Who wins? Complaints or Praises?

  • 2
  • Praise
  • Updated 3 years ago
As a potential customer, I watch the threads closely to see how the users are feeling about their purchases. Unfortunately, I see lots of problems and complaints  and not nearly  enough  people posting praises.  I know you're out there, so, PLEASE, for the sake of us future users, let us know that things DO work well. 
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Richard Adkins

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Posted 3 years ago

  • 2
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David H Hickman

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If you are comfortable with digging into your computer, you will end up with a really nice rig.

The radio has its issues, but from what I have seen they mostly get addressed. To be honest, you won't find better support.

Most of the problems I have read on here comes from the fact that most hams are not IT guys and as these radios progress, IT systems skills are becoming just as important as radio and electronics skills. To give Flex credit, they have to build a product assuming that a ham is using some crusty ancient windows peecee which is dual homed to the internet and the radio and still be functonal.

The other thing a first time flex user will face is the isolation of QRM in their shack and home. IT is one thing to hear the occasional birdie on another radio. It is annoying to see the birdies all over the waterfall on your brand new toy. I ended up pulling the power to the house and tracked down every bad power supply and other source of QRM.

The forums are ok. This is where I am not as happy with it. Like any other specialized toy, there will be fanbois.

I recently had a very bad response from a few individuals on this forum and was to the point that I was going to return the rig. Some guys on an ICOM forum of all places saw what happened and talked me into reconsidering since there is simply not a better radio out there.

I am glad I stayed. I was able to modify the SmartSDR executable to do what I needed ( direct ip access to the radio to support multiple subnets in my house.) I just got remote power control of the rig working about an hour ago. Now I have a rig located in Oklahoma no matter where I am located. I have the option of a couple of different VPN modes and technologies to access the radio. I also have the radio on a timer, it will turn off after three hours. It will even turn on by saying "Alexa turn on the flex!" or when I disable the alarm system to my hamshack.

Now all I need to build is a physical antenna disconnect and a TX lockout circuit that will keep the radio from transmitting if the physical antenna disconnect is enabled. I will tackle that in January.

None of the above is easily done with an IC-7300 or the new icom coming out. Since the software is win32 based it is trivial to modify to do what you need it to do if you are comfortable with hacking code.

Good luck.
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Mark WS7M

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Hi Richard,

Welcome to the community and to Flex Radio...

I'm sure it's been said before but first thing to realize is that ANY forum is going to be full of gripes and problems.  People don't often write about their "good" experiences but sometimes here they do.

The product and company are great.  But keep in mind that Flex Radio is a complex product.  There are many things that can and do go wrong.   Hams are generally tweakers and tinkerers so often when you read of problems here someone is doing something a little off the main highway.

You'll find much help here and also from Flex.  I know of no other ham radio company that treats their customers the way Flex does.  They will support you and they will make things right unless you have created the problem yourself.  In that case they will help but it will cost you but don't worry the fees are not bad.

You'll find no better radio on the market in my opinion.  But this radio is not for everyone however with the addition of the Maestro it can be but still it will be more work to operate than say buying an Icom7300 if you are looking for a knob radio.

My point is this:

For the Flex radio to work you need a network.  If you are going to use Maestro then it has to be a pretty good WiFi network.  There is little doubt that Maestro + poor or sub-standard network + great flex radio will still result in a less than happy experience when an Icom 7300 will simply work with none of those requirements.

On the flip side, the icom locks you to a desk.  I can run my Flex radio from my couch or even outdoors at my picnic table.  To move the IC 7300 out there would be a chore.

Digital modes on the Flex are far superior to anything else out there.  

So it really will depend upon your motivation.  I will say that once you see the pan for real off your own antenna, nothing else feels right any more.

I personally hope you do not let the problems you read and the bickering sway you from a purchase.  The Flex radio is an amazing radio.  If you are the right type of ham you will take to it easily and you will never look back.

Mark - WS7M
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Rick WN2C

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The one problem I do see with my 6300 is there does not seem to be any signals on 40 meters when I get home from work at night. Maybe I should use my IC 746 Pro. That way it will at least take some time to determine that there is no activity. With the Flex I look at the panadapter and can see that there is no activity at 2200 to 2330 hours Az time. Oh well I do get to 75 meters sooner!
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Mark WS7M

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Rick, I'd have a hard time blaming the 6300 for that.  I'd look at antenna and perhaps propagation.

Last night at roughly 6pm mountain time I worked Turks and Ciacos Islands on about 50w.  He was in there at about S5 long enough for me to work him then I sat and watched as he went to S3, S1, then just barely there in the noise.
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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Rick, I know you're kidding, but this is where you use two pans, one on 40, one on 80 to watch band conditions.  40 has been shutting down early though, with all the activity going to 80 and 160, where my antennas are ineffective.  I did manage to work FS/K9EL on 80 off the vertical a couple of nights ago, for a new country there.
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Mike Sonn

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While I am not one of the FLEX pioneers, my first FLEX was a 3000, then a 5000A, moved up to a 6300, and currently have a 6500.  I've had 2 problems in those 4 radios, only one was the radio's fault, and the other was lightning related.  The radios in both cases were shipped, repaired, and returned to me within 2 weeks.  I recently had to send in a Yaesu FT-991 that wouldn't turn on.  I had that radio back, all repaired in 3 months.

I find going back to a radio with knobs is like trying to drive with your eyes closed.

Choose wisely Grasshopper.
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KM6CQ - Dan

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My 6500 was from one of the first productions runs made. I used it very hard on the CW mode at first, and then when DAX was available it became my digitial machine, so I sold the F3K. It performs just as well now as the day I bought, I never regretted this purchase as with some other HF rigs. Subsequently, I have lost interest in my other HF rigs and sold them all. BTW, I used the 6500 to get my DXCC.

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Walt - KZ1F

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Ya know what? I will take a different approach, as I am apt to do from time to time.

1) Some people just like knobs and dials and a radio that doesn't require Windows to simply listen to. Some people get a Flex and adapt to no knobs and dials and don't look back. Others get a Flex, trying to get used to no knobs and dials and after some good faith effort, sell it to buy, maybe a TS-990S, maybe an IC-7300 or maybe their favorite brand name. YOUR MILEAGE WILL VARY.

I, strongly, doubt you'd find many, if any, on here to say, given their druthers, they'd prefer knobs and dials. Why? Those folks are already gone or, if they are still here, don't want to deal with the pitch folks and reed torches from the other forum members.

2) Give serious thought to your own personal preferences. How do you like staring at a PC hour on end? Do you really enjoy the feel of a nicely weighted tuning knob? Should you look at Sherwoods list and focus on the top 9 or 10, ignoring discontinued models, the human ear can't tell the difference. What significantly tells the difference is ergonomic preferences, flimsy tuning knob, nicely weighted knob, decent font size on the labels or tiny, cheap, the rub off if you stare at them too long, labels. You likely get my drift.

3) The Flex is expensive as radios go, esp when you add a Maestro. To be sure, there are more expensive rigs, but there are far less expensive rigs. I'd make your decision as if there were no 'do over'.

4) Yes, Flex has, or had, a 30 day free trial. If you don't like it, send it back. You can certainly check to see if that offer still exists. My point here, assuming it does, is that offer is largely a sucker's bet. Sorry, it is. People tend not to return stuff they've purchased, if for no other reason than the psychology of admitting you made a mistake. Bottom line, unless you really don't like it, you won't send it back, if only because, gosh darn it, clearly it needs more time to get used to.
This is the advantage of a Ham Radio Outlet, one can go there and play with an Icom, or Kenwood 990s or high end Yaesu.

5) finally...This is the wrong place to look for an unbiased opinion.

I do have a 6000. There are aspects of it I like. There are aspects of it I do not like. Notwithstanding ergonomics, I, professionally, had the ability to rewrite the human interface and adapter library (the GUI works with graphical events and the radio works with human cmd line instructions so there is a piece in the middle, to an environment I prefer FAR more than Microsoft's. So, another factor is how do you like Windows?

Good luck in your decision making.