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Reference Guide to Elecraft KX-1 for Blind and Partially Sighted Operators

This guide describes the most commonly used features of the KX-1. It does not claim to be a replacement for the Elecraft User Manual.

Before proceeding, it is assumed that the CFB feature has already been enabled to allow Morse code feedback. A sighted person, most likely the constructor, will probably have done this.

The procedure for enabling the CFB feature, if it has not already been enabled, is as follows. Firstly, quickly tap the MENU button. Rotate the VFO knob until CFB appears in the display. Hold the MENU button briefly (approx. half a second) to enter edit mode and then turn the VFO knob to select the desired CFB sending speed. The speed can be set in increments between 10 and 40 wpm. The CFB feature can also be disabled by selecting OFF. Tapping the MENU button saves the new setting. Tapping the MENU button a second time exits Menu mode.

Before proceeding, position the KX-1 on a flat surface in front of you so that the protruding BNC antenna connector is towards the right-hand side. Located at the lower left corner of the KX-1 panel are two slider switches. The slider switch on the left turns the white LED lamp on or off. The switch on the right is the main power switch (up for ON).

There are three push-button switches just above the two slider switches. These three switches have various functions as outlined below. Let us call them SW1, SW2 and SW3 from left to right respectively. To access various menus and select settings these switches are either tapped (quickly), held briefly (for about half a second or so) or else a combination of switches is used.

Tapping SW2 (middle) shows the current band of operation. Tapping twice in quick succession toggles to the next band.

Holding SW2 briefly and then rotating the VFO knob allows setting of the internal keyer’s speed during transmission. Tapping SW2 saves the new setting.

Tapping SW3 (right) toggles RIT on or off. Holding the switch briefly clears the RIT setting.

Holding SW1 (left) and SW2 (middle) together briefly puts KX-1 into TUNE mode (it also activates the internal ATU if installed and enabled). Make sure not to leave the KX-1 in TUNE mode too long, as you could damage the output transistor. If the internal ATU is fitted, the power output in Watts will be announced in Morse code preceded by the letter P once the ATU has tuned the antenna to the optimum setting. Tapping SW1 again will announce the SWR reading preceded by the letter R. The KX-1 will then return to receive mode.

Holding SW2 (middle) and SW3 (right) together briefly enters DISPLAY mode. You can scroll through the three display options by repeating the same procedure. The available options are S meter mode, battery voltage indication (BAT) or normal (NOR) frequency display.

Holding SW1 (left) and SW3 (right) together briefly allows you to select receive mode. Repeat this procedure to scroll through Norm (CW), LSB and USB modes. If an SSB mode is selected the VFO tuning rate is increased for convenience.

You can tap the VFO knob to toggle between 10 and 100 Hertz rate or hold it down briefly to select the 1 kHz rate.

While holding SW3 (right) followed by tapping the VFO knob locks or unlocks the current VFO frequency.

Holding SW1 (left) followed by tapping the VFO knob will switch to CW mode.

The three rotary controls on the right are from top to bottom, RF gain, Audio Filter bandwidth and Audio gain. The headphone socket is to the right of the AF Gain on the side panel of the KX-1. The antenna BNC connector is on the same panel to the right of the RF gain control The external power socket is on the left side panel, while the key/keyer socket is in the centre of the lower side panel nearest you.

Below are descriptions of the main MENU items. Tap SW1 (left) to enter MENU display mode. The VFO knob is used to scroll through menu items. You EDIT a setting within a menu item by holding SW1 briefly and rotating the VFO knob to select the required option. Tapping SW1 saves the new setting and tapping it a second time exits MENU mode.

MENU Items:
LED shows main display’s brightness level and automatic time-out (5-60 seconds) settings. Selecting INF option keeps the display on permanently.
STL displays the sidetone audio level (0-3).
STP displays the sidetone frequency pitch (500-700 Hz.).
T-R displays the time interval between changeover from transmit to receive (0-900 ms.).
RPT displays the time interval between repetitions of a stored memory messages (0-255 seconds).
INP displays the type of key selected, twin paddle or straight key. Options are HND (hand key), PDN (normal paddle) or PDR (reverse paddle).
IAB displays selected iambic mode A or B of the internal keyer. Default is A.
CFB enables or disables audible Morse Code feedback feature. You can set the sending speed for Morse Code feedback in increments between 10 and 40 wpm or disable the feature altogether. In CFB mode the letter T can represent a zero and the letter R a decimal point when numeric information is being sent (frequency, wpm, output power, SWR etc).
SLO, SHI, BFO, DDS, SIG and CAL menus are mainly used during setting up of a new KX-1. There should normally be no need for you to edit these settings.
B30 and B80 enable the 30 and 80 metre band options if fitted. These menus are set up during construction and there should be no need to edit.
BAT menu allows you to set the threshold for activation of the low voltage warning alarm.
ATU menu enables or disables the automatic ATU (if fitted). This should have been set up when ATU was originally fitted. Normal setting is TUN.

Recording and Playing of the CW memory messages:
To RECORD: Tap SW1 (left) and scroll to PLY or REC with VFO knob. If PLY is announced in Morse code, toggle to REC by briefly holding SW1. Tap either SW2 (middle) or SW3 (right) to record a message at that button location. Use a twin paddle to input the message, and then tap SW1 to end and store the message.

To listen to a stored message without transmitting: Tap SW1 and locate the PLY or REC menu with the VFO knob. If REC is displayed, briefly hold SW1 to toggle to PLY. Tapping the VFO knob (without allowing it to rotate) will toggle between NORM and P=O, which is the test play setting. To return to normal operation, tap the VFO knob to toggle to NORM and then tap SW1 to exit menu mode.

To transmit a stored message: Tap SW1 and locate PLY menu with the VFO knob. If REC rather than PLY shows, toggle to PLY by briefly holding SW1. Tap SW2 or SW3 to send the message stored at that button location. If you want to repeat the message at regular intervals (RPT menu), briefly hold rather than tap SW2 or SW3. Tap SW1 to exit memory mode.


By Tony (EI5EM)

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