(Retitled to split this from the other thread.)

Hi Lee,

I'm always amazed when I hear comments like your friend made about us. 
It must be our focus on direct, and personal, customer contact that 
leads some people to think we are still a tiny company.

December 2010 will finish our -twelfth- profitable year of operation and 
continuous sales growth.  And our monthly K3 sales, same month versus a 
year ago numbers, are up even with the introduction of competing rigs. 
We are well past working from our basements. :-)

A few data points:

1. Since shipping our first K2 from Aptos in January of 1999, Elecraft 
has grown into a healthy multi-million dollar high-tech company with a 
broad product line.  We have -zero- debt, own all of our inventory, and 
have a healthy, and very stable, balance sheet. We build our products 
here in California, just outside of Silicon Valley. We are structured to 
be here for a long time, and certainly longer than most hams keep a 
particular rig. We want Elecraft to outlast both of us.

3. How did we do that? Elecraft designs great, high value, products that 
are fun to use. And our products, like the K3, continue to improve and 
get new features even -after- you buy them. We run a stable and tight 
financial ship - carefully trading off an internally financed growth 
rate versus risk and cash needs. We work hard. We hire great people who 
continually amaze us with their intelligence, creativity and work ethic. 
  Our customer support team is one of the best. And we enjoy our work.

4. We also carefully listen to, and interact with, our customers daily. 
We are focused on being the most responsive, and fun, ham radio company 
to buy from - period.

5. Wayne and I are both healthy guys - a very long way from retirement. 
We are having a great time bulding and running Elecraft, and plan to do 
so for some time. But we are not the only people who continue to make 
Elecraft successful.

6. Our well staffed engineering design team is diverse and strong. I'd 
wager that it is as large as, or larger, than many HF rig design teams 
at our competitors. We are well past two guys doing all of the design in 
our basement labs. Our engineering, support, manufacturing and 
management people are top notch, with a lot of depth.  We have a great 
team and plan to keep building it for the long haul.

7. We haven't been a 'QRP Only Company' for some time. Yes, in 1999 we 
first targeted at the QRP market since it was tightly focused, easily 
marketed to, and was our fastest path to a first product. Its still a 
great market, too. But we always planned to also offer 100W 
high-performance rigs, both kit and factory assembled, to compete 
against the best HF rigs from other QRO manufacturers. That's the major 
part of the market. I think you can agree we have more than succeeded in 
that area with the K2 and now the K3.

The majority of our rigs go out the door at 100W.  We are continually 
designing a diverse product line, ranging from QRP to QRO. The KPA500, 
now going into field test, is definitely -not- QRP ;-) But stay tuned 
for more QRP offerings too!

9. Most important, we have incredibly enthusiastic and supportive 
customers. You make it fun for us! By telling your friends about 
Elecraft, the K3, and our other products, you keep us in business every day.

You are our best salespeople. The more you enthusiastically tell your 
friends about our products, in person and on the air, the more new 
products we can design and sell. In today's economic environment, more 
than ever, this is incredibly important to us. Please - keep up the 
great work. We really appreciate it!

73, Eric   WA6HHQ


On 12/1/2010 7:14 AM, Lee Buller wrote:
> I am reluctantly writing this email to the reflector with a very dangerous
> subject line....but here it goes.
> My good ham friend came through town on Monday and we ended up going to dinner
> with the YLs.  As dinner progressed, he asked me what I thought about the
> FT-5000 vs the K3.  I said that "they would have to pry my K3 out of my cold
> dead hands at the end." ...
> I told him about the K3 and that he needed so sit down and work with one.  We
> bantered back and forth and then he said something rather odd...
> He said, "I think Yaesu, ICOM, and Kenwood will still be around in 10 years.
> Will Elecraft?"
> I responded,  "Heck who knows?  Did you ever think Drake would leave the
> business or Heathkit kick the bucket?  Do you think Ten Tec is going to be
> around in 10 years?  And why do thing the Japanese companies would be any 
> better
> once you realize General Motors took it on the chin this year."
> He said, "I am not sure I want to buy a rig from a QRP company or any company
> that is owned by two guys.  What happens when they retired or die?"
> I replied, "Elecraft has their roots in QRP which is a great deal for how they
> design their radios, small, compact, and low current drain.  They are hardly 
> an
> exclusive QRP company.  But, heck, who knows who really owns some of the other
> companies, it is just that we know more about Elecraft because they are very
> communicative.  I don't see a lot of people having direct communication with 
> the
> owners, designers, engineers of the other companies.  Besides, I am sure they
> have made plans for the future, most companies do."
> My friend said, "Yea right."
> ....
> So, after this long email explaining the conversation...  How do companies, 
> like
> Elecraft, Y, K, I, and T, protect their customers in the future knowing that 
> in
> 10 years things could have gone south or the principals might have "moved-on?"
> Or, like everything else in the world....you spin the wheel and take your
> chance.  No guarantees!
> I like the two guys from California...I wish them long lives.
> Lee - K0WA
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