Elecraft K3 S/N 001048 is about to get baptized

I once read that "stories only happen to those who can tell them". Here’s a story to tell about the K3 that got delivered and taken away (twice!) in one smooth walk from the UPS guy…

After waiting for 4 months since ordering I finally received my Elecraft invoice on June 5th. That usually means the K3 is almost underway. I saw my VISA had already been billed by Elecraft so I sent a mail to the sales department. They promptly replied in a kind message that I would get a mail with a UPS tracking number as soon as my box left their premises. Great! I needed to estimate the ETA because I knew UPS was going to charge me the VAT on import. That’s to be paid COD so I needed to have quite a lot of cash in the house. Not that much but way more than I carry around on an average day.

In the mean time I ordered some stuff for the shack (switched mode PSU and a hand full of plugs) from a German distributor. Last Wednesday I got a mail with a UPS tracking number (feel it coming?) for that parcel from Germany. I tracked it and assumed that my German parcel would arrive Thursday afternoon (best case). Great, I was at home. Still no tracking or any other sign of life from Elecraft.

At 14.00 local time a UPS van stops and I rush to the front door. The driver was going through all the boxes in his van. It took him at least two minutes to step out and walk to my front door. What was that? Two boxes? For a small PSU and some plugs? Oh no… Could it be that my K3 was here totally unexpected?

The UPS guy walks through the door into the living room and informs me that I need to pay a few hundred Euros. I look at the cargo label. Sure enough: Elecraft. But I didn’t know it was coming so my cash flow at that point was a little shy. I tell the guy I’m happy to see him but that the company hadn’t updated me and so I wasn’t prepared to pay that amount right away. I asked where he was heading to next and learned that he needed to deliver a parcel downtown (‘downvillage’ would be more appropriate) so I convinced him to meet me there and exchange the goods. The store he needed to go to has an ATM in front so I could withdraw enough cash to pay the bill. He agreed and picked up both boxes and while walking to his van he advises me to grab some small change (2.35 Euro: 2 + 0.20 + 0.10 + 0.05 = 4 coins) to get the exact amount so that he doesn’t need to give change – because he doesn’t have any.

I lead the way to the center of our little village because his GPS proposed another route. Now you should know that in summer and when I don’t need to go to work, I always wear shorts. Shorts with shallow and wide pockets that hold 2.35 Euro (4 coins) for Mister UPS. We arrive on the spot where I park the car and jump out. Uh oh… I recognize that clink-clank sound. As I moved my leg the coins fell out of those shallow pockets. Right between the center console and the driver’s seat. If there is a god, he doesn’t like me. I kneel down and start digging for those coins, moving back and forth between driver’s seat and back seat. UPS Guy watches in amazement and suddenly yells he’ll be back later and moves off. I guess he ran out of patience and went on to deliver some more boxes while I was digging for money. That’s the second time that transceiver is taken away from me! All coins were stuck in the slide of the seat. Not easy to get to them, and I had no tools at hand. At this point I didn’t have a K3 either. Finally I managed to pick all coins and wipe the grease off. Those car mechanics sure put some grease in the seat’s slides!

Now off to the ATM on the other side of the road. I envision the dreaded message "This ATM is empty. Alternatively please go to…". Living in a small rural village will yield a short "Go To"-list. But no such message and I can withdraw enough cash. A few minutes later Mister UPS returns and the deal is sealed. I return home and start unpacking the box…

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