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 5.26 / DSP 2.83 / FPF 1.22, 5-8-2015  (First Combined K3S/K3 Release)

NOTE: Beginning with revision 5.26, the K3S and K3 transceivers share the same firmware. Both use K3 Utility for firmware loading. However, some firmware features and changes apply only to the K3S and various updated internal modules, as described in the rev. 5.26 release notes below. For further details, refer to the K3S owner's manual. 

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

  • USB COMPUTER PORT FOR COMBINED CONTROL and DIGITAL AUDIO (K3S, KIO3B): If a KIO3B module is installed (standard with the K3S), the CONFIG:RS232 menu entry will have a "USB" setting. If this setting is used, then a single USB cable can be used between the K3S and a computer to provide remote control, digitized line-level audio in/out, and PTT/KEY (via equivalents to the "RTS" and "DTR" signals). All of these signals are usually recognized by computer applications that also support RS232. This eliminates the need for a sound card and associated analog line in/out cables, as well as any external converter units. Refer to the K3S owner's manual, pgs. 18-20, for details.
  • NEW P3 PANADAPTER CABLE SUPPORT (K3S, KIO3B): If a KIO3B module is installed, then the P3 Panadapter must be connected to the K3S at its RS232/P3 connector (RJ45). Two different special cables are available for this purpose, depending on whether a computer will be connected via USB or RS232 to the K3S and P3. Refer to the K3S owner's manual for details (pg. 18 and 19).
  • LINE IN/OUT AUDIO USE WITH USB PORT (K3S, KIO3B): If a plug is inserted into the LINE IN jack on the K3S, this audio signal will override the digitized audio line-in data that is present in the USB cable. LINE OUT on the K3S, however, is always available even if the USB cable is being used for line-out.
  • PREAMP 2 and CONFIG:PREAMP2 MENU ENTRY (KXV3B): This menu entry is only applicable if a KXV3B module is installed (supplied with the K3S). It also only applies if the current band is 12, 10, or 6 meters. If PREAMP2 is set to ON, then the PRE switch rotates through settings of OFF, PRE 1, and PRE 2 on the applicable band. PRE 2 turns on the low-noise preamp on the KXV3B module (+20 dB, with a typical NF of -144 dBm on 12/10/6 meters). When PRE 2 is selected, the PRE icon will flash slowly. Note: Do not use an external preamplifier (such as an Elecraft PR6 or PR6-10) when using the built-in low-noise preamp (PRE 2). This would result in excessive gain. .
  • MULTIPLE ATTENUATOR SETTINGS and MAIN:ATTEN MENU ENTRY (K3S RF BOARD): On a K3S, the MAIN:ATTEN menu entry is used to select the per-band attenuation level for the ATTN switch (5/10/15 dB). A shortcut method of accessing this menu entry is to hold the ATTN switch for about 3 seconds. (On a K3, the parameter is fixed at 10 dB.)
  • LOW-LOSS ATU BYPASS SETTING (KAT3A): The upgraded internal ATU option, the KAT3A, includes a very low-loss bypass path via an additional relay. The bypass relay is engaged when the ATU switch is used to turn the ATU icon OFF. This setting can be used with closely matched antennas. ("Bypass" mode on the earlier model KAT3 ATU uses a minimum-L/minimum-C network setting rather than a relay, result in a small dissipation loss that varies with frequency.)
  • 100-500 KHZ SENSITIVITY IMPROVEMENT (KBPF3A): The KBPF3A is an upgrade from the KBPF3. The lowest-frequency filter in the KBPF3A has a cutoff at 100 kHz rather than 500 kHz. This improves typical sensitivity at 137 kHz (2200 meters) to about -120 dBm, and at 472 kHz (600 meters), about -130 dBm.
  • UPDATED "PA" (PREAMP) REMOTE-CONTROL COMMAND (KXV3B): The PA command now supports a SET/RESPONSE value of "PA2" whenever preamp 2 is available. This applies on 12/10/6 meters with a KXV3B module installed and preamp 2 enabled (see CONFIG:PREAMP2 description, above).

 

 


Current K3 Firmware Revisions K3 Firmware Revisions

MCU 5.14 / DSP 2.83 / FPF 1.19, 2/26/2015

Latest Production Release

IMPORTANT: MCU 4.67, or later, must be loaded with the new K3 Utility, Version 1.13.5.9 or later.

This release will automatically be recognized by K3 Utility.

See K3 Firmware Release Notes  for a complete revision history.

Note: For KPAK3AUX cable use between the KPA500 and K3, K3 Version 4.36, or later, must be loaded.

FAQ: Consolidated Release of K-Line Firmware
(How to setup VFO Tracking for your KAT500 and K3)

Those loading rev. 5.10 (or later) for the first time must re-do the 50-Watt gain calibration step on all bands. Once this has been done, there is no need to do it when loading future firmware releases.

  • VCO CAL FIXED (NOT APPLICABLE TO KSYN3A): The original KSYN3 synthesizer must be calibrated at time of assembly using CONFIG:VCO MD. This is once again working correctly.
  • DUAL PB CW FEATURE RESTORED: The original DUAL PB (dual-passband) CW feature has been added back in. CONFIG:DUAL PB can be used to select either DUAL PB or APF (audio peaking filter). APF is the default. See manual for details.
  • 50-WATT TX GAIN CALIBRATION REQURED (ONE TIME): The first time rev. 5.10 or later firmware is loaded into the K3, 50-watt TX gain calibration should be performed on all bands. This is fully automated by K3 Utility. This initializes transmit drive limit data that is now used to prevent overdrive of the KPA3 amplifier.

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.

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 1.13.5.9)  May 9, 2013

    • 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 1.14.10.24)  October 28, 2014

    • 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 1.14.10.24)  October 29, 2014

    • 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.)

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K3 Beta Utility: