This would surprise me if they did!!! I think working on Software now that 3.0 is released is key.. A competitor to the IC-9700 would hit a smaller portion of the Ham Community.. Also, hitting a $1800 price point is not going to be easy.. But the FLEX VHF-UHF etc. radio would have HDMI, 10 MHz lock and probably a lot of neat features plus Smart SDR remote operation.. It took ICOM almost 18 months to bring the radio to market.. Some rumors have Yaesu in the HUNT for this share of the market.. You can get transverters for the FLEXD if you want VHF and UHF.. For now Satellite Operation is on my GPS 10 MHz Locked ICOM IC-9100 radio...
If it really IS "Software Defined Radio", WHY do they need to announce a new radio?
If Flex really wants big news, and wants to drive increased sales, Flex just needs to
announce new software that will address the top 5 "most complained about" fixes/features
that their customers want. The hardware is already very much fast enough, with more than
enougn capacity. The "NEW" that people seem to be thinking about here, are things like
the recently complained about noise reduction features that don't seem to work as well as
the competition, and some of the other top complaints from the recent survey.
Those feature or deficiency fixes do not require new radio hardware. They require
better software, which is no small task.
Flex is a true SDR. So making a "new" one, really means making new software
that actually does address a bunch of the annoyances that customers have been
complaining about for several years.
[Thread HiJack Alert:]
If FLex is really listening; Do you know what has more impact on sales/revenue than
adding a new remote feature or contest feature? It's getting to understand why a
certain percentage of Flex customers sell their radio and move to Icom or Yaesu
or something else. Deeply understanding WHY those customers left will help you
address existing base feature bugs/fixes that carry more weight long term. It is likely
those deficiencies and bugs in basic needed features that result in most customer
attrition to other brands.
Back to the business model argument of "do we first add new contest features or
fix base feature bugs that customers complain about?"
I can summarise this way; A prize building or Ferrari is not built upon a shakey
foundation. Finish the foundation FIRST, and make it something solid, something
to be proud of,
before rushing forward to work on the higher floors. You want to be able to call
it the Crystal Tower, not the Tower of Compromises.
New Tag Line; The Radio IS the Software....
You know where to focus.
I figured this would be a good test on NR.. So I fired up several radios to check this out... First the NRD-545,, on a scale of 1-10, the noise was reduced to a level 6.. OK but not that good.. The Drake has a Noise Blanker and it was almost non effective.. The the ICOM IC-R8600 that just got the new 1.34 Software.. It reduced it from a 10 down to a level 7, but it added Audio Distortion as you increase the level, sort of that wobbly sound..
Turned on my Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark V that has a very good 4 setting NR circuit, Again probably a 8, not bad, best so far...Then I turned on my ICOM IC-9100 radio (Satellite Radio), and again probably an 8, but noting as dramatic as the new 101D radio demonstration... On went the Yaesu FT-991 used in the Motor Home, Well the NR is just not that great as it has heavy audio distortion, been that way since I got the radio 2 years ago... I would rate it a 5!!
So now on goes the FLEX 6600M.. After listening to these other radios I had a fairly good baseline.. I also watched the YouTube video again so I wanted to calibrate my ears...
After tuning on the Flex and tuning in the station with NO NR turned on, I hit the NR button.. OK, that was not to bad, but I had the NR level set relatively LOW,, so I went and cranked it up to 100% "Figuring" that along would come Audio Distortion,, but that did not happen, it improved it a lot to a 9 level,, OK Impressive and not what I expected... Remember the Yaesu 101D is a 10..
BUT!!! Then I discovered something interesting.. If you watch the Yaesu Video you notice that when he turns on the NR, it takes like 1 to 2 seconds to become fully engaged.. Well with the NR on my Flex at 100% i wanted to turn it on and off as a comparison, and my Flex did almost the same thing,, took a second for the NR to fully engage. And this time the NR was more effective raising the bar to a 9.5,, I was amazed how well it worked..
Next thing was to reduce the NR down to the 50% point,, then I turned it on and off, and did not get as noticeable 1 second delay to engage.. And the NR dropped back down to an 8.. Pushed it back up to 100% but did not regain that 9.5 rating.. But turning it off and then back on did the trick..
So it appears that turning it on and off, allows the Algorithm to do its thing more effectively. That is what I found and hopefully others can give this a try.. I think we are just use to increasing and decreasing the level control and expect it to just track, but for me I need to turn the NR off and then On to get the full benefit...
I guess as others try this they can share their findings.. Did not do this on SSB stations, this was a S-9 SWL station...
OH, still running the 2.xxx software...
I'm looking for the new and improved FlexRadio Model 1590. The product of a decade of experience since the ground breaking 1500:
Single slice with panadapter and waterfall
Simple remote over WAN
Single receive input
SmartSDR limited edition
No internal tuner
Mike and CW jacks on FRONT. USB and PWR on back
It is now a decade later. The new Model 1590 will capture and overrun the SDR market with entry level buyers who will soon be ready to move up the food chain. With careful planning and marketing it will not significantly cannibalize the 6400 but will provide a much more affordable entry step on the FlexRadio ladder. The number of potential FlexRadio buyers will increase exponentially.
Stamp them out like bottle caps and back up the UPS trucks. Ship 'em out!
Take my order now? Does the show discount apply?
Incidentally, nearly 400 will attend the two nights of Flex dinners. The Flex exhibit at the Hamvention has 20 personnel and roughly 20 operating stations. I don't believe any other exhibitor can match that.