Dayton 2015 Report - Unofficial

  • 24
  • Praise
  • Updated 4 years ago

Still catching up with the world...as we flew back late yesterday and of course, XYL and I are now rushed out of our minds as we head off for 6+ weeks back to Europe next Sunday.. 

 

Weather was the usual muggy and rainy Dayton crap weather.. glad I no longer live near the center of the continent

 

Dayton.. usual FILTHY disgusting arena with overflowing toilets.. As an American I am shamed that Foreign visitors have to see Ham Radio's Mecca as such a worse than 3rd world place..

 

FLEA MARKET
Flea market was clearly down about 25% less vendors this year and virtually everything for sale was garbage that you would not normally pull out from your own trash.  Even the usual hat embroidery places were down to one vendor.  I suspect old age plus a lousy weather forecast was a contributing factor.

 

FORUMS

I attended 2 Forums  = Ham Law.. which was terrible this year without Fred Hopengarten.. and SDR - which was excellent with a number of new ideas and concepts being shown...

 

JAPANESE

The Japanese had their usual Legacy HF radios which clearly are no longer selling very well.. Kenwood and Yaesu HF Both areas were totally dead.   Icom - who are better showmen.. had some interest in the Overpriced IC-7851 - but it still lacked a modern display capability.. they were misrepresenting the 7851 as an SDR.. which it obviously is not as it is legacy Superhetrodyne technology with a DSP.. Circa 1980 design.. albeit they have tried to address the phase noise issues they had with the 7800.   

 

It was pretty obvious that the Japanese have almost given up on selling HF equipment in the face of superior US Offerings from Elecraft and Flex Radio.  The Japanese seem to moved heavily into the VHF/UHF and various incompatible digital modes.  Talking to HRO.. they admitted that they hardly ever sell a Japanese HF radio anymore but the VHF/UHF Radios sell well...

 

CHINA

However the star of the VHF/UHF were the Baofeng Chinese Radios selling for $24.95... Hard to justify $400 for a Japanese radio that does the same thing.  Needless to say the Baofeng were selling like hot cakes.

 

STEPPIR

SteppIR introduced a portable Antenna analyzer for $389 which is visibly superior to the MFJ269@$399.  Several of us bought the SteppIR analyzers.  Rob WA3IHV and Ben N6MUF bought the CrankIR portable vertical Antennas for DXpeditions.

 

ELECRAFT

Elecraft introduced the K3S which is the old K3 with a new synthesizer board to fix the poor RMDR issues that had the K3 down on the Sherwood List.  Like the Japanese, Elecraft tried to misrepresent the K3S as an SDR but clearly it is a Legacy Superhetrodyne Radio with a DSP audio stage.. Circa 1980 design...  With the new synthesizer board the K3S still ranks second to the Flex 6700/6500 on the Sherwood list.   The sales table at Elecraft had 3 sales stations and were lined up 3-5 deep waiting to place orders.  Clearly Elecraft still make winning products.

 

FLEX RADIO

Flex Radio introduced their $999 Maestro Portable Front Panel - Contest Optimized Knobs and Display for their 6000 series.. Clearly it was the star of Dayton 2015. Flex is making a major push into the contest world.. more on that later...  Maestro's were selling spectacularly.. both over the sales counter and online.. in fact the order flow online was so heavy that the on line sales site clearly slowed down under the load.  Flex had several stations set up that each include a Maestro Front Panel - One demonstrated close integration with N1MM+ Contest Software,  One Demonstrated the Application Programming Interface where users are now connecting all sorts of interesting and cool things to the Flex 6000 series.. WITHOUT WIRES.  Since all the Flex 6000 series have 95 dB antenna isolation, Flex introduced a SO2R box to enable full duplex in all the 6000 radios.  The major benefit is that now a Single Radio can now be used to SO2R contest at about 1/2 the cost and much less complexity of the comparable two K3S that would be needed to accomplish the same result.

 

Rob WA3IHV and I put in orders for the Maestro.  

 

ITALY

Italy was very strongly represented.  Begali Morse Code Keys are definitely still the #1 CW Key.  Expert Amps had their 1.3K-FA Amp on display.. only 16lbs and 1500 Watts.. Only $4,695 Show Special...Backordered by shows end to at least January 2016.

I was particularly impressed with the $1099 Elad SDR-DUO.. (I saw it also at Friedrichshafen 2014) with is a complete Second Generation SDR 5 W Transceiver in a very portable box with Knobs..it runs stand alone or with a computer.. More impressive was when hooked up to a Expert 1.3K-FA it drove 1000W with only 5 W drive...  Charlie NN3V bought one.

 

FLEX BANQUET

We normally avoid events in Downtown Dayton...too yucky and dangerous

... But this year the draw was Ranko 4O3A and Craig K9CT - two renowned world class contesters who were the guest speakers..

Top Contesters are like Formula One Drivers.. They push the technological envelop to achieve better and better results.. We all benefit from the technological improvements that trickle down from their competitive experience.

 

Gerald Youngblood, President of Flex, told us of his design process for the Maestro in which he visited with and listened to top contesters to try to understand what they needed to be able to perform better.  With the help of Craig K9CT they design the Maestro box .. with only the absolutely needed knobs and controls and put it in a small enough package that it could fit at  the most ergonomically optimum angle for contesting for minimum operator fatigue  He then went onto explain the rapid development process where they literally backed the molds in an oven to produce working models for the show in 4 weeks.

 

Ranko 4O3A's company is well known for making devices such as the Station Genius to integrate any and every possible peripheral device into a contest station.   Most important all the new devices are 21st Century Ethernet Speed Connected rather than 20th century slow serial ports.   He went over the joint development of the Flex SO2R box to give it the features of the Station Genius as well as enable the Flex 6000 operate as a Full Duplex SO2R station.   Ranko's contest station set the new European Record for the 2014 CQWWDX CW contest.  His plan is to use the Flex 6000 with the SO2R in the 2015 CQWWDX contest and hopes that the improvements will enable him to shatter the world record.  He then surprised us all by revealing that Flex was working with him on the design a Full Legal Amplifier (using 2 - 1400W transistors) - This will be the first totally Ethernet Connected Amplifier.. Flex gave NO PRICES or DETAIL or Delivery Dates.. but likely the main stumbling block will be the usual bureaucratic regulatory approval delays associated with Amps ..rather than engineering or production...

 

Craig, K9CT, started his talk by stating that "Elecraft should be worried that he was over at the Flex Dinner"   He explained the concepts and designs behind K9CT contest station and how the new Flex Contest Suite would not only cut his costs of a SO2R station in 1/2 but more important greatly simplify station configuration, design and contest work flow.   K9CT is committed to using the Flex Contest Station Suite in the Fall Contests.

 

 

FINALLY

Ken NN9P and I got a totally unexpected award at the Flex Radio Banquet at the Dayton Hamvention as the 2014 Top Flex Radio Elmer.

 

In case you are wondering, I am not paid by Flex nor do I own any of their stock.  All my life I have worked at the Bleeding Edge of Technology and I really enjoy working with others who also invent new things.. Flex has put fun back into Ham Radio for me by pushing me to consider new things all the time...

Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
  • excited

Posted 4 years ago

  • 24
Photo of Mike Whatley

Mike Whatley

  • 32 Posts
  • 24 Reply Likes
thank You Howard for your Post Dayton Report.

Though I would take issue with one observation.  

Dayton.. usual FILTHY disgusting arena with overflowing toilets.. As an American I am shamed that Foreign visitors have to see Ham Radio's Mecca as such a worse than 3rd world place..
There is nothing wrong with the Dayton Ham Fest. This is what Hams want. (And deserve in my opinion)

Dayton, Ohio is a high crime, low tech, high school dropout rate  and a rust belt city is the perfect place for Amateur Radio's permiere convention.  It reflects the values of many (if not most hams) . DARA is unfit to sponsor or oversee any Hamfest in my view.   But in Dayton where a "disgusting" environment is the norm, DARA marches  on as if this is normal.  I know I know, it's not DARA's fault. 

For many years Hams have postedt these "wasn't it terrible at Dayton this year"  -- "DARA is great but the show is a disaster zone"   No one is held responsible. That's the way they live in Dayton. And Hams want it that way.  If they didn't they would not return year after year to this "Mecca" as Howard calls it.

Sociologists will tell you. "Dont listen to what people say".  "Watch what they do"

It's kind of like No-Coders who claim they're going to learn Morse.  Yet Watch what they do!  Or Obese people who lead slovenly and slothful lives (Like many Hams) claiming they're on a Diet and going to lose weight. (Watch what they Do!...CDC statistics will easily disprove these claims.)

And in this case Hams return to Dayton repeatedly to be subjected to the same conditions that other cities and venues would never allow.    Watch what they do!

Until the ARRL and major Vendors  boycott Dayton, the parade will continue at this crass and ostentatious venue.  It is amusing and pathetic that other wise smart companies continue to send their employees to Dayton knowing full well some will return physically sickened. (N5AC VP Engineering of Flex Radio says as much in  this thread)  What if a FLEx employee refused to go to Dayton Out of health concerns? What would N5AC do in that case? 

As an American I could care less what Foreign Hams think of the Dayton Ham fest.  In my opinion,  the ARRL,  DARA and the City of Dayton don't care either. 

Cheers,

mike/wa4d
www.wa4d.net
(Edited)
Photo of Steve - N5AC

Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

  • 1053 Posts
  • 1076 Reply Likes
(N5AC VP Engineering of Flex Radio says as much in  this thread)  What if a FLEx employee refused to go to Dayton Out of health concerns? What would N5AC do in that case? 

We would honor their request, undoubtedly.

There are a number of economic situations involving rational entities that yield sub-optimal results because of the way that economic compensation works.  The boycott scenario has been discussed among vendors, but prisoner's dilemma is always present in such a discussion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner's_dilemma) even if not discussed directly.  All the vendors may agree to pull out, but if one remains they can claim that they are the only vendor that really cares about those arriving at the venue, etc.  The general stance is to complain and call for change and continue to do what is most economically viable.  This is a reasonable, rational stance albeit one that results in a non-optimized solution for all involved.

This is not unlike collective bargaining where any individual has little power to alter a compensation issue in a large company so a collective is formed to negotiate on behalf of all.  I will spare this group my personal opinions on collective bargaining as they are irrelevant and I would like to suggest that others do so as well.  I bring it up because it is a similar economic problem that most all understand and can identify with.
Photo of Jon - KF2E

Jon - KF2E

  • 677 Posts
  • 222 Reply Likes
Thanks for the great update Howard. Have a great trip to Europe and maybe I can find you while you are operating iPad portable.

Jon...kf2e
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
@Walt

As I said previously, Both Icom (7851) and Elecraft (K3S) are trying to capitalize on the ever increasing popularity of SDR Radios by misrepresenting the fact that their Legacy Super Het Radios with DSP are SDR's.

They are NOT even First Generation SDR's...  they are the lastest evolution of the Circa 1980 technology and likely have pushed it to the point of diminishing returns.

That said Elecraft makes a very competitive product and it looks like my partner in Crime Dennis N6KI picked up a couple of K3S for the N6XT contest station..  

HOWEVER even Dennis now wants to test out the Flex SO2R and Maestro combination for CQWWDX..   Remember it's all about winning.. so the slightest edge will be the radio of choice....

if so, he may have to cede the 2015 Curmudgeon of the Year Award to some other deserving soul on this Community

FINALLY.. as confirmed above Baofeng is taking advantage of Moore's Law to beat the Japanese by using SDR's in their radio's that cost 1/10 the price of the Japanese radios..  You are starting to see the same thing in HF Radio's...SDR's are emerging with significant price performance advantages over Legacy Superhet with alleged SDR features...
Photo of SteveM

SteveM

  • 268 Posts
  • 44 Reply Likes
Maybe I missed it somewhere in this thread, Howard. But were the Indians (Anon) or the Russians (SunSDR) at Dayton? If so, any news or interest regarding where they are heading in the future?
(Edited)
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
I did not see SunSDR - I saw them last year at Friedrichshafen... Russian currency is in the toilet so maybe they could not afford to go to Dayton.

I saw ANAN... they were located in Radio Alley which gets more traffic than their old small booth and one man show of last year.

...Showing off their hardware.. Good implementation of 2nd Generation SDR with Open Source Software..  But the ANAN is still very much a do it yourself experimenters project and with all my travel, unfortunately I really don't have them time left to experiment with the ANAN in the next few months... so i did not spend much time there..
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Where I believe you and I disagree Howard is, despite the technology dejure, Elecraft, as far as I know is 100% in the Amateur Radio arena, unlike Kenwood and, presumably, Yaesu and Icom.

Wait....it is way too easy to misinterpret what I am about to say as denigration the 6000. I am not, I own one, writing software for it, and dbl'd down with the order for a Maestro.

If Elecraft sucked they'd be on their way out of business, which they aren't. What I do not know and question is, should one talk to the VP of Engineering at Elecraft, would he or she agree with your assessment. I liked the earlier post "Watch what they DO". Elecraft sells. If their marketing determined that was likely to soon change with FRS and Anan on the playing field, I am sure they would "adapt or perish". That was the slogan of a company I did weapons training with.

The reason I mention Elecraft is, I believe, their entire existence is 100% determined by Ham Radio, not like Anan who caters to the QEX crowd.  Based on Shereng, the K3 (with the Feb upgrade) is statistically in a dead heat with Flex. So, in a sense, technology doesn't matter. I believe your essential premise is, it absolutely matters. This is where I perceive we disagree.

Where I have been known to be critical of the tone on this BB, san the choice of OS for Flex radios, I have not, in the least, been critical of the 6000 series.  I think to compete, whether it is football, a promotion, having a credible competitive product, one must KNOW the competition. There is an awful lot of 'preaching to the choir' going on here. To dismiss a highly competitive product as "35 year old technology" I don't think presents a clear vision of the competitive landscape. I am not saying you are wrong, I am saying even if you aren't, it doesn't really matter.
(Edited)
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3800 Posts
  • 918 Reply Likes
Good points Walt, I agree with Howard as far as that Elecraft see's it to their advantage to sell their radio as an SDR. This must be in thinking SDR is going to attract more customers if it is. But if we look at the total world radio market we see that SDR only represents a very small group compared to non SDR radios.

It seems to me that the title SDR is used loosely, meaning anything with firmware or any software on board is an SDR radio. If it has DSP it must be.

But to your point Walt, either way, the Elecraft radio is very good. I think Elecraft is not a direct competition to Flex as it is not SDR, it seems to me other SDR radios are a better competition. But Because they are still radios, and the fact that people buy them, in that way they are. As good as SDR has become, it is clear many will not buy into SDR.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
That all presupposes they are lying. I am not a EE, but I have to believe if they say it's half sdr because there is a chip in it, I'd consider that false advertising. Again, what would their VP of engineering say on the subject. When I get home I'll call him and report back. Agn shereng thinks it is competitive, as I suspect Steve, Greg, and Gerald do.
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P, Elmer

  • 4203 Posts
  • 1338 Reply Likes
Howard, were there any new, earth shattering antennas introduced at Dayton? How about other rig-interfacing, or test equipment?
Photo of Bob  KN4HH

Bob KN4HH

  • 97 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Howard, thanks for the report.  I'm sorry I didn't get to shake your hand at the banquet.  Congratulations to you and Ken.  You both have done a wonderful job of answering my questions and educating me.  QSL on the Dayton venue comments.  If a tornado came through and only set down on Hara, no love would be lost.
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P, Elmer

  • 4203 Posts
  • 1338 Reply Likes
THanks, Bob.
I have been to Dayton about 15 times in the past 30 years.
When I began, Salem Mall was still a thriving mall and the parking lot was in great shape.  You could camp at the Tall Timbers KOA for a reasonable fee and wander around looking at all the crazy portable/RV antenna systems various hams dreamed up.  (One year my own van was popular as I used half the driven element of a TA-33JR beam as a vertical, attached to a stand-off on the side of my van with two thumb screw quick releases...30 second set-up from park to transmit, and it worked very well on 10/15/20)

I have seen the whole area deteriorate severely over the past 30 years, which I think is contributing to a slowly declining attendance and quality-of-experience factor.  (When my XYL and I started going, they still had a variety of interesting "Alternative activities" that non-ham XYL's could attend.  She loved them and always came along with me.)

I attended the FLEX Banquet for the first time last year and reserved a room at the Grand Hotel in order to make it easier to attend.  I was very disappointed in the quality of the room...dirty carpet, plaster coming off, noisy pipes, a great view of the air conditioning compressor and the rooftop in the court.  I have stayed at better places for half the price, and this is a former Double-tree, part of the Hilton chain.  I know why they are no longer affiliated.  To be sure, I am not a hotel snob.  In fact, I don't spend a lot of time at hotels.  We usually camp in our Class B Roadtrek RV when we are on vacation.  

Dayton has always been rain-soaked.  Even worse when it was in April.

The parking lot flea market spaces were always left a shambles by those who didn't want to take their junk back home and simply left it sitting for the trash man.

But there have always been a good selection of interesting Forum presentations...Most of them you actually could hear when the PA worked.

The restrooms have always been too crowded, and lacking in cleaning and maintenance.  What do you expect with the equivalent of 20000-35000 hockey fans trashing the place for three days?  But it has gotten progressively worse over the past 30 years. 

The DARC and Hamvention committee work very hard to produce the best even given the limited and declining facilities.

I would support moving it to another location...perhaps where the forums could be held in rooms with adequate sound and video systems, and where the paper-thin walls do not multiply our educational experience by allowing us to hear four presentations at once.  And perhaps where there is sufficient on-site parking that a shuttle bus isn't necessary, except as a courtesy to those who do not walk well.

I wonder if the Ohio State Fairgrounds, or the indiana State Fairgrounds would be a possibility?  Others have proposed other university options.  My concern, however is that the greater Midwest needs a major Hamfest.  There are a lot of us in "fly-over country" that would not be able to make it to Texas for Hamcom, Orlando for Ham-cation, California for the DX Convention, Vegas, or Huntsville, which I hear is really growing. If Dayton Hamvention dies, there will be a major gap in "hamfest coverage."

My $.02, which is about all it's worth.

Ken - NM9P
Photo of Dan -- KC4GO

Dan -- KC4GO

  • 340 Posts
  • 70 Reply Likes
@Ken
I also have a Roadtrek 210 P which has been to all 48 states. I've been looking for that award that's WFAS Worked From All States) :)  KC4GO@arrl.net works as a direct email if you want to chat RT mobile. I'm looking to taking my 6500 with me this year. 
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
Nothing really earth shattering.. even the ARRL Letter stated as much

As I said I bought the new portable Antenna Analyzer from SteppIR
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
@Walt and Bill

I am currently putting the finishing touches on a Paper I am presenting at the SDR Academy in Friedrichshafen this June. It is entitled "Four Generations of SDR and Products". I will post it here after it is published by DARC.

The purpose of the paper is to clear up the misconceptions and misrepresentations as to which radio architecture constitutes a SDR and to establish clear easy to understand standard definitions of the different architectures.

Bottom Line: a superhet with a DSP is definitely NOT even a Generation One SDR.

You must understand that I am not disrespecting Superhets with DSP as we still use K3's at the NX6T Contest Station. However the point I was making and which Walt seemed to misunderstand was that Superhets with DSP after 30+ years have reached the point of diminishing returns where even minor performance improvements cost a lot of money. Due to the fact that they use analog components they do not benefit from Moore's Law. On The Other Hand SDR are just at the beginning of Moore's law so signicant improvement headroom is available without significant cost
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
No Howard, I am actually really familiar with Moores Law, as well as Butter's, and Wirth's  et al. My point was...so what?

But I look forward to your presentation.
Photo of Jeff - G4IUA

Jeff - G4IUA

  • 124 Posts
  • 15 Reply Likes
I have not been fortunate enough in attending Dayton, although I would dearly like to. 

 I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Friedrichshafen in Germany next month (26-27-28 June).  The venue is absolutely superb; a collection of very modern buildings with a vast indoor area accommodating both the usual trade stands as well as a large flea market.  It’s hard for me to compare it with Dayton, but I suspect it is on a much smaller scale (17,100 visitors last year).  However the location in a small town on the shores of a beautiful lake bordering Switzerland and Austria is unbeatable.  Transport is excellent, both by public transport and by car.  Everything is spotless and – I assure you – the toilets work and the food is great!

Klaus (the German FlexRadio representative) speaks excellent English (as do most people there) and the FlexRadio stand always attracts a lot of attention.  Reps from FlexRadio US are often present, with Gerald making a welcome appearance some years. 

There is a lively lecture program, a number of which are in English, and run all 3 days of the show.  I look forward to meeting other FlexRadio operators and staff there next month.

 Jeff – G4IUA

 

Photo of Lee

Lee, Elmer

  • 680 Posts
  • 286 Reply Likes
Thanks to Howard and all for the comments.  Very interesting developments.  I've been fiddling with Flex as SO2R since the F5K days and it's exciting to see this finally coming to fruition as more than an experiment.  The ability to rewrite the software for increased efficiency in workflow is what I believe will put Flex over the top in contesting.  High jumping was all a forward roll over the bar till Fosbury developed the flop.  I think Flex is about to duplicate this phenomena.  Software is a sandbox where innovation can occur.  Very difficult to duplicate this kind of innovation in hardware.

73  W9OY   
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
Let me second Jeff's Recommendation of Friedrichshafen. Great Venue. Clean Working Toilets
Real conventions center seminar rooms. Been going for 5years now.

Real Food. Not the Dayton Dog Food. Great Beer Garden

This year they are holding a SDR Academy.

Klaus, Gerald and I will be speakers.

ANYWHERE BUT DAYTON.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Howard, you should come speak at Boxboro, seriously dude. Clean toilets, good food, hey, New England, you can't hardly beat that, except to go to Duetchland.

Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3800 Posts
  • 918 Reply Likes
And maybe a red carpet, right Walt?
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Red carpets have to been earned. I've seen some smoke, not a lick of flame yet. However Howard, I will buy the first round. And from a retired guy, heck, that is worth the flight all by itself.
(Edited)
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
Question.. From the Pictures, Boxborough looks pretty small
Just checked Boxborough dates.. Aug 21-23, 2015....

We are supposed to be in Paris on August 24th so likely a bit too tight timing for me to get back to San Diego, turn around to head back to France.

However.. if you make it to Friedrichshafen at the end of June,  I will buy you a Liter of Good Cold German Beer...

Or you could come to Prague, Pilsen (Best Beer) or Vienna (Best Whipped Cream) in Early July Or perhaps Belgium (Best Chocolate) in early October as I am giving several talks on SDR Architectures there
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
I was surprised, there was a pretty large contingent of foreign hams at Boxboro. Yeah, I would guess the venue is smaller, but there are plenty of HUGE convention centers in the area if DARA decided to move 'Dayton' to the greater Boston area.

Not to denigrate Ohio, I did my undergraduate work in Marietta, OH, Steve's description of Dayton, where I have never been, was completely plausible, old, tired, rust belt, failing infrastructure. Too bad Congress can't see it's way clear to free up money for infrastructure improvements. The NE doesn't have that issue, nowhere near like OH does.  With the collapse of Detroit, it took an awful lot of OH with it.
Photo of km9r.mike

km9r.mike

  • 425 Posts
  • 62 Reply Likes

I have found the german brewing purity laws have hindered their product. Hard to beat a Leffe or a Hoegaarden (hefeweizen) but then again I am not a big fan of beer.

(Edited)
Photo of SteveM

SteveM

  • 268 Posts
  • 44 Reply Likes

Mike,

I agree with you on Leffe (brown). It's a stout that will slowly develop a thick brown froth. One that needs babysitting after its opened. I first tried it a couple of years ago and is now one of my favorites.

I'm not a beer snob, though. My all time favorite is an American beer - New Belgium's Ranger. You should try it, you might change your mind about beer.

Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
Best Beer is in Pilsen in Czech Republic and Dublin  (going to both place this trip)

But my eldest son owns a winery and XYL can blind taste a wine to tell you which year and vineyard it came from ... so needless to say I am more partial to wines..
Photo of km9r.mike

km9r.mike

  • 425 Posts
  • 62 Reply Likes
Not a beer snob either just commenting on two eu beers that I found enjoyable. Coworkers who know beer far more than I have also sung the praises of American craft beers. Like Howard I have grown more partial to wine but not near as knowledgeable about it as his wife is. 
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
I will drink almost anything.. but the XYL.. is far too sophisticated a wine afficiando for her own good... or my pocket book...

BTW... really looking forward to drinking Draft Guinness in Ireland again
(Edited)
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1470 Posts
  • 739 Reply Likes

Howard - do you go to give the presentations or for the hooch?  Very interested in how you work it all into your schedule?

BTW for my vote I'll agree with the Pilsen for lager, but put me down for "Old Hooky" from the Hook Norton Brewery for an exceptional bitter.  Greatly prefer the "live" as served at the brewery.  For a dark the "Baaad Boy Dark Wheat" by Three Sheeps Brewery, Sheboygan Wisconsin gets my vote. 

Whatever the tipple, always love visiting the cellar/brewery/caves...

73

Steve

K9ZW

Photo of km9r.mike

km9r.mike

  • 425 Posts
  • 62 Reply Likes
I have tried Guinness in the states and in the temple bar district in Dublin and learned that I have no taste for it in either location. I would however enjoy a Bushmills at either but preferably stateside. Jamersons not so much but that is another whole can of worms especially there.
(Edited)
Photo of Richard McClelland, AA5S

Richard McClelland, AA5S

  • 296 Posts
  • 61 Reply Likes
Regarding the New Belgium's Ranger, their brewery is open daily in downtown Fort Collins, we could move the hamfest there.  I'm sure a good time would be had by all.
Photo of William Hein

William Hein

  • 95 Posts
  • 10 Reply Likes
I'll second the brewery option!
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
I try to stay sober at least until I have answered all the questions at my presentation.

Friedrichshafen has such a great variety of FREE alcohol that staying sober is very difficult..

At least I am not talking on Friday.

On Sunday after, I am driving with a bunch of my OL3A Contest Group friends to Pilsen for their beer festival...  (Yes Burt Contesters make friends too) followed with several presentations about SDR's at ham clubs in Czech Republic and Austria...
Photo of Joe, KQ1Q

Joe, KQ1Q

  • 79 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
KY6LA: "...Elecraft tried to misrepresent the K3S as an SDR but clearly it is a Legacy Superhetrodyne Radio with a DSP audio stage...."

It is  interesting that the definition of a software defined radio (or "software radio") has been debated since the invention of the concept: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software-defined_radio

However the general consensus is that SDR refers to a signal path where detection and demodulation happens in the digital domain. This could be at either RF or IF stages. My Denon consumer stereo receiver does EQ in the digital domain but nobody calls it a "software defined receiver". It has an analog signal chain then digitizes the signal at the AF level and does filtering, EQ, speaker time delay and 5.1 bass management in the digital domain. But the bulk of the signal path is analog.

The Elecraft KX3 is often spoken of as a "software defined radio" with knobs. I'd be interested if a detailed functional block diagram of that radio has ever been published which corroborates that description. I'm not knocking the KX3 -- it is a great radio. However I wonder about the exact technical basis for describing it as an SDR.
Photo of N7AIG

N7AIG

  • 147 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes

Thanks for the URL to the Wikipedia article. Interesting that the history actually appears to begin with the old Gold Room and E-Systems. I remember those days very well. I was a constant Midas user.

This tribalism demonstrated here with regard to SDR orthodoxy is also repeated endlessly in discussions of the "best programming language", "best music synthesizer", best... whatever.

Seems to be a human trait, but it really does grow tiresome. It would be nice to live in a world of Spocks sometimes, where we just observe and report, without value judgments. But that doesn't seem to be within the grasp of humans.

Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
The KX3 is most definitely a Direct Conversion SDR by my definition a First Generation SDR.

Here is a preview of one of the pages from my upcoming June 27th Friedrichshafen Presentation

"Four Generations of SDR" 

What Is A Software Defined Radio?


•Modulation and Demodulation modes in software, so they are changeable and new ones can be added.

•Signal Processing in Software, so it is changeable and expandable.

••Control Surface, whether a computer display or physical encoders, is Reconfigurable in software.

•Can Add New Features and Capabilities with new controls to operate them completely in software.

•Radio is Controlled by Software and is very likely networked. An application program interface (API) may be available.


By this definition a Superhet with DSP ( such as a K3S or an IC-7851) is NOT an SDR.
Photo of Joe, KQ1Q

Joe, KQ1Q

  • 79 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Re my own point about the KX3, this block diagram shows it is an SDR. As Howard says it down converts to an IF, then digitizes and does all demodulation and modulation in the digital domain: www.elecraft.com/manual/KX3SchematicDiagramDec2012.pdf

Not sure I see the point about a reconfigurable control surface being part of the SDR definition. The KX3 is obviously an SDR yet it mostly has physical knobs which in practice cannot be reconfigured since the labels are physically printed. Likewise the BaoFeng UV5R -- whether the encoders themselves can be reconfigured is immaterial since the labels are printed. Similarly many military SDRs have minimal ability to reprogram the user control interface, yet they are clearly SDRs with all the other attendant benefits:  http://1.my.cdn.eesb.net/photo/3869/1416456302_896082_z.jpg

There are "knob/button" SDRs which have numerous soft buttons which can be reconfigured like the ADAT: http://www.adat.ch/img/adt200a_front.jpg However I don't see how a reconfigurable control surface is a mandatory part of the SDR definition.
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
My definition is:
Control Surface, whether a computer display or physical encoders, is Reconfigurable in software.

The point being that the software can change the functions of the knobs.....
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3740 Posts
  • 1602 Reply Likes
BTW.. I am still working on the paper which i need to finish before Tomorrow Nite as I leave the USA on Sunday...
Photo of Joe, KQ1Q

Joe, KQ1Q

  • 79 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
My point is a software *controlled* radio -- where a microcontroller can reprogram the interface -- is separate and independent from a software defined radio which traditionally refers to detection, modulation and demodulation in the signal path.
Photo of Lee

Lee, Elmer

  • 680 Posts
  • 286 Reply Likes
In my understanding the K3S is simply the logical extension of the TT Omni 5 from 1980.  It is clearly hardware defined and it's nature is to take the RF and continuously whittle and hone that RF down to a few Khz or hz bandwidth.  This is both it's strength and short coming but no matter how you look at it the blocks of the radio which takes the RF to a few khz are hardware and set in stone,  You can hang a little dongle off the end (DSP) and a PIC but in its major design it's an Omni 5.  

The Omni 5 was designed to take over the high performance ham radio market.  In the 70's the ARRL published some technical techniques to test for and compare receiver performance and the TT engineers realized if they could design a radio that beat everybody else on these tests they could advertise the hell out of it and sell a lot of radios.  They primarily did this with the introduction of the "roofing filter".   The other thing that happened is a few technically astute hams at the local ham clubs mastered this technical mumbo jumbo and the race was on regarding who could beat the numbers, as if beating the numbers somehow meant you had a better radio.  Pretty soon EVERYBODY needed a roofing filter.  I call these crystal radios because they rely on crystal filters and all the distortion and expense that introduces to achieve the design goal, which is to beat the ARRL tests and gain bragging rights.  Even the KX3 which a SDR and basically has the topology of the SDR-1000 3 board stack has a stupid roofing filter, which severely limits its functionality.  

Gerald came out with a radio, the SDR-1000, that did the opposite of the Omni 5.  His radio takes a wide bandwidth of a couple hundred thousand HZ (192 khz) and digitizes it and puts the digital data in a database and then works mathematical magic on the data USING SOFTWARE.  The same 192khz of data is available on the antenna of the crystal radios, but all of the information in that 192khz is thrown away by the whittling and honing of the roofing filters etc.  Gerald realized "hey man I got all this data what can I do with it?"  The first thing he did was to demodulate and filter some of the data.  If you wanted to listen to 3900khz LSB, he plucked that data massaged it and turned it into audio for your ears.  This is dimension 1, something for the ears.

He said I got all this data what can I do with it, I don't want to just throw it away, so he  displayed it in graphical format aka panadapter.  This turned a 1 dimensional radio into a 2 dimensional radio.  You could now not only hear a narrow bandwidth, but see both the bandwidth you were listening too, and you could see + and - 100khz with all the stations contained in that expanded 200khz bandwidth.  Effectively the panadapter is a second receiver, a receiver for the eyes.  Next he added a third dimension.  He stored panadapter data over time and created a waterfall.  Now we could not only see bandwidth we could see history.  The waterfall shows us a third dimension, history as well as intensity over time.  Finally a forth dimension was added.  Decoders were created such as CW skimmer or the various digital interfaces.  This added the dimension of intelligence across a given bandwidth.  As opposed to a crystal radio which whittles and hones to a single signal, a SDR grabs the data and analyzes data, presenting to the operator information otherwise lost.  So while the legacy crystal radio crowd is left scratching over who has 1 dB better dynamic range, in a land where 1 dB better dynamic range MAKES NO DIFFERENCE, the SDR crowd is left to explore vistas and panoramas through the mathematical manipulation of data.

That is why the crystal radio crowd is doomed.  Owning a 100dB dynamic range radio when 85dB is adequate is a waste of time and money.  You don't have a better radio, all you have are more and more expensive bragging rights.  Who even says the "test" by which we measure radios is even current?  It was best thinking from 40 years ago for the modulation schemes and transistor components of that day.  Let's say ham radio moves to a digital based modulation scheme that works down to 2 dB above the noise.  Would a radio system that introduces all kinds of artifacts because of crystal filters even be relevant?  The only way the crystal radio crowd can get dimensions 2, 3, and 4 is to add a SDR to their system.  Larry Phipps N8LP was the first to realize this and he created the LP-PAN which is a sound card based (first generation in Howard's parlance) SDR that grabs the data and creates at least some of those other dimensions.  Even the vaunted KX3 is only 1 dimensional.  To get the other dimensions you have to add SDR to the "SDR".  The reason is a DSP sound card chip and a PIC computer which make up the business end of the KX3 doesn't have the horsepower to get the dimension 2, 3, and 4 jobs done.

I'm not knocking anybodies radio, just discussing how I think how a bright red line is drawn between 2 approaches HDR vs SDR and how it's disingenuous for a HDR to pretend it's a SDR because it's got a stupid DSP dongle hanging off its audio chip

73  W9OY
(Edited)
Photo of Duane  N9DG

Duane N9DG

  • 81 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
I would say the evolutionary time line is more like this:

From mid 1950's -ish through the early 1980's most everyone had settled on a superhet design with an HF 1st or only IF around 5-6 or 9 MHz.

Then Drake introduced the TR-7 with its low VHF 1st IF. It dramatically fixed the problem of 1st IF image rejection. And allowed for much easier AM BCB or below to 30 MHz coverage with no gaps. Having SW BCB coverage in radios was a big “have to have” feature in those days.

The JA brands wanted this wide non-amateur band RX coverage in their transceivers as a selling point as well, so they too jumped on the low VHF 1st IF bandwagon. By the mid 1980's they were all fully up conversion 1st IF designs. The last of the JA brands with HF IFs roughly coincided with the last of the tube finals, and also roughly with the end of analog VFOs in those brands. And also - the begining of a decade-ish of really bad phase noise performance.

What Ten Tec did, or more accurately DIDN'T do was jump on the low VHF up-conversion design band wagon. At least not for the models they were targeting for top end HF performance, particularly closed-spaced IMD performance. They stayed with the 9 MHz first IF and implemented a 9 – 6 – 9 MHz IF scheme (Corsairs through Omni VI) to get passband tuning functionality.
 
And Ten Tec also DIDN'T jump on the fully synthesized LO bandwagon either for phase noise reasons. The Omni V and VI still used crystals for the band oscillators that was then mixed with a 5-5.5 MHz synthesized VFO that was designed for best possible phase noise performance. The fully synthesized LOs on the JA brands were really pretty lousy phase noise wise until the mid to late 1990's.

Then the Orion still stayed with a 9 MHz 1st IF, and mixed from there to get the 12-14 kHz IF range that allowed audio targeted A to D's to function at an IF frequency radio use. The LO in the Orions was fully synthesized, but by that point getting fairly decent phase noise performance wasn't terribly difficult anymore. Along about this time the term “roofing filter” became a marketing buzzword even though the actual architecture itself isn't that fundamentally different than what was commonly used from the 1950's onward.

What Elecraft did was recognize that Tec Tec was basically right for achieving the best performance for a  narrow (or as I call it “sliver-band”) architecture and then set out to refine the idea further. The K2 and then K3 essentially followed that plan.

Interestingly when Y and K realized that Elecraft and to a lesser degree Ten Tec was eating their lunch for HF contester use, and top notch receiver performance they reverted back to an HF 1st IF. But what they didn't realize was that the goal posts had moved in those intervening 30 years. Great sliver-band alone performance wasn't enough anymore. The PC-based SDRs had shown that it was possible to get very good performance with no traditional “narrow” IF at all. And to do equally so over as many receivers as you could spawn in the software. The sliver-band hardware designs are all fundamentally locked into forever being “narrow” frequency information recovered from the RF spectrum devices. And each additional receiver that you may want is only achievable by adding more duplicate sliver-band hardware.

And those sliver-band designs have yet to implement a truly good spectrum display or waterfall, they are all rather poor frankly. The wide-band SDR designs with their great spectrum displays and waterfalls that they have sort of came along as part of the package as a great side benefit of their wide-band architectures. The external add-on displays for those superhet designs take advantage of this as well.

FWIW I always see these raging debates about why “this radio”, or “that radio”, is or isn't a “true SDR”, kinda silly really. Because virtually all amateur transceivers being built today DO fit the strictest definition of “SDR”..... So what.

A more important and better thing to focus on, illuminate, and educate others about is whether one design is a “sliver-band” design or is a “wide-band” design. Basically I'd draw the line between “narrow” and “wide” at about 15 kHz. That 15 kHz or less of sampled bandwidth dividing line criteria basically encompasses all of the traditional superhet designs whether they are up conversion or not, DSP IF or not, or highly software configurable or not. Basically the same radios that are always being declared “not SDRs” by many of those who do use wide-band designs, and are declared “are SDRs” by those who don't.

And the SDRs that historically used sound cards, or A to Ds used in sound cards, and now increasingly the DDC designs are ALL wider than 15 kHz ish. Therefore are all “wide-band” designs. And perhaps an even more key design feature differentiation of “wide-band” SDRs from “sliver-band” designs is that they can have multitude of receivers in that sampled bandwidth. The sliver-band designs are all one RX (recovered audio) per sampled spectrum segment only designs.

Wide-band SDRs on the other hand  can accommodate “N“ receivers within their sampled RF spectrum, whether that sampled RF spectrum is only 48 Khz wide or is well over 100 MHz wide. They are all still fundamentally the same concept. Those design differences between the different wide-band SDRs are more akin to segregating superhet designs from each other based on whether they are either up conversion or down conversion designs, single or multiple conversions etc.. They are all just design, performance, and cost consideration trade-offs, nothing more, nothing less.

So that is why I also find the whole “1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. generation” declarations of different SDR designs kinda silly too. They are certainly different design approaches, but hardly qualify as "generations". The wide-band SDRs all share a lot in common with each other, whether they use I/Q mixer designs or are DDCs.
(Edited)
Photo of Lee

Lee, Elmer

  • 680 Posts
  • 286 Reply Likes
If you limit your vision of ham radio to a box on a table with a mic a key and a speaker there probably isn't much difference between a legacy radio with a dongle and something more software intensive.  If on the other hand you wish to bend shape and mold your ham radio experience and carry into the future having the radio in software is a tremendous advantage.  Having the software defined radio as the control nexus of an entire radio station is a tremendous advantage.  Having the radio as a server is a tremendous advantage.  Having the radio talking to the world over ethernet instead of 38k baud serial cables is a tremendous advantage.  Being able to rout data signals in software is a tremendous advantage.  Being able to control your radio remotely is a tremendous advantage.  All of this is the reason things like Maestro and SO2R will be achieved.  Better performance lower cost, more hams able to write software to effect change, more hams learning more about ham radio, and the leading edge of radio

Flex has or will have soon 2 6700R receivers flying in the ISS in a experimental program called Global AIS which is a world wide ship tracking and data acquisition project.  The 6700R works because it's I/O is Ethernet based and the "Waveforms" aspect of the software allows for the custom packet acquisition modem which addresses the Doppler issues of acquiring data while traveling at 7km/s to be placed in the radio.   The modem is incorporated in the 6700R like we  incorporate FreeDV.   Also implemented are what ever computer control is needed. (recall LEO's from the Oscar days)  I just don't see any K3's flying on the ISS for this kind of project anytime soon.  You aren't doing this with a dongle and a PIC.  This to me is what ham radio is about not just slavishly trying to acquire yet another dB of dynamic range. 
Photo of Duane  N9DG

Duane N9DG

  • 81 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
All entirely true.

But the reality is that the vast majority of the 6K hardware users will use them as some form of a “box on a table with a key, mic, and speaker”. And the insistence by so many that there be knobs and buttons control for them is just an extension of that reality.

If you sit back and ponder the 6K hardware, you come to the realization that the hardware itself is capable of capturing, processing, and outputting more radio spectrum "information content” than the human mind is capable of consuming. I don't think any sliver-band radio design, be it SDR or not, can viewed as having that level of capability. The sliver-band designs are all constrained by their RF hardware architecture choices to only digitally process a 15 kHz or less chunk of radio spectrum. Basically they are forever locked down by that narrow 1st IF bandwidth.

So the limitations imposed by their traditional UI approaches are never really noticed. Their UIs match their RF signal path limitations quite well. With wide-band sampling SDR designs that is not true. The UI, and the humans ability to consume its output become the limiting factors. So the 6K, and wide-band SDRs in general, are actually being constrained by the limits of UI implementation, and of a human's ability to interact with it. And the Maestro is in reality is just a UI implementation with its own set of constraints, it will certainly not be able to expose all of the power that is inside the 6K box itself..
(Edited)
Photo of Burt Fisher

Burt Fisher

  • 1233 Posts
  • 478 Reply Likes
"the 6K hardware, you come to the realization that the hardware itself is capable of capturing, processing, and outputting more radio spectrum "information content” than the human mind is capable of consuming",

you are right so why does anyone need a 6000 series with more than 2 slices?
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Duane, whether it (Maestro) does is one thing. Whether it can is something entirely different. Watch this space.
Photo of k3Tim

k3Tim

  • 903 Posts
  • 186 Reply Likes
"why does anyone need a 6000 series with more than 2 slices?"

Hi Burt:
I can think of many:

A slice for CW skimmer on 40 meters looking for gray line DX
A slice to monitor ship to shore of my container ship in the South China Sea (listening to Captain Karl is always 'interesting')
A slice for WeFax out of Japan for Wx reports in the same area as the container ship.
A slice to monitor HF air traffic control out of Halifax as my corporate jet is enroute to drop Howard in Europe.
A slice to have some nice Cuban music in the background (Radio Havana Cuba)
A slice to record a local MW broadcast station

How's that for an active imagination!
Photo of Burt Fisher

Burt Fisher

  • 1233 Posts
  • 478 Reply Likes
Ok, you could use it but what do you think about 90% of those who bought more than 2 slices?
Photo of Bill W2PKY

Bill W2PKY

  • 515 Posts
  • 86 Reply Likes
I could allocate 6 slices on 6 meters alone. My addiction with JT-65 on HF consumes at lease 3 slices or more watching for new DXCC entities. Started with a 6300, soon after traded for 6500 and now looking for a good deal on a 6700 for diversity listening this fall. 
Photo of Duane  N9DG

Duane N9DG

  • 81 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
“Duane, whether it (Maestro) does is one thing. Whether it can is something entirely different. Watch this space.”

Will the Maestro be able to do things beyond its more traditional knobs and buttons metaphor that it is? Undoubtedly yes. But when it is used by itself, it is still ultimately constrained by the smallish screen, and knob and button count. But its use need not be mutually exclusive of also using other UI presentation elements in parallel with, and external to it. That's the power of the 6K's architecture, you can do both.


“Ok, you could use it but what do you think about 90% of those who bought more than 2 slices?”

Whether they can or want to make use of those additional slices or not is largely irrelevant considering that they bought what they needed or wanted at a cost competitive price point relative to the other options out there that are much more limited. Think of those users as having bought a generic family car priced super hot sports car to only drive to church on Sundays with.

(Edited)
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
@Duane I was making a shameless (yet veiled) plug for what you'll see in a couple of months.
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P, Elmer

  • 4203 Posts
  • 1338 Reply Likes
I often keep a slice or two listening for band openings on six meters. Then I can have a slice listening for my buddies on our 80/40 rag chew frequencies, and use my fourth to look for other activity, either manually or via CW Skimmer. Or I can use two slices to work a DX op running split, while monitoring 6 meters on another and scanning around manually or with skimmer, or listening on WSJT-x.

And I can use one pan all by itself with no slice at all, just to visually watch the activity change with changes in the MUF. Why? Because I can! And it interests me.

There are lots of possibilities for more than two slices. It depends upon operating style and creativity.
Photo of Lee

Lee, Elmer

  • 680 Posts
  • 286 Reply Likes
I think the comment about using only 2 slices is easily refuted.  In a pileup I routinely use 3 slices one for RX one for TX these in the same PAN.  The reason is SDR-Bridge is set up to be able to point click either on the pan or in skimmer and change TX freq.  I also have typically 2 skimmer waterfalls open because each skimmer fall analyzes the signals it receives slightly differently.  If I copy a call sign from the DX I can quickly scan the list of callsigns in both skimmer windows and instantly click to where the DX is listening or easily discern the pattern of his pileup style, so I have   It makes working DX trivial because of all the dimensions available for instant analysis. The point is my brain can easily analyze 5 PANs worth of data.  No way in hell you are doing this with a K3 and a dongle.  I also keep a PAN open (the 5th PAN) with no VFO which gives me a concise panorama of the entire pileup.  Data is a matter of presentation and analysis  I don't analyze the massive raw data delivered to the ADC, I analyze patterns and relevant data.  The 6xxx is a tool that allows this.  No legacy radio allows this.  

I can have yet another PAN open and watch a pileup grow on a different station.  I routinely watch European pileups grow on stations in the Indian Ocean as the terminator proceeds across Europe especially on 40 and 80M.  I know I am still several hours away from being in the fray but watching and listening to the DX working EU for a bit gives me a good idea of propagation and even the DX's pileup management style, well before my turn at propagation arises.  You also ain't doing this with a legacy radio and a dongle.  Recently BIN was added and W2RF started playing around with 3 dimensional spatial audio representation.  Imagine enhancing 3 dimensional audio in SO2R.  You might be able to train yourself such that you bring the audio focus from front to back as you switch between one band and another instead of right and left.  This may make you more efficient.  The result of this speculation is unknown but you sure as hell aren't going to get the chance to find out (aka push the contest envelop) with a legacy radio and a dongle.  With 2 slices you haven't even touched brain data overload.  With 5 PAN/slices you haven't touched it.  You simply have to make the PAN/slice report data to you in a way that answers a specific question like "what's the VR2XXX pileup doing" or "Is 6M open"  These questions don't require constant monitoring like the RX slice in a DX pileup, but they do require ready data for analysis once the question is asked.  

These questions can also be paired with software to make the radio more productive.  My antennas and amp band follow my radio  It means if I click 20M my radio/amp/antenna is ready to transmit on 20.  If I click 40M the whole shebang is ready on 40M.  I can memorize the settings of a pileup on 40 and a pileup on 20 and instantly switch back and forth depending on conditions, rarity etc (does this sound reminiscent of S02R?)  I have done this with 3 pileups and have worked 3 new ones in 10 minutes on 2 different bands by leveraging the software.  You ain't doing that with a legacy radio and a dongle I don't care if it does have MAN'S BEST DYNAMIC RANGE!!!!

73  W9OY 
Photo of Mike - N8MSA

Mike - N8MSA

  • 28 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
I now have two 6700s; one is used for 8-band JT-mode spotting and one for general-purpose use. I will use 8 contiguous slices for pile-ups, centering each a few KHz away and varying the audio volume as needed. You have no idea how well this lets your hear pile-up calls until you have tried it.

I can think of other use-cases as well, but these are my primary uses for 8 slices.

73 de Mike - N8MSA
Photo of Mark Griffin

Mark Griffin

  • 84 Posts
  • 6 Reply Likes
I never thought that this conversation would go on for as long as it has. Yes, I own a K3 and have owned one for 5 years. I use it for day to day as well as contesting. I find it very easy to use once you get familiar with what button controls which function.

Would I call a K3 a SDR, not exactly. The K3 does not need software to run. The Flexradio does, because SDR is Software Dependent Radio. So, if you don't have the software, your Flexradio will not operate. I personally do not own a Flex as of yet. I am looking to purchase one this year to see what the merits of SDR is. 

With the K3, the software enhancements are what one would call firmware. I'm not a programmer but I would guess the firmware enhancements make the hardware work better. And the software enhancements with SmartSDR allow the Flexradio to do certain things also.

I don't think that Elecraft is feeling threatened by Flexradio. Each product has their own advantages and disadvantages. And as a consumer whether you choose to buy a K3 or a Flexradio depends on what you want to achieve with that particular radio.

One thing I would love to see is some third party competition with writing a software program that could compete with SmartSDR. I know, Flexradio probably has patents galore to stop that, but as of late there seems to be issues with the latest version.

I'm, sure there may be some who disagree with my analysis and some who agree.with what I have said. Either way, both radio's are frontrunners in their own rights. I guess I just don't get wrapped up in discussing which radio is better. Mark Griffin, KB3Z
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9186 Posts
  • 3542 Reply Likes
I am closing this topic since the responses are getting off base from the initial praise topic.

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.