If you are a digital op and you would like to travel light when doing outdoor operations, the K-Board combined with an Elecraft transceiver of your choice could be a great solution for you. Especially when used with the KX3 and the Kx2, made to be the portable of choice for many operators.
Doing digital mode while on the run could bring a lot of concerns when you are planning on how you will operate. The need of a computer is not necessarily a must have, but breaking the habit of having one could be part of a learning curve. Elecraft offer many built in decoders for CW, PSK and RTTY. I really wish they will support more protocols in a near future…. JT-65. 🙂
But willing to use digital mode with the transceiver’s built-in feature is not quite as easy as using them with a computer. First of all, you are not seeing the spectrum or any other form of signal thru an external monitor, you must use your ears and zero beat a signal. Let say in PSK31 for example, you zero beat a station by using the displayed indicator on the transceiver display, like you probably already doing when zero beating a CW signal. Then, the signal begin to be decoded and you are now able read the message from the other station and begin your QSO.
You could of course answer to CQ message by using your CW key. You know of course that the transceiver will translate your message back in PSK and so on. Personally, I am not a CW key addict, and having a small keyboard could be a little bit more confortable for me. And having the possibility to have all macros already entered and ready to fire could be also a great addition. This is where the K-Board could be very interesting for many of us.
K-Board QSO Features• Use a wireless or wired USB keyboard to send in any mode. With a wireless keyboard, there’s one less cable to deal with
• Store messages and macros in 20 slots (80 characters each)
• QSY instantly from the keyboard
• Use “Grab & Go” feature to capture call for messages
• Use Call and Serial number insertion features in messages for routine QSOs and contests
K-Board Message / Macro
Features• Create and edit sets of 20 messages/macros on a PC or Mac with the QRPworks free Message Management Utility
• Download a set of 20 messages/macros to the K-Board in seconds
• Create 10 different named sets of messages for different purposes (Field Day, SOTA, NPOTA activation, Routine QSOs, contests, etc.)
• Create messages while portable using the keyboard and the KX2, KX3, or K3/K3S display
A hint, build your own cue card to remember all your message macros in which memory they are stored! Here an example:
For more information, take a look at http://www.qrpworks.com/k-board.html
Reviews could be found here : http://www.eham.net/reviews/review/143021
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Have fun and stay tuned!
Jeff | VA2SS