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The Flex is a slam dunk ... for me.
I figured since most folks only post when they have an issue to solve, it would be nice to chime in just to say thank you.
I am an IT professional whose entire life is spent on computers. I also live in a small house on a small city lot, and my "shack" is my tiny office. It turns out that the best place for a transceiver and the most comfortable place for the human are rarely the same.
On HF, I operate nearly 100% digital modes. I do not want to be tied to my desk in front of the radio, any more than I would accept having to sit in a datacenter to use my computer! I want to sit on the patio, or in the livingroom, or even in bed with a laptop, and operate my radio. The tranceiver, however, would like to be someplace cool, and as close as possible to its power source, antenna feed, and grounding ingress - such as the basement - and certainly not taking up precious real estate in my small living space.
I've spent years trying to approximate a remotely operated station with a more traditional tranceiver and the usual lashup of open source software, COM port emulators, serial and USB cables, sound card interfaces, remote desktop, blood, sweat, and tears. It kinda sorta worked (except for remote audio, which never worked). At best, it was always a second-class experience - never easy, reliable, or satisfying.
The Flex is designed from the ground up to work the way I do - networked. SmartSDR, while it does have its foibles, is exemplary and representative of high quality modern software interfaces, development, and distribution practices - not something I take for granted in ham radio, to say the least. Compared to the old way of hacking together multiple pieces of maybe-maintained software and a tangle of cables, the simplicity is bliss.
Yes, there is definitely still a place for knobs as a human interface, and the flexibility of separating the Maestro from the chassis - by inches or miles! - is a killer feature. Truly the best of both worlds.
For my purposes, and in my experience, this feels to me like the future of ham radio. I particularly bet that folks new to the hobby, who grew up accustomed to networked devices and good software UI design, will find this platform comfortable and compelling.
Thank you for advancing the state of the art.
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