6400 Missing Front Mic Connector

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  • Updated 7 months ago
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I just received my 6400 today. But had to put it back in the box and wait for a 23.99 cable (plus 11.88 shipping) so Flex could save a couple of dollars by not putting the same mic connector on the front the 6300 has. I understand the front being left blank so one the fancier rigs they have their beautiful displays but they could have put it on the back. Why have a 6000 series with different connectors? 

I guess if I had upgraded because I was all excited about the rig it would be one thing but I upgraded because of the heat issues I have had with my 6300 when the fans failed and had to send it in for repair with no real fix just another fan that could fail the same way. Flex told me the 6400 was designed inside for better heat handling so I prerecorded one a long time ago. I do not remember being told I would need the replace the cable I already had purchased from Flex for my PR-40 Mic. I was kind of looking forward to being able to leave the rig on again, I have only had the rig on to check into the nets and then back off so I did not have the same problem with the heat. If I would have know when ordered the rig or even if there was some heads up when they sent me the bill for the rig when it was available I would have just purchased the cable then and it could have road along with the rig. 

I will say with this fine forum I was able to do a search and Tim had the answer right there for me with a link to the correct cable I need. I sure he does good with his surgery I have come to rely on him!
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Delbert McCord

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Posted 2 years ago

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Bill -VA3WTB

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Tim is a special guy for sure.
It was up to you to do all your home work when ordering, research. Flex is replacing those fans with newer replacements witch should be a better fan.
It is too bad you did not know about the type of mic input on the 6400, but you will really like the radio.
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Rick WN2C

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Delbert McCord

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No not that much. When I purchased something that I am going to have to wait a long time for I just put it out of my mind and do other things. Like my second suppressor for 45 cal I have been waiting for the AFT since September but I do not call them and ask hows it going (you can call but I do not think it does any good) I just go do something else.

To me this is not a upgrade its a needed replacement for a defective design. I like my 6300 and for the life of me I do not know how they could make it much better. I can hear stations on it I would never be able to hear with my 756 Pro III (and that was a great rig). I was hoping for a unplug the 6300, plug in the 6400 play with the software some and be done with it. 
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Ernest - W4EG

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Next time READ THE INSTRUCTIONS
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Delbert McCord

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Do you feel better now with it in bold and underlined?
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FRED W9TB

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When I pay good money for something I know what I'm getting.
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Delbert McCord

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So do I, I was getting a replacement for the 6300 to solve the heat/ fan issue. I guess I am just silly but taking the mic plug off a transceiver is something I would have have thought of. 
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Rich McCabe

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Delbert, while I do not like Flex's decision to put the connectors on the back I really don't think your circumstances are Flex's fault. 

Its on you to make sure that you have everything you need to make it work. This is HAM radio for crying out loud. We are supposed to solder connectors and build things.

I understand your frustration but this is not their fault.  All the information was online for your reading. When my radio arrived, I had all the cables literally laying in place.


Rich
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Delbert McCord

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I am frustrated because I am still dealing with a design flaw in the 6300, The heat. Go read the threads on the people having to return their rigs because of cheap fan failing. Then Flex would not give any information about it until finally a Flex 6300 owner took his apart and posted pictures, then the community had to find somewhere to buy the fans because there was fear they were no longer available.  

I finally got to talk with a nice man that works for Flex and I am serious he spent the time with me to listen what I use the rig for. He told me the 6400 is a larger rig and has much better heat dissipation which did way with the fans needed inside the RF shielded areas. So I put my deposit down on the rig, I was going to trade the 6300 in on it but after seeing what its worth as a trade in I decided to keep it as a spare or one I can loan out to a friend. I was told it would be a long time OK no problem. I was told everything would be the same just a larger cabinet. 

I mostly just check into a net daily, why do I even have a flex then? Because for me I can hear what people say (I can understand them better for some reason, I do not have good hearing).  Who knows once I get it up and running I may do more with it now that I can have it on again, ever since I had to return my 6300 for repair (they did a great job and turn around was fantastic) I have only had the rig on long enough to check into the net and then turned it back off. 

This could have been avoided with a simple note with the invoice that said "Please note the 6400 may need different audio cables depending on how you are connecting a mic to your new rig), then some links for the proper cable for the connection a person was using. I like Flex, I LOVE that they are American made! Hopefully my whining will give someone else a heads up when they order their new rig and they will know to get the proper cables.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I am frustrated because I am still dealing with a design flaw in the 6300, The heat.

To be clear, this was not a design flaw, but a component we used that was failing prematurely. We replaced the component with a different type of fan/heatsink assembly that is more robust.  And we are providing this new fan assembly for anyone whose radio will not boot due to a fan failure and is out of warranty for the price of 1 hr of service (the part is provided at no cost - a savings of $75).  This also includes having your radio fully tested and recalibrated.

I am sorry that you did not know about the mic connector change on the FLEX-6400 and FLEX-6600.  The connector specs have been published on the web before the products were available for sale.  There have been numerous Community posts about the 1/8" mic connectors and the addition of the 1/4" balanced mic input for the FLEX-6600.  If the person who completed your order failed to tell you about the different mic connector cables that were available, that is an oversight we will correct and we apologize for that.
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Jim Runge

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It is amazing that HAMS can't even make a microphone cable anymore.
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Delbert McCord

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that is true, I am guilty. I looked at it could have slapped something together but all my spare parts are in the basement and my knee is shot so I chose to order one. Also I have found in the long run nice molded cables last longer with a little less problems.
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Delbert McCord

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This has left such a bad taste in my mouth that the 6400 still sits in the box but now it has the cable on top of it. 
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WW1SS - Steve

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Yes it is amazing . . . Or even hook up an amp without getting on a forum and asking how to do it. I remember the old days when you blew up your amp you bought parts from Lafayette and repaired it yourself. Replaced filter caps, bleeder resistors, rebuilt power supplies etc.
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Rich McCabe

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Here is my "junk box"

I will say, I do think that the manufacturers should send you a packet of connectors needed. DIN, RCA, etc. Icom has always been good about sending this stuff.

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WW1SS - Steve

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Nice junk box . . . I need to organize mine like that.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
I understand the front being left blank so one the fancier rigs they have their beautiful displays but they could have put it on the back. Why have a 6000 series with different connectors? 

The answer is twofold.  First is that the 8-pin Foster connector is a panel mounted connector. Whenever you have panel mounted connectors, that increases the cost of assembly and provides greater opportunity for assembly errors.  The second one is that we made a concerted effort to cost reduce the FLEX-6400 so that you could purchase one of the highest performing radios from a major radio manufacturer for no more than $2000. So these factors and design requirement drove the business decision to use pass-through connectors for the mic inputs.
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Delbert McCord

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Tim I thought you are on sick leave getting your shoulder fixed, man this is no big deal go get yourself fixed!

You are correct it the 6400 is 500$ less than the 6300 GOOD JOB! I will just whine, I am going to go move the big box with my 6400 in it to the outer part of the barn out of my man cave, it will sit on the pile of lead alloy for a week or so while I wait for the cable. I need to coat some bullets and in this man cave there is only one work area. 

I found the message where you answered another person about this and it had the link in it for the cable I needed thank you for that! 

Good luck with your surgery!
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I am working a half day today.  Surgery is tomorrow morning.  Thanks.
(Edited)
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Clay N9IO

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Good luck Tim.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Thank you.
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Jay / NO5J

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Tim
Hope you have a speedy, FULL recovery.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Thanks, Jay
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Rich McCabe

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Enjoy the new radio Delbert. Hope you have the new cable soon.
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Delbert McCord

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Thanks Rick, man I did not mean to stir up a hornets nest...... I really did not mean to bother Tim now. I hope his surgery gets him back to 100% it sucks when you cant do things you used to do I Know! 

One of the comments on the forum is correct I do not spend a lot of time here. I only come if I have a problem and lately I only use my Amateur Radio to check into one net. I am working on some health issues caused by I am just to fat. Just turned 60 and mostly retired I just do payroll and a little paperwork for my company's other than that my children have taken over and have done better than I ever could! So now I have the time I never had (worked 60+ hours a week when I worked) and if I want to keep going and enjoy some of it I have to get active. I built this room out here in my pole barn 12x24 and its my heaven on earth. After my problems with the Flex originally (it used to take a month or so before I could go down stairs in my old office / shack (12x24) to restart it. So last summer with some help from one of my employees we trenched over to my Carolina Windom and I brung the rigs out here into the barn where I am 99% of the time now so now I have the amp out here also and my audio is direct instead of going through the computer. I got into hand loading and shooting a lot more and if I can get just a little better I will be able to go to the 185 yard range soon in the next year or so. I have a range here but its not that long but its still fun to go out and shoot almost every day and it gets me walking. I am afraid if I sit and just play on the radio I will never get up, so for now I will just enjoy my friends on the net, its over in a hour and I am going again. hell its 7:45 at night right now and I am standing outside with my lead furnance going and purifying lead so I will have enough to make more bullets. I have found I really enjoy the making of the bullets tinkering with loads. After almost 40 years in the Amateur Radio hobby its just not as exciting as it was years ago. 

Thanks for to good wishes!!!!!
73 K8OCN (Changed my call it was KA8OCN)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Just a general observation - when FRS contacts a person for payment and shipping instructions, that could be an awesome time to ask if you might need to add “mission critical” accessories. FRS won’t necessarily know that you have adapter needs but it sure is easier to get them included in your order up front.

I’ve made the same mistake, forgetting to get the adapters I should have known I’d need when I ordered gear before. So I can claim I have the tee-shirt on this one....

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Just a reminder to all with radios on order.  When you get your final invoice from us, there is a list of items on that email that outlines some of the critical items like Mic adapters, etc.

We also want you  to make sure that it is the right radio, any trade in credits got applied and the shipping address is correct.

You have a time to reply and no need to rush.  We give you lots of time to reply by email with any changes.  That is why we reach out a few weeks ahead of time as we know people are out travelling or just away for a bit enjoying life.

73 all, Mike
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Lee

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As to this little 3.5mm audio connector...IMHO it was a big mistake to use it....At least the old 1/4 in audio connections were solid/robust, with very little issue...I already have had instances where I have to plug/unplug the Mic cable to eliminate RF/noise/poor drive level  in the audio. So what happens as it get older?? I am using the Flex cable purchased with the radio. The connector is not damaged it is just a poor connection at best....Right now it's easy to get to the back...but once I get the radio back in it's normal operating position it is not going to be easy to get to. I think others will be reporting this over time as well....and...well, what could be a fix? That connection in the back will in normal operation get bumped, pushed, pulled etc over time and it is not robust. Don't know how they would do a EC to fix this easily.
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Wayne

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Its called "Value Engineering" the Airport does it all the time and usually we end up with an inferior product that is less desired by the customer and does not meet the full needs that the customer desires.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Of course that is not the case with Flex..
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Tim did cover the decision earlier in this thread.    The 1/8" connector is on at least 6 Billion active cell phones in the world (yes, I did look that up) and for the most part every teenagers is still working unless they dropped it in the toilet.  I bet the MTBF on the 1/8" connector is the same as the 1/4" and we don't swing the radio around as much as a teenager does unless you are going portable with your 6600 in your back pocket.  

Mike
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Bill -VA3WTB

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What many are doing is making up an extention cable to reach the back and come out the front so as to connect easly if needed. Then they are putting a right angle plug at one end that offers better protection when plugged in the back,,very simple to do.
(Edited)
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Lee

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Sounds good, but I have had to unplug/replug it 3 times now in 1 month. I think the one they used on a PC board seems kind of loose...in other words. only contact on one side...not a tight fit at all.
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Lee

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So, I paid like $40 for a 3 foot cable and now it is suggested to re do it with a 90 deg plug. Also, now I need to go buy a 4 pin XLR so to have a decent Lenght Mic cable.
A 3 foor Mic cable...you have to be kidding...who does that!
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I don't know about the fit, but at least making a cable, you won't have to unplug from the radio anymore. Matter of fact I read were someone made a cable that looks after most connections on the radio,  Maybe that is something Flex should market.
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Lee

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No...you missed the point I HAVE to unplug from the radio because the connection is poor at the back of the radio...an extension will not fix this. (And yes I have used deoxit to clean the connections)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I can't help you with that, open a helpdesk ticket If your plug is not working as it should.
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Lee

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The Mic jack and plug are fine...they just are not a quality fit/function....will see how it goes...if I have more of the issue I will do a help desk ticket. Thanks
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Rich McCabe

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Lee,  One of the things that Flex did was bring us a better radio with the 6400/6600 at a lower cost.  There is no doubt that the delivered on that.

In my opinion they made several compromises to accomplish this which included using as much as the Maestro as possible on the front of the M radios. These compromises trickled down to the non M radios in what I assume was an effort to keep them uniform.

I really don't like their choice of all rear connections and even though its a MAJOR chore for me to  plug anything into the back of the radio, its not a deal breaker for.

I do not like the 1/8 connections even though I do not anticipate them to be a problem.  My biggest issue is what I consider a non industry standard which left many scurrying to buy cables and adapters to use the radio.

Flex really should offer a breakout box to bring the cables around the for those that need it. 

It's annoying I can no longer plug my choice of paddles in the front so I had to install extensions along with the headphones.

I have had ZERO issues with the 1/8" (3.5mm) jacks or my 1/4" mic. I would not rule out that expensive cable you bought could be as much as the culprit as the Flex.

Like I said, I don't like how they chose to do this but I really think you should be able to use it with 100% reliability.

Rich
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Lee

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Rich...that expensive cable was purchased from Flex!
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Rich McCabe

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LOL :)


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Clay N9IO

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Lee I too am using 3 foot extension cables on all of the connections including ptt except ptt I decided to solder on a 1/4" female inline Jack so I didn't have to change the 1/4" plug on my foot switch.
My radio is the 6600 but I have a Heil hc4 DX mic I like and that requires me to use the 1/8" jack not the 1/4".
I bundled and tagged the mic and ptt for easy identification up front similar to a breakout box like Rich suggested (actually that breakout box is a great idea). Really it's not been a problem here at all.
Also the cables were purchased on eBay from a couple different vendors. Relatively cheap.
(Edited)
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Steven G1XOW

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You might want to speak to a few mobile phone repair shops before making statements like that Michael. My understanding is that connector breakages are in fact #2 in the list of faults under warranty: 1=broken screens, 2=audio jacks, 3=start buttons, 4=power jacks.

Of course it is all down to selection of quality of components within the design.  I saw this problem on an IC7300 recently, i.e having to jiggle around with the plug to get both audio channels working correctly.

If a TRS jack is becoming intermittent within a matter of months from new then it does not look good long term.

BTW Apple use very high quality jacks with gold plated contacts and they still break.

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Lee

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I don't know the quality of the 1/8 jacks Flex is using..BUT I hope if there is a better one...they make a EC to start using it before a lot of radios go out. In my case it is not from it moving around...my radio has not even been put back into operating position becaus the Mic cable is too short. Now I am looking for a 6' 4 pin XLR cable to use a an extension so I can slide the radio into it's operating position and still have a reasonable length to it. If I have to unplug/plug again I will send it back for repair under warranty. 
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mikeatthebeach .

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For $500 more , an option added, get the Flex6600MX with front Panel Mic Connector
LOL !!!
(Edited)
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N5LB - Lionel B

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In my research prior to ordering a 6400 I noted the location and type of connectors for interface to my station.  The best solution for me was to build a two foot umbilical with my preferred connectors. Connectors from Parts Express, cables from surplus USB cables; cheap.  I plugged into the Flex connectors once, on the day the 6400 arrived.  It's been fine.  It works for me.  No issues.
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Lee

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Glad to here that...Hope my issue was just a fuke...maybe in MFG the jack had some corrosion/oil/something...I have cleaned it with deoxit...and we will see if all is good. Thanks
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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If you happen to pull on the mic cable where the motion is translated to the plug/connector, you may need some strain relief to prevent that from happening.  All my connections, except for the coax are tie wrapped to a strain relief bar behind the radio.  I have to plug and unplug connections many times a day to mimic customer's radio configuration for support.  The strain relief serves two purposes; the cables stay in the same orientation as the back panel of the radio and if I accidentally pull too hard on a cable, it does not stress the connector.
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AB4RW

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I know this is an old thread! Hope to pick up plugs and make my own cable from 3 Xlr to 1/8 stereo plug for my 781 I just bought, I like standardized stuff. Would have been nice to use 1 size for both radios, oh well, I still love my 6400! Thanks for great radio, always will be something someone doesn't like.
Richard