To answer your question in a nutshell: TS -990S is a legacy radio, 6700 plus Maestro is part of the new breed of SDR.
Operating a legacy radio of some sort will get you into the HAM fraternity. Learning all about what you studied to get your ticket would be used and understood. Then purchase a Flex after you have had sometime to understand what others have experienced in the past. Without experiencing the legacy equipment you would not be able to give your two cents opinion on how things work or what you had to do to make it work..... Legacy radios are cheep to purchase these days, ands regardless if you by a Flex first, you should still get a "Boat Anchor" just to see what technology has done to this great hobby of ours.
Good luck on your decisions, and we will look forward to your involvement in the Flex Community soon.
It also depends on what your interests are in HF. Being a newly licensed general that may be a tough answer.
The Flex combo will give you more capability, especially with digital modes. Sure the 990 can encode/decode RTTY but there is no interface to a logbook program so you would have to manually enter the call, signal report, and grid square manually into the log. With the Flex you can use third party programs such as DM780 and HRD Logbool=k. Then it is a matter of right clicking on the decoded callsign and select call. Same for the other fields of info.
Another thing to ponder. The Maestro will allow you to operate today anywhere on your home network (on the deck in the summer for example). A future software upgrade will allow wide area network access from the Maestro, meaning anywhere you have WiFi you can operate the radio at your home.
I had the 990 and while I did enjoy it, I do enjoy the 6700/Maestro a lot more. The Flex combo has a lot more upside.
The FT-990 is end of life legacy technology sort of like driving a Model T technology Car to which they added lots of knobs and buttons to make it look new. But under the hood its the same era 1910's technology as the Model T. No spectrum display so you get a BLIND RADIO. There is no easy way to add new features through software upgrades so you are stuck with an obsolete device that won't get better.
The 6700 is a beginning of life 21st Century SDR technology sort of like driving a Tesla. Fastest sedan on the road. Both my Tesla and my 6700 are disruptive technology that keep on getting better with astounding new features being added all the time The 6700 has much better selectivity and filtering, much better phase noise (signals sound louder because there is less noise) and much better close in rejection of nearby stations.
Bottom line: FT990 is not in the same performance class as the 6700
Don't. Take my word for it.
Look on the various ham auction, eBay, eHam. You will see people are always dumping FT990's but rarely if ever is an used 6700 offered.
We still own a few legacy radios at the contest station but their replacements will all be SDR. There is no good reason to invest in legacy radios anymore unless you are trying to preserve them as museum pieces
If you get a multi mode HF/VHF/UHF radio you can cover a lot of things and even if and when you buy the Flex or ts990 you will have VHF and UHF covered.
I would get a used TS2000. It does everything and it has a tuner, 100w on VHF, 50w on UHF and all mode for SAT work. It will be a rig that will stay in your shack after you upgrade.
You can find them used for $1000
Between the 6700 and the TS990S, I will definitely buy the 6700, I did.
If you want to be swayed into a Kenwood, ask the 990 reflector on Yahoo.
If you want to try one or both, go to ham radio outlet and try them.
You got advice to go to sherweng, Rob Sherwood owns a 990.
People on here, by definition, own a Flex, it's their website.
You have to try them, or at least on of them for your self.
Did you ever go to a Ford deal and ask which was better, the Ford or the Chevy?
Or ask Rob Sherwood.
As with anything, you should be concerned with the value of your investment. (Yeah, Burt, I know. :) ). A legacy radio will be obsolete much sooner than a Flex would.
Whenever I buy anything, I try to get the best that I can afford. You will find it worthwhile in the long run.
Use some of the extra money for a Really Really good antenna system that fits your situation.
And after spending the $1500, you can always sell or trade up, or keep and buy another bigger, costlier radio. And with the experience from the little one, you will know what features you want and don't want in a radio and pick accordingly.
The flexradio with a pc desktop or laptop computer is central to all my communications needs.
I can check out the radio bands.
I check spots for Dx .
I can monitor digtal modes.
Remote control of the radio and misc. hardware.
I check emails.
I have voip apps running.
With software the more there is the more to experiment with un-limited possibilites with software.
If you get along with computers Buy a Flexradio.
If you like things future proof buy a Flexradio.
If you want your radio control seperate buy the Maestro and the Flexradio.
73 Jeff My 2cts.
I enjoyed that Kenwood 850 SAT for 20 happy years. But when I got the flex 6500, I sold the Kenwood with very few tears, because I was finally ready for the change, and had found my new favorite rig.
My best advice is to spend considerable time playing with a variety of new rigs, including the Kenwood 990, the 590 SG, comparable Yaesu brands, the Icom 7300, and the flex 6000 series. You will probably need to visit a ham station of a flex 6000 owner since they're not sold in stores. But only spending time with the various rigs, evaluating them according to your own individual needs will answer the question adequately.
Good luck and have fun. Take your time and enjoy the journey.
Ken - NM9P
First thing at this time of the year, find a good field day site and go out and work the bands during Field Day. Most larger clubs will have a variety of radios and modes, you can go around and play with each of them. Look at the features that you use, those that you don't.
Not sure if you've gotten a VHF/UHF radio, but that's definitely needs to be a starting place as well.
A $10k radio is what most hams dream and work hard for. You can get quite spoiled by starting at the top of the line. There's generally a number of lessons to learn when you are starting out. And on HF, antennas are definitely one of them.
You also need to learn how you are going to use the radio. What are your other hobbies? Lots of activities on HF hiking the trails, Flex is a little unwieldy for the backpack. This year there is the NPOTA, a great use for mobile or portable radios. A $10k radio is a little more than people want to take portable.
There are many different facets of Amateur Radio, don't blow all your funds in one place. Digital HF, Digital VHF/UHF, D-STAR, DMR, Fusion, SSB, CW, Satellite, Back packing, repeaters, EME, Weak signal VHF/UHF, FM VHF/UHF, TV, slow scan, and probably a hundred more areas to have fun in.
Find a club, go to it. Find a Field day site, go to it. As someone suggested, this is a Flex site, so the general answer will always be Flex.
Get out, talk, play. Who know, you may find that the 6300 is good 'nuf for what you want :-)
When I became a new ham, my first rig was an SDR-1000 (the original Flex Radio). The advantage of an SDR with a big panadapter is that it allows you to SEE the spectrum. You don't turn a dial and tune into some mysterious signal (slowly, slowly, sounds funny, sounds less funny... sounds pretty good... sounds funny again, turn the dial back a bit). You can SEE what an USB SSB signal looks like. And how it looks different to an LSB SSB signal. And what CW signal looks like. And a PSK signal. You can see how close or spread-out signals are on the band. It gives you a visual reference, instead of forcing you to wander around in a dark room hoping to bang-into something interesting.
So... IF you're computer literate and happy to use one as a major adjunct to your ham experience, then I'd strongly encourage you to get a Flex Radio.
(Regarding the 6700 and the Maestro as a choice: You could probably do perfectly well with a 6500 and skip the Maestro for now, unless cost is no object. But a 6500 all by itself will give you plenty to play with as you learn the bands and make your first contacts. If, later, (hey... that could be a week, a month or a year later) get yourself a Maestro. If you want the extra features that a 6700 gives you, then upgrade to one. You'll have no trouble getting most of your money back on your 6500.)
I *do* want to comment on the issue of whether the folks at HRO are a good source of unbiased advice on which radio to buy. It's VERY dependent on who you talk to. Some folks are knowledgeable on some products, but not other products. I visit several times a year (they're only 45 minutes away for me). The sales people vary GREATLY in terms of their knowledge about... well... anything. The vast majority of guys I encounter working there are not able to give great advice. Heck, in my experience it's not unusual for the sales people to not be able to OPERATE the radios on display. Also, as Howard mentioned, these guys are on commission... and like most normal people will prefer to sell you what they have (and, in fact, what they get an extra "incentive' on at the moment).
Soooo... OP: There's yet another opinion. Get a Flex, see the band, and skip advice from parties who might have an agenda other than your happiness.
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