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Author Topic: Flex-5000  (Read 27889 times)
NI0Z
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« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2012, 08:07:29 AM »

By the way, I am not defending Flex Radios here, just telling you how I believe it is if you want the radio to working not lock up. 

Yes, if you run some other software that surges in its needs for resources then windows will allocate the resources to that program and cause other programs to hiccup.  This is again a windows design issue with multitasking.

You can set the powerSDR task in task manager to a higher priority and this will minimize this effect. 

For example, when CommCat goes to telnet and then processes spots, it seems to like to grab a lot of the windows machine and so hiccups can occur.  You can tame this a bit by setting the priority higher on PowerSDR.

The fact that most SDR's use computers and share resources with the computer makes them susceptible to the woes of computers. 

This is why I and many others want to see new SDRs that have knobs and their own on board computer.

Ironically I believe that the New Flex's will have powerful on board processing, they could be inheritently susceptible to poorly setup home networks, poor WIFI connectivity, ect.

My theoretical design I put forth would allocate a computer dedicate to the radio and radio only functions and interface to another computer for CAT control and other software.

It will be interesting to see how the future plays out.
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2012, 12:44:14 PM »

Freezes are more likely the result of your computer.  If your radio is really causing it then you should send it in.

Yeah right. My computer NEVER locked up until - - I bought a Flexradio. The computer had extremely low DPC's, ran Win 7, Intel i7/ 8gb memory, all the good stuff. No matter, PSDR was still able to screw it up on a regular basis, Do that database reset two step, Stan...   Cheesy

When I sent the Radio in to get the spurs fixed I asked Flexradio to check EVERYTHING so it would be better than new. When I got it back it did NOT RX at all. It took me 8 hours of troubleshooting to figure out that Flex's tech got 2 wires crossed... They never checked anything or they would have found the RX was inoperable. Good service huh?

By the way, I am not defending Flex Radios here,

Yeah right. You are one of the few Flex Defenders left here on eham. Everyone else got wise...  Wink

Stan K9IUQ

« Last Edit: August 09, 2012, 12:51:24 PM by K9IUQ » Logged
W6UV
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« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2012, 01:25:18 PM »

By the way, I am not defending Flex Radios here, just telling you how I believe it is if you want the radio to working not lock up. 

I guess it must be the crappy computer I'm using with my Flex-5000A that's to blame. After all, it's only a lowly quad core Core i7 at 3.5GHz with 16 GB of RAM and an SSD for the system drive. I sometimes run notepad at the same time as PowerSDR to take notes, so perhaps that conflict is doing in the Flex.
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NI0Z
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« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2012, 01:32:52 PM »

Lol Stan,  Flex lover, really?

You know better than that, I just tell it how I see it.  I imagine some people's Flex's have more issues than others.  When we do that QSO eventually, you'll see my station stays up and running the whole time. Smiley Smiley Smiley

Your PC probably never crashed before the flex because it didn't have an IO intensive beast like the flex connected to it.  Honestly, I really believe if I were only running 1 quad core CPU I would have more issues.

That does not mean that the way the radio is architected isn't the issue.  Let's assume some flex radios are good and some bad for a minute, I have no idea if that is true.  Let's say we have one of the good ones, that means mine then.  All this means is your flex based system will only be as good as your computer system and mixture of software.

Now Stan, computers are my thing, and I have built them and repaired them for a living in my past.  Software, including Windows OS, is FULL of bugs!  What do you think all those windows updates mean?  Heck, look at all the revisions of PowerSDR!  I happen to know that some software packages don't play nicely with others.  It's not by intent, it's by virtue of bugs and the impossibility of testing one software package with the countless number of others out there.

Do we really expect say, Lilliput USB screens are tested with Flex Radios, or that Flex Radio should test their radio extensively with joe blows USB hub?

Software defined radios will always be plagued with issues like this so long as they continue to use a computer with other untested software running on it.  It's just how it is!

And even when they get their own dedicated computers, they will still have issues from time to time.  Don't believe me, look at the firmware updates that go out for other hardware, yes, even knobbed ham radios.

Now, my opinion is evolving, and I have decided at this point in time that SDRs are not for the average radio user, or even for the faint of heart.  They are in fact experimental radios and when you buy and try to use one, you are signing yourself up as one of the experimenters.

A good chunk of the problem is in fact Flex lovers not telling the truth about their radios.  They become fanboys and don't tell people about the real issues they have.  They tell about how exciting they find these radios.  Flex pitches these radios as real radios for real hams.

I just like to deal with facts.  Fact is, my flex 5000 runs fine.  Fact is I dedicated a computer to it and to just the software I need.  Fact is PowerSDR still has annoying bugs.  Fact is, my flex hasn't crashed my system since late November last year.  PowerSDR hasn't crashed my radio either. And one more fact, even if you buy a supposed high quality commercial PC, it may still have issues.  My HP for example has always had WIFI issues, known bug and they have never fixed it.  Also, a great PC still has issues with bad software.  Just facts.

Now some opinions, most people won't want to spend the bucks on a high grade computer that will be truly capable of running their radio crash free, nor will they want to likely dedicate it to ham only operations.  Most people won't like being an experimenter and going through tooth and nail finding what software won't work with the flex or what mixture of software causes issues.

When I go to change out CommCat later this year, I expect to have problems because it will be a change to the mix.  It's just how SDR life is, it's a grand experiement!

So, where are we, your experience was really bad, mine has been ok and I am getting the most from my investment as an experimenter.  There really is no need to be at odds with each other over this.  

Just two hams having a conversation and expressing their views.  

Smiley Smiley Smiley

« Last Edit: August 09, 2012, 01:38:15 PM by NI0Z » Logged

NI0Z
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« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2012, 01:41:06 PM »

By the way, I am not defending Flex Radios here, just telling you how I believe it is if you want the radio to working not lock up.  

I guess it must be the crappy computer I'm using with my Flex-5000A that's to blame. After all, it's only a lowly quad core Core i7 at 3.5GHz with 16 GB of RAM and an SSD for the system drive. I sometimes run notepad at the same time as PowerSDR to take notes, so perhaps that conflict is doing in the Flex.

We have to keep in mind that we are also talking about different points in time.  What you experienced yester year may not be what users experience present day.

Also, powerful computer, lots of RAM doesn't equate to success.  Really depends too on what software was on the computer and how stable the device drivers are for the machine.

My present machine used to crash a lot and it was due to the video drivers.  Nvidia finally fixed the issue and my PC stopped crashing about a year ago.

If my memory is correct, I believe updating my motherboard drivers resolved the issue with the flex.  My FireWire controller is built onto the motherboard.  It made logical sense to me since the computer had stabilized and the only thing that had changed was adding the flex.  That's the sort of thinking a Flex user has to do when they have issue.  You look for root cause!

My MacBook Pro was awesome until I loaded OS Lion on it.  Lol, then my mouse scroll worked backwards all of the sudden and still does to this day.  Software guys, it's full of bugs! 
« Last Edit: August 09, 2012, 01:54:26 PM by NI0Z » Logged

K9IUQ
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« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2012, 02:20:19 PM »

I guess it must be the crappy computer I'm using with my Flex-5000A that's to blame. After all, it's only a lowly quad core Core i7 at 3.5GHz with 16 GB of RAM and an SSD for the system drive. I sometimes run notepad at the same time as PowerSDR to take notes, so perhaps that conflict is doing in the Flex.

I have missed your Flex views Jerry, you along with N9RO are one of the few Flexers to be honest about their Flexradios. Well, I was honest too. Way too honest.  Cheesy

Jerry you need to get a Neal Computer to run a Flexradio , LMAO   Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Stan K9IUQ
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W6UV
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« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2012, 02:23:41 PM »

Also, powerful computer, lots of RAM doesn't equate to success.  Really depends too on what software was on the computer and how stable the device drivers are for the machine.

The computer I run the Flex with is a dedicated box. It's not running the typical crap people run that cause conflicts. All drivers are up to date and I've had no crashes attributable to video drivers or other devices. Firewire has been rock solid on this machine.

Quote
My MacBook Pro was awesome until I loaded OS Lion on it.  Lol, then my mouse scroll worked backwards all of the sudden and still does to this day.  Software guys, it's full of bugs! 

You know, of course, that the reversed scrolling in Lion is intentional? Apple did this to make scrolling on a Mac work like it does on an iOS device like an iPhone. They call it Natural Scrolling.
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2012, 04:51:45 PM »

Now Stan, computers are my thing, and I have built them and repaired them for a living in my past.  

No need to talk down to me or Jerry or anyone else with a different Flexradio opinion than you. Many of us here have had more experience than you with computers myself included. My own experience has been documented before but let us suffice it to say that I am computer literate and was paid big $$ by a Employer to work on and with computers every day of my life from the First IBM PC XT onward. I actually started with computers in hamradio in 1978 - a  Radio Shack TRS-80. In 1980 I was running RTTY on a computer. I have been using computers in hamradio since then. I lost track of how many computers I have built for personal use. Please do not infer that lack of computer knowledge was why I had Flexradio problems.

W6UV has been known to know more than a little about computing too. LMAO

Stan K9IUQ
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NI0Z
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« Reply #38 on: August 09, 2012, 08:51:18 PM »

Now Stan, computers are my thing, and I have built them and repaired them for a living in my past.  

No need to talk down to me or Jerry or anyone else with a different Flexradio opinion than you. Many of us here have had more experience than you with computers myself included. My own experience has been documented before but let us suffice it to say that I am computer literate and was paid big $$ by a Employer to work on and with computers every day of my life from the First IBM PC XT onward. I actually started with computers in hamradio in 1978 - a  Radio Shack TRS-80. In 1980 I was running RTTY on a computer. I have been using computers in hamradio since then. I lost track of how many computers I have built for personal use. Please do not infer that lack of computer knowledge was why I had Flexradio problems.

W6UV has been known to know more than a little about computing too. LMAO

Stan K9IUQ


I can't see where you see me talking down to Jerry or you Stan, maybe you are reading me wrong as I am only offering you my qualification to speak about computers?  By the way, look again, I was talking to you, not Jerry.

My experience with computers goes back 32 years, I think I am qualified.

One brand of computers verses another with the same theoretical specs may be far less stable than another, it's not really even a question.  Like cars, some manufacturers use cheaper parts than others.  Some get bad parts.  Some software developers have bad days and write bad code.  Again, it's all real and not really subject to being questioned.

I just wanted to keep things real and state that I don't have the problems being referenced in this latest round of the great Flex debate.  You can go on my website and see I tell it like it is for me.  Being straight is how I maintain respect and integrity.

I think I have said enough, seems like what I have had to say has hit some nerves. 

And by the way, about the mouse, thanks for the info.  I don't use my Mac much these days, so I never bothered to look it up.  Most of my time is spent on the iPad these days.  I have no problem admitting when I make a mistake.  Also how I maintain integrity and respect.

Take care gents, sorry you couldn't get your radios to work with your PC's!  Mine is working mighty well these days and it did take some work to get my system to play nice with it!  These radios are not for the faint of heart, I will be the first one to tell you that.  I think it mostly has to do with the choice of using FireWire for the connection and the lack of a tight RF proof case.

It would be interesting to see if Genesis 59 users have the same kinds of issues with their version of Power PC and a USB connection.  Maybe even the upcoming G6.

Last but not least, if you really knew me, you'd know I wouldn't talk down to you.  Have a real debate, you bet!  Talk down to you, nope. 

73
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W6UV
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« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2012, 09:56:38 PM »

And by the way, about the mouse, thanks for the info.  I don't use my Mac much these days, so I never bothered to look it up.  Most of my time is spent on the iPad these days. 

Open System Preferences, click on the mouse icon, and then uncheck the "Scroll direction: natural" box and scrolling is back to the way it was prior to Lion.
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2012, 02:59:24 AM »

Now Stan, computers are my thing, and I have built them and repaired them for a living in my past.  Software, including Windows OS, is FULL of bugs!  What do you think all those windows updates mean?  Heck, look at all the revisions of PowerSDR!  I happen to know that some software packages don't play nicely with others.  It's not by intent, it's by virtue of bugs and the impossibility of testing one software package with the countless number of others out there.

Quote from: NI0Z
My MacBook Pro was awesome until I loaded OS Lion on it.  Lol, then my mouse scroll worked backwards all of the sudden and still does to this day.  Software guys, it's full of bugs!  

LMAO!  Computers are your thing alright!  Cheesy Roll Eyes Cheesy  

I ran into a buggy car last time I visited the UK.  The steering wheel was on the wrong side!  There are a lot of buggy cars like that in the UK!  Wink

Gene
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 03:04:54 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
NI0Z
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« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2012, 03:55:03 AM »

Hey Gene,

Wondered where you were!  What too you so long?

73
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NI0Z
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« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2012, 03:58:15 AM »

I guess I need to apologize to all here that my Flex radio works, I truly am sorry that it disappoints people here so much.

Oh well, I guess I will just have to get on the air and suffer with it this weekend, what a horrible shame!  Smiley Smiley

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/6626.

These reviews and the over all scores pretty much represent the truth about these radios.  I have found eHam reviews over all average when there are over 50 reviews to be fairly accurate if not on the hard side at times.

Yup, they sure are horrible rigs!

Now, if I wrote a review, and I am waiting for the one year mark to do that, but I would give a score below the current average, but still around a 4.x.

Btw, I have no affiliation with flex and there are no photos or testimonials on their site from me, that's how I stay objective and it's how I operate.

My opinion, the doom and gloom about these radios in this forum definitely seems to represent the minority.  The Flex 5000 is a decent capable rig and fun experimenters radio.  Short on patience, don't have a tried true iron clad PC and not willing to work to get a PC that works with it, don't bother unless you want to see if you get lucky.  Apparently a lot of people get lucky with them and love them.

So here we are at the same ole point, a flex user come here, says their radio works and then gets piled on.  Same o same O.  Ho humm, this is getting old, time to move on.

73
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 04:49:43 AM by NI0Z » Logged

NI0Z
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« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2012, 08:25:26 AM »

And.... Nobody has ever answered the question I have posed.... If you want a real SDR transceiver..... Please read the want part, then what are the alternatives that currently beat a Flex 5000A with dual receivers?  Please note, I did not ask about wanting a better traditional radio, and I did not ask about a receive only SDR, I asking about a full blown transceiver.

I think there are options, and it seems like I just need to answer it.

You could buy and build a Genesis kit, they seem pretty capable, they run on PowerSDR though, and it's an older version.. And then you have low power output that you might have to double amp if you want to run over 500 watts.

There is the quicksilver, SDRCube, Sun and others, all interesting, but again software and power limits.  Sorry to lump them all together, they all seem capable and interesting.

Then there are the even more experimental SDRs, like the USPR, the Phi, ect.

So if you want an SDR, which one is best and delivers the most bang for the buck?

That's what we should debate.

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NI0Z
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« Reply #44 on: August 10, 2012, 08:59:36 AM »

Also, powerful computer, lots of RAM doesn't equate to success.  Really depends too on what software was on the computer and how stable the device drivers are for the machine.

The computer I run the Flex with is a dedicated box. It's not running the typical crap people run that cause conflicts. All drivers are up to date and I've had no crashes attributable to video drivers or other devices. Firewire has been rock solid on this machine.

Quote
My MacBook Pro was awesome until I loaded OS Lion on it.  Lol, then my mouse scroll worked backwards all of the sudden and still does to this day.  Software guys, it's full of bugs! 

You know, of course, that the reversed scrolling in Lion is intentional? Apple did this to make scrolling on a Mac work like it does on an iOS device like an iPhone. They call it Natural Scrolling.

Jerry, I read your review and about the freezing up.  I am only trying to help here, so here is my two cents on it.

Occasionally when running CommCat with PowerSDR I will see a 1 second slowdown, it's about as fast as a hiccup.  What I observed was that CommCat was,pulling spots via telnet and then processing them when this happens.  I realize you may not be running CommCat so it's really the point that you may have some other application wanting major resources when you see a freeze up.  There are a few things you can do under windows 7 to find the issue.

You can CTrl alt Del and pull up the task manager and watch the resources.  Ironically Task Manger itself consumes resources.  Anyway, with this up you can look at the processes and then sort by highest CPU and highest Memory.  You can keep an eye out and see what's peaking when you see the freeze.

I am speaking from memory right now, so sorry if this next part is not entirely accurate, but you can also set the task priority on each task or I think on the programs as well. I believe Windows 7 now even lets you assign how many cores can run on a process or program. 

Try choosing 3 cores and real time priority on powerSDR.exe and then settle spiking program you find during freeze ups to 1 core and lower priority and see if you freezes go away.

Hope this helps!
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