John -- I too was surprised by the quality of parts...the mini audio jacks, PPT switch and the encoder are examples of "value engineering" at its finest (worst!). But what we have here, in its totality, is a very clever bit of kit -- and an astounding value for $130.
While I could buy any modern professional commercial radio with lovely knobs, high quality enclosure, professional jacks (!), ample volume, AGC, S-meter, and a thousand other features, I just had no interest. You have to want to build, solve, create, experiment, tinker a bit, and communicate with others for help. And provide a few of your own parts from the junk box when you break the el-cheapo kit parts, or if you just can't stand the way they feel or look.
Example: A buddy of mine couldn't stomach the inexpensive feel and look of the rotary encoder (he may have "accidentally" stepped on it as well..hahah). So he purchased a really nice version, in a lot of 5. He gave me one. It feels soooo good compared to the included kit encoder. And it just looks sturdy and well made, as it is. So I have tossing out the cheap included encoder and replacing it with the sexy sturdy version, on my "round-to-it" list. But I will never get "round-to-it". Why? The included cheap encoder works fine, and I never really turn the knob anyway. Rig control and digital modes from my laptop take care of all the frequency changes. And I put in a Nextion screen (dreamy!!), so I use the touch interface to do most of the freq changes. But the encoder works anytime I need it. The poor cheap encoder, made from tinfoil, will last a thousand years as is.
Ditto with the little PPT surface mount switch. When I figured out what it was, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen. But then I built the mic in a pill bottle, and the stupid cheap surface mount PPT switch fit just fine on the side of the pill bottle mic. It too will last for a thousand years.
This kit radio can not be brought into the world without a fair amount of "you" added to it. If you like this process, you will love this 80-10 band 20-2 watt transceiver.
And asking for help in this community is also an extraordinary experience. After I built my radio, it would receive great, but no TX. I was sooo frustrated. A fellow in this IO community said, "look, put it in a box, send it to me, and let me look at it. If it takes any new parts, you pay for them, but I'll do the labor, no problem". So I put my kit radio in a box and mailed it off to a complete stranger a long way away.
Turns out, as is often the case with me, I had screwed up a drive pot. My angel of mercy just twisted it to the right setting, put it in the box, and set it back to me. You could make the argument that as good as a value as the kit is, the value of the community of builders here is 100 times more valuable.
If you want to see my uBITX in its current glory, and the goofy pill bottle mic, see my www.qrz.com page. I found it very very helpful to keep looking at the work of others to encourage me. If you want to see some uBITX performance, wait a week and see my results on WSPRnet under KM4UDX This little radio, and a multi-band compromise antenna, gets to the farthest reaches of the planet. Pretty good value for you money.
(*) I'm in the middle of a computer change over. But when using the old computer last month, my uBITX was in the top 20 world wide for 2 way WSPRnet spots. This is competing with wicked professional gear, with their great quality components(!) And this little uBIX kit, with the cheapest jacks and encoder in the world, is running ahead of almost all of them.
If I can help, just ask.