6500 discontinued

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Why do I feel like I just got kicked in the teeth?  my shiny new (fairly new) 6500 is discontinued?  Do I have to upgrade to an 6600 or some other model to be able to use all the new software being released?  Is there a comparison between a 6500 and a 6600?  Is flex going to do the "upgrade deal" like they did in the past?

No sure I like the 6500M with the radio face on it but that is just me.

Sorry I just do not like purchasing a fairly new radio and spending the money I did and a year later being told that it's discontinued and being replaced by another model, makes me feel like there is something wrong with the model I have...

But I digress
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David Warnberg

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Posted 2 years ago

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Your FLEX-6500 has not been discontinued or is obsolete.  We have ended production of new FLEX-6500s and Flex-6300s because we anticipate that the demand for them will be low. Your radio is just as good today as it was last week and will be for time to come.  All FLEX-6000s run the exact same software and SmartSDR IS the radio. 

The FLEX-6500 is a world-class transceiver and with future software updates, be them 1.x bug fixes or the new features in SmartSDR v2.0 it will continue to be a phenomenal radio for years to come.

It also is fully supported, from a technical support and service standpoint.
(Edited)
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David Warnberg

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Thank you Tim...
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WA2SQQ

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It's no different than your 2017 automobile which will soon be replaced by a 2018 model. Flex radio System is a business who is there to make money if they don't come out with new products people will look to other companies. If they didn't introduce new products they would be accused of being behind the times.
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P

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One positive is that your 6500 can get a new "engine" periodically when the next version of software is released.  

Think of it as buying a great car, and then finding out that even several years after it was released you can add anti-lock brakes, remote starting, turbocharger, upgrade the radio, and put heated seats in it for a small charge, less than 5% of the cost of the car.

But after you purchased it, they upgraded the model with a modified body, higher horsepower engine, upgraded controls on the steering wheel, and includes standard some of the features that you paid for as an upgrade.

But the good news is, that both cars can add any upgrades released in the future.  some of them will be minor upgrades, for free.  But there may be additional major upgrades that will cost another upgrade fee for both cars.

Unfortunately, some people can become afflicted with "Prius envy" and can no longer appreciate what a great car they have, just because a new model has been released.

But others will see a few features the new model has and decide that those particular features are highly desired or essential and will trade in for the new model.

Ken - NM9P
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Rory - N6OIL

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You're good David, 2.0 will run our 6500's. Mine will be a year old come June 1st and really don't need a new 6600, Now if Matt want's to send me one for even trade, perhaps. I contest but not a pro, I like doing RTTY, JT65 stuff so the 6500 is a perfect fit for me and I also just added a PR40 with XLR to back and I use the 8 pin for my Radiosport headset.  What I did like is the carrot Gerold dangled on the PowerGenuis, a free remote ATU if you buy before the end of the year, now that's something to consider.
(Edited)
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Ned K1NJ

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Rory (or anyone),

      Is that offer published somewhere?  I made a deposit on a PG/XL in early
February, but don't know anything about the tuner bonus.

Thanks,  Ned,  K1NJ
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Rory - N6OIL

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It was in the interview the Tom W5KUB did with Gerald. 
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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It will be published in written format shortly.
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Bob Craig, K8RC

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You need not feel that way.

While there are some changes in other areas, the main one seems to be a different chassis to accommodate the 'M' variant's Maestro-like front panel. The 6300/6500 will still be software compatible and will, of course, run V2.0. 

Owners of all the 6x00 radios produced up to now will have to pay a fee ($200 is being rumored) to license the new software but that information was present in the sales literature when I got my 6300 a couple of years ago.
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Lasse Moell

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David, I got my new shiny 6500 less than 8 months ago. Do I feel like I have been duped? Absolutely NO! My 6500 do perform just as good as prior to the anoucement of the new radios.  After looking at the specs of the 6600 and the new formfactor, I do not have the itch to upgrade...

What we have to start accept is that the life cycle of this kind of product is not 15 nor 5 years, more like 3 years. The 63/5/700 have been on the market for ~3 years,
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Correction: The 6500/6700 shipping for 4 years and the 6300 for 3 years.
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Rory - N6OIL

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Oh I forgot that Lasse, the form factor issue for me would be a problem since I have mine tucked away under the desk.
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Michael Coslo

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Do people get this upset when a legacy radio is discontinued? I guess I would also ask - what is the solution? Stop selling any current models a year before new models come out? Or just make one model, and go out of business after a couple years.

My 6300 is a fine bit of kit, and will remain so, even if it isn't top of the line. My IC-746 is the same radio it always was, even though it isn't sold any more. It's all good.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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One way to look at it is that your current car will be "discontinued" when next years' models come out. It doesn't prevent you from enjoying your automobile for as many years as it lasts. It's not "obsolete" or "unsupported." If someday you want a new one with a new capability or style, go buy one. But if the features and price that appealed to you with your current car still hold, ride on!
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Michael Aust

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Well I remember buying the first ICOM IC-706 and each time upgraded to Mark I , Mark 2, Mark2G,
then the IC-7000, felt like I funded ICOM's Research & Development Program in the ICOM
IC-706 series of radio's 
73 mike
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Andrew Russell

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Good one Mike,
My IC706 At 21years old is still going strong and works well.
My 2009 Passat was new just before the new model and had benefited from a lot of fixes.
Any car depreciates as soon as you use it.
I have other legacy radios in mobile form factor one with components made of unobtainium.
Another still in production for over a decade.
When Flex has a direct sampling radio in a mobile size box I will be sold.
The 6400 is close but too big.
Andrew
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Andrew Russell

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My 6500 delivered at the beginning has had plenty of use and is still as good as new.
The software is renewed on a regular basis.
Andrew de vk5cv
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Gerald Capodieci

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Wait! The 6400 can go under the seat and your Maestro can be up front. What form factor?
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Andrew Russell

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G’day Gerald,
Maybe a Mini Maestro with hands free and voice control.
Or an TS480, IC7000 or FT891 form factor with a direct sampling front end. The new IC705 will be close but is QRP. QRPp on a mobile antenna without amps.
In a mobile station distraction is an issue so a minimal display will be an important consideration.
All the best.
Andrew VK5CV
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Brian Hemmis

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Personally I like the looks of my 6500 & Maestro better than the new Flex with knob radios. With my modest antennas it's doubtful I'd hear a difference among any of them. Plus once v2.0 is released I can take the Maestro to FL and operate my 6500 back in OH remotely. I can see why Flex is going in the direction it is but I'm more than happy with my year old combo.
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Michael Coslo

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I'm a computer guy, so knobs don't mean a whole lot to me, other than the tuning knob, so I have a flexcontrol for that. 
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Ken - NM9P

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I use AUX1 to select active slice, AUX2 to adjust agc-t, and AUX3 as either XIT or RIT depending upon whether I am running a frequency or doing S&P or hunting DX with splits. The FlexControl Knob makes splits simple.

For simple splits using XIT, I just hit AUX3 and "throw" the knob to the right or left. When highly zoomed, I can see exactly where the last station worked him

I wouldn't have a flex without the flex control knob.
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Brian Hemmis

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Somehow I wound up with 2 Flex control knobs. It's a very useful tool indeed.
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Ken - NM9P

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I can go split with a second slice in many different ways:
1) right-click at the location of desired split frequency, and select "open new slice." I can then use my FlexControl knob to adjust frequency.
2) use the +RX button on the left hand drop down. It adds a second slice spaced at 1 kHz on CW or 5 kHz on SSB.
3) DDUtil allows you to hit one button with a mouse and set up a second-slice split easily.
4) DDUtil allows you to set up a panel of up to 48 different macro buttons. One of them can be a "split" button.

Btw: those who want A=B or A<>B can use DDUtil to accomplish this easily as well.

If you wish, you can assign your FlexControl Knob to DDUtil and it will do more functions than the standard Flex interface. You can then assign certain DDUtil macros to some of the AUX buttons, which in DDUtil have single click, double click, or long-press options.

These functions and many others are readily available to those who wish to take advantage of FREE third party software.

SDRStack is another very nice program that offers easy vfo/memory manipulation, muting, squelch, and many other functions that are the targets of many complaints of a few dissatisfied flex users.

BOBSmeter is a wonderful utility that gives you a large S-meter that has customizable peak and average settings.

flexMeter is a great utility that allows you to create power, SWR, mic level, AGC level, and many other meters for your rig.

There are utilities available, again free, that allow you to connect a midi controller to the rig.

N4PY's Pegasus Plus is a paid program that has a fully programable MIDI interface compatible with a variety of different controllers.

The list goes on. Including logging and contest programs that have their own macros to do some of the needed functions.

It is funny. There are users who pine away for pop-out windows and control panels in SSDR, but refuse to use 3rd party utilities that could easily solve many of their problems because the don't want to open a separate program, or because "Flex should put it all in the same program". Or "I want it all on the main control panel."

I agree, there are still a few functions that need to be improved - WNB, NF, ANF, NR.... but these HAVE improved somewhat, and Flex is still working on them. While some of these improvements may not make it into the first release of V.2.0, I am confident that they are on the list.

On the other hand, taking the time to put them into V.1.x and then needing to turn around and fold them into V.2.x which is already in development -- thus keeping two different tracks of software development running concurrently doesn't seem to me to make sense from an economic or personnel perspective.

Ken - NM9P
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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Excellent post, Ken. The add-on enhancements are the way to go as they introduce a level of user control that is entirely voluntary. If someone wants an analog looking meter, they can get it. Or any of the other things you mentioned.

Baking every single demand right into SSDR would just turn it into bloatware. And bloatware is bad.
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Takeshi Yamada

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I have been enjoying DX life with Flex6500 for 3 and a quarter years.
I have KWM-2A and K3 on the shelf as a legacy and I am glad to know that I do not need to put Flex6500 to that shelf for a while. 
So far, Flex6500 is the best X'cvr I have ever used.
Thank you FRS!!
de JI1BNU, JA2IYJ/1
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Michael Coslo

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Your post made me think of something. I'm rather deaf - I hear almost othing above 2.5 KHz, and not a huge lot below that. 

But I wanted my license so I learned OOK Morse when it was sill a requirement. It was difficult, but I did it. I don't use it much because it is difficult for me, because my brain doesn't differentiate between noise and pitch. 

A lot of other people waited waited waited for the inevitable Morse code requirement to end. I had many more years to enjoy Amateur Radio, so those folks lost out on that. Who was smarter?

Now I have had my Flex 6300 for heading on two years now. I've had more than 2500 dollars of enjoyment out of it. 

So if anyone is worried about the next model coming out, impacting the value of their present one,  I would suggest that they wait until the next models after these new ones, then the next model after that, and that, and that. 

Wait until there are no new models that will make your radio worth less. 
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Dan -- KC4GO

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One must also remember that components have a limited manufactured life span and may determine when a manufacture must discontinue a product.  It looks like Intel has a new i7 every 6 months. You think one could purchase enough to manufacture 1000 computers using the 3 year old version i7?  Then you would have to find all the other components to match.  Just saying that even if Flex didn't decide to stop manufacturing 6300 and 6500 it might no be their choice.  

I'm very pleased with my 6500 (regardless of what it's resale value may be) it still works as good as ever. Actually better than the day I got it with all the added features  and improved performance thru software over the past 2 years and all that software at no additional cost. My only regret is that I couldn't afford to purchase a 6700. (still can't)
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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I wish I could  feel your pain but its just so predictable.

New law: No company can come out with a new product I have purchased within the past 18 months (and even then I might post the email saying I feel like I have lost something). Of course they will likely not be able to meet competitive products trying to encroach on their product line and will go out of business, but I have an email about that situation also.

Come on guys, forums and the internet give everyone the opportunity to post a picture of every meal and text every interior thought but we do not have to do this. Let the company thrive so it can give us the great support we currently get and introduce new products that maintain their technological lead!

Sorry!
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SteveM

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This is your expert advice (Elmer)!?! Just point him to the new hardware FAQ and move on. Most of his questions are answered within.
(Edited)
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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Steve,  you are right, my response was too snarky but this is the 4th generation of Flex radio  and I have seen some form of this note 3 times now, almost always the Monday following the  excitement of a great weekend of announcements. 

No manufacturer tries harder than Flex to bring new features to their buyers than Flex and yet they get pinned with these notes. I just wish people would let Flex have their moment of excitement instead of this type of sentiment.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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When folk neither take the effort to read the current threads, read the official data sheets, nor take the time to watch the interviews pointing to the FAQs is appropriate.

Sometimes we all miss or misunderstand a bit of information, and asking for clarity is appropriate.

I've heard the term "High Tech Luddities" applied to both those who won't do a spot of research, and those who would have progress halt until they give permission for an advance.

Reality is some of our community members do not have the best of motives at times, some seem to live just to help others, some have scrimped to set aside enough to have their Flex-6000 experience, some can afford to buy one of most every new radio that comes on the market at will, some have very modest stations, and some have monster stations, some... well it is just a big community with all the lumpy parts that come with side a wide ranging group.

Add the differences in native language (BTW I appreciate when someone posts their English Text and ALSO includes what they are trying to say in the native language right after it in the post - very helpful towards making themselves understood), differences in senses of humor & temperaments, well pretty soon it like a big old family reunion.

There are a couple things that would be helpful:


  • - do take a peek at the existing current threads.  There is simply no reason to have a half dozen threads asking what is the v2.x upgrade costs & policy.

  • - do put yourself in the other reader's shoes to help make sure your question is understandable and reduced in the emotive stuff that gets in the way of the answers you seek.

  • - don't forget you can ask FRS directly and even make suggestions to them directly.  That really should be more than just a few shared words at a show, as a follow up email is going to help them remember and understand shat you wanted to share.

  • - remember that others speaking (including me, as I am just another Flex-6000 user) is simply NOT the same as a position statement from FRS.

  • - respect the FRS need to be commercially viable and to run their own business as they chose to do so.  Talk to them about taking an equity stake if you think your contribution to their business is that important, but otherwise remember as a customer our stakeholder enfranchisement is pretty much limited to whether we spend money with FRS or we don't. 

  • - recognize that this community is something awesome that few manufacturers in any industry offer.  Treat it with respect.

  • - don't lose your situational awareness - if you post in the wee hours (based on Austin time) on a ham fest or holiday weekend you cannot expect FRS to reply before dawn!

  • - make your suggestions, critiques and criticisms persuasive rather than punitive.  It may sound a trite formula, but presenting the problem followed by observation followed by suggestion including benefit of adoption is powerful stuff.  The loss/delay in adopting good ideas by emotional and factually incomplete rants can be reduced by laying each logical observation & step out in order and phrasing the recommendation along the lines of If you tell the story well, logically and emotionally groomed to engage the reader to give your idea a decent fair consideration you will experience more of your suggestions being adopted.

  • - make sure what is humor is clearly humor, rather than snide.  It is really hard to do humor in a language you are not fluent in, and more obscure humor won't easily be understood as humor by a non-native reader.


I do have some suggestions for FRS:


  • The FAQs are awesome and perhaps could have been put out early in the show process to increase awareness of the facts and reduce FRS (and others) frustrations.

  • The FlexInsider was a wonderful way to share things FRS and could return as part of the FRS post-purchase support marketing as well as leadership in promoting new opportunities.  Perhaps an issue timed to go out at the gates open for Hamvention would have been useful? 

  • As the Get Satisfaction Community is difficult to search, and in keeping with both FRS ultra-low moderation policy & with SMartSDR advancing all the time, that perhaps a curated "Best Of Community" go-to resources could be developed? 


73

Steve K9ZW

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Dan -- KC4GO

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Steve, 
     Your first statement is "called don't confuse me with facts my mind is made up."  :) (making sure my humor is taken as humor) 
As a Gunny Sgt once told me " it's a good day when there's no blood on the ground and no one dies" (South East Asia 1967)
I don't care if my 6500 is only worth a $1.00 I'll still enjoy everyday I get to use it. 
Puts thing in perspective. 
Thanks, 
Dan  
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Michael Coslo

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And Flex has still not acted on my perfectly reasonable demand for a integrated Keurig coffee maker.
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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This looks like a good reason to have a local FlexRadio users group meeting at Tim's house.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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My smoker isn't that accommodating ;-)
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Michael Coslo

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I can only imagine my keyboard after a contest where I was eating ribs.  But yes Tim, a beer tap would be tremendous. We could call it the Flex 807. 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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We could call it the Flex 807. 

That made me smile.  Thanks
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Tony Hateley

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Anyone else see how many 6400 for sale and people after 6500,I wonder why?