Excellent and honest assessment Robert showing your experience and time with this rig.
Personally built two K3's which brought memories of an Erector Set by Hasbro I received
for Christmas one year.
This kit took 8 hours of screwing nuts onto bolts and once that tedious process was finished
15 minutes plugging in the 7 or so modules. Never wanted to see a bolt or nut again in my
life after this experience.
To state "I built this radio" is a joke. This is not even homebrew. Elecraft saves
LOT'S of cash using this approach and then nickel and dime you to death with the accessories.
Reminds me in the early 80's when Atari came out with their excellent gaming console. They
did not make money on the console but made huge profits with their game cartridges. Later we
found out the cartridges were manufactured for .50 cents each and were sold for $49.95. Pretty
Sold my K3's and now have a very nice Kenwood TS-590S which is fantastic on CW with some
very nice stock accessories.
Well Stan you pretty much took the words out of my Mouth.
As you stated the K3 owners come on the forum and whenever someone asks what radio should I buy, I am thinking of X and Z? The K3 owners pounce and say oh forget that Icom 7800 and the Kenwood 990 the K3 is better because some arbitrarily sorted list by a guy who doesn't even use one himself makes it the best for everyone and every situation And on the flip side Elecraft is using a few clever business tactics to make money.
1) Offer it as a Kit: (When people put together kits it becomes like their own child, they feel like they gave birth to it and nobody is going to say anything negative about their child!
It becomes a radio that I made and am SO PROUD OF! (Same technique Heathkit used)
2) Niche marketing: Make a radio that will appeal to the CW purist. The kind of CW guy who only cares about that .01% of the time when having something so narrow will make a difference. The guy who will suffer with all the other short comings for 99.99% of his QSO's just so he has or believes he has a CW edge in that once per year situation. After all who better to use to promote a product than the purist, he will always be the most vocal. Just look up IMD and almost every post will have "Zenki" chiming in.So what's wrong with the K3:
1) It's Ergonomics and Menu system are a complete mess.
2) The "Do You Want Fries With That?" sales approach that Elecraft uses is a turn off. And those dam fries are expensive, and on top of that the plain burger without cheese is expensive!
3) It's Tinny and Narrow and gives people a headache if they listen to it for too long. Basically the Ear fatigue level is at +10 with all Elecraft products
4) It's Expensive, the whole Radio plus the accessories to make it into the same radio you would get from the Big 3 ends up making it cost more, in some cases a lot more.
5) It's Tiny! I want more meat on my radio, that tiny size may or may not bother some people but it's a turn off for me.
6) The Plastic is cheap feeling and not impressive at all.
So since you asked, that's the main list of problems with the K3 IMO.
As stated before the real turn off is not those problems because anyone who does their home work should know what they are getting before they buy it. The problem is the owners and their hijacking of forums like eHam to try and push a product by telling new Hams stupid stuff like it's the "Best Radio Made", "It's better than a Kenwood 990". You guys just turn off so many people and are unknowingly doing Elecraft a big disservice.