Elecraft was founded in 1998 by Wayne Burdick (N6KR) and Eric Swartz (WA6HHQ).
Wayne and Eric ship the 1st 100 K2s (January 1999)
Elecraft Headquarters (2016)
Eric interviewing Hope, KM4IPF at Dayton 2017
Visalia Trade Show 2017
We're dedicated to hands-on ham radio. We offer unique, high-performance transceivers and accessories that are available both factory assembled and as kits that you can easily build yourself.
Our thousands of customers would each have a different answer to this question. Some of them enjoy building so much that they'll build a kit for you (see builders for hire). Most would tell you that hand-assembling a modern transceiver offers a much richer experience than simply operating it. And when you're finished, you'll have a radio that you can understand, repair, and even modify.
But what's more important is that our transceivers have performance and features you simply won't find anywhere else. That's why we started the company.
We couldn't buy an all-band, contest-class HF transceiver with incredible receiver performance for under $1000—especially since we also wanted it to double as a 5-pound, low-current-drain Field Day station. So we designed the K2 and the K2/100. (And in 2008, the K3 - offered factory assembled and as a kit, followed by the K3S in 2016.) We also couldn't find a compact, 4-band QRP CW transceiver with internal battery and internal automatic antenna tuner. So we designed the K1. Then there's our all-band/all-mode, ultra-portable, "trail-friendly" transceiver, the KX3 (also offered factory assembled and as a kit.), and its baby brother, the KX1. These are the rigs we always wanted for backpacking but didn't exist. We now offer a wide range of products ranging from our top-of-the line transceivers to our KPA500 Automatic Amplifier, uC controlled Watt-meters, VHF/UHF Transverters, high performance ATUs and 1-night mini-module test equipment kits.
New hams might be surprised to learn that just a few decades ago, most operators built at least some of their own equipment. Hands-on was the rule, not the exception. This aspect of the hobby has seen a renaissance recently, thanks to the efforts of kit-oriented clubs and small manufacturers. Elecraft was founded in the midst of this kit revival. Wayne had designed the NorCal 40A and Sierra transceivers for the Northern California QRP Club, then helped commercialize them. Eric, a Silicon Valley veteran who had started a successful high-tech company of his own, was a technical advisor to the club, and worked with Wayne in refining the designs.
During a long walk with our families on the beach, we decided to collaborate on a new transceiver that would work well as a kit and meet our own needs. Rather than focus on simple QRP transceivers, as others had, we wanted to bring back the "big rig" building experience. To do this, we made extensive use of modularity, new IC technology, and techniques that simplify assembly. But we were also committed to performance, which suggested using a single-conversion, ham-band-only architecture. This is why the K2's receiver tops the charts in several categories (see our comparison table).
Even first-time builders tell us that our kits really are easy to build. They all include our no-wires, modular construction and have built-in test equipment to simplify alignment and testing. You can download the complete assembly/operating manual for either rig. Please take a look at what our customers are saying, as well as the many K1, K2, and K3/s magazine product reviews.
In addition to the K3s, our P3 Panadapter, KPA500 Solid State Amplifier, KAT500 High Power ATU, W2 Wattmeter and the KX3 Transceiver are available factory assembled and as kits.
We also have a very popular e-mail reflector. This easy-to-use mailing list allows our customers around the world to quickly get answers to assembly or operating questions—any time, day or night. And we're great listeners. Customer suggestions often turn into new products or help us make improvements to existing ones. So, when you buy an Elecraft product, you'll get more than just a product: you'll have the ear of everyone on our staff, including the founders of the company.
Elecraft is based in Watsonville, California on the Monterey Bay, on the western slope of the Santa Cruz mountains. (Just outside of Silicon Valley.) We have a focused and experienced staff, as well as a number of talented customer/designers who contribute their ideas and expertise.
Wayne Burdick, N6KR
Eric Swartz, WA6HHQ