K3/K3S Software Page

See the bottom of this page to get the latest K3 firmware downloader, K3 Utility  and KUSB Drivers. 

For K3 Logging and Control Software, Click here for our K3 ( & K2) Software Page.

For K144XV Firmware Upgrades and the K144XV Firmware Utility, click here.

For P3 Firmware Upgrades and the P3 Firmware Utility, click here.  

Beta K3/K3S Firmware Revisions

MCU 5.35 / DSP 2.86 / FPF 1.24, 8-20-2015 

See K3/K3S Beta Firmware Instruction for information on obtaining beta releases.
Beta releases are not automatically recognized by the K3/K3S Utility.
 

  • MAIN:ATTEN MENU ENTRY NO LONGER GETS SET TO 0 DB: This menu entry sets the per-band attenuator ON level (5, 10, or 15 dB for the K3S, 10 dB fixed for the K3). In the previous firmware release, MAIN:ATTEN could be set to 0 dB by computer logging/control applications. This is not a valid parameter value. Once the menu entry is set to the desired ON value, the attenuator itself is turned on/off by the ATT switch. (Holding ATT for 3 seconds is a shortcut into the menu entry.)
  •  For Application Developers: "RA01" and "RA10" COMMANDS BOTH SELECT 10-dB RX ATTN VALUE: The K3's RA set command for 10 dB Is RA01. The K3S uses actual dB values, so for 10 dB, RA10 is normally used. (The K3S can also accept RA05 and RA15.) To improve compatibility with unmodified K3 applications, the K3S now allows either RA01 or RA10 for 10 dB. The GET response uses whichever SET format was received last.

 


Current K3/K3S Firmware Revisions K3/K3S Firmware Revisions

MCU 5.33 / DSP 2.86 / FPF 1.23, 8-14-2015 

  • Latest Production Release -- applies to both K3 and K3S
  • Automatically recognized by K3 Utility (beta releases are not)
  • See K3 Firmware Release Notes for complete revision history
  • See  K-Line Firmware FAQ to setup VFO Tracking from K3 to KAT500

IMPORTANT LOAD INSTRUCTIONS BY FIRMWARE REVISION: 

  • MCU 5.10 (or later): Re-do the 50-Watt gain calibration step on all bands one time. Once this has been done, there is no need to do it again when loading releases above 5.10.
  • MCU 4.67 (or later): Must be loaded with  K3 Utility, Version 1.13.5.9 or later
  • MCU 4.36 (or later): Required for use of KPAK3AUX cable (K3 to KPA500)

     

RELEASE NOTES: 


  • DIVERSITY WORKS WITH MISMATCHED MAIN/SUB RX FILTERS: Diversity mode in the K3S (or a K3 with the KSYN3A installed) now works with any combination of main/sub RX crystal filters. They can have different bandwidths or offsets, and it's not necessary to have an equal number of filters in each receiver. Note: Matched filters are optimal for diversity, but non-matched filters will still perform well.
  • PTT/KEY USE WITH THE USB PORT IMPROVED: PC applications can activate PTT and KEY at the K3S via the USB port's RTS/DTR signals. However, initial setup of the rig's USB port by the PC may cause pulsed or continuous activation of the transmitter. This can happen if the computer is turned on after the K3S, or if the USB cable is not connected. There is now a "Safe" mode (the default) which disables PTT-KEY transmit until the K3S receives a command via USB, such as a read of the rig's VFO frequency. To turn on safe mode on/off, go into CONFIG:PTT-KEY and tap '1' to select "USB SAFE" or "UNSAFE". Exit the menu and turn the K3S off/on. Applications that use PTT-KEY via USB but never send commands may require "UNSAFE" mode. In this case, unwanted transmit can be avoided by turning the PC on before the K3S.
  • CANCELLING UNEXPECTED PTT-KEY ACTIVATION: If an external source (usually a PC) activates PTT or KEY unexpectedly, you can cancel transmit by tapping the XMIT switch. This will show ERR KEY or ERR PTT on VFO B. Once the PTT or KEY source as been removed, transmit will be re-enabled. If the cause may be unneeded PTT-KEY activation via the USB port, go into the CONFIG:PTT-KEY menu entry and set the parameter to OFF-OFF.
    For Application Developers (also see Programmer's Reference, rev. F2):
  • PARAMETER ADJUSTMENT VIA "UP" and "DN" COMMANDS: UP and DN now apply to all settings adjusted using VFO A/B, including: NB, NR, manual notch, pitch, and text decode . (It also still applies to the menu.) It does NOT apply to special displays controlled by VFO B (use DB), or to settings controlled by the small encoders.
  • OM (OPTION MODULE) COMMAND CHANGES: Three new single-letter fields have been added to the OM command: 'L' (low-noise amp/preamp2 available on present band), 'V' (KSYN3A installed, allowing the VFO to tune down to 100 kHz), and 'R' (K3S RF board in use; see impact on RA command, below). Note that 'L' (preamp 2) only applies on 12/10/6 meters. Preamp 2 is located on the new KXV3B module.
  • RA (ATTENUATOR) COMMAND FORMAT CHANGE: If a K3S RF board is in use (determined using the OM command, above), the set/response format of the RA command uses dB values (RA00/05/10/15). The K3 format is still RA00/01. Note: 5 and 15 dB attenuator settings only apply to the main RX. The sub RX attenuator is 10 dB, even in the K3S. But if a K3S RF board is detected, the sub RX RA format is RA00/10.

New Firmware Load Information

NOTE: Please use K3 Utility rev 1.13.5.9 or newer to download new firmware to the radio. Later revisions of K3 Utility may provide additional features (see below).

Be sure to download *all* new firmware including DSP and FPF (new --  flash memory tables). If you see “FPF LOAD PENDING” on the K3’s LCD, it is probably because you were in “Advanced” mode in K3 Utility. In this case, check the “FPF” and “Always load data tables” boxes and try the load again.  

 


 

K3 Utilities and Drivers for Windows, Mac and Linux

Use this software to load the latest firmware into your K3.

See below for K3Utility

 

Elecraft KUSB Serial to USB Cable

Elecraft offers the KUSB serial-to-USB cable for USB only computers etc.   Our cable was originally provided using a Prolific chip set but since approximately July of 2010 we have been shipping KUSB cables which use the FTDI chip set.

Before plugging in either of these cables to any of your computer's USB ports, you will need to have installed the correct drivers for your computer's operating system.   Drivers are available for most Windows, Mac, and Linux OS's.  Note that latest Windows 7 operating system already has the proper drivers included for the FTDI chip set and will automatically install them if you just plug the FTDI cable into a USB port.


Although both of these cables shipped with a mini CD, the drivers on this mini CD are not up to date.  Please follow the links below for the latest versions of the drivers.  Be sure to select the correct Operating System version.

Connecting the K3 to a Computer

The K3 uses a standard RS232 port implemented via a female DB9 for interfacing to external devices and programs.

If your computer has a standard serial port, all you will need is a straight through serial cable with a male DB9 on one end and the proper connector (usually a female DB9 or DB25) on the other end to plug into your computer's serial port and you are all set.

Most modern computers no longer have serial ports but instead use USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports for connecting to external devices. Elecraft provides the KUSB - USB to Serial adapter to connect the K3 to these computers. See above for the KUSB Drivers

 


 

K3 Utility:

 

Minimum Operating System Requirements for Elecraft Utilities:

Microsoft Windows: XP Service Pack 3 or later, including Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1 and 10.

Apple Mac: OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later

X86-based Linux: GTK+ 2.8 or later, glibc-2.4, libstdc++.so.6 and cURL. 64-bit Linux requires 32-bit compatibility libraries.

 

After completing a new software download to your K3, please power cycle the K3 OFF and then back ON before using it.

  • K3 Utility (Windows Version 1.15.8.18)  August 18, 2015

    • Note: This K3 Utility version can be used to load K3 MCU versions 1.32 and above to your K3.

    • Download and run the file from the above link.

    • Use this utility to check for the latest releases of new features for your K3.

    • Requires either a RS-232 cable or KUSB Serial-USB Cable to download from your PC to the K3.

  • K3 Utility (MAC OS X Version 1.15.6.27)  July 2, 2015

    • Note: This K3 Utility version can be used to load K3 MCU versions 1.32 and above to your K3.

    • This K3 Utility version is REQUIRED to load K3 MCU versions 1.79 and above to your K3.

    • Files are in universal binary in .zip file.

    • Use this utility to check for the latest releases of new features for your K3.

    • Requires either a RS-232 cable or KUSB Serial-USB Cable to download from your Mac to the K3.

  • K3 Utility (Linux .tgz Version 1.15.6.27)  July 2, 2015

    • Note: This K3 Utility version can be used to load K3 MCU versions 1.32 and above to your K3.

    • This K3 Utility version is REQUIRED to load K3 MCU versions 1.79 and above to your K3.

    • Files are in TAR archive (gzip-compressed) format.

    • Use this utility to check for the latest releases of new features for your K3.

    • Requires either a RS-232 cable or KUSB Serial-USB Cable to download from your computer to the K3.

  • For K3 Logging and Control Software, Click here for our K3 (& K2) Software Page.

  • K3 Firmware FTP page  (Just for direct viewing of the current K3 firmware files.)

  •  

K3 Beta Utility: