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Author Topic: Flex 6000 Series  (Read 27186 times)
NI0Z
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« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2012, 03:04:30 PM »


Yeah, W4TV, is a huge Elecraft Fanboy to the point where he will purposely misrepresent any other competitor's product.  Roll Eyes  And he has no idea what he is talking about related to DDC architectures.  The misinformation and misconceptions he spreads are just horrible.

Gene


So Gene, I have see you are quite the SDR wizard, what's your take on what the real dynamic range numbers are going to be on the 6k series and what it will mean for the users assuming they build it stable?  Will the average shack even be able to leverage it and make it worth while?
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2012, 03:21:54 PM »

Ok, about the computer, most commercial PC's stink for applications like this.  Easiest way to get it right is to build one yourself. 

I have built at least 5 or 6 computers from scratch. I stopped doing it because it is just too expensive to buy all the parts and put them together. It is probably 50% cheaper to buy a commercial computer and then modify it yourself. If you know what you are doing you can buy an off the shelf computer that will be as good or better from one built from scratch. And save a bunch of $$$. That is just a fact. If you do no believe it then you have been doing too much reading about Neals computers on the Flex Reflectors.  Cheesy Cheesy

In fact from your postings here lately I find you getting more and more Flex oriented.  Cheesy Cheesy

Stan K9IUQ

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NI0Z
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« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2012, 04:13:20 PM »

Stan, I own a Flex radio and have figured it all out, of course I am going to talk about the flex and how to solve problems.  When you pay your dues and get it working there's not much to dislike really.  Of course, I don't have as demanding expectations as many here so perhaps my opinion shouldnt count.  And, let's just say for a moment I was pro flex, what is exactly does that mean?  Should I be relegated to some lesser stature because I come to a fourm titled SDR and talk positively about any particular SDR.  Only Kenwood fans opinions should matter, or Elecraft opinions, or Yaesu opinions?  Why is one SDR brand radio owner different than another or respected more than another?  Or for that matter even a non SDR owner.

The 6700 series radios and hype thus far intrigues me, but I am interested in real opinions and the other side of the hype.  It's why I come here as well.  I value people who provide the other side of the coin and talk about it as well.  You can usually see who sits at the extremes and who are the in betweens.

Yes, if you look hard at what's in the commercial PC you buy or are willing to change some things on it, you can do pretty well. 

Building you own PC apples to apples is about the same cost for the same stuff.  Commercial PCs tend to use lesser processors like Celerons, or AMD chips.  When we build them we tend to buy better stuff.  You can build dirt cheap PCs as well.  You pretty much get what you pay for and it pretty much performs like what you paid for it.  Don't get me wrong, I have an HP in the house, 2 dells,1 acer, 3 macs and two home builds.  I rely on only my Mac and my home built stuff for the important stuff.  The Mac was the best of them all until I loaded Lion on it.  Apple has some work to do on it.

So Stan, what's your thoughts now on the 6700 radios?  I am talking about the specs and not the cost and the company.  I already know how you feel on those topics.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 04:20:16 PM by NI0Z » Logged

K9IUQ
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« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2012, 06:15:36 PM »

So Stan, what's your thoughts now on the 6700 radios?  I am talking about the specs and not the cost and the company.  I already know how you feel on those topics.

Hams do not build computers any longer for the same reason they do not build radios. Why is Heathkit out of business? Knight kit? Eico? and countless others. Because it is cheaper and you get a better product by letting Robots or ultra cheap China Labor build radios for you.

My thoughts on the Flexradio 6700 radios are the same as Flexradio. At this point in time it is only Dreams in somebodys brain. It is not a real product . I do not Dream about radios. I have much better things to Dream about and my Dreams are Free.  Wink Only Flexers Dream about Radio Promises and put $$$$ down on a future Dream Radio.

Stan K9IUQ
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2012, 06:36:53 PM »

Building you own PC apples to apples is about the same cost for the same stuff.  Commercial PCs tend to use lesser processors like Celerons, or AMD chips.  When we build them we tend to buy better stuff.

Baloney. Gamers do not use Celeron chips. There is nothing wrong with the high end AMD chips. You can buy Gamer Computers that really smoke almost anywhere. Newegg,Amazon, Even Best Buy or Frys. And way cheaper than building your own. Uh, have you ever bought a Win 7 OS to put on a new non upgrade computer? LMAO

Stan K9IUQ
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NI0Z
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« Reply #35 on: June 15, 2012, 08:10:59 PM »

I simply disagree. 

In the end me,  not even a 1 year ham, got the Flex radio to work well, and work pretty darn well at that.  It really didn't even take a month.

I didnt quit on it because I ran into a few obstacles and blame everything flex radio.  I was able to quickly sort through myths and facts.  Fact is the radio is above average and the software bundelwd with it is functional, but is only average and has a few bugs.

I don't give flex a pass for making things difficult either, so it ain't about that.  I have said many times already here and on my website that they should change how they operate.  I did know however what I got into though when I bought the rig and got past the challenges as many others have with some help and simple observation and creativity.

Anyone else that wants to make these radios work, can very easily now if they want to.  At this point since we know what needs to be done its not even difficult.  It cost about $20 dollars in ferrites if you buy them full price and a little ingenuity and patience.  Per your own argument, the PC has nothing to do with it or can be had cheaper than you can build it.  That's your view btw, not mine as I believe you get equal or less than what you pay for most times and the buyer is always to be aware.  Every once and a while a good deal can be had with patience.  The fact remains that you bought one, even wrote a review about how you loved it and then something went wrong and you did a 180.  I'd love to know what caused all this commotion.

They are just machines made by very imperfect people.  I think your a very very smart man Stan, just think something about your Flex radio experience got the best of you and you won't stand for anyone saying they like their Flex radio, struggles or no struggles. Maybe it's because the solution is so cheap and easy in the end.  And forget the fact that the solution to 90% or more of the issues costs less than $20.  Just $20 and a little patience.  That's all Stan.

Forget the fact that I am a computing professional and have over 20 years experience with them as well.  I don't think so little of your ham experience and it's great when you share great stuff with us.  When we loose objectivity though we loose credibility.  The message I seem to get from you is there isn't even 1 good thing about flex radios except that you no longer own one.  That about right?  Emotions seem to rule the climate here.  Again, they are all just radios.  There are so many more important things in life!

There are likely few pro Flex radio people here because a few people don't want them here and will not tolerate them.  Pretty simple, like I said, it appears to be Anti Flex radio forum held under siege by a few.   The few have no problem when I tell the bad, but beware the person that has one good thing to say, you will be chastised and hounded until they go away.  That's why the credibility of those few slips, no objectivity.

I can begin to tell you the good and bad of many other current radios on the market, including the Flex rigs.  That's objectivity.

Just ignore me if you don't like what I have to say, I plan on doing the same for you.

Sorry!

Peace and 73 to you!

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K9IUQ
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« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2012, 04:19:28 AM »

In the end me,  not even a 1 year ham, got the Flex radio to work well, and work pretty darn well at that.  It really didn't even take a month.

  The fact remains that you bought one, even wrote a review about how you loved it and then something went wrong and you did a 180.  I'd love to know what caused all this commotion.

Just ignore me if you don't like what I have to say, I plan on doing the same for you.


Since you are a newbie I will cut you a little slack. I had no problems getting the Flex 5K to work. It just did not work as advertised. I will list a few annoyances that I found after a few months of using the Flex 5K.

1.CW was next to useless because of latency.
2.No functional FM mode or CTCSS tones for 10 mtr repeaters.
3.160/80 mtr xmit spurs making operation on those bands a no-no. Flexradio ignored this problem for years, the ARRL president even stopped using a Flex 5K because of it.
4. XMIT RFI on 17 mtrs and higher.
5. Flexradio does not tolerate criticism or complaints about problems. I was banned from the Flexradio Reflectors within 2 months because because I would not keep quiet..
6. ALC spikes which caused amps to kick out. Flexradio knew about this problem for over a year but ignored it. A Flex user made a change to PSDR and fixed the problem for them.
7. Finally after whining constantly Flexradio offered to make a hardware change to my 5K to fix the 160/80 mtr spurs. I sent the radio at my cost to them. When I got it back the Receivers did not work. Flexradio told me to send it back to them. I took the 5K apart and figured out they had switched 2 cables after they made the 160/80 mtr mod. Obviously they did no testing of my radio or they would have seen the Receivers were not functional. Very poor service and I wasted a day figuring out what was wrong. Also they asked me not to publicly announce my 160/80 mtr mod. When I sold my 5K 6 months later I advertised that my radio had the "coveted 160/80 mtr mod". This created a storm of postings on the Flex Reflector asking about the mod. The next day Flexradio officially announced the hardware mod........
8. No working ANF or manual notch.

There is more, much more.

if you ignore me you lose the opportunity to plug your website every post.  Cheesy

Stan K9IUQ

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K9IUQ
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« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2012, 04:27:51 AM »

There are likely few pro Flex radio people here because a few people don't want them here and will not tolerate them. 

All are welcome here.Pro Flex , Anti Flex and in-betweeners. It would be very boring to see only one sided opinions. Wait - - that is what you get on the Flexradio Reflectors.  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Stan K9IUQ
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2012, 08:37:17 AM »


Yeah, W4TV, is a huge Elecraft Fanboy to the point where he will purposely misrepresent any other competitor's product.  Roll Eyes  And he has no idea what he is talking about related to DDC architectures.  The misinformation and misconceptions he spreads are just horrible.

Gene


So Gene, I have see you are quite the SDR wizard, what's your take on what the real dynamic range numbers are going to be on the 6k series and what it will mean for the users assuming they build it stable?  Will the average shack even be able to leverage it and make it worth while?

I am not a SDR wizard by any stretch of the imagination.  What I can do is read datasheets, signal processing and DSP texts, and understand the math required to form a semi-educated view of the various SDR architectures.  I have also used quite a few different SDR receivers.

The Flex-6000 series is supposed to use an AD9467 16 bit ADC at 245.76 MSPS.  The datasheet gives a 75.5 dBfs SNR for the AD9467 ADC at 210 MSPS.  The ENOB (effective number of bits) is given at 12.2 bits at 210 MSPS.  Those numbers will be a little less at 245.76 MSPS.   At a final demodulated bandwidth of 3 kHz, the SNR is around 120 dBfs.  At 500 Hz demodulated bandwidth, the SNR is around -128 dBfs.  So IF Flex does not flub up something in the hardware design, the Flex-6000 receiver has the potential of easily exceeding the FTdx-5000D at the top of Sherwood's receiver list.

For the transmitter, I am not as optimistic.  No matter how clean the DAC's output on the transmit side, if they use their typical 12 V PA as they have done in their other rigs, the Flex-6000 will be just as bad IMD-wise on transmit.

Why have they selected the 245.76 MSPS sample rate on the ADC?  They have chosen the output rate of the DDC to be the common sound card sample rates of 48, 96, or 192 kHz.  245.76 MHz / 5120 = 48 kHz, 245.76 MHz / 2560 = 96 kHz, and 245.76 MHz / 1280 = 192 kHz.  The factors 5120, 2560, and 1280 are the decimation factors in the DDC.  They have to use a more expensive Xilinx Virtex 6 FPGA because of it having to be able to handle the high clock speed of 245.76 MHz.

Gene
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 08:41:08 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
NI0Z
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« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2012, 09:01:13 AM »

Thanks Gene,

I agree, you are a radio math wizard then!  That's exactly part of what I was looking for, the 140DB seemed to high!

Can you comment what does that means for a few shack noise example noise floors?

Let's take a few such as the following

Noise floor sits at -135db
Noise floor sits at -130db
Noise floor sits at -125db
Noise floor sits at -120db
Noise floor sits at -115db

I avoided S Units for this discussion and realize there would be assumptions tied to this since I think it's somewhat theoretical in discussion.

The interest here is if there is a correlation of the Best obtainable noise floor and ones shack and the capability of a radios receiver specs.  So for example, if the best noise floor I can achieve is only -115db is a radio with say 120db going to be any better for me than one with say 115?

Thanks for your patience!


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KE5JPP
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« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2012, 09:37:01 AM »

Thanks Gene,

I agree, you are a radio math wizard then!  That's exactly part of what I was looking for, the 140DB seemed to high!

Can you comment what does that means for a few shack noise example noise floors?

Let's take a few such as the following

Noise floor sits at -135db
Noise floor sits at -130db
Noise floor sits at -125db
Noise floor sits at -120db
Noise floor sits at -115db

I avoided S Units for this discussion and realize there would be assumptions tied to this since I think it's somewhat theoretical in discussion.

The interest here is if there is a correlation of the Best obtainable noise floor and ones shack and the capability of a radios receiver specs.  So for example, if the best noise floor I can achieve is only -115db is a radio with say 120db going to be any better for me than one with say 115?

Thanks for your patience!


There is such a thing as the receiver being too sensitive for sure.  Your local noise level on the lower bands can be in the -90 to -80 dBm (or higher) range, so a sensitivity of -130 dBm is surely wasted in that case.  By lowering the sensitivity from -130 dBm to -100 dBm in a direct sampling receiver, you would gain 30 dB in ADC overload limit.  So if your receiver has a sensitivity of -130 dBm and a overload limit of -30 dBm, decreasing the sensitivity to -100 dBm will raise the overload limit to 0 dBm as an example.

Realistically,  what you are going to be happy with in a rig is not a few decibels difference on someone's chart, but how the rig is to live with every day - it's ergonomics, ease of use, simplicity of menus, availability of accessories, level of manufacturer support, etc...  In almost all cases, the local operating environment is going to make the differences in those charts undetectable unless you perform your tests in a lab environment with expensive test equipment to discern those differences.  Generally, you are not going to detect those differences in numbers with your ears in real world operating conditions.

Gene
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 09:40:23 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
NI0Z
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« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2012, 11:29:08 AM »

Thanks Gene, that's what I suspected and was looking for some validation.

Lol, I have to laugh because today I was one of those Flex Radios that suddenly disappeared off the air in the middle of a mini pile I had created.

We lost power here!  Not the Flex's fault or a faulty PC.  Strange, no weather here right now either!

Too bad, was having fun!

Thanks again Gene, I will have a direct comparison some day with the KX3 gets here probably late this year or next depending on how long it takes for them to catchup!  My noise floor is fairly decent and sits between -120Db and -135db on the Flex Panadaptor.  It was pretty bad when I first set things up as -110 used to be a good day and -100 was normal.  I think there may be a few more things I can do to try and get it down more before I am just dealing with what it will be in a busy suburb neighborhood.
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NI0Z
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« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2012, 11:52:21 AM »


Since you are a newbie I will cut you a little slack. I had no problems getting the Flex 5K to work. It just did not work as advertised. I will list a few annoyances that I found after a few months of using the Flex 5K.

1.CW was next to useless because of latency.
2.No functional FM mode or CTCSS tones for 10 mtr repeaters.
3.160/80 mtr xmit spurs making operation on those bands a no-no. Flexradio ignored this problem for years, the ARRL president even stopped using a Flex 5K because of it.
4. XMIT RFI on 17 mtrs and higher.
5. Flexradio does not tolerate criticism or complaints about problems. I was banned from the Flexradio Reflectors within 2 months because because I would not keep quiet..
6. ALC spikes which caused amps to kick out. Flexradio knew about this problem for over a year but ignored it. A Flex user made a change to PSDR and fixed the problem for them.
7. Finally after whining constantly Flexradio offered to make a hardware change to my 5K to fix the 160/80 mtr spurs. I sent the radio at my cost to them. When I got it back the Receivers did not work. Flexradio told me to send it back to them. I took the 5K apart and figured out they had switched 2 cables after they made the 160/80 mtr mod. Obviously they did no testing of my radio or they would have seen the Receivers were not functional. Very poor service and I wasted a day figuring out what was wrong. Also they asked me not to publicly announce my 160/80 mtr mod. When I sold my 5K 6 months later I advertised that my radio had the "coveted 160/80 mtr mod". This created a storm of postings on the Flex Reflector asking about the mod. The next day Flexradio officially announced the hardware mod........
8. No working ANF or manual notch.

There is more, much more.

if you ignore me you lose the opportunity to plug your website every post.  Cheesy

Stan K9IUQ



Ok Stan, I get it and have a much better understanding of where you come from.  

So here is what I have to say about it.  

Shame on Flex!  Prospective new buyers beware!  And I think someone has to carry that torch and I think that is what you are doing.  I am guessing based on how flex has set themselves up by taking money on radios that are still in development that some bad things may occur to those first owners.  They'll be under huge pressure to hurry up and deliver.  It's a shame!

Now, here is the thing, many of us own these radios now and have some serious money sunk into them.  Define serious money, I define it as a ham that has spent their radio budget on a radio.  Matters not whether they bought a 1K or a 5K radio.  Serious is relative to the user.

If I sold my radio now, I would loose money.  So while I am sympathetic to your plight, us existing owners that have it working for our needs get bothered when this comes up in every thread.  I don't have any allegiance to Flex nor any equipment makers.  I tend to say what's good and bad as I see it.  Brand loyalty and fanboyism was rampant in my photography hobby and still is.  I pretty much ignore it because I don't care who makes it, so long as it works and I feel that value proposition is decent.

About the website, it's not commercial in anyway!  No adds, no money for me, only cost to me to host it. 

So, I will likely be owning this rig for some time now and leveraging my investment.  I confess, I like the whole SDR thing right now!  I am a computer geek for sure and a former military communications equipment repairmen.  What's not to like when I get to mix radios and computers.  I am a fan of SDR radios and if there had been a better option that I found at the time I would have done it if it was within my budget.

If I could get all my money back and do something different, I'd probably get a Kenwood, Elcraft or highend Yaesu and marry it with an RFspace SDR-IP or NetSDR.  But, what I have right now will do as I couldn't afford that anyways.  I will wait a while to see what happens out there.

So, here is how I am going to go forward here on E ham forums.  I am going to ignore you warning prospective buyers without comment anymore.  It's obvious you are passionate about warning people.  I guess I am going to ignore you getting after Fanboys because I can see how they would irk you and seem irresponsible, especially if the things on that list have not been addressed.  Objectivity is important for prospective buyers.

And that's pretty much it.  I'd like to think we can be friends here.  Again, I think I can learn from folks like you and I do all the time.  

So, that's my Olive branch of sorts.  I am sure as I advance in my pursuit of the my new hobby I will outgrow the limits of the Flex radios and want something better.  Honestly though, there is a whole lot of hamming between now and then so I am good with what I have as my base station.

Peace!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 12:23:58 PM by NI0Z » Logged

K9IUQ
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« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2012, 12:48:06 PM »


Ok Stan, I get it and have a much better understanding of where you come from.  

 So while I am sympathetic to your plight, us existing owners that have it working for our needs get bothered when this comes up in every thread.  

No, I do not think you do get it. I do not care how many radios Flex sells. I do not care if you like your radio or not. Do not be sympathetic to my plight. I do not have any plight. Fortunately I do not own a Flexradio any longer and no longer have frustration.

I care not to warn Flexers. Many of the problems I described are fixed. Many got fixed because I whined and moaned and was a squeaking wheel to Flexradio. They had trouble ignoring me because I was not afraid to take them to task publicly for bugs and problems.

I hang out here on the SDR forums because I am still interested in SDRs. I talk to Flexers because they need an opposing vision and opinion of what SDR's can be. Also I find it entertaining to tell Flex truths and watch Flexers go ballistic. Quite funny, better than the TV.

Flexers need to ask themselves -WHY do I upset them so much? I have never lied on this forum. Is telling the truth the key to upsetting Flexers?

Stan K9IUQ
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WD5GWY
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« Reply #44 on: June 16, 2012, 01:12:07 PM »

Boy, this thread sure took a turn from what I originally posted!  Cheesy
But, all the same, it's still interesting to read what has been posted
here.
   Gene's posts are very interesting. And I agree, that without using
lab equipment to test, most people cannot hear the difference between
different receivers. (well, there are some that even I can hear the difference
but, that's another story!) I will say this, my Flex 1500 hears pretty good.
But, I was floored when I hooked up the TenTec Jupiter for the first time.
I thought I might have left the antenna tuner switched over to the dummy
load! Then, I started tuning around. Signals just popped out of nowhere.
I compared it to the Flex , a Yaesu FT-890AT, and an ICOM 7000. Much quieter
and it "heard" every signal that the other radios did, and with a LOT less
band noise. I did find that I could simulate that with the Flex to some degree
in PowerSDR, by backing off the AGC-T quite a bit. But, weak signals would
die away then. But, the strong ones were very clean and clear.
Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!!!
james
WD5GWY
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