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Author Topic: Elecraft K1 Discontinued!  (Read 1081 times)

gil

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Elecraft K1 Discontinued!
« on: August 31, 2017, 03:52:17 AM »
Sad sad day today as Elecraft removed the K1 from its products line.
I wish they would make a surface-mount version...

 Gil.

KK0G

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Re: Elecraft K1 Discontinued!
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 09:48:57 AM »
My guess is the writing's on the wall and the K2 and KX1 will follow suit in the not too distant future. If you've ever thought to yourself "Gee, I'd love to build one of those someday", I wouldn't wait.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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gil

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Re: Elecraft K1 Discontinued!
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 02:26:50 PM »
The KX1 has been discontinued a while ago...

Gil

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KK0G

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Re: Elecraft K1 Discontinued!
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 08:51:15 AM »
That's too bad, I guess I haven't been paying much attention to Elecraft since I already built my K2 and KX1. Looks like I definitely better hold onto them.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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cockpitbob

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Re: Elecraft K1 Discontinued!
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 10:01:24 AM »
Adapt or perish.  Still it's a little saddening to see fewer and fewer real kits on the market.  Most of Elecraft's "kits" seem to be "no solder" kits.  It looks like the K2 is their transceiver kit.  I bet that doesn't last long.

I feel like stockpiling 100 of the Frog Sounds and other cheap but usable QRP kits for 30 years from now when no one makes kits anymore.  The grandkids (assuming my boys give me some) would love it (I hope).

gil

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Re: Elecraft K1 Discontinued!
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2017, 05:06:05 AM »
Surface-mount are actually easier to build, but for the size of the components. Many people have an unfounded fear of them, just like they fear winding toroids, which is the easiest thing in the world... Steve Weber released SMT kits and after building three, I find them easier than through-hole. Now if only my vision was as good as it used to be... But a good magnifying lens fixes that problem easily enough.

I hope Wayne reads this... I wish Elecraft would release an updated SMT K1 kit! It would be smaller and as good! Now that would be awesome. Something you can build, not just assemble. I don't even call them kits! For a kit to be a kit you need to place ans solder the components. The KX2 is great but it is very expensive and too much radio for a lot of applications. An SMT K1 would have a much lower current draw also. I believe they would sell, slowly at first, but once everyone figures out it itsn't that hard, they would go like hot cakes.

The only machine that could rival an SMT K1 right now is the Weber MTR4b, which unfortunately is not offered as a kit.

Elecraft no longer sells affordable transceivers, nothing below about $800, and that is very unfortunate. They have grown a lot and are forgetting their not-so-rich customers, that's a shame. They have to make profits of course, but ditching affordable kits isn't the way to sell more expensive ones in the future, IMHO...

Gil.

cockpitbob

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Re: Elecraft K1 Discontinued!
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2017, 11:05:49 AM »
I wish I had a better idea what it costs to have SMT parts soldered to a surface mount board.  It's funny that I design boards for a living and yet I don't have a really good idea of what assembling the boards costs.  Our production runs are small (25 to 200) which is just the size you would do for ham kits, but I'm pretty disconnected from the purchasing process.

I bring this up because there's a chance that it's not much more expensive to have the SMT parts put on the board.  There's probably more labor in putting parts in individual kits than there is in assembling a simple SMT board.  For automated assembly, just silkscreen on the solder paste, load the reels of parts in the pick-n-place machine, let the machine place them, then run the board through the oven.  You only have to set-up once for a run of boards.  For a kit you have to cut the correct length of ribbon, bag & tag value of part for each individual kit.




There's no question that, for SMT parts, hand placement and soldering is lower quality than that done by machine.  Plus machines never put a part in the wrong spot either.

I hate to say this because I enjoy the zen of soldering, but if my MTR kit had the option to pay $20 more for all the SMT parts to be pre-soldered, I would have paid the $20.  It would have saved me several hours with my magnifying visor and soldering iron, and the soldering quality would have been better (though I'm a craftsman when it comes to soldering).

I do think we are headed in the direction of most circuit board "kits" having the SMT parts pre-soldered for us.  Again, I'll miss the zen of soldering, but if I'm right about the small cost of assembly, it makes perfect sense.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 11:10:35 AM by cockpitbob »

KK0G

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Re: Elecraft K1 Discontinued!
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2017, 08:44:56 AM »
I wish I had a better idea what it costs to have SMT parts soldered to a surface mount board.  It's funny that I design boards for a living and yet I don't have a really good idea of what assembling the boards costs.  Our production runs are small (25 to 200) which is just the size you would do for ham kits, but I'm pretty disconnected from the purchasing process.

I bring this up because there's a chance that it's not much more expensive to have the SMT parts put on the board.  There's probably more labor in putting parts in individual kits than there is in assembling a simple SMT board.  For automated assembly, just silkscreen on the solder paste, load the reels of parts in the pick-n-place machine, let the machine place them, then run the board through the oven.  You only have to set-up once for a run of boards.  For a kit you have to cut the correct length of ribbon, bag & tag value of part for each individual kit.


I hate to admit it but no doubt you're correct. The reason most electronics are so cheap is because of highly efficient automated assembly that is able to crank out finished boards by the thousands in very short order. I can see how interrupting that process to bag components for a  true kit could actually increase the price due to the labor involved. Such is the march of forward progress.  :(
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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gil

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Re: Elecraft K1 Discontinued!
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2017, 12:34:24 PM »
Quote
I hate to admit it but no doubt you're correct. The reason most electronics are so cheap is because of highly efficient automated assembly that is able to crank out finished boards by the thousands in very short order. I can see how interrupting that process to bag components for a  true kit could actually increase the price due to the labor involved. Such is the march of forward progress.

Indeed.

There is a trend I do not like regarding progress, in that more is better... More features, but more current draw, and no better sensitivity... The K1 has a great receiver and does not use a DDS, less noise... Now everyone wants to use a big PIC... A mini K1 would be awesome, nothing added, same schematic...

Gil.