Elecraft have exceptional product support. I cant honestly think of any better company than Elecraft for customer and product support. The other one is DX'engineering.
The K3S is a huge disappointment for me. It really is just fixing the K3 and trying to address all the warts of the K3 with sweeteners like better Phase noise performance.
1. The K3 and K3S is still an ergonomic basket case. Any radio that does not have band stack registers and dedicated band buttons is an ergonomic fail.
2. The K3S has tried to address the poor RX audio issues that many users report. The Inband IMD from the audio chain is very noticeable. It will be interesting to see
how well they fixed this issue.
3. The K3 and K3S still have bad filter generated IMD. A direct sampling radio outperforms the K3/K3S in this area. The K3S will never match the purity of a CW signal like that on a direct sampling SDR.
4. Nothing has been done about the crap TX IMD from the poor PA in the K3 and K3S. I would have expected a PA upgrade or even a 200 watt PA running on 48 volts
5. The K3S TCXO is the same cheap miserable TXCO that you can buy on Ebay for 10 dollars. A OCXO upgrade or a unit with better stability would have been nice especially with the synthesizer upgrade. Sure it you can feed in an external reference but thats just messy. The point is to have a radio that has everything in one box, not a bolt together mess.
6. A bigger front panel with more knobs would have been welcome. A LCD screen with different backlighting colors would have been also nice. The orange is pretty ugly to me. A cool blue or some choice of colors would have been nice.
7. It will be interesting to see if birdies have been reduced. The K3 on the higher bands is birdie riddled.
8. The Pre-amps as standard is welcome the K3 really always needed a preamp on 15 through to 6 meters.
9. The P3 is pretty slow and needs wider bandwidth than 200khz. The P3 TX monitor is pretty pathetic in terms of flexibility and what it can do. I dont know why they just did not build a K3 with a P3 in one box. A K3000S that would have been a big rig competitor to the IC7850 rather than a portable radio trying to be a big guns desk radio. Most of the ham radio market is not going to take the K3S serious while many hams deem it to be a mobile radio being turned into expensive radio with expensive accessories. Radios like the IC7800, IC7700 and IC7600 are popular for good reasons, and these reasons Elecraft is not interested in.
10. The P3 still has limited dynamic range and speed. Its measurement suite, things such as markers is limited. The LP500 will kill it on features and it does not support higher power couplers. The P3 has some awful colors as choices and you cant monitor TX IMD say on an external screen. The display with external monitor is also limited.
11. I also would have thought that they build the K3S font panel as a remote radio panel another missed opportunity.
12. A low noise switch mode power supply build in would have been nice as well.
13. They could have offered a direct sampling receiver as the second receiver that could have done away with the P3 at the same time!
The K3S is really a K3MK2 not essentially a new radio.
I suppose those who love the K3 and drink the Koolaid will love the K3S. I suppose if you were contemplating buying a K3 the K3S would make a logical choice. I have 3 X K3's and I dont think I will be sinking any more upgrades into them because it makes no sense. If they measured performance tests report dramatic results I might consider upgrading. However I cant see improving phase noise on RX when the K3 has such lousy 3rd order IMD numbers on TX despite being cleaner than many radios. I will wait for the 200watt K4
New, K3S, see elecraft.com