From Elecraft: something BIG, in an incredibly small package…!
Just this morning, Elecraft introduced the new Elecraft KH1.
In brief, the KH1 is a five-band (40, 30, 20, 17, and 15 meter) handheld QRP CW transceiver with options for an internal battery, internal ATU, whip antenna, and fold-out logging pad.
Exciting! And if you’d like to get the scoop on this new handheld radio–– along with photos––we’ve got it here.
Q: What is the Elecraft KH1?
A: The Elecraft KH1 is a compact, five-band CW QRP transceiver designed for both handheld and tabletop operation. Indeed, the “H” in the model number signifies “Handheld.”
To be clear, although it is quite small, the KH1 isn’t just a tiny radio: it’s ergonomically purpose-designed, to be a pedestrian-mobile CW station. It’s lightweight, easy to hold and use, and will fit both right and left-handed operators. With the optional “Edgewood Package,” it also includes a fold-out logging pad.
Q: How much does the Elecraft KH1 weigh?
A: With all options (ATU, Antenna, Battery, and logging pad) the KH1 weighs in at a featherweight 13 oz.
Q: What features does the Elecraft KH1 offer?
- 40-15 meter ham bands
- 6-22 MHz for shortwave broadcast band listening
- CW mode; 5 watts, all bands
- ATU includes whip & high-Q inductor for 20/17/15 m
- 2.5 AH Li-Ion battery & internal charger
- CW decode & 32K TX log
- Scan/mini-pan feature
- RTC [Real-Time Clock]
- Full remote control
- RIT, XIT, & VFO lock
- Light gray case stays cool even in bright sunlight
- Three CW message memories with chain and repeat functions
Like nothing else on the market…
The KH1 design is all Elecraft and built on several years worth of design iterations. It is, no doubt, fueled by Wayne’s passion for handheld portable HF.
Again, the KH1 focuses on ergonomics that would make handheld operation not only easy, but enjoyable.
The two main multi-function controls (the AF Gain and Encoder), for example, are located on the bottom of the radio. This gives the operator easy and ergonomic access to the controls while the radio is in-hand.
The four buttons on the top of the radio default to the most useful functions one would need while operating portable. Using them to dig deeper into the menu levels, however, is also intuitive and well thought-through.
While the KH1 menus and features are naturally not as deep as those of the KX2 and KX3, it’s impressively well-equipped for a radio this size. At the end of the day, it’s a much more simple field radio––by design––than its KX2 and KX3 predecessors. If anything, it’s more akin to the venerable KX1!
The KH1’s paddles (KHPD1) are located at the bottom of the radio––they flip down for transport, and up during use, so your fingers are well away from the AF and Encoder knobs.
The KH1 has an optional internal ATU that is not as wide-range as that of the KX3, KX2, or T1, but is much better than that of the KX1. I understand that it’ll match most of what you throw at it.
Wayne told me that one of the most complicated parts of the KH1 design was the fold-out logging pad. He wanted the logging pad to be functional for one-handed operation. The indents around the loose-leaf logging sheets allow you to pull out a completed sheet and slip it behind the others in the stack.
The logging sheets are available as a PDF download; simply print and cut. No doubt, the format would be easy to modify.
Basically, you unclip the whip from the side of the radio (assuming you have the ATU/whip option) and screw it on the top of the top. The ATU will match the whip antenna––there’s a mechanical slide switch that selects 15/17 m or 20 m high-Q inductance for whip––or an external antenna on the BNC port.
If you’ve been reading my field reports and watching my videos, you know I’m a huge fan of the Elecraft AX1 antenna. The KH1 basically has the option of a built-in AX1 antenna…Just take my money!
As many of you know, I’ve always said that the secret power of the AX1 and AX2 antennas is speed of deployment. The KH1 allows for an even speedier deployment.
This will be most especially appreciated when activating summits in the winter where exposure to the elements from simply setting up the antenna and station will often make your hands go numb.
Also, the KH1 is so low-impact and low-profile, you’ll be able to activate parks that might otherwise be off limits to an HF field installation. I know of one urban park that, with permission, I’ll definitely use the KH1 to activate; it has no park benches and no trees, just a strip of grass around a historic building in the middle of a city. Perfect for the KH1!
KH1 versus KX2?
The KH1 and KX2 are very different animals. Elecraft actually produced this comparison chart to help potential customers make a purchase decision.
My advice? If you have a KX2 on order, don’t cancel it.
The KH1 is not a KX2 replacement. The KX2 is a much more capable radio. The KH1, however, is a radio focused on ultra lightweight, low-profile, pedestrian-portable, CW HF field operation.
A KH1 review?
Yes, it’s coming! I will purchase and review the KH1 “Edgewood” package. My unit should ship next week, so look for updates and photos, and I will push those field reports and videos to the front of the line.
To be completely transparent: I have been in a volunteer group of testers for the KH1. Other than this, the only real affiliation I have with Elecraft––besides knowing Wayne, Eric, and some of their staff––is being a long-time customer. I own, or have owned, every radio they’ve ever made, save the K3 and K4 lines. And it’s Elecraft that makes my favorite field radios.
Pricing & Availability
As with all Elecraft products, you’ve many options in terms of pricing.
Basic KH1 ($549.95 US): Including the KH1, power cable, USB cable, manual
KH1 Edgewood Package ($1,099.95): Includes all BASIC KH1 items, plus all options (KHATU1 Antenna Tuner, KHPD1 Keyer Paddle, KHLOG1 Logbook Tray w/mini-ballpoint pen, KXBT2 rechargeable Li-Ion battery, KHIBC1 Internal Battery Charger, and ES20 Custom zippered carrying case)