80/30m Module for Popular KX1 Portable Transceiver
from Wayne Burdick, N6KR
We’re pleased to announce that the KX1 is now a 4-band radio!
Many KX1 owners have asked for 80 meter coverage, notably Bruce Prior, N7RR, who pointed out that 80 meters is a great band for traffic handling at night (in both the CW and SSB segments). Up till now, Bruce has been taking his KX1 and a second rig that covers 80 meters on his extensive backpacking trips. Our new KXB3080 option will lighten his load a bit. 80 meters is also a popular field day and QRP band, and is especially active in the Eastern U.S. and in Europe. Band noise is lower in Winter, so this is the perfect time to give 80 meters a try.
The dual-band KXB3080 module installs in the same location as our 30-meter-only module, the KXB30. The KXB3080 is very easy to add to your KX1, since all but two components are surface-mount, pre-installed at the factory. (This was necessary in order to provide both bands in such a small amount of space.) Also supplied is a small PC board that mounts in place of the original low-pass filter inductors (L1 and L2). This board includes a relay that configures the low-pass filter for efficient operation on either 80 or 40/30/20 meters.
The KX1’s firmware has been updated in conjunction with the KXB3080. The new firmware adds:
* Full 80-meter band coverage on transmit and receive
* Additional receive-only coverage: 1000 kHz to 5000 kHz (reduced sensitivity outside the 80-m band)
* Programmable scanning (great for monitoring quiet bands, waiting for signals to show up)
* Variable-rate fast tuning: 1 kHz in ham bands in all RX modes, 5 kHz outside ham bands in USB/LSB modes
We have several beta testers lined up for the KXB3080, and will be supplying them kits in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I’ve been having great fun on 80 meters with the first 4-band KX1, even with a wimpy 40-foot random wire. In addition to 80 meter transceive operation, I can copy many AM stations from 1.0-1.6 MHz. This broadcast band coverage should prove useful feature for field operation.
If you have any technical questions about the KXB3080 option, feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. One question I’m sure to get is whether the KXAT1 ATU is usable on 80 meters. The answer? Yes, but the KXAT1 wasn’t designed to cover this band, so it will only help with specific end-fed wire antenna lengths to be determined. It will of course help with tweaking of nearly-resonant antennas, such as portable whips and ad-hoc dipoles.
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Please don’t call about the KXB3080 or new firmware just yet. We will announce the price of both in late January, and take orders then.