For ex. I used a SteppIR with CI/V control with icom. It was flawless integration and I never had to think twice about it. Similarly I should have been told I’ll need an S12 cable or for my kat-500/Kpa-500 combo I should get a ftdi serial cable with a null modem cable before connecting.
That’d have made my life so much simpler. I wish Flex will be a lot more proactive than the current state of affairs.
Having said that I must say the quality of reception is better than any radio I have ever seen including the IC-7851 and only behind perhaps a K3S. It pulls up signals that icom and Yaesu don’t even register. Specially in noisy Silicon Valley. Love the idea of spots on pan but would be nice to see them on the main device screen instead of computer screen. Oh well.
Flex is still a small company. I doubt they have the resources to sell radios like an automobile dealership. They do provide this excellent forum for exchanging information and lessons learned. If you do encounter problems, they support you patiently and professionally. When have the presidents of IKY gotten on a web forum to address sticky issues?
Why not? this takes all the responsibility from the customer to find out what they need for connectivity.
But that is not how our world works most the time. It is prudent for the customer to to read, ask what is needed since they know more about the needs of their own station then Flex does.
In the design of the Flex products connectivity is what Flex is all about, station integration is what Flex is built on, there really is nothing simpler then Flex connectivity.
Some time ago I bought a new TV, It uses HDMI connections instead of the old TV coax and RCA plugs for audio. It is a good thing I asked questions about how I would connect things up at home and bought the HDMI cable when I bought the TV. It saved me a trip back to the store 10 miles away to get things I needed. But I did my research and knew what I needed before buying it. And if I had asked a few more questions I would have found out an HDMI cable came with the TV in the package.
For many of you coming from other radios, it may take some time to understand how Flex helps their customers and the level of details they cover. But at times as much as they try sometimes things go wrong
Hear is something to ponder, Flex is such a small company, every posting with praise or critical comments ripples through the company. Every worker hears about it and wears it. Unlike some larger companies where communications drop on a desk somewhere and is misplaced.
As a K3 owner who has moved to a 7610 and considering a 6600/6700, I agree with your points. Seems as if Flex could get some knowledgeable users to put such a program together with a few incentives for doing so. Elecraft has much clearer instructions on how to hook everything up compared to Icom and Flex. When you throw in the applications(N1MM+, WJTS-X, Skimmer, DXLab,
Steppir, Green Heron, etc.) and amps it can get a bit confusing. The 7610 has convinced me that SDR is the wave of the future.
73 Roger N3RC Sebastopol, Ca.
@Alman - AI6XN - you've asked in the right place!
I think it is pretty cool and I have personally gotten a lot of great advice from the members of the Community.
Wish other products I've bought offered a healthy user community.
Other resources are the extensive Knowledge base and the many official and non-official videos.
Transition guidance of a customized basis is a bit tricky though. I've thought about how receptive hams might be to paid-service on station building, and haven't found a way that I could see it working.
Building in a similar service into a new product is close to the same economics & logistics.
Working from your idea it might be helpful to have a sort of "transition guide and checklist" that would bring the best thoughts and videos into a structured form. Because the nature of SDR is that it always evolves, perhaps the main form of the guide might be on-line, with dated printouts?
Truth be told navigating through the Community, Knowledgebase, Special papers, and videos is clunky at best. Something that might provide a unified experience would be slick and helpful.
Food for thought.
I know plenty of the Flex fans on here hate any kind of criticism, but Amlan’s comments were not a criticism in a way.
Having had to find out the hard way, he simply wanted to help others to make the transition from non-flex to Flex, which for many is an horrendous leap of both technology and faith in the unknown of SDR. To belittle his comments is just plain sad and small minded. Those concerned do Flex a grave dis-service and make themselves look thoughtless too.Many would-be customers come to this forum first for information and clues about what may lay ahead. Okay, maybe he could have done more reading first, maybe he could have gained more help on here pre-purchase, or maybe the ego crew actually prevent sharing, help and compassion towards new users which can ultimately only hurt your favourite radio company. Sickening.
Back to business: I totally agree with your idea - A great one.
Sales could reference a simple download, if they had one, from which "add-on" sales items should be added to an order; especially since the paradigm change to pure digital is foreign to most hams. For example, our club owns a 6600+Maestro and a 7610; most members are "afraid" (i.e. don't understand) of playing with the flex. Why - It is mostly digital and a change.
As a long time owner, many new hardware features are new - I would like a simple page that tells me what hardware (cables, dongles, whatever) I need for adding, for example, a StepIR DB-42 to my system.
Members of the forum: Please maintain the latitude to hear ideas from new owners - they are free from learned bias.
The integration of a 6000 series radios is in a lot of ways the same it was for any other HF radio and in a lot of ways so much more streamlined.
- Amplifiers still need a PTT/RCA cable - still the same. It was the advent of new band tracking amps that make this more integrated.
- Antennas connect the same way - PL259s
- Band tracking - ok, a bit different but so much more streamlined. Yes, you can still use the 1/2 century old RS232 technology or move ahead to using a LAN. Not really complicated if you have your basic home LAN/Router setup, but just a different perspective. Some programs have already made this move, WSJTx for example.
- Steppir Tracking - From a Steppir, a 6000 looks like a computer except we actually send band automatically and you don't have to do an archaic 'sniff' of someone elses RS232 communications in order to have it track. Arguably this is so much better. Just a null modem connector required and the FTDI RS232/USB adapter.
- 1 6000 Series radios can drive so many external devices on its own without have a PC do it. Antennas, Tuners, Amplifiers, Bandpass filters, transverters and do it all at the same time. All you have to worry about (in most cases) is 3 wires, Ground, RS232 TX and RS232 RX. Instead of having your device connect to a Windows computer, it now connects to the radio. Just add the same RS232/USB adapter to the radio instead of to the computer.
That being said, the hobby has migrated from one of people of who love the science and the technology to that of an appliance. A majority of today's operators want to just get on the air and not care out how it actually ticks.
At least today we have forums, YouTube, Google and social media that we can reach out to for help. 20 years ago, we didn't, so we 'tried things' and broke things and we learned lots by breaking things. Yes, there is magic smoke.
This community has some amazing people who have pushed the 6000 series radios to the limit and more. And they continue to do so.
This RF Server that we all use is blazing the way to greater and better things.
While I have been off this week, I have been ripping apart my Remote Station that started its life as a TS480 and RemoteRig. I am amazed at the stuff that is landing on the floor that won't make it back into VA3MW's remote station Version 4 (version 1 started in 2005). It will now be a 6600 and a 4O3A's 2x8 switches plus a RemoteQTH server to handle some of the basic on/off stuff.
Amlan, welcome to the community. I know you and exchanged a lot of emails discussing your station.