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SmartSDR - Annual Costs - ????

2456

Answers

  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I only hope they do not mess with the WNB,,it works amazing under the conditions I have,  100%
  • Jerry  WA9UKBJerry WA9UKB Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Offered and $199.00 for A 6500 for a 6400. Keeping mine also but now looking at other options. Still have the Maestro too and radio and Maestro have very low hours , I mostly use a Ft991a. For general listening or occasional net check in.
  • Rick N4RZRick N4RZ Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Statement 1 above is not quite correct.  When Flex originally announced the 6000 series radios they were going to have an annual fee of $200 per radio for software updates.  Again, you could choose to update or not and wait for features you wanted and jump back in at that time by paying a single annual update fee.  Those of us who put money down upfront were promised an additional year of software updates for free.   Flex later changed this to the current model which only charges us for new major versions of the software.   As a result, those of us who were early adopters of the 6000 radios did not have to pay for version 2.  I will now have had a Flex 6000 series radio for about 5 and a half years without ever having to pay for a software upgrade.   This method worked out much better for me than what was originally promised by Flex!  I intend to wait until version 3 is released and see if the features are something I want and if so will gladly pay the $199 upgrade fee for the improvements.
  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Having had a 6700 since June 2013 I simply can’t make the math come out to this $200/year misrepresentation. If you wanted to straight line it, annualized it is in the $68/year cost for absolutely massive increases in capability. I update quickly, thought others are still running on the version that came with their radio - which is always the latest (or a credit if bought in the announced run up to a new version release) - with operators out there on version 1 and of course anyone other that a test team member on version 2. BTW test team (Alpha) members MUST BUY their version upgrades like everyone else. They just to spend and test earlier. It isn’t quiet true that Apple never charges for upgrades. Having a Mac since the 1980’s I paid for some updates just for software and many other updates by the requirement for new hardware. I recall paying for Microsoft updates along the way, and being forced into new hardware as well. Interesting part about your Flex-6000 is the hardware is expected to be good for a more industrial style life cycle, and is expected to run just fine if you decide to stay at a major version level, avoiding any further out of pocket expenses. As only a relatively small portion of Flex owners have stayed on version 1, I don’t think the FRS model can be deemed anything less than successful. BTW big fix and feature additional releases WITHIN a version are no cost. I long ago lost track of how many new versions of SmartSDR I’ve installed, a number that absolutely eclipses all the combined software/firmware releases for ALL of the other radios I own. What I like in the FRS model is (unless your a test team Alpha upgrading operator) is you get what you pay for, when you decide you want the version upgrade or not. 73 Steve K9ZW .
  • Jerry  WA9UKBJerry WA9UKB Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    The bug I still have at times is a message that says the radio is in use then reboots. Supposedly it was fixed in version 2 and no fixed for the version 1 users.

    Lessons learned.

    Jerry,
  • KC2QMA_JohnKC2QMA_John Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019

    I also think $200 is a very fair for State Of The Art software!

  • KF4HRKF4HR Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Besides V3, I seem to remember reading FRS plans to release a v2.5 version.
  • Matt (K0KB)Matt (K0KB) Member
    edited March 2019
    No problem with the current plan. Do you really want to fork over money monthly or do you think it would be better incentive for them to innovate if you withheld your money for the updates you really want?
  • Tom    N5MOA Tom N5MOA Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I bought my 6500 in Oct of 2016, v1.9.13.
    There were 3 free updates of v1

    The v2 upgrade came out in July 2017. I have no interest in remote, but v2 had enough other stuff in it to upgrade.
    There have been 8 free updates to v2, with another expected when v3 is released.

    I have zero interest in v3 multi-user, but if there are enough other improvements/enhancements, I'll do that upgrade too.

    Just a wag, but v3 will probably come out  close to 2 years after v2.

    $199 approximately 2 years apart is not too bad, and as mentioned, my radio will continue to work if I chose to not upgrade. It is my choice.

    It might be stretching it a bit, but it may be v5 before there are enough improvements/enhancements for me to upgrade, at which time I will get all improvements/enhancements from v3 to v5 for 1 $199 upgrade cost.

    I don't see a problem with the way FRS is doing it.

    I also didn't buy my 6500 to re-sell, so a drop in re-sale value, when the new models came out, doesn't mean squat to me.
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited June 23
    Maybe the pseudo-employees on the list know more inside information than I think they do. Personally, whenever I hear someone say "Flex does this because..." I want to ask them how long they've been employed by FRS. Maybe there's some super secret insider newsletter where Flex actually posts things like FR/BR tracking and such to a select group of non-employees. I'd subscribe.

    I think take it or leave it works for options, not for core software. Some might pay extra to plug in remote access capabilities. Some might pay extra for multiple terminal access. Meanwhile we all stay on the same code base and nobody is left out for security or bug fixes because they don't pay the ransom.

    But I'm not a pseudo-employee so I don't know what Flex thinks. Time and the market tell. I'm invested. I'll be around another couple of years (maybe not here if they kick me off). I'm happy with the radio and the timing is right that I get a free software upgrade. Now I just have to worry about version 4.

    73 & Good Luck,
    Kev K4VD
  • Gene DupreyGene Duprey Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    It does nothing at my qth, and the nb just barely works at full strength and causes pumping when a strong adjacent is present. NR works great though.
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited March 2019
    Hey Kevin - I doubt they'll kick you off. They let me stay despite what I say about W10, and that ain't pretty. 8^)

    I just wondered - I have DogPark as well, and so far all the updates have been covered under my original payment. BTW, DogPark is very nice. The various settings take a little getting used to, but it looks and operates well.

    Side note: I prefer WSJT-X with XDAX and XCAT on the Mac. FWIW.

  • edited March 2019
    David, You bring up Apple and Microsoft changing their model. I certainly do not work for Flex or have seen their customer database, but I would bet the farm that they dont even have 1 percent of the user base. So comparing apples to oranges doesnt do any good. Think of it this way. You ARE paying a small monthly fee of approximately $8.33 based on the 2 year transition period of v2 to be, not a 12 month cycle like you state. The 8.33 per month is a 24 month prepayment, with an option of Flex to release a new major upgrade earlier. Again. Dont want the new features, dont pay. Amateur radio hardware doesnt lend itself to cloud monthly payments like Netflix. And I dont think folks who spent a couple grand or more on a radio would be happy their radio stops working after payment stops.
  • Ross - K9COXRoss - K9COX Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I have been a Flex customer since the early SDR-1000 days and am on my forth generation. Been in IT since the very early days and was doing networking before Microsoft was. After reading each prior post am very impressed with each and every user comment. What a fantastic user base.
  • Joe N3HEEJoe N3HEE Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    I have the same experience with WNB and NB.  Pretty much useless.  NR is just OK.  They should take a listen to an Elecraft K3.  Superb NB and NR.  I hope Flex improves these features in v3 ?
  • Burch - K4QXXBurch - K4QXX Member
    edited March 2019
    The WNB is awesome at my location.  I couldn't use 20 or 40 meters without it. 
  • Burch - K4QXXBurch - K4QXX Member
    edited March 2019
    I agree with this.  Almost 100% of my FT8 operations are using Dogpark with XDAX, XCAT and FT-Bridge.
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited March 2019
    I've found that people tend to set those way too high. Same with the so called non working ANF. 
  • Ken HansenKen Hansen Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    In my experience, when approached the Flex employees I've spoken to have been very honest, open, and up-front about the challenges they face and the inputs that lead them to make certain decisions. That's not to say other manufacturers aren't as honest, open, and up-front about their challenges, but I've never seen any other manufacturer sponsor/host an open forum for all their customers to meet and exchange ideas, problems, and solutions as Flex does here.
  • Ken HansenKen Hansen Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    Since we are discussing business models and obsolescence, remember also that Apple, along with charging real money for OS upgrades until fairly recently, also has no qualms 'End of Life-ing' hardware they choose not to support anymore. They simply drop support for devices, leaving owners stranded on aging OSes with no further support.
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited March 2019
    I owned an original Mac, **** Mac and Mac Plus. Couldn't afford the leap to the Mac II and actually went to Commodore 64 (no apologies, lots of fun). The computers finally introduced at work were IBM (or compatible) and eventually running MS Windows. My whole experience, software base, hardware base, working life and home has been Ford trucks and Microsoft Windows. I have no issues with Chevy trucks or Apple computers. They just aren't a part of my personal experiences.

    I've heard great things about DogPark and actually I've heard very few (none?) bad things about it. I've considered picking up a used Mac or iPad to try things out in that environment. Then I abruptly stop when I consider the can of worms I'd be opening.

    In the long term, my money is on Google to come up with something viable and that neatly ties everything together (home/gps/phone/computing/etc). I think they'll make Apple and Microsoft operating systems irrelevant.

    Kev



  • DaveDave Member
    edited March 2019
    I have no problems paying for the upgrades as long as they are not overpriced,  bring value, and keep the hardware relevant.   Ive worked in IT since the 90s and hate subscriptions for software updates.  My biggest disappointment with other manufacturers is their firmware / software updates have been lacking. It also looks like Flex is using a version of embedded Windows in their OS.  (at least in the M) I am sure they must pay licensing fees as well. Most of the firmware updates Ive had from the big 3 have been lame and their software never stays up to date (they are still great products).   Ive used every SDR platform and many traditional transceivers.  Flex's software is some of the best ive used.  The implementation of CAT and DAX is brilliant.  You will never get up running as painlessly with an Anan or Elad (great products too).  I am a new Flex 6xxx user but feel they put alot of thought and time into developing their software!  I think you really get what you pay for.  
  • roger na4rrroger na4rr Member
    edited June 2019
    .....If a critcal bug is found then Flex will update this at no cost and even produce a small update to correct this.....

    Not true. CWX is a major bug  and the only fix is to pay for an upgrade.
  • edited March 2019
    Yep.
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited March 2019
    Way way off topic but Larry, every time I see your picture beside your posts I want to tell you "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

    For those not following... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2I91DJZKRxs

    I'm sure there's no connection to FRS here at all.

    Kev

  • VK7WH WinstonVK7WH Winston Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I agree with you Tom. I bought my 6700 in August 2014 and I bought it for the long term. Because of the model of regular software updates, this means that in almost 5 years I have had countless updates, all for a total coat of $200! I would much rather pay another $200 every couple of years than buy a new radio every 3 or 4 years. Winston!
  • Lawrence GrayLawrence Gray Member
    edited March 2019
    LOL.  Even funnier because I live right across Vineyard Sound where much of the filming was done, I did charter boat work for years, and have a master's license.  The photo was taken while standing on the bowsprit of the 65 foot sailboat in Turkey.
  • KevinKevin Member
    edited March 2019
    Nice! And looking at your qrz.com page we seem we have some things in common. I was an ET1 stationed on the sub tender USS Hunley in Holy Loch, Scotland. Also, spent 4 years up in Sinop, Turkey. Also, you worked in the food/beverage industry and I eat and drink. Wow! ;) Not to mention we both enjoy Flex.

    Fair winds and following seas.

    73,
    Kev K4VD
  • Roger,  W6VZVRoger, W6VZV Member
    edited June 2019
    I agree with John -- $200 is a night out on the town.  A small price to pay to improve my radio which is the centerpiece of my lifelong ham radio hobby.  The Flex 6400M is the best radio I have ever operated.  I am pleased when the opportunity comes to spend a couple of bucks to update and improve it.
    de Roger W6VZV

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