Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: Prev 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Flex-5000A CW Impressions  (Read 32501 times)
W6UV
Member

Posts: 538




Ignore
« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2011, 12:02:03 PM »

As for relay chatter, I was thinking about the characteristics of a relay vs. PIN diode switching for rapid turn-around, e.g. QSK. Relays are noisy but they won't degrade receiver performance in the presence of a really strong signal. A PIN diode can. I think that I would opt for a relay in that case and live with the noise. Of course, if Flex can find a quieter relay ...

A Flex rig is just a box with connectors and no user interface. If relay noise bothers you, put the box under the bench, or in a closet, or someplace where the noise isn't an issue.
Logged
WB6RQN
Member

Posts: 484




Ignore
« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2011, 12:24:36 PM »


A Flex rig is just a box with connectors and no user interface. If relay noise bothers you, put the box under the bench, or in a closet, or someplace where the noise isn't an issue.

That would be just too easy.  Cheesy

And speaking of orientation, one thing that has always bothered me about the 5000 is that Flex put the power switch, mic jack, and headphone jack on the back of the radio. No idea why they didn't put them on the front with all the other connectors.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
Logged
W6UV
Member

Posts: 538




Ignore
« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2011, 02:08:36 PM »

Well, my initial post certainly generated a lot of comments and a lot of heat. It's been interesting reading all of it, especially the rants and the flames!  Cheesy

I'm still withholding final judgement on 2.0.19 until I have time to try CW using a real key later this week.

Despite all of the heat surrounding CW issues, the Flex-5000A really is a wonderful rig on phone and digital modes. My operating is 15% CW, 5% phone, and 80% digital, so while I find the CW issues annoying, they're not showstoppers for me.

I have had very few issues on phone and none on digital modes. Most of the phone issues I've had are minor and can be considered annoyances rather than big deals. Sure, I'd like to have a noise blanker as effective as the one on my WJ HF-1000 and a manual notch filter even the low-end Japanese rigs have, but I can get by without them.

Where the 5000A really shines is on digital modes. I've operated just about every digital mode there is, going back thirty years, and the 5000A is by far the easiest to configure and operate rig on these modes that I've ever seen. Almost all other rigs require external hardware (such as a Rigblaster) and cables to interface to a computer running sound card digital mode software. Not so the 5000A -- just install VAC, do some simple configuration, and everything just works.

Operating PSK31, JT65HF, Olivia, or RTTY is almost trivially easy with a rig like the 5000A and software like Fldigi. It's literally point, click, and start typing. Operating in a RTTY contest, like the recent RTTY Roundup and the CQ WPX RTTY contests is almost like shooting fish in a barrel with this combination. I worked nearly 100 countries in just a few hours of operating.

The 2.0.19 update revamped the filter lineup in the digital modes to something that actually makes sense. It also cleaned up filter centering, which was somewhat problematic prior to 2.0.19. Many people complain about others running excessive power on PSK31 and blanking their entire waterfall, but the problem isn't power levels, it's the fact that they're running their IF through a 3 kHz filter and the AGC doing its job by reducing gain. When this happens, I simply hit the QSY button in Fldigi to center the signal of the station I'm working in the receiver's pass band and then switch in a 75 Hz filter. No more problem with the strong signal 200 Hz away.

I don't want people to think that, despite all my recent comments, I don't like my 5000A. Nothing can be further from the truth. I did a lot of research before buying, and I still think I made the right decision. I just wish Flex would devote more time to the fundamental functionality of PowerSDR and less time implementing flashy eye candy -- I don't care how great your UI skins look if fundamental things like CW and noise blankers don't work properly.

73, Jerry
Logged
KD8K
Member

Posts: 14




Ignore
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2011, 03:02:14 PM »


With Flex CW cleaned up so that high speed ops can push the limits, expect to see more discussion of relay chatter


I agree. As a CW op, that is the one thing I would most like to see improved. I have the 3000 as far away from the operating position as the firewire cable will allow, but it's still way too loud. I intentionally run the T/R switching at a slower speed because of the relay chatter.

Perhaps when the dust settles from all the work on PowerSDR, Flex could look into some hardware improvements on this. I would love to see diode switching. If properly designed, it does not have to sacrifice receiver performance. One of the top rated transceivers for receiver specs (K3) uses diode switching. If they want to stick with relays, using something quieter would still be a big improvement for CW.

« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 04:45:56 PM by KD8K » Logged
WA8JNM
Member

Posts: 172




Ignore
« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2011, 06:42:59 PM »

I have really enjoyed this thread, guys.  Lots to argue about.  My two cents: the Flex 5K, with antenna tuner and 2nd receiver, and with the new software, is a huge improvement on CW.  I detect no latency at all, at my CW speed of 20-25 wpm. (I monitored the transmission on my Pro 2.)  My fist sounds much better; I make substantially fewer errors. I am a CW op, only. My setup: XP, latest version, dual core machine, K-3 keyer into the Flex key jack, and use the Flex sidetone.  It was a smooth and easy setup with the new 2.0.19 software (but delete the old firewire driver, first). Sampling rate for me: 48,000, buffer 512, operating mode: Safe 1.

Diversity receive is a blast. I run routinely with CW Skimmer on a second screen, smooth as silk.

NR seems weak. I can't speak to the antenna tuner; I prefer manual tuners.

I'd recommend this radio to anyone, without qualification.  It is quite exciting for me to use, even two years after I bought it.  Its like a brand new rig, with this software upgrade.

Now it appears we are going to get the crux of the disagreement: which side of the box is the "front". I await the resolution with bated breath.

Dave
Logged
W6UV
Member

Posts: 538




Ignore
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2011, 08:45:29 PM »

I have complained about the lack of FSK before and have seen a Flex promise to include it at some future date. I believe the twin peak filter idea could probably be implemented easily in PSDR also.

I agree that both of these would be very nice to have, but I don't see Flex doing either of these any time soon given their lack of resources and tendency to favor flash over function.

73, Jerry
Logged
WB6RQN
Member

Posts: 484




Ignore
« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2011, 09:08:05 PM »

Well, my initial post certainly generated a lot of comments and a lot of heat. It's been interesting reading all of it, especially the rants and the flames!  Cheesy

Ya think? Wink

Quote
Despite all of the heat surrounding CW issues, the Flex-5000A really is a wonderful rig on phone and digital modes. My operating is 15% CW, 5% phone, and 80% digital, so while I find the CW issues annoying, they're not showstoppers for me.

My operation is more like 5% phone and 95% digital.

Quote
I have had very few issues on phone and none on digital modes. Most of the phone issues I've had are minor and can be considered annoyances rather than big deals. Sure, I'd like to have a noise blanker as effective as the one on my WJ HF-1000 and a manual notch filter even the low-end Japanese rigs have, but I can get by without them.


It strikes me a something that would be most useful for CW. On phone the ANF should be sufficient and any decent modem implements its own filters and won't care unless the IF filter is too wide so that the interfering signal is manipulating the AGC.

Quote
Where the 5000A really shines is on digital modes. I've operated just about every digital mode there is, going back thirty years, and the 5000A is by far the easiest to configure and operate rig on these modes that I've ever seen. Almost all other rigs require external hardware (such as a Rigblaster) and cables to interface to a computer running sound card digital mode software. Not so the 5000A -- just install VAC, do some simple configuration, and everything just works.

Amen brother! You tell it!


Quote
Operating PSK31, JT65HF, Olivia, or RTTY is almost trivially easy with a rig like the 5000A and software like Fldigi. It's literally point, click, and start typing. Operating in a RTTY contest, like the recent RTTY Roundup and the CQ WPX RTTY contests is almost like shooting fish in a barrel with this combination. I worked nearly 100 countries in just a few hours of operating.

You are so right. I can't ever go back. It doesn't make sense to take the signal back to analog once you have digitized it.

Quote
The 2.0.19 update revamped the filter lineup in the digital modes to something that actually makes sense. It also cleaned up filter centering, which was somewhat problematic prior to 2.0.19.

You can thank Tim for that one. I showed him how I set up my filters, all centered on 1500 Hz with the click-tune offset also set to 1500 Hz. Lets me put the cross-hairs on a signal, click, and copy. Tim's slick hack was to tie the filter center to the click tune offset. If you change the offset, it changes the center of your filters. That gets my vote for hack-of-the-week.

Quote
Many people complain about others running excessive power on PSK31 and blanking their entire waterfall, but the problem isn't power levels, it's the fact that they're running their IF through a 3 kHz filter and the AGC doing its job by reducing gain. When this happens, I simply hit the QSY button in Fldigi to center the signal of the station I'm working in the receiver's pass band and then switch in a 75 Hz filter. No more problem with the strong signal 200 Hz away.

Precisely. I tend to forget about that problem because I just don't have a problem any more. The only further improvement would be to have the modem generate the AGC signal directly from the desired signal rather than generating AGC from power in the passband.

Quote
I don't want people to think that, despite all my recent comments, I don't like my 5000A. Nothing can be further from the truth. I did a lot of research before buying, and I still think I made the right decision. I just wish Flex would devote more time to the fundamental functionality of PowerSDR and less time implementing flashy eye candy -- I don't care how great your UI skins look if fundamental things like CW and noise blankers don't work properly.

Amen again. I agree that, given a choice, put the development resources into the signal processing, not the appearance.

But I do think that Flex got that message loud and clear. 2.0.19 is just WAY better than any of the previous versions, skins or no skins.

Clearly you don't need my help. Still, it might be fun to get together at some point and compare notes.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
Logged
WB6RQN
Member

Posts: 484




Ignore
« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2011, 09:16:35 PM »

Now it appears we are going to get the crux of the disagreement: which side of the box is the "front". I await the resolution with bated breath.

I posted that jokingly. But, truth be told, I really do have my Flex 5000 mounted so that the power-switch, mic jack, and headphone jack face the wall. The conector side faces the operating position. I am always making configuration changes; it is just easier that way. In fact, I have BNC-F to PL259 adaptors on ANT 1, 2, and 3 so they are BNC. All my shack wiring (amp excluded) is on BNC jumpers.

So, from my point of view, the connectors really are on the front.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
Logged
WB6RQN
Member

Posts: 484




Ignore
« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2011, 09:37:14 PM »

The biggest issue I have with the digital modes is the Flexradios do not do FSK. Real Hams use FSK on the RTTY mode.

There are some real advantages to using FSK. Which is why most radios have FSK.

I understand what you are saying Stan. That isn't exactly how I understand it, and I don't really agree, but I understand what you are saying.

Quote
The best radio I have ever used on RTTY are the Icom radios that have the twin peak filters. My Pro III had it and my Icom 7000 has FSK and twin peak filters also. It amazing to see the Icoms copy RTTY. Twin peak filters means there is  2 independent sharp filters - 1 around the mark and 1 around the space tone. The Flexradio will not come close to the Icom's ability to copy RTTY, yes I have tested head to head many times.

I certainly find your results surprising, given the distortions introduced by the filters, audio chain, etc., in an analog rig. I can't think of any reason why I might want to go back to an analog rig except for nostalgia, and then I am going to go all the way back to tubes. (I love Collins gear. I'm so sorry I sold my Collins separates and my KWM2.)

Quote
Yes I have used every RTTY software package out there.MMTTY is the best for copying RTTY, MIXW2 a close second. Yes I have used the popular FLiDigi too. I have done several RTTY contests with the Flex 5K and everytime I do, I wish I had kept my Pro III.

You know Stan, I think you are right. You ought to sell your Flex and get that Pro III back. In fact Stan, I like you so much that, if you like, I will find you a pristine IC-756 Pro III and trade you straight across for your Flex 5000. No greater love hath any man, right?

Quote
I have had no radio that has come close to the Icom's in RTTY readabilty. The Icom radios also have RTTY decoders built in, that is you can copy RTTY without any computer, the copy is right on the LCD of the radio.

You are definitely right about that. Pretty slick. I should probably get one too but because I like you so much, I am still going to find that pristine Pro III for you and trade. Nothing is too good for my friend Stan.

Quote
I have complained about the lack of FSK before and have seen a Flex promise to include it at some future date. I believe the twin peak filter idea could probably be implemented easily in PSDR also.

I'm not sure Stan. Those Icom guys are pretty smart. And they have a lot more engineers than Flex does. I'm thinking that the Pro III with the twin-peak filter and the REAL FSK is the rig for you. Just let me know when and where we can do the swap so I can find that Pro III for you.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
Logged
WB6RQN
Member

Posts: 484




Ignore
« Reply #54 on: February 24, 2011, 09:11:26 AM »

Just let me know when and where we can do the swap so I can find that Pro III for you.
My post on FSK and RTTY were not criticism of my 5K. I merely relayed my observations on RTTY performance VS another radio. Yet you get all upset about it and feel a need to defend.. Believe it, the Icoms do a much better job of copying RTTY, certainly my 5K is not even close to the ProIII's ability on this mode.

Now why would I trade a 5K, and mine has second RX and ATU which cost me $3500 for a Pro III that is worth maybe $1800. I am not as dumb as you think Brian, and you are not as smart as you think you are.....

Well, you certainly have me confused then. You were just singing the praises of the Icom 756 Pro III and how much better you think it is than the 5000 in both CW and RTTY. If that is true then swapping an "inferior" rig for a "superior" rig would be a gain. You would be getting a "better" radio without having to spend any money. Given how much you clearly dislike the 5000, how better to tell the world how inferior it is than to trade straight across for the Pro III. What a statement! But there is no need to swap with me. Sell your 5000, buy a Pro III again, and laugh at the stupid Flex owners all the way to the bank.

Intelligence really isn't the question here -- making a good decision is. If you think that the Pro III is better than the Flex 5000, then it would be stupid to keep the Flex 5000 when you could sell it, buy a Pro III, and put money in your pocket. OTOH, if you choose to keep the Flex 5000 instead of selling it to get the Pro III then you are stating very clearly with your wallet that you think that the Flex 5000 is worth $1800 more than the Pro III in spite of your protestations to the contrary. You really can't have it both ways, Stan.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
Logged
W6UV
Member

Posts: 538




Ignore
« Reply #55 on: February 24, 2011, 11:15:09 AM »

I would miss tweaking you Flex Fanboys, without a Flex radio I would have no reason to complain.... Other radios are not high maintenance like the Flex's are....

Just curious Stan, if someone did take you up on your offer to buy your 5000A, what would you buy to replace it?
Logged
WB6RQN
Member

Posts: 484




Ignore
« Reply #56 on: February 24, 2011, 12:43:20 PM »

This is not the first time I have been invited to get rid of my 5K. Your buddy Tim the Bulldog sent me his infamous "if you don't like, sell it) private email just before he banned me on the Flex reflectors. Seems to be a pattern here, if you cannot stop the Flex criticism get the ham to sell the radio.

So you chose to keep it instead of selling it. Interesting. Clearly you value the radio.

Quote
I have said it before here on eham, If I had to do it over again a Flexradio would not be in my shack. I am not however going to take a big loss on the radio just to make you Flex fanboys happy.

But you do have it to do over again. You can sell the radio. If the radio doesn't work for you then selling it to get something you prefer makes sense. Ask anyone on here. Used 5000's go for very near their new price so you wouldn't take a big loss. Somehow I don't think that is keeping you from selling.

Quote
Here is the deal Brian, send me $3200+shipping and you get a perfect 5K with 2nd RX, ATU AND the 160/80 mtrs spur factory modification. What a deal for Flex. By telling the truth here on eham I have probably caused them many lost sales. An opportunity to silence my Flex criticism and increase sales.  I would even throw in a bag of ferrites as I will not need them any more without a Flex in my shack.  Smiley  Smiley  Smiley

Stan, I already have a 5000 with RX2 and ATU. I also have a 3000 (at school) and a 1500. I don't need another 5000. I have clearly voted with my wallet so my preference is clear.

OTOH, I bet it would go in a New York minute on eBay. Doesn't eHam also have a place to sell equipment?

Quote
It even has an owner installed fuse holder in the non-factory 6ft heavy duty 12v power cord!!
It is still under warranty which is transferable.

You should put all that in the ad.

Quote
I would miss tweaking you Flex Fanboys, without a Flex radio I would have no reason to complain.... Other radios are not high maintenance like the Flex's are....

Well, there you go then. It's OK, no one is going to kick you off here that I know of. You can continue to complain to your heart's content AND have a different radio that makes you happy. Sounds like a real win from your point of view.

OTOH, $3200 is an awful lot of money to keep tied up just so you can continue to have the fun of tweaking us Flex Fanboys. Either you value goading people more than you value the $3200 or you think that the radio is worth keeping. OK, I understand.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
Logged
W4ZDI
Member

Posts: 34




Ignore
« Reply #57 on: February 24, 2011, 03:52:59 PM »

After checking into this site several times in the past few days, I became disillusioned with Amateur Radio.  I'm an Ex ham that dropped off years ago and just got back on the air last year.  Since that time I'd estimate I have spent a minimum of five hours a week, trying to catch up by monitoring ham forums and reading articles on antenna design.  I also spent hours each week reading the inputs to the Flexradio forum and have learned a tremendous amount of valuable information,  This information comes from generous hams who donate their time answering other's questions that help make setting up and operating the Flex 5000 much easier.  Every forum of any field that I've checked into is just full of hams answering questions from fellow hams and helping them solve their problems.  Literally thousands of questions on the Flex forum have been answered by the staff with the help of a dozen or so dedicated forum members.
 
Then I came to the eHam SDR forum.  What a waste!  So many hams checking in to learn something about SDR and what do they find?  A Gang of old, tired out goats who have no life other than sitting in front of their computers, writing post after post, complaining about something that was wrong with the radio they bought a couple of years ago.  Their complaints usually include the same old problems that they have mentioned at least twice before in posts earlier in the same day, irrespective of the fact that that particular problem had been solved a year ago.

They are complaining about a company that had the nerve and guts to start out in a brand new field of radio: Software Defined Radio, at minimum, a futuristic, fantastic change in the way radios will be designed and built in the future.  Their complaints are that the first product put on the market was not absolutely perfect in every respect, irrespective of the fact that the company has stated that they were committed to correct problems and improve the product.  Each post echoes previous posts, thinking that the louder and more frequent they are read, the smarter they will appear to their readers.  One in particular can't wait until the next post comes along that will give him something to shrill about in his reply.  Even today, now that the forum on eHam has positive comments about the recent Flex software release, I notice that one of the pack leaders still chimes in with as many negative comments that his tired fingers can create.  I cheered when Flex kicked him off the their forum!  What a mean spirited, disruptive, degenerative SOB!  One even posted today to the effect that Flex had not been "'open" with the world.  What planet is he from?  Where else will you find a president of a company personally answering questions related to the future goals they are working on?  Nowhere.  You betcha. 
 
Why don't some of these lost souls spend time trying to do something good for the hobby that they profess to cherish?  Surely, when they were just getting into ham radio, they themselves had to rely on asking for advice or help from other hams in solving their problems.  What a waste of a persons time, sitting in front of a computer all day, complaining about something not being perfect on the first go around and yet not making the first piece of constructive criticism.  I'm sure they would have ranted for years about having to hand-crank the Model T Ford.  It's very sad to see that they have nothing better to pass the time. 

What a miserable way to grow old!

While I'm ranting myself, I want to publicly thank all the great guys who have helped others by answering thousands of questions on the Flex forum.  I don't need to name names; you know who you are.

Pierce W4ZDI
Logged
KF6QEX
Member

Posts: 603




Ignore
« Reply #58 on: February 25, 2011, 03:28:08 AM »

Quote
Why did it take you a few thousands words when those 3 would of sufficed?
You have posted more words on eham in 2 days than I have in 5 years. Cheesy  Cheesy

I understand too.

You took the words right out of my mouth.
It's cheesy and sad at the same time.
It was interesting to watch the transformation.


 ....when you hear the sound of hoofs, assume it's a horse and not a zebra...but... sometimes it's an ass.

Logged
WB6RQN
Member

Posts: 484




Ignore
« Reply #59 on: February 25, 2011, 01:08:29 PM »

Quote
Why did it take you a few thousands words when those 3 would of sufficed?
You have posted more words on eham in 2 days than I have in 5 years. Cheesy  Cheesy

I understand too.

You took the words right out of my mouth.
It's cheesy and sad at the same time.
It was interesting to watch the transformation.


 ....when you hear the sound of hoofs, assume it's a horse and not a zebra...but... sometimes it's an ass.

It is not entirely clear from your posting whether you are calling me or Stan an ass. Regardless, is it really necessary to sink to name-calling? I would be happy to discuss aspects of radio design and operating. That seems to me what ham radio is all about. Name calling -- not so much.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
Logged
Pages: Prev 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!