BTW, that QST review didn't seem all that negative to me.
73 de Brian,
If you want the truth it pays to do some homework on your own. ;-)
Given a choice between getting the truth from the Flexradio Ambassador or QST magazine I will take my chances with QST.
That is fine. They give you one data point. I gave several, complete with actual measurements. Full-power IMD measurements are always higher. But it does not surprise me that you missed the point of my message.
Ambassador Brian says Not Negative ? Lets see here:
From the QST Reviewer
CW Performance and latency so bad the reviewer resorted to an external non-flex keyer -Sound Familar
No, that is not what he said. What he said was this:
"CW performance using the internal keyer remains a problem because there is a significant delay (see Figure 1) between the fingers and what is sent over the air and as a sidetone. At any speed over 20 WPM, the delay made sending difficult for me even after optimizing the USB interface control settings. This is due to USB interface issues not under the control of PowerSDR as noted in the section below on PC Dependencies. I was able to use an external keyer with the FLEX-1500 sidetone turned off."
This does not say that CW performance is bad, only that the latency in the sidetone at speeds over 20WPM is annoying so he used an external keyer. So, I think you are stretching a bit Stan.
CW Break-in causes clicks in audio and sudden display changes.CW Transmit SPURS
These spurs are easily seen and noted in the Spectral Display and review text. Sound Familar??
Yes, there appears to be something at +/- 1kHz. One side is -41dB and the other is -50dB. Are they keying sidebands or real spurs? That is not clear.
The Flexradio 1500 that QST purchased stopped working and had to be sent back to Flexradio for repairs.
Here is the exact quote:
"During initial testing in the Fall of 2010, our FLEX-1500 transmitter stopped working on 6 meters and we returned it to the factory for service. After repair (a bandpass filter had failed), testing revealed several issues including the CW keying latency discussed above, sidetone glitches, mediocre worst case transmit IMD on 40 meters and poor unwanted sideband rejection on transmit."
(Yup, sounds bad. But if you keep reading in the next paragraph ...)
"Subsequent versions of PowerSDR improved operation, and FlexRadio provided an alignment generator to adjust unwanted sideband suppression. The alignment procedure took about 5 minutes and increased the unwanted sideband suppression from 44 dB to 53 dB and the carrier suppression from 63 dB to 65 dB. All radios shipped in 2011 have had this alignment performed at the factory, and FlexRadio will provide an alignment generator on loan to those who have a FLEX-1500 shipped in 2010. Transmit IMD on 40 meters was still not great, but typical performance on the other bands is good."
Huh. The 1500 broke and Flex fixed it. I have certainly had that happen with products from other manufacturers. Also, Flex provides a calibration generator to anyone who wants it to correct the poor carrier and unwanted sideband suppression on older radios
. Current production radios don't have this problem. Also, even though IMD performance on 40m was a problem, he went on to add, "...but typical performance on the other bands is good." Huh. He used the word 'good' to describe the performance on other bands. So, when you read the whole thing, it doesn't sound nearly as bad to me as you make it out to be.
Mediocre worst case transmit IMD on 40 meters and poor unwanted sideband rejection on transmit.
Which, if you read the actual quote above, was solved.
Contest Operators will find the PSDR interface too busy and disjointed.
Yep, not negative says the Flexer..
That suggests a personal preference. Don't get me wrong, I think that the UI in PowerSDR is not very good. And I agree with the "too busy and disjointed" comment. But when it comes to UIs, one man's meat is another man's poison.
Now Please before all you Flex Lovers get ready to denounce me and call me names, remember I did NOT write this review. QST did. Don't disrespect the messenger just because you dislike QST's message...
Oh, I don't have any problem with the QST review at all. If you read the whole thing it seems, over all, pretty balanced, and not unduly negative. Sure you can cherry-pick the negative stuff and blow it out of proportion, something you do at almost every turn, but that doesn't make the review negative. In fact, I think it is spot on. In other words, I think the QST review is quite good.
Here is more of the review quoted:
"Whether the FLEX-1500 system will be right for you depends to some degree on your radio weltanschauung
or view of the world. Is the system a platform for experimentation or a communications tool? The system’s basic performance is good — it’s well instrumented and very flexible. For use as a spectrum analysis tool, it makes a very nice piece of lab equipment! As a techie, I loved the multiple displays, meters and controls."
Gosh, that sounded downright positive. "The system's basic performance is good -- it's well instrumented and very flexible," sounds like downright praise. Continuing:
"They were so cool, it was almost more fun to tune around the band than to make contacts — and there’s the rub.
A competitive operator will find the user interface too busy and the many controls simply too disjointed to operate without having to think about them, disrupting concentration. For example, using the CLICK-TUNE feature moves the spectrum across the display to center the filter in a fixed location. It’s fast but all of the waterfall information has to be rebuilt. Does the operator move across the spectrum or vice versa? These and similar questions never had to be answered before SDR became a reality."
In that I am 100% in agreement. It drives me crazy that click tuning moves the spectrum and ensures that the "memory" held in the waterfall is lost. I have been bugging Flex about that for a couple of years. So, yeah, there are bad things in the flex radios and PowerSDR. OTOH, there are good things too. How about we look at what they wrote under Bottom Line
"The FLEX-1500 provides excellent performance at an entry level price, assuming you have a satisfactory PC to host it. The Flexers, an active community of SDR enthusiasts, will become your best friends.
If you want a portable or mobile radio or don’t like to use computer interface devices, I’d recommend staying with a traditional standalone rig. However, if you want to experiment and jump into SDR the FLEX-1500 makes for an easy route."
Huh. The first words out of the reviewer's mouth for the Bottom Line were, "The Flex-1500 provides excellent performance at an entry level price."
Let's see, "... excellent performance..." Huh. I guess we derive different meanings because I normally associate the word 'excellent' with 'really good'.
Stan, I think we would all love to see you ass-less. Alas, that is unlikely to ever happen.
73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL