This is interesting

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Anyone else notice: FLEX-6400, FLEX-6400M in the SmartLink_Flyer.pdf file? 
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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Posted 2 years ago

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Andre KM4OVH

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SUPPORTED SDR HARDWARE: FLEX-6300, FLEX-6400, FLEX-6400M, FLEX-6500, FLEX-6600, FLEX-6600M, FLEX-6700, FLEX-6700R and Maestro

Doesn't Flex sell hardware to the gov't, as in NSA, could the "M" be for military, the "R"  for receive only?
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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6700R is a communications receiver. It's an existing product. Basically a 6700 with no transmitter and a built in PSU.
(Edited)
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Norm - W7CK

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I want one!
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Norm - W7CK

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I just hope the new models don't have features the 6700 doesn't or won't have.  Shoot, I'd have to trade-up or add a new rig to the arsenal.  Especially if UHF/VHF was offered in a single box or the M really does mean Mobile with knobs - which was on my wish list I posted a while back.......

I can't wait to hear more!
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Rory - N6OIL

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You knows guys this is just going send all of us over the edge trying to out guess FRS!
Well played FRS. Dang now I wish I could go to Xenia!
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Rory - N6OIL

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Link is working now and they left in all the goodies about the 6400, 6600.
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Jd Dupuy

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I have been building a million dollar home today. Looks like I missed nothing here. Rumors? No one coming forward to admit guilt?
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Mike W1BFA in Maine

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Could the 6400 be a 6300 sold with v2.xx softwares? Same with 6500/6600 ? That's probably the way I would market it. 6700 is pricey enough it should come with it anyway! Did you ever notice in your working careers everyone was a marketing expert?
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Ken Hansen

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Change model number when support software changes? That seems like a bad idea, it implies earlier models are obsolete, which is not the case if V2.X software fully supported.
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Ken Hansen

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New to the world of "Flex" but as I see it, the Flex "universe" for amateur radio breaks down into these three models:

Flex-6300 - A single SCU unit with lower performance
Flex-6500 - A double SCU unit with improved performance
Flex-6700 - A quad SCU unit with improved performance

I can easily imagine (in fact I did, under the Flex-1500 is discontinued thread last week) a model Flex-6400 that has one of the improved SCUs from the 6500/6700.

No thoughts on the Flex-6600 - I assume the M suffix indicates an included Maestro.
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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The 6300 and 6500 have only 1 SCU.  The 6700 has two.  As others have pointed out, that doesn't leave a lot of room to slot in new models.  It's possible there's a new generation of AD converter or FPGA that gives some better specs, some new inputs and outputs, or even some different packaging. I would have expected new products at the low end or the high end, but that is unlikely given the model numbering.  So who knows??  Maybe they'll have colored boxes or gold trim.

Given the Flex bias towards contesting, they may have extensions for large installations.  I.e. not too interesting for ordinary users.
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Ken Hansen

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I stand corrected, I forgot the SCU in the 6500/6700 process 4 slices each.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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That isn't how it works.  Slice processing is done in the FPGA
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Craig Williams

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Have a 6500 on order after wanting one for 4 years. The 6600 better not be "better" for less.
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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Maybe give Flex sales a ring and have a word with them about your concerns...
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Jd Dupuy

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Every transceiver has about a 5 year life span with Flex. How old is your 6700/6500/6300?
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Steve Jones

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Glad i held off ordering a 6700 the other week now.
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Jerry WA9UKB

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Now we can see the value of our present radios resale drop like everything else does. Since the Flex has more resemblance to computer equipment the values might drop more than a conventional radio.

Any thoughts?
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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The whole market is undergoing a shift. Even regular knobbed radios are dropping like rocks on the used market. As far as physical specs go, it would be pretty hard to make a 6700 obsolete today. But I can understand wanting to wait for a future product. One should expect that new products would be announced around this time of year anyway, just like the release cycles for Apple and other products are more or less predictable now.
(Edited)
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Alan WA4SCA

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Conversation heard behind closed doors at Flex HQ: 

 G  Exactly how did this screw-up happen?!

T  Honestly, this was a brilliant marketing masterstroke.  Just think of the traffic to the booth it will generate.

G  Do you actually expect me to believe that?

T  That's my story, and I am sticking to it.

 

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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Lol
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KM6CQ - Dan

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I think Tim should comment, today, not later next week. How about some customer service here:)

Dan KM6CQ
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Ken Hansen

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As a representative of the company, he is obliged to stick to the company line. If there are new products that will be announced in the future, he is under no obligation to break with the company's rollout schedule and share information with the customer base. If there are no new products on the immediate horizon, the company policy of not commenting on future product plans kicks in.

Your desire for him to share doesn't obligate him to do so.
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Ken, sorry you did not notice the light hearted humor in my post. I apologize
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Sure, I'll make a comment.  "The WX is really lousy at my QTH today."  You can quote me on that ;-)

Wait until next Friday to get the details on any new products.  See ya at Dayton!
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Ken Hansen

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Thanks.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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To the FRS team and all the rest Xenia bound, Safe Travels!

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Thank you.  Same to everyone else inbound to Xenia.  See ya there!
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Friday Tim? No reveals at the Thursday night event? :)

In all seriousness I'm stoked to meet the flex team, flex fans and all of youze in person.
Safe flight/drive etc.
Ria
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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We can't leak all of our secrets. I guess those who attend the Thursday night dinner will have to just wait and see ;-)
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Clay N9IO

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Tim, you are the King of tongue in cheek.  However do you do it, You Devil you...
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Jerry WA9UKB - Do not think a high value drop prediction is warranted unless new models offer profound performance differentials at the similar price points.  As "Radio Servers" they are less generic than the PCs which drop in price through volume production efficiency gains, significant performance gains unavailable to prior models, obsolescence (often to the point of no legacy use being even possible) and known design/life-cycle limits.

Would guess it will be quite a while until the Flex-6000 series sees a PC-like major resale value drop.

@Dan KM6CQ - Wondering if your note comes over less tongue-in-cheek as you intended?  Thinking we will all suffer together until late next week... But expect most new items to be discussed next Thursday night.

@Alan WA4SCA - Perhaps not a Freudian Slip?  

@Craig - Unless you have information your 6500 has shipped I'd not worry but I would call FRS later in the week.  Good things might come to this who have patience?

@Mike W1BFA - doesn't somehow seem likely that a new software version would result in a new model number in a FGA SDR?  Thinking there will be a physical difference rather than what firmware is included at point of sale.

@All - sure seems like the PDF has been a sharp way to generate interest and attention, eh?

All best and 73

Steve 
K9ZW
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Ken Hansen

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"@All - sure seems like the PDF has been a sharp way to generate interest and attention, eh?"

Absolutely. I bet the folks at flex are simultaneously frustrated at the 'leak' and also taking note of the various speculations about future products to see what the user base is looking for...
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Steve, they may let some information slip out the evening before as they have in the past. I don't expect anything more than that. We have waited this long and now we are almost there. 
Flex is probably feeling the same as we are from the other side, I am sure they can not wait to show us what they have been up to.

Dan KM6CQ
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Steve Jones

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@Ria  the radio market in the uk has certainly changed. 20% drop in value of the pound against the euro and dollar has stopped me upgrading to a 6700 so far this year. UK dealers (both of them) are charging same in £ for flex radios as they cost in $ in USA.  Glad I held fire now, due to the combo of the price increase here for a new one, and the unresolved firmware/ssdr lock up issue. At least now by being patient I get to see a bit more of the roadmap and decide whether the 6700 is still the way to go or whether the add on so2r box or one of the to be announced new radios is the way to go for what I want (so2r hf and vhf contesting, diversity rx now;  multi single and multi two later on).  I have considered going back to a pair of knob radios, and microham so2r box option I tried before,  as the second hand prices have dropped; but will wait and see what gets released / announced next week.

Second hand 6300 have been dropping to £1200-£1400 here in recent months, compared to the increased new price for a 6300 non atu of £2400. Have been tempted to pick another 6300 up at those prices, and going down the two 6300 route and two pc route for rtty and cw contesting and multi single multi two with my 4o3a 2x8 port antenna genius. Unfortunately, second hand 6700 come up very infrequently, and a new one currently costs £6999 sterling. 

The ic7300 is still dominating the middle or lower market here in the UK; and I can see why with 50w on 4m on board too - I could pick up a second hand one for the price I could probably get for my kuhne 4m 25w transverter if I sold it on. Now if the flex 6600 has dual scu and 4m count me in for one!

Enjoy the waiting..................73 Steve gw0gei / gw9j - one of the very few active contesters in the UK using flex and 4o3a gear.
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Harry Williams

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Leaks, fake news....where I have I heard that before?....but its radio so I am staying tuned and I know it will be a better outcome...

73,
Harry
W0LS
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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All will become crystal clear and the facts confirmable come this Friday (or maybe a little before)
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Ken Hansen

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But that doesn't mean we can't speculate! ;^)
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Harry Williams

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Absolutely...I am a big Flex supporter....my main radio has been Flex for the past 10 years...but who is leaking this stuff...Tim...I hope we do not get a TWEET that you have been fired....just saying...
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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This isn't my first rodeo, buckaroos ;-)

And yes, you should speculate to your heart's content.
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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Grin.  It's been a while since I've been called a buckaroo.
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Chuck Smith

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I think a special prosecutor should be appointed. These leaks involving Flex Radio technology are likely perpetrated by the Russians in an attempt to influence perspective consumers and undermine the the whole SDR radio market ! LoL
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Jd Dupuy

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Just great now we have to wait until Friday. That's like years from now!
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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That is only about 432,000 seconds.
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k0eoo

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I got to say I'm really enjoying all the speculation!  Flex would have to have a 50+ engineering team to design, build, test, debug, ship half of the ideas I've heard in this thread...  Very funny and very fun to do, but I have to say, I've read some pretty good ideas here too, especially John's 6700B....  Looking forward to Friday, hopefully I'll be in the booth!
(Edited)
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John - AF3K

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What about the rumored new Flex 6700B to be shown at Dayton/Xenia?

The new "B" model apparently replaces the SCU's with dual BCU's (Bio Capture Units) capable of dematerializing grumpy radio amateurs, ex-wives and unruly children into RF energy patterns that are beamed-to and rematerialized at the DX location of choice. 

Apparently the software is still a tad buggy - body parts don't always align just quite right on rematerialization in diversity mode, moonbounce is discouraged, etc.
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Mike W1BFA in Maine

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Scotty had some of those issues on the Enterprise but he found once he get the noise blanker working properly he got good realignment.
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k0eoo

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@John, LOL....
(Edited)
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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It doesn't make any sense for them to have a model number that simply ships a Maestro with it. A shipping/ordering number does not require a model number designation. However a designed hardware feature would. Otherwise, where are the 6300M, 6500M and 6700M in that SmartLink compatibility list?

Here is my guess. The 6400 is a QRP version standalone radio, 6400M is a smaller version RF module that adapts to the Maestro. You would think 6100 would be more applicable but what manufacturer has even gone backwards in model numbers when introducing new models? Now the 6600. No point making a QRP version of the 6500 so I'm guessing the 6600 would be a slightly advance 6500 still having one SCU but with the specs of a 6700. The 6600M would be the hardware RF module that again adapts to the Maestro.

The connections needed (like audio and PTT) between Maestro and RF module could be physical but perhaps bluetooth will come to life. Again, this is my guess and before I get flamed, ha, ha, I'm just a regular guy who loves to play Flexradio.

Now if M is multi-user, well kick my guess out the window.
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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You would think 6100 would be more applicable but what manufacturer has even gone backwards in model numbers when introducing new models?

Wasn't the 6300 introduced after the 6700 and 6500?

So there's precedent.
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Dah, yep the 6300 how I missed that? The 6400 and 6600 replacing the 6300 and 6500 is a possibility I suppose we will find out later next week.
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Ken Hansen

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Yaesu: FT-891 released after FT-991
Kenwood: TS-430 released after TS-530
Icom: IC-7100 released after IC-7200
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Marc Lalonde

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my own guest is  "M" for military/commercial   ,same radio but different TX band pass filter ?
just like the 6700R that made for specific market  

6400 /6600   may replace 6300 and 6500 kind of renewed design that solve potential future part sourcing ?   

think it make no sens to add knob to radio ,since mastero already here and do job and in bonus it wireless , put it on radio it not major cost saving ,still need display and extra CPU for handle panadapter 

but i have more expected something like 6100  for replace 1500 , and hit the 7300 market

but still speculation

Marc  VE2OLM 
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Good point Marc regarding part sourcing. I may be mistaken but they have never mentioned their government contract, military equipment before in the Ham market literature, why begin now. I didn't say a knob radio, I said a module/box that would connect to the existing Maestro. Like a docking module would only need the RF components as the Maestro has everything else. No wheel to reinvent.
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Marc Lalonde

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HI  Maestro not have FPGA/DSP  on it for handle  the radio part processing need 
so have a box whit ADC / FPGA / DSP on t was same that have  a whole 6000 
a 6700 do/need  121 billion floating point operations per 
second (GFLOPS)  , Maestro CPU was way far of this  ,like all current I7 desktop PC

Maestro was only kind of fancy Win10 tablet whit knob ;-)
(Edited)
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L.Kubis

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How about a couple of 200W models!!!

Remember Anan just released their 200W model which is getting a lot of interest.

Lloyd
VE3ERQ
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Color me unimpressed by a 200 watt radio. Since I run with an amp I don't even use 100 watts, much less 200.

When the FCC 15dB rule is finally gone I hope they can sell a rig/amp combo that is low level to a high gain LDMOS legal limit amp. Save a few bucks, weight and power draw by removing the exciter PA.
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Like you, Ria, I have never seen the reason for a 200 Watt rig, such as the Kenwood TS-480(?) that sacrifices the internal tuner for a 200 Watt RF deck. It requires twice the power supply, and only gives 3 dB increase, which is half an S-unit.

The only rig I saw any sense ina 200 Watt RF deck was a Yaesu a while back that could use the extra overhead to run full Class A for improved Transmit IMD.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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That was probably the FT1000 MP Mark V which was a top of the line rig then and still adorns the shacks of many.

The one edge case where I can see a 200W PA being somewhat necessary is on 30m. The legal limit there is 200W and instead of turning on the amp you can just turn it up to 200W. However with modern solid state amps you can also run 200W instantly.

The other case I can see is if you have a tube amp that only gets full output with more than 100W. 

That's not to say they shouldn't do it. I don't see it as a high priority. 

Ria
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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200w gives you an edge over the vast majority that use 100w (or 85w really good quality ones in our case LOL) so I can see the appeal if you don't want to spend a couple of grand or more to get an amp.
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Ken Hansen

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A 500 watt solid-state amp from Ameritron plus 75 Amp power supply is under $1200 and would never require manual tuning or even bandswitching., depending on the radio.
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Duane N9DG

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My speculative 6400/6600 predictions:

6400 - 2 slice version of the 6500.
6400M - "M" being Maestro integrated (detachable??) panel, possibly reduced in physical size.

6600 - 2 (maybe 4) slice version of the 6700, still two SCUs.
6600M - "M" being Maestro integrated (detachable??) panel, possibly reduced in physical size.

Why the reduced slice counts?
1) Because a lot of users either don't comprehend how/why to use, and/or genuinely do not have a use for 4 or 8 slices/displays.
2) It's hard to efficiently drive more than 2 "radio slices" with a set of knobs and buttons, so remove the extra slices most don't/won't use, trim price.

While possible, I doubt that there will be a different ADC used than the AD9467 of the 6500/6700. At least I didn't find any mention of any new part numbers similar in spec. on the Analog Devices web site.

Why speculate? Because it is a fun sport, and is then fun to go back after the actual details are released and see just how close you got :).
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Just to add to the noise and enthusiasm:  
My thinking is that these may be new rigs to "fill the gaps" between units already in production.  There is currently a "gap" of approximately $3000 between a 6500 and 6700 at current pre-Dayton sale prices.  So there is a "hole" at a price point of about $5500-$5800.

My pure guess is that the 6600 might be either... 

1) an expanded, 4-pan/slice version of the 6500 with 1 SCU and 2 meter capability.

or

2) an expanded, 4-pan/slice version of the 6500 with 2 SCU's and NO 2 Meter capability.

or

3) a reduced, 4-pan/slice version of the 6700 with 2 SCU's AND 2 Meter capability.


The 'M' may simply refer to a rig running a Maestro.  It might indeed also refer to a ruggedized "Mobile Capable" version.  What might that mean?   Perhaps a built-in Wifi Port capable of direct connection to a laptop, Maestro, or iPad client.  It might also have upgraded heatsink and cooling options.  Perhaps a built-in bluetooth mic/headphone connection as well (though this could easily be handled with the client machine).


The 6400 may be given similar treatment to "fill the gaps" between the 6300 and 6500.  However, there isn't much "gap" in the price range. (Current sale price:  $2600 for a 6300 w/ATU and $4000 for a 6500...a $1400 difference at current pre-Dayton sale prices.)  

So it is possible that the 6400 might either be a reduced function 6500/expanded function 6300, 

or  it could be a low power version of a 6300, replacing the now expired 1500...

I doubt that they would be total replacements of either the 6300 or 6500.
It seems to me that these platforms have taken too much R&D to be replacing already.  

But I could be completely wrong on all counts.  
Other than one line of text in a brochure, nobody I know inside or outside the company has even HINTED at anything related to these two "new models."  So this is total conjecture and fantasy on my part.  

We will all know in a few days!

Ken - NM9P
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Duane N9DG

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Agree, the new models I believe will primarily:

1) Fill in gaps in features and price bracket points between the 6K existing models.
2) Offer new model choices that shift further towards the more traditional "all in one self contained" radio box user experience and physical plan-form. AKA offer model choices that head towards (UI wise) the direction that the traditional radio manufacturers SDR efforts are coming from.
3) Seek to be head to head competition to the IC-7610, and the follow on model(s) that are sure to follow.

But I'm convinced that adding a "traditional" radio configuration and UI experience to the 6K technology architecture approach is easier than trying to take a radio architecture that is initially defined by traditional UI and controls to become a network appliance device like all the 6Ks are.
(Edited)
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Simon Lewis

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M - ruggedised versions for portable ops / dxpeds etc

6400 ... single SCU dual slice trx - qrp PA replacing 1500 trx

will see how close that prediction isn't lol

if it has a TRV port I am in :)
(Edited)
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Ken Hansen

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I don't know what kind of end-user cost reductions a Set of QRP finals would give compared to 100 Watt finals... maybe 5-10% on radio, if you're lucky - not enough to increase radio sales in any real way IMHO.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Gets rid of the heatsink and output filter. It allows room for more stuff like an additional SCU. 
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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I'm drifting onto thin technical ice here but I've seen references to "fully digital class D audio amplifiers" for example, : http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/5290459/  Maybe a QRP radio could have a "fully digital class D RF amplifier" which might have some advantage over an analog equivalent?  Presuming that there is such a thing as a fully digital class D RF amplifier.
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Ken Hansen

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I am ignorant of the benefits of 'fully-digital class D' RF amp, the only thing I've seen on 'higher-priced (so obviously better!) HF radios is a Class A RF Amp, like the FTDX-5000 has available.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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It would be problematic because of the (lack of) linearity. In its current form it would be NG for SSB. 
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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Not to debate with you since I don't see how it could be linear as well, but here is a company claiming to have a ultra linear digital rf 5 watt amplifier:  http://www.digitalrf.net/cofdm/transmitter.htm
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John - AF3K

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Maybe wishful thinking but guessing that the 6400/6600 = replaces 6300/6500 with better specs - perhaps due to newer FPGA. "M" = Multi Client support?
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Ken Hansen

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Multi-client would. Be interesting... leave one 'slice' as a WSPR receiver while other slice(s) available for remote clients, for example.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I will be a bit disappointed if the 6400/6600 are replacements vs new devices, I hope current signature series have enough legs for 3 to 5 years. The idea of a Maestro with a qrp transceiver was one of my favorites, even before the final disclosure of the current Maestro. But the numbering doesn't really give a clear idea of what to expect.
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John AE5X

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I believe they will be replacements given the trend to do so with sequentially higher model numbers in a wide variety of products - the Nikon D610 replaced the D600, the Canon 7D replaced the 5D, etc, etc.

I really wish Flex would replace the 1500 with a QRP (in both power and price) SDR rig to attract new users to the SDR world. Many folks would rather dip a toe into a new way of driving a radio rather than plomping down $2600 to see if they like it. I think they would attract new addicts customers with an entry level transceiver.

John AE5X
http://ae5x.blogspot.com/
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Indeed the 1500 served as a "gateway drug" of sorts into the SDR and FRS family of radios.  It was for me.  In fact it did so well that three weeks after receiving my 1500 for Christmas I had ordered a 6500 before they were even released.

It would be really nice to see an under-$1000 entry level QRP rig in the 6000 series.  I am not sure, however that it will be technically or financially feasible to the company.  We'll know soon.  I'm looking forward to Dayton...
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Larry - WA7LZO

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In the meantime, the IC-7300 is a very nice low priced entry level HF rig to get one's feet wet with SDR technology.
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Ken Hansen

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A refurb Flex-3000 at $900 is a great entry-level radio, available directly from Flex inknown-good condition with a warranty...
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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On the IC-7300 the experience is so dissimilar and to the end user whether the IC-7300 is SDR or not pretty much moot given the closed ecosystem, that it is kind of another end of the SDR compared to the Flex-6000, Anan and Elad style SDRs.

Was making QSOs with an IC-7300 this weekend. Fine radio. Just a very different SDR experience.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I think the current signature series has a long way to go. I really doubt that the 6300 or 6500/6700 will be obsolete soon.
(Edited)
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Rory - N6OIL

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Wasn't the whole idea about the Flex SDR's is that you build the software around it thus giving you a new radio per say with software releases? 
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Ken Hansen

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Steve - regarding the IC-7300, I think we need to be careful about confusing the technology 'under the hood' with the user interface...

The IC-7300 is sold as the first radio from the 'big three' that employs SDR technology, the sales brochure says: "The IC-7300 employs an RF direct sampling system." Icom does not use the words 'Software Defined Radio' in it's marketing material.
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Larry - WA7LZO

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Best part about buying an IC-7300 is you have enough $'s left over to buy a nice Alpha 9500 go along with it, too!
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John - AF3K

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I could be way off base but my 6400/6600 as replacements for 6300/6500 guess assumes a) a Moore's Law effect on the price/performance of FPGA.'s. b) The cost of the FPGA chip when Flex introduced the radios several years ago was ~$700, making it perhaps the most expensive part of the cost of the radio.  If those assumptions are true (I have no idea really) then at some point couldn't Flex sell a radio with significantly better specs for the same price as the 6300/6500 by just upgrading the FPGA?
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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