Question? About a 5000 with two receivers.

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  • Updated 3 years ago

I've been saving to buy a new 6500.  A friend will sell his Flex 5000 with two receivers.  Is there that much difference between the two?  His is in excellent working order. He is going to buy a new 6700. 

Any comments?  Thanks.

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Oscar Lee - N5LN

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Posted 3 years ago

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W4YXU

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I made the switch about a year ago and I don't regret it.  However -- the 5000 is one heck of a good radio!  The 6500 is however even better (yes, it is possible!).  I did keep the 5000 for several months just to be sure.

Jim
W4YXU
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AE0MW

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The 6000 series the the future of Flex Radio, but you're buying a lot on faith.

The 5000 is a mature stable platform that you should be able to pick up used for about 50% the cost of a 6500.

It really depends on what you want. You'll hear a bit better with a 6500, but with most antennas you're not working everything you can hear with a 5000 anyway. The 5000 has a better noise reduction noise blanker and notch filters so if those are important to you that's something to consider. The 6500 should get better eventually (currently scheduled to be improved in v1.5 which has a nebulous release date).

If you want to do any remote operating (and think about this carefully) the 6500 is the way to go. I'm not talking about operating your station from Timbuktu, I'm talking about sitting in the EZ chair in your living room while being forced to watch a Twilight marathon or Sex in the City. It's pretty nice to fire up a tiny laptop and work RTTY or PSK. How about sitting on your deck in the summer with a laptop next to you and throwing your dog's ball while getting some new DX. These are things you can do today with the 6500, and pretty easily.

The problem with the 6000 series is it feels like I bought a race car but seats were still prototype and the doors don't shut properly. I didn't think these were big deals but it turns out that I very seldom need to drive 200MPH but I always need to sit in the uncomfortable seat and that crack along the door letting air and noise in is a constant reminder that the new seals are coming "any day now" except, so far, they're not.

Flex's development on SmartSDR frustrates me greatly, but overall I'm really happy with the 6500 and I have faith they will eventually get it right. In the mean time, I get to play roulette with every new SmartSDR release! We wanted a software defined radio, we got it, both the good and the bad.

It's decision of an end of life product vs a new product. There's always some pain with the new stuff, but with a 6500 you won't be looking at it in a couple years going, "I wish I had <new whiz-bang feature only available on the 6x00>." It's pretty much a promise that you're going to run into that if you get a 5000.

Just my $0.02, adjusted for inflation.
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AE0MW

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I look forward to the day I'll be able to say that.

I have no doubt it will happen, probably somewhere around SmartSDR 1.5x.

The Flex 6500 is a great radio, I don't regret my upgrade from a 5000 at all, but I deal with broken and incomplete software all day in my life and sometimes I get tired of it.
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Mike - WB8CXO

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I'm frustrated with Flex customers that just don't get it about SDR software development.  IT TAKE A LOT OF TIME FOLKS TO DEVELOP SDR SOFTWARE!
Who does a better job for the same money????  WHO???  You can spend more for a radio from the big 3 and seldom get firmware enhancements...  How long did the 7800 guys wait for new firmware and they spent way more for than I did for two Flex Radio's.

If your into HPSDR then your still running modified PSDR which still isn't as good as the latest Flex PSDR available except for Adaptive Predistortion and you can bet most HPSDR users won't make the hardware additions needed to implement that feature.  Nothing from the CuSDR camp for over a year....  MORE THAN A YEAR!  The current CuSDR will not support transmit!  

Elad makes an interesting product but their software is no better than any of the others I ran.  They are constantly making updates because YES...  They pushed out the hardware before the software was ready.  BEFORE THE SOFTWARE WAS READY.  Most of us know the software is never finished.  SOFTWARE IS NEVER FINISHED!

A Russian company is on the second prototype (over at about 2 years) of a radio that has knobs and a pc all in one box.  Been there, done that!  But judging from listening around the bands the old school armchair hams that love knobs are talking about it.  These guys buy radios all the time and I think they'll buy one because it has KNOBS!  Listening FLEX?

SO WHO DOES A BETTER JOB THAN FLEX?????

73
Mike
WB8CXO

(flame suit ON)
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AE0MW

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Look, I wasn't looking to get into a flame war over this, but consider this:

Flex did a better job than Flex. And the big 3 don't use firmware enhancements as a significant part of their sales pitch.

I like every single person I've ever dealt with at FRS, and they've helped me a lot on several occasions, but as a software company they're slow and behind the times. I want them to be better. Not just for me; I'm not likely to buy another rig from them for 10 years but when that 10 years rolls around I don't want them to be compared to the big three, I want them to be a part of the big three. I want them to show a whole new generation of hams how software defined radios should work. These hams were born in the Internet age, they know what a nimble and responsive software company looks like and Flex isn't it.

They made such a big deal about revealing their product road map because no other manufacturer had ever done that, but no other manufacturer has shipped a product that didn't deliver the basic feature set of it's predecessor.

I can't imagine the guts it took to walk into a meeting and say "Well, we've done great with our radio line, the 5000 is the best in the industry. Lets throw it all away and start from scratch!"

Here's the thing, you can't be the "Next Great Thing" until you surpass the "Last Great Thing." I have no doubt the 6000 series will get there, but to say it's there now is just living under a reality distortion field that would make Steve Jobs jealous.

Just consider some of the features that are still lacking or entirely missing in the 6000 series 3 years after it's introduction:
-A full suite of CAT commands
-DSP based audio filters for NR, NB, and ANF
-Remembering user preferences in the UI
-FM
-True FSK data
-Flex-Control Options

These are just things off of the top of my head.

They want to define a new industry standard for sockets based control, that's a needed and worthy objective. Where's the documentation? Rhetorical question, there isn't any. It's not an industry standard when you're the only one using an undocumented protocol.

Flex had exceptional code for DSP audio filtering in PowerSDR. Where did those algorithms go? Even if code wasn't portable the algorithms are.

A decent user interface is your gateway to the entire system. Time and resources have to be spent on it. Why do some parts of the UI look markedly different than others? Why does the UI not remember basic user settings like window and module layouts? Why can't Panadapters be broken out of the container window? Flex 6700 users can have 8 of them! Even a 4K display is going to get crowded quickly. These are incredibly basic features every application should have.

Supposedly Flex has a team of software developers working on their software, I believe they do but I don't believe that they're working on SmartSDR. Based on what I've seen they have maybe 2 people part time 1-2 days a week. I suppose the other option is they're using their brilliant embedded and DSP programmers and forcing them to code UI. If that's the case they should revolt.

FM & FSK. Basic features on other radios. MIA on the 6000 series.

Flex-Control. Flex control should be able to control any feature in the radio. For instance why can't we tap a button to toggle between RX slices? How about the ability to mute/unmute the current slice? Simple features just simply not there.

SmartSDR is going to get better, and I'm looking forward to it. I still love Flex, and I'm going to go crawl back under my rock and patiently wait for SSDR 1.4.
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Stan - VA7NF

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Re: "I can't imagine the guts ..." 

Back in the '60s this well known company called IBM sold all their office buildings and leased them back just to raise capital; then sunk it all into this new product line called the /360 mainframe.  Half of Wall Street thought they would go under.

Some things are just worth the risk like splitting the math from the GUI.  We now have a platform, Version 1 that made the field, with huge potential - "It's just a matter of programming".   Nobody seems to be talking about all the problems with mismatched radios, firewire, and PC software that just didn't work.

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AE0MW

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I think it was worth it, I just can't imagine having the guts to go into that meeting...

It is nice not having to deal with firewire anymore, i don't miss that at all.
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Steve Gw0gei

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Oscar, I have very recently made the jump into sdr seriously with the 6300. I never felt the 5000 series offered what I was looking for as a keen contester and 6m dxer, so never bought one. I sold my third ft1000d and a recently purchased ts590s after dabbling with so2r microham set up this last year. I decided this winter's project is sdr and getting the 6300 ready for rsgb 80m club contests in 2015 which include rtty and data. I have kept my pro 3 to compare against the 6300 on 6m and transverting onto 4m; and my ic7400 long termer stays for its 100w of drive on 2m ssb/cw. If all goes well with the 6300 and the software development this winter I will be looking to buying a 6500 or 6700 to give me 4m receive on a second radio plus some more Rx antenna options.

Why not consider buying the entry 6300 radio and see how you like the platform and software before investing in a 6500. I think more people will be looking to do that in 2015 as the smartsdr software matures, so I see the second hand value of the 6300 staying high. The few second hand 6500 I have seen go up for sale in uk recently haven't been cheap enough to tempt me. I am lucky in that I have a good job and could afford a new 6500 or 6700 now - but it didn't make sense to me to buy one whilst the software is still developing . I was going to buy a new ft5000mp for my contesting in the meantime, but I am so impressed with the performance of the 6300 on close in ssb crowded 40m band and it's cw performance that I am holding on to my my contesting budget and investing in more antennas for the low bands to try out in the 6300. Once I have a clear view of how to best implement so2r with sdr radios that will be the time I make a larger investment such as the 6700 to add diversity options to the mix. I don't like being at the bleeding edge if technology but I think now is the time to jump into sdr rather than continue dabbling with fun cube bandscopes and in built scopes. If you like power sdr software maybe a second hand dual Rx 5000 may suit your needs - but I would seriously consider going straight into smartsdr with a 6300.

73 steve gw0gei
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Oscar Lee - N5LN

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Steve, I think you are right.  Why do I want to look at 3 other bands at the same time anyway?  I took another look at the F 6300 and like the remote operating from my laptop.  My operating style will be very well served by the 6300 and the savings will go for other needs.  Thanks for your input,

73's Oscar

N5LN

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Bill Roberts

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I've had a 2RX 5000 for 4.5 years. Just got my 6300 yesterday. At the outset, I don't notice a big difference in RX. Somehow, the Signature radio just seems to be smoother. If you have a well tuned quad core PC, give the 5000 some thought. Have a lesser PC, get a 6300 to get your feet wet.
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Kevin Mahoney

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Being a brand new Flex 6300 owner coming from an Icom 718 and Kenwood Hybrid (both good radios in their own right) I am absolutely thrilled with my 6300. What keeps me excited is knowing that every so often I will end up with an upgraded product with no new hardware purchase. Sounds like a good adventure to me. I am comfortable enough with the reputation Flex has developed to have faith they will keep moving forward. 
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Oscar Lee - N5LN

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Wow!  I appreciate all the responses to my question about the 5000 with 2rx.  First, I would like to thank every one of you for responding to my question.  I am really impressed with your thoughts and consideration.  If I wasn't sure about buying a Flex radio, I am now.  It seems the best informed hams around have one or want one. 

I think the 5000 would serve my operating style quite well.  I enjoy cw and DX. But, I believe I'll buy the 6500 at HamCation next February.  I'll need a new computer and some other items at that time, too. 

I have been operating my S-Line since the late '70's.  (KWM-2A & 75S3C).   I've rebuilt and repaired these as needed.  This will be a big step for me because I'm quite out of step with all the new technology.  What use will I have for my vtvm? Hi, hi?  My S-Line is already sold to a collector.  The buyer said I can buy it back if I'm not happy with what new rig I buy.  I'll miss it but it is only across town.

Thanks again for all your responses.  73's to all

Oscar, N5LN    

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AE0MW

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We all get kind of passionate, but you won't be sorry with a 6500.
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James Kirk

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Keep in mind that only the 6700 has two truly separate receivers each with there own antenna input capable of full diversity reception. That makes the 5000 a bargain.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Oscar, you MIGHT not need a whole new computer, depending upon what you have now.  With the 6500, you might just need to upgrade your video card if it is overwhelmed by the needs of the multiple pan/slice displays.  In fact, you actually need MORE CPU processing power for the 5000 than you need for the 6500.  It is the graphics card that is the weak link in the chain for the 6500.  But not to worry too much.  I have one that was about $50 (US) that seems to work adequately with two monitors.  (You WILL eventually want to go to two or even three monitors for this rig.)  And I highly recommend getting the Flex Control Knob.  Others will disagree, but i use it a lot.  I even reprogram the function buttons depending upon what I am doing - DXing, Contesting, etc.  Or if you have an iPod, check out K6TU's excellent paid Flex Controller app.
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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If you enjoy CW and DXing then the 6500 is the way to go. Better filtering, smoother QSK, and the pan adapter is unmatched by anything else on the market. Add to that superb SSB audio capabilities, better than the 5000, and other functions. Yes it needs some work on the NB, NR, ANF, and other DSP functions, but that is coming soon and in the mean time, you get the best receiver on the market in spite of this deficiency. Once you bite, you won't look back.

Ken - NM9P
6500/1500
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Hey Ken, it amazes me, even without the NB,NR,ANF working so well I still hear many say how wonderful there 6000's are.Even with all the short comings most would still not part with one.
That's saying something...

Bill VA3WTB
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Amen, brother.  It is the best receiver I have ever had.  Now, if I had a drastic need for NB at my QTH, I would probably be more miffed at the difficult progress on the DSP functions.  But the NB does work to a degree and has been effective in many cases.  

As far as CW performance, I have found it to be as smooth as silk.  Brickwall filters, and the extreme zoom on the panadapter allows me to pinpoint not only the station I want to hear, but the precise position of my transmit signal when I try to break a pileup.  

The new SSB compressor is very effective and I am constantly getting compliments on my great audio.  The panafall allowed me to visualize and tune weaker signals that were sandwiched and overlapped by stronger signals on crowded bands during the CQWW SSB contest last month.  The pan/panafall are vastly superior to that on the 1500/3000/5000 series.  and I hear rumors that they are going to increase the zoom even more?  I cannot imagine that!

The only thing missing from the 6500 that the OP was considering on the 5000/2RX was a second receiver that would allow diversity and ESC noise reduction and RX phasing for antenna steering and noise reduction.  (I would have LOVED to move to a 6700 for these possibilities, but my budget maxed out with the 6500!)

I would recommend that people consider not only the current capabilities of the rig, but its FUTURE potential as well, which it largely untapped at present.  This is not only a great rig NOW, but it will continue to grow and develop for many years to come.