Take the plunge and go for the 6600 or stick with the FTDX5000?

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I've been debating changing over to FlexRadio for a while now.
After being off the air for a number of years I did trade my trusty 1000MP for a 5000...however , somehow I must have missed the FlexRadio while doing research for a new radio.
I've been playing with the LP-PAN2 and SDRPlay2 as a panadapter in combo with the 5000 and CW skimmer....and so I got hooked on SDR.
With the new 6600 comming to the scene in a few months I wonder whether I should take the plunge?
My main interest is low band DX , weak signal DX in general , digi modes , 6m DX and occasionally taking part in a contest.
Any suggestions , advice...are highly appreciated.
Thanks!

73 - ON7NQ - OP2R - Danny
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ON7NQ - Danny

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Posted 1 year ago

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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Danny,  I can't comment directly about your activities but I will say that I won't go back to a knob radio but there are of course two sides to that.

I will say also that Flex (even though there are negative posts in the forum) does communicate with users and is responsive and very effective on repairs.  I think in your case being ON7 you'll be dealing with a distributor but help is always available on this forum to all.

For Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu I think you'd be hard pressed to find a forum where the radio manufacturer, including the company present actually weigh in.

I hope you take the plunge.  It's a good radio and a very good company.

Mark
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KF4HR

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Once you get used to the spectrum display and flexibility of the Flex 6x00 series rigs, odds are you won't want to go back to any other radio.  I'm actually surprised Japanese manufacturers haven't picked up on this level of spectrum display (yet). 
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KK9W - Steve

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I used to run the same setup and loved it. I am waiting on Flex as my only issue is the deadlines that keep expiring and the waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting. Usually if they give a date for something it ends up being 6 months to a year after that. V2.0 has been in the pipeline for over 2 years now.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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It is correct that the features that will be included in v1.x.x are feature locked.  I was responding to KK9W who said v2 was in the pipeline for over 2 years.  We purposly delayed v2 for about 2 years while we added many more features to the free v1.x version.  We are not delaying v2.0 at all at this point in time.  It is all the software team is working on.
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KK9W - Steve

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Still waiting for power genius . . . Order a 6500 and it is a 2 to 3 week wait when I last contacted Flex. Maestro is a 10 to 12 week wait. V 2.0 is a 2 year wait. The 6400 and 6600 series will not be out in July or August as I was told when I put my $500 down. It will realistically be first quarter of 2018 . . . Get my Point.
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Michael Coslo

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Steve - honest question. You complain a lot about the radio and the software and are already complaining about a Flex amp that hasn't even been released yet. 


Why on earth are you wasting your time with something that you obviously do not like at all?  Buy somthing else, and be happy man. Life is too short to have a radio that you hate.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Steve KK9W's concerns are a reminder - if there is a feature that is a MUST HAVE and a product doesn't yet include it that person might be more comfortable waiting to buy until it is out.

If the feature set is rich enough that growing pains and waiting for more features is acceptable, then jump on in with a buy.

Just keep yourself happy by being realistic what you have to have and what you can wait for.

Folks temperaments are different and all positions on when to buy into an evolving product are valid.

The only position that is not valid is whining about yourself having taken a buy-in position that wasn't true to your heart and your needs as if it was a product problem rather than a decision problem.

Not everyone has the same take on where bleeding-edge becomes leading-edge become industry-standard in the process. And there are certainly trade-offs as all features a person would like don't roll out the same time. YMMV is more than just a cute saying.

But make sure your needs are satisfied by the timing you pick to buy-in.

It's got to be fun for YOU to be worth it.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Winston VK7WH

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Steve, please understand I say this kindly.

I certainly got your point, I got it a long time ago, however I can't see how further such posts will improve your situation, or make your enjoyment of our hobby any better.

My 6700 is by far the best radio I have ever owned, and I have had an enormous amount of fun with it over the past three years, and with its continuously evolving software, I can see myself owning it for many,many years to come.

Steve (K9ZW) is right. "It's got to be fun for you ...." and your posts are suggesting it is not.

I wish I could help you more, however I can't think of any thing else I can say that might help.

Best 73

Winston
(Edited)
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Bill W2PKY

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For 6M DX all 4 slices can be assigned to the active areas of the band. One pan for CW, one for SSB and two for digital modes. When on HF digital 4 bands can be decoding concurrently, just watch the printouts and pounce on the best DX. The 6600 has 2 SCUs so two antennas can be employed simultaneously. FLEX gives the OP a way to expand horizons.   
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ON7NQ - Danny

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Thanks Bill ! I didn't even know this was possible...but sure is an impressive feature.
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Lou Dietrich

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Danny,

My opinion...take the plunge! You will not regret it!

The FT5K is a fine radio. I had two of them but when I saw the ability of the Flex6XXX to fluidly move from mode to mode, I immediately sold the FT5Ks and jumped on the 6500 and Maestro.

LP-Pan/ SDRPlay are a stop gap measure, that is, you still have only one comport on the FT5K. You still have to run some kind of port sharing like LPBridge and port contention can be problematic when you are running other apps in conjunction with  NAP3, your logging program or digital applications.

Additionally, LP Pan and an external sound card can be prone to artifacts. It takes quite a bit of work to eliminate them. I gave up!

 Moving to Flex, you can sell the LP-PAN, sound card, and any other external digital interfaces  (Signalink, PK232, etc.) . Flex does it all via software (DAX- Digital Audio Exchange), making those external boxes obsolete. No more soldering those tiny DIN plugs! Everything you need to run every mode is "in the box". Just boot the application, give it a Flex comport/ PTT, link the app to the DAX channel and you are running. 

With the Flex, you can run multiple apps at the same time. I frequently run JTDX and CW Skimmer at the same time .  Nothing gets past me on 6M during the Es season! I have the entire band covered with applications. The same hold true for HF. Set-up Skimmer for the CW portion, WSJT, Digipan, MMTTY in the digital portion and you have the band covered. 

With the FT5K, you are also limited to Yeasu preordained filter bandwidths while the Flex filters are viable. No more being tied down to what an engineer thought your correct combination
of filtering.  Being a predominately CW/ RTTY operator, I find the ability to tailor filter bandwidths, on the fly, extremely effective. In contests if someone moves in close, you simply adjust your filter bandwidth!

I could continue...but you get my message. Flex is the way to go.  If you have any further questions, you can reach me at n2tu@arrl.net. (or on this board. I monitor it daily.)

73/ Regards

Lou N2TU

ex.(K5P, K9W, K1N and NH8S)
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ON7NQ - Danny

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Lou,

This sounds like "been there, done that" ;)
All sorts of interfaces ,LP-bridge , virtual sound routers and such really is mess at times , especially after some W10 update or reboot , but not as bas as Windows Vista..

Running multiple apps at the same time sounds great!

The filtering in the Flex is something I may need to get used to...
Testing a 6500 for a while would be interesting to get used to the Flex Radio's in general

BTW thanks for all those most wanted DXCC...missed you guys at K5P but worked you from K1N which was my last needed DXCC!

73 - ON7NQ
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K4ELO

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Danny - I used the FTdx5000 for 2 years and it can't compare to the Flex radios.  Go for it!
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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Take the plunge.

There is absolutely nothing like seeing the station you want to contact, and the QRM around that station, on a big screen... and visually being able to adjust your receive filters to be precisely where you want them. It's crazy powerful.

Wanna see the whole band? Easy. Wanna see one station? Trivial. If that station is a PSK station you want to talk to... and there's another station 100hz up... no problem, just pull you receive passband where you want it, and the precise width you want. 50hz wide? 72hz wide? 200hz? No problem.

Don't listen to those who are whining about what they don't have. They take for granted what they do have... like brick wall filters. It's because the radio is so good that people whine about stupid stuff...

Peter
K1PGV
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Michael Coslo

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As Peter says - take the plunge. I'm rocking this, with the entry level signature series radio. And I cannot imagine what would get me to part with it. Well, maybe a 6700. Then I'd need to get another big monitor. Some days its hard to get me out of the shack

46 inch Sharp monitor. HP Envy laptop my dear old Monsoons, sadly discontinued,  my Flexcontrol, and  Bencher paddles. Running N1MM loger on the laptop. and we can see what's running on the big fella.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Yes,,if you are looking at performance and features? The 6600 kills anything that is not pure SDR.
And don't forget the best customer support in ham radio.
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Norm - W7CK

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Take the plunge.   I often whine about the features the SmartSDR doesn't have yet but in the end, Flex builds the best ham radio one can buy.
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Rick - N4RZ

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I think you should stick with the FTdx5000.  The big benefit from my perspective is that there will be one less FTdx5000 on the market when I put mine up for sale to pay for the new 6600M I have on order!
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ON7NQ - Danny

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You may have a point ;)
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Mike W9OJ

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Wise guy!
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Rick - N4RZ

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Nyuk nyuk nyuk nyuk!
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Chris DL5NAM

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Do you realy think you will get any other answer then "use FLEX Radio" - if you ask here in the Flex Community?

use FLEX Radio !
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ON7NQ - Danny

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I could post the very same question on the FT5000 reflector...you'd be surprised to see some of the answers ;)
The answers from Ria, Lou and some of the others....this is what I was hoping to read tbh.
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Mark WS7M

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I'd actually love to see the responses.

Hams as a rule of thumb are a little opinionated.  I followed Ken NM9P's tutorial on Audio and fine tuned my audio to sound very nice.  I even recorded myself off one of the SDR webs and it sounded ok with the exception of my own voice that I don't really like the sound of.  I mean it had all the right frequency ranges.

Then I get on a roundtable with a couple of Flex haters I heard and they start to tell me how good the audio sounds and then I told them I'm on a flex 6500.  One of them comes back and says:   "Oh I could tell...  But your's sounds better than most Flex radios..."

Just goes to show you that I could have been on an Icom or whatever and told them I'm on a flex and they would have said they didn't like it.

Still I'd love to hear your FT reflector thoughts.  Would be a kick.  The only thing I can say is probably I'm gonna find that hidden signal between the big signals (like I did on Field Day) before an FT user will.
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ON7NQ - Danny

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Tempting Mark but I'm not going to post on the FT5k reflector..;)
Allthough it would give surprising results..

The filtering in the Flex is something I may need to get used to.

Interesting story !
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I won't automatically say, "use a flex radio" but this is what I see as the main differences:

SDR chart topping performance vs superhet and DSP
Ultimate flexibility and improvements with new software
Network capability and out of the box seamless remote
Better ability to interface with external equipment (amps, tuners, antenna controllers)
A variety of UI options including maestro with knobs if you want it
Dual SCU for basically two independent receivers in a box
7th order filters

What goes in favor of the yaesu:
Their brand name. Let's face it. Some are brand loyal
Yaesu radios have knobs that feel very ergonomic to use. The main vfo knob is one of the best I've used in any radio.
Familiarity. The yaesu layout is familiar to many.
Less latency. Yes this can be a concern to some. SDR has this inherent issue
Not having to deal with windows or a computer. (does not apply to 6600M which doesn't need that either)

I am biased. I own a flex. But that's not because I just like the company. I have used others and flex is what works best for me.

As a bonus you also get this awesome user community to help you.

Ria
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Bill Garfield W1BG

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That's because with the non-"M" models your Monitor(s) connect to your PC, not to the radio.  You can certainly still have as large and as high of resolution monitor as your PC graphics card supports. (and it will be gorgeous)
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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4k is the max resolution as of version 1.11 and 2.0 of SmartSDR. It is indeed gorgeous.


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Bill Garfield W1BG

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Well... actually it's 2K not 4K, and no it is not "Ultra" HD (UHD).  The correct term is WUXGA.  But yes, awesomely gorgeous and 6x better resolution than the Japanese competitor.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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The actual screen shot of the smartsdr screen is smaller because the screen capture tool will not accept the full 4k. But the picture of the screens was taken with my cellphone and you can see that the resolution is higher as it is full screen.

I am not sure if you are referring to my screen or smartsdr but I am petty sure that the max resolution of the application is 4k. Maybe someone from frs can chime in.

Now, if you are referring to true 4k vs 16:9 4k in today's monitors you have a point, but you are not correct about the 2k. None of the screens in my shots are 2k,there is an iiyama 40 inch 4k monitor and 2 AOC FullHD monitors in the picture.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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This is what I am referring to Bill :



Look at the space underneath the EQ vs that same space on the previous post picture.
(Edited)
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Mark WS7M

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Shop for a radio like you shop for anything else.

If you are buying a car, buy the car that does what you desire.  You would never by a "SmartCar" hoping one day they come out with the pickup bed add on right?

On this forum you'll see lots of whining.  Well that is what forums attract.  They attract both good question answer discussions and how to discussions but also a lot of whining about this didn't work, I don't have that, why is everything taking so long etc...

As a computer / software professional for over 35 years I've had my fair share of neighbors, friends, relatives asking me what computer and software to buy.  I always say the same thing:

First understand what you want to do with it
Second buy something that gives you that ability plus a little growing room

It is foolish to try and stay on the bleeding edge.  It is frustrating and often very unproductive.  

One of my relatives didn't listen and bought a super hopped up computer that the vendor claimed would do everything my relative wanted for the next 10 years.  They forgot to add that it will only do that when it was not crashing and overheating.   It turned out to have so many incompatibilities that it was almost useless.

So I posted first. I am going to maintain my stance:

I like flex.  My reasons are I like computers, doing radio with a computer makes total sense to me.  For some others not so much.   

The flex company is far and above anyone else out there.  There is not only this forum but a crew of people to help you keep your radio on the air and healthy.  In your case I think being over seas you will still have the forum but likely deal with a distributor for support.  I've never needed support and I've had 4 different flex radios.  All have worked amazing.

I like to "see" the band.  I often spend more time just watching signals than working them.  For years I tuned my old Kenwood across some squeal.  I was told they were artifacts of the radio and called "birdies".   Now that I'm into golf I wish I had more birdies but that is another discussion.  Now with my flex I can see "birdies" and I'm convinced they are not artifacts of my radio.  In most cases they are some other thing in my house or neighbors house that is making noise.   I find the shape of signals on the display to be fascinating.  For example there are these sweep ionosphere things out there that rapidly run a signal up and down the band.  I can see that where as in years past it was just a momentary beep on my current frequency.

As Peter says the ability to zoom in and filter is unmatched.  During field day I often found two CW stations almost on top of each other.  With a quick zoom and pulling the filters around I could isolate the one I wanted.  I don't even use the tracking notch filter.  I just don't need it for what I do.

Remote operation.  To do remote operation with any other radio you will need to buy a few things.  When Flex releases V2.0 which you would get for free as part of your purchase remote op will be built in.  This means you can sit at your laptop at a starbucks and monitor or work the bands.  No special equipment required.  This may not appeal to you but it comes as part of the package.  With FT radio you will probably need to do something like RemoteRig and that will be the purchase of a few things to get it working.  Alternatively you would spend money on something like remote ham radio.  Cool big stations but it costs a lot and there are no panadapters to "see" the band.

Remote "local" operation.  Get a reasonable Windows laptop, a headset with a mic and you can run your flex COMPLETELY from anywhere you get a reasonable WiFi signal from your router.  I've operated from my great room chair watching TV.  I've operated from the back deck in shade.

Unlike Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu the flex is an open API system.  By this I mean Flex publishes the API to control the radio over the network connection.  This opens the door for people to hook programs into the flex and that means you have more options.  I've already built a few programs for the flex and will continue to do so.

If you still want knobs then go for the version with the attached Maestro.  Or get one without and buy a Maestro along side.  With either of these options you can still run SmartSDR on your computer or a laptop or use the Maestro knob interface when you want.  So many ways to use it.  Many more than with any other radio.

So ya... I could keep going... but I think you get the point.  It will be different, but it will be better in my opinion.

Mark - WS7M
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ON7NQ - Danny

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Mark,

Looks like you're on a roll ;) but thanks for all info....

A separate Maestro is something I may want to buy instead of the 6600M.

Remote from the back deck in the shade sounds like a plan !
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Varistor

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The 6600 does not exist as of today. It's that simple. Just because there have been a few demo units it doesn't mean that it is in mass production or it has been battle tested. Even though it is supposed to be based on the same platform as the current line up, it certainly will be different.

How could you possibly evaluate the FT5K against a radio that is not in production? I'd recommend you wait and see before you make the plunge.
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Lou Dietrich

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We already know the capabilities of the FT5K...it has been around for 8+ years....and we already know the current capabilities of SSDR and the current production 6XXX models. 

They are a given.

The FT5K hasn't had a meaningful software update in years(not to mention its OLED flaw) while the Flex SSDR has had numerous updates and another is expected close to the V2 release. 

The 6400 and 6600 will be enhancements to the current 6000 series making FT5K comparisons vis a vis Flex quite easy. Will the 6400 and 660 be different? Yes, but with the same pedigree as the current models. 

So really the choice for Danny is....to stay with the FT5K.... a fine rig but at the end of its product superhet life, difficult to enhance, with complex station integration and maintenance or move over to Flex SDR.

Comparisons, when viewed in this light, are quite easy.

73/ Regards

Lou N2TU

Ex: FT5000 owner (and Yaesu Hamfest rep!)
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ON7NQ - Danny

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Updating a FT5K is not something you do daily or while reading the newspaper.
I only did one major update and the last one they released didn't look meaningful enough for me to go ahead and proceed.
I have no idea how frequent updates are released at Flex but I assume more then once a year ? ;)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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@ N2WQ   If you simply compare the Flex 6000's now to the FT5K one would see that the Flex 6000 perform much better. So even though the 6600 is not out yet, the performance of the 6000's tell you what you need to know.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Danny

I have several friends in Liege, Belgium who run Flex Radios and seem to be very happy with them

You might want to contact Janny ON5PO and get his opinion - he especially uses it for digital modes wherein the Flex not only excels but from my experimentation easily outperforms external boxes for digital.

I spend several months a year in France (just returned to USA on Sunday but returning to France at the end of August) where I remote through to my California Station from our apartment in Provence and cottage in Provence.

Perhaps if you have time you might visit the Ham Radio 2017 in Friedrichshafen next weekend (its about 7 1/2hrs drive from you via the A4) where they will have several models on display and working.  You can also talk to their local EU distributor at the show I suspect that they may have remote stations setup to the USA and Germany so you can actually use the radio at the show with real antennas..

Personally there is nothing better than trying the radios hands on to get a real feel of what it might be able to do for you.

While the Yaesu 5000 is a fine radio.. it is using end of life Legacy technology that was designed in the early 1980's and has been reoptimized to squeeze that last bit of performance available.. there is very little that they can do without it costing huge sums of money to make that technology any better.

OTOH.. the Flex uses modern Direct Sampling SDR technology which is clearly still in its infancy and yet easily outperforms the older legacy technologies.  Each new update to software is like getting a new radio with even better performance.     Yes there are always some software bugs that need to be fixed but they do get fixed and things get even better..Really exciting stuff.

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ON7NQ - Danny

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Howard,

I didn't know ON5PO had a Flex...in fact I hardly know anyone over here who owns a Flex.

Yea, I have 2 MicroHams connected with the FT5K and it's a mess of wires interconnecting them.

Yes Ham Radio 2017 is next weekend , somehow they changed dates compared to last year and it sotra slipped my mind , sigh..

I have looked at the Distributors list and there a few familiar distributors on the list.
A few in the UK , PA and DL

Exactly , trying the radio's hands on is the way to go !
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I have not used a Microham on aFT5000 but I have used them on a IC7700 and ic7800

Compared them against a Flex 6700 internal DAX digital audio on JT65 on the same antenna

The IC7700 - newer and better receiver than the 7800 would consistently work JT 65 down to about -20dB

BUT my Flex 6700 would work done to -26dB

I have subsequently switched to JTDX rather than WSJT-X and regularly work down to -29dB albeit it takes a lot of power on my side for the weak ones to copy me
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Jean ON4TC also has a Flex

I believe Albert ON5AM also has a Flex

The reason I am missing Freidrichshafen this year is because it's in July when we are always in California But 2018 it's early June so I should be there.
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Brad A. Steffler

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I have a Flex 6500 with which I am very happy. I am a 68 year old physician. Before Med school, I was a computer programmer, back in the days of Fortran IV with some experience with C. (spaghetti code to spaghetti code!!!) My BS is in mathematics with several physics  courses as well. I find the Flex solution elegant, high performance, even dazzling! Direct conversion with DSP decoding is the way to go. Superhet is a dying technology. I work as a radiologist and deal with MRI. MRI has been using direct conversion for at least 15 years, but probably someone here knows better than I. The point of all my rambling is that I can afford whatever radio that I want to have. My choice is Flex 6xxx series. But just because I can afford more expensive radios does not mean that I want to throw money away. Flex is inherently the most economic choice you can make. The bang for the buck in performance is already huge. And direct conversion with DSP is a long way from a mature, or even post mature technology like superhet. There is plenty left to improve upon and we will see these improvements from Flex. I am sure of that. 


 So, bang for buck and a great future. I think Flex is the only way to go. Did I mention that they are a great bunch of folks to work with? And what other radio has the company president and several of its technical/support staff on the reflector, or even hosts its own reflector? Who else even will discuss their future plans? Yes, software is the radio. But to add to that, the company is also the radio. You won't be disappointed with a Flex product.

Brad
KE4XJ
(Edited)
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N0AZZ

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There is another company that has the same thing on their reflector, Elecraft both owners are online daily along with many of the staff. They also update software more often than Flex does, I know as I own both (2) K3's and the pan adapters are very good, my DMU and the FTDX-5000MP are still in the shack and they are all used for SSB mostly.

 I do really like my 6500/with Maestro which I use for all digital modes and watch 4 bands at the same time for activity on FT-8. No other radio has anywhere near the Flex 6xxx's ease of using digital modes with no other hardware required.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I think Elecraft makes some great radios and accessories. They aren't Flex but that doesn't mean they don't have a good product. I have been contemplating getting a KX3 to fill that portable need. My mainstay will still be the Flex because nobody offers anything comparable, especially when it comes to ease of remote operation.

Ria
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N0AZZ

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I have used my KX3 now for about 5 yrs. and it by far is the best QRP radio made. I use mine mostly in remote locations with wire antennas on mountain tops and very remote locations not even cell service there my off road Jeep is what I use to get to those locations. A 12v car battery will last me for several days if I choose to camp there. The KX3 has a very good internal tuner that will tune about anything. Wish my Maestro would work under those conditions but no internet.
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Brenton Meadows

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Hi Danny,
As both an avid Ham and also commercially involved in defense work, the flex has opened our eyes to so many possibilities.
You could not meet a more diehard knobs and dials kind of operator than myself, I have hundreds of black box radios I collect and love an some of the more high end are the IC7850, TS990 and previously an FTDX5000. 

My personal advice is that you will be doing yourself a big favour in heading towards the Flex, I have the Flex6700 with the Maestro and  as a Ham I learn something new and incredible everyday.
From a commercial point of view, we developed encryption software that is used in Military applications and we are enjoying easy integration to the Flex series.  We are very interested in the Version 2.0 (allowing remote hotspotting etc )which we are in communication with Flex and have received incredible support regarding the applications we have in the middle east currently.

I think one of the pleasures of the FlexSystem is its ease of use, I have played with the Anan System and in no way am I knocking it, its a very effective and commercial grade product, but the flex for someone like myself who has little time in my day to be working out sometimes complex permutations of the Anan, (with incredible results though) the Flex is very plug and play and this suits me personally and also our customer base worldwide.

So Danny, how does it compare to some of my high end radios, the receiver on the Flex has features which are far more effective in dealing with noise and effectively, its just a better receiver on all fronts.  As a transmitter, not a huge difference to be honest, runs perfectly into our Acom Amplifiers we have here(we are the Asia Pacific Acom and Optibeam Dealers) and has a very good range of equalisation on board that works well.

I was never a huge fan of the FTDX5000, more personal choice than any particular criticism, but love the TS990 and the IC7850 I have here.  The embarrassing point is showing people the radio used most which is generally my IC7850, and then showing people the highlights of the Flex6700 with 8 screens open and then the maestro which gets used all around the house.  I actually just sold my IC7300 I had in the bedroom as I sincerely love the Maestro for a dozen more reasons than the IC7300 Icom Sdr radio.  People love my IC7850, but once I start rolling over to the desk with 8 band slices up, and I start showing the various ways to combat any noise, it becomes clear that Flex have surpassed Icom in this area.
 
I was very fortunate, a Flex6700 and a Maestro came up secondhand and this was very incentivized by its great price, it came with a super HP computer with the most incredible graphics card, two screens etc.  The Maestro actually came from a separate sale from a mate in New Zealand it was all meant to be.  The great news is that we get to evaluate a system that has done some work as we see applications for the Flex Product worldwide with contracts we are currently involved in.  I retrofitted a number of our manpack applications to the Maestro for a bit of fun and we then used one of our test radios to communication back to and basically, it was just too easy, no dithering or data packet losses, just 100% in all testings. 

I just mention also the incredible communication from Team at Flex Radio, I love that they are live on this forum, they are just 100% invested in you the customer and we are also very fortunate in Australia that Flex products are supported by a very experienced company, Future Systems.  For any Australian customers looking at Flex, we import from all over the world for various products and its a matter of have to, if only we could have a Future Systems to ring locally and have local support for a lot of our products.  When you do the maths, GST, Duty, Govt import fees, freight etc, Future systems are not making a huge profit and are very good to deal with from all I have heard.  The other amazing things about Flex, if you do buy 2nd hand, then simply pay $89USD and any existing warranty is transferred to you personally.

To me, its all just positives, will I sell my 7850 or 990 or any of the other 300 radios here, probably not, but thats the hoarder in me, lets face it, the big box line ups are still a load of fun to look at and use etc but the serious operators are heading SDR and seeing the benefits.  I am embarrassed as I have not had a chance to upload some of the great photos of the Flex setup in action onto QRZ.com but we will get that sorted this week.  My final opinion, yep, Go Flex and see the difference first hand.
cheers
Brenton VK3CM
Position and Navigation Systems Pty Ltd
Australia
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Charles - K5UA

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Hi Brenton, which HP computer and which graphics card are you using?

Charles  K5UA
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Brenton Meadows

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Hi Charles. I'm just away from where the computer is but will return an answer soon. Cheers brenton vk3cm
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Very interesting, this is something many of us forget is the military and commercial use Flex is involved in.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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My only advice is to go for the radio for what it currently does and not for what it might do in the future. You can probably consider 2.0 the current iteration...

I say this because I was disappointed with my 6700/Maestro combo, probably because in my head I thought the software, by now, would be somewhere else as far as features. But this is unfair to Flex as the software is pretty good and the hardware is fairly amazing. But my own personal expectations were more ambitious than the current result.
Go into Flex appreciating what you get at the moment of your purchase and not spending too much time here waiting for the new software to drop or some feature to happen.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Salvador, that is the best advice I have heard in some time, most of us do not understand the scope of the things they are working on. Imagine, working on a code much larger then windows?
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Andy - KU7T

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Where did you hear that the Flex code base is much larger than Windows? I think you should not believe your source. Microsoft has 1000s of developers working on Windows and probably hundreds doing just builds. Not to forget the thousands that only work on sustained engineering (bugs).

How many software engineers work at Flex?

Andy,
KU7T
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Bill -VA3WTB

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1 week ago
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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@Mark WS7M

>3650 Source files containing 3,539,849 lines of real code 

3.5 MILLION NCSLs is yuuuuudge.  I don't even want to think about a project that size.  The core portion of the Windows OS (no drivers, no HALs, etc) is only about 2 million lines.  A project of 3.5M non-commented source lines scares me.
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Andy - KU7T

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I see, the talk was about the Windows kernel only. A kernel is small, by design. Not sure that comparison is meaningful, since the kernel does not have UI.

In any case, I am very impressed by what the Flex guys have accomplished. Selling most of my slack equipment, especially the stuff with many cables, and waiting for the 66k.
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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<random tangent>

I'm not sure this matters, but since I was quoted above...

With all due respect and appreciation to Flex, I would be surprised to discover that all the code for the Flex, including the VHDL and SSDR and Maestro, is anywhere close to 3.5 million non-commented source lines of code.

In the 20+ years my company has been in business writing software, we have written and delivered that much code.  I think.  When we last counted, I think we counted commented source lines and came up with 3M.

3.5 million uncommented source lines is a ridiculously large code base.

Peter
K1PGV

BTW: All of Windows is estimated to be more than 50 million lines of code.  I say "is estimated" because those are public figures.  I've never personally counted.

</random tangent>
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Mark - WS7M

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I used LocMetrics (http://www.locmetrics.com/) to count our project which did come up with 3.5 million lines.  

That being said I cannot vouch for LocMetrics accuracy.  

Our current project has a ridiculous number of layers to ever object.  The original architect wanted "definitions", then models to hold "definitions", etc. etc.

So at times to reference one thing we have 5 or more related classes to wrap things up with.  It is one of our biggest headaches when debugging this code.

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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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@WS7M  Oh, to be clear, I don't doubt you at all.  There are certainly numerous large projects that amount to way more than 4M NCSLs. That doesn't mean the size isn't truly prodigious.  Ugh...

Peter
K1PGV
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Rory - N6OIL

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Hello Danny, let me share my experience with you. I'm a little pistol barefoot hexbeam and a 6BTV I used to run a IC-718 with two or three boxes hanging off the end of it. I had talked myself into getting an Elecraft K3 line but after comparing the Flex and the K3 it was and easy choice for me, it was the Flex 6500. If I want to play with knobs I have my "toob" radios. Also, I just love having a clean desk to work from. But I will share my dirty secret with you, all the hardware is tucked underneath the desk. The wiring mess is temporary. 


  
(Edited)
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Zack Schindler

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Of course your wiring mess is "temporary". I have been telling myself the same thing for ten years. 
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Rory - N6OIL

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Trust me this is on my priority list, just waiting for my remote antenna switch to be fixed and then I can neaten up the mess. Most of the wires are for USB stuff I have hooked up to the computer plus my Rasberry Pi weather station is sitting onto of the Flex for now.
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Charles - K5UA

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Just commented to a friend yesterday who asked about my Flex 6500 the following:

After 58 years of contesting and chasing DX, my current priorities are as follows:

1.  Resolution/Usability of the panadapter
2.  Machine/Human interface
3.  Weight and size
4.  Specifications

You might wonder why specifications are listed last.  That is because any of the top 10 radios on Sherwood's list have specifications adequate for DX and contesting work.  It is more important to me how to bring these specifications to the DX and contesting battlefied than whether or not one radio has an additional 2 or 3 dB advantage in any specific area.  I was a hardened "knob" guy until I realized the advantage of band awareness using my vision instead of my ears to determine where I should position my receiver in crowded band conditions.  To a casual operator, this is not a big deal.  To a contest or DX operator, this is a paradigm shift in operating style.

I have great respect for the Yaesu FTdx-5000, but within weeks of using my Flex 6500, I removed the Yaesu from the table and sold it, not because it was not a great radio, but because my operating style had been altered so much by the 6500.  Sure, I had the LP-Pan and PowerSDR-IF working pretty good on the Yaesu, but I did have to jump thru hoops to make that combination work.  Then when I had to send in a 45 pound Yaesu FTdx-5000 back to the factory, my back and my wallet paid a significant price.  That is why weight and size in number 3 on my list.  "Big iron" is a young man's game.

The other epiphany I had after using the 6500 was that I did not have to make a lot of mouse movements in a contest.  Using the 100hz CW filter I could burn through the band in the search and pounce mode using the Flex Control and rarely reach for the mouse.  No adjusting the width or IF shift by ear as in conventional radios, just LOOK at the panadapter and put the cursor where it needs to be.  The shape factors of the Flex CW filters are so steep that it is rare that two CW stations can not be separated.  Where else can you find a 1.08 to 1 shape factor 100hz CW filter?

Yes, I have whined as much as anyone about V2 being delayed.  But everytime I put my backup high performance transceiver on the desk..... I am reminded of all the advantages of my 6500 and it is not long before I'm back on my 6500.  4 years is a long time for me to keep the same radio in operation, given by past history of a new radio just about every year.

The result.... 3 top ten Multi-Single finishes in ARRL and CQ DX contests in the past 4 years with a modest station.

Charles   K5UA
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ON7NQ - Danny

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Thanks everyone for all your replies.
Today I have made my final decision.

IT'S A GO!

Ordered the 6600 ! ( and another toy....grin )

Any tips to keep my patience ? ;)

Regards,

Danny ON7NQ
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Brad A. Steffler

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Whenever I get impatient, I just pour myself a beer. Sometimes when I get really impatient it takes several beers and then my two monitor display set up becomes a four monitor display!!! My German heritage is showing...

Brad
KE4XJ
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ON7NQ - Danny

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Stay away from the mic....you don't want to end up calling CQ on top of a rare DXPedition ;)
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Congrats. And welcome to the club.

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