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Take the plunge and go for the 6600 or stick with the FTDX5000?

I've been debating changing over to FlexRadio for a while now.
After being off the air for a number of years I did trade my trusty 1000MP for a 5000...however , somehow I must have missed the FlexRadio while doing research for a new radio.
I've been playing with the LP-PAN2 and SDRPlay2 as a panadapter in combo with the 5000 and CW skimmer....and so I got hooked on SDR.
With the new 6600 comming to the scene in a few months I wonder whether I should take the plunge?
My main interest is low band DX , weak signal DX in general , digi modes , 6m DX and occasionally taking part in a contest.
Any suggestions , advice...are highly appreciated.

73 - ON7NQ - OP2R - Danny

Completed · Last Updated



  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Hi Danny,  I can't comment directly about your activities but I will say that I won't go back to a knob radio but there are of course two sides to that.

    I will say also that Flex (even though there are negative posts in the forum) does communicate with users and is responsive and very effective on repairs.  I think in your case being ON7 you'll be dealing with a distributor but help is always available on this forum to all.

    For Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu I think you'd be hard pressed to find a forum where the radio manufacturer, including the company present actually weigh in.

    I hope you take the plunge.  It's a good radio and a very good company.

  • KF4HRKF4HR Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Once you get used to the spectrum display and flexibility of the Flex 6x00 series rigs, odds are you won't want to go back to any other radio.  I'm actually surprised Japanese manufacturers haven't picked up on this level of spectrum display (yet). 
  • WW1SS - SteveWW1SS - Steve Member
    edited April 10
    I used to run the same setup and loved it. I am waiting on Flex as my only issue is the deadlines that keep expiring and the waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting. Usually if they give a date for something it ends up being 6 months to a year after that. V2.0 has been in the pipeline for over 2 years now.
  • Bill W2PKYBill W2PKY Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    For 6M DX all 4 slices can be assigned to the active areas of the band. One pan for CW, one for SSB and two for digital modes. When on HF digital 4 bands can be decoding concurrently, just watch the printouts and pounce on the best DX. The 6600 has 2 SCUs so two antennas can be employed simultaneously. FLEX gives the OP a way to expand horizons.   
  • Gerald-K5SDRGerald-K5SDR FlexRadio Employee ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Steve, the reason we delayed v2.0 is because we decided to put a lot more features into V1.x than we originally planned.  It was a conscious decision to do so. 
  • G8ZPXG8ZPX Member
    edited July 2017
    Gerald, recently you said that v1 was "now feature locked". what is going on?
  • Gerald-K5SDRGerald-K5SDR FlexRadio Employee ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    It is correct that the features that will be included in v1.x.x are feature locked.  I was responding to KK9W who said v2 was in the pipeline for over 2 years.  We purposly delayed v2 for about 2 years while we added many more features to the free v1.x version.  We are not delaying v2.0 at all at this point in time.  It is all the software team is working on.
  • Lou DietrichLou Dietrich Member
    edited December 2019

    My opinion...take the plunge! You will not regret it!

    The FT5K is a fine radio. I had two of them but when I saw the ability of the Flex6XXX to fluidly move from mode to mode, I immediately sold the FT5Ks and jumped on the 6500 and Maestro.

    LP-Pan/ SDRPlay are a stop gap measure, that is, you still have only one comport on the FT5K. You still have to run some kind of port sharing like LPBridge and port contention can be problematic when you are running other apps in conjunction with  NAP3, your logging program or digital applications.

    Additionally, LP Pan and an external sound card can be prone to artifacts. It takes quite a bit of work to eliminate them. I gave up!

     Moving to Flex, you can sell the LP-PAN, sound card, and any other external digital interfaces  (Signalink, PK232, etc.) . Flex does it all via software (DAX- Digital Audio Exchange), making those external boxes obsolete. No more soldering those tiny DIN plugs! Everything you need to run every mode is "in the box". Just boot the application, give it a Flex comport/ PTT, link the app to the DAX channel and you are running. 

    With the Flex, you can run multiple apps at the same time. I frequently run JTDX and CW Skimmer at the same time .  Nothing gets past me on 6M during the Es season! I have the entire band covered with applications. The same hold true for HF. Set-up Skimmer for the CW portion, WSJT, Digipan, MMTTY in the digital portion and you have the band covered. 

    With the FT5K, you are also limited to Yeasu preordained filter bandwidths while the Flex filters are viable. No more being tied down to what an engineer thought your correct combination
    of filtering.  Being a predominately CW/ RTTY operator, I find the ability to tailor filter bandwidths, on the fly, extremely effective. In contests if someone moves in close, you simply adjust your filter bandwidth!

    I could continue...but you get my message. Flex is the way to go.  If you have any further questions, you can reach me at [email protected] (or on this board. I monitor it daily.)

    73/ Regards

    Lou N2TU

    ex.(K5P, K9W, K1N and NH8S)

  • WW1SS - SteveWW1SS - Steve Member
    edited July 2017
    Still waiting for power genius . . . Order a 6500 and it is a 2 to 3 week wait when I last contacted Flex. Maestro is a 10 to 12 week wait. V 2.0 is a 2 year wait. The 6400 and 6600 series will not be out in July or August as I was told when I put my $500 down. It will realistically be first quarter of 2018 . . . Get my Point.
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited July 2017
    Steve - honest question. You complain a lot about the radio and the software and are already complaining about a Flex amp that hasn't even been released yet. 

    Why on earth are you wasting your time with something that you obviously do not like at all?  Buy somthing else, and be happy man. Life is too short to have a radio that you hate.

  • Peter K1PGVPeter K1PGV Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    Take the plunge. There is absolutely nothing like seeing the station you want to contact, and the QRM around that station, on a big screen... and visually being able to adjust your receive filters to be precisely where you want them. It's crazy powerful. Wanna see the whole band? Easy. Wanna see one station? Trivial. If that station is a PSK station you want to talk to... and there's another station 100hz up... no problem, just pull you receive passband where you want it, and the precise width you want. 50hz wide? 72hz wide? 200hz? No problem. Don't listen to those who are whining about what they don't have. They take for granted what they do have... like brick wall filters. It's because the radio is so good that people whine about **** stuff... Peter K1PGV
  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Steve KK9W's concerns are a reminder - if there is a feature that is a MUST HAVE and a product doesn't yet include it that person might be more comfortable waiting to buy until it is out. If the feature set is rich enough that growing pains and waiting for more features is acceptable, then jump on in with a buy. Just keep yourself happy by being realistic what you have to have and what you can wait for. Folks temperaments are different and all positions on when to buy into an evolving product are valid. The only position that is not valid is whining about yourself having taken a buy-in position that wasn't true to your heart and your needs as if it was a product problem rather than a decision problem. Not everyone has the same take on where bleeding-edge becomes leading-edge become industry-standard in the process. And there are certainly trade-offs as all features a person would like don't roll out the same time. YMMV is more than just a cute saying. But make sure your needs are satisfied by the timing you pick to buy-in. It's got to be fun for YOU to be worth it. 73 Steve K9ZW
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Yes,,if you are looking at performance and features? The 6600 kills anything that is not pure SDR.
    And don't forget the best customer support in ham radio.
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited July 2017
    As Peter says - take the plunge. I'm rocking this, with the entry level signature series radio. And I cannot imagine what would get me to part with it. Well, maybe a 6700. Then I'd need to get another big monitor. Some days its hard to get me out of the shack

    46 inch Sharpimage monitor. HP Envy laptop my dear old Monsoons, sadly discontinued,  my Flexcontrol, and  Bencher paddles. Running N1MM loger on the laptop. and we can see what's running on the big fella.
  • Norm - W7CKNorm - W7CK Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Take the plunge.   I often whine about the features the SmartSDR doesn't have yet but in the end, Flex builds the best ham radio one can buy.
  • Mike W9OJMike W9OJ Member ✭✭
    edited February 9
    Wise guy!
  • VK7WH WinstonVK7WH Winston Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Steve, please understand I say this kindly.

    I certainly got your point, I got it a long time ago, however I can't see how further such posts will improve your situation, or make your enjoyment of our hobby any better.

    My 6700 is by far the best radio I have ever owned, and I have had an enormous amount of fun with it over the past three years, and with its continuously evolving software, I can see myself owning it for many,many years to come.

    Steve (K9ZW) is right. "It's got to be fun for you ...." and your posts are suggesting it is not.

    I wish I could help you more, however I can't think of any thing else I can say that might help.

    Best 73

  • Chris DL5NAMChris DL5NAM Member
    edited April 3
    Do you realy think you will get any other answer then "use FLEX Radio" - if you ask here in the Flex Community?

    use FLEX Radio !

  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    I won't automatically say, "use a flex radio" but this is what I see as the main differences: SDR chart topping performance vs superhet and DSP Ultimate flexibility and improvements with new software Network capability and out of the box seamless remote Better ability to interface with external equipment (amps, tuners, antenna controllers) A variety of UI options including maestro with knobs if you want it Dual SCU for basically two independent receivers in a box 7th order filters What goes in favor of the yaesu: Their brand name. Let's face it. Some are brand loyal Yaesu radios have knobs that feel very ergonomic to use. The main vfo knob is one of the best I've used in any radio. Familiarity. The yaesu layout is familiar to many. Less latency. Yes this can be a concern to some. SDR has this inherent issue Not having to deal with windows or a computer. (does not apply to 6600M which doesn't need that either) I am biased. I own a flex. But that's not because I just like the company. I have used others and flex is what works best for me. As a bonus you also get this awesome user community to help you. Ria
  • Mark WS7MMark WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Shop for a radio like you shop for anything else.

    If you are buying a car, buy the car that does what you desire.  You would never by a "SmartCar" hoping one day they come out with the pickup bed add on right?

    On this forum you'll see lots of whining.  Well that is what forums attract.  They attract both good question answer discussions and how to discussions but also a lot of whining about this didn't work, I don't have that, why is everything taking so long etc...

    As a computer / software professional for over 35 years I've had my fair share of neighbors, friends, relatives asking me what computer and software to buy.  I always say the same thing:

    First understand what you want to do with it
    Second buy something that gives you that ability plus a little growing room

    It is foolish to try and stay on the bleeding edge.  It is frustrating and often very unproductive.  

    One of my relatives didn't listen and bought a super hopped up computer that the vendor claimed would do everything my relative wanted for the next 10 years.  They forgot to add that it will only do that when it was not crashing and overheating.   It turned out to have so many incompatibilities that it was almost useless.

    So I posted first. I am going to maintain my stance:

    I like flex.  My reasons are I like computers, doing radio with a computer makes total sense to me.  For some others not so much.   

    The flex company is far and above anyone else out there.  There is not only this forum but a crew of people to help you keep your radio on the air and healthy.  In your case I think being over seas you will still have the forum but likely deal with a distributor for support.  I've never needed support and I've had 4 different flex radios.  All have worked amazing.

    I like to "see" the band.  I often spend more time just watching signals than working them.  For years I tuned my old Kenwood across some squeal.  I was told they were artifacts of the radio and called "birdies".   Now that I'm into golf I wish I had more birdies but that is another discussion.  Now with my flex I can see "birdies" and I'm convinced they are not artifacts of my radio.  In most cases they are some other thing in my house or neighbors house that is making noise.   I find the shape of signals on the display to be fascinating.  For example there are these sweep ionosphere things out there that rapidly run a signal up and down the band.  I can see that where as in years past it was just a momentary beep on my current frequency.

    As Peter says the ability to zoom in and filter is unmatched.  During field day I often found two CW stations almost on top of each other.  With a quick zoom and pulling the filters around I could isolate the one I wanted.  I don't even use the tracking notch filter.  I just don't need it for what I do.

    Remote operation.  To do remote operation with any other radio you will need to buy a few things.  When Flex releases V2.0 which you would get for free as part of your purchase remote op will be built in.  This means you can sit at your laptop at a starbucks and monitor or work the bands.  No special equipment required.  This may not appeal to you but it comes as part of the package.  With FT radio you will probably need to do something like RemoteRig and that will be the purchase of a few things to get it working.  Alternatively you would spend money on something like remote ham radio.  Cool big stations but it costs a lot and there are no panadapters to "see" the band.

    Remote "local" operation.  Get a reasonable Windows laptop, a headset with a mic and you can run your flex COMPLETELY from anywhere you get a reasonable WiFi signal from your router.  I've operated from my great room chair watching TV.  I've operated from the back deck in shade.

    Unlike Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu the flex is an open API system.  By this I mean Flex publishes the API to control the radio over the network connection.  This opens the door for people to hook programs into the flex and that means you have more options.  I've already built a few programs for the flex and will continue to do so.

    If you still want knobs then go for the version with the attached Maestro.  Or get one without and buy a Maestro along side.  With either of these options you can still run SmartSDR on your computer or a laptop or use the Maestro knob interface when you want.  So many ways to use it.  Many more than with any other radio.

    So ya... I could keep going... but I think you get the point.  It will be different, but it will be better in my opinion.

    Mark - WS7M
  • ON7NQ - DannyON7NQ - Danny Member
    edited July 2017
    Thanks Bill ! I didn't even know this was possible...but sure is an impressive feature.

  • ON7NQ - DannyON7NQ - Danny Member
    edited July 2017
    You may have a point ;)
  • ON7NQ - DannyON7NQ - Danny Member
    edited July 2017
    I could post the very same question on the FT5000 reflector...you'd be surprised to see some of the answers ;)
    The answers from Ria, Lou and some of the others....this is what I was hoping to read tbh.

  • ON7NQ - DannyON7NQ - Danny Member
    edited July 2017
    Exactly the pro's and con's I'm struggling with !
    One of my major concerns is the W10 and it's flaky updates at times..
    Don't know about ergonomics , time will tell I guess.
    On the other hand I won't need that many cables to connect all sorts of interfaces , virtual com ports...not to mention 3rd party software.
    I would go with a 6600+Maestro instead of the M-version...

  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited July 2017
    BTW. I agree with you on W10. Lif e is too short to be debugging W10 update caused issues. Therefore I use W7 and no issues
  • HCampbell  WB4IVFHCampbell WB4IVF Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017

    6600/Maestro seems a good choice, Danny.  But remember that if you later decide you want to add an external monitor, you’ll still have to use your PC, since the 6600 does not have the HDMI external monitor port that the 6600M has.

  • VaristorVaristor Member
    edited August 2018
    The 6600 does not exist as of today. It's that simple. Just because there have been a few demo units it doesn't mean that it is in mass production or it has been battle tested. Even though it is supposed to be based on the same platform as the current line up, it certainly will be different.

    How could you possibly evaluate the FT5K against a radio that is not in production? I'd recommend you wait and see before you make the plunge.
  • Mark WS7MMark WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    W10 is not that bad.  I've had once or twice where a W10 update caused a problem.  But simply uninstall, reinstall and it just works.

    If you can handle W7 then yes you can control updates but keep in mind W7 is more prone to hacking without updates.  So if you plan to use this computer for anything other than radio you add some risk.

    My W10 with current updates and McaFee AV fended off WannaCry.  It was cool.  I got a nice little notice about it and it was sent to the trash for the most part.
  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    I would also go with the separate maestro. 

    Windows 10 really hasn't caused any issues here and I run alpha software too. 

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