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6700 being discontinued?

I just read on another Flex Forum that it was announced during the recent Flex dinner at Xenia that the 6700 model is to be discontinued. Assuming this is true, does anyone who made the dinner know if FRS made any mention of an 8-slice transceiver replacement?

Butch, KF4HR

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  • w1smc
    w1smc Member ✭✭
    edited May 2023

    I heard that also ... And put an email into Flex Sales for an update ... No word yet ...

  • Butch
    Butch Member ✭✭✭

    Wanted to add, I read Steve Hicks mentioned last year in a Virtual Ham Expo Q&A last year that Flex was working on a replacement for the 6700. Was any update mentioned at Xenia about this?

    Butch, KF4HR

  • Butch
    Butch Member ✭✭✭

    Steve - I've been reading on another Flex Forum that the reason the 6700 is being discontinued is due to a lack of parts availability. This is the same fate that happened to the Flex-6500. Evidently there are enough parts to keep the 6500 and 6700 going for awhile, but after that, my guess is, they will eventually become expensive door stops. I'm hoping FRS figures out a way to pull a rabbit out of their hat, perhaps with a redesigned circuit boards or something.

    Butch, KF4HR

  • Neil D Friedman N3DF
    Neil D Friedman N3DF Member ✭✭✭✭

    Flex has noted 6500’s cannot always be repaired due to parts unavailability.

  • Dan Trainor
    Dan Trainor Member ✭✭✭

    If failed 6700s can't be repaired depending upon the failed part and its availability, the radio becomes a defacto door stop in a sense. Or you could buy another for spare parts. Or sell it before it fails. Many options for any radio.

  • Butch
    Butch Member ✭✭✭

    I'd venture a guess that the 6500 and 6700 share at least some common components, and if that's the case perhaps 6700's may have already reached a point where certain replacement parts are not available for it. I guess the only way 6700 owners will know for sure is if ours fails, it can't be fixed, and we now own an expensive door stop. Then again, nothing last forever, but it would be great to see FRS come out with an 8-slice replacement for the 6700, and ideally in the same small small cabinet. (I'm not a fan of the larger cabinet Flex rigs.)

    The Flex 6700 was the main reason I switched from ICOM gear to Flex several years ago. Hopefully I don't get forced into switching brands again.

    Butch, KF4HR

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭

    Where else would you find even a 4 slice radio other then the Flex line of radios.

    I've had my 6700 for 11 years, it's been back to Flex in it's life just twice, once it was for a factory update within the 1st year and once a couple of months ago for a Spa Day and ALL the factory updates and fan upgrades to the latest release hardware.

    I also found a very lightly used 4 year old 6700 a few months before I sent my original 6700 in so I have a great backup radio.

    My original 6700 radio has been running as a server for at least 7 or 8 years, probably more out in the Equipment Rack powered on all the time and all as I can say, I don't think you could EVER find a radio in todays market as well designed as the 6700 for a remote 8 slice Radio, I tried the ANAN 7000 for 6 months (Joke as a remote radio), and the Flex 6600M for several years which is OK but hated the Display ALWAYS being on for an expensive night light so the neighbors could see the equipment in the Shop.

    If Flex can build a Radio that has the same capabilities as the 6700 I would probably still wait a couple of years before I would pick one up but it has to have built in 2 Meters and be the smaller case foot print like the 6700 Radio otherwise I will run the 6700's hopefully for another 11 plus years until they both die or I do from old age.

  • w1smc
    w1smc Member ✭✭

    Well, I'm going to stay where I am in the 6700 queue ... who knows ... Flex may be coming out with a 6800, 8 slice & dice machine ... we shall see ...

  • w1smc
    w1smc Member ✭✭

    Here's the response I just received from Flex Sales regarding the 6700 ...

    "Hello Steve,

    Thanks for reaching out.

    FlexRadio has announced end-of-manufacture for the FLEX-6700. Existing orders for the FLEX-6700 will be completed however, effective May 18, 2023 we will no longer be accepting new orders for the product. FlexRadio will continue to support the FLEX-6700 as always, including warranties, repairs and continuing SmartSDR software updates.

    At this time we are not announcing any additional changes to our radio line-up.

    Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

    73"

  • Butch
    Butch Member ✭✭✭

    Where else would you find even a 4 slice radio other then the Flex line of radios.

    Good point Bret. Although, after 7 years of operating my 6700 almost daily, moving from an 8 slice radio to a 4 slice radio (for me) for me would be like moving from a 500hp sports car to a 250hp sports car. Yeah, it still might be a sports car but...

    And also good point about the 6700's reliability. In 7 years of nearly daily operation I've only had to return my 6700 to the factory once to have an oscillator board replaced (it developed a slight drift). But other than that, and replacing its fans and memory card, it has been fine.

    I seriously doubt FRS has plans to build a replacement for the 6700. And I also seriously doult we'll see any more Flex radios built in the smaller 6xxx series cabinets either (which I very much prefer). Consider... not only have we seen the 6300, 6500, and now the 6700 go out of production, but take a look at their two commercial Flex radio models, the ML-9600N and ML-9600W. Both of these commercial radios are 2-30mhz 4 slice units, and built in the larger 6600 sized cabinet. Given how long it takes Flex to develop a new rig from scratch, and given how slow amateur software development has been over the last several years, it's probably safe bet the 4-slice large cabinet arrangement will be the future Flex ham rigs for a good while.

    Thinking ahead, and assuming the 6400/M and 6600/M rigs will be "it" for a good long while, I've been wondering what would be the pro's and con's of replacing the 6700 with two 6600's. I'm early in the thought process but so far I see three downsides, the inability to share a single multi-band antenna across two 6600's (all 8 slices at the same time). Not being able to take advantage of both the A and B RF ports on both 6600's, and dual 6600 cabling to a single PG-XL and TG-XL. (And the added complexity of dealing with A and B antennas inputs on each 6600 for Diversity Receive.) And of course no built-in 2M function on the 6600, although this one is a wash since 6700 owners wishing to use 2M spend additional $$$ on a 2MLDPA unit, and 6600 owners would be spending approximately the same amount on a 2M Transverter. And if I remember correctly, the 6600 has Rx A and Rx B input connections, but no Rx A or B outputs; while the 6700 has Rx A and B in and out connections. As for the Pro's, if one 6600 needed to go back for repairs, the station would only be half down, the ability to easily add up 4 transverters, and the Contest filters (although I have zero need for those).

    While we may never see a replacement for the 6700, it would be interesting if FRS designed their next generation Flex radios with the ability to somehow internally daisy chain their features, to allow multiple radios to be controlled on one SSDR screen, at the same time. Imagine 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 receive slices, basically a daisy-chained stack of rigs covering 1.8mhz..., to say 10ghz (with transverters), and perhaps also adding digital ATV for SHF too. A rig like this would definitely be a game changer. (Oh, and fixing the known bugs too..., might as well dream big.)

    Butch, KF4HR

    6700, 2MLDPA, PG-XL, 2x TG-XL.

  • Mike VE3CKO
    Mike VE3CKO Member ✭✭✭

    Where the **** is the promised built-in coffee maker!!!

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭

    had to stop drinking coffee since I replaced the AL82 with the PGXL my hot plate got sold hi hi.

  • Neil D Friedman N3DF
    Neil D Friedman N3DF Member ✭✭✭✭

    I doubt more than 2% of Flex amateur customers own more than one 6000-series radios.

  • Asher - K0AU
    Asher - K0AU Member ✭✭

    I've also had a 6700 running in a rack for ten years (this August).

    Curious if others have found uses for the dual SCU or more than two concurrent slices? The logging software has never understood more than two slices and Flex has never supported a feature to "make slice C/D into slice A/B". I've never figured out a way to scan other bands while I leave something going. For example it would be great to leave a WSJT decode running on 15M while checking out 10M SSB. Work a few - which will interrupt the WSJT decodes for a few cycles.

    DXLab will treat any logging as happening on slice A/B rather than C or D.

    I also have a 6300. I think it would be great if one PC could operate two radios concurrently either with an enhanced SSDR/CAT/DAX or running separate instances.

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

    I use a 6600 all the time with concurrent slices.

    I log with Ham Radio Deluxe and I use SliceMaster to track the slices. I can log from any slice accurately.

    I also use the Diversity all the time on the low bands and then use the 2 slices for Transverter work.

    I also use the 2 SCUs for contesting and SO2R operation.

    But, if you only have 1 antenna on your farm, then 1 SCU is the correct choice.

    I would say that 1 in 4 purchasers return then 6400 for a 6600 within the 30 days purchase window and upgrade once they realize the difference.

  • K9YK
    K9YK Member ✭✭

    I use my 6600 and multiple SCU’s and slices to work 2m and 432 FT8 at the same time while also monitoring 2m and 430 SSB voice frequencies.

  • Bill AB7AA
    Bill AB7AA Member ✭✭✭

    I am also big on diversity reception which I can accomplish on most bands from a selection of different antennas. I can break out signals obscured with noise pretty well.

    I can listen on up to 8 different net frequencies simultaneously for EMCOMM, MARS/SHARES and marine nets and can instantly QSY to relay between them by using different PTT foot switches connected to 3 of the slices. SO2R contesting between frequencies/bands is a snap.

    Up to 8, 2M and 440 band repeaters connected to the same foot switches.

    I have 2 6700's (one for the wife too) so we can do all of the above twice if needed. But this also allows me to do relative antenna measurements by sending two signals 500 Hz apart from different antennas (using different calls) and receiving on the Kiwi SDR system. If you have never witnessed this, it is quite an educational propagation tool also. Not only will the different antennas naturally have different signal levels but will QSB quite differently, even from antennas on the same lot.

    Bill AB7AA

  • KM4CQG
    KM4CQG Member ✭✭

    Since 2014 my 6700 has been a pleasure to work.

    It’s been back to Flex for a timing chip otherwise has been flawless.

    Can anyone confirm that this 6700 discontinued is fact?

    Ian

  • Neil D Friedman N3DF
    Neil D Friedman N3DF Member ✭✭✭✭

    Flex announced this with an end-of-manufacture bulletin effective June 1. It’s the first document under “documentation” on the Flex website.

  • KM4CQG
    KM4CQG Member ✭✭

    Thanks Neil


    Ian

  • Butch
    Butch Member ✭✭✭

    I'm aware SmartSDR running on one PC can select between several different Flex 6xxx rigs (one at a time), but does anyone know if SmartSDR can control two 6600's at the same time, using one PC? Or if two instances of SmartSDR can be run on a single PC (at the same time) to control two 6600's?

    Butch, KF4HR

  • VE7ATJ_Don
    VE7ATJ_Don Member ✭✭✭

    I'm pretty sure that a single instance of SmartSDR can't control two separate flex radios, due to the way you need to select the radio to connect to immediately upon start up.

    I've tried to get two instances of Smart SDR running on my PC, but it wasn't possible. I even tried running two separate 'desktops' (as per Windows 11) but it only allowed one. However, if you run separate VM's on your PC, you might be able to... but even then, I'm not sure about how the attachment over ethernet/IP addressing would work?

  • Dan Trainor
    Dan Trainor Member ✭✭✭

    It appears to be a limitation. If they did enable this feature, it would be a game changer as it sets up the possibly of a mesh network of controlled access to multiple radios. They apparently are not thinking of where things are really going. They are also behind is multi-user authentication and user login for clubs. Currently you have to hand out a single known password to all! de WA1QZX

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