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eHam Forums => Software Defined Radio => Topic started by: KE5JPP on July 27, 2012, 02:34:51 PM



Title: Flex-5000
Post by: KE5JPP on July 27, 2012, 02:34:51 PM
Lot's of guys dumping their Flex-5000As on the Flex Radio mailing list lately.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on July 27, 2012, 06:03:10 PM
Lot's of guys dumping their Flex-5000As on the Flex Radio mailing list lately.

I have seen many for sale on QTH.com and QRZ the last few weeks. They do not seem to be selling fast and the price is dropping quite a bit. Same with the Flex 3000 and 1500.

An out of date, 2005 technology Flexradio is getting about as popular as a 2005 computer running Win XP...  :D :D

Stan K9IUQ



Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: KA4POL on July 27, 2012, 10:02:38 PM
Who cares?


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on July 28, 2012, 03:38:03 AM
Who cares?

Anyone selling or buying a Flexradio would care. Any Flex owner watching his investment in a Flexradio continue to decline would care.  :D

Stan K9IUQ




Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: N9RO on July 28, 2012, 06:05:42 AM
 I don't know what is dropping faster, the going price for a used Flex Radio or public opinion of Flex Radio Systems?  Perhaps when I sell my Flex 5000 and 3000 I may receive enough money from them both to take my wife and I out to dinner or fill my truck up with gas?

Tim  N9RO


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: G4PNX on July 28, 2012, 10:01:27 AM
When we get the announcement (Dayton 2013?) that 'Things have changed' and PSDR is dead you'll be lucky if you can give them away.

David


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: KA4POL on July 28, 2012, 12:02:41 PM
Anyone selling or buying a Flexradio would care. Any Flex owner watching his investment in a Flexradio continue to decline would care.  :D
They already know, I'm sure ;D


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: WD5GWY on July 28, 2012, 03:46:09 PM
When we get the announcement (Dayton 2013?) that 'Things have changed' and PSDR is dead you'll be lucky if you can give them away.

David
Great news!! I'm good on qrz.com and I will happily pay shipping!
 ;D
james
WD5GWY


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on July 28, 2012, 06:56:01 PM
Here is the ironic thing about all the flex sales, if you want an SDR transceiver to replace it, what are you going to buy that's going to beat it?  It's a genuine question and I think a valid one.

It speaks to the real motives for selling them in my mind.  I am guessing the top reasons people sell Flex 5000's right now are as follows.

Tried an SDR and it's not like they thought and or more difficult to get work and use than expected.
Want as much value as possible while waiting on their Flex 6K
Want to decrease their investment in their radio gear
Want a better performing rig ( likely going to cost as much or more than their flex - there are a few exceptions)

I have no reason to sell mine.  One thing to note about investments is that part of an investment is the value keeping something has for a predetermined time.   That's what's makes my truck a reasonable investment, I am planning 10 years ownership like my last truck.

I planned 5 years for the 5K and said that I need to learn to fully exploit it and out grow it to be able to consider breaking that deal with myself.

How many newer transceivers are there really to even choose from that out perform it?

Power SDR is buggy, but looking at SDR transceiver software,what do you replace it with?  Again, not many options.  

These are my questions and my two cents many won't likely appreciate, lol!


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on July 29, 2012, 09:48:30 AM
 One thing to note about investments is that part of an investment is the value keeping something has for a predetermined time.   That's what's makes my truck a reasonable investment, I am planning 10 years ownership like my last truck.

How many newer transceivers are there really to even choose from that out perform it?


Your truck or Flex 5K transceiver is NOT an investment

Investment= A placement of capital in expectation of deriving income or profit from its use (from Wiktionary)

There are many transceivers that are equal or outperform your Flex 5K. For instance (Real) Contesters would never choose a Flexradio. Why? They do not perform well in contests..

Go to http://www.sherweng.com/table.html
Any of the top 10 or 12 radios will equal or outperform a Flex 5K in everyday non-contest use.

Stan K9IUQ





Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: WD5GWY on July 29, 2012, 11:18:09 AM

Go to http://www.sherweng.com/table.html
Any of the top 10 or 12 radios will equal or outperform a Flex 5K in everyday non-contest use.

Stan K9IUQ


And all three of Flex's currently available line of transceivers are in that top 12.
Not too many other companies can make that claim. In fact, only TenTec can
lay claim to having three of their radios in the top 12. That's why I like my
new (to me) TenTec Jupiter. The only other radio I have that comes close to performing
as well as it does, is the Flex 1500 qrp rig I have. But, for overall comfortable listening, my Kenwood TS-830s is very good.
james
WD5GWY



Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on July 29, 2012, 12:25:27 PM
And all three of Flex's currently available line of transceivers are in that top 12.
Not too many other companies can make that claim. In fact, only TenTec can
lay claim to having three of their radios in the top 12.

Sherwoods RX list is good for bragging rights. I would not however buy a radio just because it is in his top ten list.  In blind tests, I would suggest that the average ham would have trouble picking out actual receive differences between any recent manufacture radio that are in the same price class.

When I was buying my Flex 5K 2 years ago I had extensive email conversations with Sherwood. His personal opinions of radios was eye opening. I was shocked when he told me what radios he actually owned and used. They were not in the top Ten of his list....

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: WD5GWY on July 29, 2012, 04:53:32 PM


Sherwoods RX list is good for bragging rights. I would not however buy a radio just because it is in his top ten list.  In blind tests, I would suggest that the average ham would have trouble picking out actual receive differences between any recent manufacture radio that are in the same price class.

When I was buying my Flex 5K 2 years ago I had extensive email conversations with Sherwood. His personal opinions of radios was eye opening. I was shocked when he told me what radios he actually owned and used. They were not in the top Ten of his list....

Stan K9IUQ
I don't doubt that at all. Looking at the numbers alone, it is hard to imagine anyone being able to tell the difference between a lot of the radios listed. But, as you said, for
bragging rights, lots of folks do carry on about their current favorite radio being at, or
near, the top, of Sherwood's list.  I know of one in particular that anytime that subject
is brought up, he instantly starts touting his Yaesu  FTDX-5000D as being the best of the best according to Sherwood. I have tried out the FTDX-5000D and it is indeed a very nice radio. And it should be for the premium price it commands. But, is it better than my Jupiter or even a Collins 32S? The numbers on Sherwood's list say it is. But, in real life tests, it may or may not.
  Anyway, I do find all this very interesting.
james
WD5GWY


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on July 30, 2012, 07:19:15 AM
Great responses, but they really didn't ask the two main questions I had.

Name a better SDR transceiver than the Flex 5000K
Name a better SDR transceiver software platform that a person can replace PowerSDR.

The point in part I was trying to make is that people are not leaving Flex radios for other SDR transceivers in masses, they are just leaving SDRs period mostly for the reasons I listed above.

I believe could contest just fine with a flex 5K and CommCat.  I have a second rig in my shack now (IC 7000) and I still prefer the Flex for HF work.

What do you believe are the deficiencies for contesting with a flex 5K with dual receivers over lets say a Kenwood TS 590 or Elecraft K3?  Genuinely curious.  If your going to tell me because windows crashes, that's not really a good reason in my mind because that has as much more to do with the machine and software you use than it really does with the radio.  I have not blue screened now since the first month when I originally was setting stuff up and had conflicting software.


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on July 30, 2012, 08:13:52 AM
Great responses, but they really didn't ask the two main questions I had.

Name a better SDR transceiver than the Flex 5000K

I believe could contest just fine with a flex 5K and CommCat.  I have a second rig in my shack now (IC 7000) and I still prefer the Flex for HF work.

What do you believe are the deficiencies for contesting with a flex 5K with dual receivers over lets say a Kenwood TS 590 or Elecraft K3?  Genuinely curious. 

The deficiencies of the Flexradio 5K in contesting has been discussed here many times. You either have a short (or selective memory) or you have not been paying attention.

A radio is just a tool. It matters not if it is a SDR or a knobbed radio. The important thing is can it get the job done comfortably?

Comparing a Icom 7000 (I own one) with a  TS-590s, K3 or Flex 5K is silly.

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on July 30, 2012, 08:35:13 AM
The last discussion as I recall on the Flex 5000K as a contest rig was that with added knobs and CommCat it was good for contesting.  This is why I have asked again, because I wanted to know what changed from the last time this was discussed.  The picture below shows basic knobs for VFO A, VFO B as well as power, gain, volume, ect.  Also the screens show CommCat, powerSDR, ect running.  CommCat is being used for logging and spotting.

http://roaringstar.com/sdr.jpg


You are correct in that the IC 7000 is not at all comparable to a flex 5K for HF work,  their not even close in capability.


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: N9RO on July 30, 2012, 08:42:49 AM
Flex radio's require attention while contesting, top tier (or serious) contester will not accept that, it takes away from concentrating on building your score.  If the radio for ANY reason detracts or limits your chance of increasing points it is of NO use to most real contesters.  When contesting think POINTS POINTS POINTS and it is easy to see why the Flex  cannot be taken seriously as a contest radio.

Tim  N9RO


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on July 30, 2012, 09:00:41 AM
Tim,

I am not a contester, so help me understand your comments better.  The point of a contest if I understand it correctly is to make as many contacts as possible and log them correctly so you can submit the log for evaluation and scoring.

Why does a flex radio take any more monitoring than say a TS-590 for example?

Software like CommCat is no different being run with one radio verses another as it helps facilitate and speed up logging of contacts and spotting contacts depending which way you want to work things.  My observation of contesters is that they often work from a fixed frequency to try to get operators to come to them, or the glide up and down the bands scooping up as many contacts as they can or some combination of the two.

CommCat logs the time band and contact info of the contact by pre populating most of the info you need after either clicking the contact in the spotter or after entering the call sign.  But again, this is no different for a Flex 5K verses any other CAT co trolled rig.  Also clicking a contact in the spotter changes the VFO for you in PowerSDR so you don't have to even touch the dials or PowerSDR.  So when you say monitor it, what are you monitoring?

Look, just so we are clear here, I am not a Flex Radio biggot.  I care not for one radio manufacturer or another.  I am just interested in facts.  This Flex is probably my last as I am not spending $7k on their new SDR.  As I said, I am just interested in a factual conversation about this stuff and learning about contesting with regards to the part of the dialogue.

What am I missing here?


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: N9RO on July 30, 2012, 11:14:28 AM
Mark,

The goal of most contest is to obtain the largest number of points, run rate and multipliers.  If you are operating SO2R your strategy may be running a pile up on one frequency and looking for multipliers on another, you do whatever needs to be done to get those multipliers.  If operating assisted you are analyzing the cluster, perhaps RBN and WSPR/PropNET networks to see what is going on this may be done mentally and with software.  If you have a big station (I sure don't) you have a tremendous amount of data you are analyzing at the same time you are running thousands of stations.  You cannot be dealing with the focus issue, the PC related issues and the freezing of some apps you are running due to a conflict that only shows up when everything is being push to the limit.
 
 I enjoy contesting and even with my sh&t scores and limited operating times I have experienced many distractions while using a Flex, here are just four:  1) The well known focus issue. 2) Crashing of an app during the contest causing the need to reboot the PC/Flex, during a major contest a number of apps are running and talking to one another.  This often times kicks the OS into recovery and it takes forever to boot back up  3) Mouse and/or keyboard dies and has to be replace.  4) Unexpected process kicks off during the contest and slows everything down to a crawl. 

If you are using a legacy radio you can at least still operate and search for multipliers while you recover you PC and applications.  With a Flex when any of the four problems (plus many more) occur you are DEAD, no searching for multipliers no monitoring the assist networks etc.  If your station (like mine) is built around using a number of networked PCs the Flex PC usually is the center of all activity during a contest and when it goes down so does the hub of all activity.  A lot of this will improve when good IP transceivers are available but for now I believe the Flex product line as it is TODAY remains an experimenters platform, way too many unknown variables for those working for the highest score.  In addition, in some contest I believe point and click is still not allowed so a big advantage of the Flex goes out the window (which is why it is not allowed).

For what it is worth my two cents.

Tim  N9RO


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on July 30, 2012, 11:17:03 AM
Why does a flex radio take any more monitoring than say a TS-590 for example?

CommCat logs the time band and contact info of the contact by pre populating most of the info you need after either clicking the contact in the spotter or after entering the call sign.

Focus, focus and focus. Ergonomics too.

You are way outta your league here. Commcat is not even close to being adequate for contesting. Yep Commcat is my everyday logger but to use it for contesting would be very stupid on my part.

Trying to Explain contesting to one that has never done it is like trying to explain sex to a virgin.
You can read all about it BUT ----
Really you gotta experience it yourself.....  :D :D

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on July 30, 2012, 11:32:35 AM
You are correct in that the IC 7000 is not at all comparable to a flex 5K for HF work,  their not even close in capability.

FWIW I have run 3 Field Day contests (with around 1300 QSOes) with my Icom 7000, N1MM logger and Navigator interface - which has the very needed Winkeyer builtin. I also ran 4 or 5 different contests (maybe a couple of thousand Q's) with my Flex 5K.

I would pick the Icom combination over the Flex 5K for contesting easily even though the RX in the Icom does not compare to the Flex 5K.

Many recent Dxexpeditons have used a Icom 7000. No DXexpedition to my knowledge has ever used a Flex 5K....

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on July 30, 2012, 11:47:42 AM
Focus, focus and focus. Ergonomics too.

You are way outta your league here. Commcat is not even close to being adequate for contesting. Yep Commcat is my everyday logger but to use it for contesting would be very stupid on my part.

Trying to Explain contesting to one that has never done it is like trying to explain sex to a virgin.
You can read all about it BUT ----
Really you gotta experience it yourself.....  :D :D

Stan K9IUQ

Well, not really a good analogy, but I already said I was not a contested and I doubt contesting is as good as Sex is or as interesting.  Lol

Seriously though, I read about someone complaining about program focus however, they did not have the knobs like I do.  There are people out there contesting with Flex radios though.  Yes I know that CommCat is not contest software, it open claims it's not on their website.

What are some of the best contesting packages?


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on July 30, 2012, 11:55:32 AM
Tim,

Thanks for a good explanation of the problem.  I could see even with the 8 core PC running where there could be some lock ups due to the way windows multitasks.  Windows is still very poor at managing high  I/O on com and network ports.  I fortunately have a server board so I hardly ever experience a lockup or slow down unless I try to run some non ham related big software while I am monitoring.

I get it now.  I don't have the focus issue in my setup though because I have all those screens up with everything I need, but of course we are not talking contesting here though.

Perhaps the 64 core PC I proposed on my site could handle it!  Lol

So le me officially say I understand now why a flex is a bad contesting machine if you want to really win the big games.

Thanks again for a real answer!  I like dealing with facts!



Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on July 30, 2012, 12:15:18 PM
You are correct in that the IC 7000 is not at all comparable to a flex 5K for HF work,  their not even close in capability.

FWIW I have run 3 Field Day contests (with around 1300 QSOes) with my Icom 7000, N1MM logger and Navigator interface - which has the very needed Winkeyer builtin. I also ran 4 or 5 different contests (maybe a couple of thousand Q's) with my Flex 5K.

I would pick the Icom combination over the Flex 5K for contesting easily even though the RX in the Icom does not compare to the Flex 5K.

Many recent Dxexpeditons have used a Icom 7000. No DXexpedition to my knowledge has ever used a Flex 5K....

Stan K9IUQ

Stan, I am not trying to pick on the IC 7000, I like it a whole lot more than the Yaesu 897D I first had.  As I have written on an article on my site and will point out here, a flex 5K and a radio like a IC 7000 will perform very similar in a shack with a poor antenna and poor grounding.  Let's call it a poor shack verses a great shack.   A great radio shines more over a lesser radio on a great antenna and a cleanly setup shack.  I have also said that unless someone wants to cleanup issues in their shack that allows a great radio to shine, there isn't a lot of sense in buying a great radio and spending that kind of money on it.  

On the article I will post later tonight, I also talk about the fact that I haven't put the IC7K on my good antenna yet, so I will really see the difference between the two rigs when I do that.  I already know the Hex is significantly cleaner than the other two antennas I have.

One thing I think it would help to understand is as a ham that started HF rather than VHF a d as a Ham that has more time on an SDR than on a knobbed radio the world will look different to me.  Forget what SDR I have, I could for example swap out the Flex and put in a Genssis G59 and still really like how I have things setup and integrated.  It's far from perfect and far from what probably most hams would want.

Again, I have no love of one radio verses another.  I do really enjoy things when I have them working the way I want a d understanding their potential and limits which is why I frequent this forum.  I can always learn from more experienced hams, especially when they have the time and patience to field and respond to questions.  Most of my experiences with the more experienced hams is that they don't let their egos get in the way of helping other hams.  Even as a new ham I understand the value of haveing educated and newer hams coming into our hobby.

73


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on July 30, 2012, 12:38:03 PM


Seriously though, I read about someone complaining about program focus however, they did not have the knobs like I do.

There are people out there contesting with Flex radios though.

What are some of the best contesting packages?

Losing focus. I will try to explain it. The contesting program needs to have the focus of Windows. It needs keyboard input for Call Letters and hitting the right key to send the right macro among other things. You also need focus sometimes on PSDR - to change bands, filters, modes. PSDR is running your radio after all. If you have focus on PSDR when you think you have focus on the Contester logger and hit a key combo for the logger you will do something to PSDR. Maybe change bands from 20 mtrs to 80mtrs and start sending your exchange. Waitttttttt - you are running legal limit and see smoke, hell there goes another amp.

That is just one example, it can do other unexpected things which will make your contesting quite interesting.  ;) The only way I see to eliminate the focus problem would be to run PSDR on a second computer. Yep another computer to keep track of. Ergonomics. Remember you are already trying to do many different things at once.

This assumes you are a Single OP. Consider trying to run Flexradios in a multi op contest environment. Not gonna happen.

I have tried several contest loggers, N1MM is fantastic - and free. It is Probably the most popular contest logger.

No doubt some hams use Flexradio for contesting. You use what you have........

Stan K9IUQ



Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on July 30, 2012, 01:00:15 PM
Thanks for your response as well Stan.

It would seem like given these statements, unless the new flex radio software radically differs in the way it handles CAT that the new $7000 rigs will run into similar issues.

I am glad I don't have the contest bug!  Lol. I find contests very useful for picking up new entities though! :)





Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on July 30, 2012, 01:06:08 PM
So, looping back around, still no answer to the original questions I had about replacing the Flex 5000.  It's noted that contesters don't want these rigs, so thats another reason to not use an SDR and of the category that it's not what I thought and going back to a knobbed radio.

I do seriously wonder in all this if the way Flex Radios approached announcing the new rigs if it won't be their undoing.  So we can add a reason to the list way above, owners are scared they will end up owning an unsupported radio if this all causes Flex to go belly up!



Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on July 30, 2012, 05:45:52 PM
I do seriously wonder in all this if the way Flex Radios approached announcing the new rigs if it won't be their undoing.  So we can add a reason to the list way above, owners are scared they will end up owning an unsupported radio if this all causes Flex to go belly up!

Owners are concerned and that is why you see so many Flexradios for sale the last month.

Flexradio's undoing will be their inability to produce on promises in a timely manner.. They have a very poor record with PSDR and the 5K. It took them 3 years to get PSDR into a reasonable working state. Many hams such as myself bought one and were very disappointed.

Flexradio as a company has a reputation that is not respected by many well known hams. "If" - - the new Smart SDR software and the ultra expensive newly promised radios this fall do not come to market in a timely manner Flex will pay dearly.

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: W6UV on August 08, 2012, 09:12:47 PM
Flex radio's require attention while contesting, top tier (or serious) contester will not accept that, it takes away from concentrating on building your score.  If the radio for ANY reason detracts or limits your chance of increasing points it is of NO use to most real contesters.  When contesting think POINTS POINTS POINTS and it is easy to see why the Flex  cannot be taken seriously as a contest radio.
That, and the fact that any radio that has a propensity to freeze up and require a reboot at random intervals (which mine has done on several occasions) is certainly not something any serious contester would touch with a ten foot pole.


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 09, 2012, 06:42:25 AM
Freezes are more likely the result of your computer.  If your radio is really causing it then you should send it in.

It takes some serious sleuthing to find conflicts or the problem that your computer might be having with the radio.  It could be RFI getting into your FireWire cable scrambling data, or just an OS level conflict with either other software, overall lack of horse power or some other hardware device.

I have not had a freeze or lockup since the first 2 weeks when I setup the radio.  If you look at all that I am running (a lot!) you can see that on a well setup well equipped computer the flex will run fine.


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 09, 2012, 08:07:29 AM
By the way, I am not defending Flex Radios here, just telling you how I believe it is if you want the radio to working not lock up. 

Yes, if you run some other software that surges in its needs for resources then windows will allocate the resources to that program and cause other programs to hiccup.  This is again a windows design issue with multitasking.

You can set the powerSDR task in task manager to a higher priority and this will minimize this effect. 

For example, when CommCat goes to telnet and then processes spots, it seems to like to grab a lot of the windows machine and so hiccups can occur.  You can tame this a bit by setting the priority higher on PowerSDR.

The fact that most SDR's use computers and share resources with the computer makes them susceptible to the woes of computers. 

This is why I and many others want to see new SDRs that have knobs and their own on board computer.

Ironically I believe that the New Flex's will have powerful on board processing, they could be inheritently susceptible to poorly setup home networks, poor WIFI connectivity, ect.

My theoretical design I put forth would allocate a computer dedicate to the radio and radio only functions and interface to another computer for CAT control and other software.

It will be interesting to see how the future plays out.


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on August 09, 2012, 12:44:14 PM
Freezes are more likely the result of your computer.  If your radio is really causing it then you should send it in.

Yeah right. My computer NEVER locked up until - - I bought a Flexradio. The computer had extremely low DPC's, ran Win 7, Intel i7/ 8gb memory, all the good stuff. No matter, PSDR was still able to screw it up on a regular basis, Do that database reset two step, Stan...   :D

When I sent the Radio in to get the spurs fixed I asked Flexradio to check EVERYTHING so it would be better than new. When I got it back it did NOT RX at all. It took me 8 hours of troubleshooting to figure out that Flex's tech got 2 wires crossed... They never checked anything or they would have found the RX was inoperable. Good service huh?

By the way, I am not defending Flex Radios here,

Yeah right. You are one of the few Flex Defenders left here on eham. Everyone else got wise...  ;)

Stan K9IUQ



Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: W6UV on August 09, 2012, 01:25:18 PM
By the way, I am not defending Flex Radios here, just telling you how I believe it is if you want the radio to working not lock up. 

I guess it must be the crappy computer I'm using with my Flex-5000A that's to blame. After all, it's only a lowly quad core Core i7 at 3.5GHz with 16 GB of RAM and an SSD for the system drive. I sometimes run notepad at the same time as PowerSDR to take notes, so perhaps that conflict is doing in the Flex.


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 09, 2012, 01:32:52 PM
Lol Stan,  Flex lover, really?

You know better than that, I just tell it how I see it.  I imagine some people's Flex's have more issues than others.  When we do that QSO eventually, you'll see my station stays up and running the whole time. :) :) :)

Your PC probably never crashed before the flex because it didn't have an IO intensive beast like the flex connected to it.  Honestly, I really believe if I were only running 1 quad core CPU I would have more issues.

That does not mean that the way the radio is architected isn't the issue.  Let's assume some flex radios are good and some bad for a minute, I have no idea if that is true.  Let's say we have one of the good ones, that means mine then.  All this means is your flex based system will only be as good as your computer system and mixture of software.

Now Stan, computers are my thing, and I have built them and repaired them for a living in my past.  Software, including Windows OS, is FULL of bugs!  What do you think all those windows updates mean?  Heck, look at all the revisions of PowerSDR!  I happen to know that some software packages don't play nicely with others.  It's not by intent, it's by virtue of bugs and the impossibility of testing one software package with the countless number of others out there.

Do we really expect say, Lilliput USB screens are tested with Flex Radios, or that Flex Radio should test their radio extensively with joe blows USB hub?

Software defined radios will always be plagued with issues like this so long as they continue to use a computer with other untested software running on it.  It's just how it is!

And even when they get their own dedicated computers, they will still have issues from time to time.  Don't believe me, look at the firmware updates that go out for other hardware, yes, even knobbed ham radios.

Now, my opinion is evolving, and I have decided at this point in time that SDRs are not for the average radio user, or even for the faint of heart.  They are in fact experimental radios and when you buy and try to use one, you are signing yourself up as one of the experimenters.

A good chunk of the problem is in fact Flex lovers not telling the truth about their radios.  They become fanboys and don't tell people about the real issues they have.  They tell about how exciting they find these radios.  Flex pitches these radios as real radios for real hams.

I just like to deal with facts.  Fact is, my flex 5000 runs fine.  Fact is I dedicated a computer to it and to just the software I need.  Fact is PowerSDR still has annoying bugs.  Fact is, my flex hasn't crashed my system since late November last year.  PowerSDR hasn't crashed my radio either. And one more fact, even if you buy a supposed high quality commercial PC, it may still have issues.  My HP for example has always had WIFI issues, known bug and they have never fixed it.  Also, a great PC still has issues with bad software.  Just facts.

Now some opinions, most people won't want to spend the bucks on a high grade computer that will be truly capable of running their radio crash free, nor will they want to likely dedicate it to ham only operations.  Most people won't like being an experimenter and going through tooth and nail finding what software won't work with the flex or what mixture of software causes issues.

When I go to change out CommCat later this year, I expect to have problems because it will be a change to the mix.  It's just how SDR life is, it's a grand experiement!

So, where are we, your experience was really bad, mine has been ok and I am getting the most from my investment as an experimenter.  There really is no need to be at odds with each other over this.  

Just two hams having a conversation and expressing their views.  

:) :) :)



Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 09, 2012, 01:41:06 PM
By the way, I am not defending Flex Radios here, just telling you how I believe it is if you want the radio to working not lock up.  

I guess it must be the crappy computer I'm using with my Flex-5000A that's to blame. After all, it's only a lowly quad core Core i7 at 3.5GHz with 16 GB of RAM and an SSD for the system drive. I sometimes run notepad at the same time as PowerSDR to take notes, so perhaps that conflict is doing in the Flex.

We have to keep in mind that we are also talking about different points in time.  What you experienced yester year may not be what users experience present day.

Also, powerful computer, lots of RAM doesn't equate to success.  Really depends too on what software was on the computer and how stable the device drivers are for the machine.

My present machine used to crash a lot and it was due to the video drivers.  Nvidia finally fixed the issue and my PC stopped crashing about a year ago.

If my memory is correct, I believe updating my motherboard drivers resolved the issue with the flex.  My FireWire controller is built onto the motherboard.  It made logical sense to me since the computer had stabilized and the only thing that had changed was adding the flex.  That's the sort of thinking a Flex user has to do when they have issue.  You look for root cause!

My MacBook Pro was awesome until I loaded OS Lion on it.  Lol, then my mouse scroll worked backwards all of the sudden and still does to this day.  Software guys, it's full of bugs! 


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on August 09, 2012, 02:20:19 PM
I guess it must be the crappy computer I'm using with my Flex-5000A that's to blame. After all, it's only a lowly quad core Core i7 at 3.5GHz with 16 GB of RAM and an SSD for the system drive. I sometimes run notepad at the same time as PowerSDR to take notes, so perhaps that conflict is doing in the Flex.

I have missed your Flex views Jerry, you along with N9RO are one of the few Flexers to be honest about their Flexradios. Well, I was honest too. Way too honest.  :D

Jerry you need to get a Neal Computer to run a Flexradio , LMAO   :D :D :D :D :D

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: W6UV on August 09, 2012, 02:23:41 PM
Also, powerful computer, lots of RAM doesn't equate to success.  Really depends too on what software was on the computer and how stable the device drivers are for the machine.

The computer I run the Flex with is a dedicated box. It's not running the typical crap people run that cause conflicts. All drivers are up to date and I've had no crashes attributable to video drivers or other devices. Firewire has been rock solid on this machine.

Quote
My MacBook Pro was awesome until I loaded OS Lion on it.  Lol, then my mouse scroll worked backwards all of the sudden and still does to this day.  Software guys, it's full of bugs! 

You know, of course, that the reversed scrolling in Lion is intentional? Apple did this to make scrolling on a Mac work like it does on an iOS device like an iPhone. They call it Natural Scrolling.


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on August 09, 2012, 04:51:45 PM
Now Stan, computers are my thing, and I have built them and repaired them for a living in my past.  

No need to talk down to me or Jerry or anyone else with a different Flexradio opinion than you. Many of us here have had more experience than you with computers myself included. My own experience has been documented before but let us suffice it to say that I am computer literate and was paid big $$ by a Employer to work on and with computers every day of my life from the First IBM PC XT onward. I actually started with computers in hamradio in 1978 - a  Radio Shack TRS-80. In 1980 I was running RTTY on a computer. I have been using computers in hamradio since then. I lost track of how many computers I have built for personal use. Please do not infer that lack of computer knowledge was why I had Flexradio problems.

W6UV has been known to know more than a little about computing too. LMAO

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 09, 2012, 08:51:18 PM
Now Stan, computers are my thing, and I have built them and repaired them for a living in my past.  

No need to talk down to me or Jerry or anyone else with a different Flexradio opinion than you. Many of us here have had more experience than you with computers myself included. My own experience has been documented before but let us suffice it to say that I am computer literate and was paid big $$ by a Employer to work on and with computers every day of my life from the First IBM PC XT onward. I actually started with computers in hamradio in 1978 - a  Radio Shack TRS-80. In 1980 I was running RTTY on a computer. I have been using computers in hamradio since then. I lost track of how many computers I have built for personal use. Please do not infer that lack of computer knowledge was why I had Flexradio problems.

W6UV has been known to know more than a little about computing too. LMAO

Stan K9IUQ


I can't see where you see me talking down to Jerry or you Stan, maybe you are reading me wrong as I am only offering you my qualification to speak about computers?  By the way, look again, I was talking to you, not Jerry.

My experience with computers goes back 32 years, I think I am qualified.

One brand of computers verses another with the same theoretical specs may be far less stable than another, it's not really even a question.  Like cars, some manufacturers use cheaper parts than others.  Some get bad parts.  Some software developers have bad days and write bad code.  Again, it's all real and not really subject to being questioned.

I just wanted to keep things real and state that I don't have the problems being referenced in this latest round of the great Flex debate.  You can go on my website and see I tell it like it is for me.  Being straight is how I maintain respect and integrity.

I think I have said enough, seems like what I have had to say has hit some nerves. 

And by the way, about the mouse, thanks for the info.  I don't use my Mac much these days, so I never bothered to look it up.  Most of my time is spent on the iPad these days.  I have no problem admitting when I make a mistake.  Also how I maintain integrity and respect.

Take care gents, sorry you couldn't get your radios to work with your PC's!  Mine is working mighty well these days and it did take some work to get my system to play nice with it!  These radios are not for the faint of heart, I will be the first one to tell you that.  I think it mostly has to do with the choice of using FireWire for the connection and the lack of a tight RF proof case.

It would be interesting to see if Genesis 59 users have the same kinds of issues with their version of Power PC and a USB connection.  Maybe even the upcoming G6.

Last but not least, if you really knew me, you'd know I wouldn't talk down to you.  Have a real debate, you bet!  Talk down to you, nope. 

73


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: W6UV on August 09, 2012, 09:56:38 PM
And by the way, about the mouse, thanks for the info.  I don't use my Mac much these days, so I never bothered to look it up.  Most of my time is spent on the iPad these days. 

Open System Preferences, click on the mouse icon, and then uncheck the "Scroll direction: natural" box and scrolling is back to the way it was prior to Lion.


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: KE5JPP on August 10, 2012, 02:59:24 AM
Now Stan, computers are my thing, and I have built them and repaired them for a living in my past.  Software, including Windows OS, is FULL of bugs!  What do you think all those windows updates mean?  Heck, look at all the revisions of PowerSDR!  I happen to know that some software packages don't play nicely with others.  It's not by intent, it's by virtue of bugs and the impossibility of testing one software package with the countless number of others out there.

Quote from: NI0Z
My MacBook Pro was awesome until I loaded OS Lion on it.  Lol, then my mouse scroll worked backwards all of the sudden and still does to this day.  Software guys, it's full of bugs!  

LMAO!  Computers are your thing alright!  :D ::) :D  

I ran into a buggy car last time I visited the UK.  The steering wheel was on the wrong side!  There are a lot of buggy cars like that in the UK!  ;)

Gene


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 10, 2012, 03:55:03 AM
Hey Gene,

Wondered where you were!  What too you so long?

73


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 10, 2012, 03:58:15 AM
I guess I need to apologize to all here that my Flex radio works, I truly am sorry that it disappoints people here so much.

Oh well, I guess I will just have to get on the air and suffer with it this weekend, what a horrible shame!  :) :)

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/6626.

These reviews and the over all scores pretty much represent the truth about these radios.  I have found eHam reviews over all average when there are over 50 reviews to be fairly accurate if not on the hard side at times.

Yup, they sure are horrible rigs!

Now, if I wrote a review, and I am waiting for the one year mark to do that, but I would give a score below the current average, but still around a 4.x.

Btw, I have no affiliation with flex and there are no photos or testimonials on their site from me, that's how I stay objective and it's how I operate.

My opinion, the doom and gloom about these radios in this forum definitely seems to represent the minority.  The Flex 5000 is a decent capable rig and fun experimenters radio.  Short on patience, don't have a tried true iron clad PC and not willing to work to get a PC that works with it, don't bother unless you want to see if you get lucky.  Apparently a lot of people get lucky with them and love them.

So here we are at the same ole point, a flex user come here, says their radio works and then gets piled on.  Same o same O.  Ho humm, this is getting old, time to move on.

73


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 10, 2012, 08:25:26 AM
And.... Nobody has ever answered the question I have posed.... If you want a real SDR transceiver..... Please read the want part, then what are the alternatives that currently beat a Flex 5000A with dual receivers?  Please note, I did not ask about wanting a better traditional radio, and I did not ask about a receive only SDR, I asking about a full blown transceiver.

I think there are options, and it seems like I just need to answer it.

You could buy and build a Genesis kit, they seem pretty capable, they run on PowerSDR though, and it's an older version.. And then you have low power output that you might have to double amp if you want to run over 500 watts.

There is the quicksilver, SDRCube, Sun and others, all interesting, but again software and power limits.  Sorry to lump them all together, they all seem capable and interesting.

Then there are the even more experimental SDRs, like the USPR, the Phi, ect.

So if you want an SDR, which one is best and delivers the most bang for the buck?

That's what we should debate.



Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 10, 2012, 08:59:36 AM
Also, powerful computer, lots of RAM doesn't equate to success.  Really depends too on what software was on the computer and how stable the device drivers are for the machine.

The computer I run the Flex with is a dedicated box. It's not running the typical crap people run that cause conflicts. All drivers are up to date and I've had no crashes attributable to video drivers or other devices. Firewire has been rock solid on this machine.

Quote
My MacBook Pro was awesome until I loaded OS Lion on it.  Lol, then my mouse scroll worked backwards all of the sudden and still does to this day.  Software guys, it's full of bugs! 

You know, of course, that the reversed scrolling in Lion is intentional? Apple did this to make scrolling on a Mac work like it does on an iOS device like an iPhone. They call it Natural Scrolling.

Jerry, I read your review and about the freezing up.  I am only trying to help here, so here is my two cents on it.

Occasionally when running CommCat with PowerSDR I will see a 1 second slowdown, it's about as fast as a hiccup.  What I observed was that CommCat was,pulling spots via telnet and then processing them when this happens.  I realize you may not be running CommCat so it's really the point that you may have some other application wanting major resources when you see a freeze up.  There are a few things you can do under windows 7 to find the issue.

You can CTrl alt Del and pull up the task manager and watch the resources.  Ironically Task Manger itself consumes resources.  Anyway, with this up you can look at the processes and then sort by highest CPU and highest Memory.  You can keep an eye out and see what's peaking when you see the freeze.

I am speaking from memory right now, so sorry if this next part is not entirely accurate, but you can also set the task priority on each task or I think on the programs as well. I believe Windows 7 now even lets you assign how many cores can run on a process or program. 

Try choosing 3 cores and real time priority on powerSDR.exe and then settle spiking program you find during freeze ups to 1 core and lower priority and see if you freezes go away.

Hope this helps!


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on August 10, 2012, 09:01:31 AM
Please read the want part,

The "want part" is the problem. Few hams "want" a SDR. Some have "wanted" one, bought one, and because of SDR limitations went back to knobbed radios.

Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom build what the market will buy.. Right now, The Hamradio Market Majority wants a radio with a spectrum scope ala the Icom 7600. What are the new radios from Kenwood and Yaesu? The FT-3000 and the Kenwood 990, both down conversion and with scopes. This is what the market wants and buys.

The SDR ham market is very small and is not mainstream. The SDR will never be mainstream until the Major manufacturers decide there is money to be made in SDR's.

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 10, 2012, 09:24:07 AM
I totally agree Stan, this is the SDR Fourm though, so we talk about SDR's.  That's what I try to do, stay on topic.

I just put a press ration together on SDR's, was suprised to see I had 42 slides and still didn't even scratch the surface.

As I have said, SDR's will be plagued until they get their own computers and knobs!  :).

Meanwhile, the computer continues to be the weak link in today's typical SDR system.

I predict that the network will be the beast for the new Flex's and we will see people like me saying you need a dedicated network connection for it to work right.  Lol

I am going to stick it out with my lowly Flex 5K until it breaks or someone comes out with something different.  Say what you want, I actually have it working well for the limited things I do.  That may change as I try CW, or some of the other things people struggle with. 

Personally while it works for digitial modes, I am not overly fond of it for that kind of work, it's just so so in my opinion.  I got digital up on the IC 7000K last night and will pretty much use it for PSK, RTTY, ect.  Easier to have a dedicated rig for me and then I can multitask and work digital and SSB at the same time.  And guess what, I plan to work some 80m, 60m & 30M on it.

73


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: K9IUQ on August 10, 2012, 10:51:23 AM
I got digital up on the IC 7000K last night and will pretty much use it for PSK, RTTY, ect. 
73

FWIW the copy ability on RTTY is second to none with the Icom 7000, ProII/III/7600.

The secret is to use FSK. The Icoms have twin peak filters for FSK which are the best I have ever seen. They don't work on AFSK, Use FSK and the Twin Peak filters. Even the builtin 7000 RTTY readout works well on FSK.

You will need an external TU to xmit on FSK. I use Navigator.

When I had the Flexradio 5K it would not do FSK. It was promised- of course. Real RTTY guys use FSK instead of AFSK especially if you own an Icom with twin peak filters,,

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex-5000
Post by: NI0Z on August 10, 2012, 03:29:50 PM
Stan, I was impressed last night with the little I got to play.  I had the ICOM hooked to the hex and my waterfall was so nice and clean looking on 20 as compared to my vertical.  

And of course best of all, I have a small old laptop hooked to it, so startup time to operation will be minimal.

I think your right, the Icom will be really nice for digital!