Tuesday, May 31, 2016

4 days with the KX2

The KX2 has brought me back to QRP and I'm glad to report that recent negative assessments of conditions brought about by our current position on the solar cycle have proven to be exaggerated. Strictly speaking, I'm not QRP since I am using the rig at its full 10-watt output (perhaps I'm QRP on SSB?).

I made a few contacts in the past weekend's CQ-WPX contest, a handful of QSO's outside the contest and a few contacts with NPOTA activations. 35 QSO's in all, including 10 NPOTA stations, and 18 DXCC entities including Wallis & Futuna, American Samoa and Easter Island. A small pile-up formed on 20m CW last night for GJ4FOC whom I decided would be a fun test for the KX2. First call, in the log and a nice comment from the op. Take that, QRO callers who went into the log after me ;-)

I've been using two batteries: a 2100 mAH LiPo and a 5000 mAH LiPo. The 5000mAH seems to last forever. And ever, and ever. With a 10-watt output. I've begun to realize just how useful the KX2's built-in amp-hour metering is and have compared it with my LiPo charger (a HiTech X1Plus) that shows amp-hours put back into a discharged battery. Here are the comparisons of amp-hours discharged according to the KX2 versus amp-hours put back in by the HiTech:

KX2 discharge - HiTech charge
900 mAH - 980 mAH
1900 mAH - 2120 mAH
1100 mAH - 1190 mAH

Roughly within 10% of each other which makes it an accurate enough fuel gauge for portable ops needing an idea of how much longer they'll be able to operate on the current battery.

My own planned NPOTA activation for May 29th had to be cancelled due to flooding from the recent rains we've been having. The site I had in mind was inaccessible from three different directions. As a consolation prize, I treated my KX2 to a B&W hard case that holds the rig and the necessary giblets (battery and Palm Paddles). At half the price of a similarly sized Pelican, it seems stout enough  and has pick-apart foam so that the cut-outs can take on any desired shape to accommodate accessories.



Lucas A. Powell said...

How well did the 2100 mAh LiPo do?

John AE5X said...

It's hard to quantify since no one operating session is like another - sometimes I mostly just listen; others, I'm transmitting a lot (as in a pile-up). For a mix of these operating styles, it seems like 2100mAH will provide 5-7 hours of use at max power.

Lucas A. Powell said...

That's actually really good. I've got a couple of 2100mAH LiPo packs that I was hoping would give me a decent amount of time on the KX2 (once it arrives). Thanks for the info and good article! 73 -W5BSY

Greg Sudderth KF5ZIN said...

Thanks for this report, super useful. I'm thinking really hard about my first HF radio being a KX2, due to interest in SOTA/motorcycle (2005 BMW R1150R). Been thinking "all these good Anker batteries come out on sale all that, gosh, I should get one and a up converter > 2A and just run a radio on that along with my entire-life-of-USB!". Also interested in ManPack, blah blah. Super interested how your trip goes, rubber side down! I'm in OKC, be glad to buy you a steak for a meetup review of your KX2!

John AE5X said...

FB Greg, Cattleman's it is then! I'll let you know how the motorcycle/radio combo goes in a few days...