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Lovin' SDR Again

After lightning took my first contact with SDR and the SDR1000. I had a Ham radio revival with a brand spankin' new Flex 6400. Brand New. Never been turned on before and a recent product. Not something used or manufactured 20 yrs ago.

Thanks to Erika, in the Community, and about 45 minutes on the phone I had the 6400 up and running on my LAN and Smart SDR sorted out. I don't do anything remote or use smartphones in another part of the world to be on the air. So, all of the fluff of the other components of Smart SDR were avoided. I enjoy seeing who is on the air from the bandscope and had some fun on 6M recently. Couldn't break a pile-up from a Ham in S. America, but having a lot of fun. 20M had a lot of life and I managed to have some nice QSO's sandwiched between 2 other signals. It was tight.......BUT all of that chattering from those nearby signals didn't bother the receiver at all. TX audio quality is bringing back the memories of the SDR1000. Really FULL modulated audio. I'll be testing the AM mode soon. I'm sure that will be awesome.

The teaser taste of SDR came from a Ten Tec Omni VII, that had a lot of short-comings. NON real time bandscope and it quit TX on 160M. I was the winning bid for this radio and then it quit working on 160. It has been in Ten Tec repair the last 3 mos. It will be FLIPPED when it returns to help pay for the Flex6400. I don't mind using a computer as a radio. And being that the system is on my LAN; it allows me to surf the web or go to QRZd while making contacts. I just wish the Flex mic included with the 6400 had a long cable. Kinda clumsy being connected at the rear of the radio box and now the cable/mic just dangles from the 19" rack it is sitting in.

I'm glad I didn't burn the midnight oil to buy a legacy Flex 5000 with firewires and the such.

Lovin' life again



  • John KB4DU
    John KB4DU Member ✭✭✭✭

    Fred, me too having a great time with a basic installation. For me breaking the pileup is a matter of patience and a little skill. The thing I like about the 6400 is to be able to keep it on a shelf under the desk, freeing a lot of space.

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    Thanks Fred

    I shared your comments with the company!


  • Mark_WS7M
    Mark_WS7M Member ✭✭✭

    Fred, John,

    Here is a tip... It might be a little harder on the smaller Maestro screen but...

    Zoom in on the pile up until it mostly fills the display. I'm taking about the TX area if the station is using split. If not then just zoom in on the center frequency.

    If CW, then I find an empty space between other signals and position my TX there. Eventually, if the DX is scanning they will find you but being zoomed in allows you to go where the big signals are not.

    If voice then it is a little harder for sure. But surprisingly being just slightly off frequency TX wise causes your voice tones to sound a little higher and sometimes that along with some audio compression can get you through.

    I busted a 20m voice pile up with 50 watts one time using this very technique.

    On CW using the "find an opening" works very well and again if you are just slightly off freq the DX seem to hear you a little better.

    And a note of caution: By off frequency I mean very very little. The DX will sometimes ignore you if you are off significantly.

    Just my 2c

    Mark WS7M

  • sdrwow
    sdrwow Member ✭✭

    OOPS........the fun is over! I came down to the shack and found my power supply tripped off-line. Strange,,,everything was working fine, the night before. Radio was not doing anything strange.

    I disconnected the power supply from the 6400 and turned the power supply on and it's happy. Plug the little Anderson plug into the 6400 and the P.S. trips off. I connected another PS that I tested on my Kenwood

    TS 850 and the radio works fine making 100 W CW RF into a dummy.

    Connect to the 6400 and that PS trips off. Submitted a trouble ticket to Flexradio. I called at 4PM Eastern time and no one at the company. Nice beginning of ownership

    I'm not too happy at this time

    Fred KC4MOP

  • sdrwow
    sdrwow Member ✭✭

    One observation noted is the RED positive connector on the FLEX 6400 reads dead short to the aluminum chassis. Whaaaaat???


  • sdrwow
    sdrwow Member ✭✭

    Some unbelievable news on my Flex 6400. Tim Ellison emailed back this Saturday morning with unbelievable news.!!!!!!!

    He has determined that this is an unusual situation that my radio is presenting a dead short to my power supply and that they will build another 6400, according to my original order, and put that radio through an extra QA ( quality assurance?) and ship a totally new radio to me. In turn, I ship my broken 6400 back to them in the double box, UPS shipping label included at No cost to me.

    This turned a horrible day yesterday to a wonderful Saturday, here at KC4MOP.

    Thank you Tim and the FlexRadio team

  • John KB4DU
    John KB4DU Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2021

    Yup, flex support far exceeds other vendors of ham radio equipment. For example the FRstack features are much more capable than anything from the Big Three.

  • sdrwow
    sdrwow Member ✭✭

    I kinda figured that Flexradio was going somewhere when I had the SDR1000. And soon saw more versions coming along. I remember some AMers' were not happy when Flex restricted the high frequency audio on the transmitter. The Flex 3000 was not a favorite for the AMers. The SDR 1000 was limitless and then the bandwidth police were looking for WIDE AM audio. Most AMers are careful not to exceed BW when conditions are busy.

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