K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

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K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

k5oai
first let me say to Wayne, this is not a spur of the moment, 'should
have waited over night to cool off' email. I have been biting my
tongue/fingers over this for a very long time.

After reading the recent   [Elecraft] K3/P3/SVGA   thread,
I felt it is as good a time as any to ask a few questions of the folks
at Elecraft.

first a rhetorical question or two to set the tone, hi hi

1st
Is there any guesstimate when/if Elecraft's firmware engineers
will stop tweaking *ONLY* the new Elecraft hardware products?

2nd
...and be allowed to refocus on firmware promises made over the previous
many months/year(s) for the K3/P3/SVGA

what promises you may ask? ...
check out the 'many' requests Wayne says he has on his 'to do' list. I
haven't kept track of all of them, (I'm sure the ones I want may differ
from others wishes) but Wayne often says he has a list of 'good ideas'
that will be (or at least considered for) implementation in the future,
maybe he will share with us what is actually on that list?


My fear is that Elecraft may have reached critical mass, like many other
excellent small companies, that were great when they started, only to
grow and become so well known, that they were unable to keep up with the
expansions of their products and their reputations started to suffer.

Why do I say such blasphemous things about the company whose products
and services I am truly in awe of? Because this dangerous downhill trend
I'm speaking of, first becomes evident as shown by the companies
inability/failure to keep promises made in their earlier years when they
were building their reputations.

will I switch companies, never!
am I a kool aid drinker, always and forever!

However, am I kinda tired of waiting for promises made, as I watch all
the 'new stuff' getting all the attention, you betcha!

Yes I understand new stuff will have bugs and will need special
attention and the new owners of those products also deserve all the
attention we K3/P3/SVGA owners used to enjoy.

Do I bad mouth you products to others asking about buying Elecraft, no I
still speak well of their performance. But I have noticed my enthusiasm
when recommending your products has taken a notable shift. I use to have
the highest of praise for *every aspect* of Elecraft, the Hardware, the
Service and the Firmware. Lately I have dropped off mentioning how
awesome your quick firmware updates are and have to catch myself to be
sure not to go off on a rant about the problems we are having these days
with shelved requests and delayed promises.

all I'm saying is maybe it's time to reinvest some of that 'new product
monies' that is taking so much of your current time and energies, back
into the company and hire some more software engineers if the burden of
support for your mature products is suffering as badly as it is now.

That is if you want to turn around the declining trend we see now, and
not be perceived as changing modes to 'riding on your former reputation'
like many other past companies did, that cost them their reputations.
The 'we'll get around to it' responce, is getting extremely old!

my apologize for adding to your burden Wayne and the rest of the crew,
but perhaps you need to hear how some of us among your loyal followers
are feeling out here, if that's what it takes to get you to change back
to the company you use to be.

signed NOT A TROLL!

--
GB & 73
K5OAI
Sam Morgan
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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

KV5J
amen
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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

Eric Ross
I have worked at a technology company for many years and there is always
a tension between coming out with the new and nifty product and
improving the old product.  You have to balance keeping your current
customers satisfied with breaking into new markets and acquiring new
customers.  Yes, us K3 owners can always want more.  But, looking at the
initial K3 and what it has today, the ability to keep getting
replacement parts, and the personal support we get on such an "old"
product, I have to give Elecraft congratulations on how well they do.
If I had bought a competitor's product when the K3 came out, more than
likely, I would have whatever was delivered.  With the K3, not only were
improvements made over the years, I could upgrade and/or install those
improvements as they came out.  Someday, the K4 will come out and I know
I will have some envy.  But I am still very thrilled with the value that
has been delivered today and I continue to expect some incremental
improvements in the future however slow they are delivered.

Eric
wb7sde

On Thu, Jul 10, 2014, at 12:53 PM, XE3/K5ENS via Elecraft wrote:

> amen
>
>
>
> --
> View this message in context:
> http://elecraft.365791.n2.nabble.com/K3-P3-SVGA-future-firmware-updates-for-K3-P3-SVGA-tp7591062p7591065.html
> Sent from the Elecraft mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
> ______________________________________________________________
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--
  Eric Ross
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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

Guy Olinger K2AV
In reply to this post by k5oai
Well, I would call that maybe harsh, and for sure commercially unrealistic.

We do not pay for firmware changes, while Wayne's employees have to be paid
every week, the rent paid every month, etc. ad nauseum. So, even though
there was a lot of improvement needed from version zero of the K3, we are
far on the other side of having the K3 quite good enough to sell as is. A
K3 firmware change entirely for the K3 only has become pretty rare. Most
are integration work for the entire K-Line.

We have gotten as much as we have because we supplied the hard testing and
allowed a gradual implementation. Wayne has followed a change regimen that
provided an amazing collection of improvements. He certainly leveraged all
that into the KX3

Myself, I can't honestly think that Wayne owes me anything at all. If he
does throw out some stuff, that's really neat. But at this point anything
else he does for the K3 is far beyond the call of duty. No other ham
manufacturer is even in the same order of magnitude as Elecraft
responsiveness.

I can wish and make polite, respectful requests. But IMHO to insinuate that
Wayne has some remaining unfulfilled duty to the K3 that he *must* supply
is unrealistic at best.

73, Guy.
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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

k5oai
for clarification, perhaps I should point out that the only "must
supply(s)" that was even intimated in my comments...

were based on the fact that Wayne has *SAID* he/they planned to
*attempt* to implement these further firmware enhancements for their
already awesome hardware.

If, as you say, that has been determined to be "commercially unrealistic"

Then to that I would reply, if they can't, don't intend to, or have
changed their minds about it's feasibility, great, no problem, so be it,
just inform us, don't continue to string us along after command
decisions to the contrary have been decided.

However I do *NOT* think that is what Wayne and Eric have decided, nor
do I think that is what they are doing.

(imo) I have the idea, they have just bitten off more than they can
chew, with the staff they now employ, so why not consider contracting
out some of these promised or unfinished coding changes so they can
catch up.

--
GB & 73
K5OAI
Sam Morgan

On 7/10/2014 5:29 PM, Guy Olinger K2AV wrote:

> Well, I would call that maybe harsh, and for sure commercially unrealistic.
>
> We do not pay for firmware changes, while Wayne's employees have to be
> paid every week, the rent paid every month, etc. ad nauseum. So, even
> though there was a lot of improvement needed from version zero of the
> K3, we are far on the other side of having the K3 quite good enough to
> sell as is. A K3 firmware change entirely for the K3 only has become
> pretty rare. Most are integration work for the entire K-Line.
>
> We have gotten as much as we have because we supplied the hard testing
> and allowed a gradual implementation. Wayne has followed a change
> regimen that provided an amazing collection of improvements. He
> certainly leveraged all that into the KX3
>
> Myself, I can't honestly think that Wayne owes me anything at all. If he
> does throw out some stuff, that's really neat. But at this point
> anything else he does for the K3 is far beyond the call of duty. No
> other ham manufacturer is even in the same order of magnitude as
> Elecraft responsiveness.
>
> I can wish and make polite, respectful requests. But IMHO to insinuate
> that Wayne has some remaining unfulfilled duty to the K3 that he *must*
> supply is unrealistic at best.
>
> 73, Guy.

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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

wayne burdick
Administrator
Hi all,

Our firmware task lists are sorted by priority. Determination of Priority is democratic to some degree (Squeaky Wheel and other industry standard methodologies). But in practice it involves crystal-ball-gazing, head-counting, arm-wrestling-over-a-beer, and a healthy dose of what-we-have-time-for.

It is not practical for us to publish the lists. They change daily and contain a lot of firmware-speak. We'd rather spend time actually making changes than on sanitizing lists for public consumption.

This is also the reason that we can't make announcements of the form "We will not ever get to feature X." (Imagine trying to do that with your personal Home Repair task list. Would your spouse let you unilaterally decide to remove some of them?) We'd rather be optimistic about it, since you never know when one of our overworked engineers is going to get some unexpected free time.

The most useful guidance I can give you is this. If only one or two users are affected by a particular change, it is less likely to be implemented in the near future. If nearly all users are affected, it darn well better be fixed instantly. Everything else is in a sort of gray zone (see "Determination of Priority," above).

I take responsibility for any muttered oaths against Elecraft pertaining to implementation delays. If it's any comfort: I read all the mail and lose sleep over things we can't get to. All I can say is that we try to make the best decisions we can, given engineering time available.

73,
Wayne
N6KR





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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

k5oai
understood and thank you for taking the time to reply Wayne.

--
GB & 73
K5OAI
Sam Morgan

On 7/10/2014 7:55 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> Our firmware task lists are sorted by priority. Determination of
> Priority is democratic to some degree (Squeaky Wheel and other
> industry standard methodologies). But in practice it involves
> crystal-ball-gazing, head-counting, arm-wrestling-over-a-beer, and a
> healthy dose of what-we-have-time-for.
>
> It is not practical for us to publish the lists. They change daily
> and contain a lot of firmware-speak. We'd rather spend time actually
> making changes than on sanitizing lists for public consumption.
>
> This is also the reason that we can't make announcements of the form
> "We will not ever get to feature X." (Imagine trying to do that with
> your personal Home Repair task list. Would your spouse let you
> unilaterally decide to remove some of them?) We'd rather be
> optimistic about it, since you never know when one of our overworked
> engineers is going to get some unexpected free time.
>
> The most useful guidance I can give you is this. If only one or two
> users are affected by a particular change, it is less likely to be
> implemented in the near future. If nearly all users are affected, it
> darn well better be fixed instantly. Everything else is in a sort of
> gray zone (see "Determination of Priority," above).
>
> I take responsibility for any muttered oaths against Elecraft
> pertaining to implementation delays. If it's any comfort: I read all
> the mail and lose sleep over things we can't get to. All I can say is
> that we try to make the best decisions we can, given engineering time
> available.
>
> 73, Wayne N6KR
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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

Tighe Kuykendall
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
I greatly appreciate the work Wayne and others do to enhance existing
products while developing new products.

As for the squeaky wheel method of prioritization, I often refrain from
sending "me too" e-mails when I see a feature or product request that
interests me (such as the one from this thread).  What's the best way to
communicate that without flooding e-mails to the list?

Tighe
NK4I


On 7/10/14, 8:55 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> Our firmware task lists are sorted by priority. Determination of Priority is democratic to some degree (Squeaky Wheel and other industry standard methodologies). But in practice it involves crystal-ball-gazing, head-counting, arm-wrestling-over-a-beer, and a healthy dose of what-we-have-time-for.
>



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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

Thomas R. Houston
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
Greetings Wayne,
Right on!  Amen.  God bless!

Thomas Houston K6OKE


-----Original Message-----
From: Elecraft [mailto:[hidden email]]On Behalf Of Wayne
Burdick
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2014 5:56 PM
To: Elecraft Reflector
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for
K3/P3/SVGA?

Hi all,

Our firmware task lists are sorted by priority. Determination of Priority is
democratic to some degree (Squeaky Wheel and other industry standard
methodologies). But in practice it involves crystal-ball-gazing,
head-counting, arm-wrestling-over-a-beer, and a healthy dose of
what-we-have-time-for.

It is not practical for us to publish the lists. They change daily and
contain a lot of firmware-speak. We'd rather spend time actually making
changes than on sanitizing lists for public consumption.

This is also the reason that we can't make announcements of the form "We
will not ever get to feature X." (Imagine trying to do that with your
personal Home Repair task list. Would your spouse let you unilaterally
decide to remove some of them?) We'd rather be optimistic about it, since
you never know when one of our overworked engineers is going to get some
unexpected free time.

The most useful guidance I can give you is this. If only one or two users
are affected by a particular change, it is less likely to be implemented in
the near future. If nearly all users are affected, it darn well better be
fixed instantly. Everything else is in a sort of gray zone (see
"Determination of Priority," above).

I take responsibility for any muttered oaths against Elecraft pertaining to
implementation delays. If it's any comfort: I read all the mail and lose
sleep over things we can't get to. All I can say is that we try to make the
best decisions we can, given engineering time available.

73,
Wayne
N6KR





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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

JHRichards
As outside observer, it seems the K3 is more of a process than a
product.  I doubt it will ever be a finished product, with a static list
of features and capabilities.

Instead, one buys into an ongoing, organic, developing process.  It has
never been "finished" and likely never will.   You either accept the
process or maybe you don't because they spend more time developing
features you are not interested in, whilst the one's you desire remains
on the wish list.

 From initial release to the present, the K3 has undergone continual
development, subject to updates, upgrades, and re-design.  My friend
ordered his before there were any actually built and available for sale.
  The rig today is very different from what he expected at the time he
placed his order.

As an ongoing process, it is subject to a myriad of vagaries and
uncertainties, and (inevitably) disappointments that your feature did
not get updated or improved or even off the drawing board.

So, you either like it or you don't.  You should buy it for what it can
do on the date of purchase, not for what it might be able to do on some
uncertain, unspecified later date.  Whatever it becomes should be seen
as "gravy" or as a bonus.

As an outside observer, I believe the Elecraft management have
intentionally bitten off more than they can chew so as to do as much as
is possible, considering all ideas and suggestions, and implementing
those within reach.  They could have opted to close the book and rake in
the profits on a static set of specifications.

A unique characteristic of this process is that it is quite transparent,
open, and shared with the consumer.  The company could have played its
cards much closer to the vest, and there would be no disappointment
because no one would have any clue what might come next, if anything,
until it does.

Instead, they elected to take the far more dangerous, open course, and
cut the customer in on the process.  THAT is unique, but does open the
door to some disappointment as one's pet improvement remains delayed
whilst others' desires are fulfilled.

I consider any future enhancement, upgrade, or improvement as falling
into two categories:

1) mandatory updates to maintain or effectuate stated specifications
(i.e., warranty updates)  and

2) optional updates implementing wish list items for additional or
different features or capabilities.

The first type are required to comply with warranty obligations, the
second type is optional and bonus to the buyer.  As I believe the
Elecraft management is sincere, it will do its best to implement all the
category 2 option features it can, within the constraints of time,
resources, and profitability.

As such, while your pet update may languish on the drawing board, you
did not buy the rig with that in mind, as it was not a stated feature
when you purchased it, and you bought into a process which is subject to
uncertainty.  But you have bought into a process where management does
mean what it says and is doing its best.  I cannot see how one could ask
for more.

No one else is as keen on selling a process, ... just the rig as it is
on date of sale.

Just My take, anyway.
-------------------------- JHR ---------------------
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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

Jim Low man
This would be a good slogan for Elecraft to use as a selling point.

In all fairness, though, this applies to pretty much any SDR-based radio.

73 de Jim - AD6CW

On 7/12/2014 3:17 PM, K8JHR wrote:
> "... it seems the K3 is more of a process than a product."

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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

Don Wilhelm-4
In reply to this post by JHRichards
Interesting observations.  As one example of "wish list" items that is
particularly close for me is my requests for the keying algorithms be
expanded to include Ultimatic keying.   I have been asking for that
since the early days of the K2, but so far has not been forthcoming.  I
guess there are not enough other 'squeaky wheels' out there to make it
to the list of priority changes.
I really don't mind because I have resigned myself to the use of single
lever paddles.  It would be nice to be able to do dot/dash insertions
that are possible with Ultimatic keying, but I simply cannot do Iambic
keying with dual lever paddles.

Maybe someday Wayne will have time to add it, but I am not holding my
breath, and I don't think my K2, K3 and KX3 are poorer transceivers
because my request has not been implemented - there are other more
important things "on the list".

73,
Don W3FPR

On 7/12/2014 6:17 PM, K8JHR wrote:

> As outside observer, it seems the K3 is more of a process than a
> product.  I doubt it will ever be a finished product, with a static
> list of features and capabilities.
>
> Instead, one buys into an ongoing, organic, developing process. It has
> never been "finished" and likely never will.   You either accept the
> process or maybe you don't because they spend more time developing
> features you are not interested in, whilst the one's you desire
> remains on the wish list.
>

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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

Dave KW4M
I am also a single lever paddle user.  There must be others who also prefer a single lever paddle over dual lever paddles.

It would be nice if a single lever paddle version of the KXPD3 was available.  I don't own a KX3, at least yet :), but this might be enough to push me off the fence.

Sorry for the threadjack.
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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

Chester Alderman
In reply to this post by Don Wilhelm-4
And I am in the same boat...the 'not enough squeaky wheels' boat!

Even though promised by Wayne, fixing or improvement of high speed full QSK
without losing other needed functions, in my opinion, just never will
happen. It's called 'close but no cigar'!!

73,
Tom - W4BQF


-----Original Message-----
From: Elecraft [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Don
Wilhelm
Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2014 7:54 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for
K3/P3/SVGA?

Interesting observations.  As one example of "wish list" items that is
particularly close for me is my requests for the keying algorithms be
expanded to include Ultimatic keying.   I have been asking for that
since the early days of the K2, but so far has not been forthcoming.  I
guess there are not enough other 'squeaky wheels' out there to make it to
the list of priority changes.
I really don't mind because I have resigned myself to the use of single
lever paddles.  It would be nice to be able to do dot/dash insertions that
are possible with Ultimatic keying, but I simply cannot do Iambic keying
with dual lever paddles.

Maybe someday Wayne will have time to add it, but I am not holding my
breath, and I don't think my K2, K3 and KX3 are poorer transceivers because
my request has not been implemented - there are other more important things
"on the list".

73,
Don W3FPR

On 7/12/2014 6:17 PM, K8JHR wrote:

> As outside observer, it seems the K3 is more of a process than a
> product.  I doubt it will ever be a finished product, with a static
> list of features and capabilities.
>
> Instead, one buys into an ongoing, organic, developing process. It has
> never been "finished" and likely never will.   You either accept the
> process or maybe you don't because they spend more time developing
> features you are not interested in, whilst the one's you desire
> remains on the wish list.
>

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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

Lynn W. Taylor, WB6UUT
In reply to this post by JHRichards
On 7/12/2014 3:17 PM, K8JHR wrote:
> As an outside observer, I believe the Elecraft management have
> intentionally bitten off more than they can chew so as to do as much
> as is possible, considering all ideas and suggestions, and
> implementing those within reach.  They could have opted to close the
> book and rake in the profits on a static set of specifications.
There are two ways to look at this:

1) Elecraft, as a company that exists solely to make a profit, is
something of a failure -- unlike their competitors, they fail to
monetize new features and improvements to existing rigs.

2) Elecraft exists first and foremost to do really great stuff.
Engineering runs the shop, and as long as there is enough profit to
cover the costs and keep everybody reasonably happy (including Wayne and
Eric), then they're perhaps the most successful Amateur Radio
Transceiver company since, well, forever.

I think it's #2, and I think it's brilliant.

Wayne said something about "Beer" being part of the decision process on
new firmware features.  Am I the only one thinking about a Kickstarter
campaign for the Elecraft Beer fund?

73 -- Lynn
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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

Jim Brown-10
On 7/12/2014 8:25 PM, Lynn W. Taylor, WB6UUT wrote:
> 2) Elecraft exists first and foremost to do really great stuff.
> Engineering runs the shop, and as long as there is enough profit to
> cover the costs and keep everybody reasonably happy (including Wayne
> and Eric), then they're perhaps the most successful Amateur Radio
> Transceiver company since, well, forever.

I'll cite another example of a great company owned and managed by an
engineer -- Dolby Labs. That fact made them extend development projects
"for as long as it took," often for many years, far beyond the time most
Harvard Business School types would have cancelled them. One of those
projects was Dolby surround for cinema and home systems.

About ten years ago, I heard Ray Dolby give an invited lecture to the
AES, and his talk was about the history of the management of that
company. It is a manifesto for technical companies being managed by
people who understand the technologies involved, and the market for
them. Eric and Wayne epitomize that philosophy! They probably won't die
as rich as Ray Dolby did, but I'm sure they'll die equally happy!

73, Jim K9YC

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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

David Pratt
In reply to this post by JHRichards
In a recent message, K8JHR <[hidden email]> writes
>As outside observer, it seems the K3 is more of a process than a
>product.  I doubt it will ever be a finished product, with a static
>list of features and capabilities.

One must remember, James, that Elecraft is a business, and a very
successful business it is too. Although the help and customer support is
beyond compare, the company is in business to make a profit.

It is understandable that concentration is given by providing support
and development for the latest product, earlier products taking a back
seat.

There are several features available on the KX3 which the K3 does not
have. One such feature is DTMF tone support for internet linking which
was introduced on the KX3 with MCU 1.73 last November but is not
available on the K3 despite the K3 being the stalwart desktop rig. My
guess is that the K3 is unlikely to ever have that feature.  I have come
to terms with that and have ordered the 2m transverter for the KX3. My
only hope is that the KX3-2M option will be available for my vacation in
September. I am encouraged by the statement that "New Orders to start
shipping by end of September" which suggests that back orders will be
shipped before then. Fingers crossed.

73 de David G4DMP

--
 + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - +
 | David M Pratt, Kippax, Leeds.   |
 | Website: http://www.g4dmp.co.uk |
 + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - +

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Re: K3 P3 SVGA - ?future firmware updates for K3/P3/SVGA?

k6dgw
I would class the K3 as a "Middle Aged Product", a great deal of the
originally planned capabilities and adjunct gizmos [KPA500, P3, KAT500,
transverters] now exist, most have for some time, and the FW updates are
tending more and more to small tweaks, occasional fixes, and responses
to feedback, mainly on this list.  Even middle aged people can learn a
new trick or two, but the K3 is a pretty stable product.

Contrast that with the K2 which is a definitely mature product serving a
specific set of objectives.  Most of the K2 traffic on the list involves
construction issues, appropriate accessories [e.g. headphones, mics],
alignment questions, and lightning.  I'd be really really surprised if
some new Elecraft gizmo came out that I could attach to my K2 to do
something totally new that it doesn't do now.

Looks to me like the KX3 has graduated high school, resembles a
20-something, and is still growing, very much as the K3 was 5 years ago
or so.

73,

Fred K6DGW
- Northern California Contest Club
- CU in the 2014 Cal QSO Party 4-5 Oct 2014
- www.cqp.org

 > In a recent message, K8JHR <[hidden email]> writes
>> As outside observer, it seems the K3 is more of a process than a
>> product.  I doubt it will ever be a finished product, with a static
>> list of features and capabilities.


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