The question is always asked why would anyone want an sdr with knobs.

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I think the answer is plainly obvious to anyone and its proven time and time again! Its Microsoft Windows ... Im so happy I got the 6400M instead of a non M model time and time again!
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wayne suite

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  • Jubilant!

Posted 3 weeks ago

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Michael Coslo

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I much prefer the big screen and seamless integration with other programs of the Signature series. Windows 7 runs SSDR perfectly and without interruption. Windows 10? Not so much. I feel badly for the folks at Flex. 
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Hams want knobs for the same reason cars have steering wheels and not joysticks. It’s what we are used to. Knobs tend to be inefficient which is why I don’t use them.
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K4ELO

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Ria - if you have arthritis in your hands knobs are a lot easier to use than a mouse.
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Duane, AC5AA

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We're happy you're happy!  Me?  I'm living with one FlexControl and I swore I'd never leave the knobby radios.  But then, that's how good the Flex is!
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mikeatthebeach .

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Question is why would anyone want a TouchScreen ?
  I did, it's neat on the Flex6600M 
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Michael Wheatley

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I've got a touchscreen on Windows 10.  It's cool with SmartSDR.
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Craig - KØCF

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I use a 6500 with SSDR on Windows 10, and it has been flawless. Absolutely stable performance (with the exception of major Windows updates, but these are very well documented here on the community and can be dealt with). And the experience of SSDR on a 30" 2560x1600 pixel monitor simply blows the Maestro or "M" series displays out of the water. There is NO comparison! With all due respect, I have no use for the (in my humble opinion) totally obsolete knobs paradigm.

73,
Craig, KØCF
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Bill Roberts

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Personally, I made the knob to mouse driven radio jump 8 years ago with the purchase of a Flex 5000.  I've since moved onto a 6300 which has just been traded in to partially fund a 6600 (non-M).  I do prefer the large screen.  I have read that some of the SSDR options (like profiles) are very difficult to get to on an M model.  As far as having a self-contained radio for Field Day, that's why the IC 7300 was invented.  I have no problem taking my $1200 radio to get possibly rained on in a tent.  I'd not feel so comfortable doing that with a 6600M...  maybe a 6400M.

As to OS, I've had almost zero problems with either Windows 7 or 10.  Just before sending my 6300 off for trade-in, I did the Windows 10 Build 1803 "upgrade?" and had no problems with Woodbox S-Meter and HRD.  I recognize that some with more challenging installations have had the problem and think Flex Radio Systems is to be commended for their efforts to resolve users' problems.  I've been in a multi-vendor environment many times and in most cases, vendors tend to point the finger but fix nothing.  A big thank you is due Flex!
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Johan

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For me a Maestro and FlexControl VFO on the side and shared betwen my 6700 and 6500 transceivers. Maestro console in combination with a  PC allows the best of both the "radio with knobs" and "radio on a PC screen" concepts. When operating from the PC screen I have found the Flexcontrol VFO as the perfect way of tuning, especially when doing Search and Pounce.

Why see it as either having knobs and buttons or operating from a PC Screen? I have the best of both Worlds.  A big thank you to Flex giving me this wonderful radios!
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John G3WGV

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It's horses for courses. I only operate HF CW DXing/contesting. Maybe I'm set in my ways after 51 years of ham radio but I find it vastly easier to manage things like splits, sudden filter changes to deal with QRM and so on using a knob than I do with a mouse. If FT8 floats your boat then I guess you just set the radio on a frequency and don't need to touch it again for the next 100 QSOs. And everything in between.

The thing that makes FlexRadio so appealing to me is that you can choose your set up to match your operating style. In my case that's a nice large screen for Smart SDR and a homebrew control panel using the excellent API. I've also enjoyed the construction project designing and building the controller. Others will have different interests, objectives and attitudes. The radio is Flexible enough to cater for everyone.

Personally I think the knobs/no knobs argument is very much last years debate. You can have either or both. Each to their own, I say!

73, John, G3WGV
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Mark WS7M

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Yep... Horses for courses.  I'm exactly the opposite.  I'm so happy I don't have the M model.  I personally see the Flex Maestro to be limiting.
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John G3WGV

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I tend to agree with your point about the Maestro. I'd started designing my own controller before the Maestro was a thing and a key part of my design was to make the physical control panel completely "soft", i.e. essentially any physical control can do any control function. I can see why Flex decided to fix the Maestro panel layout (only the push-buttons are configurable) but I prefer my approach. And that is really the great joy of using the Flex API - you can do that sort of thing!
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Jim Osterling

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I've pretty much become comfortable with no knobs with the 6600, 17" laptop and trackball. However,
I'm considering the flex control. They aren't available right now so that gives me time to read up on them and see how they work before I make the final decision.

Jim
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Jeff Schwartz

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I love my 6600M, particulary since it has full SDR capabilities with or without a computer. Being a ham for 50 years I love a radio with knobs and the touch screen on the “M” version is stellar. I’m a guy that loves analog control of a digital system. Unless I need more than two slices open which is rare for my operating habits I rarely use the desktop SDR since the “M” versions have the exact same operating system built in. Flex hit a grand slam with their “M” versions. Everything for everyone, rig controlled or PC controlled. What more could anyone ask for? Cudos to Flex!!!
Jeff / KI0KB
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Michael Wheatley

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I like the Flex control.  I'm proficient with a mouse, but for fine tuning you can't beat the flex control.   Well worth the money and the wait.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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It is important to remember that many are coming from a box radio that they are used to. That is the reason Icom developed the 7300 and the 7610. They did not want to move very far away from the way all their other radios are controlled as to keep their customers who like the Icom layout while moving into the SDR market.
For many, having just a box with only a power button on it and connecting a screen to it is to large a jump from what they are used to. So for them a radio that works and feels much like any other radio while still having the performance of an SDR seems to fill the bill.

Flex radio is the company that gave Ham Radio SDR to start with. Knowing that some of the other companies would at some point enter the SDR market it seemed prudent to develop a radio to compete, a stand alone, no computer needed for operation. As well as great remote.

So, if we look at the market shares, we see many moving to SDR wanting the all in one radio. The radio and screen together, one box. The 6400M, 6600M could have been made without anything on the face plate other then a screen, I wonder how that would sell with the people moving over to SDR from the other type radios?

For some of us who have had Flex radios over the years have said goodbye to knobs and buttons and never miss them, so using a 6400M or a 6600M may seem like a step back in time. For others making the leap to SDR for the first time it feels like old times.
Why  would anyone with an SDR want buttons and dials on it? It seems clear why. It is about market share.
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John G3WGV

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Why  would anyone with an SDR want buttons and dials on it? It seems clear why. It is about market share.

It's certainly about that but I think there is more - if you're the sort of operator who darts around the bands, searching and pouncing, occasionally a split here and there, regularly changing filter settings and generally messing with other settings then doing all that in any sort of timely fashion with a mouse as your sole control interface is tough going. You really need some separate controls and traditional buttons and knobs have dealt very well with that problem for decades.

If you're mainly a digimodes operator, especially new modes such as FT8, then you're doing a whole lot less with the radio and a lot more with the data mode software. Then a mouse is just fine.

The Icom 7300 and 7610 are fine radios to be sure and they certainly have maintained the traditional look and feel of non SDRs. In my opinion, they missed a big trick that they didn't also provide a proper API. That's something that I think the good people at FlexRadio will be mightily relieved about!
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W2PP

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I was surprised how quickly I adjusted to no knobs.  Well, you give up knobs but functionally you get so much more in return.  I run 3 copies of FT8 software and one of DM 780 all the time.  I run the DX Cluster on Slice A.  In a moment I can determine if its worth chasing DX or is it time to just rag chew.  That level of band vision is simply to much to give up on.  The Flex 6700 offers such tremendous flexibility in operating that going to a knob with one maybe two bands you can listen to is just not enough anymore.
Peter
W2PP
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Ted VE3TRQ

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No one has yet mentioned running an "M" radio both from the front panel _and_ a computer. I know simultaneous connections are not yet supported, but it is certainly possible to use CAT and DAX to a computer for digital modes while at the same time operating phone or CW from the front panel. I tend to leave the "M" front panel connected at all times, then use either a Mac with xDax/xCat or a Windows computer with DAX/CAT, with Fldigi or wsjt-x doing FSQ or WSPR respectively. Gives me the best of two worlds. I can use SSB from the radio itself, and digital modes remote or local. And I suppose there is nothing preventing me from connecting the SSB slice to Dax and Cat to do phone from the computer (although I have not tried it).

Ted VE3TRQ
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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I've been running SSDR for 4 years, currently on a 27" main monitor with flanking 19"s for auxilliary programs and still wish I had more screen space.  I've had a first-edition Maestro for 2-3 years as well, but it gets very little use.  I have profiles set up for band/mode combinations and between them and FRStacks, I can hop around my favorite watering holes much more quickly than I could ever do with the Maestro.  I have nothing against knobs, per se.  I have two Flex Controls that give me independent tuning of 2 slices and allow me to instantly adjust AGCT, AF gain, and CWS.  It's just that I can do most other things much quicker with the mouse.

Rick, W0FG
6400/6500/M/iPad SSDR/SSDR for iOS Win10-1803
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Michael Wheatley

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Buy a 40" Samsung UHF TV for about $350.  The 3840x2160 resolution will blow your mind.  (but you need a decent graphics card to drive that resolution.  I use a NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1050).
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AA0KM

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Without software there wouldn't`t be any knobs!

Software defined radio!

All about the software and more software.

No knobs here.

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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Its all about options isn't it?  I love to have different options the Flex platform leaves to my choice.  I love the 6600-M, in fact I parted with my flex 6700/Maestro combination to migrate to this platform.  Sometimes I use the M interface when it fits my situation better, and other times I use Smart SDR. the beauty is I can do either on demand.  Thats where some of the real value and advantages of SDR start coming into play..  Where a legacy platform sort of locks you into a configuration, with SmartSDR combined with the various flex interfaces allow you to experiment and adapt to different operating environments as needed.  
(Edited)
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K1UO - Larry

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Ahhhhh   yes...  good ole KA-Nobs...  let me see now was it peak the grid and dip the plates..........
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Bill English

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The Flex Control and two 21” monitors get it done for me. I don’t miss knobs at all.
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Rick - N4RZ

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Well, I have a 6600M, a Maestro and a Flex Control.  So, my operating options are rather "Flex"ible to say the least!  For contesting, one advantage of using knobs is that it helps to minimize computer focus issues that arise from frequent switching between SmartSDR and the logging program.   At other times looking at SmartSDR on a large 4K monitor has it's advantage as well!  So, why be limited to a single method to control the radio!  
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Mark K1LSB

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Here's why I'd like an SDR radio with knobs (i.e., 6400M or 6600M)..

I can tuck it under my arm and go anywhere with it (the hunting lodge, for example) and use it as a standalone radio, no computer needed.  And when I get back home I can once again enjoy the luxury of full computer integration.   Heads I win, tails I win!
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Jeff Schwartz

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Exactly!!!
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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This thread is so much fun to read. At Flex we are all about “Flex-able.” We don’t really mind whether you like knobs or not. We are trying to give you the best experience for your chosen operating style. You might say we are knob agnostics. ;)
Gerald
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W2PP

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I’m still blown away at how much stuff I can do at once. The receiver is incredible. Knobs I don’t need any stinking knobs!!
Peter
W2PP
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W8QB

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Gerald may be knob-agnostic, but he is also wise.  "Knobs-or-no-knobs" is the central question, but in 2018 a competitor offering only one or the other will be decidedly disadvantaged relative to Flex.
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Jeff Schwartz

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I wish I had a knob on my nose so I could tune my radio while I shave....or maybe a mouse between my ears so I could tune the radio in my sleep... I’ve been waiting for this my entire ham life.... Thankyou Flex!!!
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W8QB

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Jeff, your expectations are completely reasonable.  You give new meaning to the term "multitasking".
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AA0KM

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Just need a little Voice command and some Ai and all set now. :)
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KM6CQ - Dan

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My personal preference is knobs for radios in the vehicle. That way I can operate by brail. At home I find a small screen with knobs to restrictive. At that end of the day, it does not have to be one way or the other. Both are good ways to operate a radio. Much better than Cortana or Siri.
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Thomas NE7X

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For me personally, I purchased a 6400M because it has knobs. I wanted, and waited, for a high technology SDR radio to come onto the market that I can use and enjoy without having it tethered to a computer.
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KF4HR

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After nearly 3 years with my 6700 it has become second nature to tune via my trackball.  I occasionally use my Maestro or Flex Knob but those are starting to feel a bit cumbersome to me now.  It's nice Flex offers the best of both worlds.