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New Flex-2400M owner observations.

Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
I have had my 6400M for two weeks and I love the receiver.  Best noise mitigation I have encountered in a radio.  That said, I believe that Flex has missed the mark on a stand alone system.  
I agree with the QST review that the lack of front panel jacks(8 pin microphone, headphone, CW key) is a nuisance.  Others who have reviewed the M series have pointed this out.  There is plenty of room where the speaker grill is located and that can be moved over or bottom mounted.
CW operation may have been an after thought. Flex and Icom are the only major radio manufacturers who do not have a CW decoder installed.  I have an Elecraft KX3 and the decoder really helps when working a faster station in contests. I was surprised to hear a relay when operating CW.  I would have expected a solid state relay in a Flex. 
The need to use amplified speakers shows the computer mentality in the designers. I saw a recent add from Flex on the 3.0 release and it was stated "the radio is the software".  Yes, I agree,  but there is also the physical interface with the operator.  
One more question, where is the UTC clock?  There is plenty of space under the Menu box.
I consider my 6400M to be a transition design that needs considerable tweaking to bring it to the level of the competition in the operator interface for a stand alone design.
I am happy with my decision to purchase the Flex even with it's misses.
Leo NK8L
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Comments

  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 10
    I consider my 6400M to be a transition design that needs considerable tweaking to bring it to the level of the competition in the operator interface for a stand alone design.
    I am happy with my decision to purchase the Flex even with it's misses.

    You think the 6400 is not at the level found in other radios for the operators.

    Can you list the things you like, that makes you glad you purchased the 6400
  • KF4HRKF4HR Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    Interesting.  Not long ago I've heard someone complaining about the 8-pin mic jacks on the Flex 6300, 6500, and 6700 because they found them too difficult to wire up.  Perhaps someone will eventually come out with a mic multiple adapter box with all the various types of mic jacks: RJ-45, XLR, 3.5mm mono, 3.5mm stereo, 1/4", 8 pin, 4-pin, 2-pin, PJ-068, etc, so everyone can be happy.

    There is a clock and date in the lower left corner of the screen when using SSDR with a PC or laptop, although it not on the Maestro and M screens. 

    Perhaps Flex's design logic behind the Maestro and M screens are, odds are most people will be using a computer [of some sort] with their M rig or Maestro to handle after-market digital communications, logging, etc, so their computer provides an abundance of CW and other digital communication decoding via after-market programs, along with nearly every clock imaginable.  
  • Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    As I stated the noise mitigation is the main reason I purchased the Flex.  I had an Icom 7610 for about a month and the Flex walks away from the Icom  in that respect. 
    The display is great and the touch screen is easy to use as are the drop down menus.  The 6400M is advertised as a stand alone system but requires a computer interface to have a simple function as a clock.  
    Leo NK8L
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited December 2019
    It takes very little expended ham spirit resources and $ to make up(or buy)  some pig tales so you don't have to reach in back to plug anything in if your environment requires it. that includes 1/8 inch headset, mic and cw paddles.
  • WW1SS - SteveWW1SS - Steve Member
    edited March 2019
    Well I guess it is a double edge sword. I have both sitting here in the shack and the Icom will **** my noise that the Flex won't touch. So go  figure.
  • Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    The 6400M is advertised as a stand alone system - no computer required except for updates.  I use a computer for logging but not interfaced with the radio.  Third party software should not be required for a stand alone system.
    As far as the front panel microphone connector , it can be of any design, just front panel mounted.
    Leo NK8L
  • Roger,  W6VZVRoger, W6VZV Member
    edited May 2019
    I like just about every thing about my Flex 6400M.  I am fine with the MIC connector and key jack being on the back.
    The things I love about the Flex:
    1.  The on-computer SDR software is very very good.  First time I've found computer control that I like better than the rig panel.
    2.  The Receiver is great.  I especially love the narrow filters for digital and CW operations.
    3.  The SDR software is very portable between computers.  No hassle installation.
    4.  I uniformly get outstanding transmission reports on CW, SSB, and digital.  A very high quality rig.
    5.  Love the menus both on the "M" front panel and the SDR software.  Very intuitive and easy to learn and use.
    6.  QSK with CW is the best I've ever used. 
    7.  It is SO nice using DAX and CAT instead of some hard-to-wire-and-install interface box.

    de Roger W6VZV
  • Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Making work where it should not be required. Leo NK8R
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    not really.. the existing solution works fine. it just makes it convenient for those with issue with it in their particular environment.
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Leo, can you name any stand alone radio that needs no 3rd party software to do everything we do?
  • Geoff AB6BTGeoff AB6BT Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Some folks might find the front panel mic connector objectionable. A rear panel connector allows for an out-of-the-way routing option for a cleaner looking installation.

    Besides, how often do you need to unplug it?
  • Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    You must not have operated a Elecraft on CW. 
    You have just supported my argument by stating you are using an external computer. 
    The 6400M is sold as a stand alone design.  You and others are missing the point of my discussion.  I do like operating the Flex.
    Leo NK8L
  • Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I guess most people are not reading what I am stating.  I am comparing the 6400M to other stand alone designs ie:Elecraft, Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu etc.. The Flex-6400M is sold as a stand alone design and the ergonomics of the radio can be compared to the competition.  Sticking a Maestro on the front of a box dose not automatically make it a good stand alone design.
    Leo NK8L
  • Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Elecraft  will do all basic operation plus many complex operations without 3rd party software.  As I stated at the beginning , I am new with the 6400M and I can only compare it to radios that I have used.  I wouldn't have expected to have to use third party software for CW decoding in this class of radio or use a program to bring a clock into use. Most of the reply's I am getting are very defensive and are missing my whole point, which I shouldn't have to keep repeating. 
    The 6400M is a good radio and I am enjoying using it.
    Leo NK8L
  • Roger,  W6VZVRoger, W6VZV Member
    edited March 2019
    True, I have not used an Elecraft.  Nor would I want to given that I have a Flex.  :-)
    Seriously, I don't agree that the Flex 6400M is supposed to be a "stand alone design."  It can certainly function as one and it does so with panache and elan.  However, it is very slick to run it with SDR on my computer along with other software such as DM780 and WSJT-X.  It does very well either way.
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 2019
    This is most interesting, What Makes and models do you consider great ergonomics?
  • Burt FisherBurt Fisher Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I have not found my 6400M to do anything worthwhile to **** noise. The M does have an internal speaker much to my surprise. I would buy an upgrade if it had a CW decoder.  Then there is the S-meter which reads S-7 on a dummy load.
  • Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I never said "great ergonomics".  Having your accessories mounted on the front of the radio as stated earlier, this part of the ergonomics of a radio...where thing are physically positioned.  The tuning control on the Flex has a nice light touch but a tension adjustment would probably be appreciated by some operators such as the reviewer in the QST article. This is ergonomics.  Look at your high end competitors and see how they position and adjust controls and accessories.

    I really wanted to see what kind of response I would receive with this post and it was predictable in the many replies.   People reacted as if I said they had an ugly child instead of seeing what I was posting.  


    I have my 6400M connected to my router with a HDMI cable and have controlled it with my laptop as an experiment. It was fun but not my type of operation nor are most digital mode such as FT8.  I am a sit in front of my station operator running SSB and CW.
    Leo NK8L
  • Geoff AB6BTGeoff AB6BT Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    This is also confusing.

    How do connect to a router with an HDMI cable?
  • Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I have the cable connected to back of the 6400M and the back of the U-Verse internet router which is located in my shack.  I had to buy a 15' cat6 cable to reach the router. The 6400M is connected to the home network if I want it to be.
    Leo NK8L
  • Ted  VE3TRQTed VE3TRQ Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I simply assume Leo meant that he had his 6400M connected with an HDMI cable AND to his router. Makes sense - many would run it that way.
  • George Molnar, KF2TGeorge Molnar, KF2T Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Thanks, Leo, for your observations. Truly we all have different opinions and expectations, and it is helpful to hear yours. I am sure the Flex team will take note and use them (and others) for future development. Not that everyone’s wish list will get met, but the feedback is listened to. As for a CW decoder, I cannot disagree more (sorry). There is no need for such a gimmick in any radio, especially one designed to function as a radio server, meant to work with client applications. For CW, the beat client will always be a good set of ears, anyway. Heck, I knew a fine operator who was deaf/blind, and used CW exclusively with a transducer at 20+ wpm. M y point is, I believe that such helper applications are best left outside of the main radio client. Client bloat should be avoided anytime possible. Have used both Elecraft and Flex in CW contests. Both are fine radios, but I do prefer the interface and ergonomics of the Flex platform. Those two brands probably represent the best in class for the amateur market. To each his own preferences, though.
  • Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    My mistake on the cable. It's an Ethernet Cat 6 cable.
    Leo NK8L
  • Leo NessingLeo Nessing Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    Sorry to disagree, but a CW  decoder is an invaluable tool during contest.  If it wasn't I doubt that Elecraft would include it with their radios and also the new high end radios from Kenwood and Yaesu. PJ2T contest station has put in Elecraft's and they all decode CW. How many contest stations run Flex?
    Leo NK8L
  • Neil D Friedman N3DFNeil D Friedman N3DF Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    Elecraft's built-in PSK31 is yet another complete waste of space.
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2019
    AS I thought, you really wanted to see what response you would get from your comments. I was interested in what you said and some of your comments are confusing, almost as if you don't really own a 6400.

    I am not argueing with you, just trying to understand your thinking behind your opinions.

    I know you did not say great,,, I asked what radios do you consider have great  ergonomics? you didn't answer.

    Why I find that interesting because the front controls on the M models are about the cleanest and well layed out compared to any readio.

    Some of the biggest contesters use Flex radio. And many very serious CW operators give Flex high marks for CW.

    Anyways thank you for your comments, very ineresting opinions.
  • Chris Tate  - N6WMChris Tate - N6WM Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Leo,  George speaks with wisdom here, with some opinion on the decoder and you have shared yours.  I use flex, and prior to flex I used Elecraft.(8 years) as technical lead at N6RO, one of the largest multi-multi contest stations on the west coast,  we have migrated our primary operating positions to flex after many years on the Elecraft platform.  Both are best in class.   I am sure you have read about K9CT as well, who migrated his contest station as well.  Both platforms are competition grade.  the Flex SDR technology offers advantages to the competitive operator that cannot be overlooked and have been adopted by many.

    There is not a decoder on the planet that can decode with the efficiency of an experienced CW contester.  I am sure decoders like the one included in the K3 are useful to some, but its not in any way necessary with either platform and a trained cw ear, particularly in a contest environment. 

    But if you wanted too,with flex, you can have cw skimmers, plugged into 4 dax iq channels decoding every dit and dah of cw on 4 bands without any audio cables needed. this can be setup in minutes.   There are just things the flex can do.. that the others can not.

    I can safely say I am an expert on both platforms.  I can safely say I have won contests on both platforms.    Right now I am using my brain to copy cw, and the capabilities of flex to keep me on top of the pack in serious competition.

    Some of the TOP cw operators (in the world) are using Flex transceivers to win contests. They were recently used in WRTC. Lots of contesters are using flex.  lots of contest stations are using flex.


  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 2019
    It should read S3 on a dummy load.
  • Burt FisherBurt Fisher Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Every other rig reads zero.
  • Burt FisherBurt Fisher Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    A CW decoder is not a gimmick it allow me to copy higher tham my code speed on a good fist with a 579+. Ear is better if one is capable of higher speeds.  

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