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Author Topic: Flexradio and other the other wonderful new toys..  (Read 399 times)
K7PEH
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Posts: 1125




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« on: June 08, 2009, 10:29:42 AM »

I think I need an extra $10,000 in discretionary spending this year.  I was at SeaPac (northwest's largest ham radio convention and hamfest) this weekend at Seaside, Oregon (my wife and I stayed at Cannon Beach a few miles south of Seaside).  

Although this is a great swap meat with hundreds of tables and old rusty boat anchor goodies, I hung out for the most part at a few vendor booths.  I monopolized the time of the technical experts at the booths for Elecraft, Flex-Radio, and Ten-Tec.  My quest was to compare the good points of each of the K3 versus the Flex-radio 3000, versus the Orion II.  All great radios and given $10,000 I could buy all three which is really what I would like to do.  It is not money that stops me though but rather the silliness of the idea of spending so much on three rigs that do the same thing to add to my other two rigs that do the same thing.

But, even though I have been planning to get a K3 just as soon as I can spare the time to put the kit together, I am becoming more infatuated with SDR and the Flex-radio products.  The 3000 seems to be a nice starter rig and it is priced just right, about $1500.

However, I have heard that the Flex-radio 3000 has some problems with CW.  I am not sure what they are as the person who told me this did not know but had heard it himself from several sources.  Does anyone know about this?  The last time I looked, nothing but perfection is claimed in the eHam reviews on this radio.  Since CW is my major mode, this one question needs to be resolved before I buy.
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W0FM
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Posts: 2053




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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2009, 01:45:59 PM »

Hi Phil,

I don't have first hand knowledge of the issue you are referring to, but I am a frequent reader of the Elecraft Users Reflector (link is on the Elecraft website).  I was surprised to see how many of those Elecraft reflector regulars have evaluated all of the major SDR type rigs and many have several models.

I'd drop a post on that site asking the same question you've asked here and I think you'll get some very helpful and objective responses.  That has been my experience.  Good luck.

73,

Terry, WØFM
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K9FON
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Posts: 1012




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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2009, 09:07:57 PM »

If i had the $$ id LOVE to give that Flex 5000 a spin! But i am relegated to my old Drake TR4CW, Yaesu Ft 101EE and Ten Tec gear. For now that is.........
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N3DF
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Posts: 251




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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2009, 10:31:35 AM »

I might well be wrong, but I have a suspicion that twenty years from now you could still be using (if you wanted to) your K3 or Horizon II, but not your Flexradio (even though they are quite interesting and I'm always glad to see new ham manufacturers).
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Neil N3DF
N3OX
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Posts: 8853


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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2009, 05:02:49 PM »

"I have a suspicion that twenty years from now you could still be using (if you wanted to) your K3 "

Oh, I don't know.

That sounds like a statement based on the typical PC life cycle, where the operating system and application software manufacturers

1) have to patch the code hundreds of times over they life cycle to keep viruses at bay

and

2) have a vested interest in letting your computer get "old and slow"

But as long as there are no hardware failures and the OS doesn't need upgraded so much (maybe it does if you connect the radio to the internet directly), then things shouldn't change and hardware failures can happen on any radio.

As late as the beginning of this year I was using a 15-20 year old ultrasonic fluid velocity measuring device that contained a 386 computer running DR-DOS.  And it didn't break, we just got a better one with networking capability.

It, in many ways, was a software defined HF radio (sends and receives 4MHz pulses) running on a general purpose computer.  The software was much newer than the hardware, perhaps 10 years old.

I don't know the extent to which the computer inside was selected for longevity but it has made it a very long time.

Even if Flex folded, I think it's likely that you could keep your Flex Radio running for a very long time.

73
Dan
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
K1DA
Member

Posts: 474




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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2009, 08:04:31 AM »

A 10,000 dollar radio connected to a ground mounted trap vertical  will not out perform a mid priced unit with a better  antenna in the actual art of making contacts.  I know many hams worry (with good reason) about the "neighborhood impact" of large antennas so very few people use the kinds of antennas which would stress even a mid priced radio in terms of received signal levels and face it, a transmitter is a transmitter so long as it is clean. Discussions about how transmitters "sound" are just that, if you don't like the sound  track down the reason why. I'd rather listen to TR4 with a properly chosen mike than "Barney Bass Boost who I can't tune in properly on any of my half dozen Collins, Drake and Icom receivers.  Contesters and "work 'em firstest with the mostest" dxers with big arrays may see the quater microvolt or
half a DB third order difference among the high end stuff but most of us won't.  Should the guy with the trap vertical give up ham radio?  NO!  just don't waste a lot of money on technology which won't help much.  You don't need a Cray supercomputer to surf the 'net on a dialup.
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K7PEH
Member

Posts: 1125




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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2009, 07:46:44 AM »

>>>You don't need a Cray supercomputer to surf the 'net on a dialup

Today's PC that is used to surf the net has more then the compute power of the first Cray computer originally known as the CDC 8800 (or, was that 8400).
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K7PEH
Member

Posts: 1125




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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2009, 07:46:45 AM »

>>>You don't need a Cray supercomputer to surf the 'net on a dialup

Today's PC that is used to surf the net has more then the compute power of the first Cray computer originally known as the CDC 8800 (or, was that 8400).
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20547




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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2009, 04:24:24 PM »

I agree one problem with SDRs is forward compatibility with new stuff, both hardware and software.

Being "X86 compatible" today could easily mean absolutely nothing ten years from now, when X86's are long gone.  If the entire industry turns to SPARC processors, for example (unlikely, but it's an example!), there isn't any X86 stuff that will actually run on it.

A lot of people invested heavily in DEC Alpha compatible hardware back in the 90s, and now, for the most part, they have a lot of useless stuff.  Ditto MIPS compatible stuff from SGI.

There is zero assured forward compatibility in this industry.  I know a lot of people who bought low cost PCs about 6-7 years ago which ran on Windows ME (hiccup), and oops!  That was that.  Can't even load XP or Vista on most of those machines, they're incompatible.

WB2WIK/6
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K6XR
Member

Posts: 63




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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2009, 07:17:03 PM »

I have a flex 3000 and have no problem with cw. I also use a Apple MacBook notebook computer remotely. I run xp home with Apple Bootcamp. I operated a recent cw contest completely remotely via the internet with my macbook using cw keyboard and had no problems and it was flawless cw!
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