Accessibility of the Elecraft KX3
for Blind and Vision-Impaired Operators
The Elecraft KX3 all-mode HF transceiver has features of special interest to blind and vision-impaired amateur radio operators:
• Audio CW feedback about settings
• Rig monitoring using a computer
• Outputs for use with a large-screen panadapter
• Works with HamPod K3 Reader speech synthesizer
The KX3 is a portable HF transceiver capable of operating on all modes (SSB/CW/DATA/AM/FM). It is compact—measurements are 3.4"H x 7.4"W x 1.7"D.
The maximum power has been increased to watts after a firmware update, and a 100 watt amplifier is available. There are optional internal antenna tuners for the radio and the amplifier.
The Elecraft KX3 Web page gives details about the radio, including short video demonstrations.
Rig Monitoring and Control
An Accessory/RS232 port and supplied cable make it possible to monitor and control the KX3 using a computer. A remote control program such as Ham Radio Deluxe can display the radio settings on a large screen for higher visibility.
As noted below, the port also provides access for a HamPod K3 Reader.
Audio CW Feedback About Settings
The KX3 Operating Manual has a brief description of the "SW Tone" menu item.
Audible Morse code in response to switch and knob activation can tell you the operating frequency, menu parameters, and switch settings. This feature is described in detail in "KX3 Physical Description and Audio Morse User Interface," a pdf on the Elecraft Web site [Document and Manual Download (a tab on the home page) > KX3 section > KX3 Guide for Blind Operators].
The KX3 Guide for Blind Operators also includes a detailed guide to the physical controls on the radio.
High Visibility Panadapter
The KX3 is a software defined radio (SDR). In-phase and out-of-phase (quadrature) audio signal components are available at a single Rx I/Q jack on the side of the case. This makes it possible to set up a high visibility panadapter using a computer with a sound card, SDR software, and large LCD display. See, for example, the article about the HDSDR program.
Detailed instructions are in the SDR Applications section of the KX3 Owner's Manual, available on the Elecraft Web site.
HamPod K3 Reader
The HamPod K3 Reader is a device developed by Rob Santello, K6DQ, to provide spoken feedback about the settings and configuration of an Elecraft K3 or KX3 radio. The K3 Reader is described in a separate article.
The Elecraft KX3 all-mode transceiver has significant accessibility features for blind and vision-impaired hams.
Peter DeNeef, AE7PD, is an Extra Class amateur radio operator in the U.S. This web site has no ads or conflicts of interest.
Email: HamRadioAndVision "at" gmail "dot" com.