Re: Panadapter Software for the K3s
The simplest and most effective means of using a panadapter with a K3s is to get the P3 from Elecraft. They work well and are very easy to setup. No computer skills needed. Along with the built-in display, there s the option for a SVGA video out that allows you to feed the panadapter display to a VGA monitor. I have a 12” monitor connected to the P3 which makes it easy to see the display without a large footprint; you can certainly use a larger display than that.
I initially tried using the LP-PAN2 (http://www.telepostinc.com/LP-PAN.html) back in 2014 when I got my K3 system which is a combination of hardware and software that runs on Windows to provide a panadapter display on a computer screen. It runs only on Windows and uses the sound card to provide audio into the computer from the LP-PAN2 hardware that is connected to K3 to provide I/Q input. The key is the sound card which must meet specific criteria. As I operate remotely, the potential of having a Panadapter on my computer screen was appealing because i could connect to the PC in the shack remotely and see the display when not in the shack.
However, I was frustrated by the whole thing and never got it to work properly. I suspect the recommended sound card “interface" that I purchased was the culprit, but who knows. Given that I was at my amateur station site only about 25% of the time, I did not have much opportunity to troubleshoot and follow the learning curve despite the support that I did receive from Telepost (including sending the LP-PAN2 back for evaluation/repair). In 2015 I gave up and got the P3 and have been satisfied with it ever since when operating from the shack. Unfortunately, this also means I don’t have a panadapter capability through my K3 system when operating remotely. And I’m not knocking LP-PAN2 as others have been satisfied with the product.
I’m a Mac user for 80% of what I do with a computer (the exception being primarily amateur radio) but I’m unaware of any panadapter package (hardware and software) that is designed for the Mac. Others may have some thoughts on this.
If you’re not operating your K3s remotely and you’re not comfortable with dealing with Windows (e.g. drivers, configuration, installing applications and troubleshooting), for ease of installation and use, the P3 is difficult to beat with the K3/K3s. Yes, the P3 is more expensive than the LP-PAN2 approach, but ease of use and avoiding frustrations with Windows and software also has some value. Just as Apple products benefit from having the manufacturer responsible for both hardware and software, K3 users benefit from Elecraft being a source for major subsystems (transceiver, tuner, amplifier, panadapter) where ‘everything works.” Less hassles/frustrations is something to consider if your budget will allow it.
Barry Baines, WD4ASW