Musings of an SDR addict ...

  • 5
  • Praise
  • Updated 2 years ago
I knew I would miss my 6300 when I sent it in and set up a trade-in for a 6400 - but it really is boring around here without my 6300.

I borrowed an analog rig from my brother because I wanted to be able operate on my favorite band (15mtrs) on SSB - on what could be 15mtrs last propagational hurrah before the rapidly advancing solar minimum gets here.

It took me longer than it should have to set up the analog rig for SSB because it had all sorts of settings I had to access by pressing buttons and turning knobs.  I have used ONLY SDR since late 2009 so the transition back to buttons was mentally painlful.

And then there was the vfo knob ... What a royal pain, spinning a knob over the whole 15mtr band.  Yes, it would be even worse for the 10mtr band but still - 450khz of spinning and spinning and spinning looking for a signal.  My poor Logitech mouse just sat there staring at me with nothing to do.

I finally gave up and parked on 21.290, checked to see if it was busy, and then started calling CQ's.  I finally got an answer from a buddy who I have had many QSO's with over the years.  He had just gotten a new rig and since he "knew" I had a flex he asked how his modulation envelope looked on the panadapter or if I could play back his audio.  How depressing it was to tell him that my panadapter was gone.  Replaced by knobs and dials.

It is really depressing to use an analog rig and feel like you have blinders on and are a slave to a spinning knob.  My ice cream habit has helped some and now I have supplemented it with pecan pie to dull the pain.  I hope I don't gain 60 pounds before I get my new 6400.

All semi kidding aside,  I really like the 6000 series and don't see anything that really compares to them.  I know they don't have all the software features that some folks (including myself) want right now but I personally don't see any other radio on the market close to being as much fun.  Thanks for all the fun Flex and looking forward to more in the somewhat near future.

Gary WB8ROL
Photo of Gary L. Robinson

Gary L. Robinson

  • 254 Posts
  • 55 Reply Likes

Posted 2 years ago

  • 5
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
Gary,

I made the comparison of operating a Flex - it's like driving a Tesla. Once you drive one, everything else seems like the Flintstones. It's not just the SDR part of it. But there is something to be said about workflow.

The biggest deal to me is the idea of profiles. Profiles is something no conventional radio I know of has. This is a very powerful feature that I leverage for different operating scenarios. Want to contest? Select the SO2R contesting profile. Want to DX? Select the DXing profile, with a panadapter and split. Select the WSJT profile and it's all set up for JT modes. Even my car has something similar, and it matches to whoever is in the driver's seat (via our keyfobs).

 There is also something to be said of visibility. Other radios have panadapters but they are nothing like a SDR panadapter - whether it be SmartSDR or another like PowerSDR. 

Hang in there, from what I gather it won't be very long now!

Ria
Photo of Gary L. Robinson

Gary L. Robinson

  • 254 Posts
  • 55 Reply Likes
I agree fully about the profiles!  I have (or rather had) close to 30 profiles tailored to my specific needs.  Awesome!  And being able to watch an entire band (or bands) and go to a specific spot in milliseconds!  And the panadapter, as you said, is awesome beyond my ability to describe it.
Photo of KM6CQ - Dan

KM6CQ - Dan

  • 180 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
I hope your right Ria. My 6500 has been gone for a week, so I have fallen back on the KX2. The 6600 can't get here soon enough.

Dan
Photo of Clay N9IO

Clay N9IO

  • 596 Posts
  • 154 Reply Likes
I am feeling it as well Dan.
6300 gone since June or July, my mind is a blur.

Just did the ILQP on phone with my IC-775dsp, I could have cried I tell ya.
Oh FRS make the pain go away.
Darned emojis won't work, I am winking now.....
LOL.
(Edited)
Photo of Jim Gilliam

Jim Gilliam

  • 925 Posts
  • 217 Reply Likes

Nothing like working in the work shop with the Flex smiling

 on my iPad.


Jim, K6QE

Photo of James T. Lee

James T. Lee

  • 9 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
  • I agree with this line of thinking--in my shack sits the 6500, but also three analog radios including an Elecraft K3 (and a K3 is not exactly chopped liver).  I work mostly CW and RTTY these days, but some SSB for a few nets where I always get audio reports that are good to great (Heil PR781 mic).  For CW, nothing beats a Flex radio.

  •  I had previously owned the Flex 5000 and then a 6300 (briefly).  The genius of the 6000 series design, for sure, was "keeping most of the computing machinery INSIDE the radio box itself" so that a modest (i.e. slow or memory-challenged) external computer could no longer be the Achilles' heel. 

  • NOTHING matches the ease of operation that a hamster enjoys with Flex radio 6000 series rigs and their intuitive panadapter feature.  It is simply a brilliant radio design.  Using Flex Very Addicting  = UFVA.

  • I am a little fearful of buying a new PC for the shack, which I will ultimately be forced to do, because of my worries about Windows 10 problems.  Lots of bad comments about Windows 10 driving folks crazy up in these parts -- one ham in our city was supposedly hauled away in a straight jacket, etc when using Windows 10 with his Flex. If true, sort of like a hill-billy evangelist preacher getting bitten by one of his snakes during a serpent-handling church service.  Sometimes your computer can turn on you when running a Flex--that is no fault of the Flex design. I do wish that Windows 7 could be around forever.

  • I have been licensed for 60 years and could not be happier with the technology and engineering that led to the 6500 and its congeners. 
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
Windows 10 has been problematic a few times for me but overall it has been much, much better than Windows 7. Get an SSD and plenty of RAM and it should be happy. 
Photo of James T. Lee

James T. Lee

  • 9 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Glad to hear that N2RJ. 

I have SSD in my current Lenovo T530 laptop and tons of ram as well. Has been a superb machine but nothing lasts forever.  So . . . .now enthused by your comment, maybe I will just upgrade to a newer Lenovo model that has Windows 10 and hold my breath, HI HI.

NK7B
Photo of Clay N9IO

Clay N9IO

  • 596 Posts
  • 154 Reply Likes
I run Win7 on a quad core desktop I built about 6-7 years back, the absolutely BEST thing I ever did was when I changed over to an SSD. Major speed difference. That and a Corsair PS.
Photo of Norm - W7CK

Norm - W7CK

  • 754 Posts
  • 160 Reply Likes
Don't be too worried about transitioning to Windows 10.  I've been on it since early adoption and haven't had many issues at all.  Personally I think it is much better than Win 7 and would not consider going back. 

I have only had 1 occasion where I had something go amiss during a Windows update.  I performed a total uninstall of SmartSDR, reinstalled it and everything was fine.

Some folks seem nervous about the uninstall and reinstall of SmartSDR.  It really is pretty simple.  So simple that I never perform an upgrade when a new version of the software comes out.  I always uninstall and reinstall it clean.

The other thing I like to do is make a System Image of the OS Drive after every major change.  With it, I can restore the system back to original in less than 15 minutes.  This function may only be available in Windows Pro versions but definitely worth it.  I've restored my OS drive from a system image many times while testing Windows 10 and it has always worked flawlessly.

I agree with you about how hard it is going back to a knob radio - at least a knob radio without a scope!   There are now many rigs on the market with a scope and waterfall.  Shortly after Flex announced their new M models, I was looking for a new rig to put in my 5th wheel.  I didn't want to buy an older technology radio so I focused on their newer models. I thought long and hard about getting one of the 6600 or 6400 rigs.  The problem I had was the sheer size of the new radios.  I guess this was to accommodate the Maestro styled front panel.  Anyway, I just didn't have that much room so I decided to pick up an IC-7300.  This has been a great little rig for the 5th wheel camper and would most likely get me by if my 6700 ever had an issue and was down for a while.

I really wish Flex would have made the non-M models a little slimmer.  I can't imagine hauling one on a DXpedition.  They are just too darn big for me.   Maybe a future release?  I sure hope so.   When I think of SDR I think of a small box housing the rig and the rest done on a laptop, IOS product or a Maestro.  I don't see why such a large box for the models that don't have knobs on the front.

Love my 6700 though!

Norm - W7CK
Photo of KF4HR

KF4HR

  • 758 Posts
  • 258 Reply Likes
" What a royal pain, spinning a knob over the whole 15mtr band."

Technology is definitely spoiling us.  I can remember my early days, moving my transmitter up and down the bands with crystals and receiving on an old military surplus receiver. 

Perhaps in 10 or 20 years we'll be hearing...  Can you believe some hams actually still use a mic, keyboard, or key?!  Communication implants... that's the only way to go! :D 
Photo of Norm - W7CK

Norm - W7CK

  • 754 Posts
  • 160 Reply Likes
Perhaps in 10 or 20 years we'll be hearing...  Can you believe some hams actually still use a mic, keyboard, or key?!  Communication implants... that's the only way to go! :D 


I get what you're saying and agree but....

People are saying similar stuff now!  Why the heck listen to a bunch of static when we have cell phones and the internet!  Since this is a hobby, I'm hoping that in 10-20 years we still have folks that want to use a mic and an old key!  I love the variety where there is something for everyone!

Norm - W7CK
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2311 Posts
  • 950 Reply Likes
Can you believe some hams actually still use a mic, keyboard, or key?!  Communication implants... that's the only way to go! :D 
That's pretty much what it's coming to with WSJT-X. Not that I don't like the mode, but more QSOs are being submitted for that more than CW and SSB combined.