Welcome to the new FlexRadio Community! Please review the new Community Rules and other important new Community information on the Message Board.
If you are having a problem, please refer to the product documentation or check the Help Center for known solutions.
Need technical support from FlexRadio? It's as simple as Creating a HelpDesk ticket.

Is it just me feeling like this?

Steve G1XOW
Steve G1XOW Member ✭✭
edited June 2020 in SmartSDR for Windows

Is it just me?

Contrary to the joy of FRS releasing nice new products, I feel like we’ve been dumped on from a great height.

FRS have been promising great headline grabbing features from SSDR for over 3 years now. Whilst we have been spoon-fed minor tweaks, we are still missing out on lots of basic must-have stuff.  By basic I mean things that almost all radios over $1k had included from shipment of serial No 000001.

For examples:  a proper useable S-meter, programmable RX filter profiles, all mode squelch, ability to assign antenna selection by band, ability to assign TX RCA amp switching by band, a lacklustre Noise blanker, a terrible ANF, the ability to quickly and simply do A <> B, A = B, split etc from on-screen buttons without needing numerous mouse clicks. And that’s without my long list of GUI shortfalls that are still lacking elegance, configurability and ease of use.  All these things subtract user pleasure from what could be a first class system.

For me just a handful of essential basic features would have been enough to make me happy. It would have enabled the excellent RF deck of the F6k to be used without feeling that SSDR is somehow the limiting factor in an otherwise great product. Even now we have no certainty nor confirmation from FRS that important missing functions will even be included with SSDR v2.0, which of course we will now have to pay for too.

FRS tell us that they are a software company, yet in the past 3 years they have developed the Maestro, co-developed the XL amp, developed the whole USB interface functions, and now they have managed to somehow design and develop 3 new radios!   All this time SSDR has lacked fundamental usability features, and has some serious bugs, lock-ups and GUI limitations.

I didn’t want WAN remote or other fancy ideas like diversity and S02R, just a solid radio deck that works as well as, and gives the same operating pleasure as any other radios in the $5k+ class.

If my soon to arrive Icom-7610 had a poor ANF then I’d send it back under warranty, expecting it fixed without charge, not a chargeable upgrade”. But, I suppose if I had to, I’d pay $200 again, even if it was for functions that really should have been included and/or worked properly from the get-go…but it had better have them ALL working A1 this time around.

For the past few months, I’ve been poised ready to decide if I should dump Flex. This would have been subject only to functionality immediately accessible from V2.0, and without having to wait / buy-in to more V2.x/V3 mañana promises.

And now the final nail in to coffin, it looks like my financial investment in Flex has just taken a big hit thanks to the new models.  Yes I know those in the USA can do a trade-up but what about the rest of the world?   I have been a loyal Flex user since SDR-1000. Are we second best, and does FRS only want our cash without the same level of commitment it gives to the US market?

I feel like FRS have strung us along for way too long with SSDR not moving forward with alacrity. Yet covertly they’ve been developing new radios instead that use up that precious and expensive payroll in other areas.

It looks like my trust and commitment in the FRS sales pitch and F6k has now become old-hat before it’s even reached functional maturity.

I had expected better from a small US company but I ended up very disappointed. So, no thanks FRS I will not be buying another prototype from you - I am not going to be that naïve and trusting twice.



  • WW1SS - Steve
    WW1SS - Steve Member ✭✭
    edited April 2020
    That is why I dumped mine . . . Promises . . . Promises . . . Promises. Nothing has changed. Horrible noise blanker along with other things and always a 1/2 finished product. Been hearing about all these features that never get added. Hearing about 2.0 for almost 3 years now I think. 

    They half finish a product . . . Start on a new product and take in cash with reservations for the new product. I am waiting for the 7610 to come out. I have a reservation in for a 6600m but not sure yet if I will purchase it when my time comes in 6 or 8 months from now.

    I don't have an issue with any company coming out with new stuff but finish the current stuff 100%
  • Andrew O'Brien
    Andrew O'Brien Member ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    While I like the Flex SSDR software, I do agree with your points about its lack of gee-**** features compared to things like SDR-Radio Console by Simon Brown  SDRUno , SDR# , and even KE9NS's version of PowerSDR. I think we would be further along the software cutting edge if somehow Flex enabled their transceivers to work with third-party software more readily. Let Flex design the transceiver while third part developers go to town on innovative software.

    I am also getting a little tired of radios being "launched" but then having to wait months for one to be delivered.  It seems an odd concept, but perhaps I'm a bit behind the latest marketing trends. Seems to me that it is OK to announce a pending new product , but once officially launched I think the supply chain should have a first run production to supply several thousand customers within a few days of placing the order. I am really shocked to read here that there are people waiting several weeks for a Flex 6500. 

    Andy K3UK
  • Marc Lalonde
    Marc Lalonde Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    i agree a bit on that , i have preferred have V2.0 or even V3.0 for some time before flex devaluate it own radio whit same or better receiver specification and less expensive new model. 

    i knot it may got part sourcing challenge but still may make a MKII model

    have expected  probably i my dream that FRS  what to show new software on hamvention 
    instead like all other do and show new radio  , and V2.0 fall right under the carpet (again)

    so flex look now like all other  ,doing new "Hardware" every year instead of doing future-prof radio platform , that redefine itself by new software that  is SDR definition after all  ,and wly we put lot of money for buy a 6700 platform  and before that a 6500

    so now i just wait for my new ordered 6400  to ship .....  , but have prefer put my money on V2.0

    quick Googeling and find old road map that show V2 for 2015 !!!!    ,so yup it may easy to tell that it do hardware instead of focus on software .

    Marc  VE2OLM
  • WW1SS - Steve
    WW1SS - Steve Member ✭✭
    edited April 2020
    Yes right now a 6500 is 2 to 3 weeks out. A maestro is 8 to 12 weeks out. I have a Maestro and 6500 on order and was gonna pay when shipped. I placed the order 1-9-2017 and was told then the Maestro was 8 to 12 weeks out and it is still that. Wanted everything shipped at once.The 6300 is 4 to 6 weeks out. 

    I confirmed this the other day with Flex.

    It is downright ridiculous
  • Paul Bradbeer
    Paul Bradbeer Member
    edited April 2019

    Hi Steve.  Nope, I don't think it will be just you that is feeling a bit bruised/bewildered etc by recent events. Here's my thoughts - hopefully readers will see this as it is intended...a piece of reflective thought, not a rant.

    For my own part I have just realised that owning a 'proper' SDR means that my investment is more like a PC than a radio....what a fool, I should have seen that coming.  Afterall, it has always been referred to as a Radio Server.

    Yes, I get it that my 6500 will still work with SSDR 2.x etc but that is cold comfort when the value of my investment takes the inevitable tumble and the 'cost to change' becomes so high.  It would have been easier if I had high confidence that SSDR2.x will deliver the changes that many of us are hoping for, but I'm not sure it will.  I know that the platforms are different, and that FPGA programming brings different challenges, but my long ownership of an Elecraft K3 (and K2 before that) has spoiled me in terms of what to expect from software updates - yes, Elecraft not only fixed the bugs, tweaked things to customer requests, but with every new release there always seemed to be some excellent new functionality.  By comparison, FRS' updates seem to be advancing the platform at a much slower rate.

    The US-only trade-up programme will surely make it easier for US-hams to stay brand loyal and trade their 6300s and 6500s for 6400s and 6600s. Here in the UK I guess that only the hardiest of FRS supporters will stay brand loyal; afterall, it appears we're in a different paradigm now in terms of 'rig' longevity and resale value.  I'd have thought that this was something that FRS would want to address by extending the trade-up programme....I wonder if the business case stacks up?


    Paul M0CVX (and ex-AC5NO....I used to be an honorary Texan  ;-)   )

  • Peter EIER
    Peter EIER Member
    edited May 2017
    Spot on!

    Peter - PH0PPL
  • Paul Bradbeer
    Paul Bradbeer Member
    edited May 2017

    Steve, just thought...maybe we should just chill out, Listen to some music...

    Let's see, how about a bit of The Who?  (selects appropriate album on British-made Cyrus HiFi)

    (sound builds up - wailing guitars...loud screaming..)....oh hang on, what's this?.... 'We won't be fooled again'.

    It's just not my day....  (dons flameproof suit...)

  • Jim Gilliam
    Jim Gilliam Member ✭✭
    edited June 2018

    Perhaps the platform of the 6000, though innovative, is much too difficult to maintain and improve with a reasonable profit margin. We forget those guys have to "eat" too. Perhaps this has been a market decision so Flex can maintain a profit to continue the task of firmware/software updates.

    Jim, K6QE

  • Marc Lalonde
    Marc Lalonde Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    hardware development = money pit   ,software cost only wage
  • James Watts
    James Watts Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I personally think FRS underestimated the cost of development. They've found themselves in an unsustainable financial situation. If you add up their market share along with cost to develop such a feature-rich platform and deliver on their promises, they've had to release hardware (presell with prepayment; sort of like a kickstarter campaign) to keep revenue incoming to support staff and R&D. Almost like a Ponzi scheme. Remember the 6000 series was announced in 2013 with a roadmap of development. Now it's 2017 with software that's half-baked. Part of the selling pitch to get you into the 6000 line back then was upcoming features in the roadmap that would be released with v2.00 slated for 2015. However, v2.00 never came but the hardware has been replaced and new hardware announced. This is like robbing Peter to pay Paul while ostracizing your current customer base. I don't think this is sustainable for FRS.
  • WW1SS - Steve
    WW1SS - Steve Member ✭✭
    edited April 2020
    I think realistically using Flex past timelines these new radios probably won't be out till summer 2018
  • Mark WS7M
    Mark WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I read this with interest and I feel for those of you overseas. 

    One major difference is that Kenwood, Yaesu and Icom while Japanese have pretty much setup infrastructure world wide so they don't quite feel foreign.  FRS has only done a little of this so the support and programs don't reach overseas.

    For Steve, the main thread starter, I hear you.  It seems like SmartSDR has been in small bug fix mode for a very long time.  Had they addressed basic functionality you mention people like yourself could be much happier.

    I hope you decide to stick it out and see what happens as I've enjoyed reading your forum interactions.  Same for the rest of the group here.  But I do get it.

    For me it comes down to choices: 

    I'm not a power user ham.  I don't do SO2R, diversity, in fact I don't even use all the features my 6500 has.  In my HOA I can barely put up an antenna and the idea of having two for diversity receive makes me laugh.  The HOA **** would be here in minutes.  How I've skated by with my end feed 130 foot wire is still amazing.

    I am a professional software developer, so the Flex API intrigues me.  It means I can solve some of these issues myself if I could ever find the time.

    I do believe and at least it was this way in my experience that when you by a knob radio from one of the big three you might plan on 2 or 3 firmware updates but whatever features the knobs support is pretty much all you will ever have.

    A short time back I had some very bad family news and decided I need to sell my flex gear and amp.  I sold my flex 6500, put my SPE amp up for sale and ordered an icom 7300.

    The little icom was cute and the little panafall was pretty useless in my opinion.  I also had to be in my shack to use it at all which was in a dark corner of my basement.  In 2 weeks I began to regret my decision.  Also my family news turned out not to be so bad, so I ordered a 6300, then a month after getting that I took advantage of the trade in (getting full price) and traded other gear back to a 6500.

    At that time I ordered a maestro but later cancelled it because I realized I can just use my laptop.  From what I read about some maestros I am glad I did.  I am not convinced it is a stable product yet.  But then again, I'd probably not even have mine due to the part and board re-turn issues.

    Anyway just rambling here.  I like the flex API and that is what keeps me on the radio.  I hope Flex listens to everyone here and does put some effort back into software.  It could sure use it.

    Mark - WS7M

  • Jerry  WA9UKB
    Jerry WA9UKB Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    For what it's worth I did notice no XLR Jack, Aldo in the radio comparisons chart of the new models no mention of the Flex 6500?
  • Jim Gilliam
    Jim Gilliam Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020

    Try an XLR to USB converter. Works great and can't see any difference plugging the microphone in directly to the radio.

    Jim, K6QE

  • Pat N6PAT
    Pat N6PAT Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    I find it interesting that people complain about having to pay for a new release of SSDR. Do you get new versions of Windows for free? 

    Keep in mind that the software in an SDR is as much a part of an SDR as hardware is in a conventional radio. With that in mind would you expect other manufacturers to provide hardware upgrades for free? 

    I really think some of you are so used to conventional radios that you simply cannot break free of the knob dependency and cannot adapt to SDR. Perhaps SDR is not for you.

    I love my 6700 and will never go back to conventional radios again. Every single knob, meter, switch and dial is a potential problem. The more you depend on hardware the more restrictive upgrades will be. SDR offers far more opportunities for expansion. Show me a conventional radio with the ability to monitor 8 different band/modes at the same time.
  • Walt
    Walt Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    I find the software development to be too slow to my liking and run-of-the-mill operating.  There are more daily-use featiures on my old ts-590s than in the 6500, which is why the 590 is still on the desk runiing 24/7 and doing some important things.

    Have had my 6500 for three years - was hoping for a different type of Dayton presentation - less hardware and lots of new software features - like a finished version 1.

    Time to cut the losses and move on.

    Good luck to Flex and their contest radio path - I hope they do well.  Just not my cup of tea.


  • Paul Bradbeer
    Paul Bradbeer Member
    edited May 2017
    Pat.  I may be interpreting things differently but, for me, this thread is not about people moaning about paying for software updates, and it is not about people 'not adapting' to SDR in your phraseology...it is far more varied and subtle than that. Heck, if SSDR 2.0 delivers useful (to me) new functionality I will quite happily shell out $200.  Who knows, by then, that may double the value of my 6500 (joke).
  • Pat N6PAT
    Pat N6PAT Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I only mentioned paying for SSDR because Steve mentioned it in the initial comment:

    "...with SSDR v2.0, which of course we will now have to pay for too."

  • Giulio
    Giulio Member
    edited May 2017
    They have to eat yes, but please, there are many ways to do it. I feel terribly duped. Speechless.
  • Jerry  WA9UKB
    Jerry WA9UKB Member ✭✭
    edited November 2018
    I did the same thing, although my son has the talk 590 now, I do use a Flex 1500 most of the time to listen, has a better noise blanker easy to record with and screen capture utility power line noise and plasma tv interference, since I have had no resolve since 2001 with incidental RF interference from the utility power line distribution poles . Sometimes 30 over 9 And my neighbors Plasma TV , I'm considering selling everything as being retired and on a fixed income and keep a portable HF rig when away from home. No resolve from the ARRL when I originally sent a complaints to Ed Hair ARRL or the FCC back in 2001 and on and of thru the years Licensed since 1967. Jerry, WA9UKB
  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Feel very different and continue to have a blast both with what is out and what is coming. If something else trips your trigger, go for it. If you are too impatient or something in the works is critical for your station, then fill that gap. The present products are awesome fun and the new ones simply rock. Glad I've a 6700 and Maestro at each QTH. 73 Steve K9ZW
  • Paul Bradbeer
    Paul Bradbeer Member
    edited May 2017

    Oh ok, but don't forget Steve also said:

    'But, I suppose if I had to, I’d pay $200 again, even if it was for functions that really should have been included and/or worked properly from the get-go...but it had better have them ALL working A1 this time around.'

    So I don't think that's the biggest issue here.  Regards  Paul

  • Arnie
    Arnie Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Steve and all:
    I have been with Flexradios since the 3000. I pre-ordered the 6300 when they were announced at Dayton. I waited 15 months before the delivered a nice radio but with horrible rudimentary software. A had assumed it would be an upgrade the PowerSDR, not a stripped down software lacking even a panadapter. Though they have obviously improved SmartSDR since it lackluster beginning, it still lacks many useful features of PowerSDR, which even now is being improved by a third party and far surpasses the features in SmartSDR. Even something which my Icom 751 purchased new in the 80's had, like squelch. 
    When I voiced some skepticism about FRS  delivering the 66oo/64oo in August, someone on this board jumped on me as being so negative. I replied that I was not being negative...just being realistic based on past performance. 
    There is obviously a lot more profit in bringing out new radios than there is in bringing out state-of-the-art software for existing radios.
    Even the IC-7300 radio has been operable natively over the internet for a long time.....time in which FRS has yet to fulfill that expectation, let alone bring SmartSDR up to even the level of PowerSDR. IN fact, FRS has gone backwards and removed such basic features as keyboard shortcuts and CAT control for many features that were/are in PowerSDR...like being able to adjust the TUNE STEP. WHen I asked to have the features returned, I was told "it's not a priority" by Tim.
    I like my 6500, but am sorely disappointed in the pace of fulfilling expectations about the software, which is, after, what the radio is.
    73 de Arnie W8DU
  • Michael Aust
    Michael Aust Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Your not alone in thinking this.
    73 Mike
  • Steve Gw0gei
    Steve Gw0gei Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I feel your pain . Twice in the last twelve months I have been in the telephone discussing purchasing. A 6700 to replace my 6300. I tried a 6500 afte r my first 6300 and found it didn't offer enough for so2r. Hf and vhf contesting due to the single. Scu. I bought another 6300 and have been happy with the ssdr developments for icontesting until. The hang ups and dax driver corruptions soured the experience. I could live with the poor anf and nb etc but the radio hanging during a contest. Is a big no no for me. I win the rsgb hf championship. Series last year with my 6300. And am competing in the series. Plus other s this year.

    Luckily. In both occasions. Something has made me hesitate before. Going ahead with the. 6700. Upgrade and I have spent money on antennas and. Upgrading Amos instead.

    The. 6600 looks good to me in non m mode and I can live with the bigger box. If it means it will be easier and cheaper to fix if it goes bad. I have had no interest in going back to knobs. Via maestro or the new m versions. (Which look ugly. And cheap like knobs similar to. K3)..

    I have been trying to sell my 6300 in recent weeks as I anticipated that flex would be bringing so,e new models out. I have no chance of selling it now - not a major problem. To me as I can afford to keep it for /p. Or multi two contesting. Use. However I will not be buying a 6700 or 6600. For my main so2r hf and transverting needs until such time as ssdr. Issues have been sorted and the. Improved performance discovered via the recent sherwood tests are rolled out for all. 6000 model radios. In the meantime. I will be sitting in my hands and cash.

    One of the things I liked about flex. When I. Bought first. 6300 four years ago. Was the roadmap and the. Good communications. With customers. It's still better than icom an others who don't even admit they have a problem , but I am starting to look again at the elecraft offering even though I have never liked their ergonomics and quality i of the case etc.

    I sincerely hope that flex can get a maintenance release of ssdr out. Next week , even if it's a public beta , as I a goingto have to do a re install anyway due to another dax corruption this week. I will be happy to pay for 2.0 if it offers lots of new features, and when it is a stable product, but in the meantime I want my 6300 to be a reliable joy to operate. With my flex knob. And not. An unreliable pain in the **** .

    Steve gw0gei / gw9j
  • Mark WS7M
    Mark WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Wait... Peter... you feed your developers!?   Man... I'm been getting **** for years!  :-)

  • Peter K1PGV
    Peter K1PGV Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Free lunch every day, and free sodas and snacks, all day every day, even! Yes... that's just the kind of guy I am ;-)

Leave a Comment

Rich Text Editor. To edit a paragraph's style, hit tab to get to the paragraph menu. From there you will be able to pick one style. Nothing defaults to paragraph. An inline formatting menu will show up when you select text. Hit tab to get into that menu. Some elements, such as rich link embeds, images, loading indicators, and error messages may get inserted into the editor. You may navigate to these using the arrow keys inside of the editor and delete them with the delete or backspace key.