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Author Topic: Another Flex Radio Problem: the Flex SDR as an unintended jammer  (Read 7426 times)
N8FNR
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Posts: 149




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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2011, 08:10:42 AM »

Can anyone explain to me why the Flex haters are always in here complaining about how the Flex rigs are the worst radios since time began? Why do they care?  Gee, I wish that I had consulted with them before I made my purchase. Guess I am not very smart and am probably morally and mentally deficient.

Can anyone explain to me why the Flex haters are always in here complaining about how the Flex rigs are the worst radios since time began? Why do they care?  Gee, I wish that I had consulted with them before I made my purchase. Guess I am not very smart and am probably morally and mentally deficient.

After the SDR-1000 came out I read the review in QST and thought that it looked very interesting so I downloaded the demo. Seeing the radio spectrum made a lot of sense (to me but then as I stated above I am not very smart) so I bought a 1000. Yeahn I know what an idiot. Well at the time I had a fully loaded TS-850SAT and thought that I would keep it forever and use the 1000 on occasion. After I got the 1000 I never turned the 850 on again. Not once. The panadapter had me hooked. Even though the rig was kind of buggy with the way the external sound card hooked up it was still a great rig. When the 5000 came on the market I sold the TS-850, an FT-100 (oh man was that a dog! The VHF finals blew twice) and the SDR-1000 to pay for the Flex-5000a. BTW you can read my review in the eham review section. I would not go back to another rig as I am very pleased with the performance. BTW how do people with old fashioned rigs find DX without tuning all the time? I just look at the panadapter and watch for activity and frequently work DX before it gets spotted. Is my Flex-5000 the perfect rig? Can there ever be a perfect anything? To me it is the best radio I have ever owned but then as I stated before I am none too smart.

However I don't care what rigs other people use. Actually I am glad that we have a variety of rigs to choose from. It is cool that you can use almost anything on the air from antiques to WWII rigs to homebrew and the most modern thing out there. But if I was in a QSO with someone who had a (insert model of choice here) I would not tell him he is a idiot and stop the QSO because he did not have a rig that I deemed worthy of being on the air. To me the whole idea is to get on the air, have fun and learn about technology and geography. The only thing I hate about ham radio is guys who tune their amp right on top of DX stations but as they say that is another story for another forum….

So for you haters out there could you explain why you post here all the time about something you hate and probably don’t own?

Zack
N8FNR
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W8JI
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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2011, 08:15:23 AM »

I have no pony in this race at all, other than the fact I have been QRM'd  on 160 meters by people using Flex radios on a few occasions. I sure think everyone needs to be a little faster at correcting anything that needlessly bothers innocent people.

It is very important to mention this, and hopefully we can all agree on this much:

Certain problems have to be taken very seriously and addressed right away.  There is no level of fault that is acceptable when a system goes into transmit all on its own, or generates a spurious signal that bothers people hundreds or thousands of miles away when the radio is several kHz up the band.

The bottom line is, any radio that interferes with other people that should never be bothered, through any design flaw or fault, needs to be fixed right away. Not next week, not next run, and especially a problem like that should not be minimized.

I bought a brand new popular expensive ICOM 775DSP radio, that because of poor VCO switching design, had a -40 to -60 dB spur when working split right on the frequency the RX was tuned to. The manufacturer knew the radios were like that, and the answer to me was:

1.) No one works CW anyway, it's a dying mode

2.) It meets FCC requirements

Imagine me, in a pile up on a rare weak DX station, working split. I'm 40 over nine at someone's house, and my spur on the DX station is S7. I tell the person complaining about my QRM that my radio "meets minimal FCC requirements".

The FCC sets an absolute minimum suppression of spurs, but then also includes a rule that says ANY level of harmful interference caused by a spur...no matter how weak....is illegal. This rule is for people who have no radio "common sense" or personal morals or concern about bothering other people. The rule essentially says if anyone causes a problem that is their fault, even if the gear meets certain MINIMUM specs, they are 100% obligated to stop creating the problem.

Flex acted this way about the 160 meter spur problem. They apparently felt (and stated) so long as the spur was beyond "minimum" suppression requirements, that was enough. That's a very poor attitude.

There a few things in life we just should not do. Doctors should not accidentally drop babies on their heads, we should not intentionally run into someone's car just because they broke a traffic law, and we should not bother other people when our gear is at fault.

There is certainly NOTHING wrong with pointing out how something can bother other people, and what to avoid.

73 Tom


« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 08:21:55 AM by W8JI » Logged
N3OX
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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2011, 08:51:39 AM »

The FCC sets an absolute minimum suppression of spurs, but then also includes a rule that says ANY level of harmful interference caused by a spur...no matter how weak....is illegal. This rule is for people who have no radio "common sense" or personal morals or concern about bothering other people. The rule essentially says if anyone causes a problem that is their fault, even if the gear meets certain MINIMUM specs, they are 100% obligated to stop creating the problem.

It's the same thing with expensive consumer electronics... and even worse because a lot of them probably DON'T meet the minimum specs.

I'm REALLY supposed to walk next door and tell my neighbor "I'm sorry, but your HDTV is interfering with my weird archaic hobby because your manufacturer decided to take some parts out of your TV after it passed inspection for radio interference laws.  By law you must stop using your television until we figure out how to make it stop interfering with my ham radio."

Keep in mind that this is the guy who had Best Buy hook the A/V cables up because he didn't want to bother with that technical stuff.  But the burden falls primarily on him to resolve the situation, and the only real tool he has in his toolkit is to throw away his new $3000 purchase.  

Sure, I can work with him to fix it.  Then I can go two doors down the street and help fix that one.  Then I can fix the other ten I can hear.  Fantastic.  

It's not really that different with ham radios except that the expectations of technical skill can be ratcheted up quite a few notches.  No one can FIX their own Flex spur problem and "just don't use it" is not really an acceptable solution for an expensive piece of gear that works well otherwise.  

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

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
WB6RQN
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Posts: 484




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« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2011, 09:09:18 AM »

I happen to agree with you on this. Stan may be a jerk but he was right and Flex was wrong in delaying the fix on the 160m spur. Being a jerk is not grounds on the part of the manufacturer to ignore a legitimate problem.

Part of the problem is that I don't think that Flex believed there was a real problem in spite of the evidence, albeit scant, to the contrary. Flex is NOT good about following up on problems that are reported by only one or two people. They are not good about regression testing their software. (This is why the need a protracted "beta" test.) But they are getting better and they DO respond to a clear, repeatable demonstration of a problem. I know because I have reported several problems and given them methods by which to reproduce them. You have to remember that if Flex (or any other manufacturer for that matter) can't reproduce the problem, they can't fix it.

So Flex isn't perfect. Flex has warts. But Flex is also reasonable and does provide above-average support. And given that no one else has a competing product, I am going to stick with them. But as both Stan and Gene have suggested, Flex is going to have to improve their act if a real competitor ever shows up.

73 de WB6RQN/J79BPL
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WB6RQN
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Posts: 484




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« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2011, 09:15:12 AM »

One more thing -- the 160 m spur problem on the Flex 5000 is DEAD. Flex has fixed that problem and makes the fix available for free to anyone who wants it, even in out-of-warrantee radios. New radios don't have the problem. It is time to stop beating up Flex on this.

73 de WB6RQN/J79BPL
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WB6RQN
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Posts: 484




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« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2011, 01:36:43 PM »

Being a jerk is not grounds on the part of the manufacturer to ignore a legitimate problem.

73 de WB6RQN/J79BPL

Please cut out the Spin. Many hams including W8JI and the the past President of the ARRL complained about the 160 mtr spur problem. It is all well documented on the net. Many just gave up on the Flexradio. Being a jerk  Cheesy I complained and complained publicly about the spur problem. Flexradio did finally fix it.

Stan K9IUQ

Stan, sometimes you can be amazingly clueless. Yes, I think you are a jerk but my point was that, no matter what I or anyone thinks of you, you were right and it was wrong of Flex to ignore what you were saying about the 160m spur. So, did you get that? I was saying that you were right.

Stan, you are an enigma. Believe it or not, many times I want to agree with you. But you come across so hateful and negative that I just have to roll my eyes and go the other way. <sigh> Tone it down, balance it out, and you will find me in agreement a LOT more.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
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WB6RQN
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Posts: 484




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« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2011, 05:37:22 PM »

Being a jerk is not grounds on the part of the manufacturer to ignore a legitimate problem.

Stan, sometimes you can be amazingly clueless. Yes, I think you are a jerk

. <sigh> Tone it down, balance it out, and you will find me in agreement a LOT more.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL

Not clueless.

Well, we could probably debate that. :-)

Quote
You insinuated that Flexradio ignored the 160/80 mtr spur problem because I was the jerk complaining about it.

No, it wasn't because you were complaining about it. It is that people get so annoyed with the WAY that you complain that they tend to tune you out.

Quote
I pointed out accurately that many other respected no jerk hams complained about it long before I did. And Flexradio did nothing.. That is a fact.

I agree. Flex should have taken it seriously. They tend to be too quick to say, "no problem found here." That is why I said that you need good documentation. Likewise with the overshoot problem. It wasn't until someone got decent scope traces of the envelope that the problem became clear. Yeah, Flex should have immediately done the right thing and used a DSO to capture a trace of the keying envelope but they didn't. OTOH, once you show them that they really have a problem, they fix it.

So, they are reluctant to fix non-obvious things until you rub their noses in it. But then they fix things pretty quickly ... most of the time. I am still beating them up over some problems that are definite problems but only affect a small subset of people ... like me. Smiley But one thing is really clear, working with them instead of trying to shame them gets a LOT farther. That seems to be true of dealing with most people.

Quote
I care not whether you agree with me or not. Pleasing you is not a priority with me.  Cheesy

Well, then we agree that we care not about pleasing each other. Smiley It does appear to me that you take pleasure from pissing people off. It isn't clear to me why. Personally I find that I prefer to try to get along with people (including you).

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2011, 07:43:14 PM »


So for you haters out there could you explain why you post here all the time about something you hate and probably don’t own?

Zack
N8FNR


I don't hate Flex radios or Flex the company.  I hate misinformation, spin, and denials that the "Flexies" spread about Flex products.

I owned and operated a Flex-5000a and I experienced first hand many of the negatives that we discuss here.   I would not have said anything about these negatives had the "Flexies" not come in here to spin, lie, minimize, and deny the problems I have experienced first hand.  I also know many current and previous Flex owners who have also experienced these problems.  The "Flexies" standard response is that has never happened to my radio, YOU must be doing something wrong.  I discuss this information so that prospective buyers get a counter balanced view of what to expect when owning a Flex product instead of the rose-colored-glasses view that most "Flexies" give when asked (like 2010 Flex Radio Goodwill Ambassador Brian).  I would have appreciated the same when I was a prospective buyer.  That the "Flexies" don't like it is not my problem.

There are still intermittent problems with spurs being generated either by PowerSDR or the hardware in the Flex-5000 radios too.  I heard a Flex-5000 owner generating a strange spur 11 kHz or so up from his TX frequency on 10 meters just today.  He said he was running about 80 watts out on the Flex-5000.

Gene
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 08:06:52 PM by KE5JPP » Logged
KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2011, 07:47:08 PM »

Yes, I think you are a jerk but my point was that, no matter what I or anyone thinks of you, you were right and it was wrong of Flex to ignore what you were saying about the 160m spur.
73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


Jerk? Tsk tsk tsk... again with the name calling...  Brian, YOU need to tone it down.

Gene
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 08:03:24 PM by KE5JPP » Logged
WB6RQN
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Posts: 484




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« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2011, 10:00:18 AM »

You know Gene, eventually one reaches a point where one has to call a spade, "a spade." It appears that Stan's primary motivation is to annoy, inflame, and cause dissent, not to promulgate "truth". Sure, he states facts but only in the support of his agenda. You are very close to the same point but at least you clearly have the technical chops to make it stick. So, Stan is a jerk (I could use other, stronger names) and you are nearly so. The main difference is that you will actually carry on an enlightened discussion about the technical aspects whereas he always falls back on his litany of oft-repeated "facts" that he knows will bring a rise from the group of people who happen to like the Flex radios. The former indicates thought; the latter, none (besides being a troll).

So label this name-calling if you wish. I really don't much care. The signal to noise ratio on this forum is very nearly zero and I have other things to do. Do not be surprised if you stop seeing me post here. You may have noticed that my posting rate both here and on the Flex reflectors has nearly reached zero. I am working on the development of a new EmComm system (commercial, not ham-related) and just don't have the time for content-free nonsense.

So 73 to you and everyone on this list. I may check back here periodically but the constant reversion to unreasonable Flex-bashing and unreasonable Flex-support means it is unlikely for someone to check in here and learn anything of any consequence.

BTW, Zenki -- keep up your campaign for cleaner transmitters. That is something that is definitely needed. Devices with higher gain-bandwidth products mean that negative feedback at HF frequencies should be the rule rather than the exception. But like hoping for an improved S/N on the SDR forum in eHam, I won't hold my breath that it will happen any time soon. It is going to take a demand on the part of the market in order to get the manufacturers to take note. The nearly total lack of technical capability in any but the smallest minority of the ham community means that it is unlikely that most will ever understand, let alone demand, quality.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
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