Chris Tate, N6WM, Contesting Champion

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  • Updated 3 years ago
In an effort to help FlexRadio stay on top of pressing desires and issues from customers, I've asked Chris Tate, N6WM, to help us prioritize features and issues of importance to contesters.  In this role of Contest Champion, Chris will work with the contesting community to find their top issues/features and work with FlexRadio to estimate and rank each of these.  FlexRadio will provide Chris with details on where we are on each item and our schedule of items from the future as they are ranked which he will be communicating to the community periodically.  If you have specific features/issues that are related to contesting, please work with Chris to make sure they are on the list.  

You can, of course, contact us directly, but in most cases I will be forwarding the information to Chris for prioritization along with the other features/issues.  Our goal is to be transparent and responsive to the needs of the contesting community as a whole.

We may add others to the list of folks helping in this way for other types of operation where the help would clearly bring benefit.  Chris has graciously agreed to help us with this need as a volunteer and I want to thank Chris publicly for the work he's done in this area over the last year and that he will continue to do in a little more formalized fashion.  Thanks, Chris!

Steve
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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

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Posted 3 years ago

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Paul Bradbeer

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Steve,

This is clearly a welcome step, and will help Flex penetrate further in to the Contesting community.  Thing is Steve, we're not all contesters; how will you ensure that us regular-Joes are also heard?  Best Regards  Paul M0CVX

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WW1SS - Steve

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Exactly . . . I am not a contester either. How about getting the small stuff fixed like noise mitigation ,etc.
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DrTeeth

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I am also not a contester, but understand that "serious contest operators" are driving sales at the moment. Please do not forget us regular Joes, which is why I have been so vocal for GUI improvements. Indeed, I have suggested a similar 'guru' for GUI enhancements, as the 'contest' release (viz 1.6) did not bring any.

In the past, contesting improvements have just centred around getting contesting software to play nice with SSDR and nothing significant has trickled down.

I would imagine that regular Joes are watching this forum, as I did, before purchase and could be put off. They need to see what FRS has planned for the near/far future.

73
(Edited)
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Carl K5HK

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No we like bells and whistles easy understood & used but not just for contesting.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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List them?
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George - AB4FH

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Steve,
This is good news and a wise direction.  I look forward to future enhancements for contesters and DX'ers.  How can we get the current list of feature requests from Chris so we can vote on our priorities?
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Jon - KF2E

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I'll volunteer to being in charge of prioritizing eye-candy:)

Jon...kf2e
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DrTeeth

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I think that there will be a long queue for that position.
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rich

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Steve,

Thanks.  Like Guy (G4DWV)'s post above, I'm also anxiously awaiting the permanent fix for DAX Distortion.  This sporadic, but nevertheless longstanding problem hampers a small cohort of mostly JT operators like myself who operate JT modes for hours on end.  I believe that Tim has mentioned that this known problem has been identified as a "memory leak".
Please allot some time to correct this.  thanks, 73, rich, K3VAT
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Bob Wright, N7ZO

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Yes, please, please, fix the sporadic DAX distortion (both RX and TX).  There are many threads here on this problem.  I still run 1.5 because the problem was significantly worse in 1.6.  Even with 1.5, I have to restart DAX once or twice a day to get rid of the distortion.  None of my other audio devices have this problem.  It would be more reliable for me to go back to my Signal Link box which I've used for many years without a problem, but using an outboard audio box is problematic with the 6000 series because it does not have fixed level line outputs.

I have been operating JT65 terrestrially for a while, but I just started operating EME and was embarrassed, once again, to get reports of distortion of my JT64B signal which they thought was over-driving.  A restart of DAX and all was well - for a while.

This needs to be fixed before the team goes off on new features, contesting or otherwise.

73, Bob, N7ZO
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WW1SS - Steve

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It won't get  fixed. They seem to now start work on contesting and the basics still go by the wayside . . . Chase that $$$$. I recently sold my 6500 and will probably not get my Maestro because of the issues I have been reading about  here. The legacy radio's work, no rebooting, no DAX distortion, no CW distortion, no wifi issues. Did all these alpha testers not pick up on any of this. If I were an Alpha tester I would have seen these issues. Flex took in a whole bunch of $$$$ now scrambles to play catch up with the issues and seem to blow it off for the next big bang. It all should have been resolved before rolling it out

 To the guy comparing the TS 990 to the flex . . . The 990 works as it should. I know I have had both. I am waiting to see what is upcoming in the future but I loved my 990. Also Don't give me BS about cutting edge technology. I don't think any body's ears are good enough to tell the difference in the radio's on Sherwood's list.

So lets here it from everyone . . . That is MY opinion
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Andrew Russell

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In my case a change from Win8 to Win10 has fixed my DAX distortion.
Andrew de VK5CV
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Steven - If you really are so down then you've done the right thing to switch.

After all it is only a hobby!

Where you could personally do much better is to stay factual and stop the disparaging remarks.

If a feature isn't there/is broken/works well or is late in your estimation, those are the facts as you see them.

When you claim that everything you don't like is because the company and the volunteer alpha team are doing bad or when you even seem to tread into the personal attacks implying they are bad people, well unless you know them personally those are not statements of fact. They are your unfounded emotive statements that as they are known to not be true, that you really owe them a public apology for.

And if a product isn't fun for you, perhaps some other product will be. Don't miss the chance to improve your enjoyment.

Personally I am a cup half- full person, and I know that the good things that are there are the direct result of a dedicated company and it's tireless alpha team volunteers. I have suggestions for improvements, but see those as opportunities to further apply the talent that has created a product eco structure that is open ended in potential. I hope they hear us when we applaud and ask for more, and I am ever so glad they don't tell us to pound dirt when they are treated so poorly.

All best and perhaps we can chat on the air?

73

Steve
K9ZW
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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I seriously hesitate to jump into this but I hear serious 'distortion' on this forum.
"....stay factual and stop the disparaging remarks". Those two are not mutually exclusive.

"If a feature isn't there/is broken/works well or is late in your estimation, those are the facts as you see them." I would say no, they are facts period. Opinions are as one sees them.

It seems to me what some folk are essentially saying is their opinion of what's happening is, "the wants of the few seem to consistently outweigh the wants of the many".  For myself, I agree in that the priority of a broken existing feature should outweigh the new bright shiny feature. And that's premised on the decisions made by the vendor. They are just registering their dismay. Someone selling their 6000 does not alter FRS's net new sales so it doesn't show in the revenue numbers.

In a sense, someone registering disappointment or dismay or, perhaps, even anger is only the mirror image of someone registering their unbridled joy with their new toy.

So, Steve, while there is something to be said for "if you're unhappy, just quietly move on", it isn't really too different than, "if you are experiencing mind-numbing incredible waves of euphoria washing over you, please keep it to yourself". I believe both pieces of advice have merit in the case of over-the-top rhetoric. This as opposed to, "I gave up waiting and sold my Flex" or "Maestro/6000 is precisely what I was hoping for". Clean simple and gives FRS actionable information they may or may not want to drill deeper into.

"It's only a hobby". Apparently not to some.
(Edited)
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Burt Fisher

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Show me anywhere in Part 97 where you see the word hobby
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Walt - you're twisting what was a nice way of saying to Steven that while he has every right to convey what he sees and how he thinks about it, he has no right to rip into the people.

Say what you will, just remember the golden rule when it comes to the interpersonal stuff.

73

Steve
K9ZW
(Edited)
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WW1SS - Steve

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I am just wondering why with all this alpha testing and a ham on a DXpedition with 6 maestro's, why are all these issues popping up with wifi connectivity, distortion etc. No interpersonal stuff here. It should JUST WORK
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I does work. Most have no or little trouble with the Masestro. But as we have seen all routers are not the same even when they sport the same specs, for some, it has been a problem, for others, no problem at all. Flex ran all the of them at the show with out a problem.
(Edited)
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Phil m0vse

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Absolutely Bill. I have had zero issues either wired or wifi but when I am operating from my shack, I use wired. When wireless, my Airport Express seems to work fine.

I'm sorry but people that say it should 'just work' have obviously never worked with low-latency wifi streaming (two things that are often mutually exclusive). I manage numerous large scale wifi deployments (of 50+ access points) and wireless congestion is a killer when trying to stream data. It can also highlight any bugs/incompatibilities between devices which may not necessarily be seen with other wifi chipsets due to the sheer volume of data. This sort of problem isn't necessarily the fault of either device but can sometimes be due to differing interpretations of the IEE802.11 standards.

I often have similar discussions regarding IP phones. In the analogue phone world, you would pick-up the phone and expect it to 'just work'. Modern IP phones can have issues whether that's network congestion or a software bug requiring a reboot but their flexibility means they have achieved wide scale adoption in spite of these occasional issues.

@Burt, As far as I am concerned, any activity that I take part in that I don't get directly paid for (i.e. in an amateur capacity) is a hobby. 
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Phil m0vse

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Far from having no bearing, it is my experience in these sorts of implementations that gives me in insight into the complexities of WiFi deployment, 50+ access points simply multiplies the likely problems by an order of magnitude and often requires creative solutions. It has also exposed me to a wide range of devices, some of which just will not connect to certain access points reliably.

The DHCP issue is I suspect due to the flex sending only a single DHCP discover broadcast packet when first booted (which is the Linux default). These packets can often be lost when limited bandwidth network bridges (access points/extenders) are between the flex and the DHCP server. Windows (and many other) clients send multiple DHCP discover requests with an increasing timeout (5,7, 15 and 32 seconds in Windows). If these 4 requests remain unfulfilled, Windows will then fall-back to using a link-local (169.254) address. I suspect that FRS didn't want to delay the boot of the 6x00 by up to an additional minute if a DHCP server isn't available? I for one would like to see the ability to set a static address which would mitigate this issue. 

Using wired ethernet as much as possible I have never had the Flex be unable to obtain an address from my DHCP server and never have any lost packets in SSDR. I would also NEVER use a wireless extender in anything other than exceptional circumstances.

Maybe I am just lucky or maybe it is my 30 years spent designing and installing computer networks?
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DrTeeth

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Having to change the DAX issues is like suggesting that I have heart surgery to fix my back. I am staying with Win 7 for the foreseeable future, having given Win 8, 8.1 and 10 a good workout on their own vanilla partitions. They are OSs that seem to be designed to protect the PC operator from themselves.
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DrTeeth

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Phil,

Maybe that is why so many (myself included) found it helpful to dedicate a fixed IP from your routers/DHCP servers? I also prefer fixed IPs in most of my small network too.
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Steve (N9SKM)

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Kevin i think you missed the point that Phil and FRS has made regarding the fact that the data stream for the radio requires LOW LATENCY. All of the other streaming services you mentioned can buffer (Keep downloading to get ahead of where you are) which isn't something that can really be done here. Imagine working a pileup with a 5 sec buffer on either end of the maestro data stream.

While some people are having problems and FRS has acknowledged them and offered suggestions many other people are having no issues. 

Phil static IP would be nice to have.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Jon & Guy,
If you get the job of GUI Champion, how about using the idea VOTE counts to prioritize.  Here are the TOP 10 from the list.  I think that is at least a good starting point and the purpose of voting.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10



CLICK to enlarge....



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DrTeeth

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Al,

No chance me getting anywhere near that post as I speak my mind too much. Anyway, I can think of at least one other person much better suited than I to that position. His only downside is that he is 100% CW, hi hi!
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Guy,
Funny and thanks for the vote of confidence. You are right though, the GUI changes need to consider all modes and user needs. And I'm only focused on CW and DXing. And as others have mentioned there are a number of bug fixes that should take first priority anyway.

The upside is that most of the GUI ideas have been on the books for a while, in some cases for up to 2 years. So it wouldn't be hard to do some surveys or polls to see how they rank with everyone.

It would be nice to take the same approach for the GUI improvements as with the contesting improvements that Steve mentioned. In summary, ''Let the champion know where we are with changes....and communicate with the community." A champion is a good way to give a voice and focus even if just for a short time as needed for a specific goal.

There are a number of folks here that could a good job as a champion including you.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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DrTeeth

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Hi Al, Thanks for your vote too. The trouble with a 'Champion/Tsar', it is just like a politician having to have a public consultation. They have one then ignore the findings. The whole process would have to be open so one could see a given champion's achievements.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Congratulations Chris N6WM - and if I can ever help just ask.

@FRS - focus contacts is a great idea, and hoping there are a few more in the wings.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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km9r.mike

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Thanks Steve n5ac for the point of contact and congrats Chris n6wm. Just a thought and I do not think FRS has this but what about the possibility of internships @ FRS to help with the workload of developing / implementing these possible ideas or other ideas while FRS programmers focus on core SSDR / industry first issues ? UT has a computer science program and what a great opportunity for a student to get some real world experience. Just a thought and not a critique.
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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

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We bring in interns frequently. We have one this summer that is working on BCD output from the radio. Generally we prefer to hire interns that already understand what we are trying to do and so this means licensed amateurs. Our intern this summer is Ashley, K9MWF, from Valparaiso University. We also regularly work with engineering students on projects that are of interest to us and make good student projects.
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km9r.mike

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Awesome. I looked at a time out of curiosity on Flex's website to see if FRS was providing such an opportunity for aspiring students.  Thanks Steve and congratulations to Ashley k9mwf.
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Varistor

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Steve,

This is a great move in the right direction. Contesters' feedback would be quite different from what you get from regular users.

May I suggest the following for your consideration:

1) Actively promote Chris' role on non Flex sites, such as the CQ Contest, RTTY, and Top Band reflectors along with the N1MM and WriteLog groups. Ditto for some of the Russian sites.

2) Following the model of the 30-day money back program, actively recruit contesters to use your rigs for major contests. Give them a rig and let them run competitively in a major contest or two. You may want to start with members from the major contest clubs, such as YCCC, PVRC, Frankford, the Germans, etc.

3) Create your own Flex contesting community so that discussions stay focused. Further, it would be great to "label" users as contesters, just like you have elmers, champions, etc.

There is a broader opportunity here to build a thriving community around SDRs and contesting. SDRs are yet to be mass adopted by contesters so there is a void in knowledge, experience, etc. Buld it, they will come, and possibly buy a Flex.
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Paul Bradbeer

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Please, please, please, folks.  It is not all about contesting! 

Yes, I'm sure that a good business aim would be for FRS to replace all K3s in the various contesting groups (if I was MD, that would be one aim..).  But there are many individuals here who are not contesters but still have valid opinions and desires...and we have all invested in Flex too!  So far I have seen nothing to reassure me that that my views will not be brushed aside, or even ignored, in the face of Contest groups lobbying Chris Tate. 

Steve (N5AC), please reassure me that there will be some mechanism by which Flex will balance the two.

Paul M0CVX (and AC5NO)

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L.Kubis

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I don't see why so many have their "knickers in such a tight knot" over the fact that Flex will seeking input from and participating with the contesters!
I see this analogous to some for the auto manfacturers like Honda,Audi and Benz spending time and big money participating in "contesting" events like the Grand Prix and other competitions. They go there to enhance their image and to learn how to make their product better.
So why shouldn't Flex do similarly, it will only make for better products and make our investment better.
Let the guys at Flex run their business as they see fit. So far they haven't done too badly compared to many others out there.
People are still free to vote with their feet if they don't like the direction nor the product, there's lots of choice out there and more becoming available. 


Lloyd
VE3ERQ
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DrTeeth

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Lloyd,
With all due respect, you should familiarise yourself with the 'contest release' v1.6 and see how little benefited non-contesters. It generally enhanced the interoperability of contest software and SSDR. The analogy to the motoring industry only applies to specific cases in computing/SDR radio. Having N1MM Logger work better does not benefit the non-contester. Happy to take this off-forum as it will go way OT. My email on QRZ.com is good if you want to take up the offer.
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Phil m0vse

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Sorry Guy but I don't consider the most notable feature, a complete re-work of DAX and CAT that appeared in 1.6 to be of no benefit to non-contesters. Adding a single TX channel, Winkeyer emulation (sort of!!) and the ability to add multiple CAT ports tied to separate slices, whilst i'm sure were largely contester driven, surely benefit many users (especially those using digital modes)? 
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DrTeeth

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I had zero issues using CAT/DAX and I work 99% digital modes. That is why those changes did not register. Thanks for correcting my oversight mate.
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Paul Bradbeer

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Well said, Kevin!
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DrTeeth

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Kevin,

Great post and well stated. So true too.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Appointing an unpaid POC (Point Of Contact) for the contest segment of known Flex users is a good thing.

Logically this does not mean they are focusing their paid resources to serve only the contester, at the expense of all other segments of users.

Actually it would on the face of it suggest they are perhaps doing a bit of the opposite, and narrowing the Contester's input by providing a distinct channel.

Opens a huge opportunity for collelessing the contesting users inputs by giving it a POC and standard routing 

Hoping they do the same for a Digital and DXpedition POC for starters.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Jon - KF2E

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I think it will be very telling if this is the only POC appointed. I have no problem with the concept. I'll just feel a lot better when the DX POC, GUI POC and digital POC are appointed. 

Time will tell...

Jon...kf2e
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Bernie W7DMC

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Not a big contester, but happy to see Flex seeking this type of input from the real world of users. I in no way feel left out, much of the result will benefit me also and I know that issues facing us "vanilla" users will also be addressed. Love my 6300, 6500, and Maestro - worked Cook Isl. sitting on my deck watching the stars and water last night.
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DrTeeth

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Sitting indoors with the shitty London weather, dreaming of being able to sit outside at night. Thanks a lot Bernie, LOLZ!
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Let me correct a few misconceptions.  In 13 years of constant software upgrades we themed a single version for contesters.  In the v1.6 release, there is only a single item (OTSRP) that is of unique benefit only to contesters.  All other enhancements are beneficial to the broader community as well.  

In v1.6 we did a complete rewrite of CAT, made major improvements to DAX as well as Profiles, implemented Waveform improvements, and bug fixes/stability improvements.  We have learned that the demands of contesters for ergonomics, productivity, station integration, performance, and stability benefit the entire user community.  If it benefits their needs it is almost certain to benefit others.

I am confident that we will add other POCs as we find the right people for the respective roles.  The qualifications are knowledge of the subject, professionalism, pragmatism, respectful communications, demonstrated helpfulness to others, and respect for the difficult business trade offs that have to be made when serving a myriad of competing requests.
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Lee, Elmer

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I might mention in my experience Flex does not "brush things to the side".  They have systematic internal mechanisms to track and prioritize the development of their products.  I think it's a very good idea to engage and coordinate with the contesting community in soliciting station design.  I continue to not be a fan however of radio design by "vote".

73  W9OY     
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IW7DMH, Enzo

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This is a great news!
Trying to get out the best, for best operators, will bring noticeable improvements for every other users.
I think you are one step away from the perfect contest machine. (I hope you'll appreciate my mock picture)

Good luck!

73', Enzo
iw7dmh


(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Enzo,
I like the spots on the display.  It looks a little like the mockup for spots on SSDR for Windows.   This new feature would be near the top of my list for the Windows GUI improvements.   Since not everyone wants spots ( or maybe just not all the time), there would be options to enable or disable that window pane. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10

More here:
https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/pfskimer_what_is_the_possibility_for_a_smartsdr_dis...

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IW7DMH, Enzo

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Hello Al,

periodically the same idea come back, but this time the scenario is a bit different because Maestro offers new opportunities.
I am imaging a multi-op contest station where each operator has a "boosted" version of Maestro. No needs to have individual PCs, or pricey hw interfaces, nor dedicated hardware. Just a small wi-fi data center and your station is ready to operate with a small effort.
A mobile app,or a trivial browser, could also show back statistical/aggregated data and other useful informations. A different (better) world compared to the actual one.

73'
Enzo
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Dale KB5VE

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I have been using Flex radios since the early days and at times I have had to wait for improvements I desired and in the days of Power SDR those improvements seemed to always come with some surprised feature so I and many others were spoiled. Smart SDR is a horse of a different color and it has taken me from the time I got my 6500 #50 till about a year ago to realize it.

So I feel putting a priority to the DXers and Contesters is a good business move. I personally feel no mater what Flex does there will be a group out there nit picking everything with the Flex brand even to the point of getting into making negative comments about the business future of Flex.

So saying this as Flex works to take the advise of this supreme Contester who will talk to this group of nay sayers and try to package their issues for Flex . In real life this is a small percentage of radio buyers and I promise you no mater what flex does it will never turn more than 50% to Flex and I am being very generous.

Saying this I still believe it is good and I look forward to those few smart Contesters who jump on board ringing up record points and I am looking for flex to keep turning my radio into the Best Buy in ham radio and true WAN remote will allow me to say I have the radio I have always wanted.
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DrTeeth

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Dale, it is the operator that makes the radio sing and not the other way around. Just because a Nascar 500 driver can make a certain car fly on the track, it does not translate into the average driver being able to do the same. I think Flex should be able to court the entry-level new ham too, especially as I expect most hams can only buy one rig and not change it if they to not like the colour of the LEDS, LOL.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Why do folks seem to reference what their radios serial number is as if it infuses them with communications or EE super powers?
I am sure a great contester could use a ts-530sp and get a winning score. And what is this fetish with contests? Is the brand somehow diminished if contesters tend to use some other radio? Is it expected for people on here to have brand loyalty but nobody else???
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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No not at all Walt. But this is a Flex site all about Flex. I think Gerald could be correct. Contesting puts a lot of stress on the system. When we learn about the needs for high performance the good things trickle down to the common user. This is the direction Flex is going, and they will see it through. And I'm sure the same brand loyalty can be found on other radio brand sites as well.
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Lee, Elmer

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How does Flex not already satisfy the needs of the average Joe or entry level ham?  Plug the radio into a network plug in an antenna and 14V.  Load some software and make a contact.  Need satisfied.  For your $2499 you own one of the best radios in the hobby and it took about 10 minutes or less to set up and get on the air.  In fact the radio in that state already satisfies the needs of world class DXers, not just average Joe's, out of the box just by adding a few of your favorite programs like log books and spotting software, no extra cables or interfaces needed.  It also satisfies the need of the average Joe interested in the digital world, or the need of Joe programmer who wants to write custom software and experiment with his new radio.  Much much need is already satisfied in that 10 minute installation.  Sometimes I think people loose sight of what a piece of gold they own.

Contest is about competition and the contest field is full of high motivation and intelligence and it's learning how to corral and effectively interact with that bleeding edge need that will propel the radio's development.  I don't think anyone at Flex has world class contest credentials and they see a need for someone who is very invested in the contest world to act as a conduit between contesting and the company to make rational decisions.  In naming Chris they acquire expertise of the best kind the expertise of a motivated user who can tap into the greater contest zeitgeist.  The contest need is more complex since it involves interaction with third party software (N1MM+ etc) and hardware and trying to best manage data flow and throughput.  In some sense contesters don't even know what they need, but I believe Flex by listening closely can figure out what they "need" before they "need" it.  It's actually a very interesting engineering problem.

In the end bragging rights, and radio sales goes to winners.  In the end that need will also be satisfied and "average Joe" won't be hurt a bit.  He will just own a better and more valuable radio and acquire some of those bragging rights. 

73  W9OY
(Edited)
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Winston VK7WH

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Guy, although I disagree with most of your posts on this thread, I had decided not to respond. But comparing a Flex 6000 with a TS530? You must be joking.

I own both, and while a am not a contester and most likely never will be, I will take you on with my 6700 against your TS530 any day.

Best 73 and good luck! Winston
(Edited)
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DrTeeth

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Winston,

You must have misread a post or two somewhere cobber. I do not own a TS530. In fact, I have never owned Trio/Kenwood gear. I actually have a Flex 6300 and I have said that it is an excellent starters rig. I have done so over those Flex owners here who have not. The Flex 6300 is the best bang for the buck in ham circles at that price. It would be an insult to compare the Flex 6300 to any other rig in the same class.

You must have had a stubby or two more than necessary in the pavilion.

Have some time to dry out, polish your glasses and start again from the top.

Thanks for the smile mate.
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Dale KB5VE

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I will not get into a he said she said but the only reason I put my number is to show I waited 18 months for my 6500 . I was not happy because I wanted it NOW but I waited, I waited through the growing pains of a very expensive radio vs what it could do! Many of the complaints I hear are people who have owned this radio less than a year. I would have been tickeled to have the flex 6500 of a year ago. I am happy with my radio and when the WAN issue is finished I will just set back and watch others do what ever get want.

So I am not against the Mistroe with Contesters in fact it should give me a few items I can use. I am a District emergency Cordanator for ARES and have put my 6500 in service with the emergency side of ham radio. Service is the only way we can pay the public back for this 212,000,000,000.00 of bandwidth we have the use of.
(Edited)
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Winston VK7WH

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You are right Guy, I did confuse you name with a post on another thread, for which I sincerely apologise.

My only excuse is the I am currently staying with my daughter in Florida and perhaps the 90 degree heat and the high humidity has muddled my 75 year old mind.

Thank you for your light hearted response. Next time I will continue to follow a thread and be more careful before I jump in

Best 73 Winston

ps Shucks, I was looking forward to pitting the 6700 against a ts530!
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Walt - KZ1F

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OK Winston...
The quote of the TS-530SP was mine. Yes it was and if the fanboys weren't so darn paranoid they'd have been consciously aware of the sentence that occurred in.

It is virtually universally known, except apparently on here, the radio, regardless of manufacturer, is the bottom of the list of important things in contesting and dx and ham radio. Does any of this sound familiar, "a good operator on a bad radio will out perform a bad operator on a good radio" You should have heard that, at least the first time you were studying for your Novice or Tech license. That is not 'bashing" either the radio, which I own (actually both) or the manufacturer. Second to operator is antenna, third is height. then feedline then power THEN radio. On the 530, I worked Tom Christian twice, Christmas Island, Antarctica many times, MiddleEast many times, South Pacific many times, ran HF Packet Radio, had it connected to Heath TNC as well as other TNC, Ran it with a Heath RTTY controller. I ran AMPR on with with PMNOS running on OS/2 on an IBM Microchannel 486. Built and ran it with the Heath Audio Controller which I still have.

It received better with a KLM-KT34XA at 60' than the 6500 on an M2 1730LP7 at 55'. Before people faint from vapors, the KT34XA was a better ant. I'll repeat that for those just regaining consciousness. A BETTER ANTENNA. The only way I could work split on it was to turn the RIT down all the way, 500Hz and XIT up 500Hz. It had tube finals and when a tube went frying part of the circuit board I could repair it. I suspect the 6000 would be DOA, certainly for me to attempt repair.

 I used that radio for over 30 years. How many of you honestly think the 6000 series will be even remotely runnable in 30 yrs. Before the vile builds up in your throat, how many think the last OS required to even listen to a 6000 will still be around in 30 years, or even a computer than is X86?

People are so overheated with this constant "my radio can beat up your radio" it is sad to watch it.

I get the whole brand loyalty thing but you don't help the rational discussion of radios by constantly ridiculing people that may happen to not share your zeal for one particular radio and one particular manufacturer. To be honest, on that vid Burt referenced, at different times I thought each radio had the better reception. As I've said before, for the 6000 series to be an outstanding radio all the others don't have to suck. And, in fact, they don't.

Dale, I waited for over a year for my 6500 as well.
(Edited)
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Lee, Elmer

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I think Walt lubs him some TS530.
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Hi everyone I was operating the CQWPX CW Contest over the weekend when this was announced, I just wanted to take a moment to thank Steve and Gerald for their vote of confidence  as a Champion on issues important to the contesting community.  I am humbled and honored to have been asked to take on this volunteer assignment.

For those who dont know alot about me, I am an avid and regular participant in Radiosport.  It is my true passion.  Although W6 is a challenging location to contest from, I still occasionally manage to find my way into top 10 rankings on any number of contests, often winning on the division level west of the Rockies and occasionally even better.

 I am the technical manager and team member at Radio Oakley N6RO, a west coast superstation with 2 CQ Contest hall of fame operators(N6RO,K3EST) , a former ARRL antenna manual editor(N6BV) and a well known DXpeditioneer(WA6O) amongst numerous other great operators and elmers.I also am a founder of the K6LRG hilltop contest station, an awesome mostly remote contest site on a 2000 foot hill in the East SF Bay.

 I have served as a board member, Vice President and Contest Chairman as well as President of the Northern California Contest Club.  I have served as a contest manager for the NA Sprint SSB, both with NCJ and was part of a core team that put the new SSB sprint in the books as the most participated event of its type ever.

Along with contesting I like playing regular ham radio as well.  Contesting has made me a competent operator in CW, SSB and RTTY and the skills I have learned have helped me in all aspects of the hobby.  Many of the suggestions I make regarding contest features for the flex 6000 may be suggested with that in mind, but apply to many many other aspects of the hobby including DX operation, CW operating excellence and Digital mode interface and operation amongs many other areas.  

I am also an avid DXer,  5BDXCC + all 3 WARC bands, 1500 challenge, and Member of the Northern CA DX Club and NCDXF contributor. 

That's kind of my story.

My personal opinion is that I think the flex 6000 series ecosystem along with its Maestro and SSDR interfaces are the current radio technology that represent the future of contesting and DXing both on site and remote, multi-op and single op and I absolutely love the platform.  I have had a tremendous amount of fun having the privilege to add value to this top performing radio platform as an Alpha tester over the last year. 

I can tell you that IMO,  the flex management, development and support team is an extremely dedicated and competent group of professionals that form the back bone of a radio eco-system that is a winning and top performing platform.  This level of commitment is extremely important to competitive radio operators who invest vast amounts of time, money and resources on our stations.  I for one consider myself fortunate to be part of the SDR revolution, and I hope you all do as well.

I will do my best to serve the flex Contesting community along with the entire general flex 6000 community to add whatever value I can, relay what feedback I can through networking with you and others I know in the contest world who have either chosen the flex platform or are considering it who run into problems, challenges or have new and innovative ideas that can improve the platform along with my own experiences and suggestions.

I appreciate all of your feedback, and if you have any questions or need assistance, I am happy to help in any way.  A number of folks have messaged me already, and if you would like to reach out, get a status update on something, make a suggestion or whatever feel free to drop me a line and I will do my best to get back with you as soon as possible.  I am good on QRZ.com.

This is great technology for our wonderful hobby.  Lets have some fun using it and making it better.  thanks and sorry for the long winded note.

Chris
N6WM
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Ken ve7kwa

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Chris, that's quite an amateur radio resume'  Well Done !  ... and thank you for your time dedicated to advancing the Flex platform.   A high performance radio optimized for contesting will benefit all Flex owners. (Just Don't tell Burt)  ;) 
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Great resume Chris. Just don't let the non contest guys know that all these contest improvements have made their radios much better. Let them continue to live in their dream world where they can whine that technology improvements don't flow down to Joe Ham
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km9r.mike

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Howard , it is supposed to be kept secret that contesters hoard all the technology advances. How else would they have a chance to win if they did not.
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Norm - W7CK

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There are a few things I'd like to see fixed before focusing all attention on contests.  My guess is someone will tell me that some of the issues can be addressed through 3rd party software.  Yes, yes it can but we should have a radio that is able to provide the normal functions that nearly every other radio on the market already provides?

1) noise mitigation still needs work.  Most contesters don't use it because they don't usually have their stations located inside a city and some NR and NB distorts the incoming signal.  You want a contest station in an environment that doesn't require the use of NR or NB, so I'm guessing we might not see work in this area for a while.
2) Having multiple panadapters open and changing bands on the 6700 between 2m, 6m, HF, the rig gets all confused and fails miserably.  I can't believe I've had my rig over 2 years and this problem still hasn't been fixed.  I'm assuming there aren't many contesters that use 2m on their 6700 so I'm guessing this issue may not be addressed any time soon.
3) A working squelch is a MUST for a radio that has 8 slices.  Its embarrassing this has gone unaddressed this long.  Another option contesters couldn't care less about.  They have a 6700 for its superior receiver not for the ability to monitor 8 frequencies at one time.  I'm guessing a working squelch won't be something we'll see for quite a while.
4) The ability to A=B and B=A.  Swapping slices.  Now I'm guessing we'll see this pretty soon.  Contesters usually like this functionality.

Don't get me wrong, I love my 6700, but there have been times when I've been very frustrated with the simple things my rig just can't do.
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Lee, Elmer

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Why do you presume the choices are binary?  Flex released 3 major version updates last year, none were contest only, one was pretty much Maestro only but that's only rational given the new product release, so why is the presumption: "There are a few things I'd like to see fixed before focusing all attention on contests."?  Does every other radio on the market provide you 3 major version updates per year?  As far as I can see the only "contest stuff" was to rewrite some things to allow integration with N1MM+, to rewrite DAX so there weren't 7 extra TX sound cards hanging around and to better integrate and expand CAT functionality into a Ethernet environment, to add a Winkey emulator and to add much more robust integration of remote into the radio, but none of that is exclusively contest.  I think some of your ideas are good ideas but the presumption Flex's focus is now contest only is a bit dramatic.  When you have 8 slices open exactly which slices represent A=B and B=A?  What if I want A=C or D=E or A=D=E?  All other radios on the market do not have this kind of complexity.  I totally agree there should be some kind of squelch attached to a slice.

73  W9OY
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WW1SS - Steve

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Every other radio does NOT need to give 3 versions of software in a year.
Squelch and . . . how long we been waiting for a NB that works . . . Nuff Said
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Lee, Elmer

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I dunno Steven in my radio improved noise abatement came in Sept 2015.  

73  W9OY
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Bill -VA3WTB

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@ Norm
Yes, yes it can but we should have a radio that is able to provide the normal functions that nearly every other radio on the market already provides?

All most all other radios have multiple panadapters?
Noise mitigation. Were have you been? It has been implemented for a time now,,and It works amazing. My radio can not be operated on 40m at night with out it on, so don't try and say is needs much work,,it works.

No Steve not anoth said,,you have given up on Flex and sold out. But you still have the need to comment for some reason. But it's your right to. I have looked at your comments over the last year and they for the most part have not been very positive.
Calling Gerald out when he was to explaining things.

From Gerald,,I think you should read:
Let me correct a few misconceptions.  In 13 years of constant software upgrades we themed a single version for contesters.  In the v1.6 release, there is only a single item (OTSRP) that is of unique benefit only to contesters.  All other enhancements are beneficial to the broader community as well.  

In v1.6 we did a complete rewrite of CAT, made major improvements to DAX as well as Profiles, implemented Waveform improvements, and bug fixes/stability improvements.  We have learned that the demands of contesters for ergonomics, productivity, station integration, performance, and stability benefit the entire user community.  If it benefits their needs it is almost certain to benefit others.
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P

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Absolutely!  The CAT & DAX improvements have certainly added benefit to my digital operations and the integration with my logging and other software.  Recent updates have made it possible for me to operate remote -- YES, with the aid of a home VPN router and third party software - but it has cost me less to do this than the Software upgrade to v.2.0 will cost.  And I have the benefit of a home VPN for other purposes, too!

As Norm noted, many desired features, like squelch and memory configuration, are currently available via several excellent, FREE software apps and applets.  This is the beauty and power of the public release of the API and FlexLib.  The releases are beginning to come quite quickly.  and many of them are excellent.  The bonus is, since they are 3rd party, they can be moved to different places on my monitor stack. (I have two at present, and hope to expand to more.)  I can either choose to employ and enjoy them, or complain that they were not provided by FRS according to my preferred time schedule.  I choose to enjoy them.

Granted...I would like to see (and I expect that we WILL see) continued improvement on the NB & NR front.  

NR works a LOT better now than it did at first.  Proper adjustment of the NR levels in conjunction with the AGC Speed, AGC-T, RX EQ, and RX Filter passbands can make profound differences in receive capture.    But there is still room for improvement.  But the largest improvement in NR can be had by learning how they operate and managing expectations.

NB & WNB have seen a lot of improvement.  There are some noise sources on which they have a dramatic effect.  Other noise sources find them less effective.  Others will never be touched by them because they are not the type of noise that a noise blanker will handle.

However, I find that on some bands...40, 17 in particular, I have some problems with very strong shortwave broadcast stations with very sharp modulation products (on the edge of overmodulation) that make the WNB "pump" the audio and put spikes on the panadapter - even at moderate settings of the WNB control.

So I am not a "Kool-aid Drinker."  I give praise when deserved, and constructive criticism when warranted.  (with the emphasis on "constructive" criticism. )

But even with some level of frustration with a few features, this is still the best rig I have ever used, and it keeps getting better.  

Having served on the Alpha Team for the past three months, It has been a real eye-opener.  It is amazing how much effort is given to a large variety of issues related to each alpha release, and the huge number of ideas discussed by the whole team - both volunteers and FRS staff - regarding improvements for upcoming and future releases.  It is also amazing how much effort it takes to incorporate these ideas into a software package that will run effectively on all three three similar, but different rigs in the 6000 series.

This rig will never be "done" because there are enough performance, gui, convenience, and other suggestions to keep the staff working for the next several years.

Ken - NM9P
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Burt Fisher

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The rig will never be done? Tell that to owners of the 5000,3000,1500
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Dan -- KC4GO

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"managing expectations" I made a living in the Cellular/Wireless world doing this.
When everything is working to our expectation it's great, the problem is everyone's expectation is different. ALL the changes the have went into SSDR and adding Maestro over the past few months for Contesting and DX operations have improved the radios performance (I don't Contest or DX)  I sure like the new CAT and DAX from when I got the 6500 over 18 months ago great in setting up Digital modes. Try running JT-65, WSPR, RTTY and SSB at the same time on your brand X radio.
          I'll accept Mr Fisher's comment regarding the older Flex Radios, but there are new software releases still being produced (open source you don't like it write your own.)  There are now several stand alone applications running the 6000 radios.(Thanks API). In the end all radios become outdated and are bypassed by new technology. 
     I'm using a Kenwood TS-480SAT as my mobile radio. It's 11 years old and has had no upgrades in that period of time. If my Flex 6500 never had another upgrade that wouldn't make it a bad radio, I would still be happy with my purchase.  Thanks Ken for your great words and thanks Flex for your continued work. I look forward to the future with my 6500.
     
 Oh and if you want to sell your radio just do it already. (Different  thread)
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Steve (N9SKM)

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Burt made a similar comment in another thread concerning the PSDR rigs to which i made a similar reply. Its legacy equipment and FRS has helped those that are writing software for them with rigs and information. So even the legacy stuff is getting changes/ upgrades and active support from the manufacturer on this site.

And i totally agree DAX and a couple or 3 slices is awesome for watching a few digital modes at the same time as you are doing something else.
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Lee, Elmer

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Actually psdr is actively being developed by ke9ns under the open license

73. W9OY
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Anyone who buys a SDR with the huge emphasis on SOFTWARE and then complains that there are SOFTWARE updates has made the wrong purchase for their expectations. 

One might well ask "What were you thinking?" when someone complains that the most major product feature of the entire SmartSDR Ecosystem - software updates - is delivered.

Any "Ex-Owner" also needs to realize the reasons they became an "ex" are of interest, but after that who cares what they think!  They are no longer in the game, as you canceled your own ticket selling.  You right and respected, but your forward opinion isn't of much use. 

There is a huge positive in having a POC for Contesting.  Simply put while I seldom have any real need for racetrack and autobahn proven technologies, I prefer to have them - likewise while I seldom more than casually contest I prefer to have every feature developed in contesting in my station.  If you personally don't, that is okay, but make way as I do and will pursue advancing my station to get them.

And if you are an "ex-Flexer" I we have other things we can talk about, but as the product is constantly evolving through the wonders of software updates your complaints are more historic & hysteric than anything useful for looking forward with SmartSDR.

 73

Steve K9ZW

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Walt - KZ1F

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Me thinks you touched on a really good point Steve. That being, "There is a huge positive in having a POC for Contesting". Period. I say, 'period' as that actually is the subject of this conversation/thread, "Chris Tate, N6WM, Contesting Champion". So, yes, this is likely the wrong conversation to discuss 'why I sold my xxxxx". However, with absolutely no disrespect to Chris...at all, this may not be a bad place for non-contesting Flex owners to register, shall we call it, concern, about the apparent focus on what is likely not only the minority user of the SSDR ecosystem but also the wealthiest of SSDR users. So if one thinks in terms of meta message, which is the larger message in the message people expressing concern that maybe FRS is indicating they are more interested in attracting and retaining the Howard's of the Amateur Radio spectrum than retaining the retired school teachers who just want a really good radio where they are the focus of the design goals. If the ex users are merely saying that had they perceived the design focus was on them, they might not be ex owners than, I'd suggest, that is a valid point for them to make. This, as opposed to simply seeing an opportunity to take a parting shot at FRS or whatever which, as you say, this is the inappropriate place to do that.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I do not recall Gerald saying Flex is going to slow down on non contest features. With the help of contesters the plan is to improve many performance groups in the radio and performance in the shack. I may be wrong on this but it seems to be a good thing for everyone to benefit.
If in the future if these improvement's show little use for non contesters, then yes we have a problem. Lets see shall we?