by Eric Swartz May 19, 2020
At Elecraft, like many of you, we are in our 9th week of shelter in place. This has been tough on all of us. Back on March 16th, when the initial California state and local orders were issued with an April 11 estimated end date, we suspected that it would last longer than that, but not as long as this. The majority of our production team had to be furloughed immediately, with a few working from home. Most of our sales, support and the K4 engineering team have also been working from home. We allowed a minimal skeleton staff on site. ( Less than you can count on one hand, with each operating alone in large separate areas.). We’ve been able to ship a subset of our existing radios and accessories from finished goods stock, which has kept cash flow coming in. We thank you for the continuing orders!
We’ve also spent this time totally reorganizing our sales, operations, production, and test areas for proper social distancing along with extreme cleaning and health screening procedures as per the new local and national COVID-19 guidelines for manufacturers. (Wearing masks at all times, Daily health screening upon entry to the building, additional spacing and partitions between work stations and ‘you touch it, you clean it’ procedures, etc.) This is a required change as per our local and State health departments.
Many of our local sub-contractors (sheet metal fabrication, circuit board assembly, etc.) have also been impacted by shelter in place orders. Over the coming weeks, as the State and local health authorities slowly allow more activity, we should be able to get better delivery estimates from them as they are able to ramp back up. Like us, they are eager to get back online. National and international parts suppliers have been similarly impacted.
So what does this mean for first K4 shipments? Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were projecting first K4 deliveries beginning sometime in the April – May window this year. Obviously the pandemic has thrown out those estimates. Based on a gradual reopening in California and other areas, our current feedback from suppliers, and taking into account unexpected delays, shortages, last-minute engineering changes, etc., my estimate is that the first K4 shipments will begin somewhere in a window of late July through the end of August 2020. We’ll keep you informed as we get better information.
As a side note, I’d like to thank everyone who has ordered a K4 for your support. We anticipated seeing cancellations during this pandemic delay, but we have received very few. Our K4 order backlog has actually continued to increase over the past 9 weeks. Wow! You, as our supporters and customers, have continued to energize and amaze us as we have created new products for you these past 21 years. Thank you.
Also, as with all of our products, our engineering team keeps designing new features during the product‘s lifetime. They certainly have not been idle on the K4 during the shelter in place order. (Our DSP S/W defined radio architecture allows us to continually give you a ‘new’ radio with each new sw release.
Keep an ear out for us on the air too. While making a few short test transmissions with my K4 this morning, I ended up in a very nice QSO on 20M SSB! If you hear me, or others on our team, please say “hello.” We may be on a K4!
We hope you, your family and friends stay safe and healthy.
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