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Author Topic: Flexradio "Game Changer" = Game Over for Flexradio PSDR  (Read 21789 times)
KE5JPP
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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2012, 07:01:10 AM »

Quote
Unfortunately ham radios require physical knobs and buttons for the best man machine interface. Anyone who thinks they can change this aspect of the hobby  just does not get it. Even the most advanced aircraft like Airbus still has knobs and buttons for the radios, and that says it all on such an advanced aircraft!

Knobs are still around but it's very clear they're considered vestigial holdouts and it's just a matter of time before they're gone.

73,
Tim, N9RO


Tim, this is true!  As the old farts die off, guys who grew up with computers and their GUI interfaces will determine the user interfaces in all devices.   There is just an abundant population of old farts in Ham radio.  The videos from Dayton looked like a senior citizen convention with a scooter passing by the camera every few seconds.  Grin

Gene
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2012, 09:32:05 AM »


IMO when all the old guys die off, it will be the end of hamradio. The end of an era.

Stan K9IUQ

I agree with that.  From the looks of the Hamfest in Dayton, that will not be too far off.

Gene
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K0OD
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2012, 09:39:05 AM »

Actually most traditional hobbies are in the same decline as ham radio.  I'm thinking stamp and coin collecting. Sports have replaced hobbies for many kids.

One of my sons was something of a rail-fan... riding, watching and reading about trains, often online. But otherwise his life has been devoted to baseball in many ways. At one time, he was playing baseball on various teams about 9 months a year. Not at all unusual.   

Other son is studying EE. He has a tech license, built a kit with me, but really has no interest in electronic hobbies.

Is looking for a job a hobby?
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AK4KZ
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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2012, 10:15:27 AM »

There are, of course, people who might be interested in radio itself. People who want just radio and not more computers. I too have spent 30 years (or more) in computers... desktop, networking, security, programming and management (not necessarily in that order). I'm currently WAY more involved in IPv6 than I ever wanted to be. I've had most of the letters of the alphabet after my name and still have some from major vendors. My point being.. it's not just literacy that determines someone's view toward radio and computers.

I always say there's something simplistically beautiful about just sitting down with a radio and a straight key. No computers. No jumble of wires, USB cables, monitor, etc. Just you, the radio and the contact on the other end. I don't want to spend more time with computers. I want to mess with radios. I don't mean to imply that I don't use a computer most of the time. But having knobs gives me the option. I can see a day when I put away the computer and just use a radio. (And I'd like to think that I'm not so much of a freak as to be the only one who thinks so.)

That said, SDR is a cool area. And if that's what interests you, more power to ya. Have a blast. I'm neither a hater or a fanboy. But to think that people don't jump on the bandwagon because they're old and not comfortable with computers?.. I think that's too much assumption.

The 6000 is pretty but I think a good question might be "Will the 6000 entice an operator who isn't already a Flex owner or leaning heavily in that direction?"

The more important question.. is that $200/year to even use the software? Or is that for updates and such? $200/year to use the software on a software radio.. isn't that radio rental with a 4-6k buy in? Hmm.. for that price, you should get the hardware for $500 with a signed 2-year commitment.

With a $200/yr cost, I wonder if that will spur third party or open source development.

Time will tell. I don't know. Maybe if the prices come down enough.. maybe I'll get a used one too. (Maybe I'll do some development ;-)

73,
Chris
AK4KZ
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W4ZV
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2012, 12:10:36 PM »

Quote
The more important question.. is that $200/year to even use the software? Or is that for updates and such? $200/year to use the software on a software radio.. isn't that radio rental with a 4-6k buy in? Hmm.. for that price, you should get the hardware for $500 with a signed 2-year commitment.

$200/year implies capital being tied up to generate that amount.  Most investment advisors suggest 4%/year being the amount you should withdraw annually to keep your capital intact (e.g. from a 401k).  In simple terms, this means the true purchase cost is $6k plus the amount of capital ($5k if the return is 4%) needed to generate $200/yr.  Effectively this makes the real cost closer to $11k, if the payment stream lasts forever (probably a bad assumption IMHO).

73,  Bill  W4ZV
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W4LI
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« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2012, 02:25:47 PM »

I think the soft-ui, totally on your computer screen, sdr approach, may take time to catch on en-masse. The new flex advances the high end of that evolution 

However, the internal radio architecture is a potential game changer. I think Flex or a third party should introduce a high end form factor knob/meter/dials/screen, maybe a touch screen, and then you have a very serious competitor to today's high end rigs. This would create a radio competitive in both types of usage class, traditional or SDR.

Another thing I notice about the 6000 series is that it became feasible due to advances in internal processing power and higher end a/d and d/a conversion at an approachable, albeit high,  price point. They are now leveraging the types of technology that advance noticeably every year, independent of ham radio. The cost of this approach, at a given performance level, should actually decline over time. Conventional analog aspects of radio front end approaches have much less of this effect. Digital processing is very mainstream.

Therefore, I suggest in a few years, cheaper SDRs might compete with the highest end radios today. Of course, the traditional vendors have the option to include the techniques where beneficial, and still retain the traditional dedicated box with screens ad knobs for the UI.

My 2 cents.
Dan, W4LI


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W4LI - Dan Hoogterp
NI0Z
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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2012, 07:32:25 PM »


You get the idea. The ham op is overwhelmed if he expects to do anything besides run PSDR.  Forget contesting with a SDR. It is almost impossible. Which is why no respected contester will ever use a Flexradio.

SDR may be the future but definitely not being run on a PC computer screen.

Stan K9IUQ

Stan, I am having a hard time understanding this statement.  With a hand trigger for keying the mic and the addition of knobs to control the VFO, PSDR is essentially minimized to become a Panadaptor.  At that point how is the SDR any less effective for contesting assuming a normal ham still uses logging software that's integrated with PSDR to auto capture frequency and band info and gathers spot info from the net?  I use Comcat with PSDR through (HRD which remains minimized) and Comcat displays DX Spots and facilitates logging.

Don't get me wrong here, because I don't contest, I am genuinely trying to understand why people think flex radios stink for contesting.  I guess if you tried to totally operate the flex through PSDR I get it.  With the right addons though I don't.  

Regarding a touch screen, I agree, mine is not really very effective and while it looks cool I use that radio display in the picture on my profile mainly for the SMeter and frequency info.

I know this will sound crazy, however, I am going to drop a quad video card in big Bertha ( computer I run all my stuff on) and have 4 displays.  One for HRDs rotator control and map, one for the wattmeter software and weather, one for PsDR/world clocks, meters ect, and the last for Comcat [DX Spotting/logging].

It would be nice if HRD would just add DX Spotting to their sweet and have it work like Comcat for logging.

I do say all this with younger in cheek because only a real geek like me would want to get all that integrated and stable working together.  But it does work for me today and is stable.  The 5th many monitor will continue to run WoodBoxRadio radios FX Pad.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 07:43:48 PM by EVERSTAR » Logged

KE5JPP
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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2012, 06:14:48 AM »

I run my TS-590s thru the rig control builtin to Commcat, I do not use HRD for rig control when running Commcat.

How do you like your TS-590s?  I have a K3, but I think the front panel is an ergonomic nightmare.  The buttons and knobs also feel very cheap.  I am considering getting a TS-590s because the front panel looks more reasonable.

Gene
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2012, 06:48:43 AM »

How do you like your TS-590s?  I have a K3, but I think the front panel is an ergonomic nightmare.  The buttons and knobs also feel very cheap.  I am considering getting a TS-590s because the front panel looks more reasonable.

I love it. It just works and is comfortable to use. Really nice SSB audio. I am not a Kenwood fan, but this one is a good one. I got the TS-590s right after I dumped my 5K last year. The Kenwood does not get in the way of working DX. The RX is very good, check Sherwood website.

I do not miss the 5K, nor am I handicapped in working DX by using the TS-590s. I do miss a second RX. I plan to upgrade to a radio that has a 2nd RX, however the ones I like are too expensive. The K3 is a good radio but frustrating to use. I do not care for the K-3 SSB xmit audio. Every K-3 I have heard on SSB sounds 2nd rate.

Stan K9IUQ

I am thinking about slaving my QS1R to the TS-590s via the CAT interface so I will have both a panadapter and second receiver option.  I do that now with my K3 and it works well.  Most K3s I hear on the air do have second rate audio, including mine.   I have to laugh a bit about the Sherwood list in general and where the K3 is on it.  In addition to the SDR receivers I have, I also have an ICOM R9000.  Being 20 year old technology with no DSP anywhere, it is way down on Sherwoods list.  At one time the R9000 was considered to be a top end receiver.  In comparing the K3 in similar operating conditions, both strong and weak signal, everything I can hear on the K3 is also able to be heard on the R9000.  Of course, the R9000 has a few fixed filter widths and with the K3 you can have a multitude of filter widths.  Still, the R9000 is right up there with the K3 when pulling out the weak ones and listening through the strong ones.  The Sherwood list shows radios with impressive lab numbers, but says nothing about how they are to listen to and use.  I am convinced that under normal real world circumstances you need expensive lab equipment to really discern the differences in Sherwoods list.  Your eyes and ears can't tell the difference between a few decibels here and there.  I much prefer the ergonomics of the R9000 to the K3.

I am really not in the mood to spend > $2000 for another HF rig right now, so I am seriously looking at the TS-590s (and that's the reason for my question).

Gene
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 06:50:15 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
KE5JPP
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« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2012, 05:13:46 AM »


I am thinking about slaving my QS1R to the TS-590s via the CAT interface so I will have both a panadapter and second receiver option.  

The Sherwood list shows radios with impressive lab numbers, but says nothing about how they are to listen to and use.  I am convinced that under normal real world circumstances you need expensive lab equipment to really discern the differences in Sherwoods list.  Your eyes and ears can't tell the difference between a few decibels here and there.  

Gene


I really wish you would buy a TS-590s and slave it to the QS1R. I have thought about doing the exact same thing, but I do not have a QS1R -yet. If you could test the waters and tell me the TS-590s works great with your QS1R I would buy the QS1R tomorrow.  Cheesy

I agree 100 % about the Sherwood tests. My own observations have been the same as yours. For instance my TS-590s is every bit as good on RX as my 5K was.

There are differences of course in RX performance especially when contesting. Recent radios here at K9IUQ were the Kenwood 2000 (ugh) Icom Pro II and Pro III and a Yaesu FT-897D. The TS-590s surpasses the above radios in RX performance. However the Pro II and Pro III were entirely adequate, the Kenwood 2000 and 897D were not - at least for my kind of operations.

I also presently own a Icom 7000 and it is not as good as the Kenwood Ts-590s RX. I only use the 7000 in the Field Day Contest and vacationing.

Stan K9IUQ

 I just placed an order for a TS-590s, so I will let you know how it goes.

Gene
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NI0Z
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« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2012, 08:19:47 AM »

Well, there you have it, two people talking about buying not flex non SDR radios in a thread about a game changer radio.  Not such a game changer in the end, is it?  Maybe the game is over, but just not like people may have thought.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 08:32:23 AM by EVERSTAR » Logged

KE5JPP
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« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2012, 08:32:51 AM »

Well, there you have it, two people talking about buying not flex non SDR radios in a thread about a game changer radio.  Not such a game changer in the end, is it?

No, after looking at the various information available as of now, the Flex Radio 6000 series in not a game changer.  It is just a new game with a high entry price and an ongoing Software Extortion Fee of $200 per year.

Now, it would be a game changer if these features were available in a rig at a lower price point of something between $1500 and $2500.  Right now it is a high priced game of chance since, when you preorder, you are ordering a radio that is not yet finished, has no definite delivery date, and has no outline yet of what features will be supported in the first release of the software for this rig when it finally does become available.

Gene
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 08:47:28 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
AK4KZ
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« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2012, 08:49:26 AM »

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The more important question.. is that $200/year to even use the software? Or is that for updates and such? $200/year to use the software on a software radio.. isn't that radio rental with a 4-6k buy in? Hmm.. for that price, you should get the hardware for $500 with a signed 2-year commitment.

$200/year implies capital being tied up to generate that amount.  Most investment advisors suggest 4%/year being the amount you should withdraw annually to keep your capital intact (e.g. from a 401k).  In simple terms, this means the true purchase cost is $6k plus the amount of capital ($5k if the return is 4%) needed to generate $200/yr.  Effectively this makes the real cost closer to $11k, if the payment stream lasts forever (probably a bad assumption IMHO).

73,  Bill  W4ZV

Ah! Gotcha. Thanks, Bill. That makes more sense.

73,
 -Chris
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N4RMT
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« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2012, 08:55:16 AM »

I've grown kind of tired of that excuse.  It's a grasp at a straw that's really not there.  It is not that hard to keep a PC in good health and running for many, many years.  I run my SDR-1000 on a windows xp machine I built in 2007, and that radio will flat run circles around any rig you put it next to, past or present, and I've tried a ton.  If you "need" to upgrade to a new OS, then you're going to likely need a new PC anyway to run it.  So wheres the "extra" expense?  What's wrong with keeping the one the rig is connected to and just considering it part of the rig?    If it works now, and you treat it nice, it will still work in its current configuration years from now.   Tell you what.  If you ever see a guy driving a 67 Chevelle SS396, ask him if he's mad because GM doesn't build or support them anymore.  He'll likely laugh, and with his right foot, show you why he could care less if GM closed their doors for good.


Not really. Even if there's never another update for PSDR from Flex, my Flex 1500 will carry on working just as well (and the best update for it lately hasn't been from Flex at all, but from DH1TW), and I'll carry on enjoying it just as much.

Until you reach the point where you have to upgrade your OS or get a new computer with a new OS and your Flex hardware no longer works with the new OS.  This happened with the Flex SDR-1000 and Windows 7 64 bit.   I have a Yaesu rig that is almost 40 years old and it is still usable and it works when I turn it on.  I bet you'll only find a computer that will work with your Flex-1500 in some museum 40 years from now.

People buy SDRs with the expectation that the software will be kept up to date.  Either Flex will start charging for upgrades of PowerSDR beyond version 2.0 or PowerSDR development will languish in favor of their new 6000 series software (SmartSDR) with its pay to play model.

Gene
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 09:03:57 AM by N4RMT » Logged
KE5JPP
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« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2012, 09:17:38 AM »

I've grown kind of tired of that excuse.  It's a grasp at a straw that's really not there.  It is not that hard to keep a PC in good health and running for many, many years.  I run my SDR-1000 on a windows xp machine I built in 2007, and that radio will flat run circles around any rig you put it next to, past or present, and I've tried a ton.  If you "need" to upgrade to a new OS, then you're going to likely need a new PC anyway to run it.  So wheres the "extra" expense?  What's wrong with keeping the one the rig is connected to and just considering it part of the rig?    If it works now, and you treat it nice, it will still work in its current configuration years from now.   Tell you what.  If you ever see a guy driving a 67 Chevelle SS396, ask him if he's mad because GM doesn't build or support them anymore.  He'll likely laugh, and with his right foot, show you why he could care less if GM closed their doors for good.

Not likely.  Comparing an old consumer computer to a old car is comparing apples to oranges and is nonsense.  Consumer computer system components are not designed to last more than 5 years or so at the best.  Eventually the motherboard, the RAM, video card, hard drive, etc... is going to give up the ghost and then you will be faced with the option of trying to find parts to fix your old system or buying a new computer system with a new OS at probably a lower cost than fixing your old one.  The new system will have whatever peripherals and interfaces that is being used at the time and this may not be the interface that your old SDR uses.  Firewire is becoming an example of this.  Another example is when Flex SDR-1000 owners find out that they can't run their SDR-1000 with a new computer with Windows 7 installed.

Gene
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