Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Digital delight

There was excitement followed by jubilation this morning in the G4ILO shack when I received an email from Wayne at Elecraft with the subject line "K3 FIRMWARE WITH DATA-MODE FIXES". As soon as I could, I extracted the firmware from the attached zip file and uploaded it to the K3. Then I attached the power meter and dummy load and transmitted a tuning tone using the Fldigi software. To my great delight, no matter where I clicked in the waterfall (within reason) the output power was exactly what I had selected using the power control. At last!

I get a certain amount of online flak for being hard on Elecraft. In fact, also in my inbox was an email from a ham in the States asking if my K3 was for sale, since I didn't have a lot of good to say about it. Actually I don't think it is a bad radio at all. I just don't look at it through rose-tinted spectacles that make me blind to its faults. And if those faults really bug me then I complain about them. I was quite amazed to see how many K3 owners had simply been ignoring the DATA mode and working digimodes using SSB instead of sticking their heads up and asking for DATA to be made to work right.

So kudos to Elecraft for listening to their customers and being willing to respond to their demands. There aren't many, if any, other radio manufacturers where you can exchange emails with the designers and get your wishes and feedback acted on. Of course, it would be better if the K3 didn't have faults in the first place. But it's getting better all the time. Soon, it may even be almost perfect!
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