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FLEX-1500 vs Mid Level Non-SDR Transceiver = Disappointed with FLEX-1500

Moose
Moose Member ✭✭
edited January 2020 in FLEX Series (Legacy) Radios
I have had a FLEX-1500 for long enough now to be comfortable with operating it. I'm primarily a SSB voice and digital mode user. I have to say, compared to my Yaesu FTDX-1200, I'm a bit disappointed with the FLEX-1500. The 1500 may be the better receiver on paper but my Yaesu is just much more pleasant to listen to as the IF DSP NR is excellent. The visual aspect of SDR is pretty cool and the 1500 may be able to pull a few stations out of the noise that my Yaesu can't, but for everyday use I can't get past the fact that the 1500/PowerSDR can't reduce or eliminate background noise the way the Yaesu can. 

I got a great deal on the 1500 and I can probably get my money back out of it but I did buy it because of all the rave reviews about its performance as a receiver. I was previously having an issue with a certain noise that ended up being artifacts from the NR function. Flex support told me to stop using the NR feature... A google search brings up many complaints on forums about the lack of a functioning NR feature, a fact that is not mentioned at all in the reviews. I'm going to continue to play with it a little bit because I really want to like the 1500 and I want it to work out. In the end I expect I'll end up selling it. I think I even prefer a FT-897D or FT-817ND with BHI audio DSP NR over the 1500.

I'm writing not only to vent but also to hear what experiences others have had. I appreciate any replies.

73,
Chris AK4SK

Answers

  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2018
    hi Chris, Try fine tuning the AGC-t slider, There will be a sweet spot that will make the receive  have much less noise. For most, finding this sweet spot means not depending so much on the DSP filters. I have run mine around 45.
  • Moose
    Moose Member ✭✭
    edited September 2016
    Bill,
    Thanks for the reply. That is what Flex support suggested in lieu of using the NR feature. Using ACG-T does help but it's not the same as real NR. The downside is that you have to change it constantly as you tune around depending on the strength of the received signal. I've also found that in some instances when I set it to where I'm happy with the noise level then the audio is uncomfortably low, regardless of the AF setting.
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I used to run the AF almost full and use the AGC-T as my volume control. I never used any of the DSP filters, it worked very very well for me
  • John
    John Member
    edited December 2016
    Flex could possibly have made the rx side a little better for a few more bucks but what we have is what they decided on. No doubt the later models are much better, Perhaps someone could come up a hardware mod to improve the audio as other HF rigs have got. But then our ears play a big part as well. For instance I cannot listen to stations running 3.3K audio because of my hearing aids ...I presume. I just leave them be and move on.
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I have a Flex 3000, it has the best audio of all the radios I have owned, very open and with deep base if its presented.
  • Moose
    Moose Member ✭✭
    edited September 2016
    Does it use PowerSDR or different software?
  • John n0snx
    John n0snx Member
    edited May 2015
    I have been running Flex radios for over 6 years now...1500's,3000's 5000 6300, 6500.... The 1500 really impressed me with the receiver... for no more than what it is... WOW.... If you are anyone is having issues with the receiver then it is my guess you have the NR, AGC-T settings wrong.... I never had to set my AF at 100%.. as I remember I used to run the AGC-T around 20-25 depending on the noise....af about 20-30 depending on the noise... I always wear headphones tho... That my be the difference.... At any rate the 1500 is a great little QRP rig...  I never use the NB or the NR on SSB because there just wasn't a need to....
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    The Flex 1500, 3000, 5000, use PSDR.
  • Moose
    Moose Member ✭✭
    edited September 2016
    John, I haven't changed the default DSP NR settings. For all but the strongest stations AGC-T at 20-25 would make most signals inaudible no matter the AF setting, at least for me and that is with headphones.
  • George KF2T
    George KF2T Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2019
    One thing I noticed when I had the 1500 was that it is important to have a good, solid USB connection and a computer with adequate performance. Since most of the signal processing happens outside of the 1500, user experience is strongly related to the computer. 

    I've never had it head to head with a FTDX-1200, so can't speak to which is better. I did head to head compare it with my old IC-706, which hardly seemed fair (the 1500 was better in every way). 

  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    make sure all the DSP's are off NB, when rolling back the AGC-T, I don't know what is happening there.
  • KE9NS
    KE9NS Darrin Kohn Member ✭✭
    edited January 2020

    Not only adjust the AGC-T correctly, but also adjust the Upper & Lower Receive passband window. On SSB I normally set the Lower to 0 hz to get as much low end as possible and set the high end to the band conditions and my contacts bandwidth.

  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    I am simply amazed about your statements. Not only I think the Flex 1500 out performs the FT1200, I think it runs circles around it. But, why compare it with something else?

    The way you use an SDR radio is quite different from traditional het radios. For starters I would recommend to get a decent set of stereo speakers, powered stereo speakers. The Bose Companion are great, but others are fine too. A regular speaker will just not have enough oomph to get to an volume level to your liking. The speaker is the main device that will define how your radio sounds. Providing info about your speakers might also allow others to figure out where your issue might be.

    AGC and Gain are not to be maxed out. That is just not the way you play around with the SDR radios. It is the fine adjustment of these sliders that will make a difference. Also, as Darrin mentioned, paying around with the reception width can make a difference. The tracking notch filters are also very useful.

    I personally do not like background noise... that always-present sounds-like-you-are-deep-frying-something, it used to annoy me. I understand it is part of radio but, it annoyed me nonetheless. It is with the 1500 first and now with the 6300, and their ability to null that background noise, that completely turn me into SDR. These radios are able and very capable to completely reduce noise sources while keeping the station on the other end legible.

    As a matter of fact, just yesterday I posted video on another thread of the 6300 completely eliminating a wide noise source that was a consistent S7. 

    For quite a while I even felt the NB, NR and ANF of PowerSDR (1500) was superior to that of SmartSDR (6000 series). The latest iteration of the SmartSDR software (1.4.11) narrowed the gap considerably.

    Ultimately, if you feel SDR is not for you and the yaesu is the rig of choice then go for it, it is your money and your hobby and you should be happy. I just don't get why users of other brands feel compelled to come here to bash Flex radios. I have not done so in any of the other brands forums.

    I don't go into the Yaesu 857D yahoo group and bash the yaesu because it just doesn't perform like the Flex 1500. Or into the Kenwood forum to compare EQ settings or filters, etc... I own those radios and enjoy them for what they provide and not because they are better or worse than others.

    I find that it is a more civilized approach if you try to ask other flex users how to get better performance out of the 1500 instead of bashing it and comparing it to another brand. You will get better responses. Unless your purpose was to just vent and bad mouth something out of spite and not a genuine concern with the functions of the radio.

    Enjoy the hobby.



  • Chris - KC5IIE
    edited June 2018
    Hello Chris, Ive owned a Flex 1500 since 2011, and like you, I was initially turned off, in fact I sold my first one a few weeks after I purchased it. I ended up purchasing another a few months later and decided to be a bit more patient. The 1500 is definitely not a set and forget radio, its a noodler's delight. It lends itself to so much more than a stand alone rig, I do quite of bit of swling in addition to hamming, the 1500 excels at just about everything I throw at it, but it does require tweaking to get the most out of each mode. I recently purchased an Anan10E, and sold my 1500. After a few weeks, I missed it so much, I bought another (my 3rd)! Though the Anan10 is a more capable radio, I enjoy the 1500 immensely , PSDR 27.2 is a more stable platform and Im more comfortable taking it portable with my laptop and a battery. I guess what Im getting at is, don't give up on it so quickly, the 1500 opens up a entire new world of operating possibilities at a darn good price, with a little patience, it might just grow on you.
  • Ross - K9COX
    Ross - K9COX Member ✭✭
    edited May 2015
    I think that if I married the same woman three times that she would divorce me.
  • John
    John Member
    edited December 2016
    On the other hand, some dont even marry their woman. I love my flex 1500 warts and all. There is none like her, that why I stick to her like mud to a wall. :-)
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited March 2017
    Chris - if you are still having issues, would you please contact me directly ([email protected]) so we can discuss the issue.

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