Will continue to wait...

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  • Updated 11 months ago
All the rumors of V2.0 and Gerald's recent post I think got many of us hoping for a release in June.  Well today is the day if it going to happen.

I will continue to wait as for me the Flex is still the best option out there and I like the people a lot.  However I hope we get 2.x soon and some regular updates after that.

I'm in the software business.  I am a manager for a team of 6 developers that work on a very complex software product that acquires data from a 100,000 event per second flow cytometer.  In simple terms our instrument bounces lasers off of cells as they pass through a micro channel and we capture the reflections.  Our firmware analyzes the half width of the pulse as well as the height.  So for each reflection pulse we receive peak, area, height, and width measurements on 28 possible A/D channels at rates to 100,000 or more per second.  Data from the instrument essentially can saturate a 100 base T network connection.

We use standard Windows 10 PCs (i7 processors) and lots of RAM to try and deal with this data.  We have some very elaborate schemes to queue and process the flood as it comes in.  We have to process the incoming data providing regions (gates) and statistics for everything and allow the operator to control the instrument including PMT voltages and fluidics control.

All that being said we have learned one very important lesson.  Customers need and want frequent updates.  Even if the fixes are small they feel forgotten and quickly get frustrated if they don't get updates.

For us this presents a huge problem because testing the software is very time consuming and complex.  It has taken me the better part of a year to re-design the groups involved to have two paths:

Rapid Release
Main

In Rapid Release we have 2 week sprints which means we have only the time to deal with small updates and critical fixes but from this branch our customers get regular (almost every two weeks) updates.  This has made a huge difference in our customer response.  We are able to address irritations and issues in a timely fashion.

In Main we take on much more risk and releases are more like 6-10 weeks apart.  Most of my daily time is spent managing the team and ensuring that critical fixes are cross applied between the branches.  I spend a lot of time merging and diffing code between the branches.

I'm accomplishing this with a team of 6 developers, 1 who is part time.  We are making it work and the results are obvious.  Our customers are for the first time in a while extremely pleased since their issues are being dealt with.

I'm not here to tell Flex how to do their jobs.  I'm simply saying we are making it work.  Our code is C# and consists of:

3650 Source files containing 3,539,849 lines of real code not counting blank lines or comments.  So our project is relatively huge.  We have however managed to spread our knowledge so most of the 6 developers including myself can find, fix and update the code.  There are a few exceptions of course.

We do all of this and in parallel we are starting a brand new robotics project which is already starting to get sizable.  We are approaching 400,000 lines of code in that project.

My point to all of this is Flex says "software is the radio" and I believe we should be seeing regular software updates.  I think there have been updates but there are some here that feel they do not address the critical needs.   I am hopeful we see this start to change!
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Mark - WS7M

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Posted 12 months ago

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WV9L

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And putting dates out there and not coming thru on them time and time again, just kills the faith of customers in the company. Dont put dates out on the site, over the phone, on forums, in person, then when you dont meet them, try to claim they were just tenetative. If thats the case, dont tell us anything. You cant make those kinds of statements and then not meet them, and be mad when customers are upset. I highly doubt that the 6400 and 6600 series will be shipping in Aug and Sept like they have been claiming. Fot those that have bought them, i hope they do. But, i myself chose not to, as i have no faith in those dates. Flex gave me a trade offer and i would have to ship my 6500 in now and then be off the air and wait for the new rig to ship. I chose not to do it, and risk seeing Santa come and go and still be off the air. To each their own. But i dont think the company is seeing the bad PR they are creating when they site timelines on all this stuff and repeteldy fall thru.
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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LOL... One good reason I stay in software and only do electronics with stuff I know I can get.  I think the lead time thing would drive anyone crazy!
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Cal Spreitzer

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Based on Gerald's post above regarding components,  a 24 week lead time puts whatever component into Dec 2017.   I hope that doesn't mean the 6400/6600 release gets delayed past then???  dejavu once again...  lol

Cal/N3CAL
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Quick reread is the list is current but the parts orders were done from a different list months ago.

I'm hoping the long lead times is because FRS grabbed so much current production!

Have a fabulous 4th and catch you on the air!

73

Steve
K9ZW
(Edited)
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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@Steve, @Carl

The list is yesterday.  We placed large production quantity orders earlier this year before the lead times stretched.  You don't know exactly where you are until the kits are driven from the MRP system and kitted for the line.  When 100% of the kits are 100% complete and ready to go on the line is when you know for sure where you are.

We sometimes have situations where you are promised a part on a certain date and the supplier says "oops" when you call to say where are my parts.  We had that with a major distributor last year who had just done a major conversion to a SAP ERP system and their delivery times were screwed up on a worldwide basis for months.  They could not tell you with any certainty when you would get parts.  This hurt us big time on products we have built for years and caused us to go stock out on most of our radios a few months ago.  Not sure they have fully recovered yet from the conversion disaster.  It cost them two major semiconductor product lines that I know of, which are now moved to their largest competitor.  

We have to work these issues all the time in conjunction with our manufacturing partner.

Gerald
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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We see the same sorts of issues in my industry, and also with software conversions that create industry-wide disruption.

Juggling resource availability is a significant issue.  The ripple effect of a refinery fire or unplanned outage reducing the supply of a raw component - and why does that always happen when currency movements have already added availability pressure? - lead to vendor production limitations/delays that affect our performance third hand away.  Let's not even talk about the woes that trucking issues add!

Hope everyone has a great Holiday Weekend!


73

Steve K9ZW

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Mark - N7MHB

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I would rather wait a little longer for a stable product then have them rush and have a buggy one.  after all this equipment and software is for a hobby not a business.  I work for a constructions company that is currently doing a nuclear project.  our software people disappoint sometimes but I would rather have a stable product.  Keep up the good work. 
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WV9L

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I agree. Id rather have solid software than flaky. My point was that they need to quit releasing dates in advance.
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Mark - N7MHB

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everyone does it.  they have a projected release date.  If during the last batch of testing they find something wrong they need time to fix it.  Take Apple for example.  they told us there Earpods would be out at a certain time and found a problem with the bluetooth.  It delayed the release.  We all survived.
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Michael Coslo

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I'm happy to wait a little. I have  a radio that already kicks tushy.

A question for the people whho take great umbrage at Flex not putting out software exactly on a date announced months in advance. 

Would you rather get a product "on time" product that has a lot of problems, or wait a little longer for a better product. 

Life has taught me that the two things are often mutually exclusive. 
(Edited)
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Dave - WB5NHL

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Gerald, I just wanted to let you know there are some of us out here that completely understand the production battles you fight. I ,for one, have vivid memories of standing in front of a VP for major defense contractor trying to explain why a $15M radar wouldn't ship on time due to a component supplier (a few dollars) not shipping. Daily calls pleading with the supplier had no effect and when a design/performance depends on the component, substitution/redesign only makes the delay worse.  Keep battling.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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A lot comes down to communications.  Ample, accurate, and occasional aggregate catch-up summaries would be awesome.

I really liked getting FlexInsiders regularly, but do I know how when a team is busy how hard it is to get newsletters out.

Like many industries, I work in a schedule intense line of work where end clients would always like something better than what reality ever could be for delivery schedules.  I've found some traction in earning better customer satisfaction in giving schedules based on dates from an achieved milestone(s).  Rather than saying we will start your project on August 28th, we learned the hard way to say start would be roughly x number of weeks after contracts and submittals are all complete, including all owner option selections. 

Seems to work better than going into print that a certain date is the start.

I do say I admire FRS for NOT pushing a partial/not-ready product out to meet an envisioned date.

To all have a fantastic 4th of July long weekend (sorry for those who have to work Monday or through the weekend) and 73,

Steve K9ZW

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Jd Dupuy

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Good post! I have been waiting to see some basic features finally get included in the software that are missing. I have been stable through every release so far and pleased. I too have held off placing any new order for the new models until I see the software updates in the next 6 months. Then I will decide to order a new model. Until then I will continue to enjoy what I have. I wish I had more time to operate but the demand for new houses has me and my crew building at a record pace. Flex has changed a lot over the past 5 years. One of the key players and my point of contact left the company. Information to the community on anything seems to come very slow these days. Hopefully the software will make a leap during the next release. Until then I hope daily progress goes good for all in Texas!
(Edited)
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Bob G W1GLV

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Don't forget, Version 2.0 was promised for January 2017 release.
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Michael Coslo

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Promised? I'm rather surprised that anyone would make a promise that 2 would be ready then.
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KK9W - Steve

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I have been hearing about version 2 for over 2 years now.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Of course you have been hearing about it for a long time.

But don't forget that a lot that we all thought we would have to wait for Version 2.x to get was brought forward into a Version 1.x release.

And as a credit to FRS ethics they didn't just name them with the original Version 2.x projected titles to force everyone to pay for a major upgrade.

It may be helpful to remember that dates really should be considered "projected dates" or "not before dates" than deadlines when something new is being created.

You know it feels kind of cool to know that once the Alpha's and FRS pass the code as a RC (Release Candidate) that we're a QC cycle(s) away from GA (General Availability?) release.

No marketing types quarantining the GA code to figure out the very last angle to milk end users for upgrade fees or playing marketplace games controlling releases to do market positioning against competitors.

Just the plain old when it is ready, we will send it out that FRS has done over an over.

I've lost track how many versions of SmartSDR I've received (I think it was in excess of 16-18 or more) which has been fabulous.  Just like those installment collectors clubs or study courses one started with from the back of Boys Life magazine.  And like that I have the eagerness for what's next??!! 

BTW I'd first written on some of the features back in 2012:

https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/flex-6700-fantasies-dreaming-what-might-be-series/

It is neat to see so many guesses/predictions come out in the successive releases!

73

Steve K9ZW


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Andrew Thall

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I was a manufacturer's representative for many years.  The one thing I learned was that whatever I was to tell the customer, they had to be able to take that information to the bank.  They may not like the promised by date, but, they knew in advance that they could count on it. 
I am making a guess here, but I suspect that much the new SmartSDR code is probably incorporated into their commercial equipment software and making sure that works properly is where the BIG BUCKS are.  For that, stability is of tantamount importance.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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Andrew, SmartSDR is 100% developed for the amateur market but we do have commercial/government users who buy our amateur products (COTS).  Amateur is our primary market.
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Neil D Friedman N3DF

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I like having updates that are as thoroughly tested and debugged as possible.

I like having FRS' best estimates of dates for upcoming major changes, even if they are only best estimates.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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Neil, unfortunately people take our sincere best estimates, which are based on the information we have at the given time and they turn them into obligations. Damned if we do - damned if we don't. We gave up on public road maps a few years ago for that very reason.  By the way we have delivered on every single feature on the original public road map plus a host of other unique features that were never promised in version 1.  SmartLink is the very last publicly promised software feature from the past.  I think we will move more toward total silence in the future with a few exceptions when it makes strategic sense.

73,
Gerald
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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In case you all did not read my public communication earlier this week regarding SmartSDR v2.0 here it is again:

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/is-smartsdr-v2-0-ready

We are still expecting to go to the alpha/beta test team with a Release Candidate today.  As stated in my earlier post, we will only go to general release it after it is free of known critical bugs.  They were down to two issues this morning to be competed today for the RC to go out.

@Mark

We do rapid release sprints as well to a fairly sizable "alpha team" of customers who represent many use cases across ham radio.  The sprints are typically 2 weeks on the front end of a release cycle and come closer to 1 week toward the end as we are down to bug fixes.  With a RC, the cycles can get less than 1 week.  

You have a big difference in your business in that your customers are professional/commercial and ours are consumer.  I spent my early career on with your type of customer and there is a huge difference.  My experience is not good with rapid releases to the broad consumer population across a huge number of use cases and wide range of skill levels.

I don't have the exact numbers but I am betting our code base is approaching the size of yours.  Our radios have five processors plus large two large FPGA code bases.  Maestro has five processors plus the main display CPU.  We developed and maintain GUIs on PC and Maestro.  That totals 14 code images that all interact in a real time system.  There are also variant code bases for different models to maintain.

Regarding a v1.11 maintenance release.  We are planning to use the v2 code base to build the maintenance release because it has all of the bug fixes and performance enhancements completed over the last few months.  We will plan to wait for a little time until we get the feedback from v2 before rolling out v1.11 so that we take care issues that might come up in that release and roll them into v1.11.  I will not give a date for v1.11.  There may be a few maintenance releases (v2.0.x) before v1.11 if we need to fix bugs in v2.0, so we can roll them into v1.11 before release.

Later there will be a 2.1, 2.2, etc. with as yet to be determined features.  Someday there will be a version 3.0, 4.0, etc.  We intend for those to work across the entire FLEX-6000 family of products within their respective hardware capabilities.  We have a wish list that we work from but we will not announce what those the new features are until the are in concrete.  Our internal desire is to move to shorter public release cycles but that is not a promise of cycle time.  It all depends on how complex the feature is.  Some take man months and others man hours.

If you are not interested in v2.0 then wait to see what comes in v2.1, 2.2, etc. or go to v1.11 when it comes out and never upgrade.  

So that is the complete status with the best information I have today - June 30, 2017.

73,
Gerald
K5SDR
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Gerald,

I hear you about customer base.  In our case we pretty much have to do this.  But one thing we made made clear is just because we do rapid release sprints there is no guarantee that any particular rapid release goes anywhere except in the books. 

We've actually done two recently that were exactly that.  Internal feature fix releases for the most part because they were not deemed worthy of the trouble to update real customers with.

But I think what we are trying to achieve is a shotgun effect where we have this set of Rapid Release and we can test each and usually we will find one that is stable and good for customer release.

Anyway, I also completely recognize that 1.x to 2.x is a big jump with many new features.  We do our rapid releases within a major release, not around the edges of one.  I'm sure you do the same.

As the title of my post stated I will continue to wait and support FRS.  My comment here was more to point out one way of doing this stuff.  You are already doing it so good to hear.
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W9YU

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just curious how the purchase of version 2 will be handled.  I assume all that want to upgrade will have to pay in some manner prior to doing the upgrade? Can we pay in advance so we don't have to wait in line when V2.0 is released trying to pay?
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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I think the payment system is robust enough to handle anything we as hams can throw at it.
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Andrew Thall

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Thanks for the TRUTH from the horse's mouth!
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Mike W1BFA in Maine

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Looks like I can spend the long weekend hanging with the family and cooking hot dogs rather than checking this darned website every 20 minutes! Happy 4th everyone.. Mike W1BFA

Bet I'm not the only one that's been driving the traffic up
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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@Mark WS7M

>3650 Source files containing 3,539,849 lines of real code 

3.5 MILLION NCSLs is yuuuuudge.  I don't even want to think about a project that size.  The core portion of the Windows OS (no drivers, no HALs, etc) is only about 2 million lines.  A project of 3.5M non-commented source lines scares me.

@Gerald K5SDR

>Damned if we do - damned if we don't

This, times 100.  Haters gonna hate.

Keep doing the right thing: Release stuff that you're proud of, not stuff that makes you want to hide under your desk when the installer gets posted. That's what Flex has always done. Some people won't like it, and will whine.  A whole lot more people would have whined a lot worse if you released something less functionally complete or less reliable.

Go home and enjoy the long weekend.

Peter
K1PGV
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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@Peter
My goal every day is to move the ball forward on things where I have control and be at peace with the things I cannot control.  Someone wise much before my time said that in a slightly different way.  I know that it is impossible to make everyone happy so I don't even try.
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Dave Dave

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Just a basic Squelch..... I have a Cadillac without basic Power Steering.
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Michael Coslo

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Squelch is just one of those strange things. It appears that some here find it more important than most features - going by the number of complaints -  and I have never ever used a squelch on HF on any radio other than VHF, and Flex has that. On my Icoms with the weird combo RF-Gain/Squelch knob, I've always gone into the menu to turn it into RF gain only.

I'm much more interested in Tim's barbecue drawer and beer tap feature request. That's critical!  8^)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Doing an alpha test tomorrow with a 7 lb prime brisket point.  Testing begins at 4:00am.  Seriously.
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Mark - N7MHB

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we have 4 lb of BBQ chicken and a pound of pulled pork. baked beans, homemade lemonade. 7 adults, 2 kids and 4 dogs.  thats just a start.
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Ryan - NC4RA

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Jay / NO5J

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Further Flexer discussions of ?????Squelch might help get it created by providing the definition of what ?????Squelch should be designed to actually do.

Saying "It" doesn't BLAH, so give us BLAH, NOW! won't make BLAH happen. You first have to define BLAH.

Do we want LegacySquelch, or SmartSquelch. How long should LegacySquelch delay the creation of SmartSquelch. and how long should either delay the release of the the next user requested feature, or the next Bug Fix. 

Anyone have any idea what type of Squelch controls they want, or where exactly they want them to be put, within the GUI? 

Since SimpleSquelch isn't built-in yet, when I need Squelch I use FRStacks 3rd party SimpleSquelch, whenever I need SimpleSquelch. Quite often I get by without any SimpleSquelch, with only a few simple tweaks to the AGC-T settings, I also don't care to listen to empty band noise so I turn it down with the volume controls, or find a more interesting frequency to listen to, one with some audible signals present. 

We "can" wait for SmartSquelch to be defined. or we could set about designing it, ourselves and then requesting it to be added when we know what we want it to be.

Software Defined Radio can also be User Defined Radio, once the Users Define it.

     SDRgadgets

#FlexRadio IRC chat

   73, Jay - NO5J

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Lee, Elmer

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I know when v 2 will be released, when it's ready. I'm an anesthesiologist by profession and you would not believe the number of patients who want to know how long the surgery is going to take. It takes as long as it takes and not a minute more. Only a dumbass would base his surgery on speed and not success. Flex could have put out a version and called it version 2 at any time and charged you for it. Instead they have continued to add value to version 1 month after month year after year. What's the reward? Bitchin. Maybe they should put out version 3 in 6 months and charge you another $200. Bet you all would be real happy then.

73 W9OY
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Dave Dave

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Ive figured out why on Squelch....

Apparently if a radio has Squelch the operator is somehow forced to use it or the radio will go into thermal meltdown, This is apparently a problem with only flex radios.

Nothing else makes any sense, I mean if a feature so basic as a squelch could simply NOT BE USED then surely the people that don't want Squelch would have no comments.

2 to 8 receivers and no squelch...... Cadillac with no AC....... I see no difference.
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Dave Dave

Flex usually priorities new features by consumer demand and resources required to implement it

While I personally have never used squelch on HF in my 59 years as a ham and don't recall talking to anyone else who uses it, I can understand that there are use cases for a small number of users.

In searching this forum, I could not find a lot of people (except for your myriad of requests) who were asking for squelch.

Perhaps, rather than belaboring the point over and over and over again, you might want to start a new thread requesting votes for Squelch. To be fair you might want to list other features people might want like VISIBLE COLOR SCHEMES, SPOTS ON DISPLAY, AUTOMATIC AGC-T (to name a few of my desires) and ask people to prioritize them

That way Flex might get a non-scientific indication as to how important these features are to customers and how many people might want them

If I were making the list it would be
1.VISIBLE COLOR SCHEMES,
2. SPOTS ON DISPLAY,
3. AUTOMATIC AGC-T
4. Multi-client
5. Better NR
6. ........
..........
999. Squelch

Obviouslt y YMMV

Frankly I suspect you will get much more traction if you can collect a number of prioritized requests than continual belaboring the point ad naseum.
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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On the spot,Howard. I only would like to add a point 

6. locking a slice in the middle of the panafall and moving the panafall horizontally
while tuning, not the slice. See PowerSDR. Should be an option. 

73, Alex - DH2ID
(Edited)
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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No need to create a thread for it.
Here is a thread lets vote for it

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/squelch

A lot of people do not understand or use the VOTING feature.
When you LIKE an IDEA please click here:


(Not that it will do any good.... The whole idea that our votes in the community for features make a difference doesn't hold a lot of water IMHO.)

There are 133 conversations about squelch.
It is a 4 year old request that it is still Under Consideration.

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KK9W - Steve

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It won't do any good. It is what it is. Do you think the new series of radio's will be shipping in July or August . . . Doubtful. You hear people talk on various frequencies and their talk about flex is " Flex is a nice radio but you have to wait forever for the basics" Heard that last week from a ham. I have put my new flex on hold because of this. If they ever kept a roll out date for something I'de be shocked.

So everyone wait and wait . . . and wait . . . and wait . . . and wait.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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@Salvador,
Yes, there are a lot of good and old ideas on the list.  And voting them up doesn't really seem to get them addressed quickly but at least one of them has made it to V2.   The "pop out" panadapter is basically what was asked for in the second highest requested idea.   It has been on the list for 3 years and has 68 votes.  

@Howard,
It looks like most of the ideas you mentioned are also at the top of the wanted list too.  They are at the top of my list too.  Maybe now that V2 is almost done we will see some of them start to show up.  

FWIW, I'm in the group that doesn't plan on using the WAN feature but understand why it is important to the company and many other customers.  FRS needed to prioritize it for those reasons.  I'm much more interested in the other requests that have been on the top pf the list for up to 4 years and really hope we see them in the next year or so.

Here is a snapshot of the TOP 7 ideas with the number of votes highlighted.   CLICK to enlarge.



There are 1,000+ ideas on the list, so most likely your favorite is already there.  Add your comments and a vote, it may actually help. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Al and Dave Dave

The point I was saying is that Squelch does not seem to have that many votes
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Rich McCabe

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I missed squelch when I first got my 6500 because my Icom 7800 had a really nice soft squelch that I used on SSB often.  But once I started learning how to use AGC-T I quickly forgot about it.

Rich
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Norm - W7CK

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Try that with 8 slices.