Connecting an IC-7300 to the Elecraft KPA-500 Amp and KAT-500 Tuner

I have been using the Elecraft KPA-500 and KAT-500 with two Icom rigs; the IC-7600 and the IC-7300. This article details how I have chosen to interconnect the KAT/KPA-500 with my IC-7300. There are many options for interconnecting the 7300 with this Elecraft “power combo.” There also many opinions on the various wiring approaches. A couple of the main issues that I have seen discussed include:

  1. Tuning power provided by the IC-7300 – Elecraft suggests that the Tuner behaves best when it gets at least 20 Watts of RF power from the Transmitter. That would suggest that the use of the TUNE button on the 7300 may not be the best approach. I have found that this works quite well. I have also seen some test data that shows that there is little difference in the Tuner’s behavior when getting 10 Watts or 20 Watts.
  2. Need for BAND Data being sent to the KPA-500 – The Elecraft design makes it very easy to interface with any Radio. It is possible to use just the RF into the Tuner to get the Tuner and Amp configured properly. I prefer to send the BAND data from the 7300 to the KPA-500 amplifier. I just feel better knowing that the Amp knows what is coming, when I key up the Transmitter.

Wiring Interconnections

The following diagram shows my overkill approach for connecting the IC-7300 to the KPA/KAT-500. This allows me to use the 7300 TUNE button or the TUNE button on the Elecraft KAT-500 Tuner Utility when I want to Tune to a frequency.

Connection Diagram for using the IC-7300 with the Elecraft KPA-500 and KAT-500

Details for each of the cables are provided below

Monitoring the Setup While Operating

Elecraft provides two very nice software Utilities for monitoring and configuring the KAT-500 and the KPA-500. I always keep these open on my PC desktop when operating. It allows me to hit the TUNE button, change configurations, or monitor Power and SWR without looking at the front panels of the equipment. Below is a screenshot of each of the utilities:

If you look closely at the KAT-500 App screenshot, it looks like my SWR is off-the-charts. No, I am not using an antenna with a 15:1 SWR. I took this screenshot in the morning following a 160m contest, after changing my antenna (outside the shack) to a ZS6BKW. You can see from the KPA-500 screenshot that the Rig is still on 160 meters. This shows how easily I can see if something strange is happening on my antenna system. In the situation above, it would not be possible to KEY the KPA-500, as the KAT-500 will not allow it due to the apparent excessive SWR. If I hit the TUNE button, the Amp will not be keyed and will probably be forced into STANDBY mode. So I could not possibly transmit into my ZS6BKW while tuned for 160m.

6 thoughts on “Connecting an IC-7300 to the Elecraft KPA-500 Amp and KAT-500 Tuner

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  1. Do you have a wiring schematic for the DIN plug to the RS232 plug on the KPA500 and the 12v power on the KTA500

    1. I do not have the schematic for the DIN cable at the moment. I can provide that when I get back to my shack later this week. You will need a VGA connector for the KPA-500 side of this cable. Wiring is easy if you look at the manuals for the two units. If you do this, don’t forget to configure the KPA-500 settings so that it knows to expect ICOM Band Data on the connector.

      For the Tuner cable, I recommend something like the LDG IC-PAC cables, you can find here: https://ldgelectronics.com/index.php/products/accessories/cables/
      When using he 7300, you must take the Tuner power from the AH-4 connector on the 7300, so it knows that you are using an external tuner.

      73,

      Tom, KG3V

      1. Thanks Tom. I have both the KPA/KAT500 and a KPA1500, which I just purchased. I am currently using the KPA1500 with my Icom 7610. I have a K4 on order and hoping to receive in the next couple months.

        Everett N4CY

      2. You have some fine equipment. I now keep the KAT/KPA-500 connected to my IC-7600 and I THINK that the wiring is the same for the 7610. Been very happy with this combo and the 7600. I found that you do NOT have to take Tuner power from the 7600, and it lets you know very clearly that it is using the external Tuner. I did also post some stuff about this combination on the Blog,

        73,

        Tom, KG3V

      3. Tom, I really be more interested in how you hooked up your KPA/KAT500 to you 7600. Once I receive the K4 I will be using the KPA1500 with it and setup a second station with the the 7610 and KPA/KAT500

      4. I posted an article on the Blog about connecting the 7600 to the KAT/KPA-500 before posting the one on the 7300. If you try any of this with the 7610, I would love to hear how it works out. I am guessing the wiring is the same, but do not have a 7610. I will try to send you a shot of my wiring sheet for the DIN connector next weekend.

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