Flex NB really needs improvement

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I have read posts on the forum before being critical of the Flex NB and NR not working.  Many times the Flex defenders swoop in and post contrary comments that take the posting off track.  Frankly, I could never really agree or disagree as I had no personal experience using the NB until now.

I have used a Flex long enough that I agree the WNB works well on the types of noise it was designed to mitigate.  However, my understanding is the NB should be mitigating pulse type noises.  This morning I awoke to a pulsing noise between 7140 and 7170.  You can see it clearly on the panadapter screenshoot attached.  I checked another receiver 15 miles away and it was also present at this other location so I know it is not confined to my QTH.

I tried to mitigate the pulsing noise using the Flex NB.  Regardless of the setting of the NB or the AGC-T it would not touch the noise.  I knew it would not work but I even tried the WNB with the same disappointing results.

I went over to my backup KX3 and pushed on the NB and it immediately removed the pulsating noise.  Yesterday a Drake TR-4 arrived that I had purchased for a friend.  I had hooked it up last night to test it so I thought now would be a good time to test if it's NB worked.  I was pleasantly surprised when I turned on the TR-4 Noise Blanker and the pulsing noise disappeared with no distorting of the audio from a VK station in QSO.  Understand that the TR-4 is about a 50 year old rig with tube technology.  I even filmed a video with my cell phone of the noise mitigation of the TR-4 Noise Blanker in operations but cannot post it here.

As I went to post this finding several other post from 4 years, 3 years, 2 years and up to 1 year ago turned up with exactly the same statement that the NB (NR) needs improvement.

I wonder why Flex has not been able to match 50 year old NB technology on current day radios worth thousands of dollars?  From the length of time that this problem has been posted one would think there has been enough time to gather and deploy the programming resources to fix the poor operation of the current NB.  Drake was doing it 50 years ago.  Elecraft is doing it on the QRP KX3.

Flex management you should really get serious about fixing the long nagging issue.
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John - K3MA

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Posted 2 years ago

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WW1SS - Steve

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Agree . . . That has been an issue since I purchased my first 6300 when they came out.
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Burch - K4QXX

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While the addition of the WNB was a huge improvement, the NB and NR on SSDR is average at best.  PowerSDR running on my old Flex 5000 was much better.  That's my only complaint about the new 6000 series radios.  If Flex can get the NB and NR fixed, the radio would be close to perfect for me.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I hope so to..Lol you guys should have tried using them before they improved them a long time ago, one thing I really do like is the way the NR works now, set at about 1 or 2 makes the band noise almost vanish.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
It is on our "to do" list.  Issue #5977 in the bug tracker.
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John Orjias

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it is the timeline about getting things fixed? i don't like having to turn the blanker off and then back on all the time to get it to catch up with changes
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Bill -VA3WTB

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This goes to confirm just how good the Flex is. The NB and the ANF are not working very well. Thanks to the great AGC-T and notch filters we can still enjoy out radios.

Could you imagine any other radio without a working NB or ANF? What if the 7300 had no working NB?
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John Orjias

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well to be honest i was not sure about it at first. i'm still in my 30days, i have discovered a lot of user issues on my end because of learning and a few bugs. honestly i was on the fence about whether to send it back and get the dx101mp or not. I talked to someone that owned both flex in the past and the new yeasu 101, (he now uses an ic7610) and he assured me not to get the 101, as it has lot of issues with it. So that put me on the fence about maybe sending back the flex and going with the 7610. But what sealed the deal for me today was this... Flex just emailed me and said they will ship me a new radio.  I'm sure some of the issues are bugs and not a defective radio, and i think the on-screen keyboard issue is also a bug, but we will see when i get the new radio. These bugs will not go away anytime soon. But the peace of mind it gives me that they did not even question it. That i did not even have to ask. That i don't have to box this up, ship it back and wait 2 weeks for a new one. The fact that they stand by their product. they did not tell me i was just an idiot that did not understand the radio, and they are sending me a replacement first with out me even asking for one. Makes me have faith, that while they may be a little slow on the bug fixes, i think in the end they will be fixed and this may really be the last radio i buy. Sure its annoying, I hope they take some time to work on bugs instead of adding new features. But, i think about my yeasu ft891. there are bugs in it that will NEVER be fixed. like the ticking sound when connected to CAT causes noise when you try to use digital modes. sure its a cheaper radio, but yeasu sold a lot of them and never bothered to fix it. 
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James Whiteway

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No, because the NB and ANF do work properly in other radios.
AGC-T can help with noise reduction. But does nothing for someone tuning up on a QSO. The TNF is no replacement for ANF. All someone causing interference has to do is move their r interference carrier slightly and the TNF becomes useless.
You should try using the TNF on an M model radio! Not easy at all.
My $5,000.00 6600M should outperform my 706 for interference handling. Unfortunately, it does not. Easiest solution I found was a Timewave 599 sz. It works great. Shame to have to add an outboard device to handle what a multitude of older and newer radios do with ease.
James
WD5GWY
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Bill -VA3WTB

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John, the problem you were having with the screen is not actually a bug I don't think because most users do not have  this problem. Flex realised this problem and chose to replace the radio. Glad you getting it solved.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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but James, if those radios did not have a working NB or ANF, would you keep it?
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Joe Conover

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What would Flex have do get the NR-NB AS good or better than icoms ic-7300 or 7610,
would a firmware up date work??
If icom 7610 did not have some screen problems causes loss sales,7610 would be 
KING OF ROAD $$$ for icom
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Joe, Flex has not actually worked on DSP improvements  since it was first introduced to SSDR. In the radios your talking about the DSP is not 100% software created, meaning that they also use older analog  devices with digital software. In the Flex the DSP is 100% all software. So yes, any changes or improvements are done in software updates.

While the noise mitigation is the all and end all when it comes to radio performance in some peoples eyes, i don't think so.
while there are other radios that out perform the Flex in this regard, those radio fall very short compared to what the Flex does well.

That was my point. Even though the noise mitigation is not as good as it can be, many still stay with Flex because of the bigger picture,,performance, features, and customer support.

for me, the 7610 simply would never satisfy me, I could not sit there and look at that sort of ok screen. And then the limit on TX band width. 2.9 wide max? No multi band EQ? No thanks.
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Joe Conover

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But here Flex answer add analog NB  device button INSIDE  Radio With Duel NB BUTTON  but also have digital NB .Have the best both worlds -I would use Drakes analog  device inside the Flex,Than Flex would have the whole picture in one box ,,
I think i might join Flexes Design team
Joe 
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Good thought Joe, but that is not in keeping with the direction of Flex. the radio, IS the SOFTWARE. Look at the Anan as an example, they have been working a lot on noise mitigation while Flex has not done much at all in that regard. They do all the filters in software as well and look how good it is.
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John Orjias

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im not sure thats needed, for example i think the NB does pretty good, but for what ever reason its as if it checks to blank however it thinks it needs to and then if anything changes it does not resample, i turn the noise blanker off an then back on and it works again. all they need to do it make it just resample or what ever it does when you first turn it on, every so offen, in fact as you increase the noise blanker make it resample more (basically off and back on) like if its set really light then resample every minute and if its turned all the way up resample every 5 seconds. not actually turning off though, but just running and resampling or what ever it does when you first turn it on ever 5 seconds and once its figured out what ever it needs figured out it applies the new value.  Anyway as i said that would resolve the drift or what every you want to call it that happens with the noise blanker over time

as far as the ANF just add a delay time, if it detects what to notch, then as you increases the level it increases the delay, so that for example there is the current delay (which i don't think there is one) if its low but it the anf it up to its hight say 1 second? so if someone starts talking and the filter is set up it just maintains that notch for at least 1 second, or if need be make it a separate slider for delay.
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Joe Conover

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Bill if Anan had M model like flex 6400M ,I buy a sweet my friend has 100D AND 200 
sounds sweet receiver  and blows my Flex NB NR away,,
JOE  
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Bill -VA3WTB

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John good points. If i may I would like to point something out. Because we are talking about SSDR we need to understand that anything they do in this noise mitigation is all an untested experiment with out anything already known. Everything is ground. So, we just can't say, hey lets add this or that, because they don't know what it does.

But Flex heard us when we filled out the survey, and noise mitigation was close to the top of customers wants. and they said work has already started on it.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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One thing Anan does not have is a radio like the M models. Keep in mind. Anan coders spent thousands of hours working on their noise mitigation, I would fully expect them to pass flex in this regard.
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Joe Conover

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My bet Anan will soon have transceiver all in one box like MB-1 from Russia-

So what is Flex spending thousands of hours working on-lol-

Sounds like crossbow site when they talk about custom arrow makers Kool Aid by the Pitcher fulls,
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Things like Multi flex, something no other radio can do. Painless no cables needed remote, sweetest in ham radio. These have been huge projects.
Anan will never have an all in one transceiver, Then they will have to write code for that too, no small task getting that to work.
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Joe Conover

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Wow thats good for Flex 
cheer leaders cheer Go Flex Go

Let hear any updates now please flex what on Mama Iron Board for NB/NR improvements 
Joe
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John Orjias

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Bill -VA3WTB i agree, yes i do not know what it really does take to make noise blanking work or not, i do know that even if is a bandaid fix to automatically reset the noise blanker everyone  10 seconds it would still be some fix as apposed to no fix for 5 years. While i do not know how the NB code is writen, i am a software engineer (not as a hobby but as my job) and so know that sometimes bandaids are expectable if its going to be awhile before a real fix can be done. Restarting the noise blanker every 10 seconds automatically is not a complex piece of code, if i was more familiar with this then i could probably just make an outside application call the api (or perhaps even via cat) and do it for me. but again they could add it, the higher the filter is set the shorter the delay before it resets. Again probably a bandaid, but which is better no fix for 5 years or a bandaid that will help and is probably about 20 lines of code. Anyway neither here nor there, you're right they did say they will be working on it, just hope it comes in v3. As really the reason i did buy the radio was because i was hoping for help on my noise issues and not really anything else. (i did not consider the anan as i don't want a radio that 100% requires a computer to really use it)
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Bob KC9RF

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To Joe FYI Anan has a box that has either an I5 or I7 built in with the following feature from their web site.
"Integrated i5/i7 Windows 10 computer with SDR client preloaded and calibrated at the factory making the radio completely plug and play. (NO EXTERNAL PC Required)".  It appears that some type of terminal program like Ubuntu (unix), Raspberry PI, Etc Etc could run the the radio if this is accurate that is powerful.

I like my 66 & 6400 Flex's don't get me wrong but  Anan is making some major strides that Flex should look at doing with their software as well.
Bob
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I was hoping Anan could do something like multi client, but it can't.
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Joe Conover

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Love this new started  Tread/Post ,dont worry about burning a few feathers that how Kool-Aid was invented- remember its just a radio but changes cost money=
I have agree about NB on older Boat Anchors,My Hallicrafers SR--400 II knocks socks off Flex 6400M with plasma tv noise to hear on 80 i HAD SPEND $235 on a MJF 1026 ,400-II no noise with NB on ,its amazing hallicrafter SR-150 and 400-II hears every ssb stations as well or better than Flex 6400M ,PERHAPS A firm ware up date soon on Flex 

Joe    
(Edited)
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John Orjias

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yes i already have the 1026 it works great. i was disappointed that for the most part it does a better job then even the WNB, however i have found there are times when using both the NB and the 1026 take out stuff that neither would do by themselves.
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Joe Conover

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make the 1026 work best u need this 
ebay (Mini-Whip HF,VLF active RX antenna with power feed unit) Made in Russia
$39 


(Edited)
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John Orjias

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well thats cheap enough i will give it a try thanks. at $25 its worth giving it a shot.
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John Orjias

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ordered wow it will not be here until july :-( oh well i have an antenna i'm using with it in the mean time, but this is still a great solution so i can use that antenna i'm using now for other things when this comes in.
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Joe Conover

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its virus hold on shipping 
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John Orjias

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I was sad they scrapped phasing, like the 5000 could do, and have no intention of putting it back in. When i can phase with the mfj-1026 and get better noise reduction than the flex can out of the box. 
(Edited)
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Joe Conover

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well we lighted lots fires now let hope Flex sees the smoke signals 
I just might see flex in person after snow melts up here I LIKE SEE THE FACTORY ,,,

JOE
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Unless you have the 6600, they do direction phasing, with two antennas, but yes ,not in the same way as the 5000. Gerald invented that system on the 5000
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John Orjias

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what... wait, they do? did i misunderstand, are you saying there is direction phasing on the 6600, i have the 6600m how do you do it? 
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I don't know,,my radio can't do that. others have been doing it,,but not in the same way as you sued to with the 5000...check around,
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Bill -VA3WTB

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John Orjias

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oh that, yeah thats not the same thing, it will do nothing like pointing an array by phasing,  but i will give it a try
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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As I said,, Flex is well aware of what we want, we didn't say anything here they don't know about.
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James Whiteway

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Bill, the reason I keep the 6600M is because there are many things I do like about it. I noted above the things I am not happy with.
As for Anan never having an all in one radio like the M models, don't place any bets just yet.
You can look on their website in the FORUMS section, ( FRS is not the only radio manufacturer with a user forum) and there is an announcement for a couple of new radios that are standalone and require no computer to use. ( but, will also work with an external computer if wanted, just like the M models do)
From what I have read, they are experiencing parts availability issues like so many other manufacturers are.
It will be interesting to see what develops on that front.
James
WD5GWY
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Joe Conover

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https://youtu.be/JZEIMQ42-oU


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En86CBBm030&authuser=0

Well hooked up icom 7300 about 10 feet from flex 6400M 
#1 Test Band noise floor by my ear Flex slightly less noise floor 
#2 Pulling out  weak station 0n 6pm 3920 SSB,note im in Bethel Net control was in Fairbanks 600 miles or so away ,I set both radios RF gain  ill post video how i did this ...NR/NB ON BOTH RADIOS Icom factory default setting and Flex the best before it distorts ,note two other ham operators in eskimo village  one guy 1500 feet away with Kenwood 990 other guy K3S both have same dipole as me home made by Jim,both could not hear net control good enough to check in i relayed them in on Icom 7300 ,without NR/NB on icom 7300 he was barely readable with NR/NB  100 PERCENT READABLE=FLEX i know he was there but not readable at all-Winner 7300 great NB/NR saved the day,
#3 receive audio  and volume with kenwood headsets to ears on 20 meters  low noise good signals from HA islands 7300  ,both about same ,one note had nr/nb off,I put on NR on both radios i could not get the natural sound on flex 6400m like with NR OFF ,ICOM JUST Worked great station now sounded like FM no distortion=winner Icom 7300

Remember im just SSB guy i buy a radio to hear stations and talk that all- i like peasant  Audio sound on rec/tx,I can care less about running monitors all over wall like a NASA control room-Is that not what Ham radio all about but  Hearing and Talking is what i want in a radio ???.

#4 SCOPE/WATER FALL =Flex clearly winner here for sharpness and easier use,

Well Flex 6400M NOW BOXED UP sending back i really like ;looks of flex oh yes its easier to use but If i can hear stations as good as 7300 why keep it,im not here to be in click and scared to voise my opinion,When or If FLEX get NB/NR working as should ill try again 

Thanks All God Bless stay safe  

 
(Edited)
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Joe Conover

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Well Flex 6400M NOW BOXED UP sending back i really like ;looks of flex oh yes its easier to use but If i CANNOT  hear stations as good as 7300 why keep it,im not here to be in click and scared to voise my opinion,When or If FLEX get NB/NR working as should ill try again -EDIT
(Edited)
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Bob Needleman

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OK Joe - good luck with the 7300 and check back if you ever get another Flex. 
73,
Bob K3AC
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Joe Conover

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Thank u Bob,but---
IM STAYING HERE ---
WHY LEAVE AND CHECK BACK When i get flex  DO U HAVE OWN FLEX JUST TALK HERE/LOL 
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Enjoy what ever you decide, all is good. I know you did not have the NR set the best. It will perform as well as anything I have seen when set right. I did a write up on setting the NR. It is remarkable what it does. But most people don't take the time to work with it. I had the 7300 for a while and got tired of it fast. to many things that bothers me about it.

Have fun Joe
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Joe Conover

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Bill trust me i know how use flex 6400m NR and NB i had flex 6400m before for 6 months ,i spend hours on all my radios i been ham from 1986,I keep giving a flex a try ,
I feel now like President Trump new Press Secretary  and  Spoke Person and now here comes CNN reporters saying im not as smart as them TRYING put words in my mouth or send up smoke signals --
this tread two years old and flex still did not address NR/NB complaints --
Joe 
 
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Can you explain how you set the NR? at what settings? not to poke holes in your setup, But it is interesting stuff.
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Joe Conover

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Bill stop it now please- you are acting like CNN reporter trying get answer you want ,,

Bill  the 6400M set as should-
Joe
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KT0AM - Mark

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Or, in this case, is not set at all since Joe's 6400M is boxed up and ready to go back. I, for one, have enjoyed watching the spectacle of this thread. I'm looking forward to Joe spending a year or so with the 7300 and participating on the Icom forums, then reporting back with a comparison report. Joe, in order to be objective, you should focus your attention on the Icom side of things to provide time so that you can provide a fair view between Flex and Icom. Icom is a fine company with great products, after some time, I'm sure you will provide some interesting insights.
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Michael Walker, Employee

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I'm going to step in for the Flex Mayor, Tim and close this thread only as I think it has run its course.    If anyone feels otherwise, I am open to suggestions -- info@flex-radio.com and we can chat about it.  That comes right to my inbox, so I will see it.  

73

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