The K2 Is Dead

On 7/17/2013, a lightning storm at my QTH did some damage. The CFL's in one barn were fried, and a cable TV trunk amp was damaged. Once the cable amp was repaired, I found the receiver module in a DVR had suffered damage, too.

I haven't been very active on HF this summer, but about a week after the lightning storm, I decided to check out the bands. I turned on the K2 and was greeted with an odd sequence of relay clicking. The display then read "INFO 080" followed by the fuse for the high-current supply blowing. The KPA100 produced a burned electronics smell.

I put the K2 on the low-current supply, and I still got the "INFO 080" message.

I decided trying to troubleshoot and repair the rig myself would take too much time as I have no spare parts and limited test equipment. I e-mailed Elecraft, secured a return authorization number, and shipped the rig off to Don, W3FPR. Don evaluated the rig, noted the damaged parts, and suggested replacing all the active components on the KPA100. He found that at least two of the T/R diodes were shorted, and a third had exploded. The KPA100 firmware was also damaged. He later found that the firmware in the base unit was damaged.

Long Live the K2

Elecraft returned my repaired and newly aligned and calibrated K2 today (8/16/2013). When I tried the rig, I found the sidetone volume was extremely low on all the volume settings. I checked with Don, and he indicated the sidetone was working before the rig was shipped back to me. He suggested I look for a cold solder joint in the area of Q5 on the control board.

I first checked to see that the DAC that controls the sidetone volume was changing based on the volume menu setting. The DAC was okay, so the next step was to remove the control board and look for bad solder joints. Two of the solder joints for Q5 were smooth and shiny while one was rough and dull. I used a little solder wick to remove the old solder and then properly soldered the joint I'd done poorly when I built the rig in 2002. That fixed the problem.

It's nice to have the rig back. And Elecraft did a timely and professional repair.

I had several options after the ligntning event from buying a replacement used K2 to attempting to do the repair myself. I'm glad I had Elecraft do the repair because Don did a great job and I got the rig back much quicker than if I had done repair myself.

The moral of the story is don't use your K2 as a lightning arrestor.

Benjy Cline, AC4XO 8/2013