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Flex 1500 possible replacement?

4thapack .
4thapack . Member
I was wondering if there is any discussion of a possible replacement for the Flex 1500 now that the Signature series is out and the 1500 is the only product left in the Flex Series? I am building up my station now with equipment and will be purchasing a Flex low output radio like the 1500 to use on 6M with an external amplifier and 2M with a transverter. I don't want to purchase this and next year at Dayton hear about a replacement being released. Just curious if there are any rumors circulating around that might hold some merit.

Answers

  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited March 2017
    I was wondering if there is any discussion of a possible replacement for the Flex 1500 now that the Signature series is out and the 1500 is the only product left in the Flex Series? 

    Let me quell the rumors.  The FLEX-1500 continues to be a strong selling product for FlexRadio and occupies a unique price/performance market niche that no other radio can rival.  Since all of the processing in the FLEX-6000 line is inside the radio hardware, it is currently impossible to make a direct sampling FLEX-6000 type SDR at the same price point as the FLEX-1500.  As long as it continues to make good business sense for us to manufacturer and sell the FLEX-1500, we will continue to do so.
  • Richard McClelland, AA5S
    Richard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Maybe an $1800 12 watt replacement.  No need for the same price point as another, unrelated rig.  I'm partial to 12 watts vs 5 watts because 5 watts isn't enough to tune my KAT500 tuner.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    I found pushing the drive up on the 1500 yielded. 10watts
  • Richard McClelland, AA5S
    Richard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited July 2015
    Curious.  I just keyed into a dummy load with the 1500 set at 3.8 mhz and the W2 watt meter showed 5 watts.

    Isn't the KX3 a 12 watt $1,800 rig?  I haven't looked seriously at a KX3 so I don't know the exact price or specs but I would think that would be the marketing  benchmark..
  • 4thapack .
    4thapack . Member
    edited July 2015
    Thank you so much Tim. I appreciate the response. I was afraid this might be the case but this makes my decision much easier. A Flex 1500 will be in my future. I can't wait to delve into the SDR realm with my VHF/UHF operation(s).
  • Richard McClelland, AA5S
    Richard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited July 2015
    Since I'm the type to beat a dead horse, I see that Apache Labs has a 10 watt transceiver listed for $1,679.  Presumably there's a market for it at this price (but I have no idea if they are actually selling any of these.)
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Have you set drive slider all the way up? The default position was at half way and is 5 watts, full drive is 10, verified by mfj watt meter.
  • Richard McClelland, AA5S
    Richard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited July 2015
    I believe I have the slider all the way up but I'm not at the rig right now to verify the setting.  Regardless, I have no (easy) way to verify the accuracy of my watt meter so I can only make general comments about the 1500's power output. Whatever it may be, I need an external amplifier to get the KAT500 to tune properly.  A more powerful 1500 type of radio isn't the only possible solution to this minor technical issue, a Flex 6700 would be another workable solution :-)
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited December 2016
    Walt - if your 1500 is actually putting out  a true 10W PEP something is very wrong with it and in addition I suspect it has the worst distortion products of any transmitter on the bands at that wattage.
  • Barry N1EU
    Barry N1EU Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Since I'm the type to beat a dead horse, I see that Apache Labs has a 10 watt transceiver listed for $1,679.  Presumably there's a market for it at this price (but I have no idea if they are actually selling any of these.)
    Actually, Apache-Labs has a 10W DDC/DUC xcvr selling for $965, and that's their QRP hot seller.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Tim, it absolutely is not supposed to do that?? Then that's not good. I haven't used the 1500 since we moved from MA to CT, 2 years ago. I recall though the drive slider default position was half way, it was either up and down or left to right. I remember thinking, why are they calling this a 5 watt rig when it can be pushed to twice that? It sounds like you're implying the 1500 is designed to be incapable of doing that. If that's true, that would be distressing. The distinction I'm making is incapable vs inadvisable.
  • Richard McClelland, AA5S
    Richard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited July 2015
    I overlooked that.  The $995 model is the 10E and the $1,679 model is the 10.  I think I'll still keep my 1500 for the time being.  I don't want to start a fuss but I have more of a warm, fuzzy feeling with SmartSDR than the open source software.
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited December 2016
    Walt - any RF amplifier can by pushed beyond it design targets; the result is a transmitter that will most likely be very dirty and will possibly damage the filters (excessive heat) or transistors.

    All of the PAs in our products are engineered with headroom.  To not do so would be very shortsighted on our part.

    The FLEX-1500 is a 5W radio and at that power output level meets or exceeds the FCC specifications. If your radio is producing a higher output level, the radio needs to be recalibrated by our service group to ensure it is operating within FCC specifications.  If you want to send it in, please submit a HelpDesk support ticket and we'll issue you an RMA number.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Powersdr vs open source? Yes, God forbid any on here actual admit to owning an Anon, much less liking it! Heresy I tell you, heresy!
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited February 2019
    I didn't realize that Tim, thank you. With ssdr, at least on 10m, output hits 100w when the slider hits 100, moving the slider further to the right, towards 125w, does not iincrease output past 100w. I thought that was how iit was supposed to work... Software not allowing bad sh*t to happen. So on the lower bands where going to 125w produces 125w, is that inadvisable too?
  • Richard McClelland, AA5S
    Richard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited July 2015
    I don't care about heresy as much as I care about vendor involvement and support.  I want to have good support for my primary radio, so I choose Flex.  This is analogous to me choosing a Microsoft OS even though there may be some advantages to running open source.  Warm and fuzzy is good.
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited December 2016
    Which radio are you talking about?  The 1500 is not a 100W radio.  Also the slider only goes to 100.  I am confused.
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited December 2016
    PowerSDR is an open source application.  Has been from day one.
  • George KF2T
    George KF2T Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Doesn't every radio need to go to 11 these days? ;-)
  • Richard McClelland, AA5S
    Richard McClelland, AA5S Member ✭✭
    edited July 2015
    Yes, but the inference that I wanted you to make is that there is a teeny-tiny hole in your QRP SmartSDR offerings.  Grin.  Plus, you seem to support PowerSDR rather well so I don't perceive this as being "in the wild" so to speak.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    I was using the 6500/ssdr only by way of example. You're right ssdr only goes to 100 but the rf power out hits 100 before the slider has gone full range. I noticed, at on point on 10m, once the rf oupt hit 100 sliding the control any further did not increase power output. I thought, upon discovering this, "how cool is that!". However, on lowerr bands, 17-12, the output meter still hits 100 before the slider has gone full range but sliding the control full range DOES increase rf output to 125. I thought, in the case of 10m, the software was preventing bad stuff from happening by not allowing the output past 100w. So, by inference, on the other bands the fact that output could go to 125w implied doing so was OK. Back to the 1500. Being software controlled, that the psdr allowed the rf to go to 10w meant it was OK, as 5 watts was hit mid way on the slider. This is why I am awed and dismayed i may have damaged the radio or, perhaps worse, been emitting a dirty signal. I would have thought the software would ensure the operator / radio 'did no harm'. What I understand you to be saying is that assumption is invalid in the case of psdr, despite bring, what I consider a valid assumption. This leads to the obvious question, is ssdr smart enough to prevent the operator and/ radio from doing bad stuff? I am not saying any of this to be snarky, its a sincere question.
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited December 2016
    Walt - the 1500 does not have an SWR bridge so it cannot read power directly.  The limit is based on the bias and PA calibration data in the radio.  If a component(s) has gone out of spec or is blown, that calibration data is no longer correct and can result in a higher wattage output.  The net of all this is if the radio is putting out 10W, then it needs to come in for service.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Very quickly then, as talking about the 6000 is off topic, to the second question, is the fact the 6500 can put out 125 watts equally bad? Should the software be changed to no allow that?
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited December 2016
    Not as bad as a 100% overage like with the 1500 ;-)

    My 6700 will do 105W PEP on a few as per a calibrated PowerMaster wattmeter.  Assuming your MFJ wattmeter is calibrated (not making any assumptions, but...) and you are getting 125W PEP on most bands at full drive levels, then I would probably send it in for a recalibration just to make sure.  Better safe than sorry.  Again, a HelpDesk ticket is the place to start.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    And that is a very good point Tim, thank you. No, actually I may have made the most gravest of errors assuming anything MFJ is calibrated. How does one go about getting an MFJ quality product calibrated. That is a side issue though.
    That 125 comes from the RF Power output meter going full scale, which, according to the little teeny print is 125.

    The over-arching question here though is, is it safe if SSDR allows it? I do understand what you were saying about PSDR not being able to determine power output. But, given there is an RF Power Out meter, I assume that means SSDR can. (tongue in cheek there). I can't say for sure on 160-80-40 as it's been so long since I've been there. On 17 and 15 though, I can peg the output meter (on SSDR).

    Walt
  • Jon_KF2E
    Jon_KF2E Member ✭✭
    edited July 2015
    How does one go about getting an MFJ quality product calibrated. "

    The best way would be to trash it and get an LP-100A which has NIST traceable calibration. It is a great resource in the shack. I understand the PowerMaster is very nice also but I have no experience with them.

    I suspect if you did calibrate the MFJ it wouldn't stay that way.

    Jon...kf2e

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