Saturday, 9 March 2013

Elecraft P3 build

Today I bought a P3 kit to go with my Elecraft K3 transceiver.

Up until now I have been using a SDR-IQ and PC with Spectravue to observe signal spectrum and waterfall activity.

However, the 22inch monitor screen was becoming a bit crowded when trying to display spectrum, 'KST, JT65 and VK3UM EME planner all at the same time!

Something had to change. The something was that a decision was made to purchase a P3 and initially view spectrum on its built-in screen. Later, a P3SVGA card will be added together with another large screen monitor dedicated to the P3. The P3SVGA will also enable me to plug in a USB keyboard and operate any of the K3 data modes without needing the use of the PC.
A second advantage of the P3 is that it is better integrated with the K3 than
The SDR-IQ and Spectravue. The ability to see the frequency of both VFO A and B at a glance looks really useful.

The SDR-IQ will be repurposed to be used with my TS2000X and IF output modification at 10.695MHz. When required, it can still be connected to the switched IF output from the P3 in order to measure noise in the continuum mode. Something sadly lacking in the P3 firmware and indispensible for EME cold sky to sun noise measurements.

This picture shows the first stages of assembly of P3 serial number 2555. On the left is the back panel and on the right the front panel with the colour LCD screen and various control buttons and function selection knob.

In all it took me about 90 minutes to assemble the kit. Mostly this was checking everything was supplied, that should be, and then screwing the various ready-assembled cards into the P3 case. There were no surprises and everything fitted perfectly. This was a pleasurable experience and very therapeutic!

As my K3 was built for me ( thanks Dave) I never previously had the pleasure of following the superb Elecraft assembly instruction. I think I can see why these have been favourably likened to Heathkit at its best!

Now that the P3 has been built up it is time to check it out.......

More anon.

73 de Sam

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