT-1000mp in between the Omni VI+ and the Omni V. Maybe.

K2 and K3 don’t need much desk space either. Omni-VII comes close to their size, but is not quite that compact.

So, K2 is going to be a long term keeper, no matter what else might eventually move into the KazShack down the log.

– more – at the K2 Impressions page

2 comments to K2 Impressions – Part 6 – K2 vs K3

  • Mac

    I would be interested in why you’ve left out the Jupiter from Ten Tec in your list of rigs???

  • I’ve never actually operated a Jupiter(or Pegasus). I listed the ones I like that I’ve actually used, and I am also looking at it from a contesting perspective.

    I came close to buying a Jupiter when they were first released, because that coincided with my first rig purchase. But I went with the FT-920 instead. Maybe you noticed, but my list does not include the FT-920 either.

    The 920 is a good weak signal, SWL, or rag chew radio, but lacking the Inrad mods it is not in the ball park with any of these others for contesting. It is a good budget CW contest rig, but it is a challenge to use in SSB contests.

    But if you want an SWL radio, the FT-920 is a better value than any of the contest radios. Its general purpose audio quality is maybe the best I’ve heard. For rag chews and SWL’ing, the 920 would be pretty close to #1 on that sort of list.

    For that matter, there are a lot of radio’s I don’t have any experience actually using. I’ve used the Icom 756 Pro II, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. The Kenwood TS-850 I liked on CW, but not SSB. The FT-1000D has excellent selectivity, but the audio has a lot of white noise. The FT-100D is a pretty good CW radio, which I didn’t expect from a mobile rig. I also like the FT-100D better than the IC-706. That about covers the depth of my direct experiences.

    So it’s a limited list, and colored by personal preference.

    73 de w4kaz

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