Wednesday 18 January 2023



Since starting to mess around building radio-related kits, I've recognised the value of having tools in the shack to assist with the hobby, but things like signal generators are normally too complex (to me anyway), too bulky and too expensive.

A case in point was when I needed to calibrate my PreppComm MMX and had to burden my friend Chris at Cross Country Wireless with the task.

Enter the Elecraft XG3! It certainly addresses two of the issues - size and complexity, but they're still on the expensive side at $300 😮 


The XG3 can be used for a variety of jobs including receiver testing, receiver alignment, RF tracing and a variety of other tasks. Not only does it generate a calibrated continuous wave signal, but it can also be programmed to send RTTY or CW!

With the free downloadable software, you can program the XG3 to act as a Beacon, repeatedly sending a message - ideal for Fox Hunts or RBN tests. I couldn't quite figure out the syntax of the programming language, so I emailed Elecraft Support and the came back immediately with a great response. I now have "CQ TEST CQ TEST M7MCQ M7MCQ" set in Memory #1.

Most of the time though, you'd be using it to test radio equipment and to assist you with that, it has a number of useful presets.

The RF output has 4 presets ranging from -107dBm through to 0dBm and includes a -73 setting which is particularly handy for testing the accuracy of your S-Meters, since -73dBM is equivalent to S9.

There are 12 Band Settings from 160M to 2M. These are preset to certain frequencies but you can adjust these using the computer software mentioned previously. You can change these frequencies to anything ranging from 1.5 to 1400MHz but great accuracy is only guaranteed below 200MHz. Anything above that relies on the harmonics of the fundamental of the RF signal.

Another handy feature of the XG3 is the SWEEP function. Using the PF1 or PF2 buttons, you can initiate a sweep of the signal across a range of frequencies programmed by you.

On the top of the XG3 case is an input for an external power supply, a PC programming port and the RF-Out connector which is BNC. At the rear of the case is a battery tray to carry the 9V PP3 battery. Thankfully, the unit has reverse-polarity protection, because it's oh so easy to put it in wrong 😳

So there you have it. A very nice addition to the shack at a great saving on the new price. I'm quite sure this will be a very handy unit to have around for me and my radio buddies.

73, Tom, M7MCQ.


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