Despite having several top-notch transceivers intended for field use, I’ve wanted to add a fully-loaded KX2 to the line-up for a long time. But every time I visit the Elecraft Web site intent on placing an order I’m faced with a reminder that it will be 12-16 weeks before it ships.

This has prompted me to pass on the purchase figuring eventually that long lead-time will be reduced to something more palatable.

Yet, availability has never improved. Not in a year or more at least, so I went ahead and placed an order and now stand in a long queue with everyone else. 12-16 weeks the order tells me. Had I placed an order when I first starting looking I would have already it so the deed is done, the order is placed, and now I wait.

Time spent on the Elecraft Web site got me thinking that I need to send my KX3 back to the factory for a minor repair and a full checkout. It’s an expensive bit a kit and I want to keep it in top-flight condition.

An email to support garnered a prompt reply with an estimate and a return authorization – and a request:

Please acknowledge the long lead time on the KX3 repair estimate.

I hadn’t paid attention, but re-reading the estimate I see this:

We are currently running 15 to 20 business weeks for upgrades and repairs after receiving your equipment.

Holy crap on a cracker!

I’m not just picking on Elecraft here, nothing is “fast” anymore. I’m on a year-long waiting list to purchase a new HF amplifier and earlier this year I went looking for a simple multi-band vertical and couldn’t find what I was looking for in stock anywhere. All the major dealers Web sites said “we expect deliveries of this item in August 2022” – that was in February.

I know, I know, there’s a chip shortage and a parts shortage and the high cost of diesel fuel plus the Covid shutdowns and you can’t hire anyone and my dog ate my homework… At this point I think it should just be assumed that we will never get back to “normal” and that this era of deprivation is the new normal.

Fortunately, ham radio items are a luxury and not a requirement for life on this planet. Long delays to have a transceiver repaired or upgraded is the very definition of a “first world problem” but it seems the only thing to be done about it is to maintain multiples of everything so when one requires service a year-long wait doesn’t upset the first world apple cart.