Thinking of buying a 6300, a couple of questions though

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Hi. I am condsidering the 6300 but I have a couple of reservations, namely, just how good is the ATU? and also, when is the new software going to ship with the radio. Finally, will it have memories for the ATU? Thanks Steve MI6SKG
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Steve MI6SKG

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Posted 3 years ago

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G4YDO

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don`t bother their support is crap. great radio by the way.
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Burt Fisher

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Provide some evidence their support is, "crap."
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Bob G W1GLV

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I've a 6500 for almost two years and I can say in all honesty that Flex Radio is one of the best companies to do business with. G4YDO is a little put out because the 1.4 update hasn't been released yet. Trust me you will not be sorry with the radio.
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N0ARX

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Well folks need to learn patience. He may not understand the complexitys of writing code. When they release it, it will be outstanding.
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Keith Morrison

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Take no notice of G4YDO, I find their support excellent in every way.... now your questions

I find the internal ATU pretty good it manages to tune my 12m dipole on my MA5B beam which is around 3.6 in the through position (don't expect a 1.1.1 match mind mine typically about 1.5 which is good enough for me) as for memories in the ATU mine seems not to remember it takes around 10 seconds for my ATU to tune the desired frequency even if I have been on the frequency before then come back to it  As for the software just buy your radio then upgrade from the flex website when it is released which I am told is very soon

hope this helps 

oh and yes the flex is an excellent radio

73 Keith M1VHT

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G4YDO

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i just say it as it  is. 1.4 upgrade 4 months later and counting. i`ve been waiting for fm for 18 months. as when i perchased it, it was advertised as multi mode.......  
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Burt Fisher

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Don't you mean, "when I purchased it."

Don't they teach English in the U.K.?
I am just saying it as it is, because you are such a fan of saying it as it is.

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SteveJ

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Burt do you have to correct everyone's spelling and grammar?  Why do you have to be so rude.
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Burt Fisher

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Just his, he is so harsh on Flex, he needs to be perfect, if not I point it out.
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Steve MI6SKG

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So software upgrades, are they free or not? I don't want to pay what is a considerable amount for the radio and then pay for a software upgrade! I hope the memories are added for the ATU.
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Guy G4DWV/4X1LT

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For the UK price it is an absolute rip-off. I bought an external ATU when I bought my 6300.
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David Altekruse

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I've gone through three 6300's with their internal ATU.  For $299, the FLEX ATU is a good deal. However, I was having problems with these units which Flex believed was caused by my Hy-Gain vertical antenna.  Flex stated that their ATU wasn't able to handle my antenna's high reactance on some bands and suggested I purchase an external ATU.  I got the Palstar HF-AUTO tuner which will handle 1800W so I can use it if I add an amp.  I've had no problems with my 6300/Palstar ATU so I guess Flex was right. 

Based on my experience, I would recommend the FLEX internal ATU if your antenna has moderately high SWR.  (Based on Flex's comments to me that would be an SWR in the range of 1.2:1 to maybe 1.5:1.) There is no need for an ATU if your SWR is already low and the Flex ATU is not sufficient to protect the transmitter output transistors if it is very high. Based on Flex's comments to me, I would not recommend the FLEX internal ATU if your antenna has high reactance.  And of course, it probably doesn't make sense to get the Flex ATU if you are planning on using an external amplifier in the near future.

Side note:  Currently the Flex ATU does not remember previous settings but I'm told that feature will be added in the next software release.  Most external ATU's have this feature already.  
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Burt Fisher

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Mine seems to handle 4:1
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David Altekruse

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In my comment above I meant to say "Based on my experience, I would recommend the FLEX internal ATU if your antenna has moderately high SWR.  (Based on Flex's comments to me that would be an SWR in the range of 2:1 to maybe 5:1)".  

Sorry.

David, N1DNA
(Edited)
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Ken - VE5KC

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If I had the choice, I would have bought the radio without the tuner.  Since 6500 had the tuner, I took some time to try it out and was not impressed. The Flex ATU is more of an antenna tweaker like those in most other amateur transceivers. It will match the antenna if it is close to what it wants to see. I was hoping for a better tuner that could handle a wider range of SWR.

- limited range
- no memories
- drops to bypass when you switch between slices

Thus requires frequent retuning...

I have now gone to using my LDG tuner (Z11 Pro) which tunes my antenna as I want and expect. With it's memories in mos cases I have no long tuning times. I can switch between slices and not have to re-tune.

The flex radios lend themselves well to using external tuners with RF sensing. You can easily set the tune power and only have to press the tune button long enough for the tuner to tune up. works great.

Based on my experience with the tuner in my 6500, I would say buy the 6300 without the tuner and spend the money saved on an LDG or MFJ tuner.. or maybe another brand you like. Check the specs and get one that can handle the widest range.

When you have to operate on an antenna system that does not have the best match such as I use in my limited space situation, my external tuners have allowed me to be on the air and enjoy the hobby. The Flex tuner only worked on some bands and in some situations only on parts of a band.. Hopefully, in the future Flex can come up with a tuner that has the features and broad band matching capabilities of the LDG..

73 - Ken - VE5KC
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Kevin LaFata / K0KEV

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I believe I remember reading they are deferring the ATU memory functionality until the release AFTER 1.4.  If I'm wrong, someone can point it out. 

While I am very happy with my 6300 overall, as well as the antenna tuner, if I would have known there were no memories (and none coming in the near future), I probably would have purchased an external tuner instead of the internal one.
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Guy G4DWV/4X1LT

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If it sells for $300 in the USA, it will sell for £300 in the UK; that is the general rule. That is exactly the case for the Flex ATU which makes it VERY poor value. Don't get me started on the UK price of a couple of handles for the Flex 6xxx series..
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Lee - N2LEE

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Steve, what radio are you using now and what kind of operating do you do most often ?

I had the Icom 756 Pro III and also have the 7600 and like you was curious about the Flex.
I have had my 6300 with ATU for about a month and the radio is fantastic.
Hears better than any of my Icoms, quieter receiver and it is a piece of cake to operate.

My advice is take the plunge and ignore people like G4YDO and decide for yourself.

There is NO perfect radio. I hear guys complaining about bad display screens on Yaseu's, poor noise blankers on Icoms and power output issues with Kenwoods.  

Are there features ever one with an opinion wishes were available ? Of course but for my money Flex is a solid product and you can take it out of the box, plug it in and be on the air in 30 minutes. I looked at the other SDR products on the market and if you do your research and get past the cheerleaders you realize they are more of a science project than reliable radio platform.

Steve, if you have any specific questions I am happy to try to answer them.

Lee
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Bill W2PKY

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The ATU is good and if you find a band that will not tune just add a few feet of coax to the feedline  until the tuner has success. I heard from a reliable source that ATU memories are a 1.5 feature. Will have to see when the 1.5 road map is detailed.

The community forum has a lot of good information. There are many users who monitor the forum and answer questions.

Hope this helps.

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Steve MI6SKG

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Thank you all for the helpful replies! This will be my first HF rdio, but I have a wealth of experience in IT hving worked in that field and I am very comfortable with PC's and software. I also like the idea of digital modes being simple with the flex, and since for the time being I am limited to 10W I can use those to good effect I would have thought. The aeriel (antenna for most not in the UK) is supposed to be a pretty benign load so I imagine the internal ATU would handle it no problem, just would like to see the memories that is all. I also like the look of the remote feature too. My own view is that other than for /P or /M use, traditional radios have had their day. Steve
(Edited)
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Lee - N2LEE

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Steve as an IT guy you will "get" the Flex right away. It will be second nature and there is no doubt that software defined technology is the future of ham radio.

The difference between the Flex and traditional radios is if you like the flex then that means it is only going to get BETTER ! :)
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SteveJ

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I disagree, traditional radios have not had their day. They will be around for a lot longer than many think they will.  They will however have SDR feature built into them but I don't think a Flex like radio will ever be predominate in ham radio.
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Steve MI6SKG

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I didn't say traditional radios would disappear entirely, only that for use at home in the shack, SDR seems to me to be the logical progression since most will have a PC in there already for logging etc, and to use this for radio just seems prudent to me. For mobile and portable I dont ever see the SDR concept dominating. Of course there will always be people who prefer to use a traditional radio too. Also, the idea that with SDR you can essentially upgrade the radio as opposed to have to buy a new one is a great feature. Thanks for the reply Steve. Steve MI6SKG
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Alan - KA4B

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My experience with the 6500 is that the antenna tuner takes anywhere from 1 to 8 seconds (approximately).  Much of the time it takes only a couple of seconds.  It probably depends somewhat on how difficult the match is and how far you are from the frequency last tuned.  
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Duane, AC5AA

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Like Alan, I also have a 6500, and the ATU on mine (which I believe is the same ATU in all the 6000's) regularly tunes an 8:1 SWR on bands my G5RV Jr. does not cover well.  I can't tell you what the limits are, but I do have some antenna/band combinations where it will fail to tune, but they are way off.  The last one I had which impressed me was the one in my TenTec Orion, which tuned as well as this one (and also had no memories.)

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David Altekruse

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Duane,  what mode and power do you run when you are driving an 8:1 SWR load?
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Duane, AC5AA

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Well, this weekend it's CW in the ARRL DX contest, and I run 100W (or full power.)  I plan to run all modes, including RTTY once I get it set up properly the same way.  The antennas are just newly reconnected via new LMR400, so I have some characterization work yet to do on them. 
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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Steve... The ATU works well, it is very usable, but it does not work optimally.  I have a OCF dipole, and it tunes every band down to 1.2:1 or better... even those where I would have a native 4:1 SWR.  It tunes relatively quickly.  It is not optimal because it they have yet to implement memory tuning (where the tuning for various frequencies is saved, and automagically restored when you return to that frequency).  ATU improvements are coming.

You get free updates within the MAJOR version of the software you buy.  So the currently released version is 1.3.8... they're working on 1.4.  If you buy the radio now, you'll get free updates all the way through V1.x -- When Flex moves to V2.0, you'll have to pay for that upgrade IF you want the features that V2.0 provides.  You will not HAVE to upgrade.  As Flex regularly says, it'll be their responsibility to make the new version sufficiently tempting to make us WANT to upgrade.

The hardware is superb.  Not everything about the software (SSDR) has the "fit and finish" that you might expect in a conventional radio.  But this is because it does sooooo much more than any conventional radio.

I work digital modes mostly, and once you've had the experience of being able to move the edges of your receive filter around... pull one edge in JUST far enough to avoid QRM from another station... you'll be spoiled for anything else.

It's not a perfect radio.  But it's a really great radio.

I bought the SDR-1000, the grandfather of this generation of rigs, shortly after I got my license.  My original rig was a TS-2000.  After I got the SDR-1000, the TS-2000 stayed shut off.

I now have a 6500.  I love it.

Don't listen to the kooks on this board.  Don't listen to the ones who say that Flex sucks OR the ones who say that Flex is perfect.  Neither is true.

There's nothing like this radio.  Once you've played with the panadapter, if you're anything like me as a ham, you won't be able to use anything else. Because you *really* won't want to.
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Pat Garrett

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Well said Peter.

Flex's sales record speaks for itself. All the folks selling their 3ks and 5ks to upgrade to the Signature series speaks volumes. 

Customer loyalty is an accurate standard to measure product and service quality. That's the thing that influenced me to buy a used 3000. And I love the radio and can't wait to upgrade.
(Edited)