The scoop from Elecraft at FDIM

So Elecraft came to FDIM today, to announce the new K3S.

The new product is an enhanced K3 with many new features - here's a link to a .pdf which explains them all in detail. And here's a link to a FAQ.

It appears the new K3S will be approximately $500 more than the old version, and the original K3 has been "discontinued" or "replaced" - whichever you prefer. In addition, it appears most, but not all the enhancements will be retro-fittable to make a K3 a K3S. The new bezel and the attenuator, for instance, will not.

I wonder - how does the guy feel who took delivery on a brandy new K3, in the very recent past?  Are they happy because  they squeaked under the wire and got their K3 at the lower price?  Or are they feeling a bit miffed because they ordered and received something that is no longer "the latest and the greatest"?  Except for the cosmetics, it appears that you can pretty much turn your existing K3 almost into a K3S - and you do have a "system" that is continually upgradable. So if you're an Elecraft owner, you can take comfort in the fact that when you buy something, the company does its best to stand behind their product and you.

I for one, am quite happy with my KX3's. They're all the radio I need, and should Elecraft come out with a KX3S tomorrow, I would not be bothered in the least.

The morning UStream feed from FDIM was disappointing. If you attempted to watch it, you saw that only a portion of the video picture appeared and none of the audio. Basically, you missed the entire Elecraft K3S presentation. Things got straightened out during Rev. Dobb's presentation and we were able to hear that the good Reverend was inaugurated as QRP-ARCI's very first Lifetime Member.

The silver lining is that hopefully the feed will be up and running normally for the remaining sessions.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!
Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “The scoop from Elecraft at FDIM”

  • Scott W0SGM:

    In a way, a little bit miffed after ordering a new K3 a month ago 🙁
    I held off waiting for a K4 for a couple years
    That new LCD bezel/knob is worth the prize difference to me..sure wish Elecraft would make a similar one for the K3
    The USB interface will be added to my K3 for sure.
    It is nice that most of the “upgrades” are available to install into the K3

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    The K3S looks nice. Not nice enough to fork out funds I don’t have for it. I do have a K3, serial #3194, that has enough to keep me happy. No second RX and I doubt I will ever do that up grade. The P3/SVGA helps me with splits.

    However I do plan on adding the new sync board for lower phase noise. I an considering the 2 preamp. However I will most likely pop for the new DSP board for better speaker audio. I need to look into the new design and see if it helps with the headphones also. The USB is nice, but the RS-232 is working FB.

    So in the end I might have a radio that is a K3 “almost” S. Not a big deal. When you get into radio technology that is this close, a vast majority of the people will never know if you are on a K3 or K3S. The K3S with all it’s bells and whistles will be in the same ballpark as the IC-7810/50, FTdx5000 and FT-990, just a whole lot less expensive. My main station is a K3,P3,KPA500, KAT500. My take it everywhere and do it all are my loaded KX3’s. I also have a PX3 and KXPA/KXAT100. In 95%+ of the cases the KX3 will hold it’s own again a K3. Which probably means the KX3 will hold it’s own against a K3S 90% of the time. In all cases if you have a K3, K3S or KX3 you are in great shape for making contacts all over the world.

    2 cents worth… Elecraft Rocks!

  • Scott W0SGM:

    I agree Harry, I love my K3,I say the thing I like the most on the K3s is that LCD/VFO bezel,I think it just looks way better than the one on the K3 and sure wish it was available for the K3,I’d buy one today..
    I have my gripes with the KX3,buts its an awesome rig too, wish I could afford the PX3 and KXPA100 for it 🙁

  • Jeff n1kdo:

    I am rather embarrassed by the whining and bitching on the elecraft remailer.

    Elecraft updated a nearly 8-year old radio and made parts that were options before standard:

    * The KXV3 transverter interface, which was/is at least $110
    * The PR6-10 preamp, which was/is $160
    * They added USB serial AND audio, eliminating the need for a SignaLink or a bunch of wiring
    * They improved the (main!) RF board and added an additional 5 dB attenuator and reducing some of the DC and RF noise on that main board, the motherboard of the radio.
    * They slightly improved the ergonomics of the VFO knob

    And they announced updated, improved versions of a lot of the options that work with the existing K3 radios (KAT3, etc.)

    With all those new features, the price went up ONLY about $500 for the BEST knob-based radio that Rob Sherwood has ever tested.

    Further, with the exception of the changes to the motherboard (attenuator and some incremental noise reduction) and the bezel change — you can put every one of these improvements into your K3 from serial number 0001.

    And people complain.

    Those people need to go and buy themselves a IC-7800 or FTDX-5000 or TS-990. Let them find the upgrade path. I’m delighted that I was able to install the KSYN3A into my K3 a few months ago and I’m quite sure that it is 99.9999% of a new K3S TODAY.

    Elecraft did right by their customers, and so many are bitching.


  • Goody K3NG:

    Gotta love those Elecraft zealots, I mean customers. =)

    By the way, I’ll have a booth at Dayton on the main floor buying those obsolete K3 radios. Stop buy for instant cash for your K3!

  • John KD0JPE:

    Yep, just purchased a K3 four weeks ago. I should have known better than to order something right before Dayton. That being said, the heritage K3 is a great radio and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

    Given the number of years that the K3 has been on the market, it was inevitable that we would see an upgrade or new radio eventually. Something new or better will always come along and you just have to drive a stake in the ground and purchase something that meets your needs/wants/desires at the time. Elecraft should be applauded for ensuring that most of the upgrades are backward compatible.

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