I Can Work This Thing!

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1 k2 read this first

Submitted by Jerry Neufeld, VE3QSO
E-mail: ve3qso@rac.ca

This file is intended primarily for prospective and new users of the K2 transceiver. Since I have uploaded K2 and related manuals in text format along with a key chart, list and description of menus and data sheet, I include only general observations here. See my file k2 you can work this thing.txt for help with setting up and getting started.

Unlike most commercially available amateur radio transceivers that come fully-equipped apart from extra filters and transverters, the Elecraft people behave somewhat like the auto industry by providing very basic units for those who want few bells and whistles. Depending on your pocketbook and interests, add-ons are available for most conventional features. If you plan to build your kits yourself, these add-ons can be incorporated at any time. If, as is usually the case, you elect to have the equipment constructed for you, it may be wise to include the options you expect to use in your initial order. Aside from single sideband adapters, noise blankers and digital processing units, an accessory you will want most definitely to have is the KRC2, a device that gives you full accessibility to virtually every aspect of the K2, including complete readouts of primary and secondary menus. This programmable device is packaged in a small case and connects via a db9 rs-232 connector to the K2. The readout is in morse code, the verbosity, speed and tone adjustable along with many other parameters. Of all the rigs I own, my K2 with the KRC2 is by far the most accessible. It, like all Elecraft products, is available in kit form. The KRC2 manual is included here as part of the documentation. If you are unable to procure the KRC2 or your unit isn't working properly, Elecraft has provided a computer program that will read out in voice the status of many of the controls. Responsive as this software is, it falls far short of the morse code readout of the KRC2 inasmuch as it does not what appears on the display, hence unable to help you with much important information and, of course, the menus. In a word, the software is very basic. Needless to say, you must have a pc-type computer connected to the K2 and the voice program loaded. The voice setup program should be included on this site along with related K2 files.

Of interest to visually-impaired users is Elecraft's inclination to bring as many functions as possible to front panel controls rather than burying them in the menus. Moreover, the location and purpose of these controls is intuitive, allowing for rapid learning. Since direct frequency entry can be accomplished directly from the front panel, The K2 can be run with reasonable success without either the KRC2 or the voice program.

Prospective purchasers of the K2 may wish to have the eight-pin microphone socket on the front panel wired for non-Elecraft configurations. I chose Kenwood since I had several rigs from that manufacturer and a variety of hand and desk-type microphones that I could use with the K2.

Finally, I will mention several possible configurations for the K2 transceiver that pertain to the internal battery, the automatic antenna tuners and output power. I do so in the event that prospective owners of the K2 may, as I did, have a change of heart about what they really wanted in the unit. Had I thought a little more about how and where I was to use the transceiver, I would have requested a somewhat different package.

My original configuration.
Convinced as I was that I would use the K2 only in QRP contexts and that I would be outside my shack much of the time, I chose the internal battery option along with the automatic antenna tuner. With regard to other options, I bought them all. Later, I bought the 100 watt external amplifier since I did not find 15 watts sufficient for thoroughly testing portable antennas. The larger antenna tuner required for higher power is housed in the second box which is the same size as the K2 enclosure.

Revised configuration.
Since I frequently raise the output power of the K2 beyond 15 watts during poor conditions, I normally connect the unit to an external voltage source, thus bypassing the internal battery. To eliminate extra cabinets, I removed the internal battery and replaced it with the 100-watt power amplifier that I had. Since there is no room inside the K2 enclosure for the ATU, I obtained a small case from Elecraft made for the high-power antenna tuner and affixed it to the bottom of the K2, this case about one-half the height of the original external box that contained both amp and ATU. Although the addition of this smaller enclosure for the ATU does make the K2 transceiver somewhat higher, it does make a compact package for either QRP or higher power with one of the most flexible antenna tuners I have seen.

K2 files I have uploaded, some slightly modified.
K2 read this first.txt
K2 controls and connectors.txt
K2 you can work this thing.txt
K2 manual.txt
K2 menus.txt
K2 data sheet.txt
KRC2 manual.txt

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