Software updates ETAs

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Happy new year to all. I hope 2018 brings happiness and health to all of you.

On January 24th, 2018 we will reach 6 months since the availability of Version 2.0 of SmartSDR. Yep, it's been half a year.
I understand we do not get a road map anymore and that FRS is busy working on the new hardware but software upgrades are beneficial to all and therefore my inquiry.

My questions is, can FRS (Gerald) put forth any type of statement about what is in store for us in the realm of SmartSDR updates? Are we looking at 1, maybe 2 updates a year? Maybe quarterly releases?

I am not asking for specifics dates or content (I would love to get those but I understand the new policy). I just want to know what, if any and approximately when, (no commitments) if ever, we will be getting something (anything).
Are any of the things on the works noise reduction, improvements on TX or GUI related?
Maybe something completely different = Mind Blown stuff?
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Posted 2 years ago

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
The current version of SmartSDR under development, v2.1 has been delayed because it is the initial version that will support the new 6400 and 6600 radios along with the PGXL amplifier.  Normally there wouldn't be this length of time between minor releases.  As Steve has indicated before, our objective is to provide software releases more frequently in the future.  

As far as what is planned, we have some really cool ideas for new features that will benefit all FLEX-6000s, but at the moment, since we are TOTALLY focused on getting SmartSDR v2.1 released, we have not committed any particular feature to a particular 2.x release.  Until we can scope the feature and are at a point that we have a high confidence level that it will be successful, we are not going to discuss them publicly so that expectations are managed appropriately.

To date, we have only committed publicly to the MultiClient Access feature for SmartSDR v2 which will allow multiple SmartSDR clients being operated by different people (or the same person) access to the same radio hardware.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Thanks Tim for the quick reply. Can't wait for the "really cool ideas" :)
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Clay N9IO

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Tim,
Can you comment if the current SSDR testing is progressing?
Sorry I really wasn't going to ask publicly but Bouvet is getting so close.
Are we close to shipping?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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The testing is progressing well.  Our alpha testers are putting the radio through rigorous "real world" testing scenarios, we are getting great and timely feedback from them and our engineering team is aggressively addressing the issues and knocking them out.

We are getting closer to release every day, but I really can't make any statements on when we'll get to a quality level that meets our GA level which is what is needed before we ship.
(Edited)
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Clay N9IO

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Fair enough, thanks Tim.
Wish you all well on it.
Have a good weekend.
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Takeshi Yamada

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Just my curiosity.  What is "In" in v2.1 other than affirmative predistortion?  The release of v2.1 won't be a half year away from now and the specification might be fixed.  So we may be OK to know what is in it now, or yet too demanding?

73 de JI1BNU
Ken Yamada
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Flex has NOT stated if/when they will support adaptive predistortion (if ever).

I can say the new 6600/Power Genius XL amp combo is very clean (IMD) for a solid state amp. I would rather see Flex spend time on features that would better benefit the masses.

Dave wo2x
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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"I would rather see Flex spend time on features that would better benefit the masses."

Such as? Dave, I am genuinely curious to know what features fall into that category.
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HCampbell WB4IVF

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My opinion is that adaptive predistortion benefits us all.  I hope it's implemented sooner than later.

Howard
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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I am not getting into the APD debate. If you have a solid state radio and amp that fall withing the FCC guidelines for 3rd order IMD then that should suffice. I do agree there are radio/amp combinations on the air that are dirty. The Yaesu FTdx-3000 is horrible. My SPE 1.3k starts to really degrade IMD performance when run at 1300 watts. Run it at 1000 and the IMD is acceptable. That is why I like the Power Genius XL. It had two 1500 LDMOS devices and has headroom to prevent the problem with my SPE.

Sal, I am under NDA and cannot reveal what is coming soon. Long term features are held very close to the vest by Flex and even the Alpha group does not know what they have planned. So I have no idea what additional new features will be coming but I look forward to those features when they come along.

I will say because it has been publically stated by Flex employees that the only feature they have atated will be on the 2.0 roadmap is multi client.

Enough said
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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We need to get a bunch of the alphas drunk in a room!! LOL
Thanks David!
(Edited)
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David (AA9G)

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2 Questions please.
What is 'GA level'?  (Gerald Approval? :))
I know what predistortion is but what's with the 'affirmative' part?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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GA = General Availability

Adaptive Pre-Distortion - I usupect Google Translate changed Adaptive to Affirmative

Flex no longer speculates on what is in a release until it is released to GA
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Takeshi Yamada

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Thank you, Howard.  It was my bug.  It is Adaptive predistortion. 
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Harold Rosee

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I am not complaining, just giving my opinion. I was in the software business for over 30 years before I retired.  We always published all the changes/enhancement for several releases in advance.  Our customer would not stand for anything less.

I love my 6500 but I am amazed at the lack of information on future changes.  It leaves one thinking FRS has no idea what they are going to do next or they are not sure they can accomplish what they set out to do so they want to be able to pull changes that don't work.

I am still on the Version 1.11 and was really looking forward to seeing some exciting things in Version 2 and it just hasn't happened.  Very disappointing. 

I am sure a lot of loyal flex users will jump all over my post but a software defined radio without new software in 6 months points to something being really wrong.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I think you expressed you opinion in a very educated manner and it would be counterproductive for the "loyalists" to say anything derogatory. Many long time customers of Flex, myself included, echo your sentiments, mostly in other fora.
I remember with fondness the times when even us, the users of the forum, spent time throwing out ideas here, sharing our vision of what it [SmartSDR] could be.
That enthusiasm has slowly eroded and it is now limited to hoping for a few of the many old requests (i. e. Squelch) or just anticipation of the new hardware for the its buyers.
It is too bad, there are very bright individuals with wonderful ideas, who have stopped posting altogether.
I really hope your guess about frs not really knowing what or how to do the next great thing in software is wrong for all of our sakes.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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The FRS "style" to release information only when approaching General Availability (GA - and I did like the "Gerald Approved" suggestion too!)  is simple what it is.

My personal experiences (I've signed a couple Non-Disclosure Agreements with FRS for projects over the years) is they very much DO know what they are doing.

They do listen to suggestions, working to incorporate both the state of the art and their new extensions of the art.

The FRS test process is aggressive, fast moving and focused.  

They don't excel at the fine art of making the "small, reassuring noises" along the way.  

Just as if you were out at friends being promised a gourmet home cooked meal, the host both overtly gives indications that good stuff is happening and just the process has its signals - that you smell something nice cooking and hear (hopefully good) kitchen noises - that you are reassured something nice is being cooked up.

The Peanut Gallery that developed out of publishing Road Maps was shameful of the conduct of those customers (and a fair number of non-customers of "troll hobbyists"). If all of the dinner guests I just described crowded into the kitchen each demanding their own seasons or even changing the dishes being cooked, the chef would get pretty cross and push them back out.  Far too often in the Road Map days folks crossed the line between "guest" and "pest," not to mention the trolls.

Not that FRS is perfect, but how they handle information dissemination is perfectly their call alone.

When we suggest our personal experiences dealing with other products we are doing the novel work that FRS is delivering a disservice.  

Perhaps we should be thinking our radios, and soon amplifiers are as much of an intensive "skunkworks" type development program than an open source program which should be laid out for our entertainment?  I use "entertainment" purposefully as must of the road map noise floor neither was done professionally by posters nor had been thought through professionally.  

"It don't mean a thing if it don't have offspring" is the old song lyric adjusted to say that if an idea doesn't have a realizable benefit - an actionable legacy - that it is bust bandwidth waste and noise.

Even recently we see community posters who rather than politely make suggestions with out obviously having given the practicalities a pinch of thought.  They don't qualify their demands couching them as suggestions or conditional (like when the economics allow could the radios have/do XYZ?)  A couple recent posts would have double to trebled a Flex-6000 purchase cost for barely measurable improvements well below being noticeable by users.  (When the economics were presented the demanding thread author did state what he really meant should have reflected  "someday if economics allowed" but that isn't where he started from and since he was intending to take up FRS's time perhaps he should have done at least a Google search on the economics involved?)

I'm personally keen on the new products, as what I've been able to get my hands on from other manufacturers simply hasn't been as much fun for me.  YMMV and everyone understands the ham who really feels engaged with certain gear.  I'm more a results person, and I'm having results & fun with a FRS setup.  For me that is more than enough.   

Again that doesn't mean all the other radios I own or I could potentially acquire are not going to give results or fun.  I haven't thrown away by home-brew and other branded gear.  

And both my stations also have a Collins S-Line setup for when that pursuit makes me happy and gets me on the air with vintage style.

But my stations are FRS-centric and my forward plans include FRS products as primary.

Catch you on the air & 73

Steve
K9ZW
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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So lets take your statement:

The FRS "style" to release information only when approaching General Availability (GA - and I did like the "Gerald Approved" suggestion too!)  is simple what it is.

Wouldn't you say that 2.1 is approaching GA? So.... were is the info? Lately we only get information after GA.

I could see that being the case in a radio based on fixed hardware and limited upgrade availability. But Flex radios are (or were supposed to be) different. We bought a "platform" that through upgrades gets new features. We used to know some of the things to expect out of the radio. We just don't know anymore. It is just based on pure faith. A faith that gets tested with delays and lack of info. 

Undoubtedly, there is a group of Alpha testers that get access to the information, and most are basing their statements on that information.... well, guess what, the rest of us users/owners of the radios base our statements on the information that WE have.

The Peanut Gallery that developed out of publishing Road Maps was shameful of the conduct of those customers (and a fair number of non-customers of "troll hobbyists").
I was a board member then and I don't share the qualifiers. It seems very easy to put the blame squarely in these "trolls", but the current "no info" policy is the decision of FRS based on the mistakes they made by anticipating a set of features on dates that they hugely missed. Blaming the policy on the trolls is childish and in my personal opinion not a great move by FRS. No point rehashing this whole argument.

And you stated is perfectly: "Not that FRS is perfect, but how they handle information dissemination is perfectly their call alone."

We were told 2.0 was a complete rework of the code to allow for more frequent upgrades. It has been 6 months since 2.0 release. I just can't qualify that as frequent, can you?.
Tim, navigating the gag order from FRS, stated as much as he could in this thread and I thanked him.
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James Kennedy-WU5E

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This would be great Small contest groups that have only one good Radio station to work with. So fatigue will not set in if you could have 6 operators at 4 hours a piece.

  "To date, we have only committed publicly to the MultiClient Access feature for SmartSDR v2 which will allow multiple SmartSDR clients being operated by different people (or the same person) access to the same radio hardware."

Or teaching a new ham how to operate

last time I did a radio display at my local club I had to take my whole station down there.

interesting food for thoughT


Jim

WU5E

(Edited)
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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We just did live demos at Ham Radio University yesterday using three Maestros connected to three different stations all over a single Verizon 4G cell hot spot.

Worked flawlessly!

Dave wo2x
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James Kennedy-WU5E

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there is promise there.

 

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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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??? What promise? 

This "Feature" is in SmartLink with 2.0.19 today.
If you have multiple radios signed into the same SmartLink account, you will see multiple radios in the chooser in the Maestro. 3 radios in the list, three Maestros logged on with same account. Each chose a different radio. All Maestros were on the same WiFi network I created with my Verizon Samsung Galaxy S7 in hotspot mode.

Same thing we did for Xenia this past year. A bunch of the Alpha testers made their stations available under the same SmartLink account for the show.

Dave wo2x
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James Whiteway

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I am looking forward to being able to run my GUI app at the same time as SSDR is running on my radio. To me, that is multiClient. More than one program using different parts of a radio (radio server...remember) at the same time. Being able to choose different radios in the Radio Chooser, is not the same as multiclient.(client being more than one program controlling different parts of the radio, both graphically, and otherwise.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Exactly. I did say Flex did state multi client would be part of 2.x. No ETA yet.

I was replying to JAMES Kennedy who made it sound like I stated a promise for something that you can do today.

Dave wo2x
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James Kennedy-WU5E

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The word PROMISE I was talking about what TIM said " To date, we have only committed publicly to the MultiClient Access feature for SmartSDR v2 which will allow multiple SmartSDR clients being operated by different people (or the same person) access to the same radio hardware. I would love to setup a kick butt contest my friends and me local could use to contest. IE Tom Dick and Harry could help me contest if I'm reading the data correct.

Jim

WU5E


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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Rrr. Umderstood Jim.

Not sure hom multi client will work as it is not disclosed on details but I would guess there has to be some kind of interlock to allow one station to transmit at a time. How that interlock will work is yet to be determined or disclosed.

I would perferbly want the transmitting station to have tx control unless they can one client deemed the “control op” and have ability to take control.

Should be interesting and fun for those of us who have friends who cannot get on HF from their homes, especially older hams who might be living in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Dave wo2x
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Yes I understand the complaining about not having more updates. May I remind everyone how small Flex is as a company. I get for some of you that does not matter, or care, but If they only have one key person off for any reason, that could make a big difference in the day to day operation.

And remember they are and have been working on getting four new radios out, new hardware. that is an incredible sized project. 

I would think after the radios are released, as well as the amp we will see more time spent on software.

Speaking for myself, I am not board or tired of my 6500 or software I love SSDR for many reasons, it just works. It woks very well, stable and does everything I need. Sure I look foreword to updates like everyone, But I also know as an owner what I'm in for. I wait. I'm ok with waiting, I am very happy with my radio and I just enjoy it every day. then, if an update comes along, that's cool.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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May I remind everyone how small Flex is as a company. I get for some of you that does not matter, or care, but If they only have one key person off for any reason, that could make a big difference in the day to day operation.

This is not very reassuring when we are spending quite a bit of money on FRS gear. I am not sure FRS would like to be characterized as such small enterprise that will not make it if someone catches a cold.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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This is not very reassuring when we are spending quite a bit of money on FRS gear

Know one mentioned that Flex would not make it if someone is sick, but it would effect day to day work for everyone eles.

I don't understand what is not reassuring, about being small. I think based on their growing company, the hardest thing for Gerald is trying to stay small, it is a challenging balance to keep pace with growth and keep as small as possible. Flex has always had a great reputation, for delivering what they plan on, even though some things were delayed, they still produced well made products.

Most Flex owners understand this,,That they are small, so If Flex has one person off in the repairs it could effect turn around's for a few weeks. One problem with being being small is that each person in the company are very specialized. So there may not be someone to fill in for that task. Many of the things I am saying here was just stated by Gerald and Tim over the last few weeks. Nothing new.

I feel that Flex is doing amazing things for their size, and when things seem slow, I can understand why.
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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Here's an interesting article about setting deadlines: "Arbitrary deadlines are the enemy of creativity, according to Harvard research". 

https://work.qz.com/1173131/deadlines-dont-have-to-kill-creativity-according-to-harvard-research/?mc...
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James Whiteway

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My boss would not agree. Being on time is everything in the trucking industry. Creativity is doing it quickly and safely.
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Paul Mandel

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No deadlines is fertilizer to project creep.   There are proper times to establish deadlines for any project and a good manager understand the needs of the business versus the state of the project.   Even though I agree with a few points my overall opinion of the article is not fit for dissemination on a public forum.
(Edited)
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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I've seen the effect that deadlines have in stifling creativity by sitting next to my fifth grade son as he was trying to code a 'cat detector' for a class project.  He was merrily making good progress until the deadline loomed then he started making mistakes and became very frustrated.  I imagine that holds for Flex developers, too.  By the way, I won't ask for a cat detector be added to Smart SDR as a new feature request.
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Dan -- KC4GO

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Some might call letting the schedule drive delivery "Rush to Failure" I saw a lot of this in my  Cellular engineering time. Were the big company I worked for allowed the project managers decide/demand that a technology  be deploy (that they didn't understand) or an installation be on time (even still underwater from a Hurricane).  Then pay more money to fix it  along with the bad publicity and cost to resolve/repair more than it would have been if given the time to do it right the first time. 
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Harold Rosee

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Dan,

You mention a schedule. Do you know of a schedule for the next release of software that the rest of us don't know?  I think the point here is that there is no schedule.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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The fact is Flex has decided to not adhere to a hard schedule but rather ensure the software release is as good as possible "out of the box" for the end user. People might not like the delays but as others have stated I would rather have a delay and done right than have problems from the start.

Dave wo2x
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Kevin - KS0CW

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x2
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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They don't need to be mutually exclusive.
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Harold Rosee

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David,

Thanks for the clarification but there has to be a schedule before you can not adhere to a schedule.  Right?  Delays are ok but a delay from what schedule?

I am not trying to be a trouble maker but before you make what you think is a supportive comment for FRS think about what you are posting.

The fact remains that there is no schedule therefore there has not been any delays or hard schedules to adhere to.  

In all seriousness, any reasonable person would have expected a release, even a small one, before now.   Some of us are just saying to FRS we have some hobby money to spend and they just need to help us in our quest.  That's all.  Plain and simple.

Harold 
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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How many other manufacturers (other than the one in California) hold such a public forum?  Maybe the Japanese manufacturers are quite wise after all, seeing that they don't have to spend their efforts debating on public forums about when they are going to release what.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Harold

I am not going to get into a dragged out debate with you.

You do not know if there is a schedule. I do not know if there is a schedule. Only FRS knows.

It would make sense they would have an internal roadmap and expected delivery for those items. The policy is that information is not going to be made public.

Once Flex is feature locked on a release and they are very close to release those features are made public.

The fact is some of the development and implementation of new features is difficult to pin down to exact dates. Flex has decided to hold releases until they are confident there are no issues.

Dave wo2x
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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Another point, something tells me that Tim's talents could be much better utilized by him contributing to the optimization of the SmartSDR user interface rather than moderating this forum.  Maybe we should all agree that, in the interest of facilitating progress as quickly as possible, we shut this forum down and turn Tim loose on things that more productively contribute to the Flex user experience?
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WW1SS - Steve

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Maybe Tim and Flex feel he is happy where he is. Maybe he already does
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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Maybe he's sick of the incessant complaining about schedules not being met.
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WW1SS - Steve

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Maybe you should stop analyzing Tim
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Mark K1LSB

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Harold,

You say, "there has to be a schedule before you can not adhere to a schedule...there is no schedule therefore there has not been any delays...".

That argument is specious.  There can be delays without any need for a schedule.

Here's an example:  I get an urge to design, build and sell a product.  I know I have the expertise to accomplish the design and build of the product, I'm just not a good estimator of time.  That's alright with me, though, because I don't really have any need to stick to any particular time line.  I have complete confidence my product will eventually get finished and sold, but not a second before it's ready.  I'm more concerned about doing a quality job than I am about any particular time line, so I don't even keep too much track of how long the project is taking me.  I'm satisfied with the rate of progress after I complete each next task.  Once in awhile I do run into some sort of stumbling block that isn't a serious problem, but it does cause a delay in the forward progress.  It could be something as simple as a supplier not getting a shipment of an item when his source told him it would arrive.  So I've experienced a delay in the build of my project.  I don't have any particular schedule I'm following, but I've encountered a delay nevertheless in the progress (and completion) of my project.

So I don't have a schedule, but I can still have a delay.

See how that works?

Any simpleton can see that what you're really trying to do is to strong-arm FRS into posting some kind of timeline update again so you can then wail on them again if they don't adhere to it.  Apparently you don't give them credit for having learned not to do that again, in light of what they've been enduring from you and others because of timeline projections they've already made that didn't pan out for whatever reason.

I, for one, hope FRS doesn't post any more updates until the day the first shipment leaves the factory.  They don't need any more headache from any more complainers.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I really hope the hardware suppliers of FRS are not reading this forum. As it seems that anyone that has a delay on a delivery date just needs to say "they are purposely delaying because they are making sure the final product is the best it can be and nothing less.... " furthermore, "they will not provide further information as to when FRS should expect to receive the hardware because they do not appreciate complainers and are getting a headache". I am sure FRS should be OK with that practice from their suppliers... otherwise, asking them to adhere to a schedule and to be on-time would be a double standard.... wouldn't it?

I don't need a reply to my comment I just think that all side should take a step back and try to see things from each others perspective. It is not unreasonable for prospective recipients of the 6400 and 6600 series to be anxious when they were led to believe their gear would be ready last summer. And it is not unreasonable that FRS is delaying the delivering because they just can't deliver now, regardless of how much better for them as a company would be to have the radios already delivered.

It is what it is. 
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Harold Rosee

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Mark,

I am glad you are ok with not being ok.

I am doing nothing but giving my opinion.  Sorry it upsets you so much.

I'll let your post stand for itself.  It's just full of more excuses for not delivering.

Harold
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I don't need a reply to my comment I just think that all side should take a step back and try to see things from each others perspective. It is not unreasonable for prospective recipients of the 6400 and 6600 series to be anxious when they were led to believe their gear would be ready last summer. And it is not unreasonable that FRS is delaying the delivering because they just can't deliver now, regardless of how much better for them as a company would be to have the radios already delivered.

Thank you, Salvador.

And on that note, I believe that this question post has been answered and the opportunity given for those to express their opinions.  In addition, many of the concerns brought up here were answered recently in another post by Gerald.  Therefore, in the interest of my well being, as it was suggested above, I am closing this post to focus on my deliverables required to get SmartSDR v2.1 completed and the new radio shipping.  ;-)

73

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