My feedback Re: Updates and features to date

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  • Updated 5 years ago
Others have suggested that a delay may be needed in the roadmap in order to "catch up" on features and improvements.

I have weighed in on this one in that thread, but wanted to post my suggestions in another topic in order to facilitate discussion of feature improvements and additions post-V. 1.3.

I don't believe that we need any major delays in the roadmap to "catch up."
I have been very pleased and impressed at the progress over the past year since I got my 6500 in the second wave of "pre-release."  Each release has added important utility to my operation, and more enjoyment.  

While this is by far the best performing rig I have ever owned in my 40 years in ham radio.
I do agree that there are some important performance fixes and enhancements that should probably be on the list as they prepare V. 4.  Some are already on the roadmap, but others are what I might call "unfinished business" and "tweaks."

FM and Local LAN operation are major enhancements that are already on the "map" for 1.4.

I would also like to see programmable "sweet spots" for DigiU & DigiL that allows proper frequency readout and click-tuning on mark or space frequency.  Or perhaps a dedicated RTTY mode.  I can currently adjust my RIT/XIT up by 1415 Hz and get there.  I also set my TX Filter at 300, centered on the 1500 Hz sweet spot of FlDigi.  This way, I can use the 300 Hz Blue RX filter stripe to indicate my RX frequency and the 300 Hz Red TX Filter nicely indicates my RTTY TX frequency.  This makes it very hand in a RTTY split pileup.

After that, I would suggest that they make serious effort on the following:
DSP:
NB - is OK, but needs some more work before it is First Class, especially on 10 & 6 Meters and above.
NR - seems to lack much adjustment and could be tweaked.  I don't find it to be as effective as the one on PowerSDR
APF - is pretty good, but could use some additional refinement, perhaps addition of adjustable volume as well as 'Q'
ANF - is usable but still distorts the audio too much.  
Thankfully the TNF is awesome! and so effective that I hardly ever use ANF!
AGC - I would like to see a Custom AGC offered with several parameters such as attack, hang, decay, and pulse activation level that would allow fine tuning the AGC response for varying band conditions.  I wouldn't need sliders or up/down arrows, simply boxes to put numbers in on a set up page that define those timing elements.
Double Peak RTTY Filters, anyone?  This could help reduce some interference on RTTY.  It would also be a great visual cue to help tuning.  

GUI - This is what I will call "interfacing and metering."
There are several metering enhancements that could be achieved, for example:

S-Meter.  I really would like to see something similar to the options in PowerSDR, which include a larger meter, selectable formats & colors, and a digital readout integrated into the display, with options for peak hold, and averaging/dampening.

Power Output & SWR Meter - I would love to see a display with more contrast, especially for those with color sight issues, as well as a digital power output option with peak and average options.  I would NOT want the meters for Power, SWR or S-Meter to be replaced with digital ONLY.  Numbers are great for some things, but better to quickly visualize changes.

General Options and interfacing... There are several operating parameters that could be made adjustable with up/down arrows and numbers rather than sliders (just like CW Pitch, TX Low Cut/High Cut, etc .)  This is more precise and repeatable.  And they might take up less room on the display.  Click & Hold could allow for speedy adjustment of large number swings.

I would like RX EQ and RIT/XIT settings and status to be linked to the Transmit Profiles so I can set up custom RX EQ modes for different situations.  changing RX EQ, RIT/XIT and AGC settings every time I change from Rag Chew to DX to RTTY to CW consumes a lot of my time.  Having them linked to Transmit Profiles would let me customize all of these related operational parameters.   Global Profiles is not a good solution for this because the Global Profile also changes frequency, mode, panadapter, slice, and other things that I do not want to change "on the fly" in a busy operating session.

ATU - Needs to be much Smarter.  It should not require reactivating and re-tuning the ATU merely because I changed modes, or Transmit profiles.  (Bands, or Antennas, yes)  Please fix this logic.  If I haven't changed frequency substantially or changed the antenna port, the ATU should keep its current state.
Later, you can add more intelligence, i.e. frequency & antenna memories that will remember the last setting of the ATU for that frequency and antenna.  This would speed everything up greatly.

I would like to see better AGC Speed and AGC-T persistence linked to Band and Mode.  As it is, many times when I click on a spot it doesn't go back to my "default" AGC settings for that band & mode.  Perhaps there could be a global parameter default settings form where these could be entered?  I know that Global profiles should take care of this, but it doesn't seem to fully implement it.

I make all of these suggestions, not as gripes, but as enhancement suggestions.  As I have said, this is a superb rig.  I am only dreaming of additional utility that will make it a rig that so "leading edge" that the other guys can't even hope of catching up.

That being said... I do not want to see WAN remote capabilities delayed while these are being implemented.  As others have said, WAN Remote is an important feature for many of our owners and potential buyers.  I am away that many of us may never use it. But many users never use SSB, or RTTY, or CW either. WAN Remote paves the way to so many innovations that we have only begun to dream of them.

Keep up the good work, FRS.  You have a great product.  I look forward to seeing it get even better.

Ken - NM9P
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Ken - NM9P

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Posted 5 years ago

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Brian Morgan VK7RR/4

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A very thoughtful set of ideas Ken. I think that every single Flex user will have slightly different priorities but your paper spells out a fine way to plan into the future.
We are seeing more and more flex owners in VK land. Some cannot wait for WAN facilities, some never use SSB and some only use SSB, but I think your ideas would suit most everybody.

73 Brian VK7RR/4
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Yeah great post, I haven't responded to either thread yet because I don't actually know what my personal preference is for feature prioritization. Either way, I think Flex is doing a great job even though I know they can't make everyone happy because everybody wants their own features (or bug fixes) to be implemented "now". They aren't the size of Microsoft or Apple so they can't throw 500 programmers at it and fix everything in a few months, but as long as they are transparent with what they are working on and future direction, I think we can all be somewhat satisfied. Or not, lol that's just how it goes. They need to just be visionaries (as they have been) and do what they think is needed and best for most customers. So far I'm happy with what they have done. I'm already looking forward to the next release!
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Bob G W1GLV

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Ken, I think a lot of the tweaks and refinements are going to come in $$$Version 2.0$$$. The LAN and WAN code is occupying a lot of programmer and engineering time. In any case SmartSDR will be as good or even better than PowerSDR in due time. Some of us are impatient, they'll have to bite the bullet. FRS is doing a fantastic job with the software.
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Ken - NM9P

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I forgot to mention that it would be very nice to have access to the CW keying line from a logic line on the CAT port just as PTT does.  In fact, they could allow one of the two logic lines to key PTT and the other CW.  Many of the logging programs still use this method but cannot send CW text via CAT data lines.
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Joe WD5Y

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Ken,
Great post, I also can not say enough about the performance of my 6500. But, I do want to add a note regarding some enhancements with SSB in mind; pure signal transmit is one as for me is very important. Having said this I realize Flex has a full plate with everything on the roadmap so far and I would not want to delay anything; stay the course but keep other enhancements in mind which I know that Flex is doing.

73's
Joe
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Ernest - W4EG

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I agree,

Ken made a fantastic suggestions.

And as you said, Flex does have a full plate with the Roadmap.

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Ken - NM9P

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Joe,  I didn't mention Adaptive Pre-Distortion on Transmit.  I figured we might start seeing that show up on the Timeline sometime after V.2.1 or 2.2!  

I would love to see it.  It is currently one of the only "bragging points" that one of the other brands has.  But I think they should iron out the other performance and remote operation issues before tackling something as big as that.  But I know it will be "killer" when it happens.  (Although when you already have one of the cleanest rigs around, how much better can it get?)  What will be REALLY nice is when they have a sensor to mount AFTER the amplifier in order to correct the whole exciter-amplifier chain!