Elecraft® Hands-On Ham Radio™

KPA1500 Software Page

Current Production Firmware

MCU 1.64 July 12, 2018

All KPA1500 amplifiers ordered today will have Product Firmware loaded as they come out of the box. Monitor the Elecraft Email Reflector where announcements are made when new releases become available.

Elecraft delivers new features in firmware. As a result, you should consider the Release Notes as an extension of the Owners Manual. Documentation for the new features will be found there and will not appear in the Owner’s Manual until the next major manual revision is released.

Current Production Firmware Release Notes

01.64 7-12-2018

New Features

  • Support for MARS operation. Frequency restraints have been removed except 26-28 MHz as required by an FCC rule

  • Support for Elecraft KPA1500 Remote Software

  • Overdrive (OVR LED) event details are now displayed on LCD for faster diagnosis

  • Support for PF1 and PF2 buttons:
    - Use KPA1500 Utility ( or later) à Configuration à Edit Configuration à PF Keys or the new ^PF command to enter command text.
    - Hold the KPA1500 Mode button to "execute" the ^PF1 command string.
    - Hold the KPA1500 Antenna button to "execute" the ^PF2 command string.

  • XCVR Serial Port now supports KPA1500 Command Reference commands, for control applications. Use the XCVR SERiAL HOST menu item to enable. Cannot be used concurrently with Kenwood or Icom frequency information from transceiver. Firmware installation requires use of the USB HOST connector.

  • The FAN SPEED menu item now shows current fan speed as well as minimum fan speed

Bug Fixes and General Enhancements

  • Compensate for an effect that caused SWR display to be too high

  • Increase RF Input and Reflected power limits and time to fault

  • Increase the time for you to respond to moderate overdrive:
    - Increase from 3 seconds to 10 secs for constant carrier
    - Up to 15-20 sec for SSB and CW modes.

  • Improve ATU Full Search and HiSWR Retune speed:
    - The number of ATU settings per memory bin may now be set from a range of 1 to 31 on a per band basis. This can be used to limit ATU HiSWR retune examination of stale ATU settings when there are few externally switched antennas.
    - Use KPA1500 Utility ( or later) à Configuration tab à Edit Configuration à ATU Settings/Bin or the ATU SETTINGS/BIN menu item to configure the number of ATU settings per bin..

  • Correct handling of Kenwood-formatted frequency esponses when polled by an external logging program

  • Reduce LED SWR flashing during RF power ramp up

  • Correct an occasional LCD display of 1W when not transmitting

  • Correct responses to commands ^AL, ^VI, ^WS

  • New fan speed temperature thresholds:
    - Change the temperature points at which the RF Deck fans are switched in. This does not change the Power Supply's fan speeds.
    - Prior settings: 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 degrees.
    - New settings: 60, 70, 78, 85, 90 degrees.

Important - Please read before installing the latest Production Firmware..

Please load this firmware with the latest version of the KPA1500 Utility. To do so, please download and install the KPA1500 Utility first, then use it to load the 1.64 firmware. This utility version will support the configuration features discussed in the Release Notes.

Production Firmware Installation Instructions are found in the Utility

  • All Production Firmware is loaded with the KPA1500 Utility. It will take care of the download and installing Production Firmware
  • Before loading Production Firmware, please ensure you have installed the latest version of the KPA1500 Utility.
  • See the Help → Getting Started pull-down menu in the KPA1500 Utility for the steps to install firmware in your KPA1500.

Download and Install the KPA1500 Utility for your Operating System

Follow the links below to download and install the latest version of the Utility for your Operating System. You will be using the USB A-to-B cable that was shipped with the KPA1500.

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 10.7 (Lion) or later

x86 Linux: 64-bit or later

WindowsKPA1500 Utility (Windows Version July 12, 2018
Mac KPA1500 Utility (MAC Version June 29, 2018
x86 Linux KPA1500 Utility (Linux Version June 29, 2018
Installing the FTDI driverFollow this link to the FTDI Site for drivers: http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm

Depending on the Operating System you have, the driver needed for the Utility to communicate with the KPA1500 will need to be loaded.

All Elecraft products in production use the FTDI chipset for this function. The FTDI driver allows your computer to create a virtual COM port so that the Utility can communicate with the Elecraft product.

Beta Firmware Installation and Release Notes

Beta Firmware Release Notes

There is no Beta firmware candidate at this time.

Beta Test Firmware Installation Procedures

NOTE: Beta test firmware may have new issues that we haven't caught during field testing. Please report them to support@elecraft.com.

A little more detail

We make it a little harder to load Beta firmware mainly because we want you to be sure you want to do this. Beta firmware means that, while the KPA1500 engineering team has fully tested the firmware, it has not yet been deemed ready for Production status. You can always return to the last firmware you have downloaded by following the steps in the KPA1500 Utility’s Help section.

To load Beta Firmware, follow the steps below:

  1. Create a new folder for the beta firmware on your Desktop or some other easily found location. Use the a different folder than the default folder found in the Firmware tab of the KPA1500 Utility. In this way, you can revert to the last Production firmware easily.
  2. Now, we will download the firmware in Zip file format. In a web browser, type in this URL: ftp://ftp.elecraft.com/KPA1500/firmware/beta
    If you do not see the correct version of the zip file, press the RELOAD / REFRESH button on your browser to update your browser cache.
  3. Right-click on the .zip file containing the beta firmware (e.g. KPA1500fwXrYZ.zip for revision MCU X.YZ and all associated files). Save the file to your beta folder you just created.
  4. Unzip the files into the beta folder.
  5. Enter the path to the beta folder in KPA1500 Utility → Firmware tab → "Local folder for firmware files".
  6. After you have made the change in Step 5, make sure you *DO NOT* check the KPA1500 Utility box titled "Copy new files from Elecraft server". This will overwrite the Beta firmware if clicked.
  7. Connect the KPA1500 to your computer and be sure it is turned on. Select the Firmware tab and Click on "Check versions now" button.
  8. Review the release notes. To find them, select the "Help" pull-down menu.
  9. Click "Send all firmware to KPA1500." This will cause the firmware to be sent to the KPA1500. You will see that the KPA1500 appears to restart itself. Monitor the Activity Log until it is complete.
  10. After completing a new software download to your product, please power cycle the KPA1500 OFF and then back ON before using it.
  11. Please report any new firmware issues to support@elecraft.com.