Elecraft KX-3 and the New Ten Tec Omni VII+

The Elecraft KX-3

When the KX-3 first came out, I purchased one to use when we went on vacation – which was mostly renting a house somewhere – almost always in Oregon, but I distinctly remember using it in Moab and was blown away by it. In fact, I thought it sounded better than the K3 that I had, and I think it had been rated higher than the (pre K3S or updated K3) that followed:


After all these years, the KX-3 is still in the Top 10 on Sherwood’s list – and I am still blown away by this rig. In fact, at this point in time, as much as the new K4 looks like the ultimate rig – for where I am right now, the KX-3 holds that place.

I remember the Yaesu FT-1000D and its “variants” – they used Collins mechanical filters, and so did several Ten Tec’s. In fact, I also remember being blown away by the Orion series and the Omni VII. I did see a video of the new owner of Ten Tec, and I really like the new look of the Omni VII+ which was shown at Dayton this year.

Updated Ten Tec OMNI VII+

Collins stopped making mechanical filters, so Mike from Ten Tec purchased the last lot of them, and will do a production run of the Omni VII+ with the mechanical filters. I’d be tempted, but I am enjoying the KX-3 so much, even my IC-7300 – which is an amazing value for the money and also a decent performer – are enough for my needs. For nostalgia – and when I need to warm up the shack – the Gold Dust Twins will be used – this winter for sure. The KWS-1 is ready at the go for 700 – ish watts, so I will actually try to use that for the 3Y0I DX-pedition that I hope succeeds. I have two backups if need be – so I am ready.

Ten Tec plans on re-issuing the Argonaut VI with all WARC bands – so the fact that the original was missing 12M will be fixed. If they upgrade the packaging like they have the Omni VII+, I will seriously consider it. I was heart broken when Ten Tec (almost) went out of business. Yes, Elecraft gave them a run for their money, but my absolute favorite rigs have always been American – even though the Japanese rigs have had better “fit and finish”. For raw performance, its always been Elecraft and Ten Tec for me. Idiot Trump will make getting parts harder – so expect all ham gear to soon have big price increases as companies supply chains get disrupted. Yes, I agree the theft of IP was and is a big issue – but I thought this jerk was the big deal maker – even in that realm he is a big phony. He has surrounded himself with boot licking incompetent sycophants as advisers. Its more like the Wet Fart of the Deal. Don’t get me started . . .

I have started to see ham gear prices climb – right when the ham radio HF market might be on the wane. Lets see what happens to the parts supply chain, and whether or not the Big Fresser caves on China – I bet he will when he finally really gets shit scared that his tariffs will cost him the election. Watch how he waffles for a while and then caves like a flabby little girly man.

The problem – the damage has already been done, and the legacy will be jacked up prices. Here is an example – my UrbanBeam has hit a price point that is $200 more than what I paid for it – and it is just past the upper price I would have paid. Even at $1750 I thought it was pretty damned expensive. If I had to do it right now and do it all over again – I would look for a used 40M shorty forty.

So yes, the jacked up ham prices will most definitely affect my future ham purchases. The second hand market will become more and more attractive – which isn’t good for US Ham Radio manufacturers.


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