We study the phase dynamics of a chain of autonomous oscillators with a dispersive coupling. In the quasicontinuum limit the basic discrete model reduces to a Korteveg-de Vries-like equation, but with a nonlinear dispersion. The system supports compactons: solitary waves with a compact support and kovatons which are compact formations of glued together kink-antikink pairs that may assume an arbitrary width. These robust objects seem to collide elastically and, together with wave trains, are the building blocks of the dynamics for typical initial conditions. Numerical studies of the complex Ginzburg-Landau and Van der Pol lattices show that the presence of a nondispersive coupling does not affect kovatons, but causes a damping and deceleration or growth and acceleration of compactons.