Well, I bit the bullet back in March, caved in and ordered a KX3 kit. It arrived August 9th via my friendly postlady and was on the air that evening. Overall the build process was painless – maybe 3.5 hours to complete without working very hard.
One of the major reasons for purchasing the radio was SOTA activations, primarily using CW (Morse code). The radio was a major purchase and since I already own a set of Palm Mini Paddles I chose not to order the Elecraft paddles that screw directly to the front of the transceiver.
Of course the magnetic base of the Mini Paddles does not work very well on the KX3’s aluminum case. A quick internet search didn’t turn up an ‘aluminum magnets’ so I was forced to find a different solution. I mocked up a cardboard version of a thin steel end panel that would slip over the RH side of the KX3 and held in place by the thumb screws. I took a few photos and bounced the idea off Frandy/N1FJ, Jeff/NT1K and Barry/N1EU.
After sleeping on it I thought it could be accomplished more simply by a single strip of steel, perhaps stuck to the radio with double stick tape. I opened up my email and Frandy had already done the deed, using one of those metal strips that mounts electrical boxes in sheet rock. They’re called ‘F’ brackets, or by the slang term ‘battleships’. Damn, I have a bunch of those in stock, why didn’t I see them last night?
Anyway, a half hour later or so my Palm Paddles are mounted neatly on the RH side of the rig. I choose to counter sink the screw holes and use slightly longer FH screws (1/4″) to mount the steel strip, a sturdy method and still allows dis-assembly without having to peel off the strip. I could have elected to drill the holes larger than the bolt heads, and use double stick tape with the same result. I guess I just like to screw things together!
Here’s a short step by step of the process. The battleships cost maybe 25 cents, there were extra screws in the spare parts bag that fit perfectly, total time maybe 1/2 hour or so. I still may send my strip to the paint shop (rattle can) – but not today. We’re going on an activation tomorrow!
First, find yourself a ‘battleship’ and modify. Most any hardware store/home center will have these in their electrical department.
Cut where indicated, drill to fit, file the edges to a nice shape. Polish with one of those 3-M finishing pads, paint to match if desired. Sorry for the reflection in the photo, there is a vertical cut line just to the left of the ‘cut at arrows’. The easiest thing to do is remove the side panel from the KX3 and use it as a template.
I added a piece of vinyl electrical tape on the back (not shown) so it won’t mar the case, then took out the original screws and attached the strip with two 1/4″ long screws that came in the spare parts bag. The original screws will just fit but I had these so why not use them?
Warning! Choose your screw length carefully, you don’t want them to extend too far into the KX3 and cause damage!
That’s all there is too it. Less than $1 in materials, maybe an hours time and your Palm Mini Paddles are ready to make lots of CW QSO’s Thanks to Frandy, Barry & Jeff for all their ideas.