DSP Settings and Mic Connections: Elecraft K3 and KX 3
The Elecraft operation manuals are the best in the business and we highly recommend you read them thoroughly before making any adjustments or operating the transceivers.
The K3 utilizes the “Kenwood” protocol for connections to its front panel 8-pin mic jack, so use the CC-1-K for 4-pin XLR mics (GM Series, HM-10 Dual, and Handi Mic}, and use the CC-1-XLR-K for connection to 3-pin XLR mics (PR-781, etc.). Set the MAIN: MIC SEL menu selection to FP (Front Panel).
For headsets, use the AD-1-K for connection to the front panel mic jack. Set the MAIN: MIC SEL menu selection to FP (Front Panel). The K3 also has provision for direct connection of the mic cable from a Heil Sound headset, with no adapter required (!); in this case, set the MAIN: MIC SEL selection to RP (Rear Panel).
See pages 13, 17 and 20 of the K3 Operating Manual for more details.
What Kind of Mic?
We highly suggest our dynamic element microphones (HC-7, HC-5.1 , HC-6, Goldline GM series or PR-781 type). In this case, while setting up the MAIN: MIC SEL menu, tap [I] to toggle to “LOW” Mic Gain, and be absolutely certain that Mic Bias is off by tapping , as needed, to toggle to “OFF” for Mic Bias.
If you are using our high output “iC” element (Pro Set iC, Pro set Plus iC, Pro Set Elite iC, Handi Mic iC, or the iCM via the HSTA-K8 adapter cable), tap  to select “HIGH” Mic Gain, and tap  to set the Mic Bias to the “ON” option. Keep in mind this will have much more output and ‘may’ overdrive the mic preamp so keep ALC in range.
See pages 13 and 20 of the K3 Operating Manual.
Eight-Band Equalizer Settings
The K3 includes a versatile 8-band transmit equalizer, which is adjusted separately from the receiver equalizer. The K3 also has an “ESSB” mode, with a wider transmitted bandwidth for high fidelity operating. To achieve this, you will need to use our PR 20, PR 781, PR 30 or PR 40 microphones. Please read pages 35-36, and page 60, of the K3 Operating Manual, in particular, for more details of these subjects. Yes, you have to read the manual!
The table that follows details starting points for operation using two main categories of mics: the “articulated” elements (HC-6, HC -7 and HC-5.1 based mics), and the “wide range” elements, typified by the iCM, Handi Mic iC, PR 781 and the PR 20/30/40 genre. Remember to set the Mic Gain and Mic Bias properly, as described above.
The above settings are for “normal” operation. For ESSB operation, you may want to set the lower-frequency selections to positive settings, depending on which microphone you have and your audio sound objectives.
Again, these are necessary starting points for operation, and it should be noted that, when using the HC-6, HC-7, and HC-5.1 elements, the equalizer may be left at its default setting of “0” across the board, since equalization is already taking place in the mic element itself.
Mic Gain and VOX Setup
Follow the instructions on pages 28 and 29 of the K3 Operating Manual. There are many inter-dependent adjustments on the K3, and the setup instructions on those pages are excellent.
The best way to adjust ANY transmitter is to listen to yourself through a pair of headphones connected to a second receiver. Transmit into a dummy load and listen to yourself. It is the only way you will absolutely know how you sound to the outside world.
The Elecraft K3 and KX3 are remarkable transceivers. They have similar audio tailoring systems. Just as all EQ settings, we can only give you starting points for your transceiver. You must listen to yourself through it monitor system or through a nearby receiver and headphones. The first thing to set with any transmitter is the transmit bandwidth.
If you are setting for a normal ragchew conversation, you will want a bit wider frequency response of 2.7 kHz – 3.1 kHz . For DX work where you need to cut through pile-ups and noisy conditions, 2.1 to 2.4 kHz will be desired. Do not confuse this with receiver bandwidth response. Set the transmitter bandwidth and then adjust the equalization for the audio response you desire by listening to your signal.
Note that these are starting points only, and the best setup for your voice, your microphone, and your operating objectives may differ. Be sure to listen to yourself on a separate receiver (with its antenna disconnected and noise blanker turned off) as you make fine adjustments to optimize the settings for your operating situation.
Here are three EQ settings for the K3 and KX 3.