Hard Copy User Manual

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  • Updated 4 months ago
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Will there be a printed manual available for purchase for the 6400M/6600M? Its so much easier to find stuff make notes and you don't have to have a 2nd computer beside you which I do so often to read and follow along when your using applications and trying to read the manual on the same computer. Just doesn't work well.

This is my current solution, it has been so helpful and I use it all the time. The manual content is great but no hard copy ... not so much ...

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Wayne

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Posted 2 years ago

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KF4HR

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I'd be surprised if Flex ever offers hard copies of their manuals, especially considering how often they can change.


I do the same thing here, just print a copy of all the manuals (software, hardware, DAX, and CAT), then re-print whenever a manual gets upgraded.  It eats up toner cartridges, but sometimes its nice having a hard copy available. 
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Robert Lonn

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I took it to Staples, and had them print it, in color, and bind it all up, with each section broken out.. I know the manager at the store, so he did it for me at a reasonable cost..  AND,, I dont even own a Flex 6600M yet!!! But getting ready..
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I agree. It's a major challenge as features change so often. It's something I'd like to see for some people but I don't know if the demand is there. 

I print using the xerox duplex printer and keep in a 3 ring binder. 

Maybe they can look into something like lulu.com to print on demand, nicely bound. One of my attorney friends uses it for his law books that he writes. That would be the simplest to get a nice, printed, bound copy.

See this, this would be perfect:

http://connect.lulu.com/en/discussion/32074/what-is-print-on-demand-pod

However the author, FlexRadio has to do it as they are the copyright owner. 

Ria
N2RJ
(Edited)
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NX6D Dave

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So this is print on demand.  We send the PDF to the company, they hold it and print a copy when someone orders it.  Thanks Ria, I'll look at this too.
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Mike Webb KC0YHM

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Shame this never happened...it's a great idea.
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Ken Hansen

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You can take your PDFs to a Kinko's/FedEx store and get it one-off printed and bound as you prefer. You can choose the weight of the paper, single or double-sided pages, etc.

I did this for the in-depth manual for my Kenwood TH-D74 HT. It was a bit pricey, but no more expensive than a similar-sized ARRL book. I think it was just under $30.

If I was at a desktop/laptop I'd get an estimate for you.
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Bob Craig, K8RC

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Taking a cue from other manufacturer's manuals, instead of numbering the pages in order from cover to cover, Flex could use chapter + page numbering.

That way, they could add an entire section or revise individual pages without the user having to reprint the entire manual.
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NX6D Dave

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This is a good suggestion -- I'll keep it in mind.  It is frequently the case that changes to the docs are limited to a few sections, so it would be practical to reprint the modified sections, and the Table of Contents.

Thanks for this suggestion!
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NX6D Dave

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I just fiddled around with this, and I can do it.  The pages of each major section of a document like the SSDR User Guide could be numbered from the beginning of the section, so you would have pages like 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, 4-1, 4-2, etc.  Then, it would make sense to reprint individual sections and insert them into an existing printed document, without the expense (and waste) of reprinting a 200 page document because 10 pages changed.

I'll talk this over with the guys and we'll see what happens.  Thanks for the suggestion.
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Craig Williams

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USAF has done that for decades. Each change section comes with the rev level on the revised page number and a summary sheet to put in the front of the index.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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If you were to buy a radio from us at USAF prices, it would cost 10 million dollars.
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Ken Hansen

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Printing only the sections/pages of manuals that changed would be a non-trivial exercise, but certainly do-able.

I think it really comes down to the effort involved and the potential number of customers that would benefit. I wonder how many customers actually print the manual? I suspect the number is low, but not insignificant.
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Craig Williams

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Well Tim, thanks for the great discount on my 6400. Reading my .pdf manual. Happy camper.
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Ken Hansen

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I haven't printed the Flex manuals yet, but I have printed the manual from other radios at Kinko's, and it's as easy as going online, submitting the PDF and selecting your print and binding options.

The nice thing is anyone can do it, the bad thing is it's easy to make a mistake and pick the wrong weight paper, color instead of monochrome printing, etc. and wind up with a very expensive manual.
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Jim K4JAF

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I just put the PDF copy on another monitor here in the shack, then you can read it while doing the normal adjustments/procedures on the Flex Radio.  
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Jim K4JAF

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I just put the PDF copy on another monitor here in the shack, then you can read it while doing the normal adjustments/procedures on the Flex Radio.  
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Neil D Friedman N3DF

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I'm waiting for the audiobook.  
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Zack Schindler - N8FNR

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I am waiting for the Netflix series!
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
We are committed to providing up to date documentation electronically.  Additionally, if we did print and bind the manuals, they would most likely cost more than if you had it done yourself at the local print and shipping store.

To quote Dr. McCoy, "we're a radio manufacturer, not a print shop, Jim"
(Edited)
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Bob Craig, K8RC

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I do wish you would consider chapter+page numbering as noted above so that the user could change pages instead of reprinting the entire manual when significant revisions are made.  That way you could add a page or two to Chapter 3 without having to reprint everything from Chapter 4 and onward.

The FCC used to do that with the broadcast regulations back in the days when an on-site copy was necessary. (slightly after they discontinued the use of stone tablets but before electronic publishing)
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VE7ATJ

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Actually, the quote should be more along the lines of "D..n it Jim.  I'm a doctor, not a print shop!"  :-)  Deforest Kelly was always one of my favorite actors from the original Star Trek....
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W8QB

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I'm a big fan of Star Trek having watched every single episode in the original TV series.  I owned a recent vintage K3 transceiver.  Each K3 came with a printed manual at no extra charge; additional copies (KS3) currently are selling at the modest price of $19.95.  That sounds like a nice touch for a company who, much like FRS, manufactures top of the line radios, notwithstanding that neither company is a "print shop".
(Edited)
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Robert Lonn

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I am holding the manual for my New Classic AOR AR3030... Original Manual and a whopping 51 Pages... But the manual is only  4X8" so more like 15-18 pages!! Naturally the AR3030 was made before iPads, PDF and the Internet was at full capacity so a hard copy was considered mandatory.. 1993..

Flex Manual is full 8x11" pages at 165 pages...Smart SDR 46 Pages.. Lets call it  200 pages for both... The point being that radios use to be a lot simpler.. A K3 Transceiver can be operated without the use of a manual for most features.. The new ICOM 7610 radios manual is 91 pages long,, full of a lot of dead space and small pictures... And ICOM has already made 3 revisions and everyone tries to figure out, what changed??

I side with Flex.. Smart SDR and the 6600M manual are loaded on my Desk Computer, Loaded on my Dedicated Ham Radio 2 in 1 computer and on my iPad.. Printing real manuals is not easy and readable size is critical. My new Olympus DSLR camera came with a printed manual,, but you need to wear a magnifying glass to read the small print.. Naturally they wanted it to fit in the camera box.. OH, it comes in 4 languages as well.. 

I will agree with you on one thing,, If FLEX wants to elevate their game to the next level,, then providing a printed manual would be a nice touch.. When I got my wife her new MB 300 car, the Benz dealer also gave us a Hat, T-Shirt and a SS water bottle.. Not a big deal when you get a $40K car, but still a nice touch.. Flex has Customer Service as a TOP priority,, Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood could learn a lot from Flex.. So yes,, a manual would be a nice touch but not a deal breaker for most people.. 

Robert
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KC2QMA_John

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Bottom line in 2018 almost no companies offer printed manuals anymore.

Nowadays if you need a printed manual you have to print it yourself.
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I think one car mfg even gave theirs out on an iPad... with the iPad included in the price. 
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Ken Hansen

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The 'big three' radio mfg. have gone to 'split' manuals - a printed user guide that is less comprehensive than the advanced manual included on CD with the radio.
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K1UO - Larry

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The Staples store here in Bangor, Maine (maybe the entire nation AFAIK)  Will NOT print a copy of the manual , or any manual, if it is marked with a copyright protection notice.  I always need to get written permission from the manufacturer/ copyright owner of the equipment involved.  Thus, for me to get Staples to print any of the Flex Manuals, I will need to get written permission from Flex.
Been there too many times with Staples...  Got the T-shirt.
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Ken Hansen

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FedEx/Kinkos has no such requirement, at least they didn't when I printed the manual for my Kenwood TH-D74 handheld.
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Lin NI4Y

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I prefer PDF manuals easy to search they can be highlighted in the reader.  Also no space taken up in my very full shack.
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Ross - K9COX

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This is encouraging, there are some that actually do read the manual.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Most people under 50 or 60? And a few of us even older guys are used to and prefer electronic manuals My Tesla and BMW came with onboard electronic manuals. No more dead trees. Only dead electrons.

The Icom paper manuals are notorious for being incomprehensible.

K3’s are NOT obvious You push a button too long and you can screw it up royally. Done that myself many times in contests.

But clearly there is a limited demand as expressed here for paper by the computer challenged so the idea of making it available by a Papering service is a good one.
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Ken Hansen

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A printed manual is cheaper than a second (or third, or...) monitor, but an additional monitor may be cheaper than five or six custom printed manuals of any significantly large size.
(Edited)
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Craig Williams

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Paper is produced from tree farms now. Support your local farmer. Print stuff.
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Jim K4JAF

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If you have ever visited a paper mill, the effort, resources, etc to produce paper products is massive.  Save our resources, print on paper as little as possible.  
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Paper making also pollutes rivers with chemicals.

Kill Electrons instead.
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W8QB

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I am far from being "computer challenged"...but I do like to read things...on paper.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I find electronic versions so much easier to read, find things and see. But I am a bit vision challenged so being able to zoom into text on my iPad really helps. Can’t do that easily with paper.
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Robert Lonn

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Well, when done right,, I like Paper Stuff!!!      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00Umqv-CDBE

 
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Gary Johnson

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Too hard to use my yellow highlighter on electronic manuals.  Numbering by chapter makes sense and should be quick to do.  Would require renumbering table of contents too.  Would  love to see an index!!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Nonsense. Get an iPad.

Too. Highlight a word. Or sentence just touch your. Finger on it. It’s. Highlighted. A thousand times easier than using a highlighter plus you can easily correct your mistakes.

Index. Unnecessary. Touch search. Type the word you want and you are instantly brought to the page or pages you need.

I, for one, was thrilled when manufacturers stopped printing manuals.

Plus being vision challenged as I get older I can easily zoom on text and drawings so I can actually see them without looking for a magnifying glass.

But I understand that some people hate change.

By the way i have written a lot of manuals over the years. So glad when we no longer had to produce paper ones with their PAINFUL, ExPensive revision process.

In fact, the first book I ever wrote was aLab Manual for First Year Engineering Students. Different type of manual but still a manual
(Edited)
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Lin NI4Y

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No Ipad needed you can highlight in Adobe Reader now.  Click on the highlight button then mark up text.  Don't forget to save after your done to retain the highighted text.  I save under a new name and retain the virgin file.  Example SmartSDR Software users Guide_Highlighted.pdf  
73,
Lin
(Edited)
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NX6D Dave

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It was suggested earlier that we break up page numbering in the big documents by section so that if a section had significant changes, reprinting the section would be reasonable.  I've made that change to the SmartSDR for Windows draft that we are working on.  We'll give that approach a try.

At the time the document is published, we'll include a note describing which sections had significant changes.  If this approach proves to be popular, we can adopt the same approach in the other big documents.
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Ken Hansen

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Just to wrap this thread up, Kinkos charges $0.08/Page side for printing, which puts the SmartSDR manual at about $20.
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Robert Lonn

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I like the TV show, AX Men, Loggers cutting down trees, lots of trees!!!! I PRINT everything I can, have Every Document Flex has on line for the radios and software printed out, in color, and in a nice binder. Broken into sections.. My Icom IC-9100 came with a nice printed manual, I just keep it in the box so it remains clean and untouched, and printed out another copy that is used a lot, has highlighted sections, etc. etc. I LOVE Military manuals, they are so detailed, like the Break Out Drawings of the Gear system inside a Collins R-390 receiver!! I can only imagine how much the US Government paid for these manuals!!!

In The Meantime, Cut Baby Cut!!!! :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mM8INqzsfk
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Wayne

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At this point I would just be happy if I could get an electronic UPDATED manual for the latest version of software 2.2.8 .... as I recall someone stated that flex was committed to providing updated documentation ... Hmmm.... 2.2.8 has been out for a while now never saw updated docs for 2.1.33 and none for 2.2.8 either ....

Guess not that committed after all ....

(Edited)
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Robert Lonn

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I found this to be very informative and provides the needed data that satisfied my operating needs!

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/smartsdr-v2-2-8-now-available
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Wayne

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Thats far from an updated manual.
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Robert Lonn

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I just print out the one page and place it in the front section of my manual. It has its own tab called updates and revisions. I DO Hear what you are saying and asking for.. It seems relatively simple for Flex to go in and Edit the manual, with the revisions.. But that would most likely need to be done by their assigned Tech Writer and that is followed by a proof reader.. I think Flex will continue to do revisions to their overall operation based on feedback and what their competition is doing as well!!! 

As new Flex Owners come on board, like me-6600M, I came over due to their new "M" model.. If their had not introduced the 6400M / 6600M series, I would probably be using an Icom IC-7610 radio right now.. I just like Knobs on a radio!!!

So Flex marketing team needs to understand what it takes to Move Over ham operators and grab more market share.. The 6660M was a great move on their part,, but sometimes small things, like these manual revisions can go a long way in keeping everyone Happy Campers!!!

Robert