Should I sell my Elecraft KXPA100?

Although I’m at heart a QRPer, I do occasionally serve up more than 5 watts. It’s rare, though.

A few years ago, I purchased an Elecraft KXPA100 amplifier with the optional built-in ATU. I did this in lieu of considering a 100 watt rig since, at the time, I had no 100 watt transceivers.

My thinking was the KXPA100 could serve both my Elecraft KX3 and KX2–pushing them into 100 watts of service when needed. The KXPA100 is also super portable and operates quietly (no fans).

I purchased the KXPA100, connected it to my KX3 in the shack, and then barely used it.

Last year, I realized the KXPA100 could serve me well during Parks On The Air (POTA) activations when conditions were poor for SSB (they were very poor at times in the spring and summer) so I took it to the field a few times. That was before I started using CW during my activations, though.

Since I’ve started using CW, I haven’t taken the KXPA100 to the field once. I also haven’t used it in the shack since then.

I do now have other QRO radios at my disposal: the Icom IC-756 Pro my buddy Matt so kindly gave me in 2019, and the Mission RGO One transceiver I continue to test and evaluate for the manufacturer.

The KXPA100 is unique in that it can pair with almost any QRP radio. I do like that fact because I’ve a lot of QRP transceivers.

These days, about the only time I run anything north of 10 watts is to possibly chase weak signal DX or participate in contests like the 13 Colonies event where I’m up against blowtorch stations in SSB.  I tend to do that at the QTH, not in the field.

Should it stay or should it go?

The only reasons I feel I should keep the KXPA100 is because, in my mind, I feel like it essentially turns my KX3 into a poor man’s K3. It can also directly connect to my KX2 and even the FT-817ND via a command cable for seamless control. That and, occasionally, there may be a good reason to take it to the field.

Still: I feel like if I’m not using it, I should sell it to someone who can. It would also free up $900 or so to re-invest into my gear. That would certainly come in handy!

I would appreciate your thoughts and comments.

15 thoughts on “Should I sell my Elecraft KXPA100?”

  1. Hi Thomas, it sounds like you’re trying to talk yourself into selling the amp. As a QRP’r and a QRO’r I will say that I very rarely use the 100w amp that I have but it does come in handy from time to time even with owning 100w radios and a 1kW solid state amp.

    I enjoy every now and then running my KX3, IC-705 or a UBitx or Bitx 40 with an amplifier. I still like that feel of these portable radios with the extra punch of the amplifier and the portable challenges that adding the amplifier adds to the mix.

    With that being said as much as I’m an Elecraft fan and I can appreciate the quality of their products, that amplifier was overpriced from the beginning. It’s a top quality amp but there are other reasonable alternatives. If it were me, I would sell the amp to someone that will appreciate the quality at a price you are willing to part with it at and if you decide you miss the amp after it’s gone, replace it with something like the RM Italy MLA100 or even one of the less expensive Chinese alternatives.

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. Happy New Year! I sold mine and have regretted doing so. It is indeed very hard to see something sitting idle for so much of the time though.

    If I go for my next licence, I might consider buying another – it would go well with my KX3, G90, FT-818 and my new IC-705.

    Best regards and thanks for all the great stuff on your blog!

    Tom, M7MCQ, UK.

    1. Thank you, Tom. Yes–I’d forgotten about the fact I can pair it with the IC-705 as well. I imagine someone will even make a control cable at some point to give the IC-705 full control of the KXPA100.

      Thanks you!
      K4SWL / M0CYI

  3. Thomas,

    Really enjoy your site and the recent uptick in the articles / activation’s you are publishing. I am not in a position to get out and POTA/SOTA easily. Living vicariously thru your adventures in my home state is the next best thing.

    If you want to to move that amp, let’s talk. I have a space on the shelf. Already have one KX-3/KXPA100 setup and have been thinking about another.

    All that said, I think you should keep the amp and make use of it as needed. When you need the amp, Eric and Wayne went all out to make the best. A real joy to use both fixed and portable.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!!


  4. I think it is prudent to have a 100 watt portable radio and antenna system. None of us know what to expect this year.
    That being said I would trust the Elecraft amp over the half price 3rd world country solutions.

    73, Dan KM6CQ

  5. It seems like a lot of money just setting around, but it is a piece of gear that will never age, like all our transceivers and a lot of our other gear. There will be nothing better in 25 years. I would keep it, definitely.

    Bill, W8BC

  6. I think I would sell it. It’s a great amp (I used to own one). I’m learning CW with the hopes of not needing more than 10 watts in the future ?

  7. As you struggle to decide what do do with the amp I’m reminded of my recent thought of possibly selling my KX3/PX3. It’s a great radio and although I see myself using the IC-705 more, the losses on selling the KX3/PX3 I feel at this point would be to great to justify doing so especially when I’m not in need of the money for something else at this time. Sometimes you’re just better off hanging onto what you have being that’s it’s bought and paid for as they say. I sold my FT-817ND about nine months before the IC-705 came out and I coupled it with some extra accessories which was a benefit for the buyer and helped me put a little extra $$$ in my pocket towards the 705. Who know, maybe I’ll offload the KX3 setup if and when a KX4 is released if it looks interesting to me.

  8. I’m having the same struggle about my Hardrock 50. It’s a great little amp and like having it, but I never use it. I run 10-12w with my Kx2 into a EFHW for all my portable POTA activations and it works so well for me I don’t even take the amp with me anymore.

  9. Thank you so much, Rhett! You made my day with your comment. I’m making posts and videos now for a few reasons:

    1.) I love sharing my passion for radio and hope it might, in even some small way, inspire others
    2.) At the end of the day, I like journaling many of my field activities to reference later
    3.) As with my other blog, the SWLing Post, I love hanging with a community of like-minded radio enthusiasts

    Thank you so much and I hope you continue to enjoy the articles and videos.


  10. Hi, Thomas! This note is almost a year after your question first appeared. Curious what you decided? I just bought my KXPA100 for west coast POTA. I hear it can be a challenge QRP, and that matches my novice QRP attempts on SSB. I’m still learning CW, hope to be comfortable with it this coming year. Also looking forward to CW SOTA.

    I plan to use the amp as backup when 5-10W is not enough from the West Coast, probably at 25-50W unless more is necessary. I’ll also play with RBN testing at various power levels, and side-by-side antenna testing with the two antenna ports on the amp. It will also give me a backup rig to my shack K3 that operates in the same manner. Time to clear out my old radios. NU6T.

    1. Hi, Richard,

      I did keep the KXPA100. I’m so QRP these days that I even considered letting it go again this year, but in the end did not. It looks like a permanent keeper.

      I rarely operate 100W, but when trying to work DX, it is nice to have the option. I also like how it allows me to keep the KX3 permanently attached to it in the shack. It makes the KX3 almost feel like the remote head of a 100W radio!

      Plus, of course, it’s a great option for field day and emcomm portable because it’s pretty efficient and sports a superb ATU.


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