Many people who buy a Mersedes simply like the finer things in life, and they buy them because they can. they like the paint, fit and finish, the feel. The car is so well refined. They could buy a Hyundai witch has many of the same features and maybe more. And it gets you around the same way from here to there. But it is not as expensive or as refined. It's just not a Mersedes.
Why do people buy an amp costing $10.000 instead of buying an Ameritron amp? they both do the same thing, amplify.
It seems many buy a Flex for many reasons. The Flex Radio is very well refined. Fit and finish is great, well engineered inside and out, and expensive. These customers like the finer things in life. It is not just about price. And lets not forget the best costumer service in the business. And having such wonderful software helps too.
These are some of my thoughts, do you have any?
And as far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out on whether doing the processing in the FPGA (Flex) or doing it in the PC/Cuda processors (ANAN) will prove the better approach in the next 5 years of SDR evolution. The pace of development is a major concern to me.
73, Barry N1EU
I settled for the FLEX, because I like the fit and finish, functionality, easy integration, great product support (both software and hardware), flexibility.... and this list goes on as well.
At first I was also startled by the cost, but after having the FLEX I realized I actually have 4 radios (FLEX-6500), so to do what I'm able to do with a traditional radio I would need 4 of them, granted I would be able to transmit through each of them at the same time, but who does that? That's like owning 2 cars... Ya can't drive them both at the same time.
I'm 100% sold on FLEX radio and looking forward to all the new products and features I'm sure they have planned
Unless the user is a bit of an experimenter, the Apache/ANAN is probably not a good choice.
And I am NOT interested in SDR radio with a built in panadapter screen as the only or main option.
I chose Flex over the Anan radios for 2 reasons. One is that I had a Flex 1500 so I know what PowerSDR can do - and I know Flex stood behind it as far as bugs and getting it to a mature state. And I feel that they will continue to add value and maturity to SmartSDR, especially because it is not totally free software.
And the Software API's convinced me that for my intentions this was the way to go.
I won't argue and discuss which hardware architecture is superior but I am sure my new 6300 is no "slouch".
If I had the money I would get numerous SDR radios but since I can only afford one major one I chose Flex for the above reasons and the faith I have in the Flex Radio Company and their entire staff of great employees.
I think what it comes down to, and I agree with Barry, does one change the mission parameters to match the equipment or change the equipment to match the mission parameters? Not everybody shares the same goals...and that's OK. I don't want to ascribe motives to other people's stmts but what makes me scratch my head is the completely hypobolic exuberance which some wax poetic about their adoration of their Flex and should one not feel likewise they were obviously misinformed. The flip side of that being the piling on against those not sharing that hypobolic sentiment.
Frankly, what I think the jury is still out on is when, and at what price point will SDR just pull away from the pack. Are all radios throttled by the same atmospheric physics that mean the differentiators will be manufacturing cost and marketing hype?
What drew me to the Flex is mainly its control flexibility and the dedicated folks at FRS who continue to improve the product.
Best or impressive specs are one thing but I had a blast with my old FT-817ND. My Argonaut - wonderful. TS-830S... best classic rig ever made. It had beautiful audio. I still have no real idea what the IP3 or S/N ratios or MDS or anything like that is for any radio I ever owned and it never made a difference. I could make them all work and be real happy with them. Same here with the 6500.
Maybe a lot of this is the type of operator I am. I ragchew CW and PSK-31. I don't hunt DX and if the signal is too weak for a good QSO I just keep spinning the dial (or mouse wheel). I'll dabble in a contest but not be too serious about it.
From this perspective, I think I bought into the Mercedes attitude Bill talks about. I got my hands on the best radio I could afford. I'm having a blast.
Kind of silly 40m conversation from my point, as neither my Flex-6300 or Flex-6700 (#11) are "luxury trophies" in terms of the car analogy.
I really liked my Flex-5000A and was very quick to put a deposit for a 6700 when announced.
The new Signature Series radios, from the earliest pre-release software onwards have been a blast.
Having that kind of fun is big big part of why amateur radio appeals personally.
Currently I don't have a "trophy" radio having sold the Hilberling PT-8000A.
BTW consumer car brands like Mercedes are just another choice in some of the countries I've lived, and a "Yank Tank" like a big Lincoln, Suburban or Caddy were the premium choices. Even here the last several rental cars I've had were Mercedes (the 4-door with the turn-off-when-at-traffic-lights model) and were far less luxurious than my personal car.
Back to the Flex-6700 - I am very appreciative of an architecture, software (both delivered and potential), and end result rivaling what would have taken an unaffordable amount of money, space and personnel not so many years ago.
That I can so intensely dig out signals using simple amateur scale antennas is a massive pleasure.
Having in process the build of a second station, I've tried to fully integrate both the present level of the Flex-6000 (the 6300 at my Island QTH will give way to a 6700 once the build is far enough to make use of the added Radio-Server abilities), the near time pending (Maestro and next software step-ups) and the likely potential growth of the product capabilities. I'm also pumped that can do DogparkSDR and run them from my iMacs.
Even the XYL is pumped about the Maestro aspect of the Flex-6000, as the "guts" of this shack can be located in a secure but otherwise unused portion of the QTH and the Maestrocentric Operating Station can be in the main living space. She has even asked why I am not doing it at our home QTH rather than having the operating position in the old wine cellar? Her question made letting her know I already have a Maestro for each location on the way, argument free!
Not the most important takeaway I can offer any prospective Flex-6000 owner is YMMV. Some products just do not "jell" for certain people. No shame either in the person or product if something else ends up their first choice. I'm going to guess that my first choice in pistol isn't going to even be close for a good number of pistol owners. Nor is my current first choice when riding motorcycle going to do it for a lot of riders. You might not even like my LPDA and Hexbeam antenna choices.
But they all work well for me. And I have zero interest in claiming any of my choices is good, better, best. Why? Because they are "best for me!"
So pick what is best for you - whether a $250 investment in a vintage transceiver your repair, a $25K matched set of German conventional jewelry-grade TX/Amp/Power-supply in a neat color, the neat ANAN product group, or your new Flex-6000.
For myself, here and now, the sweetspot is a Flex-6000. YMMV!
Why do I have a Flex....because it's a radio I could afford that still gives me the ability to work that occasional new band-mode I need.
There may be others, but my 5K was a solid performer. And I tend to dance with the lady I know the best.
And yes Judy and I just celebrated our 55th wedding anny in January.
I also really look forward to the remote. I have a limited antenna setup due to HOA so I have this dream of getting a small plot of land where I could build a brick shack to house my radio and amp and a nice big tower with a LP beam perhaps. All this could be run from my normal home.
At least this is what I want to do. It solves my antenna problem. Gets RFI away from the home, perhaps a better location for the antenna, lower noise, all that.
The cost is somewhat high. First there is the land, the power, the internet. Ideally if I could get a place in line of sight I could use a dedicated wireless lan. That would be ideal.
But this is years off. Maybe I can get some others interested to share the station, share the expenses, etc.
For me, the tight integration of the Flex tp the accessories and softare in my shack using DdUtil, DAX, and SmartSDR Cat maake it a breeze, especially for remote operation. This evening I am here 750 miles from home operating my radio with an iPad and Bluetooth earpiece. Reports are excellent and it couldn't be much simpler. Sure you can do it with the Anan but it is much more cumbersome.
Another nit but a big nit for me is the poor power calibration on the Anan. According to the manual you calibrate it at 100 watts out on each band. The issue is it does not track linearly from 1 to 100 watts out. I had huge issues tring to get the Anan to do a full 100 watts on 12 meters, thrn when I did, a setting of 20 would give me 68 watts out!
The Anan has a fun gactor if you want to experiment and tinker. It is highly customizable with the PowerSDR mRX graphics and there are other programs you can use. I do feel the panadapter on the Flex is much more detailed and pleasant to watch.
There is no right or wrong as to which is right when a person asks. It depends on what they want out of the radio. I prefer a solid radio that is physically superior in construction and seamlessly interfaces into my shack.
Sorry if the duplication is problematic...
Why did I buy the 6500?
Well...I started SDR with a 1500 and fell "in love" with SDR. (Yes, I know we are supposed to "love" people and "use" things. Not the other way around....so perhaps I should say, I am EXTREMELY HAPPY with SDR.)
I was thinking about moving up to a Flex-5000, which at the time was my "dream" radio, when I saw the ad for the upcoming 6700/6500 "game changer." Three or four weeks after receiving the 1500, in January 2013, my wife agreed that I should order a 6500. (I really wanted a 6700, but negotiations and $$$ can only go so far!)
I wanted once in my life to have a top-line, high performance rig. My last one was a Kenwood TS-850SAT that I had for 20 years.
The selling points for me were:
1) absolutely crunch-proof receiver.
2) unparalleled transmit audio
3) fabulous receive audio
4) brick-wall filtering.
5) a panadapter that can't be beat - including extremely wide-band display.
6) a panafall that moves with the tuning, unlike on PSDR.
7) The concept of the major SDR "guts in the rig" rather than needing a high-power computer to do the crunching.
8) ethernet connectivity, with remote-ability in the future.
9) stunning CW performance capability due to fast internal processing and brick-wall filtering.
10) best in the industry service.
11) being on the "cutting edge" of amateur radio technology.
12) having a rig that would "grow" with me, not one that was becoming obsolete as soon as I purchased it.
I have joked with my wife, Dee, (N9FYE) is that in my mid-life crisis, I was too poor to buy a sports car, and she (and my "boss") wouldn't let me have a mistress, so I bought a 6500!
When my dad left me a few bucks at his passing, what didn't go to finance my pension, and a family vacation, part of it helped finance the 6500 and tower/LP antenna.
This will likely be the rig and antenna I will retire with, albeit in a different location in 6-10 years.
I have had no regrets...Is it perfect? Not yet. But every new software update has brought me enhanced performance, additional features, and more fun. I look forward to many more to come.
My wish-list for modifications, enhancements and new features is long and creative, like many others. I have seen some of them already come to fruition. Others will wait. perhaps until v.4.0 even. But every few months, it is Christmas all over again. That has been part of my enjoyment.
I'm enjoying my 6500!
Ken - NM9P
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