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I am a **** victim that that can no longer manage a Elecraft K2 and I am a cw op - what to expect?
Hi Ted, I upgraded from a K2 and a Kenwood TS-2000 to a Flex 6400. I split my operation between SSB and CW. I do a little contesting, but not much, so I would say that I am a casual operator. So from that perspective, I love my Flex (and have become very dependent on the panadapter). I will say that my CW speed has moved up lately because I have been using the radio so much. I got a very fast computer, not because the Flex needs it, but because programs like CW Skimmer need it. Using CW Skimmer for fills lets me work faster CW which has really helped me improve.
So maybe the next question is, what is important to you in a CW transceiver? What aspects of the K2 do you not like? Not every radio is for every ham, so depending on what you are looking for, the Flex may or may not be for you, although most of us who try them keep them!
I had to send the K2 to Elecraft recently to get it aligned properly and I no longer have the dexterity to get inside and perform adjustments or build adapter boards. I love my K2. I wanted a panadapter but the K2 requires an external board which I can no longer maintain. The Flex is designed for Panadapters and can align itself. What worries me is I've heard that CW ops shy away from Flex.0
I'm mostly a CW op and enjoy my 6400 on this mode, and others as well. My Flex setup is always QSK, bandwidth setting for mid latency, and it is a joy to operate with a bug, keyer, or the internal keyer. Having come from a TS850 that has very good QSK it did take me some time to work with different settings that met my needs. Filter latency seems to have a significant effect on QSK and the mid setting works for most everything except maybe Field Day or SS when best filtering possible is needed.
I also turn FDX on as advised by another user and this makes a positive difference. I don't know why, but it helps.
CW Skimmer isn't used here but the 6400 waterfall is terrific for hunting down weak signals. Without Skimmer my AMD A10/SSD/16Gb is more than adequate
Oh, and I operate below 30 WPM, generally around 25 and as I said, QSK is fine.
This is my personal experience running 6300, 6400 for years.
I've never used an Elecraft.0
@na7c Well, I think that most of the negative CW comments are around contesting. The Elecraft rigs get very high marks for CW contesting, and that seems to be the main comparison that people make. It is such a personal preference that I think it is hard to give you direct advice on whether or not you would like the Flex or any other radio.
Best bet is to find someone with one that you can use locally (best CW experience is local). That is how I came to own one. My buddy Dave, W4WKU has one and let me play with it. It sure met my needs, and I really liked the operation of it using the computer. I liked it so much that I ran out and got one! Not everyone likes the computer control, however, so that is why you really need to try it out. The Maestro gives you knobs and buttons, so that is an option worth considering as well if you prefer a more traditional radio.
I think Flex still has the try it for 30 days deal, so if you are serious about getting one, that is a no-risk way to try it out if you don't find one close by to try.
73 & good luck in your search,
Doug Hall Member ✭✭
@na7c I agree with KD0RC - see if you can find a Flex owner locally who will let you come and check out the CW performance for yourself. Having used a friend's K2 and having used a K3 at FD I do not think you will find the QSK performance on the Flex to be nearly as good. Also, there is a bug in the current firmware versions that sometimes causes the Flex to just stop sending. It seems to happen infrequently, and it seems that some people experience it more than others. The work-around is to stop sending and then start again. I found it quite annoying when it happened. Flex is aware of it and has assigned a defect number to it, but no word on if it will be fixed. I really don't know how many users it affects. But if you search you can find other threads about it.
I have a K2, upgraded K3 and a Flex 6400. I usually use the K3 for CW contests since the QSK is outstanding. I used the K2 in the ARRL 160 contest and it was a pleasure to use but the QSK is not as good as the K3. I used the 6400 during NAQP CW full time this past weekend. I think the 6400 is better with QSK than the K2 but not as good as the K3.. I also think the audio out is much better on the 6400 than with the K3 and somewhat better than the K2. I have no problem using the Flex for CW ragchewing or contesting.0
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