Elad FDM-SW2 Software

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I find it amazing how many features the Elad FDM-SW2 software has already and is just a few years old, although the hardware is not as good as a flex the software shows just how far SmartSDR has to go as far as customization and User interface features.

Again this is NOT to say a FDM-Duo is a better radio it is to show that SmartSDR has a long way to go in terms of features and user customization.

In May 2017 SmartSDR and the 6000 series will be over 5 years old and is still only at Ver 1.10 and will jump to Ver 2 but will it be even close in terms this level of features & customization?

Yes I know WAN is coming in Ver 2 and that's great but will that be it, I guess will just have to see...


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KC2QMA_John

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Posted 3 years ago

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Things I see that I like:
Cluster in the panadapter
dBm displayed along with S units
All rx audio in one panel instead of clicking on slice flags
Audio spectrum is nice eye candy and may be somewhat usefulFront panel display and buttons seem useful at a glance

Anything else you see that you like? 
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Mike va3mw

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What hardware does this run on?  His website doesn't easily mention what it is.  Or, at least I missed it.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Elad FDM duo which is a direct sampling DDC/DUC SDR. 

Full spec:
http://ecom.eladit.com/FDM-DUO/en

It's QRP, not 100w, but that won't matter soon. 
(Edited)
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Jim Gilliam

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I can't see how Version 2 can be any better than using a VPN with the VPN servers built into the router as with the Asus line. I, honestly, can't tell the difference in performance using VPN a hundred miles away or locally on a LAN. I, like yourself, would like to see more features.


Jim, k6QE

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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The difference would be that people could set it up more easily than a VPN, and it would allow using Maestro on the road without an external VPN like a Raspberry Pi or a laptop. There would also be compression to reduce bandwidth usage, even on VPN and I believe the Flex folks have mentioned that you'd be able to share radios with friends eventually. But WAN is just one of many new features being rolled out anyway, I think it's just the opening shot, and not the end of it. 

There are some situations where VPN won't work, such as ISPs with carrier grade NAT. Hopefully the WAN feature will. 
(Edited)
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Norm - W7CK

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I agree with Jim.  I took the effort to install VPN and now that function is rock solid.  I no longer really need it built into the radio/software.   What I really want are standard features that I've been doing without for several years now.  Shoot, at this rate, by the it includes the features of my other rigs, the hardware will be outdated.

I worked in the computer and software development field most of my life and I understand how difficult and time consuming it can be at times.   With that said, the development of SmartSDR seems to be much slower than what I expected.
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Jim Gilliam

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I agree in part. Having the server built into the router takes me about 5 minutes to set up the VPN. However, experience has enhanced that time. I much prefer using the iPad or iPhone than the Maestro. That is where I agree, it is necessary to use an external computer acting as the VPN server to utilize L2TP on the IOS. I would be nice not to need an external server with the Apple toys. I am not sure IOS will ever gravitate to Layer 2 OpenVPN.
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Mark Erbaugh

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The software works with the Elad FDM-Duo
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Scott N8UMW

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I have been wondering about this as well. I think the flex is great hardware, but we're not seeing any major profession of the software.
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KC2QMA_John

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Hi Ria, I like all of the things you mentioned.

This is a few of the things I like...

1. User definable Band preset BUTTONS.

2. User definable Color coded slice receivers.

3. User definable Movable and dock-able windows.

4. User definable AGC(T) parameters.

5. User definable Receive filter presets.

6. Shows frequency at courser position.

7. Data values shown next to all sliders and buttons all of the time, Not just when you hover the mouse courser.

8. Extensive recording & playback features such as Audio with ability to save files, I&Q audio and much more.

9.info display showing Spectrum & waterfall displays. (Span width, FFT Resolution, Scale, Averaging level.

10. Many values shown in dBm scale.

11. Full use of right mouse button. (Right Click Windows)

12. Handy built-in log book.

13. Ability to lock slice’s to center of screen so you can scroll pan adapter.

14. Squelch for each receiver slice for all modes.

15. Ability to tune with Keyboard.

16. Lots of use of Shift, Ctrl, & Alt buttons. (Eg. Shift+Drag)

17. Measurement markers, Delta Markers.

18. Audio spectrum & FFT windows.

19. FREE Wireless Android app.

20. Ability to customize UI colors.

I could go on and on but you can clearly see from this one video how far behind SmartSDR is it terms features. And in this video David only shows a fraction of what the software is capable.

Now one last thing I know there will be some that say that the screen is to busy and for some that may be true BUT SmartSDR could have a menu option for “Standard Display” for a simplified UI like it is now Or an “Advanced Display” for those more advanced users that like to see more status info at a glance. This way all users would be happy.

Again this is NOT to say that the FDM-Duo is a better radio it’s to show how far SmartSDR needs to go in terms of features.

I hope Version 2.0 is not just about WAN I hope we see a lot more features such as these Especially for the $200 they expect us to fork over for V.2.

Again keep in mind the 6000 series is over 5 years old and the software is only at 1.10 and to jump to 2.0 soon as a $200 paid version? At the current software development pace by the time we see features like this the radio will be Old and obsolete.

Either FRS makes software development a real priority and hires a bunch more software developers or the competition will blow them by quickly. You can only be a leader if you stay ahead of the competition. The 6000 series is awesome and has great potential but it’s the Software that’s holding it back.

(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I like some of those features, but don't really care for some of them. The logbook, for example, would not be useful on a PC. On mobile it is integrated into SSDR for iOS, and that's fine. I would definitely like the ability to record to a file from within the client (it's possible using external software). FFT and audio spectrum display

The Android app being free, that one would be more of a business decision. Elad also doesn't have a full radio Android app, it's just a display. I suspect that since an Android app would require development resources that it would probably not be free. Like SSDR for iOS it could be contracted out. 

What I'd like to see:

Effective NB and NR
Full antenna switch integration and USB cable integration with antenna ports
Some basic remote functionality - rotor interface, amp control, steppir (we're getting that with PG XL)Multiuser connection (rumored)
"Maestro mini" control panel to be used with SSDR on a PC

I'm not so sure I agree with the assessment on the pace of development, but I haven't been in the Flex world that long, so I can't really give an accurate assessment on that. 

I really doubt that 2.0 will be just about WAN.

WAN is a pretty big deal for some who aren't power users. I have had numerous private requests to help with VPN setup for those who wanted remote today. I wrote a script, I also wrote some code for a turnkey LAN to LAN VPN, complete with wifi connection, reset button (to clear saved wifi) and a status LED. This is for Maestro use. The new revision of the script also generates profiles for easy configuration of iOS devices, so one setup rules them all. 

Still, people ask for help to the point where they tell me they will ship the boxes to me from Amazon and I set it up. I've done quite a bit of them. You would not believe the demand for this. You don't see it here because then people would have to wade through and figure it out themselves. 

What I've noticed is that while I take my computer knowledge for granted, a lot of people think what I'm doing for them is magic. And this is what the WAN feature will bring to the table. It will bring a remote solution that isn't overwhelmingly difficult to setup, and require mucking with port forwarding or similar, or VPN setup. No figuring it out yourself or asking someone to do it for you. You take your radio, plug it in, go through the set up procedure and then you are remote from anywhere.

But anyway, I agree with you that WAN should not be the only feature, but for sure it is going to be a marquee feature. 
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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Yes android app is just a basic remote app to control radio witch might be fine for some users just Not contesters :) But it is FREE.

Agreed better DSP implementation of NB & NR.

“I'm not so sure I agree with the assessment on the pace of development, but I haven't been in the Flex world that long, so I can't really give an accurate assessment on that.  “

The 6000 series is over 5 years old and still in Ver 1., and severely lacking in many of these convenience features.
(Edited)
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Jim Gilliam

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There is the side of competition. The 7300 has really been a big seller. I am not sure why, but SDR seems to be a buzz word floating around and the 7300 really isn't what we Flexers consider an SDR radio. The 7610 is on the horizon and I notice that the back chassis has an Ethernet plug for LAN. I am sure it eventually will be WAN remote-able like the 7800 and 7850 but missing many many feature that makes the Flex radio so enticing. It is my sincere hope that competition will give more impetus to software enhancements.
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KC2QMA_John

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Yes Jim,

Not all SDR are equal and the new Icoms’s are nice but they are not to the level of a Flex’s performance, However it’s the “S” in SDR that is what is going to set each of these radios apart. Again the 6000 series is an awesome & powerful platform but it’s just the software that's holding this amazing rig back!
(Edited)
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Scott N8UMW

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I totally agree on the noise blanker. I don't know how well it works inn the 6500 or 6700 radios. It sucks on the 6300.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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It doesn't make much of any difference on my 6700 except for things like electric fences. But even the Icom Pro3 and IC7000 has a better NB. 
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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I have had decent result with NB and WNB on my 6500 with some noises when you get the levels right but certainly not best in class.
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Rick

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As a 6300 user who has grown somewhat tired of he wait for software improvements and disenchanted wih SmartCAT and the problems it can cause I recently bought an icom 7300 and honestly love it. Not fuss, no mess no computer conflicts it just works and very well I might add. Trying now to decide whether or not to hold on to the 6300. I guess I've grown tired of trying to stay on the bleeding edge :) too old I guess
Rick, W2JAZ
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KC2QMA_John

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Yeah the whole industry has been bling sided by Icom's 7300 sales success. Many believe that the 7300 may go down as one of the best selling transceivers in amateur radios history! That's is not to say it’s better performing radio than a flex radio but it meets the needs and price point of the mass majority of the ham radio market.

I’m sure since Icom has hit the ground running with their entry in to the “SDR” market they wont sit back and just let the competition pass them by. I’ll bet they are in full on R&D mode to keep this new lead in the market.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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A radio with SDR technology at that price point is a winner for sure. Even if performance is not as good as the higher end Flexes. 
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KC2QMA_John

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Yeah IC-7300 only $1300 retail! And I bet even less during Hamvention week!
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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The horse is dead, beating can stop.

Side by side IC-7300, IC-7800 and Flex-6300.... guess what? All make great QSOs and are fun!

The IC-7300 is a blast for the price point, and the compromises to make it affordable are less than what has had to be trimmed from other similarly priced rigs.

The IC-7800 pounds out QSOs like nobodies business and has enough knobs to please anyone. Big pretty display and hears very well.

The Flex-6300 has exceptional ears, plays well with other station automation and computers. Fronted by a Maestro it is a neat blend of several styles of operations and I do like taking the Maestro outside to enjoy the outdoors.

As for software, IC-7300 is let down with basically no offering, the IC-7800 has rudimentary add on offerings, and we know that SmartSDR even limited by the Flex-6300 hardware rocks in comparison with the present v 1.10.

Upgrades? Not so much for the Icoms it seems, and we know a new major release of SmartSDR is coming soon. So two are pretty static and the FRS is on an evolutionary track.

Any yet they all make QSOs and in the case of the IC-7300 and Flex-6300 there have been times when popularity led to long lead times for buyers.

The Elad is also way cool and has its pros/cons, but I cannot speak to it from a hands on point.

Anticipating myself much change in SmartSDR with v2.0 and beyond. And far from unhappy or looking for a new "next best thing" with v1.10.

Have fun and let's see what rolls out for Hamvention in three weeks!

73

Steve
K9ZW
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KC2QMA_John

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"Have fun and let's see what rolls out for Hamvention in three weeks!"


I hope they knock our socks off with a major update with lot's of new and exciting features such as some of the one see in these videos.

But to be honest after 5 years and were still only at V1.10 OK V2.0 I’m not holding my breath. I hope I am totally wrong and if so I will eat my words!
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I'll be at Dayton and the Thursday event. I might even hang around the flex booth for a bit. See you guys there.
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Ken - NM9P

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1) To be sure, the IC-7300 is going to go down as the HW-101 or TS-520 of this era.  It is a good performing, relatively inexpensive rig, with a fairly intuitive control menu.  But it is what it is ...  a good performing mid-level quality rig which is adequate, or even more than adequate, for the average ham.  I have a good friend who loves his.  

But it will not run with the "big dogs" in highly competitive situations - multi-multi contests, high RF level zones, extremely demanding DXin operations, etc.  And it shouldn't be expected to, any more than I would have expected my IC-745 or a TS-430 to compete with a TS-950SDX back in the late 80's/early 90's.

2) The release of V.2.0 is going to be a major milestone for Flex.  But it will not be the be-all and end-all.  Nor should it be expected to be.  It will be the initial release of a new edition of software which will surely be continually improved, as v.1.x.x. has been.  Never judge the total value or potential of a new version release by the initial release.  V.2.0 is the announcement of the direction and goal, not the end of the journey.  Remember- - V.1.10 is a FAR cry different from V.1.0 .  I was part of the "early release" program (pre-v.1.0) beginning in August 2013, and have watched this project grow and develop for almost four years.  My 4 year-old 6500 is still improving and adding new features. And there is no end in sight.  My TS-850 was pretty much the same for 20 years, except for modifications that I did myself (It's noise blanker was useless until I clipped two diodes in the NB circuit.) 

Those who complain of a lack of progress in v.1.x seem to have missed a great many feature additions and performance enhancements that have been released over the past four years.  Or they are only judging "progress" by their narrowly defined set of criteria, centered only upon their pet-peeves or favorite features.  Are there some features that still need to be fixed or enhanced?  Sure!  But there have also been some things released that no one else is doing.  And there will be more to come in the V.2.x.x. series.

3) I finally have my schedule cleared to attend Thursday's Flex Banquet and Friday/Saturday of the Dayton (Xenia) Hamvention.  Hope to see many of you there!

Ken - NM9P
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Varistor

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Ken,

Do you own a 7300? Do you run a high power M/S station? Do you use a tribander that is shared between two radios? I didn't think so. Please clearly label your speculations as such.

I do. Side by side with a K3, the 7300 does every bit as well as the K3. No overload even though both radios share the same tribander and run 1500W.

Look up the scores of VC3S and VC3A from CQ WW RTTY and CQ WPX RTTY. Compare VC3S (tribander) to K1SFA (a forest of towers).
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km9r.mike

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Yes good score but how does using a single transmitter (as per your 3830 write up ) and being limited to ten band changes defend your argument for the ability of your little gem to withstand a high rf m2 environment ? As you know using a single transmitter again as per your 3830 write up and a tribander and an amp is just that a single radio and a tribander and an amp. If I am not mistaken , Ken does have an amp and enough antennas for separate  bands so he is indeed familiar with being able to operate high power on an adjacent band while utilizing full duplex and a single radio. Congrats with your record score for Canada.
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Ken - NM9P

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Actually, no Mike, I don't run a big amp. But I do have several antennas scattered about the yard. I have run full duplex on 160 splits, and have dabbled with full duplex low power on other separate bands with two antennas.

My "speculations" are based upon technical reviews and reports from several people I have talked with who have tested the 7300 in their own stations, some of them are competitive contesters. Another is a friend in a neighboring town who has a 7300 as his main rig because that is all he could afford to replace a Yaesu 1200DX that took a lightning-induced permanent vacation. He loves the rig but reports that a strong local ham running an amp will occasionally cause overloading problems.

I had the same problem with two local high power ops less than a mile away who wiped out my old TS-850 when I was in the same sub band.

With my 6500, I can get within less than 10 KHz with no problem at all. And what problem there is closer in are due to phase noise on THEIR transmitters. (One of which BTW is my old 850!)

I am NOT dissing the 7300.
It is a great value as a ham rig. I would even say the best in its price class. If I had to choose a new rig for under $1400 I would probably get one. (Or look for a great deal on a 6300!)

It's main limitation is the 14 bit A/D in the front end as compared to the 16 bit A/D used by Flex, and soon some other manufacturers even Icon.

It is certainly in the "Good enough" category for most hams. But the physics of it will limit it in som extreme situations.

But this thread isn't about Flex vs Icom hardware. It is about whether or not Flex is falling behind in the software and feature wars.

I see this as having multiple categories.

1) "Performance" features - I.e. How well does the rig receive, transmit, filter, equalize, and do typical DSP noise reduction, notching, blanking, etc.? How well does it interface with logging/contesting programs and third party digital communications programs? How well does it display crucial operating information to the user? How good is the transmit and receive audio? How good is the CW note and QSK turnaround? Is the receiver limited by strong signals or impaired by its own phase noise? Is the transmitter clean or does it cause problems to close by stations because of transmitted distortion or phase noise? Is the rig's antenna switching compatible with the user's requirements for DXing, contesting, using transverters, or multiple antennas?

2) "Ease of use" features: these are things such as the quality of the GUI. How easy and intuitive is it to adjust various controls? How easy it it to display additional information that concerns ME that others may not need on the main panel? How cluttered is the user interface? Is the GUI readable? Can it be customized? How flexible is it? Can multiple users easily set the rig up to their own preferences and needs? How easy is it to use the rig without additional interface devices? What additional interface devices are available either from the company or from third parties? How do they improve operations? How easy is the rig to setup audio profiles, user preferences, transverters, antenna and amplifiers, etc.? Definable band, filter, and other function buttons?

3). "Eye Candy." - This is highly subjective, because everyone will have a different opinion about this.
This includes custom display color choices, metering options, logging, DX spots on the display, other display modifications.

As I said. This is a matter of opinion. Some would lobby to move certain display features fro the "Eye Candy" category to the "Ease of use" category.

My experience is that FRS has focused first upon the first category, and tackled a lot in category Two. They have a few things to polish in the DSP area, then they can add some more Ease of Use features. We may or may not ever agree on the Eye Candy. Or even whether something is eye candy or a necessary Ease of Use feature.

I doubt that SSDR will ever be as customizable as PSDR because greater flexibility leads to more load on customer service.

All in all, I think they have done a great job. They are offering several features that no one else is offering. V.2.0 promises to add some more. And v.2.x will continue to grow, as has V.1.x.x.
(Edited)
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W4KCN

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Coolaid.  You've had too much.
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Ken - NM9P

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Actually, I prefer fruit juice.
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km9r.mike

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Thought you had an amp Ken. Sorry about that.
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KC2QMA_John

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Here just look at what Darrin KE9NS, ONE MAN has done with PowerSDR in his most recent update.
Now if one man can do all of this how can't a fairly modest sized company like FRS not do a little better with SmartSDR has far a features? Oh and BTW at this point he's only asking for Donations.
http://ke9ns.com/flexpage.html

(Edited)
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K4MT

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I agree. He has done wonders with that software. I had a 6000 series and sold it and went back to a 5000A. Did not like the dumbed down smartSDR with little ability to tweak settings.   I am old but not ready to become an appliance operator yet.
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KC2QMA_John

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" I am old but not ready to become an appliance operator yet."

I too have debated selling my 6500 and going to the 5000A but since I’m am late to the Flex party I figure I would wait a but longer and see If FRS gets going on SmartSDR development and if in due time there is no real progress “I’m Out”. Maybe I’ll try an ANAN or other radio or just wait and see what the competition does.

I feel bad for the folks who got their 6000 series radio when they first came out 5 years ago and are still waiting for real progress with SmartSDR, especially if they previously owned a 5000 and had all of those features taken away. I have only been waiting a few years so I will wait a bit more and see what happens.

I think Darrin KE9NS might just might be a software genius considering how much he has done in such a short time.
(Edited)
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Michael Aust

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Will this version of PowerSDR by ke9ns v2.8.0.27 work with an LP-Pan2 which I 
uses an external Sound card and my K3 or is only good with a Flex5000 ?
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Bill -VA3WTB

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That is just simply dumb,,PSDR has been over 15 years in development to this point. SSDR is far more complicated to work on.
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Gary L. Robinson

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Writing code for PowerSDR is a LOT easier than writing code for more slices and receivers in the 6000 architecture.  It rapidly becomes more of a challenge with all those slices and several receivers (in 6700).   It's especially a challenge NOT to introduce subtle bugs with all the processes going on.

Not to say that is the only reason software development is slow at FRS for the 6000 series.  Another reason is that their ham radio business is a small part of their business - not the main part.  My understanding is that their commercial business is their bread and butter.  At least that is what I have heard.  There are most likely other reasons why their software development is slower and I  suspect that software labor costs plays a part in that.

In any event I can see why many folks are upset but personally I would not trade my 6300 for any other rig except another Flex perhaps.  If I had the money though I would like to try a few others as a second rig :-) 
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Rick

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I know as I also have a Flex 5000A. His upgrades are amazing and the package is rock solid. This is why I hang on to my legacy Flex. With the V/U module and 2nd rx it is the best satellite and possible EME radio available. 
Rick, W2JAZ
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Scott N8UMW

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I wish he would do something comparable with power sdr based hpsdr for the Anon rigs. Regardless, you can still get in the menu and fine tune all the things we're locked out of on the flex signature series. And the noise blanker on the 200d works beautiful. LOL
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Rick

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I know as I also have a Flex 5000A. His upgrades are amazing and the package is rock solid. This is why I hang on to my legacy Flex. With the V/U module and 2nd rx it is the best satellite and possible EME radio available. 
Rick, W2JAZ
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K4MT

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You are so right. I have had zero problems with his software mods and for those that argue having the computer in the rado is better my powersdr runs at 13% cpu use on a not so fast computer.  Being able to change settings makes powersdr fun to work with and to me is what SDR is about. Experimenting as well as operating.
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IW7DMH, Enzo

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You still forget the 6000 series is the only SDR rig that can work as is, without a personal computer, even a Raspy. No rig out there can do the same, so, each time, it is like comparing apples and pears.
You may argue if it is (or was) a good idea but people in Flex were aware of this issue and Steve (N5AC) said it clearly in one of its presentations: they had to rewrite all the code, and they did it.
Having said this, my idea about software in Flex 6000, is that ethernet APIs are the great added value for device integration purposes. You can actually do everything from everywhere.
Unfortunately I can't say the same for GUI software. Keeping it closed, force each developer to start from scratch each time he wants to add a feature to SSDR. Actually he can't add any feature to it because he can only develop another external application that runs next to SSDR and honestly, applications that run (have to run) next SSDR are really too much.
I hope they will consider the idea to transform their GUI in a pluggable framework where official sw components can run next to other (community) sw components. Things would be much more interesting in this way, at least for me.

73' Enzo
iw7dmh
 
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KC2QMA_John

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Hi Enzo, I am no am not comparing radio hardware. I think the Flex 6000 is currently one of the best out there. I am only talking about the GUI SmarSDR.
(Edited)
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Scott N8UMW

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I beg to differ. I have an Anon 200D and like the Flex Signature series, all it needs is that network connection. It can be controlled by a PC or a remote app on Android(PC need not be on and running) or the remote that they have now which is set up very similar to a Maestro. As far as the remote phone/tablet app, it's android only, but the flex smart sdr is iOS only.
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Michael Coslo

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Hey John - I don't know if you know or not, but using all bold is considered yelling at people. Just sayin'. 
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KC2QMA_John

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Hey Mike, Thank you for concern in regard to my text, But I think you mean TYPING IN ALL CAPS IS CONSIDERED YELLING AT PEOPLE.

J U S T S A Y I N ‘

:)
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I think in some circles they have the same effect. But at least all bold is easier to read! My eyes don't follow all caps as easily. Darned trifocals! Hi hi.

Good discussion. We will have to wait until Dayton Hamvention for part of the answer. But there will be many more releases after that.
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Michael Coslo

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Yes, they are considered yelling. Regardless, you take the fonting and the message, and piece together the intent from that. Sorry to interrupt your posts with a suggestion, John - carry on.
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Mark WS7M

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Of the SDR's I know about over the years and I'm not completely aware of all, the primary thing for me is "where the work is done", and "how it is delivered" to the user.  Also, "what are the options"?

In the flex 6000 series the "work" is done in the radio.   I believe (I cannot say for sure) that Apache radio is different in that it is going to deliver some data to the computer which must be crunched by the computer.   I can't speak for the radio in this thread.

Owners of flex 6000 series radios already today are able to work their radios remotely.   I think that will be much harder for radios where the computer has to do some of the work. 

The flex 6000 series delivers all data via Ethernet.  I remember when USB became all the rage.  Everyone was all excited about the speed and flexibility of Plug-n-play. 

During the time USB was coming alive I was a systems integrator using PCs and custom software to implement very large scale factory automation.  USB was a nightmare.  Not only did the plug-n-play in the early days not always work right, but it decided almost on a day-to-day basis to change.  So yesterday my USB device was at some address, then today it would move to different one when the computer was powered on.  It drove us nuts.  Also it had a maximum usable distance of about 15 feet.  RS-232 which it replaced could easily handle distances of 100 feet.   We lost 2 computers to damage because they had to be located so close to large equipment putting out steam, filings, or whatever.

So when I see a "new" radio using USB as its primary connection I cringe and realize also that it would be difficult (not impossible) to use that radio remotely.

If I take a WiFi laptop and I want to sit on my back porch on a hot day and work my radio I like to think of what that takes:

With the flex 6000 series I can pretty much have my radio mounted where I want it. In my shack, base of my antenna, in a closet, or on my desk.  If I can get a network cable to it, and I have a reasonably priced WiFi router or access point, I can now carry my laptop outside, connect up and do voice, cw, rtty, PSK, etc.  Total cost:   WiFi router ($100) 

With a USB based radio now we are talking about extra software and devices to do that same thing.  My options are:

1) Get USB extenders ($50 each) a long network cable $25 then string it outside between my laptop and the radio inside.   Kind of a hassle.
2) Get USB to network devices and software: $100 (or more) Probably need something on the laptop side because their software is looking at USB only.   In fact this might not even work.
3) USB anywhere $100 (I think) is software that will make remote USB look like it is connected to your computer.  But now you have to have a computer running near the radio and your laptop and this software.

In short if a radio is using USB, getting it to work even locally but away from your main station is going to be a challenge and perhaps more expensive.  With a Flex and a WiFi router or access point from Amazon you are up and running pretty much anywhere you have signal.

So yes, their software looks cool.  But the delivery of data makes it a no-go for me.  Also I find the Flex API and the fact that I (as a developer for 30 years) can write my own stuff for the radio to be a huge plus.   I've done USB based development and it is not always as easy as it sounds.

Flex will add to Smart SDR.  If they don't we have the power right there in the current radios we own to come up with killer software.  It just takes someone creating it.  I have a version I'm working on.  I know Walt has something.  We have the iOS stuff.  We have actually more options than Apache, this radio in this thread or just about any other radio.

Just my 2c
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G8ZPX

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To be this good Elad must have spent 5 years with an army of developers writing, tweaking and beta testing this software before they started selling the radio, right?   

...either that, or feature rich software doesn't take as long to develop as some want us to believe!
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Elad has years of experience in the test equipment business. Much of the GUI features mentioned are a result of that.
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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There's a song, popular before I was born, that goes: "It seems to me I've heard that song before."

"Elad has very good and capable software... check it out!" Useful and interesting. Thank you for that post.

"Flex sucks. SSDR needs more features and I may sell my Flex. Because the software sucks." Not so much.

Do people really believe that the same people repeating the same complaints will make the features they want appear faster?

Tim?! Can I PLEASE be a moderator? Pretty please?

Peter
K1PGV
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Chris DL5NAM

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I hope not. We do not need police men on band - so we also not need here :-) 
We have Tim and that's OK and enough !
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Healthy discussion, I think is fine. I am sure FRS dev and management are looking. Sure, there will be a lot of bellyaching, complaining and whining. But within the noise there are ideas they could glean. Does it mean every single request will make it to the roadmap? No, I think that is unrealistic. But it doesn't mean they'll simply dismiss every idea and I believe some of the features in the wishlist here will make it to production releases. 

I like the fact that the forum is lightly moderated. Of course things like personal attacks, fighting and trolling shouldn't be tolerated. But that doesn't mean that every thread that gets heated should be removed. 

I also think that competitive products  should be acknowledged, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing what other companies have done and how they did it. 
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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"Healthy discussion" and "conflicting opinions" and "discussions about competing products" are terrific. Let's have some of that. Please.

I just find the repeated whining over perceived SSDR UX and feature inadequacies tiresome. We had no less than two such (lengthy) threads in the past 60 days, where all these same points were made. Does anybody seriously think making these points one more time adds anything to the discussion?

Hmmm..... apparently so.

And, also apparently, I'm the only one who finds this whinging beyond tedious. OK... point taken. It's my problem, and I will respectfully bow out of the thread. My sincere apology for my unwelcome interjection.
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Mark - WS7M

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Well I have always found your posts to be intelligent, insightful and for me very welcome.  So I suggest you keep doing what you are doing.

Remember the internet is a strange place.  It is so easy to hide behind our computer screens, type stuff we'd probably never say to someone's face.   Emotion gets lost when typings just words!

So lets all remember we are human, share some common interests and we are all on this planet together!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Peter
Like you I find the rather juvenile whiners to be tiresome ,but I have long given up wasting my time debating them. Life is too short!

Even if every possible imaginable feature had been implemented the whiners would still find something to bitch about. That is how they get their jollies.
'
Just save your energy enjoy the hobby. And ignore the whiners. Like all trolls, if no one responds they will crawl back in their holes and look for soothing else to bitch at.
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KC2QMA_John

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Funny thing is when you complain that you don't like all the whining.... That’s Whining.
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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I agree Mark, and Peter, These sort of posts need called out, because if they aren't, it looks to the honest onlooker that  SmartSDR is a bad and outdated program, and that FlexRadio Systems is unresponsive.

And nothing could be further from the truth.
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I strongly feel that allowing all viewpoint, regardless of how glowing or otherwise is a healthy process.  We actually learn more from the critical comments than from the high praises.  

I will only moderate if the post violates our usage policy:

And remember when using the Community always show respect to others regardless of their opinions. Give people the benefit of the doubt, just like you would if talking to them in person. Posts that include personal attacks, overtly negative comments, non-constructive criticism, falsehoods or gratuitous profanity will be removed, as they do not contribute to the community atmosphere we want to establish. Any pattern of poor behavior may result in losing your Community posting privileges.

As long as the discourse is healthy, non-personal and constructive in nature, you have nothing to worry about.

I will, however, reserve the right to close a topic if I feel that all points of view have been adequately expressed and it is just droning on, adding nothing of consequence to the topic.
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Michael Coslo

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I'll take a bit of a opposite approach. Imagine if Flex implemented and immediately brought out every new feature demanded!  Imagine haveing to relearn everything every couple months. Imagine a feature that you like going away because someone else thought that something different was the best way to go.  I have already had people say they won't buy one because it's too complicated, and while the Maestro is nice, it certainly isn't as capable as the computer based radio. So now others want to essentially scrap SmartSDR because they believe another interface is better. And scrap it again and again?

I like the idea of the paid updates, and a few in between.  If SmartSDR and the FlexRadio is not adequate, There are several other options.
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Scott N8UMW

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I personally don't want them to scrap smart sdr. I like the layout and the more modem look. It works well and I've had very few problems compared to many flex owners. I do think that adding some features back into the software under an advanced menu would be nice. None the less, I won't be dumping by flex any time soon. I think that a bit more progression of features would be nice though.
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Michael Coslo

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I've had a few wants for SSDR as well. But there is an important issue in software. You have to be careful with it, lest it turn into bloatware. If every demand was met, that's exactly what it would become. 
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KC2QMA_John

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I think this post has gone way off track.

1. I like the 600 series hardware.

2. Like many other would like to see a little bit more resources dedicated to SmartSDR.

3. This is NOT a comparison of radios Just SOFTWARE clients.

We are talking about SmartSDR for windows software NOT the HARDWARE!


And because people don't actually read the original post here is a Reminder.

I find it amazing how many features the Elad FDM-SW2 software has already and is just a few years old, although the hardware is not as good as a flex the software shows just how far SmartSDR has to go as far as customization and User interface features.

Again this is NOT to say a FDM-Duo is a better radio it is to show that SmartSDR has a long way to go in terms of features and user customization.

In May 2017 SmartSDR and the 6000 series will be over 5 years old and is still only at Ver 1.10 and will jump to Ver 2 but will it be even close in terms this level of features & customization?

Yes I know WAN is coming in Ver 2 and that's great but will that be it, I guess will just have to see...

-

Hi Ria, I like all of the things you mentioned.

This is a few of the things I like...

1. User definable Band preset BUTTONS.

2. User definable Color coded slice receivers.

3. User definable Movable and dock-able windows.

4. User definable AGC(T) parameters.

5. User definable Receive filter presets.

6. Shows frequency at courser position.

7. Data values shown next to all sliders and buttons all of the time, Not just when you hover the mouse courser.

8. Extensive recording & playback features such as Audio with ability to save files, I&Q audio and much more.

9.info display showing Spectrum & waterfall displays. (Span width, FFT Resolution, Scale, Averaging level.

10. Many values shown in dBm scale.

11. Full use of right mouse button. (Right Click Windows)

12. Handy built-in log book.

13. Ability to lock slice’s to center of screen so you can scroll pan adapter.

14. Squelch for each receiver slice for all modes.

15. Ability to tune with Keyboard.

16. Lots of use of Shift, Ctrl, & Alt buttons. (Eg. Shift+Drag)

17. Measurement markers, Delta Markers.

18. Audio spectrum & FFT windows.

19. FREE Wireless Android app.

20. Ability to customize UI colors.

I could go on and on but you can clearly see from this one video how far behind SmartSDR is it terms features. And in this video David only shows a fraction of what the software is capable.

Now one last thing I know there will be some that say that the screen is to busy and for some that may be true BUT SmartSDR could have a menu option for “Standard Display” for a simplified UI like it is now Or an “Advanced Display” for those more advanced users that like to see more status info at a glance. This way all users would be happy.

Again this is NOT to say that the FDM-Duo is a better radio it’s to show how far SmartSDR needs to go in terms of features Only.

I hope Version 2.0 is not just about WAN I hope we see a lot more features such as these Especially for the $200 they expect us to fork over for V.2.

Again keep in mind the 6000 series is over 5 years old and the software is only at 1.10 and to jump to 2.0 soon as a $200 paid version? At the current software development pace by the time we see features like this the radio will be Old and obsolete.

Either FRS makes software development a real priority and hires a bunch more software developers or the competition will blow them by quickly. You can only be a leader if you stay ahead of the competition. The 6000 series is awesome and has great potential but it’s the Software that’s holding it back.

(Edited)
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KM6CQ - Dan

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This does raise a valid question, how much longer will my 5 year old hardware keep up with new releases of SSDR? I'm sure new and faster hardware is on the way with more capacity. 
There must be a point where this hardware becomes like an old ipad that can no longer run the latest version of IOS. This seems to be true of anything with chips in it since we were introduced to the calculator back in the 70's.

Dan KM6CQ
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P

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Dan, the reason that older iPads cannot run later versions of IOS is that the later versions of IOS are written for newer versions of iPads.

As long as SSDR is written FOR the 6000, it will RUN on the 6000. The software doesn't take on a life of its own.. the platform, however has lots of overhead and will be effective for a good while. Certainly it won't become obsolete as quickly as standard tablets, smartphones, and computers.

But, indeed, someday FRS will decide to release a new model that will require a new branch of software. And who knows if it will be backward compatible?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Dan - SmartSDR is designed to abstract the hardware from the higher level logic.  This was done specifically so that when a new hardware is released (take the 6300 as an example), there is minimal work to integrate it to run SMartSDR.  All of the radios run the same firmware.  The only difference is that not all hardware platforms have the same capabilities (the number of SCUs for example), and the firmware is aware of the differences and presents controls to features accordingly.

We built SmartSDR this was to ensure that software obsolescence due to changes in hardware does not occur.  It is expensive to rewrite software for every new radio platform that comes out and that is not something smart companies do.
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KM6CQ - Dan

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One thing I appreciate about the 6500 and Elecraft products is that the manufacturers have kept them current with new hardware and firmware releases. 
With my 6500 I used it a year until DAX was introduced.  Then I was able to get rid of the 3000 and some other rigs. DAX has far surpassed every method I used up until that point. 
At first we only had a spectrum display and SSB/CW was all we could operate.
It has become very nice now. I think 2.0 will take us from being a full featured rig into something no one else is doing. 

Dan
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Michael Aust

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Full Featured ??
What about ..PSK31 ?? JT65 ?? CW Decoder ?? DX Cluster Spotting ??
Waterfall / Spectrum Scope with Callsign Spotting ?? CW Skimmer ?? all
built into SSDR

Seems the competition is doing this now !
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Michael Coslo

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My issue with that, is will the flex version give me everything I need and use in fldigi and it's suite? Will their offering be better that WSPR and WSJT-X?

I use on a weekly basis, MT-63, Olivia in several of it's iterations, send files with arq, receive, print,  and send  bulletins in xml format and with somewild error correction schemes in fldigi.  Then for fun, I play with PSK in various speeds, and am looking forward to feld-hell when I get a chance and propagation improves. I wonder if I should be asking for all of the features of all those programs to be included in SSDR? 

If not, it's just a duplication of effort that is already done very well in other programs. I'm not completely certain why some people want that. 

Here's the issue. Take all of the programs with features  that people demand to be put into SSDR, and go look at the demands that people are putting on the writers of those programs. I'm surprised I haven't heard agitation for Packet mode in here. Because that is exactly what some will demand.

I'd much prefer that Flex refine some things like the noise blanking, improve the CW, and a few other actual performance issues, fix the COM port issues, and if we're really lucky, figure out how to make SSDR reliably survive Windows 10 updates -  than add things that already exist in a highly refined manner in other computer programs.  
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Hi Michael,
I think D-star and Free DV were to motivate 3rd party developers such as Simon (the author of HRD) to create some great apps for us. One is external hardware and the other is software. This demonstrates Gerald swings both ways:) Flex has provided a platform for them.

 N1MM and FLDIGI are very nice programs and they are free, incredible considering what they do. It's like free gasoline or diesel. CW Skimmer, N3FJP and MacloggerDX to name a few have been able to monetize their products which is great. Since they can make a profit they will continue to get better and will not become quickly abandoned.  They keep getting better and their respective authors are actively involved. I do not expect or want Flex to reinvent the wheel with these apps. What we have is already effective and very good.

 As an example, there are plenty of free CW decoders available and I have not seen one of them perform near as good as CW Skimmer. Best $85 I ever spent on software and I never regretted it. Same with VAC and SSDR for IOS. In contrast, there are plenty of free radio apps that are worthless. Not because their concept or app design was poor, but when you are not compensated for your time talent and resources, your passion may turn elsewhere and work slows to a crawl and eventually comes to an end. 

 In Short I want Flex to provide the ability for us to write or purchase apps and use them with Flex radios. I really do not like the idea of Flex writing proprietary Skimmers and not allowing us to bring our own. I don't think we can have it both ways. After all, if they fund it and build it, then they will expect us to purchase their version and not the competitions. For example, Android apps will not run on IOS.

So that’s my take on it.  73,   Dan KM6CQ

 

   
(Edited)
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AA0KM

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I like the KISS mode with add-ins. If I want to apply other software I do.



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spopiela

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I wonder how Flex will present WAN operation in version 2.? Many of us have been successful in applying WAN modes to our FLEX shacks. In doing so , I needed to incorporate a VPN mode and Improve my LAN and WAN speeds. There was much tweaking of the QOS settings in the dual band router to insure that the radio had priority with voice data streams . New home camera systems have easier setups to get fairly good operation without having to deal with IPs and other router systems settings. There are many different routers out there in the Flex community both fast and slow with varying internet loads on those routers.. A real challenge for Flex software designers... !!

Stan
N1THL
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Michael Coslo

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Ohh, but those home camera systems are horrid security liabilities. Been used in many DDOS attacks. And there is a vigilante out there who is writing software to brick them and other insecure IoT devices. Gotta be careful we don't become part of that in the search for ease of use, that's  part of the challenge. 
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Norm - W7CK

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I totally agree with the security issues associated with security cameras.  This also holds true for all of the home automation software out there.  And all of the phone applications that unnecessarily want total control of every function of your phone.

People especially here in the USA are just way too complacent when it comes to network security.  Maybe they are relying on the vendors providing the systems to look out for their best interest?  Crazy.   

As long as v2.x does not prevent me from running a VPN (can't imagine this), I will keep my VPN as added security.
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KC2QMA_John

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Here is a dumb question, will I be able to disable the WAN feature in V2 of SmartSDR?
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Chris DL5NAM

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Sorry, it's a real dumb question. Your right.
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KC2QMA_John

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I thought you would like it. :)
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Norm - W7CK

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Dan,

You are correct and I will agree.  One thing about the 6000 and SmartSDR is that we have some features no other radios on the market offer or can offer.  I sometimes get impatient with missing features and get caught up in what we don't have.  I need to start appreciating what features we do have.  Thank you.
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Tony Hateley

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Got rid of my maestro,fed up of waiting for updates,and the 6500 will be going as soon as I get my 7610,I for one will not be led up the garden path with promise after promise.
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Michael Coslo

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How much you want for it?
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I wish you had told me about the Maestro. For the right price I would have been happy to take it off your hands. 
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Ria - I think Tony is UK based.  https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/lowly-m6-in-uk

I'd offered to do a presentation to his club, but he never took me up on that.

73

Steve K9ZW

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Oh right. Now I remember. 
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KC2QMA_John

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Now of course I don't expect to wake up tomorrow and SmartSDR to have every feature I or you can dream up but I would like many others here just like to see a more accelerated pace for the Software development to really start showing more of the power and capability of the Hardware.


Is the 6000 Series great YES.

Is the current state of SmartSDR good YES.

Is it a great Performing radio Absolutely.


Again the question that remains to be seen is will the Software in terms of features catch up to the Hardware before the hardware becomes a bit behind the technological curve.


What flex has done with SDR is truly amazing and I don't discount for one second how hard software development is and the challenges that come with it and what they have done to this point is great.


I hope that I am totally wrong about V2.0 and they will just knock our socks off at Hamvention this year not just with the WAN capabilities but with lots of new features such as some of the ones that we see in PowerSDR, SW-2 and others.
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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This looks cool as well. Nice Inexpensive little radio, good for some that want to try a SDR receiver without spending a lot of money. Retails for $149 usd.

Has a nice looking GUI and has some nice features.

(Again this is to show Software features not to compare radios or receiver performance.)

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Dan -- KC4GO

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I have one of these that I use for several things. Mostly a monitor RX and listening to aircraft.  The power measurement is very accurate. 
Get the newer version RSP2 the plastic case has some built in shielding, but I got the one in a metal box. Note a 90% of the processing is in the computer. 
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KC2QMA_John

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Not bad at all for a $150 radio receiver.
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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OK so as we all now know FRS has some more new hardware coming (as seen at Hamvention 2017) and will be discontinuing the 6300 & 6500 also will be end of life for SSDR Ver 1.10. and your 6300 & 6500 just dropped significantly in value.

And so now we still don’t have software with any of the features of PowerSDR or many of the other SDR software out there and now they expect us to pay to upgrade to Ver 2.0.

Well the good news is FRS hired 1 more software engineer.

All I can say is WOW! WTF! Very disappointing.


(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Why keep comparing SSDR with PSDR? PSDR was many years in the making till it got to were it is. Also there are many things that can be done  in SSDR that just could not be done in PSDR no matter what you do. SSDR leaves PSDR in the dust.

It is unlikely the value of the 6300 and the 6500 will go down much either, there are just to many people trying to get their hands on one.

I am exited about the new radios, putting it all in one stand alone box..no computer, great display,,best in all radio. And the performance, all great.
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KC2QMA_John

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Yes Bill the new radios are beautiful and answer the need for many operators to have a “Real Standalone SDR” and are reasonably priced for the features.

The 63/6500 are still very powerful radios that will grow with the SmartSDR.

However when I spoke to one of they guys (I wont mention his name out of respect for his right to privacy) at the booth in Xenia he acted as if he didn’t know what I was taking about and the need expressed by many SSDR users about the lack of features as compared to PowerSDR and other SDR software available today here on the group as well spoken about on the HF bands, In fact while I was speaking to the him another few hams came up and began to reiterate just what I was saying.

When I said to him that SSDR was lacking some of the basic convenience features he said “What Features” And so I and the others began to rattle off just a few and again he seem surprised that people wanted this stuff.

I asked if now that they are done with hardware for a little while will they kick software development into high gear with SSDR he said “No, But we did just hire 1 new software engineer” I said that's great news about the new person I just hope that's enough to really get the software going.

I sure hope the SSDR team all check into the online users group so they understand what the customers are saying.


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John AE5X

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Two weeks ago I bought an Elad FDM-Duo. You can read my initial opinion of it on my website. As I used the rig over the next 10 days or so I started to appreciate SSDR and realized I'd been taking for granted things like ergonomics and the importance of useful features as opposed to gee-whiz features incorporated ad naseum into the Duo's SW2 software. "More features" does not equal better software. The Duo is an ergonomic flop and I'll go into specific reasons for that on my website (so as not to pollute this list with what would be off-topic here) in the next couple of weeks.

"john" I believe you are KA4DPO due to the tone, subject matter and timing of your posts both here and on eHam's SDR forum. Regardless, it's ok to use a callsign here - no need for anonymity (unless your personality requires it).

I sold my FDM-Duo yesterday and won't miss it a bit.

John AE5X
http://ae5x.blogspot.com/
Photo of Michael Coslo

Michael Coslo

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I looked at the screenshot, and most definitely do not want. Way too busy. Anyhow, some people want every single functino on the screen at all times, so it's a matter od taste, but I would't buy just based on that. I agree that despite all the hatred in here for the Flex Radio, SSDR is ergonomically sound and a joy to use. 

I also don't get it - the main complainers complain about SSDR all the time and it is obvious that the cure for their problem is to get a different radio. 

I hope you post when your ereview goes up

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