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Author Topic: FLEX and Super Stations  (Read 2269 times)
W5JON
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Posts: 161




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« on: June 25, 2012, 06:22:22 AM »

Hi,

Per the Sherwood Eng. ratings the receivers on Flex computer radios are great (I prefer radios with knobs). So why do NONE of the super/mega contest stations in the US use them?  

73,

John W5JON
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 06:38:55 AM by W5JON » Logged
N3QE
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Posts: 2087




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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 07:00:00 AM »

I don't think that's strictly true. I know several well equipped contest stations, outside of contests, use some kind of wideband SDR for skimming on CW and even contribute to reversebeacon spots.

So they must have broadband SDR's in the station.

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W5JON
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Posts: 161




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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 07:58:05 AM »

Hi,

I was refering to multi, multi stations that are always in the Top Ten like, K3LR, W3LPL, KC1XX, NR5M, etc, using them IN any major contest. Seems they all use the the top end ICOM and Yaesus, and none use FLEX IN any contest. 

Maybe it is learning curve for the ops, or RFI problems with the PC's, etc., I don't know, and was just wondering.

73,

John  W5JON   
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N3QE
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Posts: 2087




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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 08:13:07 AM »

I was refering to multi, multi stations that are always in the Top Ten like, K3LR, W3LPL, KC1XX, NR5M, etc, using them IN any major contest. Seems they all use the the top end ICOM and Yaesus, and none use FLEX IN any contest.  

Maybe it is learning curve for the ops, or RFI problems with the PC's, etc., I don't know, and was just wondering.

Trying to prove a negative is often difficult. Arguments about FLEX in particular are often religious wars. I don't think you should work too hard at it :-)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 08:21:19 AM by N3QE » Logged
W9CPI
Member

Posts: 9




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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 05:28:02 PM »

John, I'll take a guess at the reason. It obviously isn't cost -- the supers can afford anything that will give them an advantage. It isn't the performance -- the Flex is great (with an adequate computer). It isn't even the lack of first class CW keying in the program -- the stations could use external keyers until the Flex people solve all the CW keying challenges.

I think the deal breaker is the man-machine interface. The screen display and the point and click and drag style of running a radio aren't appreciated by the top guns. The by now intuitive reflexes and motions that the best operators use to keep their fantastic run rate just aren't compatible with the limiting software interface of the SDRs.

When will the situation change? 1. When someone running a Flex wins a few of the "big six" contests, and/or 2. When the software interface becomes more appealing and useful to a "rate monster!"
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K8AC
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Posts: 1465




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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 02:27:08 PM »

I think a major reason is the way the operating system works.  At any one point in time, one window on the PC has the focus.  That's usually the logging program window when contesting.  If you were running PowerSDR and say, N1MM logger, on the same PC, it would be a nightmare as you'd have to take a manual action, such as a mouse click to change the focus from one window to another when necessary.  You could always run the two on separate PCs of course, but then you'd have to add a PC to PC link to handle the frequency info between the two programs.  And there's another factor here: anyone who has used PowerSDR for a while knows that sooner or later it will "lock up" and you'll end up needing to reboot the PC.  That would result in an unacceptable loss of time and contacts. 

If you were doing a search and pounce run, imagine the coordination required to tune the receiver with the mouse and then switch the focus (again using the mouse) to the logging program window and then back again to resume tuning.  It just doesn't make any sense. 

73, Floyd - K8AC
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