First of all I seriously consider going for the new 6400 with Maestro. I have played with Flex Radios at Hamradio Friedrichshafen (which is a shy of 180 miles from my house :-) very year. Excited but still a fear of a black box :-). I am just thrilled by the possibility to work remotely from a different room or somewhere else on these planet while the 6400/or 6600 sits at home QTH. It is also matching my purchasing possibilities, without the danger of rushing my XYL to Emergency Room when I will break the news about the new purchase :-). I have read on this forum though that new 6400 has a higher permanent S5 noise vs 6600 or more expensive models. I have also read stories about 6400 units failing to boot which send me to panic mode. I understand also the differences between new models.More radios so slices. Higher ADC sampling rate. No clue what exactly the Contest Grade Preselector as 3rd Grade vs 7th Grade really means for average Ham. But is it same RX quality on all models? I am currently using a Yaesu FTDX-3000 (with an AirsSpy HF+) , which I have to admit has one of the quietest receive performances out there for the price. My Ham habits are mainly hunting for DX stations and rarely participating in a contest for practice of my CW skills rather then for winning anything :-). So yes I am a CW man. Can anybody share an insight on these issues? Does anybody test FTDX3000 vs new 6400 side by side? Appreciate any answer or honest advice. Vy 73`s de DM1TX. A would be Flex user. Greetings from Munich, Germany.
My reasoning for the 6600M was 4 receivers, wider waterfall/spectral bandwidth, 4 Rx antenna inputs, and the tuner (which I don't use in the shack - but if I ever take it remote I probably will need it). On the "Rx quality" side - I never thought I'd use the diversity reception - but now it's rare when I don't use it for phone. Go figure! Here's the link to the comparison table: https://www.flexradio.com/comparison/
I've had it about 6 months, through a few upgrades, and have had no issues to speak of. With a tablet in the house remote SmartSDR works perfectly - bring it out on some public LAN or WiFi and you're basically on your own. It has run 24/7 here since the day it arrived. I use it for phone and digital of all descriptions. It also works nicely with an ALS-600 and many other amps. I moved from an FTDX-1200, and I find SmartSDR easier then the Yaesu menu/dial system. I love Yaesu, don't get me wrong (still have a FT-991 in my go-box), but the multiple receiver aspect of this was simply a better fit for me personally. Oh, and "contesting" is absolutely the LAST thing on my mind !
You do, however, have a point with the "XYL to the emergency room" problem......
What ever you decide, good luck!
The 6400 is the best value HF rig available based on many things, a lot of it my personal experience. Designed from the ground up to be used by multiple sources and applications and not limited by 1 RS232 port like all other current HF radios.
All of our 6000 series radios are contest grade/ready. Not that you need it, but when you need a brick wall in the front end, you have it.
In digital modes, I copy more than I have with any other radio. Hands down.
Make sure you watch some of the videos on the FlexRadio YouTube channel.
73, Mike va3mw
My intent was to get Maestro later. I see no need to do that. I operate the same way with SmartSDR regardless of P.O. cal or local remote.
Two SCUs help with using on two bands so you are not in wide mode with not frontend filtering. If working split with 6400 you have no other monitoring you can do. You don’t have to listen to monitor because you can see the panadapter to monitor band openings.
Many more features. Regardless you will enjoy either radio. I didn’t want to be looking to buy an upgrade to 6600 in a year or too.
Sometimes when we say our older or non SDR radio's are so quiet it really means that radio is just not hearing as well as we think.
The Flex hears deep into the noise floor,, It hears everything..lol So it may sound like it is noisy to some, but this is what happens when a radio hears everthing, just look at the water fall for evedance of this.
The Panadapter display is the best in ham radio with it's smoothness and details. Invented by Gerald in the first place with PSDR and before he thought of a name for it.
The boot problems you read about are real. But Flex is looking into the cause. It will likely be a software fix because many are getting the radio to boot after doing something to them. And some may be hardware failure.
But When you buy a Flex you are buying very good customer support, know other company has a forum set up like this one were you can talk to other owners in real time.
I could fill this page with more, but It makes for too much reading I know.
With 2 SCU's you can have HF on one and use a transverter port on the other and do BOTH HF and VHF/UHF with a transverter at the same time!
Also the 6600 has TWO transverter ports - This makes it very simple to connect two transverters and easily do full duplex satellite ops. This can be done with the 6400, but is more involved, requiring additional switching, etc.
Although I am a middle level contester when I have time, I find that having 4 slices on my 6500 (precursor to the 6600) is VERY handy when doing digital modes - I can monitor multiple bands at the same time, even while tuning on CW or SSB with the third or 4th slice.
It is also VERY handy working splits - I can do full DX splits on two different bands at the same time. The other day I was set up with splits for VP6D on 20 SSB and 17 CW at the same time using two panadapters and four slices. Slick! Try that on any other rig! There may be others that can imitate it, but none that are as easy!
Ken - NM9P
I don't know who is aying that the ant tuner in the 6600 is not a good one? It is as good as most others.
The fan in the 6600 and the 6400 make less noise then the 6500 because they run at slower speeds and are larger. You have to really listen to hear them. I have a 6500 pre owned and it has been great. I do hear the fans but I also understand that it needs cooling. Small fans = noise of some degree.
Fan noise on my 6400 is minimal and is covered by ambient shack noise, especially the computer case fans. The 6400 is seems much quieter than my 6300.
The Sherwood numbers are interesting but are the result of specific and standard test procedures and I doubt many of us ever encounter similar scenarios. Maybe in a multi station/op contest but how many of us routinely operate in that environment? I don't think a few dB matter once you are in the F6K family.
Is it complicated to rig a keyer then to the laptop and work CW from another room/country/planet :-)?
FRS is making V3 optional – no one is forcing anyone to upgrade. You are not paying a yearly fee, so the choice is totally up to each user.
FRS’s products are designed for people who want to enjoy the radio hobby to communicate, truly a plug and play radio you can enjoy. Anan was mentioned – the ideal radio if you want to be a firmware tester and don’t mind compiling a new version every month.
I’m really surprised that one very important fact was not mentioned. While Flex’s older radios like the 6300 & 6500 are compatible to V3, their functionality is limited due to having only 1 SCU. If my understanding is correct, this would limit multi-client operation to only one band at a time.
1) 6600 for all the reasons above. 2 SCU, more ports, etc etc.
2) Go non-M model and spend the money to get a separate maestro
While you may not have a reason to initially having the maestro separate means you can take it out on your back deck. As long as you have a network you can run your radio.
To me that is the biggest selling point.
I have my 6600 (non-M) in a utility shed where it is cool and dry. I hardly ever see it. I run SSDR over hardline network or over WiFi like I am now on my laptop listening to 40m CW as I type this.
I have a separate Maestro. I've pulled it outside to my deck and it works great. Like having the radio right there.
So that's my advice:
Mark - WS7M
The future capabilities as my stations change is also appreciated.
Does it really matter, as I’ve not had any signal report differences between the various Flex-6000?
Presently a lot of my daily QSOs are done with a 6300 as I’m running background digital while doing other things.
I am considering purchasing the FLX radio too, but the main question is about the preselectors.
I am cw operator DX hunter and contest man and I life in the big city, so what addition Will I have when i will decide to order the 6600? Instead the 6400?
In additional i would like to say that i am blind operator, and i have tested the SmartSDR for IOS and dogparksoftware on Mac computer and there are most accessible with Screen Readers such as VoiceOver build in Apple products. M antenna system is very simple due to administrative restrictions, so I have the gp7 and simpler dipole for 80 meters. The most important thing for me is the receiving capability, flexibility of configuring the audio such as ESSB, morse keying remotely and remote operation.
What I have learned is receive Antenna bandwidth/tuning has a huge impact on the Flex since it has such a wide range of operation. I have a single antenna today with narrow bandwidth on each band aided by a tuner. Ideally I need a second antenna or more, or a receive antenna with wide bandwidth to take full advantage of the Flex.
Apart from that, as others have said, both are great receivers and low noise/spurious transmitters. I've owned the 6700 since first delivery and it is great. It is designed well for forms of remote operation.
Single or dual concurrent receive is the main difference, which means using two DIFFERENT antennae at the SAME time. Also as a city dweller, in a restricted environment, the dual receivers would be great if the currently available diversity receive option included the noise suppression pioneered by their previous series.
*** Is there anyone out there that can build a voice/JAWS controlled client and are there any grants available for doing so? *** p.s. This includes FRS to receive funding! Seems to me this could include the military
de Roger W6VZV