Elecraft KX3 Basic Programming

Hi everyone,

here’s a brief list of common commands with explanations of the Elecraft K3/KX3 programming language.

For a detailed reference please read the official “Elecraft K3 and KX3 Programmer’s Reference” manual that can be found here:
http://www.elecraft.com/manual/K3&KX3%20Pgmrs%20Ref,%20E11.pdf

Each command consists of a command code and optionally a numeric/alphanumeric value. This is usually needed when you are setting or sending values.

All the command have to end with a semi column (;).

I’ll be explaining how to set/send things for your KX3 KeyApp buttons/switches.

MODEs (Command: MD)

MD1;
Sets LSB Mode

MD2;
Sets USB Mode

MD3;
Sets CW Mode

MD4;
Sets FM Mode

MD5;
Sets AM Mode

MD6;
Sets DATA Mode

MD7;
Sets CW REV Mode

MD8;
Sets DATA REV Mode

Mode 6 (MD6) is used in conjuction with the DT command to set the sub mode (DATA A/AFSK A/FSK D/PSK D)

MD6;DT0;
Sets DATA A

MD6;DT1;
Sets AFSK A

MD6;DT0;
Sets FSK A

MD6;DT0;
Sets FSK D

MD6;DT0;
Sets PSK D

FREQUENCY (Commands: FA and FB)

FA sets the frequency for VFO A
FB sets the frequency for VFO B

The number has to be an 11 chars number

Examples:

to set VFO A frequency to 7.070 Mhz
FA00007070000;

to set VFO B frequency to 14.200 Mhz
FB00014200000;

 

POWER OUT (Command: PC)

PC000;
Sets Power to 0W

PC001;
Sets Power to 1W

PC005;
Sets Power to 5W

PC010;
Sets Power to 10W

PC100;
Sets Power to 100W

 

FILTER BANDWIDTH (Command: BW)

BW0150;
Sets filter bandwidth to 1500Hz

BW0070;
Sets filter bandwidth to 700Hz

BW0005;
Sets filter bandwidth to 50Hz

 

BUTTON/SWITCH EMULATION (Command: SWH/SWT)

SWT stands for Switch emulation TAP

SWH stands for Switch emulation HOLD

After the SWT/SWH you have to put a two number code based on the following table

SWT:

08 BAND+
41 BAND-
10 FREQ ENT
11 MSG (<-)
44 ATU TUNE (.)
16 XMIT (0)
32 AF/RF-SQL (7)
19 PRE (1)
27 ATTN (2)
20 APF (3)
28 SPOT (4)
21 CMP (5)
29 DLY (6)
33 PBT I/II (8)
14 MODE
17 DATA
18 RIT
12 RATE
34 KEYER/MIC (9)
24 A/B
25 A->B
26 XIT
09 DISP
35 OFS/B

SWH:

08 RCL
41 STORE
10 SCAN
11 REC
44 ANT
16 TUNE
32 MON
19 NR
27 NB
20 NTCH
28 CWT
21 PITCH
29 VOX
33 NORM
14 ALT
17 TEXT
18 PF1
12 KHZ
34 PWR
24 REV (FM/RPT)
25 SPLIT
26 PF2
09 MENU
35 CRL

So, for example, to switch one band up (BAND+) the command is:
SWT08;

To start the ATU auto tuning (ATU TUNE) the command is:
SWT44;

To enable/disable text decoding the, command is:
SWH17;

 

MENU SELECTION (Commands: MN, MP)

They let read/write options value in the options menu.

There’s a table with all the table codes at page 17 of the above linked manual.

So for example, if you want to turn Off the backlight, the command is:

MN138;MP001;MN255;

Let’s see what that means:

MN138;
is to recall the BACKLIGHT option (see table on page 17 of the Programmer’s Reference PDF)
MP001;
sets the value to ON
MN255;
exits the menu. Remember to always add that when you’re done with the menu options!

Most of the options require byte values. If you want an easy way to know what to send based on each of the possible options you can set it manually on the KX3 and then READ the MP value for the selected value option with the Elecraft Utility.

For example if you want to know the MP value for BACKLIGHT ON:

  • in the KX3 manually set to option to BACKLIGHT ON
  • open the KX3 Utility
  • go in the terminal tab
  • MN138;MP;

the result will be the MP value you’ll have to put to have the same effect.

 

SEND MESSAGE (Command: KY)

KY MESSAGE; or KYWMESSAGE; are the commands to be used to send CW/PSK/RTTY messages.

To send a CQ message the code is:

KYWCQ CQ DE IU4APC SK;

The W tells the KX3 to wait for the message to be sent before elaborating what’s after the “;” (command may be concatenated).

Also remember that there’s a limit in the number of chars after the KY(W) command of 26 chars.

So if you want to send a longer message you have to split the message in multiple KY(W) commands.

For example, to send “CQ CQ CQ DE IU4APC IU4APC IU4APC CQ PSE K” (41 chars)

KYWCQ CQ CQ DE IU4APC IU4APC;KYW IU4APC CQ PSE K;

 

All the commands can be concatenated.

So for example if you want to switch frequency to 7.070Mhz, change mode to CW and send a CQ message:

FA00007070000;MD1;KYWCQ CQ DE IU4APC SK;

One more thing… I suggest you to change mode AFTER a change of frequency.

4 comments

  1. This is really helpful Andrea!
    I’ve spent the afternoon stringing up my new G5RV antenna, bands are iffy atm, cant wait to try the app with my first customized templates later tonite!

    Like

    • Thanks Adam!

      I’ll try to add things tomorrow, like how to change the WPM and other stuff like that.
      I’ll try to cover at least all the commands I used in my templates.

      G5RV is a nice antenna!

      Yesterday I setup a random wire one directly attached to the KX3 😀 The easiest antenna you can do and made some WSPR with it and I’m always impressed how good the KX3 is able to make it work!!

      I just ordered a 10m GRP pole “MINI” from dx-wire.de to be used with the HyEndFed QRP antenna I have. So that I can use as a semi-fixed setup and do some extensive test. I’m curious to see how much better it performs respect my quick and dirty long random wire.

      We’ll see.

      Like

  2. Hi Andrea, do you plan to port your apps to the iPad?
    great job you did.

    Like

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