Software update

  • 4
  • Praise
  • Updated 4 years ago
I have some questions for Icom, Yeasu, Kenwood, Elecraft, Apache-Labs:
  1. When are the next software upgrades going to be available?
  2. How many software engineers do you have working on this?
  3. Can you change the colors of some of the knobs from black to something with more contrast?

I did search for official users groups for each of these companies. I did find some Yahoo groups for these companies or specific radios. It is not always clear if the groups are official, or if the responses are from the company, Also Yahoo groups is cumbersome and archaic in my opinion. Elecraft comes the closest with an email reflector. None of these come close to the communications provided by Flex.
Photo of Robert -- N5IKD

Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

  • 488 Posts
  • 152 Reply Likes

Posted 4 years ago

  • 4
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 2764 Posts
  • 610 Reply Likes
The Anan is very active with updates as it is open source.
Photo of Robert -- N5IKD

Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

  • 488 Posts
  • 152 Reply Likes
This post was intended as praise for FRS due to their going out of their way to solicit feedback and ideas from their customers in an unprecedented way. I would like to encourage FRS to continue to think outside the box with things like this excellent forum and project roadmaps.

Most of us have products from at least one if not most of the listed manufacturers. None of these manufacturers are guilty of ignoring their customers or else they would not continue to be in business. I wanted to say that I think FRS has done an exceptional job.
(Edited)
Photo of Joe, KQ1Q

Joe, KQ1Q

  • 79 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
I'd be interested if the Anan was truly open source.  Is 100% of the eeprom code, all programming headers, bootloader code, DSP engine code,  100% of Verilog FPGA code freely and openly available without NDA?
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 2764 Posts
  • 610 Reply Likes
It is all open source, the PSDR was created and developed by flex. The guys who run the Anan has modified PSDR and call it HDSDR to work with the Anan.

It is a labour of love for these coders, but if any of them drop away Anan would be dead.
I don't think Flex should be worried About Anan, Flex still rules....
Photo of Mike - WB8CXO

Mike - WB8CXO

  • 57 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
cuSDR was a highly anticipated program for HPSDR radios.  The software author has had some health issues that have all but halted development of that interesting program.  Best wishes for his return to good health.  
PowerSDR has been adapted (primarily by Bill Tracey, KD5TFD and Doug Wigley, W5WC) to work with the HPSDR hardware.  The guys from Anan do not do software or firmware.  The guys from Anan are at the mercy of the open source community to develop software that will run their radios.
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 798 Posts
  • 1451 Reply Likes
Clarification.  To the best of my knowledge, Apache Labs (Anan) does not have any paid software engineers.  They use a version of FlexRadio's PowerSDR(TM) that has been modified and maintained by the all volunteer HPSDR interest group.  Apache took open source HPSDR hardware and open source software and packaged various HPSDR versions in extruded aluminum enclosures.  I think they may have done the PA design in house.  

We were supported by volunteers in the very early days of FlexRadio but found quickly that it was not sustainable for the long term.  Volunteers can do cool experimental things very quickly but that does not necessarily support a production environment.  Working with volunteers is like herding smart cats.  If you have every had cats, you will understand.

There are some very smart hams in the HPSDR volunteer group, several of whom I know and respect a lot.  HPSDR has developed a great experimental platform.  It uses a "fat client" architecture.  We actually had fat client PowerSDR running over Ethernet about 6 years ago when we were developing systems for the government.  Those government projects convinced us that a client/server architecture is a more scaleable solution for the long haul, hence SmartSDR(TM) and the FLEX-6000 Series was born.
Photo of Alex - DH2ID

Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

  • 891 Posts
  • 166 Reply Likes
I concur, you're abolutely right. I also use an Elecraft KX3 as my QRP rig, so I know what I'm talking about.  
Photo of AA0KM

AA0KM

  • 327 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes

Robert-N5IKD you hit the nail on the head and the heading of this post is a little upsetting. LOL!

But with that said yes I looked into open source as it has it`s places but If one or a group leaves the program of not innovating what do they have to loose? ZERO---

So that's why I chose Flex over others. Flex  sell`s a radio with software and that is there intentions fully.

The others radio hardware mfg`s can play on or not. Money is necessary evil and needed for software to continued. Programmers have to be paid. Open source can stop at any point in time.

Dedication and Money go hand in hand. Flex has it about right. They are not just a hardware MFG! 

73 Jeff

(Edited)
Photo of DrTeeth

DrTeeth

  • 1687 Posts
  • 387 Reply Likes
@ Robert N5IKD
"Also Yahoo groups is cumbersome and archaic in my opinion"
At last I have found somebody who feels as I do. They are a carbuncle on the behind of the internet and I just cannot understand why they are so popular with the ham community. Regular forum software like phpBB is much better and more user-friendly. Get Satisfaction isn't that hot either.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1752 Posts
  • 534 Reply Likes
I think GetSatisfaction is great Guy. I can easily attach pictures without having to upload them to a hosting site, my own site or some other cumbersome system. I can associate my email account to it so I don;t have to remember yet another username password combo. It looks clean and it is easy to navigate.
Photo of Jay / NO5J

Jay / NO5J

  • 1514 Posts
  • 222 Reply Likes
3. Black doesn't provide enough visual Contrast? You know it might be better, to just eliminate the knob. One of our competitors is doing that. You can just close your eyes, There now, don't all the black knobs feel a lot better than they look. It's not about appearances, it's all about feeling. It's not about vision at all. Said, the blind, company to the blind customer. You just have to want to, feel that way. The less you look, the better you'll feel. We make money the old fashioned way, the way we always have, and always will. We take your money, when your not looking. Move along now! theres nothing to see here!

73, Jay - NO5J    
Photo of np2g

np2g

  • 271 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
Since you all have comments. Most from those who do not own or purchased one of these.
Here is the straight comments
Open software is great. Wait till you start your payments .
Updates with the end user involved. This means very many users beta testing . A roadmap. No your on the super highway

The cusdr. A work in progress. Like the 2.0.

Pure signal. Yep. Not a wish or a promise.

What you all are missing is this. Group was mostly the original flex group. Apache. Assembles hardware
Flex or the others could be gone tomorrow. Let's not hope this happens.

What percentage is old code it is evolved to carry very little of the original stuff.

There are other sdr radios out there yes flex is not the only one. ALL. Are great. . Including flex. .

So which is better. It's what you like. For me I no longer accept promises.
A former flex owner
Photo of Stu Phillips - K6TU

Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

  • 642 Posts
  • 256 Reply Likes
@NP2G,

A question... if you are a former Flex owner, why are you here?

Curious minds need to know...

Thanks
Stu K6TU
Photo of Dan -- KC4GO

Dan -- KC4GO

  • 339 Posts
  • 68 Reply Likes
Agree why are you here if you no longer have a vested interest.
Very strange behavior.
  
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 643 Reply Likes
Let's get those wagons in a tighter circle and keep everyone, not like us, out.
Photo of Stu Phillips - K6TU

Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

  • 642 Posts
  • 256 Reply Likes
No - lets understand their motives.

There are many reasons for non-Flex owners to participate but it's good to know why they do.

I asked a simple question - and I didn't suggest keeping anyone in or out.

Stu K6TU
Photo of np2g

np2g

  • 271 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
Ido have a vested interest as I know what is missing

Bet I have owned more flexes than most here. And There is always a spot on the table. For flex It's just about the time when the. software is mature and offers me what I require
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1752 Posts
  • 534 Reply Likes
I reread several times, still, I am having a lot of trouble understanding your post.
Photo of np2g

np2g

  • 271 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
I have owned a flex6500. And. Anan 200d. There are differences. It boils down to It is what you wish to put up with. Nothing absolutely nothing is perfect.

On another note. their server solution is pretty slick. A real multiple user environment.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1752 Posts
  • 534 Reply Likes
In my opinion I see SDR as the way of the future for Amateur Radio. The things that can be done within the SDR framework are many, as new ideas are coming up constantly.

If I were a developer that can and is doing coding for the hdsdr software I will be invested in the Anan platform, however, buying just hardware and hoping that an unpaid community will develop it just doesn't seem a great solution for MY situation. Therefore I "invest" with my purchase, in FRS, hoping that some of my $ goes into making the software and therefore, the radio I own, better.

Nothing really stops me from getting an Apache Labs or any other type of equipment. Or selling what I currently own. I do not think buying one should exclude you from buying the other. I am even considering buying the new Anan QRP rig, the same way I am considering upgrading to the 6700 or getting a magnetic loop RX only antenna.

I never understood the "mine is better that yours" discussions. I had a Blackberry when it suited me, which then became an iPhone and eventually an Android phone, and there might be a Windows phone in my future. Who knows? I just don't think that purchasing one thing should make me a cool-aid drinker, a technology evangelist or that it gives me more rights of speech over others.

I think the majority would like to see more updates more often. It is logical, you get something new to play with, you get a better performing rig for free... it is in our nature as hams to want to tinker with things.

But a bad upgrade can be a pain. I have a Nexus 7 (2012) tablet that has become almost unusable after the upgrade to the latest version of Android. And Google, a fairly large company, has done so far nothing to fix my issue. I new update will at some point reach my device and I will cross my fingers while I install it, hoping that will bring it back into a working device.

If you like the Apache Labs approach, the best thing to do is to buy it and enjoy it.

And if you like the Flex approach, then likewise, buy it an enjoy it.

Or if you want a "classic" radio, by all means, buy it and enjoy it.
(Edited)
Photo of np2g

np2g

  • 271 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
Yes. That's why my flex went away.
Like a tv add says. It's my money. And I want it now.

For me
It is truly amazing seeing a release. Within. Days. I even saw a beta in hours. WOW. It suits my. NON. Appliance. Operator approach.

I also completely understand. And support Flexes. Limitations. It's tough out there.
Photo of M0GVZ

M0GVZ

  • 45 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes
In response to the sarcasm implied in your post....

Kenwood, Icom and Yaesu don't need to other than to address bugs because all the features of their radio are available at launch. 

Kenwood released a firmware update for the TS480 8 years after its first release and they released an update to the control software last year, a decade after the radio's launch.  Does Flex support their radios and still spend time on active development for them a decade after launch?
(Edited)
Photo of Robert -- N5IKD

Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

  • 488 Posts
  • 152 Reply Likes
That is true for now that all of their features are available at launch. I think the paradigm is shifting.

Eventually the SDR paradigm will be used in the less agile amateur radios as it is being done in the cellular and networking industries now.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1752 Posts
  • 534 Reply Likes
Well, they are still selling both, i don't see upgrades in the software for the ts140...
Photo of Ross - K9COX

Ross - K9COX

  • 335 Posts
  • 101 Reply Likes
We are fortunate that Gerald is active this community so that he knows how to run the company.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 643 Reply Likes
Wait..... Did you mean to say, "We are fortunate that Gerald is active in this community so that he knows how to run a company"?

Do you mean to suggest that without the careful tutelage from this group he wouldn't????? That is supremely arrogant, if that is what you meant.

Also, so long as I am typing, I'd be very careful about trash-talking other companies. It is incredibly immature and displays colossal ignorance. I will say this, most of the comments in this 'praise' are just flat-out factually wrong, but then that is the downside of any circle um...activity, you are building both the FRS company and product way beyond what the company can be expected to live up to..  This is likely why Elecraft, Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom et al, do not solicit fan clubs.
Photo of Joe, KQ1Q

Joe, KQ1Q

  • 79 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
Re SDR as the way of the future, it's not just limited to Amateur Radio.  This video illustrates a software-defined multi-tuner set-top TV receiver.  With affordable ADCs capable of 3.6 billion samples per second, the entire cable TV bandwidth can be digitized and the tuners implemented in software: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sspSh7o3x_A
Photo of Ross - K9COX

Ross - K9COX

  • 335 Posts
  • 101 Reply Likes
The future is now, that video is three years old as of March 9
Photo of np2g

np2g

  • 271 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
This is not meant to be mean or sarcastic. Someone a while back on this. Forum. said. If I wasn't happy I should sell it. So I did.

Very happy now. I have what flex promised or almost promised.
(Edited)
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 643 Reply Likes
Yes, and there are others on here who put forth the idiotic notion that if you don't love it, you don't deserve it. Um, there is a word for that.
(Edited)
Photo of David Decoons wo2x

David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

  • 1137 Posts
  • 235 Reply Likes

I own a Signature Series Flex and also the Anan 200D.

Each radio has its merits and drawbacks.

Reason for buying the Anan is the lack of timely updates from Flex. The open source community is pretty fast at fixing issues when identified. I had an issue with low power out on 12 meters tracked down to a firmware issue that selected the wrong bandpass filter on 12 meters. I had a fix in a day. The Anan gives me the joy of the "experimenter" that I had back in the 1.x PowerSDR days. I remember downloading nightly builds from SVN and seeing what changes occurred each day. I do understand the business decision by Gerald to make the software closed source but I do miss being able to test the new features and be on the cutting edge.

I understand the remote LAN features in 1.4 are a huge undertaking but that should not preclude Flex from fixing know defects with existing 1.3.8 software. DAX is glitchy and I depend on it to run my radio remote today as well as running digital modes. This is supposed to be addressed to some degree in 1.4. In addition I feel the slow AGC hang is too long for normal SSB operation to mitigate static crashes. They should go back to the 1.2.1 settings for slow and introduce an additional LONG setting for those that like the 1.3.8 AGC slow settings.

Personally I hope Gerald and team take my criticism in stride and look to release more frequent bug fix point releases in between the feature releases, especially if the software releases are going to be 6 months apart. This long delay is discouraging a lot of current and potential customers.

Dave, wo2x

Photo of Corey/ KC0YNS

Corey/ KC0YNS

  • 106 Posts
  • 9 Reply Likes
For what it's worth, I'm all for it !!  Thank you..
Photo of Robbie - KI4TTZ

Robbie - KI4TTZ

  • 479 Posts
  • 77 Reply Likes
I don't mind alpha/beta software at all, I spend half of my day writing code anyway. Sign me up! :-)

-Robbie
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 2764 Posts
  • 610 Reply Likes
Dave must have missed the memo..lol
Photo of David Decoons wo2x

David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

  • 1137 Posts
  • 235 Reply Likes
Thanks for the reply Gerald and the update to plan on more frequent bug fix releases. I am sure most will not mind waiting for new features while having more solid code. This model should appease the masses.

I was hoping to have 1.4 installed before I left for Kauai but C'est La Vie

Dave, wo2x/kh6
(Edited)
Photo of David Decoons wo2x

David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

  • 1137 Posts
  • 235 Reply Likes
Bill, must be the Mai Tais. . Talk to you when I get back!

Dave
Photo of np2g

np2g

  • 271 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
Great. !!! You are now going to get. , more frequent updates. Upgrades. A very good thing.

For all.

There is no room to bash any radio system. All are good
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1752 Posts
  • 534 Reply Likes
There is no room to bash any radio system. All are good
My sentiment exactly!