Flex hatred by other amateur radio operators

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When you mention you are using a Flex radio most non Flex owning hams are supportive or neutral.  But a few hams get really angry like you desecrated their mother's grave.  Has anyone else ran into this?
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Jerry Wilk

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Posted 3 years ago

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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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I have been 'playing' radio for very nearly 60 years and I have never come across 'hatred' for any radio I have built or owned, Certainly had some disparaging comments about one or two many years ago but the only comments I had about my Flex 6300 are interest and compliments about the audio, which in my case, having only 1 vocal cord, is nice.

In the same way that I cannot understand why people of different religions persecute others who have different beliefs, I cannot understand why anyone would have 'hatred' of Flex radios.

Jealousy I can understand.

For me the answer to someone expressing hatred of my radio is simple - change frequency, end of story.

Tim
(Edited)
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Tim, I didn't want to comment, but I fully concur with your opinion on this issue
and I just can't resist making a comment here:

I give lectures about SDR's and digital modes in my club and have written a
lot about them in forums and I always tell my fellow hams to try new technology in ham radio but also keep their old radios, because after all SDR technology is not really portable (my KX3 is an exception) or mobile and there are some hams who repair and modernize "old" radios like a Drake line and are more often on the air and better operators than I am.

Besides being a full time ham I am a blue water sailor, and if you never have seen "hatred" or "jealousy" about immaterial things you have never been in the yachting community ;-)

73, Alex - DH2ID
(Edited)
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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Alex - thanks for your comment. Never been a 'blue water sailor' but in my youth had several motorbikes, last one being a Laverda Jota - used to get lots of jealous remark about that one!

I can easily remember the transition (by some) from home brew or modded ex army radios to the Black Box(es) in the late 60s/early 70s. I also remember the arguments about SSB - we had a very active top band net when I was a lad - in fact hearing people on top band on a crystal set at the age of 11 was what first got me interested in Ham radio.

If hatred could be abolished what a lovely world it would be.

Tim
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Walt - KZ1F

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Ah, the conversations at the Wickford Yacht Club.
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DrTeeth

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This whole concept of hating others who are different is, I would imagine, a massive sociological topic. I cannot think of anything more pathetic than for somebody to get riled by another's choice of radio. It is like hating people who have a different favourite colour to one's own.

It is quite strange that Flex gets rid of the knobs, then has to reintroduce them (via Maestro) to improve the experience.

I still PMSL with all the comments about 'knobs'. It never gets old to somebody with a British sense of humour. I doubt my American cousins can see the funny side of the "Carry On" films at all.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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It's called tribalism.
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Barry N1EU

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Yup
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Duane, AC5AA

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Carry On Cleo - one of my all-time favorites!
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DrTeeth

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Duane, I hereby declare you an honorary Brit...no insult intended ;-).

An American friend of mine also has a British passport as he was born in Hampton Court Palace when it was a hospital in WW2. That is almost royalty, hi hi.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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That is such an awesome place, Guy. My wife and I spent a couple of weeks at the Mellenium, I believe that was the name, a couple of years ago and toured England and Paris. Likely next year we'll go to EU for a month, make new friends, visit new countries, and no, Maestro will not be joining us. See Dan's comment below.
(Edited)
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Tim VE6SH

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Guy, Canadians and transplanted Brits will get it!

73

Tim VE6SH/G4HUA
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Lawrence Gray

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About all I hear is unsolicited, glowing compliments for the high quality of my SSB audio.  I have gotten them from DX operators during contests--they take the time to stop and comment on my signal.  I've never heard any negative comments, other than kidding about the lack of knobs.  No knobs needed here and no use for a Maestro.  I'd rather have a second Flex.

Larry, KC1DAD
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David Warnberg

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I'm with you Larry.... I usually don't mention what I'm using until they either
a) make comment on how well my rig sounds... or
b) they ask

But not run into any negativity yet... but sure it's out there.. 
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Steve W6SDM

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Guy got it right when he said it was sociological.  It's not just the type of radio that some operators take difference to - it's can be anything.   I hear complaining about contest operators, DXers, etc.   There seems to be some sort of human gene in humanity that invokes the need for compliance and some of us have more of it than others.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Animals, could be squirrels or people, have an innate fear of others things not of their pack or tribe or family. This is a survival mechanism. This is less sociology (I was a sociology major as an undergraduate) than it is biology or, in humans, anthropology. What's interesting is the title of this thread, specifically the first two words. My experience is nobody hates FRS or the radio. They may not share the emotional bond some users have with it though. But if an OP waxes on about the waves of euphoria washing over him from his radio, that likely would elicit a less than positive reaction. That's not a reaction against the radio, more reaction against the op.

Where I am going with this is that perceived reaction likely is self inflicted.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I think the whole "knobs vs. no-knobs" misses the point.
The point of SDR, and the 6000 series in particular, is performance, flexibility, expandability, quality of receiver and transmitter, digital audio interface, etc.

It is what happens INSIDE the radio that matters oust, not how you control it OUTSIDE. One advantage to the flex, however, is that it is much easier to interface with the outside world for digital modes or external controllers, which makes it the best of both worlds. Or at least it has the potential to be, once people catch on to the reality that the computer is an integral part of the modern ham shack, and that running a variety of utilities is a valid way to ad value and control to our rigs.

But...the vitriol against other rigs, from both sides, is silly and needs to fade away. Each operator will choose whichever type of equipment they prefer. Who am I to call someone names or question their intelligence, their character, or their lineage, simply because they prefer a different brand or type of radio?

Ken - NM9P
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Jerry Wilk

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It all come down to the fact or probability that all amateur radios in a decade from now will be SDR or SDR hybrids.   That scares the hell out of a few of the more conservative (old fashioned) hams I'm sure.  Technology always moves forward and never backwards.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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In the early days of SSB, there were great wars between the "purist" AM'ers, and the "Donald Duck talkers."  

Of course, SSB sounded like Donald Duck when tuned on rigs with old style BFOs and not true product detectors. It took quite a while for SSB to catch on, in spite of its obvious advantages over AM (most of the time).  It took advances in technology - filters, product detectors, improvements in AGC, etc. before SSB became king.

(We still have groups who love AM for both nostalgia and fidelity.  And we have ESSB adherents who love to push the envelope to see how much fidelity they can squeeze out of the bandwidth formerly taken up by a mere "communications quality" AM signal.  Some of those signals are amazing.)  

There was also a great contest between "Phasing vs. Filtering" methods of generating SSB.  The phasing method came first and offered greater fidelity.  But it was more difficult to keep bandwidth under control.  When quality mechanical and crystal filters were finally designed, the filtering method began to take over.  But not without a lot of controversy and arguments between adherents of both methods.

What is interesting now, is that the phasing method has returned.....
First in a series of phasing direct conversion receivers publicized in QST.
Then in companion transmitters by the same group of amateurs.
Now it has returned in full force in the mathematics of I/Q derived SDR radios.

What goes around, comes around!  I am now almost old enough that I am seeing old things coming around for a second time...(Just look at the way some of the kids are starting to dress.  Some of the styles look like what we wore in JR/SR High in the 70's!)

Indeed, technology drives change, but there is a difference between change and transition.  Change is easy, but when a company, community, school system, church, or hobby begins to transition from one way of doing things to another, there is always an emotional dimension.  Even positive changes can involve major, sometimes even irrational emotional impacts, often leading to resistance.  

Some of that involves grieving the loss of the familiar, and the fear that the individual will be unable to function in the new system (not be able to learn how to adjust important parameters without knobs, for example).  Most people do not fear the change as much as they fear being left behind by the change, or rendered totally obsolete.

Other people, however embrace the change with an open heart and mind, and relish the opportunity to learn new skills..... at least they do until they begin to age, their mind starts to slow down, and they have more difficulty learning new things.  Then they become just as fearful of change as the other group!

Right now, at only 57 years, I am still in the group that embraces the change.... But I pray that I will always be gracious to the others who have difficulty with it.  (I also pray that when I become one of those who have difficulty with change, that others will be gracious with ME!)

Have fun....it is amateur radio.

Ken - NM9P
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DrTeeth

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What an incredible post...so true. Maybe because I am 57 too.

Cheers, Guy
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Bob G W1GLV

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Hey, I'm 74 and I always embrace change. Change is good it keeps you young. Hi hi
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Tom

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I've worked in technology for over 25 years - it's the same backlash you get from a new way of doing anything. Reminds me when we turned voice calls from TDM to IP packets. Voice people went nuts and didn't want anything to do with it. Now they don't have a choice or they use old, vintage TDM PBXs. 20 years from now any superhet will be vintage.
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W7NGA

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Just an observation ... hams tend to be rather boring. You want to be a better ham radio operator, then put the Flex away, stay off these forums, and go live an interesting life so that you can come back to amateur radio and share something tantalizing and enlightening with strangers. Geez ... amateur radio could be so interesting and of such value, and yet we argue about knobs and $300 headphones. 73's ...

W7NGA  dan
San Juan Island, Wa.

- "looking for early check-ins to the early check-in edition of the early check-in net"
(Edited)
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W7NGA

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I doubt if those headphones cost $300 and they are probably uncomfortable ... but I can just feel the electrifying excitement of amateur radio in the air. 
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Looks like my first set.
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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I gave a detailed functional presentation on flex, various clients including Maestro to the NCCC.  It was interesting the observations that came out of the reactions.
  As with many other things, most of the animosity eminates from a lack of understanding of the technology.  the transition from SuperHet tech to SDR will be difficult for many operators as it begins to entrench itself.  there are many in the contest community who stick with a particular logger long past its useful shelf life because they dont want to learn more key strokes resulting in a lower score.  So they stick with the same old thing.. until the car passes them up and they either jump on or get off completely.  I think most of what folks would perceive as "hatred" is a lack of understanding and an unwillingness to adapt and change.  Sooo.. Flex has them covered.. and along comes the Maestro.  A client that gives them the familiar interface they are accustomed too..  yet is indeed just another client for the flex 6000.  The contest wins are coming in.  The hardliners are starting to see the potential.  just give it a little time and the transition will happen organically.. its happening already.
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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I thought this was interesting. I see W9WZE twice on the QSL wall.

W9WZE USA flag USA

HALLIGANS HALLICRAFTERS
(more info on qrz.com)

That leads to this: http://www.w9wze.net/

Well that was fun. Love those old magazine covers. QST used to have a classic look and feel. Now it's all too modern and noisy. I hate it. (just kidding)

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Mike W9OJ

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Neighbor complaining about TVI.

Mike W9OJ
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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I've not experienced any "Flex hate", though I've read a bit of it from a couple of fools on eHam.net.  Normally what I get is either a bit of envy, or the inevitable, "I don't think I could get along without knobs."  Of course, I hardly spend any of my time on SSB, and that's limited to "59 Iowa" type QSOs.
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James Kennedy-WU5E

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There is a age and education level in the Ham Community that don't understand or will never except that SDR radios any good. The main question I get when I answer a CQ wow you have a FLEX "how do you like it" is the question I get all the time. I answer the same way all the time , for 20 years owning a rice box radio with knobs. This radio is the best ever made as of right now. I contested with 3 level deep menus that has very wore me out and discourage me from trying to win. Another WOW moment  and from many "DX Police" when I first got into contesting 11 years. +RX ,one click fixed my 3 menu deep if you listened to FT4JA first day on the air the DX Police was having a hay day on the menu issues and uneducated.

So if every contest savvy ham would educate the hams so the DX Police will not eat them alive on the air.

Jim- WU5E 

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Mark - WS7M

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I don't do voice much... Never did like the sound of my own voice... but one of the few times I got on 20m voice I found guy with a pretty strong signal racking up contact after contact so I gave him a call. He came right back and said, WS7M... nice signal, nice audio de MYCALL got you 59 what rig you using? I came back and said I got you 59 also. I'm on a Flex6500. He immediately came back and said, oh... one of those SDR toys eh? Well it sounds ok but still a toy in my book. He said it with a kind of nasty slant to it. So I came back and said, Roger that. It may be a toy but it just showed me that you are putting out a 4.5 khz wide signal so you might want to check your audio if you have a way to do it on that rig. He came back rather flustered and asked how I could tell his audio was so wide? I said simple. the radio shows me the full spectrum of 20m if I want it to so I can see exactly the shape and size of every signal I can hear.

It kind of shut him up about the flex and he went away a little less full of himself. On his next call his signal was a little less wide.
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W3DCB

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Good going!  de W3DCB  Daniel
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Michael Coslo

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Ever since I got my Flex Radio, I have seen that many many Hams have severely terrible signals, I can verify it by the waterfall, and the audio quality of the Flex Radio confirms it. 


The inherent superiority of SDR was proven to me a couple years ago, when I first fired up my Softrock RXTX. 


That 100 some dollar kit sounded better than anything else I had heard to date. 
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Jim Jerzycke

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Yep, and it's especially fun to see just how w i d e the ESSB guys are!

- Jim
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Walt - KZ1F

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Yep, and I can see why and how calling out all these people, with gloats and righteous indignation will put you on the tops of their Christmas card list. Again, self inflicted.
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Mark - WS7M

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I was actually quite nice in my comment to him... just letting you know my "toy" is seeing your signal as pretty wide... Can't quite figure out how thats "calling out" and being gloating and righteous... But each sees it how they see it.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Mark, if you had not had the panadater, you would have never known. And would not have mentioned it.
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Mark - WS7M

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Agreed Bill, but I still don't see my response as "calling out" and "gloating". I would have told him his signal seemed wide regardless of his "toy" comment and I was and would have been respectful about it.

Attitude runs rampant in the world. I'm 59, I know what I'm good at but I don't walk around thinking I'm the best. I was raised humble and with the mind set that if I didn't have something positive to say, then don't say it. So making the wide comment above was a stretch for me in the first place. But I considered how much I'd like to know if I have something set wrong so I offered up my perception.

Without anyone being in on the QSO above it is difficult to convey the tone and manner in which it was conducted. I tried my best not to insult him as he did to me and my choice of radio. I admitted that my "sdr" could be a "toy" but this toy was showing his signal had some issues.

Yes you could probably say I could have done better and not reacted or mentioned "toy" in my response. Agreed. I go away admonished and will try to do better in the future and overlook such comments.

I wish more hams did the same. As I said... attitude runs rampant...
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Lawrence Gray

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I've sent ham operators screenshots of the received signal from their rigs on two occasions.  Both times I received thank you emails.  Neither operator knew that their signals were so wide.  One had just had his K3 "repaired" because of this issue and was interested to see that it had apparently not been fixed.

There is a percentage of hams that tune up on a busy frequency, act like bullies in DX pileups, splatter the air, etc.  It is Pareto's 80-20 rule in action.  Most hams are fine and are interested in knowing how their rig sounds/looks on the air.

Larry, KC1DAD
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David Warnberg

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Mark, I see it no differently then someone mentioning that "I think you have a little RF in your signal, might want to check that" or any other observation on a transmitted signal.. we just get to see the signal when many others do not...

my  2 cents

73's

David
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David Warnberg

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Mark, I see it no differently then someone mentioning that "I think you have a little RF in your signal, might want to check that" or any other observation on a transmitted signal.. we just get to see the signal when many others do not...

my  2 cents

73's

David
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Lee, N2LC

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Ha ha - "..I'm 59.."

I'll be 59 in a few weeks. 
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K1DBO

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Right... they call us out for our lack of buttons, but they hate us for our panadapters.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Um, every major brand of ham transceiver has a panadapter, most can even be displayed on a jumbotron. As exciting as it may be to think they are all green with envy, it is probably picking up from the op that they must be or are expected to be green with envy that they 'hate'.

Don't get me wrong, there is much to like in the 6000 series. It's this "don't hate me because I am beautiful" nonsense that, in my experience, is what causes the eye rolls and attitude.
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Michael Coslo

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True enough Walt, but I trust you are not saying that they are anywhere even close to the Flex. multiple panadpters. 

As for your idea that the reason some hate Flex radios is laid directly at the feet of the Flex owner, I heard  most of my flex hatred long before I ever got one. No input from me needed.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Ted Cruz has said that, while at Harvard Law School, he would only study with those fellow students that did their undergrad at a REAL ivy. The issue wasn't no one else was worthy of being at Harvard Law, the issue is that to Ted Cruz no one else is worthy of his time or consideration. The issue is with Cruz, not the rest of humanity.  And with that, I will refrain from commenting on the subject.  (Hooray Hooray).
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K1DBO

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My statement about the panadapter was really in reference to the comments about folks who have them pointing the ugly signals that others are broadcasting.  

I dont think they are green with envy.  Most folks like their station just the way it is.  Telling someone they're ugly just isnt polite... even if they ask ;)
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Michael Coslo

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Something tells me that that post was supposed to go to another list, Walt. Otherwise this dumkoff has no idea what you are talking about.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Mike, perhaps Ken, below, said it better. It was relevant, even though I said I was done with this topic. It was a metaphor, an analogy. Personally, I think anyone who gets into Harvard, either as an undergrad, grad, HLS, or HMS has got some serious credentials. That someone would feel everybody there was an equal and proceed on that notion, that would be a reasonable assumption and a great default position to take (in life in general). That someone would take the opposite view (TC in this case), that virtually nobody there was their equal or, put differently, virtually nobody was as good as them, that is a really precarious position to take and one that alienates rather than embraces. In the last 3 or so years I've been on here I've noticed there is a strong undercurrent of rhetoric that alienates. So that particular post was intended to be, rather than an abstract observation, a case in point. My hope was people might reflect on it (independent of political leanings) and put a face on rhetoric that likely would seriously alienate others. And even though you might not have ever said anything worthy of attitude sent your way doesn't mean the person you're talking to or qso'ing hasn't previously been subjected to it and that was set them off. Sort of guilt by association.

Ken, I liked your version of it better :-)   .-  .-.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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LOL... Walt,
Your previous post was a bit cryptic...but I got it.  

(My dad used to throw me curve balls like that all the time.  I'd say to myself, "What the heck did THAT mean?"  After I thought about it a little, then I would start laughing...or thump my forehead...."D'oh!"  <grin>
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Michael Coslo

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We have to remember though - I'm intellectually challenged. The fasballs go right over my head.
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Mike - WB8CXO

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Right... Just tell any of the career ragchewers on 75 or 40 meters running "legal limit" that he's splattering and see how that goes. It will be ugly!
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Michael Coslo

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Weird Ham Radio Story. I was operating 20 meters QRO in some contest or another, I'd ask if the frequency was in use, and some guy would always say, The frequency is in use. He followed me up and down the band. Finally, I decided that no one owns the 20 meter band, so I started calling. People were coming back to me, and then he started complaining about my signal, saying I was running too much voice compression. I chaecked, and wasn't running any, and I knew my signal was clean. So I kept working, and he kept interrupting. So I told him if he would just be patient, I'd work him too. That got him going, and he started swearing at me. Then he tried jamming me. Fat chance with me at full legal limit at our club contest site. 

Then the goofball tried recording me calling CQ (which verified I had a good clean signal) and playing it back. So I had a remote voice keyer for the next ten minutes. 

Finally, he gave up.
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Walt - KZ1F

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And without you even telling him, he knew how had one of them new fangled Flex 6000 that just tasked him to make your day miserable. Just ribbing you Mike. I know there are people on here just cursing the fact Flex 6000 owners are subjected to such treatment by all those darn haters out there that go to such extreme lengths to make our days miserable.

Some times I do get sufficiently discouraged I try to determine how many thousands of dollars I have spent on the chase for 3 sec qsos around the globe.
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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That was a couple years back, and I was using a 756 pro 3 at the time - at least this time I got the joke 8^)

When the other Mike noted how the rag chewers get spun up, it just reminded me of the people who take umbrage at contesters and contesting. 

As the Chairman of the PAQSO party, I've been invited to "go die in a fire" a few times. 
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Walt - KZ1F

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That was good Mike...Wow, where have I been for the last 3 days?
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W7NGA

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I have only heard the ESSB crowd disparage Flex users because the Flex audio is lacking to the very critical ear. The harsh reality is that the Flex 6000 audio is good, but not great. The best sounding audio is clearly from ANAN and the Flex 5000. Just listen to both Sunday nets on 20-meters. With a critical ear, I have yet to hear great, great audio from the 6000 series. And yes, I know you are all getting rave reports vis-a-vis your 2.7kHz audio and Heil Pr-40 punch. I am referring to high-end AM and ESSB clarity where something is lacking, and I haven't been able to identify the weakness. It's good to remain objective however ... and continually seek improvements.

W7NGA  dan
San Juan Island, Wa.
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DrTeeth

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Really...are you serious? Complaining about high-end clarity? I really do not think that this is an issue at all. Complaining that my 20 KHz SSB signal might not pass muster to an audiophile's ears is madness. I may be alone, but somehow doubt it, in not giving a flying fig that my ESSB audio is slightly rough at the edges. If only a critical ear is offended then I am more than happy.
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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I have yet to hear great, great audio from any Amateur radio.
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W7NGA

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Don't shoot the messenger ... put bias aside and listen to the somewhat non-partial reviewers. Personally, almost anything sounds well enough at 2.7kHz. On wide AM and ESSB algorithmic weaknesses surface ... and well, other systems seem to sound better. Sound more open ... more refined. 

Nothing wrong with being critical in saying your signal is adequate but nondescript. Like saying your CW keying is good enough .. but man, it doesn't swing

Full disclosure: I own a 6500 and really enjoy it. I also have a fairly critical ear and can hear slight echo on almost every 6000 series transceiver due to RF ingress. If you don't hear it, or don't wish to hear it .. I have no issue there. 

W7NGA  dan
San Juan Island, Wa.
(Edited)
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

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I am not shooting the messenger, I respect your opinion as it is. I just don't think your comments reflect facts. And who are the so called reviewers? I pay little attention to them for the most part, I trust my ears and I have heard some very fine audio from The 6000's and not so good, all depends on how they are EQed. 
It sounds like you have not been able to get your Flex sounding as you would like it, that's too bad. I got mine just the I want it, I'm glad of that.
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Those who have read my posts know that I am not a combative personality and try to interact with people respectfully at all times, even when there are differences of opinion.  

But I have occasionally encountered what I will term "anti-flex bias."  I think "hatred" is a bit extreme to describe what I have experienced.  Most of the time it comes from one of several sources:

1) Some are simply uninformed about how the flex really operates and make comments out of their ignorance. To those, I simply say something like, "You may have heard that from some folks, but that isn't the way I have experienced it."  If there are factual errors, I may correct them.  If they are merely describing a difference in preference, I will say something like, "That's the beauty of Amateur Radio. There are a LOT of really great radios out there,"  and I will move on to another subject, unless they want to ask more questions about my set-up.

2) There are others who have had a negative experience with Flex Radios....either some problem they had that wasn't fixed to their satisfaction, or some feature that was absent when they purchased their rig and they were not willing to wait for software updates, or they just couldn't adapt to the way the Flex operated - perhaps they didn't get a FlexControl Knob and hated using a mouse for EVERYTHING.  To those, "I am glad you found a rig that fits your needs.  it sounds good."

3) Some are fixated upon one feature that is available in a competing rig - Adaptive pre-distortion, Noise blanking, Direct FSK RTTY, a particular interface for external equipment, etc., and NOTHING else will do.  I don't argue with these guys.  They have an axe to grind, and if I argue, I know where they are going to grind it.  So I move on to another subject.  If they persist in wanting to continue their diatribe, I may say, "I can see this was really frustrating for you...I hope you can find (or, I am glad that you found) something that really works for your situation......Tell me about something you really enjoy in the hobby."  if it is apparent that all they enjoy doing is dwelling upon their own frustration and taking it out on others, I will just excuse myself.... "Hey, it has been good to talk with you.  But I've got to run.  Have a great day."  

4) A couple of ESSB guys have very specific expectations as to how they prefer a rig to sound, especially when running 6-8 kHz wide, and find something lacking in the frequencies above 4 kHz.  (perhaps some slight artifacts generated by the Controlled Envelope SSB generation routine in the processor, even in the NORM position.  When I turn it OFF they report that it is "much better."  But some of these guys are using $10,000+ external processing equipment that is commonly used in commercial broadcasting stations and are the epitome of the "audiophile."   Sometimes I may ask them to comment on my audio and ask, "Other than junking my rig and buying a room full of new equipment, what would you suggest would improve my sound?"  If they have some EQ Adjustments to offer, I may try it with them just to see that it may sound like.  I have even saved a couple of those profiles, and sometimes run one when I talk to them again.  If they comment, for good or ill, I may say "This is the profile that you helped me to build a couple of months ago."  I have gotten some useful feedback from some of these guys.  Some of their distinctions I would never be able to hear.  (I am not sure how THEY do either.  But a few of these guys have VERY sharp hearing, and can tell if a station is even 10 Hz off frequency.)

5) Some folks are just jerks.  I don't engage with them.  I don't need to tell them they are jerks.  If they don't know it, they won't hear it.  If the DO know it, they won't change because I told them, because they WANT a conflict.  So I just move on.  Life is too short to waste fighting unnecessary and unproductive battles.

However most of the people I run into on the air are wonderful folks.  Many are curious about the Flex, how It operates and how I like it.  (though not as many as 2 1/2 years ago when I first got it.)  Many compliment my audio, whether it is my Rag-chew, DXing or Contesting profile.  And others don't really care what rig anyone uses, as long as they can understand what is being said, and the conversation is interesting.

So I don't let the few negative commenters get to me.  I like my new rig, I like the way it sounds, and what others think of it doesn't particularly affect me.  

A colleague once told me, "Never take criticism personally.  Every critic can be a teacher.  They will either teach you something about YOU, or they will teach you something about THEM.  Either way, it may be information you need to know." 

Ken - NM9P
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Ken,
Seems like a good approach to life in general....



Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
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Barry N1EU

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Dan, I'll look for you on 15m AM and invite you to do a double blind A/B comparison of tx audio of my ANAN-100D versus my Flex 6500 over the air.  Should be interesting.

Barry N1EU
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Both the reports and the audio recordings of my 6700 are more than adequate.

Actually they are pretty darn awesome for not having a rack of processing gear, and I often get unsolicited positive comments requesting to know what I am running.

But then I am using a Shure SM-5B with a pre-amp fed into the 6700, so the starting material is pretty decent.

I could definitely tweak more and have the outboard gear available to push things pretty far into the pro-recording sort of world, but haven't found the difference worthwhile (perhaps yet?).

For what it is worth I sure didn't the same sort of reports from the included hand mic <grin> .

73

Steve K9ZW

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Rick Williams

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I spent a fair number of years in the high end audiophile world, both recording and reproduction and there is a point where this whole discussion moves from the demonstrable to that of personal opinion.   

To put things into perspective, I personally know people who have $250,000 plus sound systems installed in their homes.  Quad amp systems with amps costing $30k ea, turntables at $5-8k, whole wall electrostatic speakers, $18k pre-amps, $1500 headphones, etc. and at the end of all that are a pair of ears and everyone's ears are different.  

It is a fair statement to say that everything that is between a person speaking and the person listening influences the quality of the audio.  If a person listening claims that the signal is lacking, then a valid question is, "what are you listening with?"  It really becomes a never ending circle of one up-man-ship. Then, at the end of it is the real killer, personal preferences.  Who knows, maybe there is a niche market for audiophile quality ham radio transmitters.  That would be fun to watch.  
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Rick Williams

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I spent a fair number of years in the high end audiophile world, both recording and reproduction and there is a point where this whole discussion moves from the demonstrable to that of personal opinion.   

To put things into perspective, I personally know people who have $250,000 plus sound systems installed in their homes.  Quad amp systems with amps costing $30k ea, turntables at $5-8k, whole wall electrostatic speakers, $18k pre-amps, $1500 headphones, etc. and at the end of all that are a pair of ears and everyone's ears are different.  

It is a fair statement to say that everything that is between a person speaking and the person listening influences the quality of the audio.  If a person listening claims that the signal is lacking, then a valid question is, "what are you listening with?"  It really becomes a never ending circle of one up-man-ship. Then, at the end of it is the real killer, personal preferences.  Who knows, maybe there is a niche market for audiophile quality ham radio transmitters.  That would be fun to watch.  
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Mark - WS7M

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Spot on comment Rick! Funny you mention e-speakers, back in the very early 70's a co-worker at my fathers company, left the company and started a business creating very expensive e-speakers. I was in a rock band at the time so I was building my own speaker cabinets. One day my father took me over to listen to these things and while they sounded good, I couldn't see them at their price being that much better than the little stereo speakers I used on my small turntable.

Just another point that we can only perceive things in "the eye of the beholder"....
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Michael Coslo

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Arch - Rick -  Noooooo! The last thing I want ot hear is Hams expounding on their gold plated fuses, Laminar streamers and pebbles that make your flex sound better.

Sometimes I am glad that I cannot hear much at all above 2KHz, and that I have 3 separate tones of tinnitus, two high pitched ones, and one that sounds like a diesel engine idling outside the house.

That way everything sounds bad to me. Like a cracked speaker whether its coming form a cracked speaker or a 750 K ubersystem.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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In my opinion, a Flex can sound as good as any radio out there if set up well. Dave W2OX is a prime example of what could be. I find the Flex to be very natural in sound unlike many Anan's with their audio very loud and difficult to listen too, they sound like someone is yelling at you,,not nice. And many of them are using virtual audio or expensive audio rack gear, a lot of outboard processing is used. So it makes no sense to me that the audio from a Flex 6000 can not be some of the best. I am not defending Flex here, I just disagree.
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AA0KM

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This whole post should be put in the SDR History books.

Imagine 10 to 15 years where it will all be.

Thanks Flexradio and the Pioneers of SDR  that made it all happen for good or bad.

Technology marches on and SDR allowed a lot to change and more to happen. 

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Scott N8UMW

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I agree. I've never seen a thread this long put forth to helping one with an actual problem. Time to can it.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!

Robert Burns, "To a Louse"
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Lee, Elmer

  • 680 Posts
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Think I saw this on a curvy road in southern Indiana once followed by Burma Shave
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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That GM lingo is tough to follow.
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Kevin Va3KGS

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As an Instructor, I use the 6500 as a teaching aide.  Didn't even pull out the tube and dial radio.  The students all love the new stuff we play are playing with today.  However, I did tell them to start out with the older rigs first, because it makes scene ($$). It's all about educating the masses!  My back-up radio is the 5000 and its back-up is the IC7000.  All great toys in my box.

Cheers

Kevin Va3KGS

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sky

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I could never go back to the knob controlled radio world.  I am now devoted to the intuitive software control SmartSDR interface of Flexradio.
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Burt Fisher

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A review  of the 6400  was posted on Facebook today, it was well written but not complimentary and the author was attacked, mocked, and derided. That's why Flex is hated by other amateur radio operators. Rather than debate the facts many attacked the poster.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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The so called Facebook review was more of a poorly written rant piece about band labels, MARS licenses, voice keyer and price rather than a well written cogent review of radio performance. Most comments were not personal but rather were factual rebuttals. I would especially point out Ria’s very cogent reply.

FYI I bought a 7300 - it was unusable at my location due to substandard front end design. Thinking I had a defective one, I tried a second one. Again it was overwhelmed by local RF. So,it went back too. I would not write a review other than suggest that I personally would not waste my own money on a 7300.

While every operator has different needs, obviously the author was much more concerned about his operating convenience rather than radio performance as clearly the 6400 will easily outperform the 7300
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Burt Fisher

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Is there a reason to use inflammatory words like rant and "so called?"  My comments defending the author from  attacks by Jim A. were removed. Is there censorship involved?  Rather than staying to the facts why was it necessary to minimize his comments?
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Bob G W1GLV

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If you were able to question the KNOB guys in person you would find that they hate computers. In there defense they will bad mouth Flex radios. It's only natural. There's a certain percentage of people that hate change. I ignore them.
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Steve W6SDM

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With SDR, there is a learning curve.  You have to have some amount of computer literacy and even the ability sometimes to make square pegs fit into round holes.  Some folks just aren't up to that and would rather flip a toggle switch, tune the dial, and make a contact.

SDR gives the operator several advantages in contesting, DX, and digital mode operation.  This also annoys some operators who see it as unfair.

The truth is, Flex/SDR can be pretty simple or as complex as you want to make it.  The basic hookup isn't much more involved than hooking up an X-box.  Nevertheless, hooking a radio up to a computer frightens some people.

In the future, all radios will be SDR to some degree.  I don't believe the current climate bears as much hatred for Flex as it does for advancing technology.
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Craig Williams

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Usually ANAN operators bragging about their "pure signal".
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Lawrence Gray

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I do tend to agree with Burt that "Flexers" tend to push aside any negative comments about Flex products.  Let me be clear that I started with a Flex-1500, then moved to a 6300, and then my current 6500.  I am an SDR user and I am on the air every day.  

I purchased a 7300 and found it to be a terrific radio, particularly given the price.  I used it mobile, portable, and in the shack.   I bought it just to try it and found it to be a much better radio than most of the knob radios I have used.  We used a 7300 in one of the Field Day operating positions and experienced no issues with "front end overload" from the other nearby radios.  It certainly isn't a Flex, but it is not a bad radio.  The "out of the box" audio quality is very good, both on SSB and, surprisingly, AM.  With used ones down around $800, it is hard to beat for the price.

I recently bought a used ANAN 100D  just as an experiment.   I'm an engineer and IT guy, so I didn't find the setup quirks particularly difficult.  However, they would turn off many potential users.  I did find that the ANAN recovered audio on either SSB or AM was superior to the recovered audio from my 6500.   The noise reduction, particularly NR2, is superior to my Flex.  There is no discernible noise in the recovered audio.  In over the air "A-B" tests, I've been told that the ANAN transmit audio sounds "cleaner" and clearer, using the same headset for both radios and no external processing.  I know that audio quality is highly subjective, but 100% of the people hearing both preferred the ANAN.  Yes, I was very careful in setting up both audio chains.

During the recent ARRL SSB Sweepstakes event, I actually switched to the ANAN 100D because of the  superior noise reduction functions available in OpenHPSDR.  Improved ability to physically hear signals, regardless of receiver sensitivity numbers,  SO2R capability, or better GUI..., is the most important feature for me in contest operating.   In the particular conditions at my location, the ANAN's recovered audio for weak signals was better.

Anyone who reads the Flex community forum knows of the numerous comments posted over several years regarding the relatively poor performance of Flex noise reduction functions.  Both the Flex version of PowerSDR and the OpenHPSDR version have superior noise reduction functions.  This is simply a fact, acknowledged many times in this forum.  I understand that all software development has priorities and I expect that improved NR in SSDR/Flex will rise to the top eventually.  

In my own experience running a 135 person company designing and manufacturing complex, firmware driven products, objectively benchmarking our products against our competition was the key to improving our products.  Spending time pointing out deficiencies in competitive products, while ignoring your own product deficiencies is not a great strategy.

Flex-radios are great, but they are not perfect.  Competitive radios have some deficiencies in comparison, but they also out perform Flex-radios in some areas, such as noise reduction.

I have not personally heard any "Flex hatred" by other hams.  I've heard people talk about preferring knobs, which is fine, and probably the reason Flex brought out the new models.  Most of the AM operators I hear are using a Flex as a receiver, VFO, or driver.  SDR's, whether they have knobs, thin clients, or thick clients, are mainstream.   Anyone who "hates" another person based on the radio used is missing a few screws and is probably best ignored.

Larry, W1IZZ


(Edited)
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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Larry, well said.

Spending time pointing out deficiencies in competitive products, while ignoring your own product deficiencies is not a great strategy.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Very true, good thing Flex does not do that...
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Mark WS7M

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I have run into a few people that scoffed at my flex.  A few have called it junk but when I pull out a signal they can't even hear most shut up.

I hang out with a bunch of Anan  users and they stare at one pan all morning and wonder when 20 is open.  I watch it and tell them.

Anan is good radio.  So is Flex and you should pick what suites your style.  I personally use my radio remote a lot and there is NOTHING on the market that makes it so easy.
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Scott N8UMW

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I have a 6300 and a Anan 200D. I love them both. The Flex is awesome for remote operation, but once again, it's dead because of bad fans. When I replace them, it will be the fourth set. My 200D is not as simple and easy to remote, but I can do it. It has yet to fail. It just keeps going with no issues. That's my two cents.
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Mark WS7M

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That is sad about the fans.
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Mike - WB8CXO

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My 6700 was one of the first shipped 5 years ago and has been running 24/7 since on the original fans... Took it apart lately to blow the dust out and the fans all were spinning fine. Four dusty cat litter boxes in next room so it’s not a super clean environment. Guess it’s the luck of the draw cause I’ve already replaced the case fans in the PC I built in 2011. Go figure. Be glad it’s not the FPGA’s going bad out of warranty.
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Mike - WB8CXO

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When I first got my 100D had to take it apart to move a jumper to update the firmware. Fortunately the great guys who do the software figured out a way to eliminate that step. Good thing as it was a pita to open and close the case. Then there the numerous mods for updating the 100D and it can get pretty hot forcing some owners to modify it for better cooling. The 100D was a great science fair project which is great for those of us who like to mess with hardware. I trust the 200D and later models are more plug’n’play like all my Flex rigs have been.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I have filtered my case to stop any dust from entering the cabinet. I got the black air pureairapire filters from Walmart. Cut them to size. I opened the top and slid them in behind the breathing holes on the sides. I watch the radio temp and all is good. Depending on how dusty your room is you may need to change them more often. I change mine twice a year.
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Bill Roberts

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I have not run into real Flex hate but I have been surprised by the profuse "shame on Flex for not implementing adaptive predistortion" diatribes from Amman owners. I know a few guys on 7168 who obsess about it daily. Yuk!
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sky

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I call it Flex Derangement Syndrome.  A mark of a pathetic, hateful, lame brain.
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

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shame on them for not having multi client, thin client, and the best remote on the market.
But really, Anan had to have it because their IMD was terrible, till just lately. They really needed it.
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Dave

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I have run into this a little. I think they get a little hate because of being closed architecture. I most likely will not be modifying the source code of smart sdr. That being said the flex system Is nothing short of incredible. Nothing touches the remote capability. I think There is a group of amateurs that scoff at SDR technology in general. I have used Anan, Elad, and now Flex and have been told they are not “real radios”. SDR technology is the largest innovation to probably hit amateur radio in decades. I think some people just hate change.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Truly it is hard to separate anti-Flex comments in to whether they are a bad case of technology envy, brand-preference, Luddite mentality, troll antics, Lemming activity, Hypothetical Ramblings, or just negativism. 

Every radio choice is based on a personal decision on what the radio's pros/cons rationalize out to contrasted with other available options.  The choice "works" for that ham, in that place and time, as one size certainly doesn't fit all.

I bought one Flex-6000 from a fellow ham who was vocal about how he didn't like the radio, including posts here at this community.  It was smack talk, as the radio had been a "shack trophy" and had not been upgraded from the early version 1 software it shipped with.  I don't think it was even put on the air - yet they had a strong negative opinion.  That radio has been in daily use by a friend for a couple years.  

Yep, the "bad" radio that ham  "XYZ" lambasted while never actually using it is the daily rig for ham "ABC." a ham with enough other high end rigs that if any rig stands out it must be performing well (for him).

It would seem that a lot of what negativity you hear is (wish there was a gender-less clique to express this thought) falls into "penis envy" category.   Or online troll activity (take a look at eHam's SDR forum for oodles of that nonsense).

If you hear these self proclaimed oracles qualify with "according to my friend" "when I saw one in a friends shack" or other reframing rubbish they are revealing they have no primary knowledge of what they are talking about. 

 Personally my test on any piece of equipment is how does it perform for me, is it a robust solution, is it well supported, and is it in my budget.  FlexRadio scores very high on my personal metrics of evaluation.  

YMMV, as will your selection & grading of metrics should be personalized to your wants & needs.  That makes it all fun.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Paul

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Hi Steve, some interesting points. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter what the product is, there are always some people who delight in trying to wind up others who have bought it. One problem is that some products seem to attract a 'certain kind' of customer. In particular, some attract the slightly arrogant show-off types who can't resist flaunting their 'trophy' purchases. This seems to apply to most products; houses, cars, bikes, jewellery, etc - and, of course, radios. Sadly, I have come accross a number fellow Flex owners who meet that description. I believe it is this minority who provide the ammunition to the 'other side'.

It's just a radio, let's not fall out over it.
73, Paul
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Quite agree.  

When I had my Hilberling I received a lot of smack-talk about it, mostly from folks who never had a chance to operate one.  I only had one local ham come to my shack to try the rig out.   

Similar on the Flex-6700 - only a handful of area hams have checked mine out, and again only one (a different one BTW) operated it.

For the record, getting the most humble radio out there on the air & doing QSOs is a hell of a lot more rewarding than having one's only radio experience online or nostalgic reflections of days long past.  

Is it realistic to expect Flex-6000 owners to not be enthused, rather to somehow be pious & humble?  Not so much.

I ride motorcycles, and my present favorite is a Turbocharged Harley V-Rod Night Rod.  When I check out those forums they simply moderate out the trolls who complain that the engine/turbo work costs more than some entire bikes.   Maybe we're too kind as radio amateurs to shame our trolls?

I want to hear from the amateurs who have figured out a way to travel the globe, who make themselves part of DXpeditions, who put on-air time on radios that interest me, who excel personally, and who makes themselves amateurs that matter to our hobby.

These are people from who we can learn.  That learning certainly isn't going to happen wasting our time on the piss-ants any hobby attracts.  

73

Steve
K9ZW
Photo of Mike  W1BFA in Maine

Mike W1BFA in Maine

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Hey Steve..  read your post and had a little jealousy myself!  :-)  Last summer I had a Vrod turbo in the driveway here.  A few guys were riding and one of them with a dresser had some problems and stopped out front and I invited them into the driveway to troubleshoot.  I talked to the Vrod guy quite a bit.  His was a kit he added..  well done.  Looked nice and ran fine.  He said 100 ftlb plus?  :-)  I didn't realize Porsche designed the Vrod engines?  I'm a turbo guy from a ways back...  I showed him my Grand National (tweaked a bit) that ran high 11's on street tires.  No bike here anymore.  Had a bad stroke 10 years ago and after a few years of denial figured out I wasn't really safe on two wheels and quit.  Wife was happy!  I was one of those silly Beemer guys..
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Mike W1BFA in Maine

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I personally haven't run into any animosity on the air about the Flexradio products.  The only place I've seen it is occasionally online in discussion groups or social media which is where that fringe of folks seem to have gobs of "Keyboard Kourage" and can overcome the short man or short whatever syndrome they may suffer from  :-)  I've gotten questions about the Flex and favorable comments on nice audio and clean signal, more so on my 5K than the 6K. Gotta work on that.   I did have someone tell me I sound better on the 5K than the 6K but the 6K sounds more like me...  dunno how to take that one!  I say ignore the folks that get their jollies by pooping on your parade and enjoy the radio you have.  I believe this "online world" has given some folks the habit of being rude and uncaring of others feelings without the repercussion of a possible poke in the nose.
73  Mike
(forgot to add...  I've been poked in the nose and learned from it!)
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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I've run into a fair bit of flex hate - was even told that a Flex is not a radio by one guy I know. 

This is all just Ford versus Chevy syndrome. Guys (yea - mostly guys) are doing with their rigs what the lads at the corner gas do. Much of it is good natured ribbing, but unfortunately, many of us Hams get into what "real amateurs" are supposed to do. Interestingly, it is what they happen to be interested in.

Be it a mode that is supposedly superior, a particular type of antenna, power level, a person building their own equipment, or the brand of radio, there's always someone out there who knows better. 8^)

And then there are dummies like me that love to try out different equipment, works different power levels for fun, plays with different antennas, designs and builds stuff and enjoys trying out and using new modes of operation. 

I must be the worst Ham ever!
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Steve W6SDM

  • 625 Posts
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Dammit!  Ham radio just went all to hell when the FCC outlawed the spark gap.  Bring it back!
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Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3305 Posts
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Yea, I wonder what it was like when it was Drake Vs something else. Wonder what the arguments were then?
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Neil D Friedman N3DF

  • 149 Posts
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I was a Drake guy.  Hated Swan guys.  Envied Collins guys.  Still attend the annual Drake forum (along with any Flex forum) at Dayton.
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

  • 947 Posts
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Real Hams only use Coherers!
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Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3329 Posts
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While I really have little issues with other radios and I like many of them, I do have issue with the Anan company itself. This is a company from India starting an SDR radio platform without any software for their radio. So as not to invest in software development for their product they planned to use PSDR created by Gerald. As time has gone by DR. Pratt has continued to develop PSDR to take better advantage of the Anan hardware. And now we have HPSDR. I guess there are no laws stopping this because after all it is open source.

Many years have been spent in the development of HDSDR and all the versions there are. Maybe some day soon a new SDR company will start up and deside to use the latest software Anan uses.

But Anan is a radio company selling world wide, It would have been better if they developed their own software and call it their own. And leave PSDR to the experimental community, not for a company. Oh, but that would be expensive. And Anan is not interested in providing customer support.


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Michael Coslo

  • 947 Posts
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Speaking of support - I have always been impressed to the maximum by Flex's support. From what appears to  be zero support for Anan, and precious little from the other major players - I've always been able to deal with an actual person from FlexRadio Systems, and they've always taken care of the problem.

Speaking of which, a major shout out to Dawn, who helped me with a weird PayPal issue when I purchased my new system this week.