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SDR Ver 3

2

Answers

  • fkffkf Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    I bought my Flex at August, 20th. V2 with $199 was included. Up to now I paid $1,12 each day and I have to pay additional $199 for V 3. That's annoying.
    73 de DJ6CF, Friedrich
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited January 2019

    By the time its finally released, your cost per day will be less

    What's annoying about getting new features?
    You have the option not to buy them..


    To get new features with Elecraft, Icom, Yaesu or Kenwood, you would have to buy an entirely new radio costing you a lot more than USD $199
  • fkffkf Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Tnx for your comment and I can go a little bit with you. The difference is, that we are talking about software and that is a different business. Normally you get upgrades which are much more cheaper than the original license. Buying new hardware (Icom, Kenwood, etc.) means that you have new TRX with new components in it.

    73 de DJ6CF, Friedrich
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited January 2019

    Let me give you a different perspective.

    Flex makes Software Defined Radios.
    The radio is the software

    Open your Flex radio up and you will find many less components that a traditional Legacy Radio. 

    On a $5,000 Flex Radio, the actual hardware cost is likely much less than $2,500
    and the software cost is likely much more than $2,500

    So a $199 upgrade is a bargain
  • fkffkf Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Hi, 
    here you will find my last response because I don't want to open an endless discussion. I accept that you have another point of view. That is ok.
    My point of view is, that the software is not the radio itself, but it defines the possibilities of the radio. Without the radio the software is rather useless.
    $199 are not an upgrade but the normal price each newcomer has to pay. Therefore there is no advantage for existing customers.

    73 de DJ6CF, Friedrich
  • MikeMike Member
    edited January 2019
    Yes but will it be going in the direction you want?
  • Burt FisherBurt Fisher Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Howard the others like Elecraft sell a radio that is done and in most cases have more features, further unlike Flex they don't come out with updates that damaged features that previously worked. I wonder if Samsung will come out with a  software upgrade that lets me watch my friends TV who has more channels. As far your diversity argument there is a web receiver I can use that a ham has posted but how many hams really care about diversity?
  • edited January 2019
    Here come the snakes:

    Here is the situation: I have a can of worms, Each worm does a specific job. Each worm can crossbreed with any other worm. This gives rise to a new generation of worms, most perform the tasks that their parents did but some stop others doing their specific tasks, we'll call these mutant worms 'bugs'.

    Now as the owner of the can of worms, I have some specialist worm breeders who look for the mutant worms and if they are not beneficial to the colony, eradicate them, hoping that this does not affect the good worms. We call these people 'programmers'.

    Sometimes, all the programmer's time is spent eradicating the bugs, and when they are all gone, they can get on with breeding some new worms, we call this adding new features or making original features better. Unfortunately doing this can cause new mutant worms to be produced so we have to go back to finding and killing them off.

    As the number of worms is always growing, the number of bugs is also growing. So now we ask some other people who know a bit about our can of worms, to help us find the mutant worms, we call these people 'alpha or beta testers'. The can't **** the mutant worms but they can tell us when they find one so that our programmers can **** them.

    As my can of worms gets ever larger, then I can sort out the really good worms and hopefully, make them better at their jobs and breed fewer mutant worms (bugs).

    I decide that my can of worms is now in a state where I can sell my can of my worms to other people, we'll call this 'Version A'. Lots of people buy the can complete with the worms and start to use it. As they use it, they think of more good worms that they would like to have so they get in touch and say, 'can you make a worm that does this job'. I talk to my specialist breeders (programmers) and ask if they can breed this specific worm. After a bit of head scratching, they come up with a worm that does the specific task I ask for, not perfectly, but pretty good.

    So I add this new worm to the can and give it to all the folks that have Version A, we'll call this 'Version A1'.

    We keep adding more worms, sometimes because people ask for them, sometimes because we can see that better worms make our can better that the competition's can.

    As we do this, the we reach a point where we have maybe 10 versions and we then add a monster worm, this one does something we always said was going to be possible but we couldn't do it in Version A, so we decide that we will call this 'Version B' but it has cost a lot of money to make so we sell it, as our customers already have the can, we'll call it a radio server, then all we need to sell them are the worms, so we make the price a very reasonable $199.00. Lots of the can owners buy the new set of worms are are very pleased. Some are not pleased because the worm they want is not there or isn't quite up to the task at a level that they want.

    As is often the case, the people who didn't get the worm they wanted are often the most vocal, sometimes they are even polite in asking 'what about my worm'.

    So I find another couple of worm breeders and keep on breeding more worms. Can you see where this is going? Breeding worms is cyclic, as each new generation arrives, it brings its own benefits and problems. 

    However, I know that my can and worm farm are far better than anything the competition has or is likely to have in the near future, after all I have been doing this for years and I know how to make a really good can and my worms are pretty amazing. 

    Most of my customers are very happy, but there are always some who want slightly different worms. We don't say to them, 'tough, we aren't going to take any notice of what you want'. What we do is try to breed the worms they want, the happy customers are all still happy and many of those that are not happy at least feel that we are trying, well most of them do but there are always a couple who will stir my worms up just for the sake of doing it.

    At the end of the day, it's all about choice. I advertise my can with it's worms and you decide whether or not to buy it. At the very least, when you buy my can, you know that new worms will be offered in the future. As things are at the moment, none of the 'big' players in the market can do that because they are still making their cans the old way.

    To end the analogy, I look at what Flex has done this way:

    Version 1 or SSDR was small worms.
    Version 2 is big **** earthworms.
    Version 3 looks as though it may have real snakes.

    Oh, yes, the can - my original can still works with all the worms I can produce. I made a couple of new cans with different features but I know that for the foreseeable future, all my cans works with all the worms I have ever bred.

    I like snakes, roll on March! 

    Tim
  • John - K3MAJohn - K3MA Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Howard.  Fact Check on your comment.

     "To get new features with Elecraft, Icom, Yaesu or Kenwood, you would have to buy an entirely new radio costing you a lot more than USD $199"

    Link for only Icom Firmware downloads.  Some are new features some are bug fixes and some are both.  All free of charge.  https://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm/index.html

    I suspect you will find others like Elecraft have done the same.  I own a KX3 and it has had features added many times.

    I am not expressing an opinion of the merit of $199 or V3 usefulness but rather correcting the error in your statement.
  • John - K3MAJohn - K3MA Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Tim.  The real issue is that people object to the fact that the small worms in Version 1 have 20/20 vision and everyone knows that worms are all blind.  But now in Version 3 Flex may have fixed that problem and have a change that makes all the small worms blind like they should have been but you need to pay for the snakes in order to get your worms to be blind like every other worm.  Some people do not like snakes and have the reasonable expectation that their small worms should have been blind from the start and object to having to pay to get it corrected.
  • Ed JohnsonEd Johnson Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Has Flex ever considered a simple annual software registration fee... say $50 per year?  This would include all updates that year.  Many companies do this and it provides a constant revenue stream and more people will stay current reducing support time and expense for Flex.
  • Terry K8EETTerry K8EET Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Great post. Mirrorless cameras, electric cars, SDR radio all on the leading edge of technology. Less expensive to build...true as a consumer you pay to be on the leading edge but you are supporting the development. If you don't want to be on the edge of this technology, there's a good market for your radio. Sell it and go back to those wonderful legacy radios. 
  • Asher - K0AUAsher - K0AU Member ✭✭
    edited March 2020
    This is great insight. I've also product managed tech businesses for many years, but generally not consumer. The way I perceive V3 is it's a "recruit the influencers" release. Contesters are the most visible influencers. There are no ragchew influencers. DXpeditions may be influencers but DXers probably have antenna influencers more than rig influencers.

    Remote operation is a very interesting concept, particularly in today's HOA world. It's probably the best growth market for high-end hamming. My personal perspective is that Flex should finish the remote use case. Unfortunately they've dropped the ball on peripheral control. Even for peripherals they resell, like the 4O3A Antenna Switch.

    They've also dropped the ball on communicating who they're bullding for, what use cases they're prioritizing, and what's the best way to integrate their products into a ham station solution.
  • Steven WA8YSteven WA8Y Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    I very much look forward to v2.5, bug free, if possible. For now I like v2.3.9 but was hoping for more free upgrades to version 2.
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited January 2019
    yes V1.9.13 was the bug fixes for v1 as it turned over to v2, so yes there was a bug fix for v1
  • KC8PKC8P Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Guys, nothing is perfect, one of primary business goals is to make a profit. The armature radio is a niche market. I can't even imagine how FRS can exist, innovate, pay and retain employees, it could be tough....on consumer side we have always choice to select different product to satisfy our needs and requirements.
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited January 2019
    Not a bad idea Ed, but to my way of thinking, Windows updates are the main problem for SSDR users.  And I've been here a few years, I suspect that would cause more complaints, not less.
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited January 2019
    John, are you calling firmware updates the same thing as new versions of SSDR?  Anyhow, I recently updated our KPA-1500s with new firmware. That was to keep the amps from blowing themselves up on 160 meters. And did Icom take care of that screen burn in problem yet?

    Note - I'm responsible for a 7610, a K3S system, and multiple KPA-1500's, and my experience is that there is no real relation to their updates and SSDR or DogPark updates. Can't speak to iOS SSDR. 

    I do like all of the radios though. 
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited January 2019
    Somewhere back in here someone told me that the ANF won't work on tuner uppers. That beats me. I've used it on tuner uppers, I've used it on CW ops operating on a voice QSO,  I used it on heterodynes on 40 meters, last night in an attempt to figure out what exactly I'm doing wrong that makes it work for me, I tried notching out a RTTY signal. I did have to up the slider to "3" from 1 or 2, but it silenced both sides of the RTTY. Probably would be pretty tough on a voice signal.  Anyhow, I'll just concede I'm doing something wrong.  8^)

    Thing that is funny is that until people started complaining about it, I never used it - I'd always right clicked the spot of a tuner-upper, and enabled a TNF. Now it's another tool in the arsenal.

    What I think Flex might do is not have such a large range of adjustment, because I thiink people naturally try to set things in the middle to start. And that's way too high for the ANF.

    - 73 N3LI - 

  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited January 2019
    Somewhere back in here someone told me that the ANF won't work on tuner uppers. That beats me. I've used it on tuner uppers, I've used it on CW ops operating on a voice QSO,  I used it on heterodynes on 40 meters, last night in an attempt to figure out what exactly I'm doing wrong that makes it work for me, I tried notching out a RTTY signal. I did have to up the slider to "3" from 1 or 2, but it silenced both sides of the RTTY. Probably would be pretty tough on a voice signal.  Anyhow, I'll just concede I'm doing something wrong.  8^)

    Thing that is funny is that until people started complaining about it, I never used it - I'd always right clicked the spot of a tuner-upper, and enabled a TNF. Now it's another tool in the arsenal.

    What I think Flex might do is not have such a large range of adjustment, because I thiink people naturally try to set things in the middle to start. And that's way too high for the ANF.

    - 73 N3LI - 

  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited January 2019
    Don, I'll ask you the question - Why would you pay money for a feature you will never use? You don't have to buy anything.  You do know that the radio doesn't stop working, so if you are happy with what is on your computer so far, you're golden. $199 American, whateve the exchange rate is Canadian. 
  • HCampbell  WB4IVFHCampbell WB4IVF Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Exactly Mike.  ICOM makes fine radios (I own 3 of them). And in my opinion, their NR/NB is second to none!  But feature updates??  Give me a break!  (-:
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited January 2019
    Hi Tim, here's the short version:

    99 little bugs in the code,
    99 little bugs,
    Take one down, patch it around,
    128 little bugs in the code.
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited January 2019
    As a person blessed with exposure to a lot of different radios, and the chance to operate them enough to get a good handle on them, every radio out there has issues. Many of these problems are not even acknowledged as problems. 

    The IC7610, which people in here threaten to buy because of reasons - well, if an update is interrupted, you have a brick that needs shipped back to the factory.

    My KPA-1500's, which are wonderful amps,  had a problem that would brick the amps and took an emergency firmware update. 

    Regardless, I have never seen a radio company with as good service as FlexRadio Systems. 
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited January 2019
    Well put. And Flex is doing a great job of competing. Between say a Flex Signature series and what many consider to be their main SDR rival, the Icom 7610, well, my modest 6300 is many times the radio that the 7610 is, and that's based on personal experience. 

    If I were to look at the biggest threat to Flex, it is the platform for SSDR. Windows 10 updates are harmful, and reduce uptime. It garners a bad rep for Flex.
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited January 2019
    What you say makes some good sense. I'm also a product manager but my product is subscription based. That means besides being concerned about getting new customers we must keep existing customers satisfied to ensure their renewals. Competition is very stiff so there's no sitting on our past victories. People are used to quick (agile? yuck) innovation.

    How does repeat business fit in with the camera model? You do very specific things so that when someone is ready to upgrade they buy another model of your camera instead of one from the competitor. What kind of things do you do to entice them; innovate within their price point or add features that have limited use? How do you talk to your current customers?

    Personally, I think flex is not anywhere near as mature as your camera company. I think they are more in the Elon Musk arena doing cool stuff but maybe not making the best business decisions. And I think that's maybe a good thing for as long as it lasts. They have contributed to the state of the art. My prediction, sorry about this, is that for Flex to actually grow and become a major player it will take a buyout. In the ham radio market, that's not a likely prospect. Can you possibly imagine purchasing an MFJ-6700? Maybe an IC-6700? How about a Heath HW-6700? Man!

    I disagree with a lot of what Flex is doing. Then I turn on the radio and the world changes. It's weird. I know. 

    Kev
    K4VD

  • WA2SQQWA2SQQ Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019

     

    1.       No decision any company makes will satisfy everyone. (Bottom Line)

    2.       Every decision should be based on ROI.

    3.       You buy a Flex and you effectively have a plug and play radio, unlike Anan which requires substantially more technical tinkering. Hooks to external software and hardware are generally more difficult. I bought my radio to use it, not to be in a perpetual beta testing mode.

    4.       Many version 1 users did not upgrade, and their radios work just fine. Version 2 offered added capability – those that were interested purchased it. V 3 won’t be any different.

    5.       Icom makes a nice radio, but it’s no Flex. Neither Icom, Kenwood or Yaesu provide service and support that comes close to Flex.

    To me this is what matters - the freedom to choose.




  • Jimmy CollisJimmy Collis Member
    edited January 2019
    Your right No decision any company makes will satisfy everyone. But I think it should satisfy the Majority
  • edited January 2019
    Amateur radio is not FRS's only source of income.

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