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



  • Mark WS7MMark WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    I'd actually love to see the responses.

    Hams as a rule of thumb are a little opinionated.  I followed Ken NM9P's tutorial on Audio and fine tuned my audio to sound very nice.  I even recorded myself off one of the SDR webs and it sounded ok with the exception of my own voice that I don't really like the sound of.  I mean it had all the right frequency ranges.

    Then I get on a roundtable with a couple of Flex haters I heard and they start to tell me how good the audio sounds and then I told them I'm on a flex 6500.  One of them comes back and says:   "Oh I could tell...  But your's sounds better than most Flex radios..."

    Just goes to show you that I could have been on an Icom or whatever and told them I'm on a flex and they would have said they didn't like it.

    Still I'd love to hear your FT reflector thoughts.  Would be a kick.  The only thing I can say is probably I'm gonna find that hidden signal between the big signals (like I did on Field Day) before an FT user will.
  • Lou DietrichLou Dietrich Member
    edited July 2017
    We already know the capabilities of the FT5K...it has been around for 8+ years....and we already know the current capabilities of SSDR and the current production 6XXX models. 

    They are a given.

    The FT5K hasn't had a meaningful software update in years(not to mention its OLED flaw) while the Flex SSDR has had numerous updates and another is expected close to the V2 release. 

    The 6400 and 6600 will be enhancements to the current 6000 series making FT5K comparisons vis a vis Flex quite easy. Will the 6400 and 660 be different? Yes, but with the same pedigree as the current models. 

    So really the choice for Danny is....to stay with the FT5K.... a fine rig but at the end of its product superhet life, difficult to enhance, with complex station integration and maintenance or move over to Flex SDR.

    Comparisons, when viewed in this light, are quite easy.

    73/ Regards

    Lou N2TU

    Ex: FT5000 owner (and Yaesu Hamfest rep!)
  • ON7NQ - DannyON7NQ - Danny Member
    edited July 2017

    This sounds like "been there, done that" ;)
    All sorts of interfaces ,LP-bridge , virtual sound routers and such really is mess at times , especially after some W10 update or reboot , but not as bas as Windows Vista..

    Running multiple apps at the same time sounds great!

    The filtering in the Flex is something I may need to get used to...
    Testing a 6500 for a while would be interesting to get used to the Flex Radio's in general

    BTW thanks for all those most wanted DXCC...missed you guys at K5P but worked you from K1N which was my last needed DXCC!

    73 - ON7NQ

  • ON7NQ - DannyON7NQ - Danny Member
    edited July 2017
    Tempting Mark but I'm not going to post on the FT5k reflector..;)
    Allthough it would give surprising results..

    The filtering in the Flex is something I may need to get used to.

    Interesting story !
  • ON7NQ - DannyON7NQ - Danny Member
    edited July 2017
    So let me get this right...the 6600M has an HDMI port while the 6600 does not?

    Most issues with W10 updates are audio routing problems...had this atleast twice.
    I usually am able to fix thing but it's time consuming.

    Dual boot W10/W7 is maybe an option is case something happens?

  • ON7NQ - DannyON7NQ - Danny Member
    edited July 2017
    Updating a FT5K is not something you do daily or while reading the newspaper.
    I only did one major update and the last one they released didn't look meaningful enough for me to go ahead and proceed.
    I have no idea how frequent updates are released at Flex but I assume more then once a year ? ;)

  • HCampbell  WB4IVFHCampbell WB4IVF Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017

    Correct, the 6400/6600’s do not have HDMI ports:


    Click on “Compare” tab.


  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited August 2018


    I have several friends in Liege, Belgium who run Flex Radios and seem to be very happy with them

    You might want to contact Janny ON5PO and get his opinion - he especially uses it for digital modes wherein the Flex not only excels but from my experimentation easily outperforms external boxes for digital.

    I spend several months a year in France (just returned to USA on Sunday but returning to France at the end of August) where I remote through to my California Station from our apartment in Provence and cottage in Provence.

    Perhaps if you have time you might visit the Ham Radio 2017 in Friedrichshafen next weekend (its about 7 1/2hrs drive from you via the A4) where they will have several models on display and working.  You can also talk to their local EU distributor at the show I suspect that they may have remote stations setup to the USA and Germany so you can actually use the radio at the show with real antennas..

    Personally there is nothing better than trying the radios hands on to get a real feel of what it might be able to do for you.

    While the Yaesu 5000 is a fine radio.. it is using end of life Legacy technology that was designed in the early 1980's and has been reoptimized to squeeze that last bit of performance available.. there is very little that they can do without it costing huge sums of money to make that technology any better.

    OTOH.. the Flex uses modern Direct Sampling SDR technology which is clearly still in its infancy and yet easily outperforms the older legacy technologies.  Each new update to software is like getting a new radio with even better performance.     Yes there are always some software bugs that need to be fixed but they do get fixed and things get even better..Really exciting stuff.

  • ON7NQ - DannyON7NQ - Danny Member
    edited July 2017

    Looks like you're on a roll ;) but thanks for all info....

    A separate Maestro is something I may want to buy instead of the 6600M.

    Remote from the back deck in the shade sounds like a plan !

  • ON7NQ - DannyON7NQ - Danny Member
    edited July 2017

    I didn't know ON5PO had a Flex...in fact I hardly know anyone over here who owns a Flex.

    Yea, I have 2 MicroHams connected with the FT5K and it's a mess of wires interconnecting them.

    Yes Ham Radio 2017 is next weekend , somehow they changed dates compared to last year and it sotra slipped my mind , sigh..

    I have looked at the Distributors list and there a few familiar distributors on the list.
    A few in the UK , PA and DL

    Exactly , trying the radio's hands on is the way to go !

  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited July 2017
    I have not used a Microham on aFT5000 but I have used them on a IC7700 and ic7800 Compared them against a Flex 6700 internal DAX digital audio on JT65 on the same antenna The IC7700 - newer and better receiver than the 7800 would consistently work JT 65 down to about -20dB BUT my Flex 6700 would work done to -26dB I have subsequently switched to JTDX rather than WSJT-X and regularly work down to -29dB albeit it takes a lot of power on my side for the weak ones to copy me
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Jean ON4TC also has a Flex I believe Albert ON5AM also has a Flex The reason I am missing Freidrichshafen this year is because it's in July when we are always in California But 2018 it's early June so I should be there.
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2017
    @ N2WQ   If you simply compare the Flex 6000's now to the FT5K one would see that the Flex 6000 perform much better. So even though the 6600 is not out yet, the performance of the 6000's tell you what you need to know.
  • Rick N4RZRick N4RZ Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Nyuk nyuk nyuk nyuk!
  • edited November 2019
    I have a Flex 6500 with which I am very happy. I am a 68 year old physician. Before Med school, I was a computer programmer, back in the days of Fortran IV with some experience with C. (spaghetti code to spaghetti code!!!) My BS is in mathematics with several physics  courses as well. I find the Flex solution elegant, high performance, even dazzling! Direct conversion with DSP decoding is the way to go. Superhet is a dying technology. I work as a radiologist and deal with MRI. MRI has been using direct conversion for at least 15 years, but probably someone here knows better than I. The point of all my rambling is that I can afford whatever radio that I want to have. My choice is Flex 6xxx series. But just because I can afford more expensive radios does not mean that I want to throw money away. Flex is inherently the most economic choice you can make. The **** for the buck in performance is already huge. And direct conversion with DSP is a long way from a mature, or even post mature technology like superhet. There is plenty left to improve upon and we will see these improvements from Flex. I am sure of that. 

     So, **** for buck and a great future. I think Flex is the only way to go. Did I mention that they are a great bunch of folks to work with? And what other radio has the company president and several of its technical/support staff on the reflector, or even hosts its own reflector? Who else even will discuss their future plans? Yes, software is the radio. But to add to that, the company is also the radio. You won't be disappointed with a Flex product.

  • edited July 2018
    Hi Danny,
    As both an avid Ham and also commercially involved in defense work, the flex has opened our eyes to so many possibilities.
    You could not meet a more diehard knobs and dials kind of operator than myself, I have hundreds of black box radios I collect and love an some of the more high end are the IC7850, TS990 and previously an FTDX5000. 

    My personal advice is that you will be doing yourself a big favour in heading towards the Flex, I have the Flex6700 with the Maestro and  as a Ham I learn something new and incredible everyday.
    From a commercial point of view, we developed encryption software that is used in Military applications and we are enjoying easy integration to the Flex series.  We are very interested in the Version 2.0 (allowing remote hotspotting etc )which we are in communication with Flex and have received incredible support regarding the applications we have in the middle east currently.

    I think one of the pleasures of the FlexSystem is its ease of use, I have played with the Anan System and in no way am I knocking it, its a very effective and commercial grade product, but the flex for someone like myself who has little time in my day to be working out sometimes complex permutations of the Anan, (with incredible results though) the Flex is very plug and play and this suits me personally and also our customer base worldwide.

    So Danny, how does it compare to some of my high end radios, the receiver on the Flex has features which are far more effective in dealing with noise and effectively, its just a better receiver on all fronts.  As a transmitter, not a huge difference to be honest, runs perfectly into our Acom Amplifiers we have here(we are the Asia Pacific Acom and Optibeam Dealers) and has a very good range of equalisation on board that works well.

    I was never a huge fan of the FTDX5000, more personal choice than any particular criticism, but love the TS990 and the IC7850 I have here.  The embarrassing point is showing people the radio used most which is generally my IC7850, and then showing people the highlights of the Flex6700 with 8 screens open and then the maestro which gets used all around the house.  I actually just sold my IC7300 I had in the bedroom as I sincerely love the Maestro for a dozen more reasons than the IC7300 Icom Sdr radio.  People love my IC7850, but once I start rolling over to the desk with 8 band slices up, and I start showing the various ways to combat any noise, it becomes clear that Flex have surpassed Icom in this area.
    I was very fortunate, a Flex6700 and a Maestro came up secondhand and this was very incentivized by its great price, it came with a super HP computer with the most incredible graphics card, two screens etc.  The Maestro actually came from a separate sale from a mate in New Zealand it was all meant to be.  The great news is that we get to evaluate a system that has done some work as we see applications for the Flex Product worldwide with contracts we are currently involved in.  I retrofitted a number of our manpack applications to the Maestro for a bit of fun and we then used one of our test radios to communication back to and basically, it was just too easy, no dithering or data packet losses, just 100% in all testings. 

    I just mention also the incredible communication from Team at Flex Radio, I love that they are live on this forum, they are just 100% invested in you the customer and we are also very fortunate in Australia that Flex products are supported by a very experienced company, Future Systems.  For any Australian customers looking at Flex, we import from all over the world for various products and its a matter of have to, if only we could have a Future Systems to ring locally and have local support for a lot of our products.  When you do the maths, GST, Duty, Govt import fees, freight etc, Future systems are not making a huge profit and are very good to deal with from all I have heard.  The other amazing things about Flex, if you do buy 2nd hand, then simply pay $89USD and any existing warranty is transferred to you personally.

    To me, its all just positives, will I sell my 7850 or 990 or any of the other 300 radios here, probably not, but thats the hoarder in me, lets face it, the big box line ups are still a load of fun to look at and use etc but the serious operators are heading SDR and seeing the benefits.  I am embarrassed as I have not had a chance to upload some of the great photos of the Flex setup in action onto QRZ.com but we will get that sorted this week.  My final opinion, yep, Go Flex and see the difference first hand.
    Brenton VK3CM
    Position and Navigation Systems Pty Ltd

  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Very interesting, this is something many of us forget is the military and commercial use Flex is involved in.
  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    My only advice is to go for the radio for what it currently does and not for what it might do in the future. You can probably consider 2.0 the current iteration... I say this because I was disappointed with my 6700/Maestro combo, probably because in my head I thought the software, by now, would be somewhere else as far as features. But this is unfair to Flex as the software is pretty good and the hardware is fairly amazing. But my own personal expectations were more ambitious than the current result. Go into Flex appreciating what you get at the moment of your purchase and not spending too much time here waiting for the new software to drop or some feature to happen.
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Salvador, that is the best advice I have heard in some time, most of us do not understand the scope of the things they are working on. Imagine, working on a code much larger then windows?
  • Andy - KU7TAndy - KU7T Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    Where did you hear that the Flex code base is much larger than Windows? I think you should not believe your source. Microsoft has 1000s of developers working on Windows and probably hundreds doing just builds. Not to forget the thousands that only work on sustained engineering (bugs). How many software engineers work at Flex? Andy, KU7T
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2017

    1 week ago
    Photo of Peter K1PGV

    Peter K1PGV, Elmer

    • 503 Posts
    • 292 Reply Likes

    @Mark WS7M

    >3650 Source files containing 3,539,849 lines of real code 

    3.5 MILLION NCSLs is yuuuuudge.  I don't even want to think about a project that size.  The core portion of the Windows OS (no drivers, no HALs, etc) is only about 2 million lines.  A project of 3.5M non-commented source lines scares me.

  • Andy - KU7TAndy - KU7T Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    I see, the talk was about the Windows kernel only. A kernel is small, by design. Not sure that comparison is meaningful, since the kernel does not have UI. In any case, I am very impressed by what the Flex guys have accomplished. Selling most of my slack equipment, especially the stuff with many cables, and waiting for the 66k.
  • N6OILN6OIL Member ✭✭
    edited June 18
    Hello Danny, let me share my experience with you. I'm a little pistol barefoot hexbeam and a 6BTV I used to run a IC-718 with two or three boxes hanging off the end of it. I had talked myself into getting an Elecraft K3 line but after comparing the Flex and the K3 it was and easy choice for me, it was the Flex 6500. If I want to play with knobs I have my "toob" radios. Also, I just love having a clean desk to work from. But I will share my dirty secret with you, all the hardware is tucked underneath the desk. The wiring mess is temporary. 

  • N8FNRN8FNR Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Of course your wiring mess is "temporary". I have been telling myself the same thing for ten years. 
  • Peter K1PGVPeter K1PGV Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    <random tangent>

    I'm not sure this matters, but since I was quoted above...

    With all due respect and appreciation to Flex, I would be surprised to discover that all the code for the Flex, including the VHDL and SSDR and Maestro, is anywhere close to 3.5 million non-commented source lines of code.

    In the 20+ years my company has been in business writing software, we have written and delivered that much code.  I think.  When we last counted, I think we counted commented source lines and came up with 3M.

    3.5 million uncommented source lines is a ridiculously large code base.


    BTW: All of Windows is estimated to be more than 50 million lines of code.  I say "is estimated" because those are public figures.  I've never personally counted.

    </random tangent>
  • Mark_WS7MMark_WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    I used LocMetrics (http://www.locmetrics.com/) to count our project which did come up with 3.5 million lines.  

    That being said I cannot vouch for LocMetrics accuracy.  

    Our current project has a ridiculous number of layers to ever object.  The original architect wanted "definitions", then models to hold "definitions", etc. etc.

    So at times to reference one thing we have 5 or more related classes to wrap things up with.  It is one of our biggest headaches when debugging this code.


  • edited July 2017
    Hi Brenton, which HP computer and which graphics card are you using?

    Charles  K5UA
  • Peter K1PGVPeter K1PGV Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    @WS7M Oh, to be clear, I don't doubt you at all.  There are certainly numerous large projects that amount to way more than 4M NCSLs. That doesn't mean the size isn't truly prodigious.  Ugh...


  • edited July 2018
    Just commented to a friend yesterday who asked about my Flex 6500 the following:

    After 58 years of contesting and chasing DX, my current priorities are as follows:

    1.  Resolution/Usability of the panadapter
    2.  Machine/Human interface
    3.  Weight and size
    4.  Specifications

    You might wonder why specifications are listed last.  That is because any of the top 10 radios on Sherwood's list have specifications adequate for DX and contesting work.  It is more important to me how to bring these specifications to the DX and contesting battlefied than whether or not one radio has an additional 2 or 3 dB advantage in any specific area.  I was a hardened "knob" guy until I realized the advantage of band awareness using my vision instead of my ears to determine where I should position my receiver in crowded band conditions.  To a casual operator, this is not a big deal.  To a contest or DX operator, this is a paradigm shift in operating style.

    I have great respect for the Yaesu FTdx-5000, but within weeks of using my Flex 6500, I removed the Yaesu from the table and sold it, not because it was not a great radio, but because my operating style had been altered so much by the 6500.  Sure, I had the LP-Pan and PowerSDR-IF working pretty good on the Yaesu, but I did have to jump thru hoops to make that combination work.  Then when I had to send in a 45 pound Yaesu FTdx-5000 back to the factory, my back and my wallet paid a significant price.  That is why weight and size in number 3 on my list.  "Big iron" is a young man's game.

    The other epiphany I had after using the 6500 was that I did not have to make a lot of mouse movements in a contest.  Using the 100hz CW filter I could burn through the band in the search and pounce mode using the Flex Control and rarely reach for the mouse.  No adjusting the width or IF shift by ear as in conventional radios, just LOOK at the panadapter and put the cursor where it needs to be.  The shape factors of the Flex CW filters are so steep that it is rare that two CW stations can not be separated.  Where else can you find a 1.08 to 1 shape factor 100hz CW filter?

    Yes, I have whined as much as anyone about V2 being delayed.  But everytime I put my backup high performance transceiver on the desk..... I am reminded of all the advantages of my 6500 and it is not long before I'm back on my 6500.  4 years is a long time for me to keep the same radio in operation, given by past history of a new radio just about every year.

    The result.... 3 top ten Multi-Single finishes in ARRL and CQ DX contests in the past 4 years with a modest station.

    Charles   K5UA
  • N6OILN6OIL Member ✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Trust me this is on my priority list, just waiting for my remote antenna switch to be fixed and then I can neaten up the mess. Most of the wires are for USB stuff I have hooked up to the computer plus my Rasberry Pi weather station is sitting onto of the Flex for now.

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