Elmers and Alphas?

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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@Tim,

Outside of the USA, how many Alphas and Elmers are there please?   ...and what countries are they in?

From the EU side of the pond, it can sometimes feel like the rest of the world suffers from US border syndrome, so I am wondering what representation and input anyone is having outside of the US. For examples :-

-"FCC rules say"...FCC has no jurisdiction beyond US border!
-Trade-up programmes
-Competent service centres
-Band plans vs 60m in EU countries
-Ability to create, distribute and edit Turf files for EU countries
-Noise mitigation, QRN/QRM is not a global standard, my noise is not your noise.

@ALL please don't make this another FRS bashing thread. That is not what I want. I'm hoping for a better, more proportionate, and more global approach to service and support to EU/RoW customers, and stronger representation of their own local interests, operating practices, local conditions etc.

73 de Steve G1XOW
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Steven G1XOW

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Posted 2 years ago

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Ray G3XLG

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I agree with you Steve about the possible FRS lack of technical assistance/repairs in the UK & Europe. However FRS are not alone in this USA-centric strategy. My Elecraft amplifier had to be sent to Italy (about £50 carriage) for repair, which was free & I know of a Flex 6500 that was sent to Germany for repair.

It  seems the UK importers for both radios (you know I mean) are not considered up to the job, no comment!

73 de Ray G3XLG

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Steve Gw0gei

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Seemed like reasonable questions to me too

It's always worried me that if my flex needed repair I would have to ship it out to Germany

Both uk importers have dropped their prices on the remaining 6500 and 6300 stock today. Surprisingly for once not to the same level.

Maybe the pound will rise against the dollar and euro after our general election or by the time the new radios are out.

In the meantime I am upgrading my vhf amps on 2 4 and 6m now a GW amp manufacturer is undercutting spe and beko with some new k w. solid state amps. He is only two hours drive away if I have any problems with one and it cuts the middle dealer out
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John - K3MA

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Steve can you email me the GW amp mfg info?  k3ma@outlook.com
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Is that linear amp U.K.?
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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By GW I think Wales is meant, and that most like would be Linear Amp UK in Montgomery, Powys.

Very neat part of the world!

73

Steve K9ZW


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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Has linear amp actually started production? I inquired some months ago before I bought my SPE and was told that they aren't producing any yet due to their other amps selling well (due to GBP devaluation). Hopefully the exchange rate with the sterling remains favorable so that when they start producing 2m LDMOS amps we can pick them up for not much $.
(Edited)
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Rory - N6OIL

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Ria, did you look at the LDMOS amp in kit form from? http://rf-kit.de/en/2k_Kit.php 
Dual pallets seem some nice overhead. But then I also like the sweet offer that Flex has on the PG with ATU for free!
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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As a matter of fact I did. I even got a nice present from the crew at Xenia.

I am getting a PGXL however. I want a SO2R amp. If they come out with a 2 meter kit I may spring for that but I'm already gathering parts to build one.

But the B26-PA is a very nice option.
Ria
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Steve Jones

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Yes its lin amp uk. They have brought out a 500w full duty 2m solid state pa after selling their initial 300w ones on 2m 70cms and a dual band 4m/6m one which i have used for three years. I should be taking delivery of their first 1.2kw 2m full duty pa in a few weeks. It is now on their website.

The hf and 6m pa with lan support for flex is still being developed. A bigger 4/6m amp is likely to be out before that and i have just sold my 300w one this week ready for upgrading to give me the legal 400w at antenna full duty with plenty of headroom:-)

They are very well designed and have very good filtering for clean tx.
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Steve Jones

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Yes its lin amp uk. They have brought out a 500w full duty 2m solid state pa after selling their initial 300w ones on 2m 70cms and a dual band 4m/6m one which i have used for three years. I should be taking delivery of their first 1.2kw 2m full duty pa in a few weeks. It is now on their website.

The hf and 6m pa with lan support for flex is still being developed. A bigger 4/6m amp is likely to be out before that and i have just sold my 300w one this week ready for upgrading to give me the legal 400w at antenna full duty with plenty of headroom:-)

They are very well designed and have very good filtering for clean tx.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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PGXL
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Good to know.
I'll contact them again. I need a good eme amp.
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Steve Jones

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Roger is going on holiday this coming week to ea8 land so you may not get a reply this week but he has ordered the big 2m amp chassis supply so my amp should be being built when he gets back and the metal has arrived. I have seen videos of the pre production version in operation with nearly 1.2kw out key down for 30mins full duty and still cool enough to avoid thermal cut off kicking in. Just need to get my bigger 2m yagi stack built up now before the amp arrives:-)
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Steve Jones

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Looking forward to hearing how you get on with the power genius Ria - its still my preferred hf option too as i need so2r for hf and 6m contesting. Or if the pound is still weak i may opt for two of the new hf/6 amps from lin amp and put one on each input to my antenna genius plus 8 port switch.
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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With all due respect, Steve... haven't you stirred the pot enough in the past week or so?

Maybe you could consider taking a short break from the axe-grinding? Let us all recover a bit... maybe?

Peter
K1PGV
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Steven G1XOW

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Peter, I assume you failed to read the last paragraph?  Also, I'm asking for information that is not readily available, from Tim btw. Surely a public information request is still acceptable without someone trying to close it down in a needlessly defensive manner.

Tim: if you prefer please close this thread immediately and email me directly with the information I asked for to steve@g1xow.uk
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Paul Bradbeer

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Peter, I don't think it's an unreasonable question; we pay a premium for FRS products in Europe, and it would be nice to get assurance that we're being represented appropriately.  You may assume from the question that there's an impression that we don't feel as well represented as you are in North America (i.e W and VE).

Steve made it very clear in his final paragraph, that he didn't want it to descend in to a Flex-bashing thread.  So why not let the Community members (and Tim as moderator) have their say?  Paul M0CVX

(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Flex has one person who develops an entire part of the ecosystem who lives in Europe. The new amplifier is developed by a European company as well. As far as TURFs and local support in Europe goes, they do that through the dealer network. So there is substantial European input into the products.

I really don't think that Tim is going to "out" all of the alpha testers. Some choose to remain private.

You CAN see who all the elmers are in the community member list. But Elmer doesn't equal alpha tester.
(Edited)
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Paul Bradbeer

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Thank you, Ria.  I always read your posts, and I respect the time and technical support that you devote to elmering. Not just that, but your Facebook posts were one of the few 'quality' offerings I could find on Hamvention/Xenia (jeepers! do companies not do digital marketing/social media that side of the pond?). Thank you.

That said, I still don't see evidence of a route for substantial European input to FRS products (lets take the amplifier out of here...that has little to do with 6xxx or SSDR development), and to be honest, it would be arrogant to assume there must be one.

 However, if there is an FRS 'European advocate' it would be nice to know who she/he/they are so that we could communicate with them.

I'm grateful for all the elmers and alphas; thank you (and as Hughie Green often said, 'I mean that most sincerely').  Though it is a bit of a shame that the first person to try and close down Steve's thread was....an elmer.

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Hi Paul,

Thanks for your kind words. 

I'll leave the rest up to Tim and FRS, but I suspect they will point you to their international dealers and partners, who really should advocate on your behalf. Unlike the elmers and alpha testers, they have a financial relationship with the company so the company should also be listening to them. 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
And I was trying to take a day off for the first time in the last 12 days....

We have EU representation on both the the alpha team and as company advisors. I will not divulge their identity to protect their privacy. They can identify themselves if they choose.

Creating and distributing TURF files for non-US customers is the responsibility of the entity selling the radio. FlexRadio Systems augments that process when necessary. TURF designations and transmit bandwidth ranges are managed by us. We are very responsive to band changes as they are delivered with new releases of SmartSDR.

Trade up /in programs are at the discretation of the distributor as they are independent businesses. We are planning to work with them to see if there is something we can do to assist. Please inquire with your dealer regarding their plans to provide this type of service.

The FCC regulates FlexRadio as a radio manufacturer. We are required to adhere to specific countries regulations in order to export and sell our products, this includes CE and the FCC. We carefully evaluate these regulations and define our business practices to ensure that there isn't any ambiguity in compliance.

We have a very competent service center in Germany to service our products the EU and surrounding countries. Since our radios are multiprocessor embedded systems, they require additional skills to repair and service. We hope to be able to expand our service network in the future, especially in the Asia Pacific region.

Noise mitigation. Noise is a very complex waveform and it is true that my noise is not your noise. It is unfortunate that this is the case and a one size fits all solution is not possible. As with all features and capabilities in our radios, features can be modified in the future with a software upgrade. If new algorithms are available that can provide significient improvement, we will consider them for inclusion in SmartSDR. This is not a promise nor is there a time frame for addressing this particular concern.
(Edited)
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Steven G1XOW

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I’m sure that everyone will note you avoided answering the direct question asked. I guess the userbase and prospective purchases will form their own opinions as to why.
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k3Tim

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Actually I note Tim answered the questions within bounds of privacy and proprietary information.
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Steven G1XOW

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Maybe you need to read 1st paragraph again. I asked for numbers, not names or callsign etc no need for any hidding behind privacy
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k3Tim

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I was cognizant of you're ask question on the initial read. My immediate thoughts where the answer involves proprietary data, at least in my view.
So I still conclude you have the answers within the allowed parameters.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Steve G1XOW - None of use have any right to demand whatever information they might dream they want from any vendor, much less make such a demand in a public forum.  That's simply the facts of life,

Outside of the USA, how many Alphas and Elmers are there please?   ...and what countries are they in?
I'd say that is pretty commercial and proprietary, as well as FRS long standing policy of not Identifying Alphas unless the Alpha makes themselves known.  You asked for country and count, which certainly could lead to identifying Alphas.
From the EU side of the pond, it can sometimes feel like the rest of the world suffers from US border syndrome, so I am wondering what representation and input anyone is having outside of the US. For examples :-

Since the vast majority of the sales are stateside, yup.  As for input call up your UK dealer and have at it.  They are the localized face of FRS one would think.


-"FCC rules say"...FCC has no jurisdiction beyond US border!

The radios are made and mainly marketed in FCC land.  This shouldn't even need asking.


-Trade-up programmes

Everyone has been told to contact their home country's dealer network for any possible system.  What part is not clear?

-Competent service centres

The EU center is long established and while the UK eventually may have some post Brexit issues to work out, nothing has changed since your bought your radio. 


-Band plans vs 60m in EU countries

-Ability to create, distribute and edit Turf files for EU countries

Again nothing has changed, and localized TURF files are created as needed. 

-Noise mitigation, QRN/QRM is not a global standard, my noise is not your noise.

Then do something about your special noise.  Where are the screen/sound captures of what you hear/see, descriptive narratives, and what have you actually tried to mitigate "your special noise" so far?  Without factual information, preferable not emotively charged, helping you meet your noise-mitigation goals is impossible. 

Rather suspect similar questions posed of any of us probing about our business affairs would be similarly be left unanswered. 

It really seems more like your are trying to justify being upset over nothing, than address improving your station?

73

Steve K9ZW



(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Steve, you can find out who the elmers are here:

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/details/champions

You can count them if you wish. 

As for alpha testers, the answer is no, they're not going to disclose that. Flex could even consider that proprietary information not for disclosure as it could aid competitors. 

Elmer status is earned. In general I don't see a lot of non-US flex owners posting here. If they did I'm sure more would be represented. Maybe it's time for the "silent majority" to join up, answer questions and help out!!!
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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I’m sure that everyone will note you avoided answering the direct question asked. I guess the userbase and prospective purchases will form their own opinions as to why.
No Steve, we are just noticing you're looking for the smallest thing to turn into controversy, We are all noticing. Just don't understand why you can't accept the plain and simple answer as to the privacy rights of those your asking about. You got your answer, you didn't like it and so you accuse Tim and others who have been nothing but helpful here of avoiding the direct question, and tainting prospective purchases. geez, You have absolutely no right to demand what your asking. Make something out of nothing, geez, how does that help the user base.
(Edited)
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Let me add a couple more comments to those Tim posted.  Tim's comments were completely accurate.  
  • No, we will not disclose proprietary information regarding the number of alpha testers, their names, or their locations.  
  • Almost since inception of the company, we have had a key adviser in Europe. 
  • Europe is absolutely represented proportionally on our advisory board.
  • The US ham market is roughly 5 times the size of Europe.
  • We add and remove people from the alpha team from time to time based on geographic, use case, and radio model coverage.  
  • We have the same number of service centers in Europe as in the US.  You can drive by car from London to our EU service center in less time than it takes to drive across Texas.  
  • Worldwide customers have the same access to our Helpdesk as US customers.  Enter a ticket from anywhere and we do our best to support you.
  • Pricing in Europe is determined by our channel partners.  Their distributor receives discounts are based on US MSRP.  They have to pay for freight across the pond and you have to pay the 20% VAT on top of what they charge.  In Austin our sales tax is 8.25%, which we think is high.  ;>)
  • The weakness of the Pound and Euro to the Dollar have increased the effective cost in Europe for our product, which is completely out of our control.
Monday is a US holiday so some of our team want to take a break over the weekend.  

73,
Gerald
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Rory - N6OIL

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Gerald you should change your last comment to "will take a break" you all deserve it and also respect for those that have given. 73 and see you all back on Tuesday.
(Edited)
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Yes, Monday is Memorial Day when we remember and honor the many who gave their lives and served across the pond from here.  Monday is about them - not us.
Gerald
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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As a young soldier being sent from Germany to Verdun France as a unit representative, I had never before felt such a humbling experience as when paying respect in a military cemetery that seemed to go on for ever. 

Memorial Day is about our respect and veneration of those who gave all, paying that penultimate price, so that we might have the world we have.

My heartfelt thanks to those who perished in service, and may I somehow measure up to the vision of the legacy they earned for us.

73

Steve K9ZW

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Michael Coslo

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I'm curious about the assumed responsibility of FlexRadio systems for European noise. 
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Bob G W1GLV

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Sometimes it's better to listen then to speak. The latter will reveal your true identity.
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Lee, Elmer

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What makes you think Alpha testers and Elmers represent any interests except helping to create a stable, forward progressing radio and try to lend a hand for people with problems?  I find your comment bigoted and uninformed.  You kind of presume (actually pretend) you know what you're talking about.  Alpha testers are about helping develop functional and iterative solutions to bugs in the code, not about advancing our own pet design criteria to be included in the radio.  Now you have a little better insight.  This forum allows you to provide Flex with your bright ideas, same as me.

73  W9OY
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Well said Lee. I was beta tester for email and ftp server software and though I did contribute in the development of early spam detection, the beta program was basically getting early versions (pre-release) of software and either running on a test server or on production servers, then reporting on bugs and fixes. In return we got free software and upgrades. That's it. Non-disclosure both ways. Just because leaking private and confidential information seems to be the norm these days, some organizations and companies due the right thing and respect agreements and people's privacy.
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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I had a response to Steve all typed, but my better angels warned me I'd had too much to drink and to keep my peace in these days when we honor those who kept both England and America free... Tim and Gerald, and all of the Flex team, wherever you may be, have a blessed weekend.

Rick, W0FG, USN CTR2 1968-1972

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