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Author Topic: K3 question....  (Read 6169 times)
ZL1BBW
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Posts: 399




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« on: April 04, 2014, 02:39:46 PM »

I cannot believe I am asking this, anyway here we go.

On offer is a K3 serial number mid 2500 - 2600 range.

Running latest firm/soft ware.

What would be the difference apart from a few k of $ in performance between this and a brand new K3?

The one I am looking at has 250/400 & 2.7 filters plus ATU.

Ok now go to town and tell me all the BAD/GOOD things about its CW performance and operability in a contest.

Thanks

Gave up on buying a 590 too many moans n groans about overshoot and this n that and cannot locate a TS830 which I really would prefer.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
KD8MJR
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2014, 04:56:48 PM »

Only Elecraft could answer that, why not shoot them an email.
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WX7G
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2014, 05:16:48 PM »

There should be no difference at all. The K3 is a great radio and I had one before downsizing to a KX3.
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ZL1BBW
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 07:18:09 PM »

I have pinged Elecraft a email, and will be interested to see what comes back.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
ZENKI
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Posts: 956




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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2014, 09:54:34 PM »

Does it have all the hardware  upgrades and including the DSP upgrade board. You will have to list all the mods and upgrades that you have done.
The potential purchaser would want to know  about all these. Since international mail costs are so high it can be an expensive exercise ordering all the upgrade kits and parts. The DSP board upgrade is must in my view.

Unfortunately Elecraft equipment does not seem to hold  its value very well. I have seen K2's and early low serial K3's sell  for ridiculous prices. I dont mind that
because I can pick up good contest radios for cheap!

One of the most important mods is the gold connector upgrade. Without this mod you will soon have a K3 that cant transmit.
It was really poor engineering by Elecraft. I dont know  why they thought that those tiny  pins could handle the full DC current. This is before
we start to talk about the corrosion on the tin plated pins.  I had to pull my whole K3 apart and clean all the pins and connectors. I then had to treat them all
with a special anti corrosive treatment for reliability. The  worst was the TMP cables which gave me no end of troubles during several contests because of the humidity.
Now that its all been treated  its been all good. One K3 that I thought was possessed by the devil was noisy and susceptible to noise pickup. After cleaning connectors and treating them mysteriously I had  no more noise and birdies. Elecraft should really include some sort of silicone grease or other contact compound with K3 kits. I have upgraded 5 X K3's  and they have all been good afterwards.
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ZL1BBW
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Posts: 399




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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2014, 10:15:05 PM »

Does it have all the hardware  upgrades and including the DSP upgrade board. You will have to list all the mods and upgrades that you have done.
The potential purchaser would want to know  about all these. Since international mail costs are so high it can be an expensive exercise ordering all the upgrade kits and parts. The DSP board upgrade is must in my view.

Unfortunately Elecraft equipment does not seem to hold  its value very well. I have seen K2's and early low serial K3's sell  for ridiculous prices. I dont mind that
because I can pick up good contest radios for cheap!

One of the most important mods is the gold connector upgrade. Without this mod you will soon have a K3 that cant transmit.
It was really poor engineering by Elecraft. I dont know  why they thought that those tiny  pins could handle the full DC current. This is before
we start to talk about the corrosion on the tin plated pins.  I had to pull my whole K3 apart and clean all the pins and connectors. I then had to treat them all
with a special anti corrosive treatment for reliability. The  worst was the TMP cables which gave me no end of troubles during several contests because of the humidity.
Now that its all been treated  its been all good. One K3 that I thought was possessed by the devil was noisy and susceptible to noise pickup. After cleaning connectors and treating them mysteriously I had  no more noise and birdies. Elecraft should really include some sort of silicone grease or other contact compound with K3 kits. I have upgraded 5 X K3's  and they have all been good afterwards.

Thanks ZENKI.. I am the person that is/was looking at buying it.

This gives me some questions to ask, might just not bother, it was in storage for 2 1/2 years before the user put it back on the air.

Humidity is a real problem up here is sub tropical Northland.

What sort of silly prices have you seen K2 or early K3's sell for?

Thanks  Gavin ZL1BBW
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
ZENKI
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Posts: 956




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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2014, 05:38:12 AM »

I cant recall the exact prices, but they were substantially below  what you would expect of such a good radios.

I would suggest you make a offer. However the offer  should be made depending on what upgrades have been done to the radio.
Some of the modifications  can be time consuming and tricky.  In the end if the asking price is  not a bargain and if  no mods have been done I would suggest you walk away if you planning on keeping the radio. Buying a new current model K3 with all updates would be a good investment.  Although if I was buying a new radio today I would consider the FT5000 as a performance contest radio. The prices are so high now on the K3 that its no longer the bargain that it used to be. When you consider what you getting in the Yaesu Ft5000 package its a  good deal. The only let down with the Yaesu is the crap bandscope

Frankly speaking the improvement  and firmware updates have slowed right down from Elecraft and the K3 is nowhere near its full potential. The ergonomics on the K3 frankly stinks. The multi function buttons and knobs are a pain in rear end that I cant get used to. The small size and 12 volt operation while ideal for portable operation is not what I want in a long term even though I own a few K3's Elecraft does not really understand the big radio and they dont understand ergonomics which is hardly surprise. The company was founded as portable QRP radio company.

 I would love to own a  big front panel 200 watt K3 with proper band stacking registers, band buttons and more knobs. A K3 that resembles a FT5000. The K3 is by  no means a bargain since the prices of the radio has risen.  Elecraft are doing themselves a disservice by ignoring this big market segment. They just announced PX3 for the KX3. It looks like a nice accessory however I would never use such a device in the field. The KX3 and the PX3 could be easily be ported to a big box and front panel and elecraft would have a hit on their hands. But again they are firmly wedded to the wire up the tree portable radio mentality.

Most serious hams are big radio buffs and thats why when you look back its the big radios that have been the most popular. I dont know if you can call 7000 plus K3 sales a success in the ham radio market. I would however predict that if a K4 was announced that was something like a IC7800, IC7700. TS990  or a Yaesu FT5000 Elecraft would  be the No1 radio transceiver company. There is no indications that they are thinking of heading down this path and the slow  and stalled developments for the K3 and P3 indicate that they stuck and are happy making money from teensy weensy radio things. Regardless good luck to them.


The same comments apply to Ten Tec. They too produce radios with the potential of a big radio product but they just not refined  enough for most hams tastes. The Omni 7 and the Ten Tec Orion could  have been a big hit for Ten Tec if they attempted to do a big radio that was finished properly and had great specifications. If TenTec committed to the Orion again and improved it to make it as  nice as a Icom IC7700 or as good as FT5000 it too could have a hit on its hands.  Even if TenTec produced a update for the Omni6 with bandscope like the K_line it would be popular because the ergonomics of the Omni 6 is just so much better than the K_line. The only people who like the K3 ergonomics are those koolaid drinkers who will defend Elecraft regardless. I am not brand loyal and will  dump my K3;s when i find a suitable high performance big panel radio. But so far all these boutique radio companies like Elecraft and TenTec seem comfortable walking down the street that they know. They dont seem to have the drive or personnel that can deliver a radio that most contesters would be happy with. WHen you cant acknowledge your ergonomic shortcoming you will never produce a contest station radio that is popular.

Yaesu and Icom are on the right track with their radio offerings. The FT950, Ft2000, FT5000  is the kind of ergonomics most contesters would want. Likewise the Icom IC7700 and IC7800 are very ergonomic radios. Even the Icom 756 and IC7600 are popular for these very reasons despite their lack of performance.  There is no excuses these days for producing a transceiver with a poor transmitter or receiver. These radios are popular for good reason despite their below average receiver performance. I dont really understand why Yaesu decided to bring out a radio like the FTDX3000 and FTDX1200. They are terrible radios from a performance contesting perspective. Yaesu should have produced a radio  like a single receiver FT5000. They used to do this in the FT1000D days. You had the FT1000D and the FT990. They should have done the same with the FT5000 rather than producing mini radios that most people dont like. Even a radio like the FT1000MP with single receiver based on the FT5000 with a similar bandscope  to the P3 would have been a more popular rig. How many thousands of FT1000MPS are there still running the world? I am sure most users of these radios would have loved to swap to something like the FT1000MP with more performance. Yaesu is going in the wrong direction with these mid size radios with crap bandscope screens. Icom is on the right track with producing a big radio with built in pan adapters. Icom just need to deliver better RX and TX performance so that they  can claim that they truly have the best radio. I would have love to have owned a IC7800 or IC7700 with a high performance receiver.

Good luck with the K3 decision. There are so many aspects to consider when choosing a radio.

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K3LRH
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Posts: 60




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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2014, 04:29:07 PM »

........ZENKI, thanks for posting your comments.  I always enjoy reading your posts.  Smiley   73
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NK7Z
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2014, 06:22:46 AM »

........ZENKI, thanks for posting your comments.  I always enjoy reading your posts.  Smiley   73
Yes, thank you as well, I am also considering a K3, what filter set do you have?
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
N3HEE
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Posts: 120




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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2014, 08:11:50 AM »

This will give you a history of all mods and enhancements that Elecraft has made on the K3.  Beware of the older SN unless owner has documented proof of updates.  I decided to buy new for this reason.  -Joe n3hee

http://www.elecraft.com/K3/k3_app_notes.htm
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ZL1BBW
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Posts: 399




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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2014, 01:02:45 PM »

Thanks for the answers.

Just got a reply from Elecraft, with a full page document line by lining the mods.

There are 19 mods that can be done free of charge and 7 that are chargeable.  Obviously the gear has to be sent to the USA for this to be done.

Sort of going off the idea of getting a s/h k3 by the minute and a new one is out of the ballpark at the moment.

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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
G4AON
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Posts: 542




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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2014, 01:46:24 PM »

Thanks for the answers.

Just got a reply from Elecraft, with a full page document line by lining the mods.

Obviously the gear has to be sent to the USA for this to be done.

All the K3 mods are able to be done by the owner, mine is serial 80 from 2007 and I've done all the mods to mine.

73 Dave
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ZL1BBW
Member

Posts: 399




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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2014, 04:08:57 PM »

Thanks for the answers.

Just got a reply from Elecraft, with a full page document line by lining the mods.

Obviously the gear has to be sent to the USA for this to be done.

All the K3 mods are able to be done by the owner, mine is serial 80 from 2007 and I've done all the mods to mine.

73 Dave

Yes, but the last few mods including the DSP board are not free either.

Many of the mods you cannot tell by sn and require a board inspection to be done.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
KD8MJR
Member

Posts: 2500




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« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2014, 12:45:26 PM »

Thanks for the answers.

Just got a reply from Elecraft, with a full page document line by lining the mods.

There are 19 mods that can be done free of charge and 7 that are chargeable.  Obviously the gear has to be sent to the USA for this to be done.

Sort of going off the idea of getting a s/h k3 by the minute and a new one is out of the ballpark at the moment.




Wow that's amazing.  Why on earth would anyone want to buy an old K3 if once again your going to have to hand over cash to Elecraft to get a "Update".   Jeez I have heard of Nickle and Diming people to death but this goes to all new levels.
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AE6Y
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Posts: 30




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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2014, 10:26:05 AM »

  To put some of this discussion in perspective, another way to look at this is that the K3 has been subject to a continuous series of software and hardware improvements.  Most of the hardware improvements mentioned in the elecraft list are very minor or only affect a small group of users with particular issues.
  The old radios are still great radios, even if they haven't been upgraded.  Mine was purchased in Nov. 2007, with firmware version 0.36.  There have been roughly 450 firmware upgrades since then, but in fact the radio worked very well when purchased.
  Condemning Elecraft for implicitly acknowledging hardware and software that can be, and is, improved, seems unfair, given that other manufacturers generally don't acknowledge ongoing production upgrades nor do they offer them to customers.  It's a bit of "no good deed goes unpunished."
 73, Andy, AE6Y
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