Happy 3000 owner contemplates "upgrade" to 6300

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  • Updated 4 years ago
I've looked around for a while now and couldn't find an answer to this obvious question, so I've decided to post.  Just know I DID TRY to find posts discussing this beforehand.

So, here I sit, happy Flex 3000 owner, wondering if I should sell it, and other stuff to try and come up with the wedge for a 6300.  Yes, I've read the spec sheet and I know in general what it can do.  My question is for folks who made a similar leap: "how was it for you?"  
Do you miss anything from the 3000? What is blowing your mind now that you have the 6300?
How happy will I be if I upgrade in your estimation and why?
I don't do "buyer's remorse" so I would love to hear from any of you about pros/cons in your experience going from the 3000 to the 6300.  (please don't talk to me about the 6500/6700, it's not going to happen, and I really don't need those capabilities)
Thanks to any and all for the insight.

Doug - AA1UI (I'm writing this at a whisper so the Flex 3000 doesn't hear)
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AA1UI

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Posted 4 years ago

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Andrew O'Brien

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I used a borrowed 6500 for 8 weeks so that I could be certain I wanted a Flex Signature series radio versus the existing Flex 3000.  I decided NOT to buy a 6300 or other Signature series radio despite earlier strong intentions to make the jump. I enjoyed the 6500 but decided that shelling out an additional $2300 was not wise with two kids needing college bills paid!   I wondered what I would miss about the 6500 when i switched back to the Flex 3000 that had been off for 8 weeks. The thing I miss the most is the way SmartSDR tunes, much more intuitive than PowerSDR. To be honest that is all I "REALLY" miss.  There are a few things I miss a little but not that big a deal.  If I won the lottery tonight I'd be ordering a 6700 tomorrow, but I like my 3000 so much that I did not think the extra $$$ was worth the effort. 
Andy K3UK 
(Edited)
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Dave KD5FX

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I upgraded from the 3000 to the 6300 this past September. Put the 3000 on QRZ.com and it sold in about 20 minutes for my asking price of $1200! Then sold some other stuff to come up with the price of the 6300. I'm VERY happy with the upgrade. The transmitter on the 6300 is MUCH better than the one on my 3000. I could never get a solid 100 watts out on my 3000 but the 6300 gets a full 100 watts all the time. But that's just the half of it, the receiver is better too! After a little practice I even like the SSDR software better than the PSDR. Plus, it will just keep getting better and better! With the majority of the work done in the radio there is much less load on my PC so fewer PC problems than before. Do it! You won't regret it!! 73, Dave KD5FX
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Rod Lane

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I got my 6300 just before Field Day.   I had both running, and the 6300 got far more use.  I (and many other operators (including the CW crowd) immediately preferred the 6300 over the 3000.  I have used the 3000 for about 4 Field Days, so many of the operators were familiar with the 3000.  Without exception, everyone thought the 6300 was easier to use and enjoyed the chance to play with it, even if some decided they still prefer a traditional "knob and button" radio. 

I reinstalled the 6300 in my shack immediately after Field Day, and the 3000 is still in the Pelican case it came back from Field Day in.   I'll probably keep it and use it for demo events and Field Day use, but I doubt very much it'll be reinstalled in my shack.  

I've enjoyed using the 3000, and have never regretted buying it, but I'm completely happy with the 6300.  I, along with most, excitedly await more improvements in SmartSDR to make the 6300 even more capable.

73, Rod N1FNE
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Bill -VA3WTB

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For me, I'm very happy with my 3000. It has been stellar. I am planning on moving to the 6300 myself. I am thinking long term here. I would like to get away from fire wire as it is being left behind, hard to find that connection on any laptop now. And I like the idea of a thin client as opposed to having my computer doing all the numbers crunching. And I do know the receiver performs better then the 3000. Going foreword moving up will be a good thing. But I'm not in a hurry, the 3000 performs well right now.
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KK9W - Steve

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I would wait a bit. That 3000 can't be beat. The 6300 is still in its infancy and stuff like the NB, NR and ANF don't work well at all. Had I known I would have waited. It will get corrected but it takes time.

Steve
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DrTeeth

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v1.5 SSDR will see significant enhancements for existing features including the ones that you mentioned.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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And just a few weeks from now...lol
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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A few weeks?? I don't think so :-)

1.4 still isn't out and I am sure there will be a gap before 1.5 is released since the statement tis they were going to give the engineers a blank slate to try and think outside the box for DSP improvements.

I'm hoping it will be sooner than later but it is better to not rush them and get exceptional results (fingers crossed).

One thing for certain, SmartSDR and my Flex 6500 are a FUN combination to use!

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Steve W6SDM

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It really depends on whether you want to be on the cutting edge, as in riding in a bi-plane with no canopy, or sitting back in a leather recliner on a Lear jet.  Both will get you where you're going.

Personally, I love the idea of getting a new version of software now and then and seeing what surprises have been yielded from the Flex "science projects".  Even without the noise filters, the Flex receiver is much better than most, so it's not much to sacrifice for the pleasure of being part of the evolution of SDR.  So far, I haven't found a problem with SSDR that has kept me from operating.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I have been a 1500 and 6500 owner for the past 20 and 15 months respectively.
I will briefly contrast the 3000 and Signature series:

Signature Series has sharper filters, stronger and quieter receiver, smoother QSK on CW, little latency, more flexible transverter and RX antenna possibilities, the advantage of the new Speech Compressor algorithm, Greater upgrade possibilities, wider and more effective pan & panafall, better pan zoom for CW & RTTY signals, ultimately better sounding TX audio (though only slightly),  Capability for easy remote operation is on the way, Additional modes are made much more possible due to the new Waveform API release, Ability to use two slices at much wider frequency separation than the 3000, Ethernet API for interface.  Cutting-Edge SmartSDR that is accelerating development of new features.

The 3000 offers..... Better price point, NB, NR, APF that work better (but not for long, if V.1.5 is a major leap forward as promised), Mature PowerSDR development, Spectrum, Phase, Scope and other options for display.....

Both are great rigs. And the 3000 was probably the best bang for the buck in its price range or any other.  But in the long run, the Signature Series will blow the 3000 away.  If not now, it will eventually.

The biggest question is:  Does this fit into your financial picture at the present time?  or would you rather spend the extra money on other station upgrades?

My $.02

Ken - NM9P
(Edited)
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AA1UI

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Thanks to all that have replied.  I truly appreciate the honest and candid feedback.  Just what I was looking for.  For me, I'm still raising the funds necessary to purchase a 6300, and i'm in no real hurry, however, I'd like to get the best price I can on my 3000, so I don't want to wait too long.  I like to tinker with computers.  I built the i7 machine that's currently running the shack and serving video and audio media to the entire house.  It truly is a "server".  So, I kinda like the frustration and joy of getting things to work.  I'm also keen to move away from firewire and I really need to be able to operate remotely since the shack is in the basement and I'm apart from the family whenever i'm down there.  Digital modes from the bedside can be fun!  So, I think it's fair to say I will take the plunge in the weeks ahead... maybe a xmas gift to me from me?
Thanks again to all for taking the time.
Doug AA1UI
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KK9W - Steve

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If I ever did ANY mode from the bedside I'de be hung . . . Hi Hi
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AA1UI

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Normally, I would agree, but when she's reading a book, she doesn't know what I am doing on the laptop!!
It's the only time I used to operate PSK with the 3000 using a remote desktop app.  I know we sound terribly romantic.. but, hey gotta make time for all things! ;-)
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Dave KD5FX

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If you want to do the remote op you might want to wait on SSDR Ver 2. Then you'll have the full life cycle of that version with your purchase!
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AA1UI

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Good point Dave, however that sounds like it might be a ways away.  I have to admit I'm confused about the upgrade policy now, I need to look into it.  I've heard grumblings from some.  I recognize the need to pay for software development, but if I buy in at the end of some artificial cycle and have to pay an upgrade straight away, i'll be pissed off for sure.  The way we did it at my company is that you get a year of free upgrades from the day you buy the software.  After that year, you can choose to pay a small fee for another year of free upgrades. I maintenance fee if you will.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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The upgrade policy is described on the web site on the SmartSDR for Windows product page under the Upgrades tab.  

Here is a reprint of it for your convenience


Key Points:
  • All FLEX-6000 Signature Series radios are shipped with the latest major version of SmartSDR software.
  • Each major version of SmartSDR comes with free updates and maintenance releases for the life of that major release.
  • After a new major version of SmartSDR is released, maintenance releases for earlier versions will be provided free of charge on an as needed basis.
  • The choice to upgrade to the next major version of SmartSDR is yours. Your radio will continue to operate on its current major version of software as long as you choose.
  • Each major release of SmartSDR (v1.0, v2.0, v3.0, etc.) will have an associated license fee (currently $199.00 USD plus applicable tax).

Description:

Your FLEX-6000 Signature Series SDR comes with a version of SmartSDR software that will operate your radio as long as you want.  Period.  We will continue to make improvements and fix instabilities (aka “software defects”) in that major version.  At some point in the future, we will release a new major version of software and offer it for sale.  It’s up to our product management and amazing engineering teams to come up with exciting new features and capabilities to convince you its worth upgrading to a newer version.  In the meantime, we’ll work hard to make sure your existing software version remains stable and functional. (Note that anyone who purchased additional years of “Flex Advantage” when they purchased their FLEX-6000 Signature Series radio will be credited for that many major SmartSDR software version releases.)

The simple way to think of our SmartSDR software licensing policy is that it’s similar to the Microsoft® model – When you buy a complete PC you receive the current version of Windows.  When Microsoft comes out with a new version of Windows, you get to decide if you want to upgrade. In the meantime, bug fixes and maintenance releases will continue as needed for the existing versions.

We will support SmartSDR through all of our in-person, online, and distributor channels in the same way we do today with our other products without any restrictive time limits.
(Edited)
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AA1UI

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As I continue to contemplate my a purchase of the 6300, a few more questions have arose.  Thanks in advance for any insight:
1) Will the 6300 support my Contour Designs Shuttle Pro 2?
2) Can I use the audio line-in setup I've been using with the flexwire on the 6300?  I currently have a AKG condenser mic going through a pre-amp which supplies the phantom 48v and provides my 3000 with a line level signal.  I just need to know that something other than mic-in levels are available on some jack?
Thanks,
Doug AA1UI
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Dave KD5FX

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The input on the 6300 in unbalanced but you should be able to use the same setup you used on the 3000 since it is also unbalanced. They did go to the round Yaesu plug instead of the kind that is on the 3000. I like the round kind better! Easier to make your own jumper cables! 
I don't know about the Shuttle Pro 2. Never heard of it...
73, Dave 
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KM6CQ - Dan

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The Mic audio is balanced, low impedance as it should be. (XLR) You could also go in through the line input.
I started with a LP-PAN on my TS-950, I enjoyed it so much I bought a 3000, Then I enjoyed it so much  I purchased the 6500 If the 6300 was available, I would have purchased it instead of the 6500. There are plenty good reasons stated above. I will just say I have no regrets, and I am very satisfied with the 6500 

Dan 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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The FLEX-6300 does not have a balanced audio input.  That is only available on the FLEX-6500 and FLEX-6700.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Doug - for question #1 the answer is no; SmartSDR does not support any external controllers except for the FlexControl.

For questions #2, the answer is yes.  The ACC input is line level so the external preamp should be able to adjust the output to match the FLEX-6300 input.
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AA1UI

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Thanks for the correct answers Tim.  I knew the 6300 didn't have balanced audio in, but i'm glad to hear I'll be able to feed line level into it through the ACC plug.  Pity on the lack of support for the Shuttle Pro controller, but I admit to not using it much.  I'll just sell it together with the 3000 since it works fine with it.
Doug
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AA1UI

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Contemplation is over - i jumped and ordered the 6300 today.  Thought I'd take advantage of Cyber Monday and use the $100 savings to pick up a Flex Control for "free". 
Thanks again to all for the insight.  I'm sure I'll have questions as I go along.  I'm certainly looking forward to getting my new rig all set up for winter time operating.

P.S. Tim, it's supposed to be free shipping, but I couldn't find a way to not have the shipping get calculated in the final cost.  Hopefully you guys can credit that back to me?

Doug AA1UI
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Congratulations. Prepare for fun! But be prepared for a little learning curve, as usual in SDR radio. But the wait, and the learning are well worth it.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Doug - give us a quick call on the sales line (1.512.535.4713 ext 1) so we can discuss the shipping issue.
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Steve W6SDM

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You won't regret your purchase at all.  And the Flex control is worth its weight in gold.  I find myself using it extensively in a contest so that I don't lose focus from N1MM.  I have used it since I had my 3000.
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WH6HI - Pat

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I don't miss using my 3000, but there is only one thing I miss and hopefully they will do the same in SmartSDR.  I miss the ability to program RX BW filters that could be named for the use that they were intended for.  I know that I can customize a filter BW and save it in the global profiles but there is no way to name it of have it available in the filter list.  I still have the radio and I use it on occasion to check audio and other things on the 6500.  I don't regret buy the 6500.