If you a ragchewer any of the radios that you mention will do the job.
The FT5000 is a marvelous radio, the bandscope sucks. In the non built in pan adapter radios its the best of the all round super receiver do everything radios. The 200 watt PA is worth every cent since you would rarely
need to turn on the amplifier if you just ragchewing or even DX'ing for that matter. Thats the best feature of the FTDX5000. You can work anything with 200 watts if you have average decent antennas.
The K3 is a close match. A mission specialist radio. You pull the K3 out and use it when you need to get the job done. Ideal for contesting, CW and low band work using the dual receivers in diversity mode with RX antennas.
I like to think of the K3 as a snipers rifle. With the P3 connected you can dial in and shoot your DX and leave the scene. You can do this all day long on CW. I just dont like the ergonomics of the K3 for a general purpose
SSB radio. If you have a simple operating style that does not revolve around pushing knobs and buttons all day, the K3 and P3 might very well keep you happy. I just dont like band changing and the multi function knobs and buttons.
The K3 would have been a perfect radio in my book if it had more knobs on a bigger front panel with dedicated band and mode buttons like most other radios.
Performance wise there is not much to chose between these radios. The K3's partially calibrated S-meter is good tool. The FTDX5000 has a 200 watt and much cleaner transmitter than the K3.
The K3's digital noise blanker works very well. There is not much difference between the noise reduction systems in either radio. A good alternative to the K3 is the Kenwood TS590S. It will do everything the K3
will do except it does not have a IF out for a bandscope. This was a marketing blunder by Kenwood. These days every radio should have TCXO and a IF out.
For casual operation and ragchewing there is not one radio out there that has a huge advantage in terms of raw performance, noise blanker performance, noise reduction performance or some killer feature that will make your life better on the air. The silver bullet radio does not exist yet!
What is important if you are a casual operator operating from home is how noisy or how good the receiver sounds to you. There is nothing worst than owning a receiver that is noisy and does not sound good.
Both the TS590S and FT5000 sound better than the K3. It does not matter how much you adjust the K3 my personal opinion for whatever that reason is, is that the FT5000 and TS590S sounds better. This is especially noticeable on
weak signal CW and noisy band conditions like the DX window on 75 meters or any low band. The K3 is very fatiguing for me. My best suggestion is that you try and operate these radios and then make up your decision. This might not be enough, because unless you have these radio in the shack for 1 week you cant really make comparisons. Frankly I would not rely on the opinions of others you need to make your own judgements even if you have buy these radios.
The least risk radio that you will be very happy with is the TS590S. If you need a high performance bandscope the K3/P3 combination will be the best bet. If its only a radio alone that you buying the FT5000 will be the winner.
I could live with any of these radios if I only had to chose one of them, and thats the bottom line despite all the failings of the different models. Bottom line is that all these radios are basically good and none are lemons.
You also have to examine the size of your antenna farm. If your antennas are less than 1 to 1.5 wavelengths on the ground on the higher bands your receiver wont be challenged much. If you just talking down the road ultimate receiver performance wont matter much because IMD and Keyclicks will be more of problem than receiver performance. Only high performance antennas will give your radios ESP performance and bigger, better and higher antennas will always be better investment than worrying about minor differences between different radios. Ultimately only your taste in shoes or radios is what matters at the end of the day. If you dont like being heard saying you using brand X, you then must buy what you like being saying that you use. Even the oldest most basic ham radio from 50 years ago will do the job for ragchewing. Sports cars are different matter you generally get better performance as the price goes up. In radio you can pay the highest price and still get a lousy radio that does not have a calibrated S-meter and splatters as much as a 500 mobile radio. Thats the unfortunate truth about ham transceivers.
Good luck with your decision, you better make it quick before this sunspot cycle dies and blows away. 10 and 12 meters are really rocking.
My name is Guy (K2GWK) and I have a little scratch burning a hole in my pocket. A little background: My XYL and I are empty nesters and her hobby is breeding Labrador Retrievers. It is a very expensive hobby. We have spending a lot of money on breeding, dog shows and all the sundry expenses that seven, thas right, seven Labradors require. She has realized how much she has been spending on the Hounds from Hell and asked if I wanted anything for myself. I guess her conscience is getting the best of her. Normally I am so tight my butt squeeks when I walk and I am not so quick to part with the buck but an opportunity like this does not come often in my household. If there is some extra cash laying around that she is offering to me and I don't claim it, it will literally go to the dogs.
I am good with antennas as I have a beam, tower (I DIY'ed it) and lots of wire antennas. I love to chew the rag on HF and want to try my hand at DX and maybe if I can gather the patience, contesting. I presently have a FT-950 and FT-897 backup radio. My budget for the radio is $5500. At first I thought that was an enormous amount of money for a radio and almost gave some back but after seeing the price of radios today I am glad I didn't.
I have my eye on two radios. I like what I have read about the FTDX-5000 and being a geek at heart also like what I have read about the new Flex 6500. I am not so much an Icom fan. My elmer had all kinds of problems with the power amp his IC-756 and it kind of turned me off knowing the problems he had. I may even entertain an Elecraft to throw a third into the fray as I have read many good things about th K3 also. I am looking for a radio with a good reciever and two separate recievers would be really nice. I have a LP-Pan and IF2000 for use with the Elecraft or Yaesu as a panoramic display.
I have read alot about all of these radios. What say you about them. I am asking in case I missed something and I am interested in what you think as you may have own them and used them.