Sherwood Engineering rates Flex 6700 as #1

  • 13
  • Praise
  • Updated 5 years ago
As a soon-to-be owner of a Flex 6700, I was delighted to see that Sherwood Engineering has just published (14 hours ago) their new ratings on rigs after finishing their evaluation. And the winner is ...  [wait for it ...]  Flex Radio 6700!  Congratulations to the engineers, developers and testers that made it possible.
Photo of George - AB4FH

George - AB4FH

  • 64 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
  • Pleased

Posted 5 years ago

  • 13
Photo of GI4FZD

GI4FZD

  • 129 Posts
  • 18 Reply Likes
Well done Flex
Cheers
Paul
GI4FZD
Photo of Andrew O'Brien

Andrew O'Brien

  • 384 Posts
  • 44 Reply Likes
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 624 Posts
  • 87 Reply Likes
Thanks for heads up on new data...  Great report!!  

What does the first column note "hardware updated" mean??  Was there a hardware update required to get these numbers??  Does that mean 6700 and 6500 need a hardware update to get this performance??
Photo of Stu Phillips - K6TU

Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

  • 642 Posts
  • 256 Reply Likes
Nope; its means that Rob tested a unit that had already had the product enhancement per the notice.  

Stu K6TU
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 624 Posts
  • 87 Reply Likes
Hi Stu,

Does that mean my older 6500 would need this product enhancement to meet those specs?   If there was a notice to this effect from Flex I missed it....

Anyway, THIS IS VERY GOOD NEWS!!!!!
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9186 Posts
  • 3549 Reply Likes
The PEN (product enhancement notice) is only applicable to the FLEX-6700 and was sent specifically to 6700 owners.  The FLEX-6500 and FLEX-6300 do not need the modifications to improve the heat dissipation for the FPGA.
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 624 Posts
  • 87 Reply Likes
Thank you Tim!!  Great news indeed....
Photo of Tom

Tom

  • 41 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
How do I know if my F6700 is subject to this PEN?
Thanks,
Tom, 9A6TKS
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1852 Posts
  • 672 Reply Likes
Congrats!   We knew it would be in the top few but #1 is great. 

Looking forward to the QST product review when it comes out later this year also.   It will be interesting to see how the 6700 ranks on the other metrics they measure. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
Photo of Joe WD5Y

Joe WD5Y

  • 176 Posts
  • 24 Reply Likes
As a 6500 owner, could someone please explain the PEN and what this means with respect to the 6500. The 6700 and 6700 are pretty much the same hardware layout for the most part except the 6700 has two scu's and additional preamp, more logic cells in the FPGA, and a little faster cpu; these items still accommodate the 2nd scu. I agree too that this is great news but the article's statement does make it sound like the PEN had something to do with the numbers.

Thanks and 73's
Joe
WD5Y
Photo of Stu Phillips - K6TU

Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

  • 642 Posts
  • 256 Reply Likes
The enhancement notice addresses the 6700 ONLY - it plainly says so.  It is to provide FUTURE ADDITIONAL HEADROOM as FlexRadio exploits more capabilities within the 6700 and drives the FPGA harder.  As it is driven harder, it needs more current and generates more heat.  Hence the product enhancement notice.

Rob is a stickler for detail and simply reported what he tested.

Stu K6TU
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1514 Reply Likes
The FLEX-6700 has twice the FPGA resources and A/D converters.  It dissipates almost twice the power of the FLEX-6500.  When we first shipped the FLEX-6700, we were only using a fraction of the FPGA but now we are using significantly more.  For that reason we have added additional cooling on the 6700 to give more headroom for future software enhancements on that radio.  

Even at maximum rated temperature, the FLEX-6300 and FLEX-6500 do not need the additional cooling since they both draw a fraction of the power.  

The PEN increases the cooling capacity and the voltage control range for the FPGA.  In my experience, the added cooling can may or may not make a slight improvement in dynamic range (1-3 dB) on some radios.  Your mileage may vary.
Photo of Joe WD5Y

Joe WD5Y

  • 176 Posts
  • 24 Reply Likes
Thanks Gerald and Stu, great news. I am a numbers person and this is great, as the saying goes - numbers don't lie. The 6000 series has hit a home run way out of the park! Anyone owning a 6000 radio ought to be proud of the Sherwood listing and even more so of the commitment that Flex has done with the PEN recall.

Thanks
Joe
WD5Y
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1852 Posts
  • 672 Reply Likes
Hi Gerald,
Does your note (from above and pasted in below) mean that the PEN may have a noticeable/measurable benefit even now before the new software is released?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The PEN increases the cooling capacity and the voltage control range for the FPGA.  In my experience, the added cooling can may or may not make a slight improvement in dynamic range (1-3 dB) on some radios.  Your mileage may vary.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1514 Reply Likes
The added cooling may provide minimal ADC dynamic range improvement on the FLEX-6700.  You will never know the difference in the real world on an antenna.  We are in the stratosphere here on performance.  It is like asking will you die quicker hitting a brick wall at 200 MPH or 210 MHP.  Who cares?  ;>)
Photo of Joe WD5Y

Joe WD5Y

  • 176 Posts
  • 24 Reply Likes
Tim,
Just saw post, the last items came in while I was posting. Thanks, makes all the sense in your post. So, from what you are saying except for the additional preamp setting the numbers for the 6500 should coincide with the numbers posted here for the 6700? I did see something posted earlier on the PEN that there was a power supply change also?

Thanks
Joe WD5Y
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P

  • 4239 Posts
  • 1351 Reply Likes
Yes, Just for bragging rights, I am wondering where my 6500 and the 6300 would fall?
Not far behind, I would assume.

It is interesting how even my "lowly" 1500 rates on this scale!  

Well done, FRS!
Photo of k0eoo

k0eoo

  • 623 Posts
  • 87 Reply Likes
I would expect the 6500 would be the same as they are the same SCU unit....
Photo of Joe WD5Y

Joe WD5Y

  • 176 Posts
  • 24 Reply Likes
If you read notes related at the bottom of sherwood's list, you will see all preamp and filter settings, etc. are the same as the 6500 abilities. So, I would take it that these numbers are the same for both 6700 and 6500.

73's
Joe
WD5Y
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1514 Reply Likes
With the exception of the fact that the FLEX-6700 has a 30 dB preamp setting, the numbers for the FLEX-6500 will be comparable for a given gain level.  
Photo of Jay -- N0FB

Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

  • 539 Posts
  • 213 Reply Likes
What about the 6300?
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1514 Reply Likes
The 6300 will not have the same level of performance as the 6500 and 6700 because it uses a lower speed ADC and does not have preselectors.  It will still be in the top class of receivers and transmitters.
Photo of Norm - W7CK

Norm - W7CK

  • 757 Posts
  • 163 Reply Likes

I'm hoping that the cooling modification does not increase the fan speed or temp cut in.  Unless I'm running digital modes, my fan doesn't come on high very often.  When it does, it is obnoxiously loud.  I'm actually considering moving the rig and my Elecraft KPA500 (even louder) a little farther from my operating position. 

I'm not complaining, I love the rig and would not want to part with it.  I'm actually fretting about the time when I will have to send it in for the PEN!   Its going to be painful going back to a knob rig while its being modified!

Yes, congratulations to FRS for a job well done!   We're number one, we're number one.....


Norm - W7CK

(Edited)
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1514 Reply Likes
The PEN has no effect on the fans at all.  They are controlled by the PA temperature.
Photo of T.H. Bauer

T.H. Bauer

  • 13 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
I'd like to see the contesting community take notice! When I operate at the M/M stations with Knob Radios, for the most part I feel at a disadvantage even relative to my Flex5K.
Great job, FRS.
Photo of Barry N1EU

Barry N1EU

  • 495 Posts
  • 123 Reply Likes
Can anyone explain the note: "DR3=108 dB with 20 dB Preamp ON. (99 dB Preamp OFF) Otherwise dynamic range independent of signal spacing.
NOTE: This data does NOT imply you should generally run the preamp! This is a testing anomaly of a direct-sampling receiver."

Does that mean the narrow spaced DR in real use is 99dB or ???
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1514 Reply Likes
As Rob Sherwood has stated publicly on a number of occasions, most legacy radios are designed for 10 meter sensitivity (MDS), which means you are using too much gain for the lower bands.  This also has the side effect of providing a "sweet spot" for 3rd order IMD dynamic range for most high end radios. Turning on the +20 dB preamp on the FLEX-6700 normalizes the sensitivity and system gain into the same range as that of the legacy radio measurements on Rob's chart.  Note that the +20 dB gain setting is about right for 10m operation at a quiet rural location.  This makes it apples to apples with the legacy radio measurements.

Once again it is worth noting that we agree with Rob that under normal operation on the lower bands you will get better system performance with the preamp off.  This is because you don't want to amplify all that antenna noise present on the lower bands.  There is no need to have sensitivity at -135 dBm when the band noise is at -110 dBm or higher.  Typically you want the receiver noise floor to be around 8-10 dB below antenna noise for optimal performance.  

Dynamic range is independent of spacing on the FLEX-6000 Series radios.  IMD DR is as good at 100 Hz spacing as they are at 100 kHz spacing.  They do not degrade at close spacing in the same way as legacy radios.
Photo of Alan, K2WS

Alan, K2WS

  • 14 Posts
  • 6 Reply Likes
Congratulations to Gerald and crew! Dennis, K0EOO mentioned the news during a 15 meter AM QSO earlier today. Both Dennis and I ran 6500's with excellent AM quality. Dan, W7NGA was also in the QSO with a brand new 6300 and sounding FB. It was a pleasure helping Dan get started down the SDR road!
Photo of np2g

np2g

  • 271 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
Kudos !!! Kudos !!!!

Bow down you mighty Knobular dogs .
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3857 Posts
  • 933 Reply Likes
Oh now now guys, we all know knob radios can't keep pace with Flex in any area of performance. But this will get the attention of people using other SDR radios. If flex did not make it to number 1 with the radios tested there then I would think something would be very wrong.
The most interesting test is with other SDR products that have more in common.
Photo of Bob G   W1GLV

Bob G W1GLV

  • 773 Posts
  • 140 Reply Likes
Kudos to the Flex Team.
Photo of Sergey, R5AU

Sergey, R5AU

  • 860 Posts
  • 117 Reply Likes
Hi All, I did't got propely PEN is HW or SW item for 6700 owners? I did't recieved any notice yet.
Photo of Greg - K5GJ

Greg - K5GJ, Elmer

  • 80 Posts
  • 37 Reply Likes
Sergey - I don't see your purchase in our Direct Sales database so I'm assuming you purchased from a dealer.  Your dealer should be contacting you directly to arrange for the Product Enhancement process.  Please note that this is ONLY for radios manufactured before June 11, 2014.    Please send me a direct email to greg@flexradio.com if you have questions.  I can look up by serial number.  73, Greg - K5GJ
Photo of np2g

np2g

  • 271 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
Now all we gotta get is "Pure Signal"  
Photo of Jim Bryce W5HFS

Jim Bryce W5HFS

  • 158 Posts
  • 29 Reply Likes
I notice the Sherwood results are not on the Flexradio homepage. Is it that bragging rights are forbidden by agreement with Sherwood (or otherwise), or is Flex modest? Inquiring minds want to know. This is, after all, Texas, where bragging is perhaps the only homegrown fine art.
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P

  • 4239 Posts
  • 1351 Reply Likes
Hi hi!
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3857 Posts
  • 933 Reply Likes
np2g, your right..lol I think the reason most Flexers are not asking for it is because they don't know what it is. For me it is not a deal breaker but it is an area where Flex will soon fall behind in the SDR market.
Photo of Andrew O'Brien

Andrew O'Brien

  • 384 Posts
  • 44 Reply Likes
What is "pure signal" ?
Andy K3UK
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P

  • 4239 Posts
  • 1351 Reply Likes
Adaptive Pre-Distortion. A method of pre-distorting your initial signal in order to counteract anomalies and distortion in the transmitter, amplifier chain, etc. it can reduce transmitter IMD greatly.

I suspect we will see this developed shortly after v. 2.0 brings us full remote capability. My guess is that ultimately it will be better on the FLEX than in the competition.
Photo of np2g

np2g

  • 271 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
Pure signal Adaptive or whatever flex will call it Cleans up your adjacent or opposite signal.
What it provides to you the user is transmitted power not wasted in. the IMD. Clean sounding audio. No distortion. Smaller footprint. Better use of the frequencies.
This technique you already have if you use a cellphone. Yep

Remote. Capabilities are just fine. For us to use this technique it would affect for the better every ssb or digi communication. That is a profound impact