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Time for station upgrade 6700, 6600? other ??

Mike  W1BFA in Maine
Mike W1BFA in Maine Member ✭✭
edited June 2020 in Amateur Radio Interests
I know this will bring a bunch of conflicting ideas, but I welcome all thoughts.  After many years of 5000a and 6500 use and enjoyment it's time to think about phasing in a newer station.  My much loved loaded 5000a left last year and I still miss it at times.The vhf/uhf capability and goobering with satellites and PSDR enhancements etc. really made it an experimenters radio.  The 6500 is a rock solid workhorse and has given wonderful service for years.  I am tending toward the 6700 with its extended freq. coverage etc. making it more of a comparison to the 5000.  I know the 6600 is capable of many the same things.  I also realize the 6700 is getting long in the tooth and I may end up with a discontinued radio like my 6500 in fairly short order...  There may even be a new platform lurking in the near future I will wish I waited for ??  I would like to get the new radio in by this fall and it will be sharing duty with the existing 6500/Maestro/iPad for at least the winter.  We also all know Gerald et al are wicked good at keeping secrets, which is good for a company with government contracts but a little bit of industrial espionage would be handy for me right now!   Mike  W1BFA in Maine


  • Mike Presnell
    Mike Presnell Member
    edited June 2020
    Mike, if you have the coin, I would not hesitate a day longer, and get the 6700.  I absolutely love mine.  It has been a workhorse, and I have never had a single issue with it (for years).  I might have struggled through an occasional software issue with DAX during Windows updates, but we all did, and that is not specific to the 6700.   I also like the size layout of the 6700 since i have it rack mounted.  I rarely have more than 4 slices open at a time, so the 6600 would be a viable option for me as well.  If you were going to do serious VHF/UHF Sats the 2 transverter ports on the 6600 is a nice feature, but, I have worked many SATS with my 6700, just a few more cables in the back of the rig to make it all work.   Even if i were to buy mine today,  I would go for the 6700... and if/when a "new 6700" comes out, I would go back to Flex to offer me a nice deal on a trade-in.  Good luck with your decision.
  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Presently owning 6700s and a 6600M I am very biased to the 6700 platform. My 6600 is nice but the 6700s are appealing robust!

    I unboxed my oldest 6700 June 21st 2013 (serial #11) and quickly as software rolled out it retired my 5000A.  

    If I had to shed radios, my original 6700 would be the last SDR I'd let go.

    While I seldom run up all the slices in earnest it is pretty neat to fill your screens with the panafalls!



    Blog:  http://k9zw.wordpress.com

  • Johan _ SE3X
    Johan _ SE3X Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Having had both the 6500 and 6700, I'm today a great 6700 fan. Quickly realized that my 6500 was sitting idle and sold it to a nearby radioclub. They are using it as a members remot station, great success.

    My 6700 will stay until I go SK. If you have the funds, go for it. Can't think of any radio more versatile and up to the task, whatever you like.

    Gl and 73
    SE3X (yes it's a valid call ;) Check out my qrz.com)

  • Bob Needleman
    Bob Needleman Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Mike- will put in my 2 cents worth as a 6500 owner and now a new (to me anyway) 6600M owner that I've had for about 1 month. Personally, I am really enjoying having the Maestro style interface with direct entry knobs and not having to use a PC at all on the desktop. Don't quote me, but I think the integration of the M interface on the 6400/6600M radios may work a bit better than having a 6400/6600 plus Maestro. The large display is gorgeous and much better than I have in any of my Asian rigs. Of course if you really need all the receiver slices for contesting/DX'ing, etc, then the 6700 is the way to go, but for my needs, the 6600M is perfect (actually, I would be very happy with the 6400M, as I am not using any of the extra features in the former radio as yet, but I got a good deal on a used 6600M (SK)  so I'm happy with my purchase. GL with whatever you decide - I'm sure you'll enjoy the upgrade.
    Bob K3AC
  • Mike  W1BFA in Maine
    Mike W1BFA in Maine Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    I am appreciating all the input, both from here and direct emails.  It is very helpful to learn the positives and negatives of the different products as it applies to how they are used.  We all know ham radio is not a "one size fits all" pursuit.  One conclusion I have come to so far is that there is no really wrong decision to be made here...  just a decision on what will fill my wants and needs at my present point in the hobby.  Over my 50+ years playing with these gadgets I have chased a bunch of different aspects of radio, probably too many and that's why I'm not great at any of them.  CW was my big passion for years and I hardly do that at all now..   things change.   Anyway, keep the input coming.  It's nice to hear a bunch of positives about each option.   thanks  Mike

  • Mark_WS7M
    Mark_WS7M Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    I have not owned at 6700 so I cannot comment.  I will say that I have had a 6300 (still have it), a 6500 and now a 6600.   

    What I like about the 6600 is it is like a baby 6700.  Only four slices but I don't think I could do with more than four slices.

    My 6600 has been back for a Fan and PEM mod and that is it.  It has lost its SD card mind twice now and Flex has been good about sending out replacements.  But I will say that I now have my own backups of the card.   I do wish that was thought out better in the design.  But it is what is is and supposedly 3.1.12 release makes the SD card more reliable.

    I rarely use the internal tuner so I don't have the CW break in tuner issues.  I use my SPE amp tuner 90% of the time.

    The radio is quiet.  It receives better than anything I've ever owned.   Regularly on a frequency with 5 or 6 locals with nice beams I hear stuff on my lowly 80m loop antenna that they never hear.  I hear people trying to break in, in the muck that none of the other guys with Yaesu and Icom 7300 radios hear.

    I've never owned a 5000 series flex but I have to say I think you will be in for some upgrades. DAX is wonderful.  No cables to mess with at all.   Being able to use the radio easily over Ethernet is amazing.

    With the Flex 6600 and some software work on my part I can operate my station from anywhere in the world on ALL MODES both with and with out 2kw of amp power.   

    I wanted to do that back in 1980 and it was nothing but a pipe dream.  Now its real.

    I prefer the non-M model radios as I like having the maestro separate.  I have a maestro and sometimes I will move it to my outside picnic table and op CW or Voice on it.  It works great.  Hard to do that when it is attached to the front of the radio.

    I have my radio, and amp in a shed.  It is quiet, I cannot hear either one.  I don't have my op position littered with tons of radios as you see in many photos.  That's because I like oping ham radio via the computer.  SmartSDR on the computer to me is the way radio should be.  Never been a big knobs guy.  I have the maestro for those times I feel I need a knob.

    Anyway for the money, for me, the 6600 is the best deal.  Two SCU so similar to the 6700.  1/2 the slices which is fine by me because I can't handle much more than two at a time anyway.

    Mark - WS7M
  • Michael N3LI
    Michael N3LI Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    When upgrading from my venerable 6300, I faced the same issues. In the end, I decided that a 6600 and a Maestro were my best option. My operations never seem to need more than two slices, the 6600 is newer design, apparenly some superior recieve performance, and costs less. I still use SSDR on a computer a lot, and a screen on the radio doesn't fit in with my shack design.  

    All that being said, there is no way to go wrong. Either choice and you have a fantastic radio.

  • Patrick
    Patrick WH6HI KauaiMember ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    I have a 6700 on the way, traded in my 6500 last week, which I had for over 6 years.  
  • Mike  W1BFA in Maine
    Mike W1BFA in Maine Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Well, with all things considered my gut is still leading me toward the 6700.  I still have a month or better before I will pull the trigger so there’s room for things too change..maybe something on the used market will pop up or something else.  I’m 67 and I already have flashes of thinking I should be simplifying my life.  For that reason  I am thinking this may be my last major radio purchase and that’s my way of justifying the price difference between the 6600 and 6700.  In the meantime I have lots of antenna work to square away and a new desk to build out of quarter sawn oak I had sawn out a couple of years ago.  Yes...   the desk is designed with spacing for the 6600 should things happen to fall that way.
  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator
    edited June 2020
    I am very happy with my 6700. I just ordered the 75 watt 2MLDPA amp from Q5 Signal, should be arriving Tuesday, in time for Field Day. We are going to do 3A with tents to provide social distancing spacing. My 6700 and Maestro will be the 6 and 2 meter station. Dave wo2x
  • Patrick
    Patrick WH6HI KauaiMember ✭✭✭
    edited August 2020

    I have had flex 1500 and a 3000 and just traded in my trusty 6500 for a 6700. Never thought the 6700 would outperform my old 6500, but obviously there have been changes that have improved things. Love my new radio. Will have it up on 2 meters soon.

  • Bart Haynes
    Bart Haynes Member ✭✭

    I had a 6500 and loved it but I really wanted a 6700 so I pulled the trigger. The 40 db of built in pre-amp for 6M was the driver since external pre-amps seem to bring in more noise compared to Flex's. An added benefit with the 6700 is having two towers separated by 700 feet lets me work different bands from each tower at the same time making search and pounce much more effective. In the winter I have multiple RX antennas which allows me a chance to select which antenna the propagation favors at that time and opens the door for me to work 160, 80, 60 and 40M bands all at the same time.

    My pick is the 6700 and a Power Genius for the perfect combination.

  • Butch
    Butch Member ✭✭✭

    I've owned a 6700 since October 2015. By far it has been the best amateur radio purchase I've ever made, and I've been a ham for over 50 years. The 6700 doesn't have the Contest Filters but I don't operate int close proximity to other stations so I've never had a need for them, (if you do after-market contest filters available). If FRS ever decides to drop the 6700 I hope they replace it with another 8 slice unit. Having the ability to set up 8 slices is awesome!



  • Rick N4RZ
    Rick N4RZ Member ✭✭

    I own a 6600M and a Maestro. Using MultiFlex I can then use both sets of physical controls on the radio at the same time. Since you liked the VHF/UHF capabilities of the 5000, you may like the fact that the 6600 radios have the advantage of two Xverter ports on the back versus just one for the 6700. So, you could get two high powered Xverters and still spend less than with a 6700. But the 6700 has advantages also, like native 2M reception with low level transmit plus 8 versus 4 slices. Both have two SCUs, so there is no diversity or multiple antennas in use at same time advantage for either radio. Whichever one you chose, I'm sure you will be happy.

  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭

    Presently I have a 6600M at one location, a 6700 at each of two other locations, and another 6700 as a "hot spare."

    The 6700s are the bee's knees. While I seldom exploit the 6700s full capabilities, the extra number of slices is more than just a party piece.

    My personal preferences would make the 6700s keepers where I could be talked out of the 6600M.

    My first 6700 is serial number 11, so We are kind of accustomed to each other.


    Steve K9ZW

    Blog: http://k9zw.wordpress.com

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