Should Service Release 1.2.17 be pulled?

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I have worked in the software industry for nearly 30 years.  I have been part of many software development releases. One thing is clear:  When old problem are fixed, new features are added, and few new problems emerge, the user community welcomes and even extolls the virtues of a new software release. Unfortunately, sometimes things go awry with a release and be caused by intended consequences.  Even though all companies do their best to test every conceivable item, invariably something sneaks through. It doesn't happen often, but sometimes the enormity of the new problems caused by a release supersede the value of problems fixed or new features provided.  This happens to every software business and FlexRadio won't be immune to this axiom.  

I understand.  It's always hard for an organization to admit a stinker when it is obvious to everyone that the proverbial rotten egg has been laid (I give you Windows Vista).  It is at this very point one gets a glimpse of a company's true mettle.  Does the company try to ignore the problems; hoping it will go away and (causing more customer pain?) Or does the company take the high road and acknowledging that the new problems identified in the release cause sufficient pain (for customers and for the company's own technical support department) to warrant a roll-back to a previous release.  One of these roads show true customer focus and garners respect.

With the number of problems threads popping up on this specific release, should SSDR 1.2.17 be withdrawn or does it add enough value to sustain working around the newly found issues?  I merely ask the question.
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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Posted 4 years ago

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Andrew O'Brien

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I have not run in to any issues that would indicate it should be pulled.  One can always downgrade if there are major problems.
Andy K3UK
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Mike Hoing

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Completely agree with you both

Mike
N9DFD
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Bob G W1GLV

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Agree with John, Mike & Daniel. I have never had an issue when upgrading. The digital area works perfect with all the 3rd party software I've tried. All and all I think that FRS is a first class company. Having met and talked to Gerald Youngblood, I know it will stay that way.
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Jeff Gray

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Although I don't have anything running SSDR, after reading the threads on here and else where, several things are apparent. They apply to both PSDR and SSDR.
 1. There is an extreme learning curve. A lot to learn to make it run well.
 2. Need to have computer to handle it IE quadcore proc. 8 gig memory, will run well. If your computer is minimal to meet requirements or less, upgrade your computer. You will be disappointed if you don't. You will also want a good video card in it. A low end video card will not have enough resolution to see the weak stations. This is very important if your into CW and Digimode operating.  
 3. Run the installer and update as administrator. Needed registry keys may not be created properly if you don't. Once installed, set SSDR or PSDR to run as administrator. Otherwise the permissions that will allow it to run well may not be there.
 4. Turn off all un-needed TSR (terminate and stay resident) programs. These start with windows. They do that to reduce time waiting for it to load every time it is needed.  IE Skype, Yahoo, MSN  They are located next to the clock. Depending on the version XP Vista and 7 they are an icon next to the clock or in a window that pops up when clicking the double arrow by the clock. As for 8 and 8.1 I have no experience.
They load into memory and do call checks. They add to memory being used and processor latency degrading performance.
 5. Be sure to create proper exceptions in your firewall and in some cases you may need to tell antivirus the program is safe. Some firewall settings and antivirus programs will limit or block some things. 
 6. Backup your current settings. Play with the adjustments till you get them set properly for your hardware. What works on one computer may not work well if at all on another. Then if your not happy go back to your backup. It will reset your rig to where you had it prior to tinkering. 
  Hope this helps and see you on the Panafall. 
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Steve N4LQ

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I'm finally glad I have Windows 8.1. I don't seem to have all the problems other have with Win 7 or older.
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W3DCB

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Hi guys...When I made comments above, I was not trying to poke fun or disparage any one.  It was just that I really don't run into the degree of difficulty that others seem to have when setting up & upgrading to newer versions.  I had the same experience with my 5000/PSDR.  I think that Jeff hit the nail on the head.  There is a steep learning curve with SDR and the use of computers that may not be apparent to casual users.  It has taken me many years & mistakes to get to where I am today in my understanding of computers...I am NO expert by any means!  I graduated from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, Long Island Campus, in the mid-70s with a classic BEE with a Computer Science Option.  Brooklyn Poly didn't have Computer Science Degrees at that time, just BEE with Computer Science Option.  I never used the degree, at least not for very long.  In the end, I pursued other interests.  When I was at Poly, I took classes in FOR-Tran, PL-I, and BASIC.  We used a card punch for class assignments.  We all thought that we were going to build and run nuclear power plants...Of course, they fell out of favor with the American public & few were built, although enough were built that I could have made a good living as a power-plant engineer/designer/physicist.  When I was last using computers on a professional basis, I was using a Burroughs 1800/1700 series "mini" computer..."Mini" meant it just took up 1 average sized room which had a raised floor for the forced air conditioning system to cool the equipment that was kept in a room that was always about 65 degrees F and really, really, noisy!  So, my formal knowledge & training is quite outdated! 

I am not wealthy.  However, not one of my computers, lap-top or desk-top, is not at least a 4th generation i7 quad processor with the ability to run 8 threads (I got rid of my all of my third generation i7s.)  None of my computers has less than 8 G RAM and I have placed SSDs in all of them for the frequently used programs and booting.  These days SSDs have become quite cheap.  In the end, it is experience and a "sense" of how to set up the computer & software options which only comes with many years of practice & trial/error.  I still have to ask for help upon occasion.  However, I am usually proud that by the time help arrives, I have usually figured out the solution.  

I think that the anonymity that comes with the internet sometimes makes it a bit too easy to criticize before spending enough time to try to work out problems before posting.  I do recognize, however, that computers can be VERY frustrating.  "VERY" could not be written in letters that are bold enough or large enough!  These machines can drive you crazy!  Further, many make the mistake of making changes to settings that they may not fully understand which may compound the problems.  On the other hand, obtaining help either on line or in person from the "geeks" can be very expensive while at the same time it is just so tempting to make changes that are hard to reverse or even later remember.  My best suggestion is to purchase your computer from Neal Campbell for the best Flex ready computers available.  He can give you advice for lap-top purchase as well.  If one is purchasing a Flex-6700 for ~$8400 with all the bells, it is worth it to save up for a really good computer that will have the ability to run everything that you want.  You may want to have several computers...a Neal Campbell Flex Ready computer to run your Flex-6700...and maybe a couple of cheap computers for doing things like video streaming; Skyping with friends, etc.  My Flex computer is only for use with my 6700 and running the various programs that go with the Flex like JT65, MixW, HRD, etc.  Any way, I meant no harm or sarcasm.  I was just truly puzzled as to why I was having such good luck and others seemed to be having such problems.  I really feel for those having difficulty because I know just how frustrating these machines can be.

de W3DCB  Take care, my friends...

(Edited)
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John n0snx

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Jay

   If you have been in the software industry for 30 years, then you KNOW that the absolute best case scenario is to hope to satisfy SOME of the people SOME of the time.... It is in OUR nature to gripe and complain about any and everything that is not exactly the way we want it.  What is an issue for some will not be an issue for others....  Just because someone post a problem they are having doesn't make it a bad build.  This is a hobby and there is a lot of experimenting that happens with the hobby. Some work and some don't. FRS has done a great job and my hat is off to them...They will continue to improve the software as needed because of the feedback from the users.  It's called progress....We all would like this perfect little world but it just isn't going to happen.
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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I totally get it John.  If you look at my past comments, I'm not a notable "complainer".  That's just not my modus operandi.

This is the first service release that I've gone through with Flex and my 6300.  Its easy to note the rash of issues specifically surrounding this release.  Some of these issues are not small or insignificant in nature from an operations standpoint.  These have been generally issues that Flex has added to their list of issues they are seriously looking into....not just some off the wall, end-user error.  

I'm curious to see at what point that Flex makes a statement whether they still recommend updating to this new revision...or not.  From a engineering stand point, it may even be helpful to continue to promote this release so as to see if anything further shakes out.
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Ernest - W4EG

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This has been my pet peeved since the inception of this Forum.  This individual and others like him have too much time to complaint about any and all issues; no matter whether it works or not.

I agree with John, Mike and all the others; every service release has improve my radio performance.  And the only thing I could tell FlexRadio System is; keep the versions release coming. 

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Duane, AC5AA

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I have not seen any new problems yet, and have even seen some older ones fixed.  The one I reported (slow shutdown) pre-existed this release, and continues to (not) work the same way.  I was just getting ready to post a praise - the CAT upgrades have really helped my DX4WIN connection issues! 
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Mike Hoing

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Now I think we are getting carried away. I am a very heavy user of my ham radio and log hundreds of QSOs a month in several different modes.

While I have seen some of the issues that are reported, the radio is a stable platform and works as expected. I have faith that every time a release is done it will improve the radio. I still believe that even after this release.

I usually find when I have issues with software it's because I didn't follow directions such as uninstall cat or something else.

The software is no where close to needing to be pulled

Mike
N9DFD
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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Jay, I am wondering if you are referring to the corrupted download problem we were having due to heavy downloads on from our website.  I am not aware of any major issues with this release.  In fact, I ran the release last weekend in Field Day with no issues whatsoever.

Here is the post that Tim made earlier regarding the corrupted downloads:

 Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

Official Response


The issue of corrupted downloads should be resolved now.  We identified that a CPU resource contention issue with our web server was to blame for for the aborted HTTP downloads which resulted in partial file downloads.  Yesterday (yes, on a holiday) we put together an action plan to resolve this issue and very early this morning we migrated the FlexRadio web site to a new server that has much greater CPU resources available to it.  When you visit the web site now you should notice that it is more responsive and should download files a little quicker than before making for an improved user experience.  We apologize for the inconvenience this issue cause and we greatly appreciate your patience and understanding while we resolved it.  Thanks.

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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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Hi Gerald.  No, Im not concerned with the delivery. Those are things outside of your organizations control.  I understand the difference between net connectivity contention, download problems and software issues.  The more significant issues (in my mind) introduced in this release include audio drops while dragging the panadapter up or down in frequency on 17, 15, & 12 meter bands (more of an annoyance) and the complete audio drop out for 3-5 second when the AGC set to "Slow" or when changing bands or modes...or transmitting in CW Mode.  When AGC set to "Slow" QSK is impossible.

Yes there is a work around for the later (don't use the slow mode for the AGC setting).  However in the summertime when there are a lot of thunderstorm crashes on the bands, the slow setting came in handy.

Just so you know, I'm a huge fan of Flex and am tickled to death with my 6300.  I'm also a previous owner of a Flex 3000.  I've given talks and demonstrations of Flex Radio to my local ham radio club meetings.  I've even made a presentation and proposal to our County's Emergency Management department to encourage them to purchase a Flex 6x000 for our county's RACES group.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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Hi Jay.  

I did some testing tonight and was not able to recreate the audio dropouts as long as I dragged inside the ham bands.  I was able to get dropouts to occur outside the ham bands at the exact frequency transitions between wide band segments.  You can hear the filter relays click when this occurs.  For example, this happens at 18.268 MHz and 25.090 MHz, which are well outside the ham bands.  

With regard to the Slow AGC setting, I cannot reproduce the problem on CW QSK.  However, I can reproduce the 3 second lag when I switch from another band or mode.  The lag is not there on any TR mode (SSB, DIG, or CW) that I can reproduce.  I will report the delay on switching band or mode to engineering as a defect.  This is the only condition that I can reproduce.

73, Gerald
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Hi Gerald,

I've had several people confirm that AGC slow is unusable with the static crashes on 40 and 80 meters here in the summer afternoons (when we have storms). Today 1.2.17 would be OK to use since there are no storms forecasted until Wednesday.

Not sure what mix of beta testers you have to know if anyone is in a similar environment to me on the same bands but this issue was not caught before release. Unfortunately that is the drawback of beta testing is you cannot ever replicate every possible operating scenario. I'll offer to help beta test :-)

This is a big enough issue that I rolled back to 1.2.1.

For those not having issues with 1.2.17 I suggest if it is possible to try it on the lower bands during conditions where you get a lot of static crashes. What I and many others have found is the receiver mutes on any signals under S9 +10 with default settings and AGC set to SLOW.

Dave, wo2x


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Asher - K0AU

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I observe the audio dropout problem with a single slice and single pan on 12M.  Pan visible from 24.895 to 24.920.  Slide the pan left or right and the audio drops in and out.  Didn't stop me from working a great opening on 12M yesterday.

On 15M I hear minor audio distortion when sliding a pan.

1.2.17 generally seems more stable than previous releases.
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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Ok, guys.  You win.  I'm going to go back under the bridge where most of you must assume that I came from. Administrator, please kill, lock, delete this thread. I'm done.  If I have issues, I'll deal directly with Tech Support. 

FlexRadio is a stellar company.  I love my radio.  I love the releases coming out.  Is everything perfect  No.  Do I expect perfection..no. 

Gerald....my most humble apologies to you and to your organization if I have offended.   W0AVE - QRT!

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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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No offense taken at all.  My concern was that the thread title seemed to be an over reaction.  We waited until there were no significant bugs reported by our beta team before releasing.  It is not possible to catch everything though.  It is always possible to introduce new bugs with a release that are not caught by the smaller group but a larger group will.
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Steve N4LQ

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The problem here is terminology. The 12m dropout problem is not while tuning...It's while dragging the panadapter. Doing that on any band causes ripples in the base line but on 12m you can hear it clicking. It's just not muting....The SLOW AGC problem is for real. SLOW is TOO slow. I mean it must have a 5 second decay time. I noticed this while listening to a SSB QSO on 60. One crash of static desensed the receiver so long that I though my antenna had come unhooked! ....The problem I mentioned was with the SWR meter. You fixed the "jumping on transmit" problem but created another one. Here's the deal....I'm using a remote auto ant. tuner. So I change bands, hit the "tune" button on SSDR and my SWR reads way over in the read...So I wait and wait and wait and 15 seconds later it finally slides down to near zero but in reality the tuner did its job in 2 seconds as is evidenced by my external SWR meter. So the SWR meter response is SLOW. That's a problem when using a tuner. One could never get his tuner tuned using an swr meter like that. 
I hope this is clear now. There were other issues but people are not getting the message across so you guys end up saying you can't duplicate it...Well no wonder. Anyway. I'm enjoying 1.2.17 as it is. I'm just working around it until it gets fixed buy at this rate it never will. 

Steve N4LQ (6300)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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This question has been answered by Gerald so I am closing the thread.
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Lee, Elmer

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I noticed the dropout he is talking about while tuning on 12M either CW or SSB.  I did not notice it on any other band/mode.  Using a 6300.  

73  W9OY
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I noticed it too, but don't remember which bands. I was bouncing all over the bands this weekend! 160-6 meters all modes but FM!
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Burch Akin

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I see the issue with 12 meters as well. I am also using a 6300.
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EMIL-DL8JJ

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Hello

in my opinion and this case should be not pulled.

generall, if a new release have the same general bugs like the old one and extra bugs, will be not useful to make it public.

Better less bugs, than more bugy features.

Thanks,

Emil, de DL8JJ -  steel  very enthusiastic FlexRadio user:)



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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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For the record, I am still using the latest release because it has fixed more than it has broken. I HAVE experienced what I will call AGC "pumping" or "overshoot" and excessive hang time in Slow mode. I have also experienced the audio stuttering while dragging the pan adapter within ham bands, and sometimes when tuning with the Flex Control knob at the end of the screen range while it shifts the pan adapter. While I find these a bit annoying, there have been some additional improvements in CAT and DAX as well as other performance enhancements, so I will just work around these issues until the end of the month when 1.3 is due!
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W5UN_Dave

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I would love to add my two cents worth, but my 6700 has been back at Flex for repair since before this release (the 2 and 4 meter bars issue plus some strange humps in the panadapter signal). Being without my radio is worse than any new found bugs that might have surfaced. I, too, have worked on large software projects for Shell, so I understand, and I can sympathize with the code writers. There will always be a few bugs. We live in an imperfect world.

Hello  Flex, please send me my fixed radio.
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Norm S

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Hey Dave.  I have what I would call spikes on 2 meters.  They are about every 50 kHz and appear whether I have an antenna attached or not.  I haven't checked 4 meters as I don't currently use that band.

Are these the same as the bars that you have?  What did Flex tell you about the bars?    Does anyone else have these?

Norm - W7CK


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W5UN_Dave

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Norm, my 6700 is back and the bars are gone on 2 and 4 meters. So are the humps that occupied much of the HF band. It took a return to Flex to fix this problem.
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Dale KB5VE

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Having been involved in post that address a issue with smart sdr I can feel for Jay. Maybe what the thread was headline was a little over the top but he does have a issue and even though 123 people are not having this issue he is. Some times out almost fanatical support for the flex brand can get in the way of what this community was created for. So it would be better for someone who has this problem or has had it and has a work arround to post than 20 who say they have not. There is not a rule to be put in place here but always remember the person has a problem or they would not post. They might be the only one with this problem and if no one post something to help them then the help desk is there to help correct.

Jay I know Gerald does not take your remarks personal and I suggest you use the community as it was intended. I do not hesitate to bring up a issue I have. If I do not get a response in a a couple of days I enter a ticket and let the pros handle it.

Remember if you are drowning and everyone on the shore keep telling you how good they can swim you still will drown, but if just one says I couldn't swim once and I know how he feels so I am going to jump in and get him. That is what the community is for.
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Phil Covington

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FWIW, having been on both sides, first as a customer and then as a manufacturer,  it is also good to hear from people who do not have problems.  Unfortunately, if people just post about problems, potential customers who come here and read about these problems can be scared off of a purchase - even though the real situation might be that a small minority of customers are having a problem out of a majority or customers that are not and are happy.  It certainly does not help when the title of a thread is a little over the top.

We all pretty much know that people tend to complain loudly when unhappy and generally remain silent when satisfied. But knowing that still does not prevent potential customers from reading about the problems and then thinking that (problems) is all there is.  Try to see it from Flex's side too.  They need new customers and you need them to have new customers so they stay in business and continue to support and enhance your radio purchase. ;-)  Heck, even here the president of the company responds to a post about your problems - try that with Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu!

Of course, if you are having a problem you should post about it. Sometimes it is a legitimate problem and sometimes it it operator error or misunderstanding.   However, those that are not having the same problem should not be discouraged from posting that they do not have the problem.  It's good to see praise/support also.

73 Phil
(Edited)
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Dale KB5VE

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Phil I agree that posting your ok is fine. But you know yourself some of these post that are saying they are ok go futher. I have seen many spitefull post on this community and Gerald and I have talked. He took the post someone made to me in reference to the president off because it was not related to my comments and was not in the spirtit of the community.

Let me ask you this, how many of the "mine is working fine ,I don't see why it should be recalled" included a reach out to the gentleman , an offer to compare settings and equipment to see if they can help him.

In this respect the community has failed. I myself was cut at the knees by a Flex employee because I was offering to g
Help new flexers with getting use to the operation of a very new type of radio, e
We were meeting on 75 meters and our group helped a lot of new 6000 owners.

So I agree that both like and dislike should post but how about some helping hands comming out of the wood work.

Why does it have to be two camps why not one camp with a broad rang of options?

Hust my 50 cents worth.

Dale
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Phil Covington

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Hi Dale,

I agree with you, it is much more helpful for those who are not experiencing a particular problem to offer more help than the response of "I am not having that problem".  From the short time I have been reading posts in this community, I do see that when a problem is reported or asked about, many guys do respond with helpful advice or suggestions.  There are many helpful people in this community.

In this particular thread, the title presumed that everyone is having the reported problems and that the release should be pulled, which is not the case.  The title of the thread was not asking for help, so the only response that many guys can give is "No, it should not be pulled" and/or "I am not having that problem".  Had it been phrased differently, I am sure there would have been more helpful responses.

73 Phil

(Edited)
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Mike - WB8CXO

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Reading this thread was painful. I wonder if we'd treat each other this way in person. Back to that bridge ;)
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Lee, Elmer

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I don't get this thread.  If you don't like the present version go back to a previous version or wait a couple weeks for a new version with bug fixes and better toys.  I know that a lot of people spend a lot of time and effort trying to comb the tangles out before the point release.  It is very useful to report bug as well as no bug reports as that is the data upon which fixes are made or not made.  Drama is optional and generally not that illuminating 

73  W9OY

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