Why is 6400 and 6600 so BIG ?

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  • Updated 10 months ago
I am upgrading from a 6500 to a 6600 and while at Dayton I forgot to ask Steve and the team a very important technical questions. WHY IS THE 6600 SO BIG ?

The 6000 series has been so stylish and I like the design but the 64/6600 series look like BIG bread boxes.

I get the M model and the Knob front end but why does the front panel have to be attached and dictate the site of the radio. Why didn't the new radios simply be remote like the Maestro ?

Is there a Future Technical reason for this GIANT box. It now looks like a PC not a radio.

I am excited about upgrading but not I have to figure out where to hid this thing. :)
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Lee - N2LEE

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Posted 10 months ago

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Art C

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Mostly for better heat dissipation and the diameter of the improved 120mm Fans for way better air flow..
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Go BIG or go home?
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Michael Walker, Employee

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It was many reasons, but the 2 key ones are to match the same size of the Maestro and very very significant cost savings in tooling (aka - the hardware case, etc).  

It becomes much cheaper to manufacture when you only have to stamp out 1 size for multiple designs of the radio.    If the 6400 was made smaller, the cost of tooling to make it that size would actually drive the price of the radio way up.

Cooling is also an issue as there is a nice large fan that moves a lot of air quietly and that user could replace on their own if they were technically inclined.

Also it does allow room for future hardware expansion (I'm not saying anything that hasn't already been said since the 64 and the 6600 was announced).

For the Non M model, you do not even need it in the same room.  Some customers have it at the base of their antenna tower as CAT 5 cable is cheaper than LMR400.   You can have it under the desk, another room, etc.

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Zack Schindler - N8FNR

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"Future hardware expansion"? What does this mean?
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Lee - N2LEE

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Zack, obviously Flex is not ready to make any statements about Future products but if I were to read between the lines and speculate...

I haven't looked inside of a 64/66 but I suspect there are header connectors that might allow for some kind of board or add-ons.

My vote would be for a nice 2m/440 for EME or Meteor scatter. :)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Lee, that is my thinking as well. Adding a 2m 440 board option, then coding the software for the change? Could that replace the 6700?

When Gerald designed the 6400/6600, I could just imagine all the hardware upgrades he had dancing around in his head, so I think he must have planned for it. The radios are modular in designe.

Isn't it fun guessing?
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I see the new Elecraft K4 will allow for optional built-in 2m and 70cm transvertors. Maybe Flex have the same idea but not released the hardware yet?
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Not as long as the 6700 is still being made.
After loading the K4 with all the options that will allow it to do what the Flex 6700 can do, I would think the price will jump to were the 6700 is, or higher.
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Lou Dietrich

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Great seeing you in the booth at Dayton and saw the "Sold To" sticker as we were packing up the booth. I believe you bought a non-M model. With my non-M's, I put them under the deck and use the REM jack and simply wire it to a SPST switch in a small hammond box.

This clears my desk and gives me more room for monitors! We Flexers NEED monitors!

All the best,,,enjoy!


Lou N2TU
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Lee - N2LEE

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Yea that would be mine so I hope you used white gloves when handling. LOL

I told Gerald that I do not think Steve Hicks is a real engineer because he can articulte how why I needed to upgrade in a very convincing way without a lot of techno babble.

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Bill -VA3WTB

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It must be very mind bending for Steve to explain things down at my level...lol
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Lee - N2LEE

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Bill, it was great talking to Steve and he does a great job of bring things down the average guy level.

BUT, what was fun was I with a friend/ham who has a PHD and does this kind of work for lots of people he can't talk about. So I introduced Steve to him and in 5 minutes they were talking at a level that was so far over my head. I think Steve loved it. :)
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Lee - N2LEE

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I guess that could be one reason. I know the FPGA fans needed replacing on some of the 6000's but it must have been a real issue on the 64/66 to require such big fans and a giant box.

It just doesn't fit Flex's flare for design.
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I much prefer the original small 63/65/6700 style cabinet, and would have preferred the 6400 and 6600 also stayed with the small cabinet, with an optional direct connect remote control head (Maestro). Not only would that have provided the best of both worlds (small cabinet, no-PC control capability, as well as remote display control too), but it would have been the most cost effective solution since the small cabinet was already designed.  But if future expansion is the goal it's understandable why FRS would opt for a larger cabinet.  Plus I would imagine there are hams out there that just prefer the larger sized cabinet and a non-removable display, to maintain standard convention.

On the flip side, for those that prefer the smaller cabinet, the 6700 is still in production and I hope it continues to be so.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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The 6300 is slightly smaller than the robust chassis of the 6700/6500.  

Resizing the cabinet to allow for an all-in-one offering with the M-models provided the forward opportunities for upgrades, but perhaps was simply focused on the face plate size needs and having a nice back plate.  

The economies of scale from a unified chassis are what led to the Pegasus/Jupiter and TS-2000/TS-B2000 offerings by other manufacturers .  

It amounts to real tangible savings in the 6400/6400M/6600/6600M offering.

Agree that the 6700 has a substantial "Pro" build feel to it.  

Rather uncertain if the "tethered" face plate concept would receive enough market reception to outweigh the "untethered" Maestro/Radio combination much less the loss of the economies of scale the redesign brought to the 6400/6600?

I've often gone to the field with a 6700 (or 6300), a small router and a Maestro, so I understand the appeal of that configuration.  Now I just take the 6600M leaving the rat nest of cables behind.


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Dwayne - NA6US

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I'm good with the size of the 6600... Almost identical size to my Palstar HF-Auto. Big fans are quiet.