FLEX 6500 is a Contest Machine

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  • Updated 3 years ago

Wow I have been DX/Contesting for 15 year and knobs wore me out before the contest would end but not the FLEX 6500. It was a pleasure to work the CQ WW WPX only could dedicate 15 hours. I obtain 240k in point but this was the second major contest I ran with the 6500 and it's kicked butt for sure. The waterfall made it easy to find band activity. Thanks flex for making a killer contest machine.

Jim

WU5E


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James Kennedy-WU5E

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Posted 3 years ago

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Barry N1EU

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Jim, how exactly did knobs wear you out pre-6500?

Respectfully,
Barry N1EU
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James Kennedy-WU5E

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Barry , I started out contesting in VHF and UHF for 8 years and won the state of OK two years in a row with FT-847 and some kick ass M2 VHF/UHF stack.for 2001 and 2002. Then I started in HF and found out fast that I was way out my league! I knew I had to upgrade my radios and antennas. First was a IC-775DSP , then one IC-756-P2 and 1 P3 then Orion and Orion 2 with the RX-366 second receiver. I thought I best radio but duel knobs or multiple knobs try to tune in or hunt wore me out after 12 hours most of the time. I spent a lot of money finding what I thought was the right combination. I'm a radio Tech for the US Army for most of the SDR radio and even Harris HF radio. Then in 2012 5 months I had a training class on repair of some SDR and saw for the first time a FPGA in a radio and when I went to Dayton before deploying to Afghanistan I meet Flex and saw the 6000 platform I called my buddy ask him to sell all my radios while I'm deployed after I was in FOB Shank Afghanistan under a mortar attack  I ran back into the office and finished the order with FLEX. Now I don't is this answer your question but its my story HOOA!

Jim

WU5E

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Dale KB5VE

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Way to go Jim, I am on your team best radio I have ever set in front of including all the ones you mentioned and a few more!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Great Story Jim

Totally agree with you that the knobs can be fatiguing if you are only S&P for hours on end.   The Spectrum and waterfall really make a difference especially when looking for weak mults...

I am collecting a list of things that need to be improved in the Flex to make it the #1 contesting machine as I still think there are a number of things that need to be added to make it so...
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Mark Griffin

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Jim,
I would love to talk to you sometime about your setup for contesting. Do you use N1MM Plus? I currently use a K3, P3 with amplifier for contesting. Also, use N1MM Plus for logging. My main questions would be about what programs you are using on your computer for contesting that work with the flex.
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James Kennedy-WU5E

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no I don't use N1MM at all. I used N3FJP contesting logging software.
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Michael - N5TGL

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I used N1MM+ and it worked great.  I think for S&P ops, the Flexcontrol is a necessary item.  I also have 3 screens in use, but honestly I think it could be configured to work just fine with one screen and forcing "always on top" for n1mm.  The interface is so small you could drop it just about anywhere.  I do think that if a person wants to do serious contesting, 2 screens would make it much easier.  I have 3 because I can, ha!  Actually could put on a 4th screen, but have about run out of desk real estate without buying stacking monitor stands.  :)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Michael, like you,I have found the FlexControl Knob to be very valuable in S&P contesting.  I have grown to like it better than the knobs on legacy radios for several reasons:

1) The movement is less tiring because It is almost flat, with a slight incline.  It is less tiring on my wrist.

2) I can move it about the desk in order to find more comfortable positions.  A legacy rig is stationary and my had has to be in exactly the same place for hours in order to tune around.  With the FlexControl Knob my hand can move into different positions.  

3) My hand can virtually rest on the knob or right beside it where the control is very handy.

3)  There are additional functions available.  Customization is possible for each button.  This should be expanded further as well.

I haven't run a contest with my Hercules MIDI controller yet, but it should prove to be equally as effective, or more!  And it is even more flexible if you can do a little bit of programming....

But then again...I did S&P in the last ARRL DX contests CW & Phone using N1MM+ and the "QSY" arrow keys and hardly had to use the knob or mouse.

Ken - NM9P
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dj3cq

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Same as Mark: I'm a desperate contester and tried my brandnew 6.500 for the 1st time during Russian DX (SOSB 80m, cw). Using N1MM+, a Winkeyer, DDutil and an Expert 2K it was not exactly the perfect joy I normally have with K3/P3. But I have to say that my Flexcontrol is still missing and maybe things will improve after installing the knob.

We should discuss all the programms we are using for serious contesting in a seperate Thread, would be very helpful.

73, Jo
dj3cq
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Mark Griffin

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I am way too comfortable using my K3/P3 with N1MM Plus. I basically am a S&P operator when it comes to contests. My P3 sits on top of my K3 and makes it very easy to monitor everything. But one thing is this, I am only running one program which is N1MM Plus. I have the many different screens occupying a 23" monitor. I guess one can shrink just the bare necessities of SDR and N1MM Plus and have it work together. Would love to see more Youtube video's of those who contest using a Flex 6000 series transceiver. It's amazing how much you can learn by watching a video versus reading words. I agree with "Jo", I would definitely have to get a Flex control. I am way too used to using a knob.
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dj3cq

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When I stick to running there is not that much difference to the K3 as long as I don't need rit. S&p is a different story: The moment N1MM+ is running the mousewheel cannot longer finetune the frequency. That becomes a bit nasty during the hours... But now the Flexcontrol is on its way (they might have had a shortage) and I will try to improve things with Flexcontrol.

I have two 24"-LCDs in front of me, one for the MAC and one for Win7 on a different PC. When it comes to contest operation I switch the MAC off having both screens for the Win-PC. 
N1MM running on the left one with all the windows I'm used to, Smartsdr with DDutil and the Expert-Remotecontrol on the right LCD. 

Everything is wonderful as long as I don't have to touch the mouse :-)

73, Jo
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Jo,
Don't forget that yo can use the "Focus capture" setting on the Flex and N1MM+ that will allow you to set the "focus" to automatically shift back to the N1MM+ program after you have used the mouse on the Flex.  You can set the timing to either 100 ms. or 1100 ms.  at the longer setting, you can fine tune with the mouse for a second before losing focus.  it really helps.  You can also use the left-right arrows on the keyboard to fine tune in definable steps from within N1MM+

I did my last big contest with the 6500 and N1MM+ running exclusively S&P and hardly ever used the mouse on the rig.  And when I die, the focus went back to N1MM+ with no effort.
(Edited)
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dj3cq

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Mni tnx Ken, never thought abt. that, will try ...