Is Flexradio out of office?

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  • Updated 4 months ago
Sent in a repair, received Oct 25 per the note I could expect an update by a tech in 10 days. Radio silence 15 ish days later asked for status on the 14th no reply. Tried to call and direct to VM. 
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Posted 4 months ago

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Phil Porter

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I'm a prospective buyer and have had a similar problem. The FlexRadio business plan may need to be adjusted slightly to account for a growing customer base. The competition in SDR radios is growing as evidenced by the Icom 7300/7610 entry et al into the market place. While my research indicates that FlexRadio makes a well-engineered product, product perception is equally important in the public view and should not be neglected. While I will probably place my Flex 6400 order shortly, I still have reservations about product support and waiting 4 days for a simple product question reply which I had to initiate or in your case 15 days, we would hardly be classified as impatient owners or prospective owners :0). The business cycle can be brutal but change can bring about more success if problems are identified and accounted for early enough. I really hope they respond to your query shortly. Keep us all posted as the saga continues.
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Russ Ravella

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Hi Clay and John,

Thanks for your thoughtful replies.

First Clay, when you admonish me to take a step back and say I'll be satisfied in the end, you don't actually know anything about the experiences I've had that resulted in my opinions.  Or how long those experiences have already been going on.  I'm tempted to describe them all here to clarify but I'd end up with a response that's so long I don't imagine anyone would want to read it.

And John, please let me clarify something.  When I refer to "Flex Executive Management", I'm being very careful choosing those words because I don't know who at the decision making level is specifically responsible for a particular problem at FRS.  In some cases it's clear and others not.  Further, I'm reacting to something very specific - competence in running a retail business.  There are a huge number of things any particular person can be good at and we're all only good at a few of them at most.  Nobody is good at everything.  The trick is to know and take charge of what you are good at and skillfully pick people to work with who are good at all the other things.  Then work well with them.

I LOVE my Flex radio, Maestro and Power Genius.  I'm an unashamed certified fan boy.  And the employees at Flex Radio - every single one I've dealt with (which at this point is quite a few) - are outstanding.  They are elevens on a scale of one to ten.  I could also write a huge response describing that.  As for the top executive manager, Mr. Youngblood, he is obviously ultimately responsible for all of that.  I am very glad there is a Mr. Youngblood and that he created FRS.  He must be a hugely talented man to accomplish what he has.

But FRS in this timeframe is a retail business, not an "experimental stuff" business.  As I understand it, Flex started that way but evolved into the retail business it is now out of sheer success.  Flex's advertisements and website paint a picture of polished retail products that compete with Elecraft, Yaesu, Kenwood and Icom.  They're in THAT business now.

Those companies usually produce products that are far more polished than Flex Radios and their business practices as I've experienced them over the years are far more professional.  If Yaesu produced a radio with features as buggy as Flex Radio's, there would be howls of complaints just like there are here on this forum.  Usually they work as advertised with a few fairly small bugs that they mostly quickly fixed.  In contrast, people on this forum are complaining about major problems that have existed since SSDR v1.  I can not operate my Maesto in any voice mode because the monitor function has an extremely serious bug that hasn't been fixed in at least the last two updates.  I'm told it hasn't even been considered for the next one yet.  The post on this forum titled "Maestro CW Bug 7378 Not Fixed" describes a bug that makes operating the Maestro in CW mode nearly impossible.  Someone in that post describes an elaborate workaround required to do so.  If Yaesu released a radio that was almost unusable on voice and CW, well, you get my point.

I've purchased three products from FRS.  All three failed out of the box.  I'm currently working with FRS support on the Power Genius I received a couple weeks ago.  It has an extremely serious problem (long story) again, right out of the box.  I've been waiting all week to hear the results of testing done remotely on it on Monday.  It is another example of EXACTLY the same experiences I'm complaining about.  That I've had with FRS since it took three replacements of my original 6600 to get one that worked from my original order.  Those experiences are: 1) outstanding quality Flex employees working as hard as they can within an incompetent system to fix problems, 2) an incompetent retail business that yet again sold me an expensive component that failed right out of the box and, 3) policies and procedures that hobble those excellent employee's efforts to support their customers put in place by Flex Executive Management.  They include the inability to exchange a failed-out-of-the-box component with a new one that might work without Executive Management Approval which by definition might not be granted.  In the case of my Maestro which ALSO failed right out of the box, I was told it could not be replaced until every last Maestro sale - including those that occurred after mine - was filled first.  I waited 3 months to finally have working hardware from my original order (again long - very long - story).  All due to policies and practices put in place by Flex Executive Management - including the quality system that allows so much faulty hardware to be sold in the first place.  And such buggy software to be created and then not fixed.  By the way, it seems clear the software engineers themselves are merely performing as directed with the resources they're provided by Flex Executive Management. The problem does not lie with them either.

As I said, I won't describe all the experiences that lead to my impression of Flex Executive Management's incompetence running this retail business. This already too long post would be 10 times longer.  But part of that impression is that they literally don't "get it".  Reading the rare occasional posts from, for example, Steve Hicks, Dan Quigley and Mr. Youngblood always have basically the same message: we get that you're unhappy but our employees are really good and we're resource limited but we're fixing that so everything is going to be better now.  There's NEVER any substance, its always just "fluff talk".  And most importantly, nothing EVER actually does get better.  The software is still FULL of major bugs year after year though releases include very difficult and complicated network features that are continuously added (with even more bugs) that there WERE resources for.  It seems clear that most Flex customers would far prefer at least the major bugs to be fixed first before adding any features and they make that very clear but nothing ever actually improves.

My ultimate point is I suspect Flex Executive Management still thinks of FRS as an "experimental stuff" business and runs it accordingly.  But they advertise it as a polished retail products business and we take them at their word when we buy from them.  Retail customers expect polished products with few bugs (and no major bugs) that work as advertised.  And a company that would, for example, be so appalled they sold a customer a product that failed right out of the box that they'd empower every support person with the authority to INSTANTLY replace it on the spot.  Again, believe it or not I'm resisting the temptation to elaborate much, much further.  I could go on for pages.

Lastly, I personally believe that a lot of what's wrong in the world occurs because people stand by and let it happen. While no one person could actually fix something like this, we can all choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution as they tell us in elementary school.  Providing lots of loud, specific, clear and direct feedback is the only "vote" I have in my Flex Radio future.  So I'm trying to do that.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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In yet even with that long write up with nothing but despair he is still a Flex fan boy? that shows just how good Flex radios are.

I am amazed he thinks most other radios are more polished then Flex, not in my opinion. Other than the group writing for the Anan software their is no company writing software nearly as complicated as SSDR software in ham radio. SSDR is a huge project.
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John KB4DU

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One of my closely held beliefs is that "Accountants should never be allowed to make policy decisions", since they almost always look at reducing costs rather than increasing revenue. A similar situation happens in a primarily engineering company. Everyone wants to produce new stuff, and no one wants the job of maintaining the existing products.

A policy of a four week delay in servicing equipment seems excessively long in today's environment. Who would wait four weeks to have the internet service repaired,  the cars tires replaced, or any other service?
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Burt Fisher

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All of mine worked out of the box, they just didn't stay working. 5000,1500,6300,6400M. I will see how the K4 does.
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Bernie W7DMC

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Thanks to all of you who post helpful information on the forum. Once you sort through the meaningless comments there is a tremendous amount of valuable information presented here.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Jerome (W0JD), we are sorry for the delay in responding to your ticket. I see that the service department is in communication with you and that there was a problem in how the ticket was assigned in our system so that it was not being seen by the service technicians. This process issue has now been corrected. Your ticket indicates that you had a lightning event, which can be very problematic and difficult to diagnose in service. Please accept our apology for the communications delay.
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Thank you for your involvement in my issue, I wanted to wait until the overall process completed before I responded. In my case all that was needed was a fan replacement, unfortunately on return the pre-amp no longer functions. Tim in service has hinted he understands the root cause, awaiting further communication.

So my story continues will update the thread when end of job is reached.

73, jay