Thinking of buying a Flex 6400M

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I'm getting my ticket soon, and do not have ANY experience with amateur radio at all, and I'm seriously considering the 6400M as my first transceiver. From the research I've been doing the last few months, this seems like the rig for me. I'm wanting something that I won't grow out of after a few years, and something that will last a long time. Any hints, suggestions, ideas for this first timer?
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Posted 2 months ago

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Joe Conover

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Love my 6400M had week

It’s best HF radio out there

I have owned yaesu 3000 ,Icom 7300,7610 7700

The controls and Digital NR ect just let you tune noise

Out to hear weak signals .

AGCT /AF combo is your best friend try 35/50 Combo adjust noise to lowest level with AGCT than adjust AF volume to normal hearing range

Oh NR when I use it not much I keep at lowest settings
(Edited)
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I'm also thinking of adding the ATU, since that'll be one less thing on the desk. How well does the factory ATU perform, compared to external ones?
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Gene Duprey

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Nothing difficult about it at all, and the you tube videos are a great help as is this group. And if all else fails, Flex Customer Service is great.
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I'm finding that this forum is a very good "help desk", and the videos on YouTube are very helpful as well.
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I'm finding that this forum is a very good "help desk", and the videos on YouTube are very helpful as well.
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Michael N3LI

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Hi Eric, what it is, is a different paradigm. There are some folks that buy a Flex Radio after many many years of legacy radios. They might also be an RF only guy or gal. For them, it can be an issue to wrap their head around the concept of a server with an RF front end. You'll see a little bit of that in here where some folks complain about something that "doesn't work". But it does work, it's just a slightly different world. 

The 6400M will work great for an inexperienced person. Now that being said. for my  experience, SSDR has it all over the M models and Maestro. I love my Maestro, but nothing beats my dual monitor with a 42 inch Screen setup. 
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Well, I do have a 55" Samsung SUHD curved flat screen tv that will be in close proximity to the radio.... Might be a little bit better than the 8" screen.
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Ha Gei

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Well, if your first airplane was an SR71 , you make the right choice here..

Buy it , put on the shelf and play a year with a simple radio that will just let you talk and learn all about ham radio. The Flex signature radios are TOP NOTCH superduper does all in one machines. You can have a lot of fun flying a super cub but you will never ever even take off with a B2 .


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Eric-KE0WMX

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Funny you mention that, I build jets for a living, and work on avionics.
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Eric-KE0WMX

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My main thinking is that I don't want to waste money on something that I'll grow out of in 6 months to a year and then be right back to shopping for another radio. I'm a "buy once, cry once" kind of guy.
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Hi Eric
The only upward path would be to a dual SCU radio (6600/6600M/6700).

At the level of performance you are considering marketplace alternatives are typical peer level offerings in complexity - just they may offer knobs & menus vs software only menus.

Two days ago by telephone while I was on a ferry boat out on Lake Michigan I helped a new FlexRadio owner get SmartSDR up and running in about 20 minutes, and he was starting from scratch and going remote right from the start!

You’re in a better place with a M-model as things are ready to go from the start.

For much of the external software the straightforward operating system presently is Windows, so anticipate the macOS complications. Hams report here at the community they have the setup licked but my attempts have found it not as straightforward.

On the flip side the iPad and iPhone iOS versions are very straightforward.

With your avionics background that systematic approach to navigating through. modest levels of complexity will serve you well with a Flex-6000.

Actually a great advantage is not being conditioned with the limitations of older generations of radios.

All my encouragement should be tempered with a confession that I do keep a tranditional radio setup in my shacks, in each case a nice set of Collins S-Line radios. They serve as a counterpoint in a tangible way to the virtualization of a software based radio.

I’ve found that I seldom turn on the old style gear, but it is good fun to have them.

GL and 73

Steve
K9ZW

Blog: http://K9ZW.wordpress.com

Edit was I had to correct the Apple OS for platforms
(Edited)
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Thanks for the reply, I'm used to things not playing nice with Mac OS, so that sure won't come as a sudden surprise to me.
The radios that i have been considering have all been SDR's, mainly because from what I've been reading it seems that's where the future of ham radio is heading. (Along with everything else in life!)
And the reason why I'm wanting an SDR as my first radio is that I'm already very used to computers and touch screens, and I want to get my kids involved in the hobby, they're 4 and 6 right now, and can pretty much do anything on an iPad that my 43 year old butt can do.
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Michael N3LI

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Hey Eric - you answered the question I was going to ask. Familiarity with computers. To me, that is the critical piece of information. If you are familiar, your path to proficiency with a Flex will be a lot easier. 

I came to Ham radio from the computing field, and the experience has been very good.

Any of the Signature Series will be FB for you, The 6400 should be great. You can run that even without a computer, but once you get into digital modes, you'll want a computer to run DAX and CAT with. The connections are incredibly simple. and the audio is really clean. 

I highly recommend either the 6400 or 6600 - the 6400 is a real bargain IMO, and you could move up later if you like. I took a slightly different tack with my 6600 by buying the maestro with it instead of the controls and screen on the radio. 

But with computing background, you can't go wrong.
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I have a Mac Mini that will be dedicated to this radio, so I'll be playing with that as soon as I get the radio.
Since everything's touch screen these days I really wanted to get a radio that wasn't already 5 years old but brand new. It seems like 90% of ham radios out there haven't been updated for three years or more, and knowing my luck, as soon as I bought something, say like an Icom IC-7300, they'll come out with a newer version two months after I buy mine. I want something that is relatively new and has more life cycle left in it than that. That's when I decided to take a big boy step and move up to a higher class of radio. I looked at the Elecraft K3S, the Flex 6400M, Icom IC-7610, Expert MB1, etc, and decided that for the money, the Flex is the best choice from a features vs price standpoint. I think it's the most logical choice from a outsiders standpoint.
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Johan / SE3X

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Eric,

I'd say buy a Flexradio if you say yes to both of the following questions:

1, I'm familiar with Windows and feel comfortable working with PC's.

2, I can read and I will read a lot about my Flexradio. I will be reading the manual and other info I might find when Googling.

No 1, it's a SDR radio and to get the best out of your investment you will need to use a PC and loads of other software. Being comfortable with computers will make your Flexradio life som much more enjoyable.

No 2, I will stick my nose out on this one .. I say that 50% of all questions asked on this community wouldn't have been asked if more Flex users actually read manuals and on this forum before asking.

But be sure, that whatever problem you might have, asking the community will provide you with answers. This community is uniqe and I say you can't find any other radio brand offering anything like it.

To add to that, if you need even more help, Tim and all the others at Flex support are incredibly helpful. 

Good luck with your decision Eric!

73 and regards
Johan - SE3X 

Ps. the first thing I did when I bought my 6700 almost two years ago was going back to post one on the community. I read during a few days every post up until the latest. The amount of useful knowledge and information I found made the itroduction of the 6700 into my schack so much easier. It's hard to find something that have never been asked before  ;)  The community is a goldmine of info.
(Edited)
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Joe Conover

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I don own at computer and we don’t have internet here I live in Eskimo village in AK
But my 6400M working great
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I have a Mac Mini that will be dedicated to this radio, as well as a nice 32" flat screen tv.
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Burt Fisher

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What Eskimo village? I lived in one.
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Joe Conover

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Yes John I know I was just letting Eric know my Flex working fine without internet now-
Burt
I’m in remount Village now training. Eskimos how operate and get their water treatment licenses for their new water treatment plant after one year I’ll be back Sitka AK my home -Putting Flex 6400M in my 59 foot sailboat in Sitka Ak
(Edited)
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Michael N3LI

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Joe, I'm itching to ask questions about Ham radio in Alaska. Do you have high noise levels, and what kind of antenna setup are you using?
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Joe Conover

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I only use these dipoles only one holds up 50 below zero and Alaska winds and snow -rain SWR never changes I use military grade 213 coax
Made in Holland pricy but no Antenna Tuner needed I also run Dads Ten Tec Titan 425 amplifier 1500 watts plus and Ameritron 80B 900 watts with Flex 6400M that a week old today
Northern lights affect us greatly now 20 meters almost dead all day only 3 hour window - 80 /75 meters 3933 and 3920 AK night nets 6pm 10 pm -40 meters is
AK go band I can talk lower 48 from 7pm AK time to 2 am
If anyone wants talk me go on 7190 lower ssb from
11pm to AK time 1230am every night it’s called Triple H net I talk to just about everyone from Seattle to AZ with Dipole in picture at 20 feet off ground
Joe LL4QG Question on noise level 20 meters no noise 40 not bad 80 little noisy but Flex 6400M lets me hear Better than any HF I owned in 30 year
n
(Edited)
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Eric-KE0WMX

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To answer those questions is have to say yes and yes to both of them. I have both Windows and Mac computers in the house, although I'd have to be honest and say that I'm far more a Mac fan than a Windows fan, I do great with both. Ever worked with Garmin avionics? There's some really fun stuff there, let me tell you. Reminds me of a bipolar woman that can never make up her mind, then suddenly everything's ok.
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Johan / SE3X

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I'm sure you will be a very happy camper if you buy a Flexradio Eric. I have since my 6700 moved in sold off every other HF radio i had. I pretty much know that the 67 will be my last radio and next time it shows up for sale will be at my SK sale .. 

No personal experience with Mac (I'm a UNIX and Windows guy) and related software. But I know from reading here that there are much out there and many happy Mac users on the community.

I think you have ticked the third box now, "the I know MAC as well" box  ;)

Go for it! but buy it with the antennatuner, even if you wouldn't need it. If you decide to sell one day (to buy a 6600 ofcourse ..) it will enhance second-hand value.

GL with your ticket and hope to see you as a Flexradio family member soon  :)

Johan
(Edited)
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Thanks for the reply Johan! I'm planning on using my Mac Mini in conjunction with whatever radio that I buy, and seeing how well the Flex radios work with Mac OS, as well as Apple iOS, really made the decision for me. Sitting in the parking lot on my lunch break listening to my radio at home on my iPhone just seems like a lot of fun to me, and is a big plus towards my decision.
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Ernest - W4EG

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Eric,
Do yourself a favor. 
This may be WAY ABOVE YOUR HEAD!
Although, I would prefer you would obtain the Flex radio above all other; but I can see that you are beyond your abilities, if you have to ask here on this forum "if you should" since you already admitted that you "do not have ANY experience with amateur radio at all."
Take care my friend and keep us posted on your decision.
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Gene Duprey

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Good Luck on the test.

Gene, K1GD
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Thanks Gene! I need all the help I can get!
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Joe Conover

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Tracking says RadioSport Headset /mic
Be here Tuesday let u know how it sounds Eric on receive on ears and transmit just have play with
EQ Etc
Joe
(Edited)
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Erika - KØDD

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Good Luck on your test!  Nothing beats good prep.
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Thank you! I have to basically start over on the General because I was doing the wrong pre test. Just in case someone else is reading this thread and doing the same thing as I am, don't go by this app, it's the wrong test:
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Andrew Russell

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Eric,
I still use my old radios mobile as they are much less distracting than SSDR in a mobile environment.
I started with a 1500 and then a 6500. I have used a friends IC7300, great radio but like flying blind compared to a Flex. I have added an IC9700 to my collection as it is better than anything else on UHF/VHF for years at the price. But it still feels limited. (A Flex direct sampling VHF/UHF SDR would be irresistible)
So i say don't limit yourself, go for it.
Andrew de VK5CV
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Alan

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Eric

I believe you will love your Flex.  Your knowledge on integrating Garmin Avionics puts you at an advanced level to understand the Flex and integrating it with multiple third-party apps.  I too really like the IOS app and its ability to connect remotely.

I have the internal ATU for my 6600.  I find it very effective at tuning my non-resonate, off-center fed, flag pole antenna.

Speaking about the Amateur Radio and Flex learning curves, my experience has been that those are two separate curves with only little inter-connection.  When I began my return to ham radio six months ago, I would consider myself at the very bottom of each curve.  Six months later, I feel confident navigating around the Flex and various third-party apps.  I cannot say the same about where I am on learning "amateur radio".  There are so many aspects and angles to the hobby and I have barely scratched the surface.   Also, do not forget the learning curve for antennas and feedlines.   That is another, separate curve. 

Alan
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N8SDR

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Eric: I think you'll be fine as well with the Flex. Just take your time, read and ask questions when you need too. Most importantly don't get frustrated, If you feel your getting frustrated, turn it off and walk away a few. Look through the community for any topics were you feel uncomfortable or may need assistance, many of us will be glad to help! Enjoy your rig and welcome to amateur radio and welcome to the Flex community.
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Thanks for the vote of confidence! From everything I've been reading and watching about the 6400M it doesn't seem like that difficult of a radio to operate. And, it's seems far less complicated than navigating the Yaesu menu system on the FT-DX3000 that I was considering for a while.
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Garmin is a fun beast, it always comes down to the "did you cycle power?" question when getting errors, and that usually fixes about 90% of the problems we have when programming and doing rigging. Needless to say, it only took me about 3 months to feel fully capable in doing things like setting up the FDR's, which is pretty complicated to a lot of people. I cannot see a Flex radio being that complicated.
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tmcdonough

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I have had my Flex 6400M for nearly a year and it is a fantastic radio. If you are willing to put in the effort and accept that you will have a lot of questions about operating in general in addition to the Flex specific questions there shouldn't be any problem.

What is your situation with regard to antennas? Do you live somewhere where you are able to put up good HF antennas? Having one of the best transceivers made will not overcome the problems you would face if you are forced by circumstances to use a small inefficient indoor antenna, etc.

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Eric-KE0WMX

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Luckily, I'm not in an HOA, so I'm not limited in my antenna selection. I have a 40' tower that came from my mom's old house that I'll be putting up soon, and plenty of room for it. Just gotta figure out the best antennas to stick on it.
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tmcdonough

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I have operated for many years with a tower to help support various types of fairly simple wire antennas. In my case I have a 50ft tower that has a balanced line fed 80 Meter doublet and an end fed wire antenna. Both work well and I choose between them based on which works better -- they are oriented in different directions so there is nearly always one that hears a weak signal better than the other.

The Flex internal tuner works very well but it does not seem to match as wide of an impedance range as some others. I still use it most of the time.

Tim N9PUZ
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Eric-KE0WMX

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At my place, 40' is the highest I can go and stay at least 10' away from the power lines. Once we get the place out in the country I want to buy then there will be no limitation up to 200', which I don't plan on ever going near that high. But, it'll be at least two years before we're able to do that, so my limitations right now are 40'.
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Ken - NM9P

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I ran a T-11 Log Periodic at 38 feet for four years in southern Indiana and it was the best antenna I have ever used.  65-70 ft. would have been better, of course, but any steerable antenna at 40 ft would give you a lot of signal on 20 through 6 meters.  

I even ran an inverted L 35 feet up and 85 feet out for 160 Meters and Worked All States.  So it is a very usable height.

As far as antenna tuners go... the Flex internal tuner is good to about 3:1 SWR, give or take depending upon the band and type of mismatch.  There are external tuners that will match a much wider impedance range, but I have found that the internal tuner on my 6500 has usually been quite sufficient for the various antennas I have run lately.

Ken - NM9P
(Edited)
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Sounds great, I'll definitely be getting the antenna tuner when I buy the 6400M.
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bahillen

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Eric
You will have no problem with the Flex with your background. Get the antenna tuner.

The Flex panadapter will allow you to visualize the bands, modes and activity. Your enjoyment will be impacted by your antenna effectiveness, especially with 100 watts.

My opinion is the most important item for you is to get on the air and start operating.

With current propagation and modest antenna size 40 m and 20 m will be useful. Day and night.

As an aside for others that want to start slow, there are a lot of used radios available at a low cost. If a person does buy a used get started radio they may have it a long time as a backup radio.

73
Bill
W9JJB
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Bill, I totally agree with you. The panadapter is one of the "must haves" on my list of radio features. The ability to visually see a signal that you're not tuned into yet makes the radio far more engaging, imho.

And I work 3rd shift, so most of not all of my radio work will be at night to early mornings. I usually go to bed around noon or 1pm. The advantage to that is that it means most of the contacts that I'll want to be making (dx) will be up and around at the times I am.
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John - K3MA

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If you decide to go with the Flex then I would suggest you consider the Flex 6400 (non-M) and a Maestro.  The total price is similar but you gain much more utility.  You can also buy in two phases.  Flex 6400 first and run it with a computer or iPad and then add the Maestro later.

In fact you might find for your use it would be better to spend the money on a large screen iPad pro and not a Maestro (or a nicer laptop).  That way you can use the iPad pro or Laptop for other things.
(Edited)
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I thought about that, but I really like the all in one aspect of the 6400M.

However, having the Maestro would be handy if you're in the middle of talking to someone and had to take a potty break. I do see the advantage there.

On another note, buying in two phases might actually be a really good idea. I'll consider that as the more I think of it the more I like the idea. Plus, it'll be a lot easier to hide the 6400 from the kids so they don't play around with it while I'm at work, and hiding the Maestro wouldn't be that hard to do as well. (Or I could just take it with me!)

You've really got me thinking this is the way to go now, thanks for the input!
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Joe Conover

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I know John just letting Eric know Flex6400M works fine without internet
Burt
I’m training village people here how operate new water system and get licensed by ADEC for year than I’ll be back in Sitka Ak on my 64 foot sailboat

Barter Island is an island located on the Arctic coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, east of Arey Island in the Beaufort Sea.[1] It is about four miles (6 km) long and about two miles (3 km) wide at its widest point.
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John KB4DU

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I completely agree with the other John. The M models occupy a lot of desk space with mostly empty cabinet space. With the 6400, the radio can be placed anywhere, like close to the antenna entrance like the Garmin LRU or in a closet or under the desk.

For me, one of the major advantages is the additional software available. I use FRstack every time I use the radio.

The Maestro takes up little desk space, or can be used in another room or on the back deck for easy remote in addition to the wind machine

If you start with another radio, there is a lot to “unlearn” when switching to a Flex, like the S meter discussion.

So, get your antenna up first, then get your Flex on the air.

Why antenna first? Because most are so anxious to get the rig on the air they put up crappy antenna in a hurry, then struggle to make contacts. So have your best antenna up b4 the radio arrives.

Have fun!
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I have 6' x 2&1/2' of space to use for the radio, the Mac Mini, and the monitor. And yeah, the tower and antenna will be up and ready to go before I even buy a radio. Once I totally decide on a radio, I'll move on to antennas next. I want to make the right decisions first, then jump in with both feet and get going.
I research big purchases for months before buying them, to avoid getting burned. (Something I've learned from getting burned too much in the past)

And yeah, I think starting with a different radio than the one I plan on using 100% of the time is a bad idea, not only from a financial standpoint, but a learning one as well.
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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I completely agree with John's comment above!   Have the Maestro separate will give you the option of using it on your deck or in the living room while your radio sits happily downstairs or in your shack.

I also think that from a pure positioning standpoint having the radio and maestro separate makes organization easier.
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Yes, I plan on going for the gold in one sitting. I've been studying for months now and I'm pretty confident that I'll at least pass the technician and general. The extra has me at about 75-80¡ on the practice tests, so I'm still working on that one.
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John KB4DU

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I couldn't find a really good place to comment, so I'll just put it here. I did the same as you, took all three tests at once. I had been licensed before but there was a big gap. I suggest you just go ahead and order your radio now. Get it set up, antenna in place, and start playing with the Flex software. As has been mentioned, there are really two learning curves. By getting your radio now, you can start climbing the Flex curve, listening to on-the-air activity to get familiar with the bands, QSO techniques, Net operating procedures, propagation day and night, and more, basically SWLing. Then when you get your ticket, you'll be pretty ready to start operating.

Also, since you are considering portable operations, check out the "luggable" thread on here. There also is a thread by Peter Kobak. He literally "wrote the book" on portable ops, published by ARRL, and available on their web site.

I will be out of town for a few days, but when I get back, we can set up a remote session from your home to my Flex using Smartlink. Then we could go over some of the basics of the SSDR software.

I know this is just one opinion, which are like belly buttons, everybody has one, but I recommend looking strongly at just getting the radio (non M), use SSDR or Ipad to operate it.Then if you really need knobs, go for the Maestro. I have had, and stil have, some legacy radios with knobs. I also have a pretty strong IT background, and I have had no need for knobs with the Flex.

It's a hobby, do whatever brings you joy. Each of us is different, so be yourself.



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Eric-KE0WMX

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My current plan right now is taking the Technicians and General test this Friday (8/9/2019) and taking the Extra in October. Since I found out that there's a test this week locally that I didn't know about, I decided to get those two out of the way right away.

The radio I won't be able to buy until October anyway, as that's when our end of the year bonus comes, and it's slated for Ham use.

I've decided to go with the 6400 for two main reasons,
#1, it's cheaper
#2, it's lighter.
Now, given that adding a Maestro to the kit will negate the weight advantage over the 6400M, but if you think about it, it doesn't, if you add a Maestro to the 6400M down the road. (Weight savings of 4+lbs)
I'll be buying a Maestro in February anyway, so this will give me a few months of computer/iPad/iPhone use of the 6400 so I can get some familiarity with it.

After the Maestro shows up, then it'll be time to buy the battery, solar panel, solar controller, router, and box, as well as the needed odds and ends to make it all play together, as well as a portable antenna system. (Home antenna will already be up and running, obviously) Having the Maestro as well as an iPad in the same box will give me redundancy in case one fails, and I like redundancy.

As always during a large purchase, I like to plan things out as far in advance as possible, to avoid costly mistakes.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Eric, if you pass the tech and general, then give the extra a shot. You might pass it but at least you will get a feel for the type of questions. I also had another friend, a police chief, take all three at once and pass.

You are more prepared than most for your first HF radio. Between your background, the questions asked here, and the input from the Comm7nity you will do fine.

My best friend took all three in one sitting and got his extra. His background is Navy engineering. I remember the day he told me. I had no idea. He was even thinking about it. He wound up with my Flex 5000a as a first HF radio and had no problem setting it up. The 5000 and PowerSDR is more complicated.

Dave wo2x
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I want to, the problem is time that night. I've gotta work after that so I don't know if I'll have the time to do it and be on time to work, since the two locations are on opposite sides of town.
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KF4HR

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If you want a Flex SDR as your first rig the M models are probably your best bet.  Make no mistake, compared to many of the Plug&Play transceivers out there, there is a more extensive learning curve to a Flex rig, and that learning curve is more pronounced when you're dealing with the non-M models due to external interfacing.  The M models are self-contained so they offer the opportunity to basically just plug it in, use either its internal 8 inch monitor and/or plug in a HDMI monitor, and go.  Then as you become more familiar with the software (SmartSDR), you can venture into PC or iPad control and remote operations.  Although as others have recommended, read the manual.  It will become apparent why very quickly. 

As for the Flex ATU, it works fine as long as your antenna is fairly will matched (3:1 VSWR or less).  But for antennas with a higher SWR, or if you're eventually planning on adding an amplifier, I'd recommend an external Antenna Tuner.  It's nice having both.

One other note.  Many hams have noted that two receiver slices are sufficient, although I've found that once you have a Flex that offers more than 2 receiver slices you begin to find interesting ways of using them.  I owned a Flex 6700 for years and have gotten used to using up to 8 receiver slices.  I wouldn't want to got back to 4 or 2.

Not having previous experience with other brands of transceivers, and being new to amateur radio will no doubt extend your Flex learning curve, but if you stick with it, you'll be richly rewarded.

Good luck.
(Edited)
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Ted VE3TRQ

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I may be getting ahead of what you are thinking of, but I did see you mention the fact that the 6400 has more than one antenna connection somewhere above. Think carefully about why you want two antenna connections. If you simply want to be able to switch from one to another, something that can easily be done with an inexpensive antenna switch, it isn’t much of an advantage. Think of that antenna switch in the 6400 being internal instead of external. You STILL have only one receiver to which those antennas go. The 6400 has one SCU (ADC / Spectral Capture Unit), so you can’t use both antennas at the same time.

The 6600 and 6700, on the other hand, have the ability to listen to both antennas at once (whether rcv/tx or rcv only). In my case I have an all-band receive antenna usually on one SCU so I can tune around and listen anywhere while operating with tx on one band. Of course you can also just use two independent single band rcv/tx antennas with these 2-SCU radios.

Hope that makes sense - just a brief caution on the two antenna situation and the 6400. It’s the reason why I bought a 6600M. Of course it costs more, and the family will surely compete for the money you have :-)
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Eric-KE0WMX

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My thinking of having two antenna connectors was mainly for less clutter in the wiring department in the shack. Of course, I'll have a 2m and 70cm radio as well, I'm still working on that one.

Upgrading to the 6600 or 6600M right now is our of the question, the wife will collect my life insurance money before the radio even arrives!
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KF4HR

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You STILL have only one receiver to which those antennas go.

Interesting.  Seeing as the 6400(M) models have two independent receivers, I would think SSDR would allow each receiver to be mapped to the two antenna connectors (i.e., Slice 1 to ANT1, Slice 2 to ANT2).  No?
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Ted VE3TRQ

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I probably should have said “SCU” rather than receiver. If you consider slice == receiver, then of course multiple receivers are possible on one antenna. Just doesn’t work very well if the antenna is tuned for only one frequency, and you are limited in how far away from each other the two slices can be in the 6400.
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I really did like the integrated aspect of the 6400M over the 6400, and if I really want to I can always buy the Maestro down the road, which may be the way I'll go.
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Ted VE3TRQ

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One of the benefits of the “M” model is the ability to just use CAT / DAX to do digital modes remote from the radio, without bothering to use a GUI interface (I’m still using v2.4.9). In my case the necessary GUI is the M front panel with the radio in the basement, and a MacBook Air or Windows laptop runs the digital programs (in fact I run both sometimes) while I’m upstairs with my wife who is watching TV in the same room. Keeps the peace!
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Keeping the peace with the Mrs is always a great idea! Mine's still trying to figure out why I want to do all this.

My excuse? It'll keep me out of bars and at home!

But honestly, as a kid I used to play with radios and fixing them, I used to buy old tube radios at farm auctions with my dad for usually less than $5. I fixed my first radio when I was in kindergarten, all it needed was a new power cord that I replaced with an old extension cord. I'm lucky I didn't electrocute myself! When I was 12, I had more radios than brains but usually got them working again. Those days of cheap, easy to fix as a kid radios are looking gone sadly, and I've been out of the game for the better part of 20 years. So I decided that's it's time to get back into the game, as I've been riding the pine for far too long.
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KF4HR

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6400M... good plan.  While you won't have the initial capability of operating remotely with a Maestro, if you own an iPad, just buy the iOS SSDR App and you'll be  operating remotely in nothing flat.  Plus as you point out, you can always add the Maestro later and have the best of all worlds.
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I have an iPad and an iPhone, and I downloaded the iOS app to check it out and play with the demo on it. Seems pretty easy.
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Joe Conover

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Flex 6400M just gets better for me just used Zoom in out on flex screen
Water. Fall even reads weak signals
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KC2QMA_John

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Hello Eric,
I also would recommend buying a Flexradio as it is state of the art tech. If you are comfortable with a PC you will be just fine. Or you could buy a 6400M and use it stand alone without a computer.

I could not be happier with my Flex and if you are not happy you can always sell your flex and buy another radio.
(Edited)
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I figured to use it standalone first, then play with more features as I got more comfortable with it. I think it's a pretty good plan.
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Gene Duprey

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I also am a relative new to screw gear. I bought my cpo 6500 with a Maestro last December. I am not a digital mode operator ,but have adapted to screen quickly. I have also bought the sdriOs software for my iPad. Love both configurations. It is well worth it getting a Flex rig, love mine, even though I still have my Collins S-Line and Icom 775DSP. Make the plunge, you’ll love it.

Gene, K1GD
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Everyone seems to totally love theirs, and the support seems 2nd to none. I think I can't go wrong.
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James Charlton

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I would buy the Flex.  You will eventually so, why not now?  My only suggestion is buy the "M" type, with knobs.  That way you avoid the need to always have a PC around when you want to play radio.
The rumors of Flex being very complicated are over-blown.  It is really just a black box that acts like a traditional analog radio.  The Flex radios do everything analog radios do, except they do it better.
Jim Charlton  AD0AB  
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Eric-KE0WMX

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I completely agree, I will eventually, so I might as well get it now. And the "M" type is what I'm really leaning towards, for exactly that reason, no computer required, but can use if I want to.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Hello Moto
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Michael N3LI

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That radio doubles as a self defense weapon!
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Michael, the story is the same in all hobbies, sadly.
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James Charlton

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Congratulations!  Welcome to the hamisphere!
Jim  AD0AB
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Eric-KE0WMX

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Thanks James!