Flex-6x00 side by side comparison to K3, Icom, Yaesu Kenwood...

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Members of the San Diego DX Club are conducting a side by side (receive only) test this SSB Sweepstake weekend.

We will be comparing and evaluating the following radios: K3, Yaesu, Icons, Kenwood (high price units) against the Flex 6700.

I loan Dennis, N6KI a well known contester, DX'er and DX expedition member my F6700GPSDO.

I am looking for fellow FRS owner to send me suggestions on their findings and settings:
1. How to maximize their radio for best interference rejection of nearby signals.
2. And anything they deem helpful for this comparison test.

Please, if you like to send your suggestion off the forum; email me at w4eg(at)hotmail(dot)com.

I will try to take photos and post comments of the evaluations.

Thanks
.
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Ernest - W4EG

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Posted 5 years ago

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Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Use one panadapter and one slice. This will ensure that the preselectors are enabled for that particular band. If the "WIDE" message is displayed on the panadapter, you are not using the band specific preselectors.

Second, adjust the slice AGC Threshold for optimal SNR. On noisy bands, you may need to adjust this downward (to the left) and upward on very quiet bands.

Do not enable the RF Preamps unless you are on 10 or 6m. And only enable them if the noise floor drops when you add RF Preamp gain. On high noise bands, you may have to add some negative (attenuation) preamp gain.

When comparing the 6000 to different radios, use the same preamp settings, RX passband filter width and AGC settings (fast/med/slow). Also use the same headphone/speakers and antenna too. You want to make the comparison as equal as possible.

GL and let us know how it goes.
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Ernest - W4EG

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Thank you Time for the suggestions.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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As always, it was my pleasure
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Ernest - W4EG

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I meant CQ WW DX Contest October 26-27 - We are not going to participate in this contest, but we are evaluating the radios for Sweepstake.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Ernest,
Any thoughts about repeating for the CW contest?

CQ WW Contest Dates - CW is on November 23-24, 2013

What model of Yaesu radios will you be using? (FTDX9000, FT5000, etc)

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Ernest - W4EG

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Yes... we are going do the same for the CQ WW Contest. The idea is that this will give the real DX'ers an opportunity to see the performance and comparison in the real DX world.

The radio will be arriving tomorrow. As of tonight we have my Flex 6700, and a K3 with all the bells and whistle. The other radios will arrive via UPS. The remaining units will come with their respective owners.

Then we are going to the operating site and set them up and check them. Friday we will go through the learning curve.

I will attempt to document it all and post it here.
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W5UN_Dave

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I have been doing a side by side comparison of my 6700 with my K3 from the very beginning. First, let me say, I think the 6700 is the radio of the future. But, why do I keep going back to my K3 for serious DXing? For one thing, IT HAS THE APF (Audio Peaking Filter for you non-cw types). Flex, you better take this serious. Of course, I use LP-Pan, LP_Bridge, and NaP3 with my K3, which gives me the same benefits of user interface to the K3 panadapter spectrum display as I have with my 6700 panadapter. spectrum display. On the other hand, if my 6700 had the APF functionality as I described in another post, my thinking might be different.

p.s. persistence might make a little difference also.
p.p.s adjustable cw weighting would help
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Dave,
I'm with you on the APF feature. I've posted about it also and asked for FRS feedback but so far no reply.......

http://community.flexradio.com/flexra...

I got a good setup in place now for CW keying now so APF has moved to the top of my wish list. Persistence is a bid deal also but I know that is coming soon.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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K1UO - Larry

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yup...been doing the same K3 to 6700 comparisons here especially on the low bands cw.. Im finding the Flex a bit easier to listen to and it can hear everything the K3 does with a bit of fiddling with the preamp and agc-t settings (why arent these under the same TAB?) The only reasons the Flex has not been put in place of the K3 includes the same reasons Dave and Al mention above. Persistance, cw memories, APF, and diversity.
Band Stacking would be nice but not necessary to replace the K3... However it is convenient to have 3 or 4 registers per Band to change to cw,ssb,rtty and ? by just walking through 4 clicks of the Band button to have the filter, mode, frequency, power preset per mode.
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Ernest - W4EG

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I believe that many of the items that we like to see i.e. Band Stacking, Persistence etc... will be available in the very near future.

FRS is in the business of delivering the software for these radios.

I am positive that if enough user ask for software that enhances or out perform other software, they will deliver.

However, they may not be free; they deserve to be remunerated for the work that is beyond the agreement we have; when we bought the units.

$$$ is the bottom line and that's why we go into business.
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W5UN_Dave

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and $$$ is what we paid and $$ is what we will pay down the road for enhancements It's in the plans of FRS (and I have no quarrel with that).
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Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

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We have already paid for all items on the roadmap.

From the Flex Insider 8/23/2013:
To show our appreciation for your support we are extending the starting date for free software upgrade/support to coincide with the release that completes all features listed in the SmartSDR Software Road-map as published today. That means that when we complete all of the Road-map features, whether in v1.2, v1.3 or v1.4, the clock will start on the respective date of the completion release. Limited Edition customers will get two years and standard edition customers one year beginning on the new start date. The start date applies to all radios. Gerald K5SDR

I look forward to new features beyond the existing roadmap and I will be happy to contribute ideas and funds.
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Dudley - WA5QPZ

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You already have the APF built in the 6000 , use the RX equalizer on CW, and peak the EQ at your CW offset attenuate the rest... Easy enough to do, combined with the narrow BW of the Flex, really obvious when you hit the right CW signal .
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Dudley,
The bones are there but the RX equalization needs to be narrower for CW. See suggestions below. The range may even need to be narrower than in my picture which shows about 50HZ ranger between sliders. To be really effective it may need to be closer to 25HZ. Gerald made the analogy that it is like a notch filter in reverse.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

http://community.flexradio.com/flexra...

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W5UN_Dave

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The APF (it needs to be 5 hz width to match the K3 APF) is much more than a narrow peaking filter. It must be EASILY USABLE! That is, it should conform to the description that I posted in an earlier post describing usage. Of course, if FRS can improve on the way it all works as I explained in that post, have at it)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Dave,
Sounds good to me. What I've been using lately with the current RX Equalizer capability is probably 500 HZ wide or more and it works okay but NOT nearly as good as it could if it was much narrower. Seen pic below for the slider settings and pitch I'm using.

How steep is the 5HZ filter on the K3? Does the K3 also have a 25 HZ setting and how does that compare?

The good thing about offering a 5HZ width is you can always open it up a bit if needed.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

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Al / NN4ZZ

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Dave,
If the FRS team would like to utilize the RX Equalizer control, how about this idea.

Instead of specific frequencies to enhance or attenuate, set it up to be plus and minus offsets from the PITCH frequency. That way you can set it to be very narrow (down to 4 HZ) or wider (30 HZ in my example) based on your preference. The filter can still be toggled on/off easily and the width can be adjusted easily also.

Do you think this has merit?

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

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Ernest - W4EG

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Preparation for the side by side test pictures.



N6KI Dennis - setting the Kenwood



W4EG - F6700GPSDO

More to follow
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Ernest,
What is the antenna plan?

- ABC Switch to pick one radio at a time

- Connect all radios to the same antenna (since this is a RX only test)

- Use multiple antennas?

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Ernest - W4EG

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Please follow this link to YouTube for a description of the setup.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6eAN...

Here are several photos:


All gear in place and under test. The one with all the hair is me - W4EG


Isolated Flex setup.

Your humble correspondent is the photographer operating the F6700.
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Ernest - W4EG

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Since I am considered to be bias towards the Flex radios. And operating with an unfinished SmartSDR software release: I am calling this a draw with Elecraft.

I set it up to the best of my ability and with some telephone aid from KY6LA in the area on "how and where can I" set several parameters.

Elecraft KX3 held up to the Flex-6700 and the K3, but the KX3 does not have all the features of the Flex-6700 or the K3 have in noise reductions. So, it's a tossed up for the Flex-6700 and the K3 second.

In my opinion, the F-6x00 will excel both Elecraft radios when the January 2014 technology is implemented and will surpass both Elecraft radios by July 2014 with implementations of the upgrades schedule on the Roadmap.

The Icom and Kenwood where no match.

Dennis, will tell me where the recorded audio signals comparisons can be heard. I will post the web address.

We will not do a CW comparison, we were both satisfied with the SSB challenge.

We are happy that is over and hope this may help you decide what to purchase.
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W5UN_Dave

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Having used both side by side here also, I agree, but only if APF (as good as or better than that of K3) is implemented for CW
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W5XZ - dan

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:We'll raise up our glasses against evil forces....whiskey for my men...beer for my horses...'

not a BIT surprised...
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Ernest - W4EG

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I'll drink to that..
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Which model Icom and Kenwood?
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Ernest - W4EG

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The side by side test consisted of the following radios:

Flex-67000
Elecraft K3
Elecraft KX3
Icom IC-7800
Kenwood TS990

All radios setup as follow during the entire test.
One slice active on the Flex radio
Used a mouse to navigate around
No RX EQ - turned off
No active DSP NB, NR or ANF (off)
All receivers RF and audio level adjustments set using WWV 10 MHz steady tones.
Using only 2.1K filters...Kenwood only had 2.0 kHz.
I was only present during the day and afternoon. Used only USB.
I was not present for any of the 160, 80 and 10 meter test.
AGC set to Med (60)
Display set to 25 FPS. Kenwood and Icom very hard to see and adjust or not capable to adjust the sweep rate.
Video output on Kenwood max resolution 800X600 (I think) internal board in the unit not field replaceable. Same with the Icom but a higher sweep rate than Kenwood. Hard to see any RF open valley.

If I can remember anything else about the set up ... I will add it