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The Elecraft K1 Transceiver

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The Elecraft K1 is a wonderful little QRP rig that you can build yourself. I have now built three.

K1 S/N#1460 - a 4-band unit (sold years ago)

K1 S/N#2168 - a 4-band unit
Bands 40/30/20/17
Automatic Antenna Tuner (ATU)
Noise Blanker (NB)
Tilt stand

K1 S/N#2461 - a 2-band unit
Bands 80/15
Automatic Antenna Tuner (ATU)
Noise Blanker (NB)
Tilt stand

The two units (2168 and 2461) were built in the first part of November of 2007. The younger unit was a Valentine's Day present from Sandy which waited 18 months to be assembled. I had so much fun completing that unit that I ordered another just to have the other bands! The second unit was completed over the Thanksgiving break. Both units were given a workout in the CQ WW DX CW contest that month.
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The front panel of the radio is sparse and clean. Only the essentials are available: band, VFO, AF gain, RIT/XIT, and access to filter widths, keyer speed, recorded CW messages, and a menu button that gets you all the rest. Even the display is minimalistic showing just three digits at any given time. Yet, even with all this austerity, this is a fully functional rig that is fun to use.

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The inside is a clean as the outside. Here you can see the automatic antenna tuner board mounted on top of the two band filter board. The filter board is connected directly to the RF board that covers the whole bottom of the radio. The modular nature of the kit makes it easy to assemble, configure, and align.

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The latching relays of the automatic antenna tuner are easily seen in this photograph. The Elecraft K1 and K2 radios use these latching relays because they draw no power when not switching. "Regular" relays require current to hold the relay arms in one position or another. The use of latching relays eliminates this power requirement and helps keep these rigs extremely energy efficient—perfect for portable operations. In fact, a small rechargeable battery similar to one found in a typical computer UPS unit can power these radios for a full afternoon (or day, if you're stingy).

Elecraft is pronounced "ele" as in "elegant" and "craft" as in "craftsmanship". Looking at the clean layout, carefully selected parts bundled with this kit, and the first class enclosure that comes with each radio it is easy to see that the name is well deserved!