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My Take on SSDR v3

edited June 16 in New Ideas
This is my take on the new v3 update to SSDR as compared to another recent (same day I think) update I've done to another product I have which is a Sony A7III mirrorless camera.

I have the Flex 6400 with ATU... Cost around what... $2200

I also have a Sony A7III camera that also cost around the same as a 6400 at $1999

When I purchased the Flex 6400 less than a year ago, we were on some version 2.x.x of SSDR. In less than a year of ownership we've seen a couple point releases of v2 and now a full release of v3. The upgrade to v3 as we all know is $199 US. In this release I can honestly say that there is nothing that really makes me excited or enhances my use of the radio. I think there is a lot of polish and other little features that many of us would like to see but it's just not there.

I know, I know... did I read the release notes?... I didn't have to buy it... bla bla bla..... Save it.

Now let's talk about the Sony A7III, a new camera model released in 2018 like Flex 6400. I've owned this camera for less than a year just like the Flex but actually several months less. In that time the camera went from v1 to v2 and now, just this week Sony released v3 of the camera firmware. All of the upgrades were free. Each of the upgrades added new features and especially v3 which added 2 new major feature adds/updates which add new functionality to the camera that was not previously there. This is a win and make the camera even more enjoyable and functional.

So in the end I now have a Flex 6400 that has cost me around $2400 over less than a year and no real improvement or added functionality that makes it a better product and more enjoyable to use than when I first purchased it.

The Sony A7III on the other hand has cost nothing extra in the time I've owned it (other than buying more lenses) and the company has added valued updates to it's functionality that probably 90% of its uses can enjoy.

This is the frustration I have with Flex. In the short time I've owned the radio it's cost me more $$ for software updates but has not improved the functionality nor added any polished features to the software.

I know I'm going to get the flaming arrows my way, just like other times I've expressed my thoughts but that's ok, I can take it because it seems to be the way of this community. But I wanted to share my thoughts and make a comparison to another equally priced piece of tech that I own.

Now before you say... sell your flex or x brand does or doesn't do this or that... Dude don't waste your time. We've heard it all enough already.

Saying all this I still like the 6400. It's a nice radio. The hardware looks cool but the software (which drives the whole thing) is not the best out there and that's disappointing.

Hopefully someone at Flex reads this and accepts the criticism and then does something to remedy it. In the meantime it's just another radio. Nothing really special like I thought it would be before I bought into the system. Hopefully we'll see more improvements in the software and some of those features others have suggested will make it into the product.

At this point I, can only hope.

Scott, N1SER


  • Neil D Friedman N3DFNeil D Friedman N3DF Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    Sounds like they launched the Sony camera with half-finished software.
  • Bob G   W1GLVBob G W1GLV Member ✭✭
    edited June 16
    Scott, if your not happy sell the radio and keep taking pictures.
  • James Del PrincipeJames Del Principe Member ✭✭
    edited April 2019
    Scott, I can't fault Flex for wanting to charge for a substantial upgrade in software even if it has not helped my operation. Release 2 gave remote operation and release 3 multi-operator operation, neither of which I partake. The issue I have is that the noise reduction and blanker do not work very well at my release 1 level compared to my TS-990 S which is clearly superior in that regard.
    I paid nearly twice for my 6500 than what you did at $ 4300.00 for the Flex transceiver and $ 100.00 for the Flex control.
    It would be nice to have noise reduction that does not distort a signal badly at a level that begins to reduce the noise.
    The two respondents referring to your camera were not helpful. Such sarcasm is not warranted for Scott's observations.
    None the less, let me state that I am committed to using my Flex 6500 and I'm spoiled by the features it does have. Right now I am unable to go downstairs to my basement shack due to a recent surgery so I'm operating "couch mobile" on my laptop courtesy of WiFi......at release 1.
    Would anyone like to buy the TS-990 S?    HI HI.     73 All, Jim     KD1I
  • edited April 2019
    I'm with you Jerry.
  • edited April 2019
    You know it!
  • edited April 2019
    Thanks Jim. Hey, I love the remote operation of Flex. That is the one thing that really excited me before being a Flex user. And see, for someone that can't get to their rig, you can still operate. That's the kind of stuff I'm talking about.

    I'll trade you a 6400 for the TS-990! :) haha
  • edited April 2019
    Right on!
  • James Del PrincipeJames Del Principe Member ✭✭
    edited April 2019
    Scott, You would love the audio, both receive and transmit....but hate the display....just does not match up to the Flex.
    BTW, there are 150 front panel controls on the TS-990 S....a knob tweekers delight.
  • James Del PrincipeJames Del Principe Member ✭✭
    edited April 2019
    Software, by its very nature, is never static unless a manufacturer gives up on the product. There is always a possibility of making improvements or adding features - some with value to the customer and some marginal. I worked in medical x-ray for 43 years with a major manufacturer of cardiac labs that started at 1.2 megabucks. When they became software based, there was an effort to make a new release every 6 months...a mistake to be sure and that fell by the wayside.   But, big improvements were made over the years and some amazing things were created.  Some we gave away (mostly bug fixes) and some we charged. That's the nature of the software beast.
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited April 2019
    This Topic/Debate has been around since 2012 when Flex first announced an annual $200 software maintenance fee. That quickly changed from annual to Version fee which come out every 2 years or so HAMS ARE CHEAP. ANYTHING OTHER THAN FREE IS TOO MUCH. The issue is that Flex unlike Sony is a tiny company with a small product base over which it can amortize costs of software development. Hence the need for a fee. Interestingly enough, in spite of the disappointment expressed by a small number of vociferous users of V3 , multi client as delivered in V3.0 was by far the most asked for new feature requested
  • Duane_AC5AADuane_AC5AA Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    You wrote it off in the original post, but if you didn't want what the new release offered, why did you buy it?  Another fine radio company, which used to reside in Tennessee, made the mistake of offering DSP based (heavily software derived) radios and FREE upgrades.  Pretty soon everybody wanted many different things - too many to try to develop at once.  They offered updates, more complaints because, as happens, bugs creep in while adding code.  Update after update, and no income stream - but everyone wanted new stuff.  That operating model surely didn't do that fine radio company any good.  And now it is gone, for all intents and purposes.  You or I may disagree with what Flex decides is important for their next release of software, but telling you what is in the release and allowing you to choose whether to purchase it or not is not a failing - it's a strong point.  Perhaps more research on what customers want prior to defining contents of a release would help, but the purchase model is one that will help sustain the company.  Something we all want.

  • stevenabstevenab Member ✭✭
    edited April 2019
    Scott,I’m in the same mind set. I put my money down at Dayton for a 6600 and the New App. Also paid for the extended warranty. I’ve had the radio maybe 14 months now upgrade charges. Would have been nice for a discount? I will say with all said my experience with support has been outstanding. Maybe if we knew of a annual charge it would not seem So over the top.
  • Kuby, N6JSXKuby, N6JSX Member
    edited December 2019
    Scott you're a breath of fresh air vs. the zealots that worship all things FLEX. All to often I see sound meaningful critical viewpoints harshly ripped (as you will be soon).  I've had 3K & 5K and got a 6300 ~8mo ago - it is still in the box, why?

    Well here is where FLEX fails newbies - WHERE are the easy HOW-TOO setup vid's or PPT in setting up our 6K on the specific OS / PC & Network? Then all the other stuff that is needed to make the 6K's sing - virtual this or that, extra pgm this or that, add on hardware this or that, special OS mods to do this or that?

    There are NO newbie SIMPLE 'quick-to-air mode' to any of the programs.
    Such as a less featured bare-basic mode that will take a newbie one-step at a time growing you into your large radio investment - notta.Then a vid on HOW-TOO add each special extra program(s) letting the 6K's sing louder and better - notta.     

    Just after getting my 6300 they came out with V3 that will cost me even more - that is a complete turn off to me and why I never bought into HRD. Besides I don't give a rats about sharing my station with anyone and so far that is what V3 is all about. If I'm wrong then FLEX is doing a **** poor job of educating newbies - one-line brevity does not always educate.  Plus with all the MSGs flying about V3 this week it reminds me of MS-Windows and why you always wait +4mo AFTER the first Service Pack comes out before upgrading/buying - or suffer their poor QA.

    So my 6300 sits in its box as I just don't have the desire to take on another technical struggle just to key-up the darn radio. I'll continue with my simpler, easier, no frills IC-9100 (that has 2m/70cm), until "FLEX" creates REAL support and not by just tapping their worshiping guru's.  
  • Neal_K3NCNeal_K3NC Member ✭✭
    edited April 2019
    I think this is a valid view (after all, it came from someone who bought and uses the product!). One of the reasons this community is so valuable is that it allows customers to directly (and politely) give feedback to Flex. The people there do care about how the customer feels and will read it. Thanks for taking your time to document it.
  • DonDon Member ✭✭
    edited April 2019
    How much did the IC7800 cost?
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited April 2019

    @Michael.. I too have been working with computers since 1958.

    BUT you have your history of Flex a bit backwards. 

    Flex developed the original open source software PowerSDR and supported it for free for years.  Unfortunately for Flex they made the investment which basically benefited their competitors who spent no money on software development.  When Flex stopped working on PowerSDR it languished for a long while until a single developer took up the cause.

    To better leverage their investment, Flex, like Apple iPhone, decided that the new product SSDR would be proprietary.
  • Kuby, N6JSXKuby, N6JSX Member
    edited April 2019
    Kevin, I have a leading question - who is FLEX's biggest customer(s)? Surely not HAMdom. So logic would say that Multi-Share is an offshoot of a bigger customer request.

    I OP'ed my cousins 6700 last fall and found to my great disappointment that my hope of FLEX fixing the useless SSB DSP in 3K/5K/PwrSDR is still as useless in the 6K's/SmtSDR. I can only assume that FLEX's big customers do not need a working SSB DSP,, hence it will never get fixed (or made useful) as my IC-9100/7000.  
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 2019
    Lol, I love it !!!

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