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Author Topic: ProIII vs. Flex  (Read 1164 times)
N3LKA
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Posts: 7




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« on: July 23, 2009, 11:17:40 AM »

Ok, hopefully I have the correct forum.

I'm looking to replace my ProII which I had sold in order to get funds for purchasing a house, downpayments etc.

I want to get abother HF xcvr at tax time, and I've always like the ICOM line. Don't know why, I guess it all boils down to features and I had a 735 for my 1st hf rig. I was looking at the ProIII, for the money, it seems to be the best deal going for Icom. Then I started to look at the Flex 3000, the 5000's little brother.

My question to all of you is, does the Flex really have that much over the ProIII for everday usage. I know it's probably got a better front end than the Icom and all that jazz, but if my pc crashes in the middle of an exotic QSO or emergency I'm kinda screwed.

I've read the reviews and know someone that has a Flex 5000 and the flex radios are certainly a great radio, but then you have to spend $$ for decent computer hardware, which I already have, but don't want to tie up with ham radio, and if the crap ever hits the fan, all I need is a 12V DC Source and I'm on the air.

Of course there's the K3 to look at, but I don't have over $2k to spend.
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KB1NXE
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Posts: 348




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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2009, 12:31:05 PM »

You know, you covered most of my arguments in your questions.  The 12VDC, tying up the computer, etc.etc.etc.  One thing you didn't mention is the 756 Pro III is no longer manufactured.  What's being sold today is the end of them.  Not to say they won't be around for many years to come!

I love my PIII.  Just so you know what side of the fence I stand.  I like the idea of SDR.  I do think it is the way of the future.  But it's not portable.  You need to move a lot of parts to make it work in event of problems.  I could run back into the burning house to save my PIII if I needed to (just the point, not the reality).  Then there's the off the air issue for crashes/viruses/wife needs to do the Christmas shopping.

As with most of these This versus That arguments/decisions/discussions, it comes down to what you like (for me, I like the Icom over Yeasu because the main knob is to the right and not in the center - silly me).  I also like tweeking knobs (over moving sliders - I use HRD to control my rig, but still use the knobs on the rig.  So I'm a freak - sue me:~).

Good luck, and may the best choice - be yours...
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W9OY
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2009, 05:38:25 PM »

what a dorky argument

I'm not going to buy a state of the art kick butt radio because the wife might have to Christmas shop.

Buy a F3K, but the wife a netbook for Christmas.  The Flex is one heck of a radio

73  W9OY
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20612




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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2009, 11:06:55 AM »

I think you go with a Flex, you really need to have a "dedicated" computer for it; sharing with the XYL or the family really limits your ability to get on the air any time you wish to.  If it's network connected, I'd break the network connection when I'm not using the rig, or at least shut off the automatic updates, etc -- nothing more annoying than sitting down at the computer to find it requires a re-boot, or already re-booted itself and did not restore the last used utility.

Re pure performance: As I'm sure you know Sherwood Engineering does a lot of receiver dynamics testing and the PIII is very good.  In three areas that largely gauge receiver performance when you have large antennas connected and must deal with strong signals, here's a comparison from http://www.sherweng.com/table.html just updated last month:

100 kHz blocking dynamic range: Flex 3000 116 dB; ProIII 142 dB

Wide spaced dynamic range (20 kHz): Flex 3000 90 dB (phase noise limited); ProIII 99 dB

Local oscillator noise: Flex 3000 120dBc/10 kHz; ProIII 126dBc/10 kHz.

WB2WIK/6
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2009, 05:46:27 AM »

K3
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KB1NXE
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Posts: 348




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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2009, 06:44:35 AM »

K9OY,

Please note, I never made arguments.  I made points.  Significant difference.  Not everyone can afford multiple computers and wireless networks.  Yes, they are cheaper than they have ever been.  But after investing a chunk of change into the system required for the Flex radio, there may be little left over for that notepad.  

I have nothing against the Flex.  In fact I think it's a wonderful concept that is bleeding edge - expensive, but the future of Ham Radio.  You'll also note I mention the PIII is what I call 'End of Sale'.  The next step is End of Life or also known as End of Support.  It really is up to the purchaser.  Not us.
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N9DG
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Posts: 315




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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2009, 07:54:29 PM »

Unless you have high powered transmitters close by I'd focus more on close-spaced (2 kHz) IMD DR and BDR. And I'd also look closely at "in-band audio IMD" performance as well (which is not always easy to find)..

And notice that Sherwood sorts his ranking order by close-spaced IMD DR, he does that for a good reason..

Close spaced IMD DR (2 kHz) - Flex-3000 90 dB - Pro III 75 dB
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20612




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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2009, 05:56:11 PM »

N9DG: That's true, and it's certainly a figure of merit, but in many cases not nearly the important one.

I can improve the 2 kHz offset performance of almost any receiver by the simple addition of one roofing filter, or possibly even easier than using improved DSP.  I cannot improve the 100 kHz BDR that way, it takes more critical circuit design and the numbers are way bigger.

In most of the big M/M contest stations I've operated, where the norm is huge antennas on 100' towers (or higher), RX performance can be drastically altered by strong signals that are 100 kHz or more offset, including out of the band altogether.  Once you have large gain antennas up high, you're exposed to thousands of signal sources that can be enormously strong and aren't necessarily very close to your selected RX frequency.

This was my issue with the SDR-1000 here at home.  It couldn't handle the 2Vrms+ signal from a strong out-of-band SW BC station.  I could move my location to anywhere around here, plus or minus several miles, and that would still be the case (tried that, actually).  But its 2 kHz performance is actually quite competitive.   Where it fell apart is that it didn't have the 140 dB rejection at 100 kHz that we need around here.  Many "old" analog receivers are far better in that regard.

Interestingly, I did fire up the old Drake 2-B (c. 1961 I think) and it had no problems at all with the BC station, while the SDR1000 was "blown away" by it.

WB2WIK/6
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K0WA
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Posts: 95




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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2009, 08:10:43 AM »

K3 - nuff said.
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TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR
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Posts: 70




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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2009, 09:12:34 PM »

"RE: ProIII vs. Flex       Reply
by WB2WIK on August 29, 2009    Mail this to a friend!

This was my issue with the SDR-1000 here at home. It couldn't handle the 2Vrms+ signal from a strong out-of-band SW BC station. I could move my location to anywhere around here, plus or minus several miles, and that would still be the case (tried that, actually). But its 2 kHz performance is actually quite competitive. Where it fell apart is that it didn't have the 140 dB rejection at 100 kHz that we need around here. Many "old" analog receivers are far better in that regard."

========================================================

Steve sure made some good points on another forum about all of this. Perhaps I inadvertently annoyed the hell of him in the exchanges. But he should know what works and what doesn't. I tried and tried to get Flex to comment, and they would not specifically confirm or deny what Steve was talking about.

After researching it to death, it's all got me very curious about a TR-7. I've thought about trying to hunt one down, but that would be silly for me with the equipment I have, and I work so much, I hardly get on the air with the stuff I do have.

In the end I'd have to go with Steve, since he's got tons more experience as a ham than I do.  

W3VR
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