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Author Topic: Flex 5000a - Can Not Take it Anymore  (Read 102094 times)
N8FNR
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Posts: 136




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« Reply #90 on: April 01, 2011, 08:34:04 PM »

I really don't understand this Flex fanboy name calling. If you think that you won't like the like the radio don't buy one. This is like the Chevy vs Ford name calling from the past. They are both cars and will get you where you want to go one way or another. But if you like XXXX and hate XXXXX nothing anyone says will change your mind. Don’t like Coke, buy a Pepsi (or RC Cola)!
 
Hell, buy a Marconi spark rig if it pleases you. Now there is a radio that does not need a PC OR KNOBS. That is a real ham rig. Like real manly men buy.

And don’t get me wrong. I admire those who own R-390’s and use homebrew transmitters.

Now I must admit that I do own a Flex-5000 so that must make me a fanboy, loser, know nothing. Hell, I sold a loaded TS-850S and a FT-100D (what a dog that rig was) and a Flex SDR-1000 to pay for it. What was I thinking? To date it has been my best ham radio purchase ever. There is no way that I would go back to an old fashioned rig with knobs. Check out my eham review http://www.eham.net/reviews/review/80800

Have I had any RFI issues to date? No, none, nada., I have a Steppir BigIR in my backyard about 75 feet from my house, have a decent but not great ground and at the feedpoint there is a current choke (DXE-VFCC-H10-A) from DX Engineering. Also put in 32, 33 foot radials BTW. I worked Mongolia JT1CO twice in late February 2010 at 02:20 GMT from Michigan with this setup on CW when the SFI was 83.

I Have the rig integrated with DDUTIl, PSDR, CW Skimmer, Afreet Bandmaster, DXLab, HRD and WSJT. They all work and talk perfectly with the rig. And I did not need an interface to get them all to talk. Gee, that makes me sad that I did not have to buy another piece of equipment.

Something else that I have not had to buy is filters. I regularly operate with 25hz filters in heavy CW contest conditions with virtually no interference from adjacent stations. How do you other guys get by with 250hz filters?

I just priced a K3 that is comparably equipped at $4400. A Flex-5000 comes in a $3600.. They both include subreceivers and built in ATU. Of course the K3 requires you to buy filters that I don’t need.

Every few months I download the latest PSDR software and have essentially a new rig. Today I upgraded from v1.85.5 to v2.0.22 and have to say that it is a remarkably quietier.

BTW, the only HF rig that I own is the Flex-5000. Is it perfect? No. That rig will never exist. However you will have to pry my dead cold hands from it to get it away from me.

When I bought the SDR-1000 I found a rig that turned radio into a visual experience. I was hooked and never looked back. And that is why I have a Flex-5000 now. So tell me  why would you NOT want a rig with a realtime panadapter that gives you an idea as to what is going on?

73
Zack
N8FNR

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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #91 on: April 02, 2011, 06:19:05 AM »


This is where you need to review the 2nd meaning of the phrase, "anecdotal evidence." One of the meanings is to reach a conclusion that is not necessarily supported by the facts. I accept that it happened and the poor guy was embarrassed. What I do not accept is your conclusion that it obviously occurred because of a failure of PowerSDR or Windows. I am not saying that it is not possible that a failure of PowerSDR or Windows was the cause. I am suggesting that it is more likely that the problem was RF-in-the-shack and that the operator would have been as well served by solving the RF problem, as you suggested to me WRT my problem with the K2 running PSK31.

Given the number of Flex radios out there running and the infrequent failure in the manner you describe suggests to me that the problem is not one of software failure. But we won't ever know for sure so the point is forever moot.

BTW Gene, "spin" works both ways. You and several others here have your own "spin" on Flex. Your "spin" is to always assume fault and intentional misrepresentation on the part of Flex. My experience is different. I don't wear rose-colored glasses but I can still see that things are a lot better than you would represent them. Flaws and all, and I happen to think there are plenty, I still happen to like the Flex radios better than other commercial products. And the thing I like best is that they have actually done something new and different.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL

This is another example of your tendency to spin and twist on anything Flex.   When you accused me of presenting anecdotal evidence, I was discussing the RF amp overdrive issue that you have admitted was Flex's fault.  I was not discussing the lock up of the guy's Flex-5000 that I heard live on the air.  There was no anecdotal evidence involved with the overdrive issue because I was physically present in the shack to witness the problem when my friend could reproduce the overdrive issue on demand.  What exactly is anecdotal about this?

You now twist the subject around (that I was talking about the PowerSDR lock up I heard on the air) so it fits your claim of anecdotal evidence.  Maybe that case was RFI, but you were not there either so you are giving anecdotal evidence when you say it was RFI related.  Even if it actually was RFI related, it demonstrates another issue with Flex radios - they are overly sensitive to RFI.  A search of the Flex Radio archives will reveal hundreds of messages about bad RFI issues with the Flex.  Flex has had many radios returned within the first 30 days because of guys having RFI issues with a very expensive, unrefined black box radio.

Gene

Whether it was RFI related, driver related, PowerSDR related, or PC hardware related, here is the message posted by me that you are referring to:

-----------------------
"A few months ago while using my Flex-5000a I was in a QSO with another Ham who was also using his Flex-5000a.  He was running approximately 800 watts out on 40meters.  While transmitting he opened the transmit equalizer dialog box.  He had been just a few minutes earlier extolling the virtues of the Flex-5000a and PowerSDR in general to a crowd of guys listening.  He wanted to demonstrate how nice it was to have a built-in transmit equalizer. In mid sentence either his PowerSDR or Windows locked up and all I heard was a stuttering "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ..." for like 30 seconds.  I seriously thought the poor guy was having a stroke or seizure!  No kidding.  On my spectrum display I could see that he suddenly was splattering at least 20 kHz up and down the band causing interference to all those around us with his 800 watts of "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ...".  After about 5 minutes, he came back on the air to explain what had happened.  He finally had to resort to pulling the power to stop the stuttering loop that the computer had gone into.  

It was the funniest and most pitiful thing that I have ever heard live on the air.  I can still hear and laugh about the half a minute of wide band, 800 watt "uhuhuhuh puh puh puh uh uh uhuhuhuhuh uh uh  puh puh uh uh ..." noises today.  I felt bad for him as he said it was one of the most embarrassing moments in his 40+ years of Hamming.

Gene

EDIT:  He no longer has his Flex-5000a.  He now owns a K3 with a P3 panadapter."
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« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 06:40:49 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
KE5JPP
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« Reply #92 on: April 02, 2011, 06:36:20 AM »


So tell me  why would you NOT want a rig with a realtime panadapter that gives you an idea as to what is going on?


You can have a real time panadapter with the Elecraft K3 by adding the Elecraft P3.  No need to buy a RFI prone, bug ridden, unrefined, expensive-for-what-it-is radio like the Flex.  Wink

The K3 performs much better than the Flex too.  See this link http://www.sherweng.com/table.html  The phase noise of the Flex-5000a is particularly terrible.  Actually the Flex-5000a LO phase noise is the worst of the top 10 in that list.

Had I not bought my Flex-5000a used, I would have returned my Flex-5000a within the first 30 days and purchased an Elecraft K3/P3 myself.  With the K3/P3 you are not tied to a PC operating system with buggy, lockup prone software.   Doing DSP in the PC for a commercial radio manufacturer is just crazy.  Elecraft got it right.  I just wish Elecraft would make a bigger brother K4 with the same features/performance as the K3.

Gene
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 06:48:20 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
K0OD
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Posts: 2532




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« Reply #93 on: April 02, 2011, 08:56:45 AM »

So, where are all of these "dumped" Flex-5000's for sale? Stan sold his quickly. I see more K3s for sale lately than 5000's. I also see several WTB ads for Flex radios.





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KE5JPP
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« Reply #94 on: April 02, 2011, 09:13:51 AM »

So, where are all of these "dumped" Flex-5000's for sale? Stan sold his quickly. I see more K3s for sale lately than 5000's. I also see several WTB ads for Flex radios.







The ones I was speaking of have been returned to Flex Radio under their 30 day refund policy.  They have not been "dumped" on the market.  Presumably they have been recycled as new and sold to someone else by Flex.

If you bother to look, you will see a lot of used Flex Radios out there.  I am also willing to bet that Elecraft has sold more K3s than Flex has sold 5000s, so it would not be a big surprise if you see more K3s for sale generally.  On the air, I hear a lot more former Flex owners that have gone to K3s or FT5000s lately.

Gene
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 09:17:32 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
K0OD
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Posts: 2532




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« Reply #95 on: April 02, 2011, 09:48:04 AM »

Many of the Flexes for sale are old toy-like SDR-1000s which isn't surprising. I agree that Flexes can be quirky, especially on CW. However they can do some things better than any ham-priced radio. PSDR is getting better. Above all, flex radios are a lot of fun. They probably aren't ideal as a "first radio" for appliance ops.  But they aren't being "dumped" into the market. They seem to have excellent resale value.

Quote
If you bother to look, you will see a lot of used Flex Radios out there.
Yes, I have bothered to look and I don't see many for sale. Check for yourself...
http://www.eham.net/classifieds/

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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #96 on: April 02, 2011, 12:00:22 PM »

Many of the Flexes for sale are old toy-like SDR-1000s which isn't surprising. I agree that Flexes can be quirky, especially on CW. However they can do some things better than any ham-priced radio. PSDR is getting better. Above all, flex radios are a lot of fun. They probably aren't ideal as a "first radio" for appliance ops.  But they aren't being "dumped" into the market. They seem to have excellent resale value.

Quote
If you bother to look, you will see a lot of used Flex Radios out there.
Yes, I have bothered to look and I don't see many for sale. Check for yourself...
http://www.eham.net/classifieds/



Doing a google search comes up with quite a few.

Gene
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N8FNR
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Posts: 136




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« Reply #97 on: April 02, 2011, 02:00:38 PM »

Wow there are a lot of Flex rigs for sale on eham!
Well maybe not.

Did a search for Flex-5000 and found this one.
Whoops, This guy wants to BUY a 5000. Shocking.
http://www.eham.net/classifieds/detail/334085


Looked for Flex-3000. No results.

Then I searched for Flex-1500. Some guy wants to buy an amp for it. None for sale however.
http://www.eham.net/classifieds/detail/339125

Last of all I searched for SDR-1000. Found two for sale.
http://www.eham.net/classifieds/detail/340081
http://www.eham.net/classifieds/detail/335445

Did a seach for flex radio and flexeradio. There is a guy that want to BUY a
Flex-1500. What an idiot.
http://www.eham.net/classifieds/detail/336755

So on eham there are 2 SDR-1000s for sale and 2 guys that want to BUY
flex rigs. Another guy wants to buy an amp for his Flex-1500.

Looked on QRZ and there are a some for sale. Some have been sold.
http://forums.qrz.com/forumdisplay.php?7-Ham-Radio-Gear-For-Sale


Found 2 Flex-1500s for sale on ebay from dealers.
http://electronics.shop.ebay.com/Radios-CB-Ham-Shortwave-/1500/i.html?_nkw=flexradio&_catref=1&_fln=1&_trksid=p3286.c0.m282

Also found a SDR-1000 on ebay. There 16 bids and it was at $510.00
http://cgi.ebay.com/FLEX-RADIO-SDR-1000-/150583402610?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item230f786072

Yep looks like a lot of people are dumping their Flex rigs. A total of 3. What a shocking statistic.

Zack
N8FNR
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W8JX
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« Reply #98 on: April 02, 2011, 04:33:14 PM »

I worked a guy the other night on 40 using a flex and there was some QRN and the studio quality audio was hard to copy but I did not have the heart to tell him that it was poor quality for conditions. There will never be one on my bench.
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #99 on: April 02, 2011, 05:36:16 PM »

I worked a guy the other night on 40 using a flex and there was some QRN and the studio quality audio was hard to copy but I did not have the heart to tell him that it was poor quality for conditions. There will never be one on my bench.

I have heard a few guys operating Flex radios with bad audio quality and distortion.  Most of the time the audio distortion is related to the Flex's extreme sensitivity to RFI.  

Even the 2010 Flex Official GoodWill Ambassador admits that Flex radios have problems with RFI.  Wink

Gene
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 05:39:25 PM by KE5JPP » Logged
ZENKI
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Posts: 906




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« Reply #100 on: April 02, 2011, 05:38:23 PM »

All the Flexradios that i have heard on the air that has been set up for normal communications DX quality audio sound good. Flexradios produce very good SSB signals that are not compressed by ALC  like the badly designed analog radios, so they sound very clean.

Well you cant blame Flexradio for a audiophool who has poor grounding, poor antennas and has 5 miles of boxes attached to his radio.

Most of these ESSB types dont know what they doing.  Anybody who thinks that you can squeeze 5 pounds of  bandwidth down a  2 pounds of  analog SSB  bandwidth has a poor understanding of technology.

These ESSB operators are  good at buying boxes and adjusting knobs and  mostly have poor technical skills.  Just listen to the excessive levels of splatter from most of these stations, the ones that dont  splatter you can barely count on one hand. If they knew what they were doing there would be no splatter or RF issues.

As for the Flexradio,,,, who do you blame? The Flex hardware, computer issues, poor antenna, poor grounding  or Powersdr? etc etc etc.  Hams that I know who have bought a Flexradio and plugged a normal MIC into the radio with a properly grounded or balanced antennas have all had good quality on all Flexradio models.

As for being a good radio platform  for taking hams into the future,,, thats another subject!

When Flexradio produces  a decent transmitter with no spurs, trash and low IMD I might buy one. I am really  concerned about transmitter IMD performance, so I wont be buying a Flexradio for a long time I guess.



I worked a guy the other night on 40 using a flex and there was some QRN and the studio quality audio was hard to copy but I did not have the heart to tell him that it was poor quality for conditions. There will never be one on my bench.
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K0OD
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« Reply #101 on: April 02, 2011, 05:53:11 PM »

Shame on that guy for having a "studio" sound and not making it tinnier for YOUR taste and for QRN conditions on YOUR end. Flex transmit (and receive) audio is quite adjustable. I use the DX profile and a Heil DX cartridge. But many hams prefer a studio sound for ragchewing. The Flex satisfies both tastes... but not at the same time! I've never heard a Flex that sounded bad (or wide) on SSB.

Are you going to tell us next that a K3 sounds better?  
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W8JX
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« Reply #102 on: April 02, 2011, 07:18:40 PM »

All the Flexradios that i have heard on the air that has been set up for normal communications DX quality audio sound good. Flexradios produce very good SSB signals that are not compressed by ALC  like the badly designed analog radios, so they sound very clean.

That all depends on what you call clean. I would say they generally make good HiFi audio but nature of it is for strong signal QSO's not weaker ones because the audio bandpass and shape is not conducive with good intelligibility under less than ideal conditions. The QSO that I had that was a tuff copy would have be  a easy copy if guy had not been running flex audio. There is two kinds of audio. Hi Fi audio that if okay with Q5 signals or better and communications quality audio that also works well under less than ideal conditions too. Flex has first but not the later and if I have to choose i would take later over HiFi any day.
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K0OD
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« Reply #103 on: April 02, 2011, 08:55:48 PM »

I can see why Flex execs find this group frustrating.

Switching from a mellow hi fi audio transmit profile to a punchy DX audio profile can be done from the front panel ... even while transmitting... in less than a second.
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W8JX
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« Reply #104 on: April 02, 2011, 09:21:54 PM »

I can see why Flex execs find this group frustrating.

Yes because it shows that all is not well in with their radios and their design limitations.

Switching from a mellow hi fi audio transmit profile to a punchy DX audio profile can be done from the front panel ... even while transmitting... in less than a second.

This might be true but I have yet to hear a flex radio using it.
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