Flex 6800/6800M

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  • Updated 2 years ago
  • (Edited)
Given FRS' ability to rapidly design and produce new hardware product, I have to believe that by next year's Visalia or Dayton Hamvention, we'll start hearing more about a successor to the 6700. So, if my prediction is anywhere near correct, it may be helpful to FRS and its customers to have some idea as to what we want in a new flagship transceiver. 

I also think it's more productive for the user-base to present these ideas than for FRS to reach out with questions which would undoubtedly create even more insanity among the current user-base than what we've recently witnessed in the current 6400/6600 discussions. 

That said, here's what I would like to see in a 6800/6800M transceiver:

1) Tracking preselector.  Build upon the new contest-grade 7th-order BPF used in the 6600 and make it even more versatile by incorporating an automatically tracking preselector that mimics the excellent HEROS Cat design.  Presently, I use the HEROS unit with DDUtil and an ANAN 200D (but yes, I do own a 6700).  The HEROS unit tracks frequency through DDUtil and sets up an optimized BPF for every frequency of operation as tuning frequency changes.  Secondly, the HEROS creates notch filters on opposite HF bands for even more alternate band rejection. Of course, rather than use DDUtil, SSDR would manage all the tracking -- and allow the user to have complete control over BPF and notching functions.  It's the ultimate in front-end filtering.

2) Include a dedicated adaptive pre-distortion RF sample input. 

3) Allow for complete PA stage bypass.  The future with external amplification is with high-gain LDMOS (and equivalent) technology.  The newest LDMOS amps allow for 1-2 watts input to develop 1.5KW+ output power. When using these amps, a 100W PA is wholly redundant and extraneous to the RF amplification process.  While we here in the U.S. eagerly await a change to the FCC's 15 dB rule, many countries in the rest of the world do not have this egregious limitation. 

4) We need manufacturers to take a stand with the APP power connector.  I am not going to enter into a debate about the use of these devices on transceivers, but I would be surprised if any military/DoD operation would accept this connector in their specifications.  To the ARES/EMCOM crowd, pigtail adapters work fine.  I would like to see a return to the AMP Mate-'n-Lock or Molex style connector.  In the alternative, the APP should be recessed onto the PC board.  The chassis would have an integrated rectangular channel to eliminate all up/down and lateral movement.  Finally, a plastic or steel spring would be used to flip up/down on the back of the APP as a retention device.  This prevents accidental pulls. There's nothing that prevents using both the APP and Mate-'n-Lock together, in parallel on the rear panel.  Then, pick the connector of your choice.

5) Keep the power, mic, CW key and phone connectors on the front panel.  I realize the trend is to minimize manufacturing cost by placing as much as possible in a "no-wires" design on a PC board.  For those paying-up for a flagship transceiver, I think it's safe to say most owner's would pay extra to keep this convenience.

6) For the 6800 (non M version) please keep the small form factor (SFF) of the present 6700.  To keep manufacturing costs low in the new 6400/6600 series, FRS likely decided to keep a one box-size frame for all four models.  The extra size was needed to accommodate a Maestro-like panel, but that extra vertical space isn't needed in non-M versions.  Have a look at most ham shacks today, and we've got dozens of devices unlike the days when we may have only had a few pieces of gear. In my case, three 22-inch monitors alone consume a lot of upper desk space.  Rack mounting?  Sure, but I've already maxed out a lot of rack space.  Let's try and minimize the "RU" size when possible.

7) Faster boot time.  This probably goes with SSDR progress.  Current boot-time is painfully long and should compete with the likes of the IC-7300, ANAN 100/200 and SunSDR2-Pro -- all of which boot in under 5 seconds;

8) Cleaner switch-mode DC-DC converters and better EMC shielding. I admit, I sometimes obsess over stuff that doesn't affect normal operation.  But it unnerves me to see broad, switch-mode spikes meandering at the -130 dBM and some at -120 dBm level, even when they're spaced far apart with no antenna connected.  Let's try and do a better job with EMC at these low signal levels.  I do know it's hard when were dealing with such minuscule signals levels, but some other manufacturers' hardware does a better job in this area.    

9) Please keep PIN diode T/R switching!  I would hate to see a return to "K logic" as a cost cutting measure.       

Those are my ideas for future improvement in a new flagship transceiver.  What ideas do you have?

Paul, W9AC  

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Paul Christensen, W9AC, Elmer

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Posted 2 years ago

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
Let me be perfectly clear.  This post and the follow-up comments are pure speculations by the posters who have commented.  We have our hands full with the 6400, 6600, Maestro, PowerGenius and SmartSDR v2.x.