Is it just me feeling like this?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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Is it just me?

Contrary to the joy of FRS releasing nice new products, I feel like we’ve been dumped on from a great height.

FRS have been promising great headline grabbing features from SSDR for over 3 years now. Whilst we have been spoon-fed minor tweaks, we are still missing out on lots of basic must-have stuff.  By basic I mean things that almost all radios over $1k had included from shipment of serial No 000001.

For examples:  a proper useable S-meter, programmable RX filter profiles, all mode squelch, ability to assign antenna selection by band, ability to assign TX RCA amp switching by band, a lacklustre Noise blanker, a terrible ANF, the ability to quickly and simply do A <> B, A = B, split etc from on-screen buttons without needing numerous mouse clicks. And that’s without my long list of GUI shortfalls that are still lacking elegance, configurability and ease of use.  All these things subtract user pleasure from what could be a first class system.

For me just a handful of essential basic features would have been enough to make me happy. It would have enabled the excellent RF deck of the F6k to be used without feeling that SSDR is somehow the limiting factor in an otherwise great product. Even now we have no certainty nor confirmation from FRS that important missing functions will even be included with SSDR v2.0, which of course we will now have to pay for too.

FRS tell us that they are a software company, yet in the past 3 years they have developed the Maestro, co-developed the XL amp, developed the whole USB interface functions, and now they have managed to somehow design and develop 3 new radios!   All this time SSDR has lacked fundamental usability features, and has some serious bugs, lock-ups and GUI limitations.

I didn’t want WAN remote or other fancy ideas like diversity and S02R, just a solid radio deck that works as well as, and gives the same operating pleasure as any other radios in the $5k+ class.

If my soon to arrive Icom-7610 had a poor ANF then I’d send it back under warranty, expecting it fixed without charge, not a chargeable upgrade”. But, I suppose if I had to, I’d pay $200 again, even if it was for functions that really should have been included and/or worked properly from the get-go...but it had better have them ALL working A1 this time around.

For the past few months, I’ve been poised ready to decide if I should dump Flex. This would have been subject only to functionality immediately accessible from V2.0, and without having to wait / buy-in to more V2.x/V3 mañana promises.

And now the final nail in to coffin, it looks like my financial investment in Flex has just taken a big hit thanks to the new models.  Yes I know those in the USA can do a trade-up but what about the rest of the world?   I have been a loyal Flex user since SDR-1000. Are we second best, and does FRS only want our cash without the same level of commitment it gives to the US market?

I feel like FRS have strung us along for way too long with SSDR not moving forward with alacrity. Yet covertly they’ve been developing new radios instead that use up that precious and expensive payroll in other areas.

It looks like my trust and commitment in the FRS sales pitch and F6k has now become old-hat before it’s even reached functional maturity.

I had expected better from a small US company but I ended up very disappointed. So, no thanks FRS I will not be buying another prototype from you - I am not going to be that naïve and trusting twice.

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Steven G1XOW

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Posted 3 years ago

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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Steve,
I too have been waiting to see many of the enhancements on the long list of SSDR improvements that are on the idea list. Since they no longer provide road maps and only announce changes when they are ready, we don't know how close some of them are. However the number 1 idea on the list by votes is the dockable panadapters and that will be coming soon. It was demoed in Dayton. CONCURRENT clients is also coming in 2.x.

The decisions to prioritise Wan, the amp, and the new hardware were good ones even if they don't address what many of us are waiting for. More customers and growth will provide $$$ that can be used to expand the development efforts.

I am hopeful that with a lot of those efforts behind them we will start to see many of the SSDR gui features coming our way in V2.x . And while it may be 2018 before we see them i'm still impressed with the work they are doing and willing to wait for the features I hope we see in the year(s) to come.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Tony Hateley

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At last someone else agrees with me on what I said over a year ago
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Lee - N2LEE

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I wonder how many of you have seen this interview with Gerald talking about the features that ALL the 6000 radios will receive ?

This appears to dispel a lot of the myths stated here about the current flex.

https://youtu.be/UGNVjGKdvbM
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Clay N9IO

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at 3:22:06
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WW1SS - Steve

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That is why I dumped mine . . . Promises . . . Promises . . . Promises. Nothing has changed. Horrible noise blanker along with other things and always a 1/2 finished product. Been hearing about all these features that never get added. Hearing about 2.0 for almost 3 years now I think. 

They half finish a product . . . Start on a new product and take in cash with reservations for the new product. I am waiting for the 7610 to come out. I have a reservation in for a 6600m but not sure yet if I will purchase it when my time comes in 6 or 8 months from now.

I don't have an issue with any company coming out with new stuff but finish the current stuff 100%
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Rick WN2C

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If I am not mistaken, Icom or rather the dealers were taking reservations for the 7300 and 7610. These are just the one I remember recently. I am sure their were other manufacturers doing it also for some models in the not to distant past.
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Marc Lalonde

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i agree a bit on that , i have preferred have V2.0 or even V3.0 for some time before flex devaluate it own radio whit same or better receiver specification and less expensive new model. 

i knot it may got part sourcing challenge but still may make a MKII model

have expected  probably i my dream that FRS  what to show new software on hamvention 
instead like all other do and show new radio  , and V2.0 fall right under the carpet (again)

so flex look now like all other  ,doing new "Hardware" every year instead of doing future-prof radio platform , that redefine itself by new software that  is SDR definition after all  ,and wly we put lot of money for buy a 6700 platform  and before that a 6500

so now i just wait for my new ordered 6400  to ship .....  , but have prefer put my money on V2.0

quick Googeling and find old road map that show V2 for 2015 !!!!    ,so yup it may easy to tell that it do hardware instead of focus on software .

Marc  VE2OLM
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I find it interest, how some say they have dumped their radio and Flex, but still continue to post their disatisfaction here every time there is room for a dig.

I suppose they have that right to, but it is clear regardless what they say, they are really not done with Flex,,,it's just talk. I think for me,,I would just go another direction, instead of spending so much time telling people here how unhappy they are over and over and over.
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James Watts

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I personally think FRS underestimated the cost of development. They've found themselves in an unsustainable financial situation. If you add up their market share along with cost to develop such a feature-rich platform and deliver on their promises, they've had to release hardware (presell with prepayment; sort of like a kickstarter campaign) to keep revenue incoming to support staff and R&D. Almost like a Ponzi scheme. Remember the 6000 series was announced in 2013 with a roadmap of development. Now it's 2017 with software that's half-baked. Part of the selling pitch to get you into the 6000 line back then was upcoming features in the roadmap that would be released with v2.00 slated for 2015. However, v2.00 never came but the hardware has been replaced and new hardware announced. This is like robbing Peter to pay Paul while ostracizing your current customer base. I don't think this is sustainable for FRS.
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Walt

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I find the software development to be too slow to my liking and run-of-the-mill operating.  There are more daily-use featiures on my old ts-590s than in the 6500, which is why the 590 is still on the desk runiing 24/7 and doing some important things.

Have had my 6500 for three years - was hoping for a different type of Dayton presentation - less hardware and lots of new software features - like a finished version 1.

Time to cut the losses and move on.

Good luck to Flex and their contest radio path - I hope they do well.  Just not my cup of tea.

Cheers!
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KF4HR

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No, you're definitely not the only one feeling this way. 

One of my biggest fears of spending $7,000+ on my 6700 in late 2015 I that the hardware platform would be superseded in a short period of time, so I specifically asked that question before purchase.   I was assured by FRS that the cost to develop of their three 6xxx hardware was very high and I could expect this hardware to be around for several years. 

Fast forward 19 months and now I'm hearing the 6600 will have better receiver performance than my $7,000+ FLEX-6700?!  Sure I can upgrade (upgrade?) to a 6600, but I'd loose 4 receiver slices, which is the main reason I bought the 6700 in the first place.  Talk about a sick feeling!  It's probably wishful thinking, but I'm hoping FRS rewards its 6700 series customers by offering a receiver hardware improvement retrofit package. 

As for the new larger 6400/6600 larger hardware, personally I think FRS has ventured down the wrong path.  One of the main aspects I enjoy about the original 6xxx series transceivers is its slim size so it can be hid away and a PC or Maestro could be used for control.  And I'm curious how the 6600M will display 4 slices on the small Maestro screen?  Two slices sure, but four?  If this built-in Maestro platform is the path FRS has decided to go, I suspect the 6700 model will eventually get dropped from their product line up, especially now that the 6600 has better receiver hardware.

While there are certain operational aspects of my Flex I enjoy, I feel this latest hardware release has let this 6700 owner down.  FRS's disappearing road map and their wait-and-see business model has me now wondering if I went down the wrong path. 
 
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Steve Gw0gei

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I feel your pain . Twice in the last twelve months I have been in the telephone discussing purchasing. A 6700 to replace my 6300. I tried a 6500 afte r my first 6300 and found it didn't offer enough for so2r. Hf and vhf contesting due to the single. Scu. I bought another 6300 and have been happy with the ssdr developments for icontesting until. The hang ups and dax driver corruptions soured the experience. I could live with the poor anf and nb etc but the radio hanging during a contest. Is a big no no for me. I win the rsgb hf championship. Series last year with my 6300. And am competing in the series. Plus other s this year.

Luckily. In both occasions. Something has made me hesitate before. Going ahead with the. 6700. Upgrade and I have spent money on antennas and. Upgrading Amos instead.

The. 6600 looks good to me in non m mode and I can live with the bigger box. If it means it will be easier and cheaper to fix if it goes bad. I have had no interest in going back to knobs. Via maestro or the new m versions. (Which look ugly. And cheap like knobs similar to. K3)..

I have been trying to sell my 6300 in recent weeks as I anticipated that flex would be bringing so,e new models out. I have no chance of selling it now - not a major problem. To me as I can afford to keep it for /p. Or multi two contesting. Use. However I will not be buying a 6700 or 6600. For my main so2r hf and transverting needs until such time as ssdr. Issues have been sorted and the. Improved performance discovered via the recent sherwood tests are rolled out for all. 6000 model radios. In the meantime. I will be sitting in my hands and cash.

One of the things I liked about flex. When I. Bought first. 6300 four years ago. Was the roadmap and the. Good communications. With customers. It's still better than icom an others who don't even admit they have a problem , but I am starting to look again at the elecraft offering even though I have never liked their ergonomics and quality i of the case etc.

I sincerely hope that flex can get a maintenance release of ssdr out. Next week , even if it's a public beta , as I a goingto have to do a re install anyway due to another dax corruption this week. I will be happy to pay for 2.0 if it offers lots of new features, and when it is a stable product, but in the meantime I want my 6300 to be a reliable joy to operate. With my flex knob. And not. An unreliable pain in the butt .

Steve gw0gei / gw9j
(Edited)
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NM1W

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Couldnt agree more! Fix the dax corruption and rig crashes..And better honest communication with the current customers.
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Ned K1NJ

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   It might be a good idea to return a "roadmap".  It would do a lot to restore
faith in those, who in fact, *want* to have faith in the direction software will
go.  A few detractors can be ignored, especially considering what has already
been accomplished.  I think it would do a lot more good than harm.  Remember
that the new radios will also live in the same software environment, and software
will still define the radio.

                        Ned,  K1NJ
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Steve, your concerns are reasonable.  Our engineers have been trying hard to recreate the v1.10.16 crashing problem so far unsuccessfully in the lab here.  The problem is very intermittent and not everyone sees it.  They have been applying resources to attempt to isolate the problem but they need to be able to recreate the event.  This will be provided in a 1.x maintenance release when fixed.  You can back up to v1.9.13 revision if this is causing you problems.  Apparently, the problem has not been seen in alpha testing of v2.0 so it appears isolated to the v.1.10.16 release.  Diagnostic data that will allow us to recreate the problem is what we need most.  

DAX incorporates third party drivers, which apparently can experience buffer corruption on some PCs with high DPCs.  We plan to incorporate new drivers and provide in a 1.x maintenance release when completed.  

We consider both of these high priorities for resolution but due to the nature of intermittent problems, we cannot predict the timing.  

Gerald
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Rory - N6OIL

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You know Gerold and Steve I did have maybe two instances of lockups with v1.10.16 but after I did a factory reset all was fine. But I really think a lot of it has to do with the OS, as much as we say our OS'es are clean I can't put my faith in saying that, we throw so much software at our computers and things get knocked out of wack but we can't see it by running diagnostics. One thing I did do was run my 6500 using Dogpark and never had issues. So I really don't think SSDR is the root of the problem with the huge delta of Microsoft installs out in the wild, I would put more blame on the users' systems.


  You may ask how I can say this well I work for a school district in IT and we build our images the same for all computers and it's not long before we get problems because of some software will not play nice with Windows, Java and Flash have been our biggest pains, now that more developers are moving away our error rates have gone down and we are re-imaging less and less. 

I know Steve in a perfect world it would nice if you could just pack up your setup and send it to Texas. Software and hardware is a fine line between bliss and chaos.

Good luck Steve and I'd say hang in there, so many threads on here claiming the sky is falling.

73 
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Arnie

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Steve and all:
I have been with Flexradios since the 3000. I pre-ordered the 6300 when they were announced at Dayton. I waited 15 months before the delivered a nice radio but with horrible rudimentary software. A had assumed it would be an upgrade the PowerSDR, not a stripped down software lacking even a panadapter. Though they have obviously improved SmartSDR since it lackluster beginning, it still lacks many useful features of PowerSDR, which even now is being improved by a third party and far surpasses the features in SmartSDR. Even something which my Icom 751 purchased new in the 80's had, like squelch. 
When I voiced some skepticism about FRS  delivering the 66oo/64oo in August, someone on this board jumped on me as being so negative. I replied that I was not being negative...just being realistic based on past performance. 
There is obviously a lot more profit in bringing out new radios than there is in bringing out state-of-the-art software for existing radios.
Even the IC-7300 radio has been operable natively over the internet for a long time.....time in which FRS has yet to fulfill that expectation, let alone bring SmartSDR up to even the level of PowerSDR. IN fact, FRS has gone backwards and removed such basic features as keyboard shortcuts and CAT control for many features that were/are in PowerSDR...like being able to adjust the TUNE STEP. WHen I asked to have the features returned, I was told "it's not a priority" by Tim.
I like my 6500, but am sorely disappointed in the pace of fulfilling expectations about the software, which is, after, what the radio is.
73 de Arnie W8DU
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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I personally think FRS underestimated the cost of development
To the extent that they did any estimating at all, I think Mr. Watts is probably right.

Running a software company is difficult.  Running one in which you're trying to fund both your bug fixing and your forward development solely with current sales requires *lots* of current sales, and *very* healthy margins. 

In my own, personal, experience, I have never been able to make this model work.  Maybe it works for others who are more talented or who have products of different levels of complexity.

It is *my* view that the only thing that can save you in this model are periodic "re-ups"... people paying to trade-up to your new version.  So you need a rapid (almost annual), compelling, paid, upgrade path.

Just as an example, my company develops and licenses some highly complex (another way of saying very expensive) software packages.  We charge about 20% of the cost of the initial license fee per year for support.  That support ONLY includes bug fixes. It does not include upgrades to new versions or new features, on which licensees get a 70% discount if they're under support at the time they want to but the upgrade.

Some years we break even on support costs...some years we lose money... some years we lose a LOT of money.

Software engineers are expensive. They are craftspeople, not really engineers at all. Their care and feeding is complex.  Despite all the hooey about project planning, it is difficult if not impossible to know when they will deliver a feature that has been properly finished and if that feature will meet with near universal acclaim.

And software product planning and management is almost as hard as software engineering.

Flex are unquestionably good people, smart engineers, and dedicated to doing right by the community... even to their own detriment sometimes. Of this there really can be no doubt.  Those of you who think otherwise really haven't been paying attention. Flex have stuck to their fundamental promises and continued to deliver free software upgrades in V1.x for years.  Enough upgrades?  Probably not enough to satisfy some of us... including me.  But upgrades and fixes, nonetheless.  And these haven't cost any of us a penny.

Now comes V2.x -- for which they've unfortunately boxed themselves in to charging $200.  This isn't NEARLY enough money.

Having a bunch of nice upgrades isn't optimally helpful if it puts Flex out of business as a result.

If I was Gerald, I'd announce the cost of SSDR V2 was $550... just under the cost of an entry-level transceiver. Because that's what you're getting: A new radio. I might also considering individually licensed features (you want WAN?  That'll be another $200, thank you... multi-client?  That'll be $75 per simultaneous client attachment, please pay the cashier, thanks).

I'd also institute an annual support fee... say $110 per year.  Heck, that's less than the $10/month people pay for their streaming music service... it's GOT to be worth it to folks.

Let's be clear:  For this kind of cost, there would HAVE to be *really* good SSDR releases happening frequently, with lots of forward-moving, cutting-edge features.

But I bet you won't see any of those changes.  Because Flex long ago told the community they'd do something else and they want to be good to their word.

TL;DR
Here's the bottom line:  Good software costs a lot of money to write.  The current model used by Flex almost certainly does not allow them to aggressively move SSDR forward and give us the chrome we all would like. They should value, and charge more for, their software -- and issue periodic, for cost, upgrades.

That's probably not the answer most want to hear.  And, ultimately, it's really neither our problem nor even our issue to solve.  But I bet that's the underlying reason you see for what happens at Flex.  Somebody's got to feed the beast.

Peter
K1PGV
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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>I have to strongly disagree with the statement, specifically
>the "not really engineers at all" bit.

Not wanting to derail the thread, we will have to agree to disagree.

I've been a software engineer, writing kernel-mode OS level software (device drivers, file systems, OS components) for many years. I'm not saying there isn't a difference between implementation, design, and architecture. I'm not saying results don't need to be tailored to meet specific needs and requirements. And I'm not saying that in software there isn't good and bad "art." These are all traits of good craft, and not necessarily engineering.

Like all art, there can be substantial disagreements over what's good and what isn't.

It's not "real" engineering because practically nothing we do is either provably correct or provably optimal.

Yes, I agree that you CAN create high performing organizations of like-minded crafts people, who do consistently excellent work, on time and budget. But it is very, very, hard and requires both mature talents (not necessarily in age) and some type of exceptional management (there are several styles that work... but all are exceptional).

Apologies for the thread detour.

Peter
K1PGV
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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@KF4HR With all due respect... even if it only adds WAN and undockable windows, that is enough to make it qualify as a "new radio" to me. I wouldn't expect my TS-2000 to suddenly develop similar features, for instance. If I wanted such enhancements, I'd expect to have to buy a new radio. That's all I'm saying.

Peter
K1PGV
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Steven G1XOW

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Hey Peter,

I know what you are saying, but kind of take a different view.

Putting SSDR v3, v4 etc. on old hardware whilst doing something useful certainly would not give us "a new radio",  just new functionality.

The hardware will be same, the components will still be aged in the same way both chronologically and through electronic aging. We will not be getting a new warranty, or any new components therefore calling it "a new radio" is something of a misnomer.

If I loaded Windows 10 on to a 15 year old Windows XP machine, would I get an new PC from it?  Chances are that it will still go bang some time soon, and more importantly it will run like a dog with two wooden legs.
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Arnie

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Steve:
I agree with you on most points. However, not this one. In this case, the software IS the radio. Software DEFINED radio. SO that is not really comparable to the windows situation. In my view, therefore, the software should have been priority ONE for Flex, and not just something secondary to seemingly their main efforts being directed to hardware development. They have not come close to exhausting the capabilties of the current hardware and they should have focused on maximizing those capabilities. Like I said, the software IS the radio. SDR. I could be misguided but that is what I expected when all the hub-bub about SDR was being put forth, particularly by this company.
73 de Arnie W8DU
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James Watts

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I totally agree. You can't draw parallels between Flex SDR and the big 3, other than maybe now ICOM. FRS sold the 6000 series with the promise of software development to bring the features advertised. SOFTWARE IS THE RADIO. They even touted this fact when taking your presell dollars. FRS even stated they were a "Software" company. However, since 2013, by their own actions, that has not been the case.
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KD7CAO

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I am very much in the same thinking. We purchased for our agency four Flex 6700 radios to be strategically placed around the county to provide diverse use of the HF spectrum for emergency communications, to be able to contact the Texas State Operations Center or to communicate with our Mobile Emergency Operations Center when deployed for major disaster response. We also figured we could use them for noise hunting with steerable antennas. A minor part of this was also to help our ham radio community by providing access to the HF spectrum when they would otherwise be unable to utilize HF due to restrictions in cost, location, or rules and regulations.

Our purchase was made with funds provided by the Department of Homeland Security a grant. FlexRadio Systems sold us a bill of goods that has never come to fruition. They sent me a set of SSDR V2 cards with serial numbers so that we could upgrade when the software comes out. It has been almost three years and still we have not received what we paid for. 

We also ordered the Maestro because the way we were sold on it was that it too would be able to utilize the remote options to work anywhere an Internet connection was available. Let me tell you this Maestro is pathetic. Basic features that should have been included with a thousand dollar computer would be the: battery pack to use as intended, an adjustable foot, and an adapter cable so that you could use purchased accessories for your FlexRadio with the Maestro. By the way I still have not been able to use the Maestro or the computer with the radio without having to first upgrade or downgrade the software in the radio. The computer and the Maestro are both running Windows 10 there is no reason for this.

I thought it would be awesome to drop a cellular card on the Maestro and take it anywhere cellular service is available and have access to the radio, but who knows if that will ever happen.

As it happens to be, we purchased a lot of promise and learned a few lessons that we will not repeat again. I am now very cautious on purchasing from companies that can not show it to me before we purchase. The vapor ware has got to stop.

Finally, three of our Flex 6700 radios and Maestros are still sitting in their boxes awaiting deployment all because the software we paid for is not yet available.
(Edited)
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Jerry WA9UKB

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Would have been fantastic if that had worked out.....

Jerry WA9UKB
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KD7CAO

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I probably should clarify that with grant funds we often have to purchase on the word of a vendor. This has been 3 years since the actual purchase, but this project has been almost 5 years in the making. Keep in mind we had to have local, regional, state, and federal approval to make the purchase which took years to get. We have to spell it all out on what we want to do then ask and wait. I even had to do environmental historical studies for these. I just want what we paid for to work as was promised. We were initially told it was coming with v2 by the end of 2015. Now when asked they use stupid word play, it is scheduled to come after v.1.1.3 ask again and now it is after v.1.10.5. Let me tell you answers like that may be accurate but really p!$$3d me off. They know exactly what I am asking.
(Edited)
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Ed, K6VMV

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Ok, I've read the above and I guess I'm a different kind of ham.  First licensed when I was 13 in 1956 as KN6VMV.  Over the years ham radio has played an important role in my life in many ways.  I have had many hobbies and interests that have come and gone but ham radio has held my interest all these years because there is always something new to learn, always a new challenge.  I'm not rich. I can't afford a contest station but i've had a lot of fun, and some success, with my modest stations.  I have to rely on operating skills rather than brute force and stacked SteppIRs.  I currently own a 6300, couldn't afford the 6500, and I've had a blast with it.  It is without a doubt the best radio I have ever owned.  Sure beats the heck out of my Novice station; Heathkit AR-3 receiver and DX-20 transmitter.  I dove into the SDR world because I saw the potential of constantly improving my station with new versions and upgrades to the software without having to buy new radios.  As I'm not a "professional ham", I want a great receiver with sharp filters.  I operate SSB, CW, and all the digital modes.  I am happy to pay for new versions of SmartSDR.  I figure it's less expensive than buying a new radio.  I hope the Flex crew will listen to us little pistols and focus more on upgrading the software.  Thanks.  73, Ed
   
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Paul Christensen, W9AC, Elmer

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>"For my own part I have just realised that owning a 'proper' SDR means that my investment is more like a PC than a radio...."

That's exactly how we should view our purchases. I hope nobody among us is making a purchase as an "investment" with an expectation of financial gains. We should expect devaluation just as today's top-of-the-line Microsoft SurfacePro will devalue with the next release.

déjà vu: Icom 756, 756 Pro, 756 Pro 2, 756 Pro 3. Where was the outcry from EU ops during that decade of production? Where was Icom's trade-up program? Hell if I can remember it. Anyone?

How about the user-angst created when Kenwood released the TS-950SDX approximately 12 months after the release of the SD version? I owned the SD. Kenwood offered us nothing. Zero. Add the Ten Tec Omni 6 release soon after the Omni 5 as another example.

No trade-up programs. In each case , features and hardware fixes were evolutionary. It was their prerogative -- and duty as a company to enhance their products and do so without prior notice. Even with the model obsolescence of the 6300 and 6500, those owners still benefit from future firmware and SSDR upgrades, paid and unpaid.

The only company I know of that comes close to offering a trade-up program is Elecraft. They allow K3 owners to upgrade much, but not all hardware to become the equal of the K3s.

Just my opinion for what little it's worth.

Paul, W9AC
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James Whiteway

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I might be wrong, but, I seriously doubt that your 6500's value would drop that much. Before you give up and throw in the towel, how about calling Flex Radio tomorrow or in the not so distant future and see what they offer? I bet it will be a lot more than $1,000.00. I wouldn't sell or trade in mine for that price. Even when Flex dropped the 3000 and 5000 radios, the used market for them was (and still is for the most part) quite good. And don't forget, the 6500 will be using the same version of SSDR as the new kids on the block. While it won't be able to take advantage of having dual SCU's and the "Contest Filters" (whatever those really are) it still has the SAME ADAC and FPGA as the 6600/M, and the same Sample rate (256 MSPS). It is still no slouch in the performance department. Plus, the 6600/M does not have a real BALANCED mic input like the 6500. Not even an 8 pin mic connector, just a 1/8" phone plug. Sure you can get an adapter for the XLR to 1/8" phone- Psudo Balanced mic connector. But, I bet it won't work as well as the real deal.
So, don't give up. Keep the 6500 (which I plan to do unless thing about the 6600M tempt me too much :-) ) or if you sell it outright, I'm betting you'll get more than you think for it.
james
WD5GWY
 
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Jerry WA9UKB

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Thanks for the encouragement,
Photo of Jerry  WA9UKB

Jerry WA9UKB

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I guess better than this video. Lol

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zGZqnc6...
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James Whiteway

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Hadn't seen that in years!!!! Good one!
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Ken - NM9P

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I seriously think those running scared about reduced value of their 6500's are just that--running scared.

The 6300 and 6500 have been discontinued, but are still very much supported and are NOT obsolete. Nor will they be for quite some time. They will run the same SSDR that will be developed for the 6400 and 6600. This is much different from dropping PowerSDR and moving on to SmartSDR with the 6000 series.

The 6500 was near the top of the top ten rigs before the new flex rigs were released. Nothing has changed in its performance. In fact, its performance will continue to improve as new software is released.

Panic-ridden estimates of $500 trade-in values or $1000 resale values, I think are severely overstated.
I am awaiting word from Matt in a few weeks about a trade-up from 6500 to 6600 and anticipate it to be much more generous than that.

So far, Flex's Trade-in and Trade-up programs have been very competitive, because they want to keep customers in the fold.

BTW: as they discussed the new equipment, at the banquet, it was stated that the new rigs incorporate things they have learned during the phase five years of production and support for the 6000 series. Thus the new rigs will have lower phase noise and better RMDR than the previous rigs. Yet the 63/6500 have not been deminished. They will still work, and upgrade, as well as they ever did.

I did not expect them to make this change as quickly as they did. But when I saw the new 6600 I signed up for a trade-up within half an hour.

Even though this is Software Defined Radio, and software drives development, I would not expect them to halt hardware development. Especially since the new hardware and old hardware are compatible and will run the same software.

The new rigs will simply bring new users into the 6000 SDR arena with better equipment for less money. That is a good thing!

Yes, I spent more money, but that is the price of being a pioneer in cutting edge technology.

Ken - NM9P
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Lee - N2LEE

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I am not defending Flex but I will say that buying ANY product on promises is your fault, not the company. I have seen this syndrome in many companies, where they made announcements but never happened.

Consider the fact that people are making down payments and signing up for an Icom 7610 and they don't even know any of the features or the PRICE !  How is that any different than the complaints about Flex ? People are betting on a promise without knowing anything about this radio.

Has anyone seen Icom's road map for their sdr products ?  I haven't. And I can guarantee you won't see one. Japanese companies do not work this way. Yet I do not hear anyone screaming about Icom. What about Kenwood or Yaesu owners, those companies haven't even made a peep yet people are still buying their products.
(Edited)
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Duane N9DG

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Yes the JA brands keep their customers completely in the dark with regards to new any products in the pipeline.

And it is interesting to watch the reflector lists for those brands and their various models each time a new firmware updates come out. There is always a wave of posts about the disappointment about what the new firmware doesn't fix, and also how those firmware update rarely include any new functionality. If there is any new functionality or feature in the newer firmware, it is very minimal and incremental in nature.
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Lee - N2LEE

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The JA's have the same approach in many other industries, for example in the photography industry. The JA might have a fix here and there but 99% you have to buy the next model. Take a look at Sony, every 18 months they release a new model. RX100, Mark 1, Mark 2, Mark 3, Mark 4 and now Mark V. 

The reason is their entire business is based on manufacturing. They have to design, build and ship hardware to be able to employ the work force. The Icom 7610 is not going to be any different.

Flex does need to up their game

One area where I do agree with many of the comments is if Flex wants be a software company then they need to up their game. I love my 6500 but SSDR is certainly not breaking new ground. 

If they are not able to do the job then they need a much more aggressive third party software development program. More 3rd party support and APIs would be a smart move. But there is a catch...

One of the advantages Flex has over their competition is also one of their weaknesses. 

  1. The strength of the 6000 Architecture is the Client  / Server model. The bulk of the work is done on the 6xxx not on pc (client). Which means  they can have an iPad or low end computers and makes it much easier to have remote capabilities. 

  2. The weakness in this approach is it MUCH more difficult to write server based applications and requires a much higher skill level programmers. I believe this is a big reason why we have not seen many of the features listed in this thread.
As some who worked in software development and marketing I know first hand that throwing more programmers does NOT always solve the problem. In fact more programmers can often slow down development.

My advice is the same for making a purchase of ANY product, if it doesn't do what you want then buy something that does. But whining and complaining says more about your decision process than the company you are complaining about.

  
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Thinking of my JA products, we have JA cars and several JA radios.

The cars cost between $30k to $60k.

To get the nav maps every year we have to buy DVDs from the mfg. You can't even burn them from the website. $85 to $200 EVERY YEAR.

Honda EOLed software updates for one of the cars 10 years in. We still have it as a beater because it's cheap to run and we can lend it to whoever visits and not worry about it being damaged.

And that's just the nav. Nothing else gets a software update unless there is some defect that needs fixed. In fact they didn't even fix DST for free. You had to pay for it.

As far as radios go, none of my icoms, Kenwoods or yaesus have ever seen a software update. They do the exact same thing they do the day that they were bought. To get additional functionality you need new hardware. No trade in, no nothing.

Compare that to Flex?
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Michael Coslo

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I've written before about my legacy radios. Each one of them has an inherent problem. And none have been fixed. In general, any problems, like my Kenwood  D-700's cold weather "siren" were  denied as a problem, and then not too long afterward, the D-710 came out.  Which did have an impact on the resale price of the D-700.  I never even thought about Kenwood messing up my "investment".
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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First my Flex history, bought 5000 VUK months before it was discontinued, then a new 6500 and Maestro, then sold 6500 to buy used 6700. So I've taken a hit on valuation just like I did when I dished out $35k for a 1990 Safari van that I sold for $400. Devaluation, get over it people. My opinion as a Flex user is this move to introduce 6400 and 6600 radios should be heralded not condemned. This strategic move has assures Flex not only to be part of the low, mid SDR market but perhaps stranglehold the entire SDR market while retaining it's elite SDR status without compromising anything except price. Am impressed on how well this secret was so well kept.  I agree with Howard regarding this being a 7610 killer, well perhaps not a killer but ICOM and other players will be forced to restructure their pricing, period.

With all the additional revenue I'm sure we will see additional software staff added. This is a good thing.
(Edited)
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John - K3MA

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Gerald did say at the Sat dinner that the Flex revenue was up 30% last year.  I only counted two Flex staff at the dinner who were software developers.  Hopefully, some of that increased cash will end up with more software development resources.
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Marc Lalonde

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right now we knot it go in new hardware and low level firmware for new radio instead of new function of V.2  ;-)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Peter

Like you I have run software and hardware companies.   I totally agree with you that Flex is not charging enough for software.

For years (1960's-1990's) we operated on a project by project basis with sale of hardware (new projects) funding the software development costs of prior projects.  We could get hardware maintenance contracts but the clients assumed that software was free.   Finally we learned that the hardware Ponzi model is not sustainable.  Software has a high continuing support and development cost long after the hardware sales and maintenance money has been used up.

In the early 2000's we switched to an annual software license fee model and like you, new features had additional license fees... Finally we had a sustainable model and in the long run the clients were much happier as they got the features they wanted by paying for them


Yes.. I know that Hams are Cheap... and an annual fee model with turn off Joe Ham

But for the rest of who want features - it is a small price to pay for an ever improving product

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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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@Howard I think Flex could use somebody with a software entrepreneurship background on their BoD.

Perhaps you, me, or perhaps Mr. Orman (if the "David Orman" above is the same David Orman I'm thinking of). Not to tell them how to run the company, but to provide the sort of "been there, done that" experience that can lead to avoiding others mistakes.

Then again, maybe their board is chock-full of such people -- when it comes to another company's strategy, we really are guessing with about 20% of the data. For us, it's sport.for them, it's real life.

Peter
K1PGV
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W9TVX

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I completely agree Howard. I've been in the software business for over 30 years myself. Personally, I would have no problem paying substantially more for a major release or an annual licensing fee for enhancements (vs bug fixes) if it means that the company can continue existing and delivering product.  

If you think about it at $200 software upgrade per radio, a thousand seats would cover the loaded cost of  1 to 1.5 software developers. How many thousands of radios does Flex have in the field running SmartSDR?

My guess, is that Flex most likely has to continue selling hardware to generate revenue in order to fund their software. Which is problematic because hardware sales are a one time sale and the margins are not traditionally great.

I would hope that they would actually have a model that derives more of their revenue from software because that has better scale and margins which in the long run is ultimately better for the company and the user community.

The flip side is that folks who buy SDR radios such as Flex have to think of the hardware as an initial investment in a platform that will have much more longevity that a traditionally closed radio, and that the software is something that they will have to continue to purchase if they wish to evolve the platform.

This of course also means that companies like Flex must stand behind their hardware and demonstrate that the hardware platform won't face obsolescence in the short to medium term
(Edited)
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Pat N6PAT

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When I bought my 6700 (on sale $500 off) in January of this year I didn't expect Flex to stop making advances in software or hardware. Nor did I expect to get any new advances for free just because I had already purchased my 6700.

I'm very happy with my 6700 because the performance and features that convinced me to purchase it in January are still there and fully functional. The addition of new models doesn't affect my radio performance at all. It's the same radio I bought and the same radio I love to operate.

Why are so many 6700 owners upset because the 6600 has a better receiver? Do you get upset because a 2018 Chevy will have more features than the 2017 you bought? Do you expect to get the 2018 features magically added to your 2017?

You bought your radio because you liked the features and now you're upset because a new model is introduced with added features. You'd feel the same way if you bought the new 6600 today and in six months the 8800 was introduced with more features.

There is no reason you cannot enjoy your radio today just as much as you did the day before the new models were announced.
 
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KF4HR

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Why are so many 6700 owners upset because the 6600 has a better receiver?

Perhaps because 6700 owners dished out considerably more for their 6700 (than a 6600) thinking they had bought Flex's hardware flagship and were under the impression that improved receiver performance could be handled exclusively via software changes. After all, aren't these products being promoted as Software Defined Radio's?

On the plus side, 6700 owners will be able to take advantage of (I assume most?) new software improvements and receiver software improvements are on the way, and I understand external filtering can be added (via the 6700's Port connections) to the 6700 to bring it up to 6600 receive standards. 
(Edited)
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Pat N6PAT

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Please show me where it stated that improved receiver performance was promised and that it would be handled exclusively by software changes.

I never saw that when I purchased my 6700.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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We have not measured the difference, so this all may be premature.  But if there is a slight improvement in receiver performance that we expect, from a pragmatic standpoint it would most likely be negligible in the rarified air of greater than 110 dB of dynamic range.  You can't hear the difference and it is really challenging to even accurately measure the difference.  Both are world-class receivers and that is the bottom line.

And yes, any software changes that improve performance that is software defined should be applicable to all radios in the family barring any architectural differences.

And you can add contest grade filtering to any radio.  Adding filters will not improve the receiver performance.  It just rejects out of band signals from nearby strong signal sources (fundamentals and harmonics).
(Edited)
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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We are upset because we got replacements for the 6300 and 6500 before we got the version 2.0 of the software which was supposed to be here 2 years ago.
We are upset because version 1 is buggy and still lacks basic features. It looks like many didn't even bother reading Steve's post. He couldn't have described my own thoughts better. Steve you are spot on... Unfortunately.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I expected version 2 and even 3 before new radios, yes I did. I am certain I am not alone.
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Pat N6PAT

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Then you are being unrealistic to expect the company to stop all hardware development until you have every software feature that you want.

Try telling that to ICOM, Kenwood, Microsoft, GM, etc.
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James Watts

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Pat, again you can't draw parallels here. Flex, by it's own admission, is a software company. Software is the radio, or so that's what FRS has been preaching since their inception. Software development was supposed to have been hardware-agnostic throughout the 6000 series.

Jim, W8GN
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Ned K1NJ

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    In fact, the radios were sold on the basis of expectations about where the
software would bring us.  I guess the sight of new boxes does not do much
towards fulfilling those expectations.

        Ned,  K1NJ
Photo of K2CB Eric Dobrowansky

K2CB Eric Dobrowansky

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You can't compare Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu in this regard. When someone buys a hardware radio from one of the big three, they are knowingly purchasing a WYSIWYG radio.

When someone buys a 6000 series radio, they are buying the concept of a continually evolving radio. Thus the reason they chose a Flex over the others. At least that was the thought two or three years ago.

The issue here is the evolution has been painfully slow and not as promised.
(Edited)
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Walt

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I agree, Howard - I pay $40 - 50 a year for other hambone software I use, and would have been happy to pay Flex the same.  I would also love to pay Flex $200 for a feature package for my type of operating, rather than just throw me into the "contesting and WAN" group. 

There is software I use for logging and even though I paid once and supposed to get all updates for free, I sent the guy another full payment when he did the ethernet interface for the Flex, because I was so glad to get rid of CAT.  Enjoyed paying for yearly fee for my contest software when they did the same and went total ethernet.

 I think a lot of hams are ready for a pay-as-you-go software model as long as the improvements are feature-rich.  What that means will be between manufacture and the focus-groups they use to set product priorities.

I do not know that Flex can change the business model at this point, but having different feature packs for dif. operators is something that would open my wallet.

Time will tell

Oh - there was a great presentation on W5KUB at the Flex booth that I saw this morning.

Cheers
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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FLEX DEMENTIA SYNDROME

You may recall that after Trump was elected many of your more left-wing friends went absolutely insane with what is now called Trump dementia syndrome.

Reading the community website it seems that many have now been hit with flex dementia syndrome composed of wild speculation of the devaluing older models and unfounded concerns that their radios will no longer work with the SSDR software.

I have tried to refrain from commenting but it is hilarious to watch The INSANITY.

YES. Flex needs to add a bit of spit and polish to the V1 and it likely will happen
YES. V2 will likely be out in June with Dockable windows and WAN in its first version]. They showed it at Dayton
YES. multi-client (M and PC at the same time or many users) likely will happen sooner
NO your 6300, 6500 and 6700 did NOT lose major value because Flex will give you great trade-ins value when you buy a new model
YES the new hardware sales are needed to find new software development'
YES Your 6300,6500 and 6700 Will continue to work with the new versions of SSDR and to the best of my knowledge II do not see any features that cannot be implemented in the existing models.

I did very well in the markets from people suffered from Trump dementia syndrome and sold their stocks in a fit of panic. So if any of you guys suffering for flex dementia syndrome want to sell me your 6300s or $6500 for $500 /$1,000 I will buy all that your selling

Bottom Line. Take a deep breath. The sun will rise tomorrow.
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Lee - N2LEE

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Howard there are always those that see the glass as half full and those that see it as half empty.

When I see the amazing technology that we have available as hams for the incredible price, I am thrilled.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Howard, I'll buy a 6700 for $1500 today. No problem! :-) Actually very intrigued about the trade up on my Limited Edition 6500. The 6600's dual SCUs and price point are extremely tempting. Perhaps I will get over the lack of a front panel headphone jack, after all!

After the surprise wore off, I'm much more excited about the new rigs. They seem to represent a maturation of the product, responsiveness to the market and users, and good business. I used to fear Flex could become like SignalOne, great but unsustainable. Don't have that worry anymore.

Even if I don't spring for the 6600, I have no doubts that the 6300 and 6500 will be supported for a long time, just like the models that went before them.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@George

I owned a Signal One.. even paid more for Serial #1,...superb radio in its day...

Don't recall what ever happened to it... probably thrown out with lots of other old junk when moving between countries...or more likely sold with my company that owned it.

Yes.. I know that lots of hams would love to sift thru my old trash on trash pickup day.

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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Call me when you decide to put stuff by the curb!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Cleaned out before travelling

It's already at the Curb.. Garbage pickup is Monday AM

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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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I just don't get it. Sincerely.

A week ago, some group of people were happy with their radios. Now those same people seem to no longer be happy with their radios, because new radios came out. Nothing happened to their radios in the past week. My 6500 still works the same way it did last week at this time, the fact that there's now a 6600 and Flex doesn't sell the 6500 anymore doesn't diminish my 6500 one tiny bit. I still like my 6500. I still wish the UX was better. But I like it just fine.

It terms of value, did you guys think you could get your money back if you needed it for hospital expenses or something? Seriously? It's a friggin' RADIO people... it's not a bar of gold bullion, or a Krugerrand, or even a Rolex. You're not going to get what you paid for it a few years later. Be realistic.

Peter
K1PGV
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Yep.  I like the latest greatest bleeding edge technology as much as the next geek, but I don't start bashing the company when they come out with a newer gadget.  I give them a thumbs up and say great job!  
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Official Response
Is it just me feeling...

Let me start with my bottom line advice. Buy on panic - sell on optimism.

If you have been waiting for a fantastic deal on a used FLEX-6000 buy right now! We were completely out of stock on all factory certified units before Dayton. We have not been able to keep them on the shelves and have a waiting list. If you want a factory refurb you may have to wait a little longer.

If some of you manage to snag a panic bargain, you can request our service department to run our full factory test for a basic one hour minimum bench fee. If any repairs are required we can quote those after testing. The warranty will be for repair parts and labor only and not the extended warranty we normally provide with refurbished units from the Trade Up program. If the radio is still under factory warranty we will include the warranty transfer as part of the one hour bench fee. We can provide this service from both our European and US repair centers.

Now let me set the record straight on regarding speculation and incorrect assumptions. I like to summarize facts because it helps me to organize my thoughts. I hope that everyone will appreciate our sincere desire to serve all our customers to the best of our ability and resources.

Here are the facts regarding the announcements of this weekend:

SmartSDR is the radio for the entire FLEX-6000 Series. Only a tiny fraction of our software development is unique to specific hardware including the new PowerGenius XL amplifier. That means that virtually all of our software development benefits the FLEX-6300/6400/6500/6700/6700R at the same time within the capability of each respective model’s hardware.

A very small portion of our engineering budget is for hardware development relative to SmartSDR development. Hardware is “easy” - software is hard.

We are committed to releasing SmartSDR updates that support common feature enhancements for all models concurrently. An example is that the new pop out panadapter feature on v2.0 will be available on all models simultaneously. For a variety of reasons from time to time there may be software features that are unique to a given model within any software software release.

Our full time software developers are and have been working on non-hardware specific SmartSDR. Software that is specific to the new models is extremely small relative to overall ongoing SmareSDR development and is primarily being done by engineers not dedicated to SmartSDR development on a regular basis. Oh, and we just hired another software engineer who starts next week working on SmartSDR development.

All the new models run SmartSDR and are based on a common scalable software architecture that sits above a hardware abstraction layer. Write once and test on all.

Version 1 is now feature frozen. However, there will be one or more v1.x releases likely to come after v2.0. ships. For example, we will include the IMD DR3 performance enhancement I discussed recently on the Community that we expect will benefit all existing models in a future 1.x release. We plan to address some other issues and bug fixes in those releases as appropriate.

Version 2.0 is in full testing now. We expect to release by the end of June. We demonstrated v2.0 in Xenia this weekend where you could instantly connect to any of a dozen stations across the country right from the radio chooser. Coming up will be a series of 2.x releases with a variety of new features that are in the works. At some point there will be a 3.x, 4.x, etc. There is no requirement to upgrade to any new release. Our licensing policy is published on our website.

Your current FLEX-6000 Signature Series radio is not obsolete. It is simply part of a growing SmartSDR based family of products. .

If you desire for FlexRadio to continue to develop enhanced SmartSDR features for all FLEX-6000 models many years in the future it is in your own best interest for us to be successful in selling new radios as well as new SmartSDR major versions. That is how the work gets funded.

We appreciate and listen to all constructive and respectful feedback. Thanks to all of you who have supported us over the last 14 years since the SDR-1000 was introduced We truly care about our work and your enjoyment of it. Thank you for helping us bring SDR into the mainstream in the small but fun ham radio market.

73,
Gerald
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AA0KM

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Email this to all.
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Lee - N2LEE

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Gerald, the detractors are few and your supporters are many.

We all strive to excel and provide the best product or service we can given the resources we are dealt. And no one or company is perfect. Apple is an 800 BILLION dollar company and yet to some people everything they do is wrong.

Keep doing what you are doing and congratulations on the new product line. I for one am excited about the new hardware and I know everyone at Flex is proud of their efforts.
(Edited)
Photo of K2CB Eric Dobrowansky

K2CB Eric Dobrowansky

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Steve, no, you are not the only one feeling this way.

V1 is now feature frozen? Really?

Heck, some of us are still waiting on features and functionality we were "promised" when speaking to your sales reps prior to the purchase of a 6000 series radio.

Maybe "promised" is the wrong word, but we were in so many words assured that some of the more simple functions, about which we inquired, would be coming within a year or so, and that was what, 3 years or so ago?

It now appears the money is in the hardware, if Flex's latest actions are any evidence. Maestro, Power Genius XL, 6400, 6600.......Meanwhile, SSDR has evolved at a snail's pace.

A suggestion - as it appears Flex is now becoming more of a hardware company rather than a software company, and SmartSDR continues to progress at a painfully slow rate, how about putting all your efforts into manufacturing great hardware, and open up the software portion to the open source community?

I can understand why at first you decided to go the closed software route, but has it really paid off like you had envisioned, at this point in time? I would tend to think not. It's probably been your worst nightmare, short of component availability issues.

I could be wrong, but I think if Flex originally went the hardware only route, an un-named hardware only SDR radio provider would have never even had a chance, at least in the USA.

No one will argue that you make some great hardware, but the software - come on already, how is it that the open source guys (and by guys I mean the one or two predominant players) can come out with new features in days or weeks, yet with SSDR we have been waiting years?

For example-

After months, Flex announces noise reduction feature.
Within days, OpenHPSDR guys release NR2 functionality, which is second to none. SSDR's NR is still nothing to brag about.

CESSB - weeks, not months. And wait until they release the new transmit audio processing functionality currently in beta testing. And there's talk of directly supporting virtual audio plug-ins in the near future. Is Flex considering these items for SSDR?

Predistortion - will it ever arrive?

Look at what KE9NS has single handedly done to revive the 3000/5000 radios.

Look at how the IOS SSDR app has affected the Maestro. While some of us use the Maestro in different fashions, many hams I know sold their Maestros and went with the app on an iPad for their remote usage. I wonder how that has affected overall sales of Maestro? Maybe hard to tell with the current delivery issues?

Ok, I wil accept the previous argument that SSDR is more involved to develop. But we are led to believe Flex has an experienced team of paid code developers on staff. Whereas the open source guys, and individuals such as KE9NS, are one man shows. So what am I missing? Is Flex not investing in the correct talent?

To top things off, we have now witnessed the resale value of our 6300/6500/6700 radios decimated overnight by the announcement of replacements with better specs at reduced price points. I am all for progress and a better value, but by trying to expand market share at the expense of your existing customer base is not a good move.

For example, someone who recently bought a 6300 for $2500 can now not even give it away, when a better replacement is offered at $2000. Let's not even mention the poor sap who payed out $7500 for a 6700. Had the price points held, they could have easily sold their old rig for a fair value, then added a reasonable amount to it, to upgrade to the new model. How the heck do you think they feel right now? Do you seriously think they going to buy another Flex without thinking twice? You would have done much better to have kept the price points closer to where they were. At least initially. The other three major manufacturers have traditionally held the same price points when releasing a replacement model of comparable level. And it has served them well, with loyal repeat customers, who were able to get a fair resale value out of the older model.

And finally, I know many Flex owners are not going to part with their money as quickly the next time around, if there is a next time. I myself am interested in a Power Genius, but I will wait until it is "fully baked" before I hand over my hard earned cash this time around.

I sincerely wish Flex all the best with their new product lineup. I just hope they realize that past customers are also potential repeat customers. Traditionally it has been cheaper to keep existing customers than to attract new ones. But they need to get certain things right for that to happen.

Eric
K2CB
(Rain coat on for all the Kool-Aid about to be thrown my way!)
(Edited)
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Steve Jones

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Gerald
Thanks for the clarification on several points, which is helpful

I tried to sell my 6300 in recent months, in order to upgrade to a 6700. It didnt sell but thats good as it meant i didnt spend £7000 on a 6700.

The 6300 will now stay long term in my shack whilst i watch what happens with the new 6600. If a panic driven 6700 comes up for sale i may well buy it as i like bargains.

The only real disapointment for me is that it appears 2.0 is taking priority over fixing problems in 1.10.16 with respect to hang ups. I put in a helpdesk ticket on advice and was then advised that it was a known issue and would have to live with it until a fix is found.

It appears that even if i pay for 2.0 i will still have to wait for one or two more maintenance releases to fix the hang up issue? I would hope that when the fix is found it will be released asap. Similar for the performance upgrade?

I am sure the new radios will sell well and it looks like the 6600 is a better so2r option for me rather than a 6700. Is it possible that the 6600 may end up in a smaller box ?

Appart from the disapointment that no bug fixing maintenance release was issued to coincide with the show, the other notable absence was any news of better integration with antenna genius. Will there be features supporting antenna genius in 2.0 ? Maybe it was mentioned to people at the show but for those of us in europe it would be great if an insider issue could be sent out confirming what you THINK will be included in 2.0 subject to final testing. As a antenna genius plus owner and someone who is planning on buying a power genius, due to the integration for hf and 6m contesting, it would be good to know what is coming down the road to further improve integration.

73

Steve gw0gei / gw9j
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IW7DMH, Enzo

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Dear Mr. Gerald,

thank you very much for your kind and detailed answer. Also thank you for taking part in a public discussion that no manager would ever like to be in. Giving a face to a brand does you great credit.

As you may imagine, I am part of the big list of disappointed people that in Dayton days was expecting a new SmartSDR version rich of features while they found a new product line announced in a very questionable and cryptically way.
Disappointed not because my Flex 6300 today is worth less, but for the way the entire operation was carried out: the first reference to the 6400/6600 is in the last two tiny lines of the SmartSDR 2.0 flyer, published by Tim on 12/05/2017, while the official announcement of the new models was published only three days ago.

A correct (justifiable for me) hardware renewal policy would have seen a proper information campaign mostly oriented to people that was going to buy a new Flex, followed by a sell-off period. it happens for every mass oriented product. I hope it will be done in the next months.

In addition I read that SSDR 2.0 will be free only for new buyers while it will have a cost of 199$ for the old rig owners. In my country we say "oltre il danno la beffa" (after the punchline - I hope this is the correct translation). So all people that have an old rig model, will be forced to pay for the features required and promised from about three years. And in many cases, like mine, after having contributed for free in the check and test of dozens bugs in earlier versions of Smart-SDR. I can't agree with this marketing policy.

From a company like FlexRadio, I would also expect a actual global business policy: if I buy a Yaesu or Elecraft radio, I'm pretty sure I can get the same treatment both I live in Tokyo and in New York: in the first case, "Yaesu CashBack" in the last a K3 to K3S transformation (or something of very similar). Unfortunately this can't be true for FlexRadio, or at leat it is true only when I buy a new rig for the first time.

I believe that care and diligence are due to old buyers as well as to new ones: who still believe in FlexRadio technology should have the 2.0 release of SmartSDR at the same cost of the 6400/6600 owners, at least in the transition period; who still believe in FlexRadio technology should also receive the same treatment (read return policy) regardless of his geographical zone.

All this is part of the "politically correct" as, at the moment, I am not taking care of the technical aspects.

Best regards
Enzo, iw7dmh
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K2CB Eric Dobrowansky

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Some of you are missing the point - we are still waiting for basic functions which we were led to believe would be delivered in the first year (or two). 

The SSDR progress which has been made has been extremely slow. Lately it appears the focus has been more on new hardware, rather than completing the software for the existing "already purchased based on promises" customer base.  Now it is being stated "V1 is feature frozen".  That is nothing short of a "slap in the face" to those who bought in to SSDR early on, and are still waiting for some basic functionality.

I have no problem paying for a V2 for new and groundbreaking features such as remote access, or contesting / SO2R related items, as that was clear from the beginning.   However, some still missing basic functionality, which others have touched on, is the issue.

That is the point being made; I do not genuinely believe anyone wants to bash Flex just for the sake of it. We all want to see FRS prosper.

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Arnie

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Exactly what I have been saying for a long time! You scored a bullseye, Eric. 

It's like if you go to a restaurant and the menu describes the main course and side dishes of french fries, salad and vegetables which come with it. The wait-person brings you the main course with one french fry. You ask for the rest of the side dishes stated on the menu and the wait-person tells you "I'll have it for you next year and by the way, you will have to pay extra for it."
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KC2QMA_John

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What might be fair and really cool thing to do is to wave the $199 update fee until Version 3.0 to at least ease some of the pain to their valuable customers as some of the new hardware comes to market would also would help with the sale of Pre Owned units allowing more existing customers to upgrade to new radios.

Would be an awesome show of top level customer service! And as I'm sure FRS already knows Brand Loyalty and Reputation is everything.
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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I have never read anywhere or have been told or promised by any FRS rep that WAN will be free, in fact quite the opposite. At every turn we were told this would in the next major upgrade (v2.0). What I don't get is how a few are acting so surprised now the v2.0 is less or about a month away.

I totally agree updates could and should be faster. The key phrase you used was "apears the focus has been more on hardware". That may appear to be the case but I do doubt that very much. Most of us haven't a clue on the amount of software resources it took to develop, implement and fool proof SmartLink. I am convinced now that SmartLink is out of the way, the pace of features coming out in subsequent releases of v.2.x will escalate satisfying most of the skeptics. Well that's what I'm hoping for.

ARNIE: The whole point is WAN isn't on the main menu yet. It's in the recipe book of the chef.
(Edited)
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WW1SS - Steve

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The issue here is not that there is a charge for v2. The issue here is that they did NOT complete the promised features and remove bugs in v1.  Did they add the promised features to V2 . . . We'll see. They jumped right into v2 with the issues still in v1. Ass backwards.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
I would like to thank all FlexRadio product owners who have shared their comments and feelings on this subject in a constructive manner.  Please rest assured that we have read them all and have heard you.  However, recent posts have become repetitive and started taking on an adversarial tone as this is a very passionate topic.  I feel that this particular topic has been well represented by those on both sides of the issues.  In addition, this topic has received feedback from the highest authority within FlexRadio Systems acknowledging the concerns.

In the interest of Community decorum and to curtail any possible breaches of the Community usage guidelines, I am inclined to close this topic at this time.
(Edited)

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.