If the ICOM-705 debuts with an ATU, I will most likely purchase one
I have been doing A-B listening tests between my ICOM IC-7300 and Elecraft KX-3, and in every case, the 7300 is easier to listen to. As I mentioned before, the KX-3 has a much better keyer – I can barely stand the 7300 keyer. That is a moot point though, because I have a WinKeyer USB which is a great keyer.
I have been an Elecraft fan boy for more than 10 years, but I have to be honest, when band conditions are noisy, the KX-3 (or any superhet receiver) is just plain hard to listen to. This morning, the noise level is much lower than it has been – in fact, (with the Harvest Moon), I believe we will soon start getting much quieter “Winter” conditions. I do like the “form factor” of the KX-3, and when we travel and I take a rig along, the KX-3 will go with us. That happens several times a year. But this is the LAST superhet receiver I will ever own. I should take a serious look at a used Flex Radio . . .
We are at a point that reminds me of digital cameras – once they hit 2 megapixel, it was hard to keep my film camera, even though film had infinitely better resolution. With my current 24 mp Sony A6000, I have found that it is still the camera to beat (price / performance wise). For my photography, even though the 6000 is an older camera, I haven’t seen anything in the newer models that has any feature that I “must have”.
The same rings true about my ham radio gear. Gone are the days with all of the super duper DXing features – like dual receivers and a separate RX antenna jack. Once I made 9 BDXCC and clinched DXCC on 160M, that was it – I downsized (eventually) to the ICOM IC-7300. The 7300 is a lot like the A6000 – it doesn’t have some of the fancier features of newer or more expensive rigs – but it has everything I need for my current pursuits and interests.
Speaking of that – I have found that once you really spend some time being “QRP Only” and you work decent DX – even 100 watts seems like cheating.
As far as form factor – I also am now of the mind to only want smaller radios – but very capable ones. If the IC-705 debuts with an ATU, I will very seriously consider it – my 7300 hands down, and in every noise and signal to noise ratio just sounds better than the KX-3. I wonder if Flex Radio would come out with a small hand held HF rig?
Of course, if Elecraft announces a KX-4 with direct sampling technology, then I will wait for that. The best thing about my latest DXing persuit is that time is on my side – I no longer have that crazy “DXCC Honor Roll Burn” that I was afflicted with for 11 years – and 3 years after that.