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.
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.
With all options (ATU, Antenna, Battery, and logging pad) the KH1 weighs in at a featherweight 13 oz.
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.
- 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
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.
This is the part I love: the KH1 is designed to operate with a telescoping whip antenna.
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 the counterpoise is already attached and wrapped around the body of the KH1, you will be able to deploy the station and be on the air in about 20 seconds.
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.
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)