Receiver Spec's aren't everything, how about the fun factor?

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 2 months ago
There have been a some posts about not being top dog on the Sherwood Eng receiver list however there is more to consider when operating than just the receiver spec's.

How you operate is key in the selection of a radio. Versatility should also be considered for your selection. I have owned an Elecraft K3, and Yaesu FTDX 5000MP and Elad FDM Duo SDR radios. But when it comes to the way I operate My 6600 fits my operating style. I also had a Flex 6500 a few years ago. The K3, Elad and FTDX5000 doesn't have four slices or can't operate remote without third party hardware or cumbersome software. I operate remote in the winter and it took me all of ten minutes to download and implement smart link. Obviously it takes more than smart link to operate a station remotely but for comparison of features, it's no contest for remote operation. I have been able to use the Maestro, PC and IPAD  to operate  local and remote. What other radio has those features. Digital modes or using  CW skimmer are easier to implement on Flex 6XXX .  Ease of  interfacing was also  high on my selection list.

 I looked at the new K4 and FTDX101D (no Ethernet), and IC-7610  at Dayton to get an understanding of how they operate but I still feel that for the investment Flex is still top of the line in overall features and operating performance. I don't want this post to evolve into a discussion about software as there are many posts on that subject that can found. Yes software affects operation but lets stick to operation and how you use your Flex.

I was asked at the Flex Banquet at Hamvention this year  if I was having fun using my radio and the answer I gave is yes. How do you use you"re Flex and are you having fun?

Photo of Bob KC9RF

Bob KC9RF

  • 34 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes

Posted 2 months ago

  • 1
Photo of Paul - K6HR

Paul - K6HR

  • 106 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
I'm having great fun with my Flex radios!  http://k6hr.com
Photo of FISHULA X

FISHULA X

  • 47 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
 I just got the Flex 6300 a month or so ago. I was a 5000a user and  wanted to upgrade to Smart SDR. I own a business and I use my laptop at work to control my home station  from my office.  It is awesome and It's effortless. Up until  I got the 6300, with every radio I have owned, I have been plagued with power line noise like S9.   Not with the 6300s WNB aka wide band noise blanker . This feature has been a godsend as before WNB  I could not enjoy the hobby on less the band was perfect. Now thanks to WNB I can hear again.  Thank you Flex.   Hey guys., I am looking for an internal ATU for the 6300,let me know if any of you have one you want to part with.. 73
(Edited)
Photo of F M

F M

  • 5 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Ferrell-KC0FGX

I am enjoying my Flex 6300. I use it for FT8 and I am taking it to FieldDay this year. I'm the only one in the club with a Flex radio. Should have interested party's wanting to see it in operation. Good luck to those of you that participate on FieldDay! nemoarc.org
Photo of Rob Monsipapa

Rob Monsipapa

  • 39 Posts
  • 12 Reply Likes

Rob - AK7RM
Mesa, AZ

I've been running my 6600 for just over a year now.  I've had a K3, FTDX-3000, and several older radio's like the IC-775DSP and I have to say, this Flex has just been a blast to run.  I have it hooked up to a 50" 4K HDTV, always running 2 or more panadapters so I can keep an eye on 10M openings.  For me it's the way I envisioned working a ham radio.  I've used my Maestro, iPad and iPhone to run it from around the home and for me, having that kind of flexibility without needing an engineer to hook things up, has been a real pleasure! 
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3799 Posts
  • 918 Reply Likes
K4 has ethernet.
Elecraft K4
Photo of Zack Schindler - N8FNR

Zack Schindler - N8FNR

  • 152 Posts
  • 27 Reply Likes
And a speaker out!
Photo of Bobby

Bobby

  • 10 Posts
  • 6 Reply Likes
And hdmi and usb that works with keyboard and mouse. Sweet!
Photo of Fred Friedl

Fred Friedl

  • 9 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
There are some good radios out there just like there was good word processors when home computers first came along.  What was the BEST word processor?  The one you found most comfortable and used.  The latest and greatest is not necessarily the best. I've been with Flex for almost a decade and in the time have had many other high end rigs.  But it is the Flex that remains.
Fred - WX4US
Photo of Mike - VE3CKO

Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

  • 503 Posts
  • 242 Reply Likes
All that matters to me is the 3 out of 4 dentists recommendation.
Photo of FISHULA X

FISHULA X

  • 47 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
 Check this out Mike, I remote my like this, when remote you are supposed to be  plugged into your router direct with the Cat 5  cable. This was not a good option for me as my station is on the other side of my house and I would have to drill holes in the floor and come up by the radio or have a Cat 5 run through my den and through the dining room. So, I use a WIFI extender that has an Ethernet port on it with 2 antennas to deliver the signal to my router. I have no problems using it this way. Even when I take my laptop to my place of business. It's a great alternative to plugging direct to the router.
 Mine is a Net Gear given to me from a good buddy of mine. Set up was super easy and I don't trip over a Cat 5 cable when I get up to Pee in the middle of the nite.. LOL.. Now do not get me wrong. If my router was close, I would definitely  plug in direct. But in my case this is much easier..
 Anyone looking to do this look for WIFI SIGNAL BOOSTER and make sure it has the Ethernet port . It's just like as if the radio had built in WIFI.. Works great....   73  Nick
Photo of Pat - WH6HI

Pat - WH6HI

  • 367 Posts
  • 71 Reply Likes
Most modern (new technology) radios, perform at a level that will satisfy the pickiest user. For, me what divides them all, is how good the radio interfaces with the user. Things like how many buttons must I press to achieve a desired change. Multi-level buttons drive me nuts! For me, even though Profiles on the Flex 6000 have evolved. I learned how to use them, and pretty much do all my control functions with them. My mouse commands everything. Another factor is how does the radio sound. Is it shrill, is the audio smooth, can I understand the op at the other end clearly. The Flex sounds wonderful (to me) and on some sources like broadcast AM signals is extremely good, you might say HI-FI. The comparisons to other radios, on these subjective issues is very close. So I do not criticize others for their choice, because it is so personal a decision.
(Edited)
Photo of FISHULA X

FISHULA X

  • 47 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
 Check this out Mike, I remote my  6300 like this. When remote, you are supposed to be plugged into your router direct with the Cat 5  cable. This was not a good option for me as my station is on the other side of my house and I would have to drill holes in the floor and come up by the radio or have a Cat 5 run through my den and through the dining room. So, I use a WIFI extender that has an Ethernet port on it with 2 antennas to deliver the signal to my router. I have no problems using it this way. Even when I take my laptop to my place of business. It's a great alternative to plugging direct to the router.
 Mine is a Net Gear given to me from a good buddy of mine. Set up was super easy and I don't trip over a Cat 5 cable when I get up to Pee in the middle of the nite.. LOL.. Now do not get me wrong. If my router was close, I would definitely  plug in direct. But in my case this is much easier..
 Anyone looking to do this look for WIFI SIGNAL BOOSTER and make sure it has the Ethernet port . It's just like as if the radio had built in WIFI.. Works great....   73  Nick
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3799 Posts
  • 918 Reply Likes
Lol, Some cars have great 0-60 spects in a straight line, as long as you don't want to make a corner.

Some radios could have better receiver specs than a Flex, even my $20 SDR stick could muster a berter spec somewhere. As long as you don't want seamless remote, Multi client, seamless connectivity to all your shack devices.

But a car with specs in the top 3 and great handling to boot? Flex anyone?

Mike will know what I'm talking about here.

Canada gave Hockey to the world, for many decades Canada had little competion, we wone everything for a long long time But over the years many contries have come a long ways and now finally have great hockey teams that challenge us every time. As a side note, (All these teams have developed with the help of canadian coaches and managers, trainers.)

This brings us to Flex, This is were SDR for ham radio all started. Gerald gave SDR to the world of ham radio.
Over the years companies have sprung up and started their own SDR programs, slowly getting better. Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood and now Elecraft, have all some sort of SDR implementation. While Anan and Flex are the only two that are all SDR.

So after all these years it seems resonable to consider that Flex could get cought in a spec ware.
And I wonder if even more software tweaks could simply bring the 6700 back to the top?
If not,,do you really care? I don't.
(Edited)
Photo of N9VC

N9VC

  • 181 Posts
  • 55 Reply Likes
Anan and Flex are not the only two all SDR's.
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1849 Posts
  • 670 Reply Likes
Hi Bill,
If by “All SDR” / “100% SDR’ you mean a “direct sample SDR” and not a hybrid ( i.e. superhet down conversion to an IF frequency before the sampling) then the new Elecraft K4 and K4D models are two more examples.

The K4HD is a hybrid.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3795 Posts
  • 914 Reply Likes
Yes I mean all SDR, no hybrid, including the transmit audio being all digital till the PA. As well as the DSP, and all filters being digital.
(Edited)
Photo of N9VC

N9VC

  • 181 Posts
  • 55 Reply Likes
Sunpro, Peaberry, Zeus.
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3795 Posts
  • 914 Reply Likes
I stand corrected, there are some SDR projects out there that are all SDR.
Photo of N9VC

N9VC

  • 181 Posts
  • 55 Reply Likes
But there is only one Flex, the best. IMHO
Photo of Rolf Auras

Rolf Auras

  • 7 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Receiver spec's are everything, they were and they are the basis for progress in receiver technology.
And at present direct sampling is just average!
Photo of KF4HR

KF4HR

  • 759 Posts
  • 259 Reply Likes
Rob's Receiver Chart numbers are nice, but what I'd like to see Rob add to his chart are audio clips for each rig comparing them all against a lab created weak signal and lab created interference source.  This would really allow people to realize differences (if any) between these top end receivers. 
Photo of KF4HR

KF4HR

  • 759 Posts
  • 259 Reply Likes
... or better yet, a video clip comparison.  Here's an example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sVpoPJKgo8

Photo of KM6CQ - Dan

KM6CQ - Dan

  • 180 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
I would like to be able to sort Rob’s chart by selecting the top of the column you wish to sort by. However, that would be a blank check for radio manufacturers. It would probably end up like our political polls.

Dan, KM6CQ
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3738 Posts
  • 1600 Reply Likes
@Dan.

Very easy to do

Copy and paste it into an Excel spreadsheet
Then Data Sort by column.
Photo of N9VC

N9VC

  • 181 Posts
  • 55 Reply Likes
Not just specs, but costs can add up. Look at the new FTdx-101D on HRO.
Round off to $4000. Add the optional filters and the sub band VCT unit
and it adds on $1370 and have to be Yaesu installed. not sure if it is done
at no cost, (in my mind, doubt it), but that takes the rig up over five grand
easily. Ouch...... Now I realize not everyone will want to go that full bore,
but if you want the additional filters, you better get them all at the same time
and that will eliminate multiple shipping costs. Let's see................ Flex has
all the filters right out of the box. More fun and I can tailor them to my use
at the time and band conditions.

Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3795 Posts
  • 914 Reply Likes
Buy the time you load up the features you want, most of these new radios, the FTd-101D and the K4 line make Flex look like a great deal.
Photo of Pat - WH6HI

Pat - WH6HI

  • 367 Posts
  • 71 Reply Likes
Yes, very true. When I was deciding what new radio I wanted, The 2 final contenders were the K3 and the Flex6500. Flex came first due to total cost and total features.
Photo of Duane  N9DG

Duane N9DG

  • 81 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
And most people generally don't consider the 6K's ability to multitask across multiple bands and multiple modes if you want to. They tend to think of radios only being one band, one mode at a time devices, maybe with a second RX in the mix.

Now that 6M Es season is starting up I run the 6500 setup for FT8 with an RX on 50.313 and 50.323 to cover both the main and sometimes international DX FT8 frequencies. Both of those are in the same narrow-ish spectrum display. And then in a second spectrum display that covers about 250 kHz of 6M around the SSB and CW frequencies I have the 3rd RX setup that I can tune around SSB/CW while WSJTX does its thing on the other part of the band. And once a FT4 frequency is established will probably press the 4th RX with yet another WSJTX session into service to cover that too simultaneously.

No other recently into production SDRs, or recently introduced SDRs from any of the competitors can do that kind of multitasking.

I can no longer live with a one band, one mode at a time radio.
(Edited)
Photo of Craig Williams

Craig Williams

  • 207 Posts
  • 64 Reply Likes
Pro to ProII to ProIII to 7600 to Flex 3000 to Flex 6400. Think I have found my last HF radio.
Photo of Johan / SE3X

Johan / SE3X

  • 132 Posts
  • 49 Reply Likes
I have as well found the last high end radio I will buy.

My 6700 may be number 2 or 7 or whatever on that list. What I can do with it, is far more than any other radio is up to.

Just bought a used 6300 for back-up, to be used for digital mode and experiments with new software.

I'm a very happy camper. But when it comes to be a customer at hamshops in the future .. hi
(Edited)
Photo of Clay N9IO

Clay N9IO

  • 600 Posts
  • 160 Reply Likes
I too have definitely purchased my last HF radio. If it dies I will replace it with another 6600.
My Flex mentor buddy Ken W9IE did a program for our local club (KARS) on every sdr iteration Flex has made going back to the 1000 for the last 10 or 15 years. They were all cool BUT it wasn't until the 6300 came out that I got hooked and had to have one, and now the 6600 mainly because I know there is so much more coming for this radio with two scu's the possibilities are endless. An alpha friend tells me you ain't seen nothing yet. He will never say what's coming (drives me nuts) but keeps me enthusiastic.
There are so many reasons the Flex 6000 series is by far the better radio from concept to application.
My wish is for Flex Radio to enjoy continued success for many decades to come. Gerald's accidental company has brought me and many more of you so much joy back to operating. Like being a kid with a DX60 and SX28 again.
If that makes me a fan boy then sobeit, just giving credit where credit is due.
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 316 Posts
  • 78 Reply Likes
I wasn’t going to join this thread up to now, but Clay’s post above tipped the scales for me.

My 6700 is absolutely my last rig. After five years ownership, it still gives me the same “buzz” that I got from my first rig in the late 1950’s - an SCR 522
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 316 Posts
  • 78 Reply Likes
p.s. I guess I’m a fan boy now!
Photo of Clay N9IO

Clay N9IO

  • 600 Posts
  • 160 Reply Likes
Yessir... I call it passion.
Photo of Johan / SE3X

Johan / SE3X

  • 132 Posts
  • 49 Reply Likes
If loving my 6700 makes me a fan boy? It's perfectly fine with me! I guess I must order a Flex cap or T-shirt soon, to reflect my membership in the fan boy club ..
(Edited)
Photo of Bob KC9RF

Bob KC9RF

  • 34 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
Yep Just was monitoring with two instances of WSJT-X (FT8) 20/40 and band activity on the other two for 6 and 20 meters. Fun factor High
Photo of Bobby

Bobby

  • 10 Posts
  • 6 Reply Likes
When your not the LEAD DOG ... the views ALL the SAME! Think about it ....
Photo of KF4HR

KF4HR

  • 759 Posts
  • 259 Reply Likes
If and when the competition can monitor 8 bands at the same time, only then will I  pay them some attention.