In the fall of 2012, I gave myself an Elecraft K3
The transceiver is famous for its robustness and participation in many DX peditions. I found one used for sale at brugtgrej.dk in a good condition and I bought it.
The model I bought has 2 receivers, Antennatuner, 100W PA, 400Hz 8-pole filters, 6KHz + 2.4KHz filters, RF i/o module and Digital Voice recorder.
I do not know how old it is. It can be difficult to determine from the serial number (2334) and the seller did not know, but the best bid I have reached is approx. December 2008 (then the s/n 2362 was produced).
The K3 is really a superstation with a receiver that says spar-two to all the other radios I've tried (Yaesu 450 and 1000, Kenwood TS950, etc.) and surely will surpass my Ten-Tec at certain points as it has a little more options.
Since I'm not a technician and I'm not well versed in technical specifications, I will not speak of that so it's a purely subjective assessment. Here at Elecraft's website there is a comparison table where you can see some numbers.
The first time you get a K3, you will feel it's well built and designed for years of use. The operation is very easy and the large display shows a lot of useful information so you can always see what you're doing. The buttons you use most are also easily accessible and they are not so small that it becomes difficult to use them.
Everyday use is learned quickly, but there is also a configuration menu where you can broadly program your radio as you wish it to behave. There are a lot of options to optimize the receiver for your personal use and you can, for example, program how to send the audio to the different audio outputs, how the built-in morse key must weigh the characters, how much amplification should be added when you use a roofing filter and many many more things. Here's really something to go for the experimental.
TEN-TEC EAGLE 599
November 2011 I received my Ten-Tec Eagle
May 2013 I sold my Ten-Tec Eagle
August 2018 I bought another Ten-Tec Eagle
In the time without an Eagle I tried the Elecraft KX3 together with the 100W PA and also the K2 with 100W PA but I found there was too many cables and did not like the touch of the rigs.
How is the Eagle to use?
The operation is quite simple. It does not have many buttons, but there are those you need for a quick setting.
I do like radio stations without a whole lot of settings, that I do not use for anything. I'm just doing CW and using a paddle so the Eagle suits me really well. I miss a second Key input.
The buttons have a dual function that is changed with the FNC button and adjusted with the Multi button. The most common features are the ones that are most easily used.
When I'm active on a band, i'm only using the VFO, the BW / PBT and AF / RF Gain buttons. They are well placed and easy to access.
The receiver works really well. Once you've got RF gain set to fit the band, it's amazing so much you can hear. RF gain should be set fairly low on most bands. Then I use BW and the VFO.
The transmitter can deliver a 100 Watt good signal that causes me to get contacts in Pile-Ups after quite a few tries. This can unlikely be due to the effect, nor my antenna, which is no special at all ;o)
Another good thing is the small size and the low weight. It's easy to carry as hand luggage in any plane and I'm using it for that too.>
What I miss is an second input for a straight key. That is a lack because I have no option to connect the computer and a paddle at the same time.
My experience with both Elecraft and Ten-Tec is that they are super stations when it comes to CW (and that's all I need). I use both stations with equal pleasure and what Elecraft has in the receiver the "Eagle"has in "Silk smooth break-in" which is a pleasure to work with.
All in all: Two nice American-made transceivers.
My stationary Inverted-L wire
I have no antenna at my home because I live in the center of town in a house where antennas are not allowed at all. So I have a very simple Inverted-L antenna made up of 20 meter wire and a 9:1 UNUN in the feeding point mounted about ½ meter above ground. The high of the DX-Wire heavy duty glasfiber mast is 12 meter and at the other end I have a 10 meter high fishing pole.
This arrangement have given me lots af contacts in contests since 2011.
Expeditions equipment and Antennas
I got a 10 meter DX-Wire glasfiber pole and wire for a vertical including a 9:1 UNUN in the bottom.
Also I have a Windom antenna for 160-10m and it has the mighty length of 79 meter. So I am not able to find place for it on many hotels. My latest trip to Albania was a success with that Windom used in the CQWW CW 2018 Contest.