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Author Topic: When is an Elecraft completed???  (Read 5753 times)
KA5N
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Posts: 4380




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« on: May 15, 2013, 04:55:56 PM »

This doesn't quite match the topic heading, apoligies.
This is not a disparagment of the fine equipment from Elecraft.  But it seems that building a
K2 or a k3 etc. never reaches an end point.  Elecraft has just come out with a new DSP/clock
module to replace the old K2 "new Dsp/clock module.  Making this change puts the K2 into the
$1000 category.  I read somewhere the other day where a ham was changing a module in a
K3.  I have been considering if I want to do the change in my K2.  It works well enough as is
(except for minor shortcommings) and I am still comtemplating building a K3.  My PRO III does
just about everything I need and my old TS-830 still works like the top of the line it was in its
 youth.  Then again, maybe a new bigger antenna is what I need.   I seem to have as much trouble making up my mind as Hamlet did.
Allen KA5N
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5689




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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2013, 06:16:54 PM »

...Then again, maybe a new bigger antenna is what I need...

Hold that thought, for it is what separates the ham operators from the rest of the amateurs. 

73
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KG6YV
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Posts: 510




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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2013, 10:39:24 AM »

Antennas are the most important item in a station.  In fact, I read a two part article in the old Ham Radio magazine on the train last night written by the man who invented the Bobtail Curtain.  Wow!  I never knew what a "killer" DX antenna this antenna is.... Now, I am tempted to try one for 40M....

Antennas are fun,

Greg
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3827




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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2013, 09:31:48 PM »

Alan:  I think with things like this you eventually reach the point of diminishing returns. 

If your antenna is mediocre then any time and money you spend on it will probably give you more bang for your buck; more enjoyment for the effort. 

Too many times a person can buy a piece of gear for a very reasonable price because the selling company is hoping to make up for it by selling you a never ending supply of "improvements" and or additions.

I have a problem with manipulation!
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WB6DGN
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Posts: 617




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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2013, 11:37:46 PM »

Quote
I have a problem with manipulation!

Well stated.
My personal weakness is test equipment.  As with many other categories of electronics, that one can drive one to the "poor house" in very short order.  So, I ask myself, "were you satisfied with the relevant item BEFORE you heard about this new addition, option, add-on, gimmick, etc., etc.?"  If the answer is YES, no further action needs to be taken.  If the answer is NO, then I ask, "does this new 'ueopufdh' address the reason you were dissatisfied?"  If the answer is NO, once again, no further action needs to be taken.  Only if the answer is YES, do I need to look further into the new item.  After going through this exercise, I usually become much more studied about the benefits v. cost of the new item and tend to make better decisions.
Tom
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W1JKA
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Posts: 1658




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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 03:42:27 AM »

Re:K8AXW

Problem with manipulation,right on:Only my main problem is with new car dealers and the XYL, ham gear doesn't even rate an honorable mention.
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5689




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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2013, 05:07:07 AM »

Come on, guys. 

A kit company that is able to keep development going forward without resorting to having to sell you an entirely new model is "manipulation"? 

Not every situation demands a conspiracy theory. 

If you don't want the improvement offered, don't buy it. 

There are likely plenty of others who enjoy the experimentation, knowledge from experience and the joy of kit building who will. 

And if here aren't, the company either responds by changing their marketing and production, or ceases to be viable. 

In the case of Elecraft, it is highly likely that they are responding to their majority market base. 

The "big three" also offer upgrades, filters, and other goodies, are they also "manipulating" you? 

Don't let anybody steal yer joy.

73
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K0JEG
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Posts: 658




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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 06:19:43 AM »

Actually, I would consider Elecraft continuing to improve a fairly old radio a good thing. If you're happy with the performance of your radio as it is, don't worry about it. The only grief this upgrade may cause you is a reduced price if you try to sell your radio in comparison to upgraded models.

As for the "big 3" upgrading their equipment, the only thing they tend to do is upgrade to new models. I don't know of any who continue to upgrade radios that have been on the market for years. I wish Yaesu would update the FT-897 and FT-817, but they continue to market them like they are something special. I'd be all over Elecraft radios if they had a better VHF/UHF solution (transverters that cost as much as an all-mode radio don't count), but as I hear more reports of how great the KX3 is (and watching all the firmware releases and bug fixes that happen in days) I'm getting worn down.
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5689




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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2013, 08:44:31 AM »

If you don't keep track of the Service Bulletin releases for your big 3 rig, the factory updates are out of sight and out of mind. 

On the other side, *many* Service Bulletin modifications often end up in the next production run and some are implemented on existing production runs left in stock. 

There are also aftermarket improvements for big 3 rigs, offered by other hams and firms, to consider as well.


73
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3827




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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2013, 06:31:20 PM »

The "manipulation" is deliberately taking advantage of a weakness.  In this case the weakness is a basic characteristic of a ham.  Ask any ham what makes him drool the fastest.  A new piece of gear or a chicken leg?

This is deliberate and insidious!

As for the car and XYl vs. ham radio, I've been down that road and was able to deflect most objections from the XYL.  However, I was finally done in by our Congress and auto manufacturers.  Aside from your ass and a gallon of gas..... there's no more room!  We won't even talk about ruining $800 worth of auto electronics at 70mph.......


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W1JKA
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Posts: 1658




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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2013, 04:28:26 AM »

Re:K8AXW

 LOL, I have a reasonable understanding of antenna/swr REflection however I am severely lacking any understanding of XYL DEflection and could really use some pointers,perhaps the MISC.Forum? Wink
« Last Edit: May 18, 2013, 04:32:31 AM by W1JKA » Logged
AA4HA
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Posts: 1424




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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2013, 07:43:39 AM »

The very concept that a manufacturer like Elecraft would continue the development cycle on an extant product is very neat indeed. This indicates that they have not sat back on their heels in engineering, resting on what they once did while sales and marketing milks every dollar out of a product line until their once great radio shrinks to irrelevancy.

Ongoing engineering efforts are expensive. A company must maintain a staff of competent, engaged engineers, designers and techs to come up with incremental improvements worthy of mid-production additions. Usually this means that the innovation is also driven from the active involvement with the owner/user community who come up with practical improvements to the product line.

I have worked for companies on both sides of that philosophical divide; Where something was designed, developed, tested and put into manufacturing and then the management types have decided there was little need for engineering talent and either laid off everyone or let us wither on the vine until most gave up in disgust. Also I have worked for companies where the owners (and sales and marketing types) are geeks and they get as excited as we did by new and better ways of doing things.

Ideas and improvements fall into a couple of different buckets; 1) things that can be integrated into the existing product with only minor rework or by creating a new module or piece of code. 2) things that would require a major rework of the existing product and make it impractical to do so they are shelved for now but later put into the design specifications for the next new device.

It is always nice to be able to take incremental steps in engineering. False starts, unacceptable compromises in a design or features that may sound neat but have no practical application an be sorted out. Done properly and by engaging the user community you can build a collaborative environment between the company and the customer that creates a brand loyalty that sometimes defies explanation.

As a consultant I seek out those types of companies that have cutting edge communications products with a living design process and oftentimes they are who we recommend to our clients for long term relationships.

Try not to be too jaded in assigning a motive to everything a company does. Yes, there are plenty out there that are out to wring every penny from your pocket but there is also some number who are populated with geeks who are just excited to keep pushing the boundaries with cool things.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
K8AXW
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Posts: 3827




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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2013, 08:43:50 AM »

Trisha:  You're absolutely correct on all accounts. 

Quote
Also I have worked for companies where the owners (and sales and marketing types) are geeks and they get as excited as we did by new and better ways of doing things.

It's difficult not to become "jaded" in our outlook because for every one of these there are ten times that many who fall into the category of:  Build it - Sell it - Forget it.

I do understand Elecraft has two things going for it.....no doubt more, but the two that impresses me is that they're an American company trying very hard to stay in business and in spite of that difficulty they continue to bring out exciting new products and improvements to the old ones. 

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AA4PB
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Posts: 12834




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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2013, 09:09:50 AM »

When is an Electraft completed? When you run out of money.
When is an Icom/Yaesu/Kenwood completed? The second you open the box. All bug fixes, upgrades, etc will be available when you purchase the next model.

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KA5N
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Posts: 4380




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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2013, 04:38:41 PM »

I was hoping to get some interesting views when I wrote this semi -tongue -in cheek bit.
Actually I like the idea of being able to replace a non-working (or poorly working) module
with an excellent module that works well.  Compare Elecraft with the many old Heathkits
with mostly horrible mods in them.  True it increases the cost of the piece of gear but
that is bad only if it goes too far.
The bit about maybe I needed a bigger or better antenna was just a red herring. ( Every ham
thinks about a bigger better antenna, but few can afford a really big antenna ( If an antenna
stays up thru the winter it was too small).
Thanks guys
Allen KA5N
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