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Chris Tate, N6WM, Contesting Champion



  • KY6LA_Howard
    KY6LA_Howard Member ✭✭✭
    edited January 2017
    Great resume Chris. Just don't let the non contest guys know that all these contest improvements have made their radios much better. Let them continue to live in their dream world where they can whine that technology improvements don't flow down to Joe Ham
  • km9r.mike
    km9r.mike Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    Howard , it is supposed to be kept secret that contesters hoard all the technology advances. How else would they have a chance to win if they did not.
  • Norm - W7CK
    Norm - W7CK Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    There are a few things I'd like to see fixed before focusing all attention on contests.  My guess is someone will tell me that some of the issues can be addressed through 3rd party software.  Yes, yes it can but we should have a radio that is able to provide the normal functions that nearly every other radio on the market already provides?

    1) noise mitigation still needs work.  Most contesters don't use it because they don't usually have their stations located inside a city and some NR and NB distorts the incoming signal.  You want a contest station in an environment that doesn't require the use of NR or NB, so I'm guessing we might not see work in this area for a while.
    2) Having multiple panadapters open and changing bands on the 6700 between 2m, 6m, HF, the rig gets all confused and fails miserably.  I can't believe I've had my rig over 2 years and this problem still hasn't been fixed.  I'm assuming there aren't many contesters that use 2m on their 6700 so I'm guessing this issue may not be addressed any time soon.
    3) A working squelch is a MUST for a radio that has 8 slices.  Its embarrassing this has gone unaddressed this long.  Another option contesters couldn't care less about.  They have a 6700 for its superior receiver not for the ability to monitor 8 frequencies at one time.  I'm guessing a working squelch won't be something we'll see for quite a while.
    4) The ability to A=B and B=A.  Swapping slices.  Now I'm guessing we'll see this pretty soon.  Contesters usually like this functionality.

    Don't get me wrong, I love my 6700, but there have been times when I've been very frustrated with the simple things my rig just can't do.

  • W9OY
    W9OY Member ✭✭
    edited June 2016
    Why do you presume the choices are binary?  Flex released 3 major version updates last year, none were contest only, one was pretty much Maestro only but that's only rational given the new product release, so why is the presumption: "There are a few things I'd like to see fixed before focusing all attention on contests."?  Does every other radio on the market provide you 3 major version updates per year?  As far as I can see the only "contest stuff" was to rewrite some things to allow integration with N1MM+, to rewrite DAX so there weren't 7 extra TX sound cards hanging around and to better integrate and expand CAT functionality into a Ethernet environment, to add a Winkey emulator and to add much more robust integration of remote into the radio, but none of that is exclusively contest.  I think some of your ideas are good ideas but the presumption Flex's focus is now contest only is a bit dramatic.  When you have 8 slices open exactly which slices represent A=B and B=A?  What if I want A=C or D=E or A=D=E?  All other radios on the market do not have this kind of complexity.  I totally agree there should be some kind of squelch attached to a slice.

    73  W9OY
  • [Deleted User]
    edited December 2016
    Every other radio does NOT need to give 3 versions of software in a year.
    Squelch and . . . how long we been waiting for a NB that works . . . Nuff Said
  • W9OY
    W9OY Member ✭✭
    edited June 2016
    I dunno Steven in my radio improved noise abatement came in Sept 2015.  

    73  W9OY

  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    @ Norm
    Yes, yes it can but we should have a radio that is able to provide the normal functions that nearly every other radio on the market already provides?

    All most all other radios have multiple panadapters?
    Noise mitigation. Were have you been? It has been implemented for a time now,,and It works amazing. My radio can not be operated on 40m at night with out it on, so don't try and say is needs much work,,it works.

    No Steve not anoth said,,you have given up on Flex and sold out. But you still have the need to comment for some reason. But it's your right to. I have looked at your comments over the last year and they for the most part have not been very positive.
    Calling Gerald out when he was to explaining things.

    From Gerald,,I think you should read:
    Let me correct a few misconceptions.  In 13 years of constant software upgrades we themed a single version for contesters.  In the v1.6 release, there is only a single item (OTSRP) that is of unique benefit only to contesters.  All other enhancements are beneficial to the broader community as well.  

    In v1.6 we did a complete rewrite of CAT, made major improvements to DAX as well as Profiles, implemented Waveform improvements, and bug fixes/stability improvements.  We have learned that the demands of contesters for ergonomics, productivity, station integration, performance, and stability benefit the entire user community.  If it benefits their needs it is almost certain to benefit others.
  • Ken - NM9P
    Ken - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Absolutely!  The CAT & DAX improvements have certainly added benefit to my digital operations and the integration with my logging and other software.  Recent updates have made it possible for me to operate remote -- YES, with the aid of a home VPN router and third party software - but it has cost me less to do this than the Software upgrade to v.2.0 will cost.  And I have the benefit of a home VPN for other purposes, too!

    As Norm noted, many desired features, like squelch and memory configuration, are currently available via several excellent, FREE software apps and applets.  This is the beauty and power of the public release of the API and FlexLib.  The releases are beginning to come quite quickly.  and many of them are excellent.  The bonus is, since they are 3rd party, they can be moved to different places on my monitor stack. (I have two at present, and hope to expand to more.)  I can either choose to employ and enjoy them, or complain that they were not provided by FRS according to my preferred time schedule.  I choose to enjoy them.

    Granted...I would like to see (and I expect that we WILL see) continued improvement on the NB & NR front.  

    NR works a LOT better now than it did at first.  Proper adjustment of the NR levels in conjunction with the AGC Speed, AGC-T, RX EQ, and RX Filter passbands can make profound differences in receive capture.    But there is still room for improvement.  But the largest improvement in NR can be had by learning how they operate and managing expectations.

    NB & WNB have seen a lot of improvement.  There are some noise sources on which they have a dramatic effect.  Other noise sources find them less effective.  Others will never be touched by them because they are not the type of noise that a noise blanker will handle.

    However, I find that on some bands...40, 17 in particular, I have some problems with very strong shortwave broadcast stations with very sharp modulation products (on the edge of overmodulation) that make the WNB "pump" the audio and put spikes on the panadapter - even at moderate settings of the WNB control.

    So I am not a "Kool-aid Drinker."  I give praise when deserved, and constructive criticism when warranted.  (with the emphasis on "constructive" criticism. )

    But even with some level of frustration with a few features, this is still the best rig I have ever used, and it keeps getting better.  

    Having served on the Alpha Team for the past three months, It has been a real eye-opener.  It is amazing how much effort is given to a large variety of issues related to each alpha release, and the huge number of ideas discussed by the whole team - both volunteers and FRS staff - regarding improvements for upcoming and future releases.  It is also amazing how much effort it takes to incorporate these ideas into a software package that will run effectively on all three three similar, but different rigs in the 6000 series.

    This rig will never be "done" because there are enough performance, gui, convenience, and other suggestions to keep the staff working for the next several years.

    Ken - NM9P
  • Burt Fisher
    Burt Fisher Member ✭✭
    edited August 2016
    The rig will never be done? Tell that to owners of the 5000,3000,1500
  • Dan -- KC4GO
    Dan -- KC4GO Member
    edited November 2016
    "managing expectations" I made a living in the Cellular/Wireless world doing this.
    When everything is working to our expectation it's great, the problem is everyone's expectation is different. ALL the changes the have went into SSDR and adding Maestro over the past few months for Contesting and DX operations have improved the radios performance (I don't Contest or DX)  I sure like the new CAT and DAX from when I got the 6500 over 18 months ago great in setting up Digital modes. Try running JT-65, WSPR, RTTY and SSB at the same time on your brand X radio.
              I'll accept Mr Fisher's comment regarding the older Flex Radios, but there are new software releases still being produced (open source you don't like it write your own.)  There are now several stand alone applications running the 6000 radios.(Thanks API). In the end all radios become outdated and are bypassed by new technology. 
         I'm using a Kenwood TS-480SAT as my mobile radio. It's 11 years old and has had no upgrades in that period of time. If my Flex 6500 never had another upgrade that wouldn't make it a bad radio, I would still be happy with my purchase.  Thanks Ken for your great words and thanks Flex for your continued work. I look forward to the future with my 6500.
     Oh and if you want to sell your radio just do it already. (Different  thread)
  • Steve (N9SKM)
    Steve (N9SKM) Member
    edited June 2016
    Burt made a similar comment in another thread concerning the PSDR rigs to which i made a similar reply. Its legacy equipment and FRS has helped those that are writing software for them with rigs and information. So even the legacy stuff is getting changes/ upgrades and active support from the manufacturer on this site.

    And i totally agree DAX and a couple or 3 slices is awesome for watching a few digital modes at the same time as you are doing something else.
  • Steve (N9SKM)
    Steve (N9SKM) Member
    edited June 2016
    Kevin i think you missed the point that Phil and FRS has made regarding the fact that the data stream for the radio requires LOW LATENCY. All of the other streaming services you mentioned can buffer (Keep downloading to get ahead of where you are) which isn't something that can really be done here. Imagine working a pileup with a 5 sec buffer on either end of the maestro data stream.

    While some people are having problems and FRS has acknowledged them and offered suggestions many other people are having no issues. 

    Phil static IP would be nice to have.
  • W9OY
    W9OY Member ✭✭
    edited June 2016
    Actually psdr is actively being developed by ke9ns under the open license 73. W9OY
  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016

    Anyone who buys a SDR with the huge emphasis on SOFTWARE and then complains that there are SOFTWARE updates has made the wrong purchase for their expectations. 

    One might well ask "What were you thinking?" when someone complains that the most major product feature of the entire SmartSDR Ecosystem - software updates - is delivered.

    Any "Ex-Owner" also needs to realize the reasons they became an "ex" are of interest, but after that who cares what they think!  They are no longer in the game, as you canceled your own ticket selling.  You right and respected, but your forward opinion isn't of much use. 

    There is a huge positive in having a POC for Contesting.  Simply put while I seldom have any real need for racetrack and autobahn proven technologies, I prefer to have them - likewise while I seldom more than casually contest I prefer to have every feature developed in contesting in my station.  If you personally don't, that is okay, but make way as I do and will pursue advancing my station to get them.

    And if you are an "ex-Flexer" I we have other things we can talk about, but as the product is constantly evolving through the wonders of software updates your complaints are more historic & hysteric than anything useful for looking forward with SmartSDR.


    Steve K9ZW

  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Me thinks you touched on a really good point Steve. That being, "There is a huge positive in having a POC for Contesting". Period. I say, 'period' as that actually is the subject of this conversation/thread, "Chris Tate, N6WM, Contesting Champion". So, yes, this is likely the wrong conversation to discuss 'why I sold my xxxxx". However, with absolutely no disrespect to Chris...at all, this may not be a bad place for non-contesting Flex owners to register, shall we call it, concern, about the apparent focus on what is likely not only the minority user of the SSDR ecosystem but also the wealthiest of SSDR users. So if one thinks in terms of meta message, which is the larger message in the message people expressing concern that maybe FRS is indicating they are more interested in attracting and retaining the Howard's of the Amateur Radio spectrum than retaining the retired school teachers who just want a really good radio where they are the focus of the design goals. If the ex users are merely saying that had they perceived the design focus was on them, they might not be ex owners than, I'd suggest, that is a valid point for them to make. This, as opposed to simply seeing an opportunity to take a parting shot at FRS or whatever which, as you say, this is the inappropriate place to do that.
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I do not recall Gerald saying Flex is going to slow down on non contest features. With the help of contesters the plan is to improve many performance groups in the radio and performance in the shack. I may be wrong on this but it seems to be a good thing for everyone to benefit.
    If in the future if these improvement's show little use for non contesters, then yes we have a problem. Lets see shall we?

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