Want speakers for your rig? No need to wait. For about the cost of a tank of gas, you could be sitting back and enjoying armchair copy.
The internal speaker in my KX3 is good but not great, plus the rig has stereo effects which you can’t hear through the single speaker. The headphone jack provides 100 mW per channel, which is not enough to drive speakers to a reasonable listening level.
This is my under $35 setup for an external audio amp and stereo speakers. Of course it would work for any other rig.
The KX3 has stereo output, so this is a 15 Watt per channel stereo amp that runs off 12 V, plus a pair of simple 3 inch speakers. The amp is mounted on top of one of the speakers with 2 inch wide velcro. The power lead has Anderson PowerPoles, so it plugs into the rest of my station power bus.
Let’s walk through the parts list. You can choose your own speakers, of course. I was looking for some vintage Radio Shack Optimus Pro-X44AV speakers on eBay, but ran out of time before JOTA last October. I have one of those speakers on my Lowe HF-150 Europa.
The Pyle speakers are compact, inexpensive, and sound fine. I’m sure there are lots of other small speakers that work.
The DROK stereo amp varies in price on Amazon, sometimes around $8, sometimes around $11. It is built around a TDA 7297 integrated amplifier. It works with a DC power supply from 6.5 V to 18 V, perfect for ham use. In small quantities, the IC is under $4. Add in the heat sink, board, pot, and connectors, and even $12 is a fair price. It is a pretty cute little amp, really.
A separate volume control for the speakers is handy. I can turn those up or down as I’m in, or not in, the “shack” (our bedroom).
The blue “power on” LED is very bright, so it is normally taped over with some black photo darkroom masking tape. I removed that for these photos.
I also use a headphone splitter so I can leave everything plugged in—my headphones (Yamaha CM500), the amp for the speakers, and the USB audio A/D device (not plugged in for this photo).
Here is the velcro that I used to mount the amp on top of a speaker. I have extra for other stuff that needs stuck down. The next candidate is my MFJ UTC clock. After that, who knows? I have plenty of velcro left.
Finally, here is the whole grand setup in the shack. Such as it is.