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Author Topic: Thoughts on the Flex-Radio Flex-6000 Series  (Read 26318 times)
K9ZW
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« on: September 13, 2012, 06:38:37 AM »

Just finished a nine-part series on my personal take of the new Flex-6000 Series, the up & downsides, impact of the technology, and my predictions:


Flex-6000 Series – Newsletters, Armchair Speculators and My Impressions
http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/flex-6000-series-newsletters-armchair-speculators-and-my-impressions/

Flex-6700 Fantasies – “Dreaming What Might Be!” Series
http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/flex-6700-fantasies-dreaming-what-might-be-series/

Flex-6700 Fantasies – “Dreaming What Might Be!” Series – Thin Client Impact
http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/flex-6700-fantasies-dreaming-what-might-be-series-thin-client-impact/

Flex-6700 Fantasies – “Dreaming What Might Be!” Series – Ethernet Impact
http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/flex-6700-fantasies-dreaming-what-might-be-series-ethernet-impact/

Flex-6700 Fantasies – “Dreaming What Might Be!” Series – Slices Impact
http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/flex-6700-fantasies-dreaming-what-might-be-series-slices-impact/

Flex-6700 Fantasies – “Dreaming What Might Be!” Series – Diversity Reception Impact
http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/flex-6700-fantasies-dreaming-what-might-be-series-diversity-reception-impact/

Flex-6700 Fantasies – “Dreaming What Might Be!” Series – Net Ready Impact
http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/flex-6700-fantasies-dreaming-what-might-be-series-net-ready-impact/

Flex-6700 Fantasies – “Dreaming What Might Be!” Series – The Down Side
http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/flex-6700-fantasies-dreaming-what-might-be-series-the-down-side/

Flex-6700 Fantasies – “Dreaming What Might Be!” Series – Deep (and Total) Impact – Predictions
http://k9zw.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/flex-6700-fantasies-dreaming-what-might-be-series-deep-and-total-impact-predictions/

Off to the W9DXCC this weekend, where I hope to listen more to what Flex-Radio has to say about this paradigm shift radio series.

73

Steve
K9ZW

BLOG:  With Varying Frequency http://k9zw.wordpress.com/
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N9VV
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2012, 07:23:45 AM »

Hi Steve,
I am enjoying reading your 9 part series about the new FLEX Radio 6000 series.
Have you seen the new DDC/DUC Transceivers from Apache Labs?
https://apache-labs.com/1001/Ham-Radio-Products/1001/Radio--Accessories.html

mny tnx,
73 de Ken N9VV
http://www.n9vv.com
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K9ZW
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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2012, 07:45:40 AM »

Hi Steve,
I am enjoying reading your 9 part series about the new FLEX Radio 6000 series.
Have you seen the new DDC/DUC Transceivers from Apache Labs?
https://apache-labs.com/1001/Ham-Radio-Products/1001/Radio--Accessories.html

mny tnx,
73 de Ken N9VV
http://www.n9vv.com


Hi Ken N9VV

TAPR/HPSDR will always produce some very neat stuff.

The use of Automotive Industry FGA is really neat.

Expect other new entrants over the next five years.

Whether one or the other excels above the pack on any particular performance axis will keep changing.

I touch slightly on this in my predictions article.

all best and 73

Steve
K9ZW  (edits for typos)
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NI0Z
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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2012, 04:48:46 PM »

I read through your articles and there is a lot you are hoping this radio will be.  If all they have pitched in their brochure comes to be, it will be quite nice for some.  

I started the biggest nay say thread here on this forum I think.  Lol, I guess ironically that makes me captain killjoy!  I have to laugh though, not at you, but just at the whole irony of it and how hard it's been to have what I believe are honest conversations on these forums about SDRs.

While some may find that thread and this response to yours offensive there are merits to threads like those as well as threads like these.  People speculate about what a product can be and what it might not be.

I think three things got people revved up here.  

The cost of the radio
The upfront ask for money
No working prototype to show
The paradigm shift advertisement
Charging for software updates


The software fees don't bother me personally too much as long as bugs are fixed without cost and the upgrades are real upgrades.  They should have handled the communication on this differently and packaged it as upgrades will require you purchase them and left it at that.

Here are my thoughts summarized.  

I think that learning more abut home networking may be in the cards for future owners of these radios.  Especially if they have kids in their house.

I wonder if these radios will have better RF shielding than my Flex 5000 does,  because at the price they are asking and the number of users that have had issues, it would be inexcusable not to have addressed it in this new line of rigs.

I wonder if we will have a new term called slice fatigue!  This is meant to be somewhat humorous, however, seriously, will the super ham of tomorrow really be able to monitor all those slices without external code doing it for them?  And if we get to that point will it ruin the fun for those hams and other hams because contests will be more about the robot you build to compete with verses your skills.  Then you'll see someone write the software and sell it to owners of these radios.  Then they'll sit in their chairs and watch their robot run their radios for them.  Then you the ham become pretty much a financier for the robots.  Not so funny a vision is it, but, nothing anyone may be able to do.  Put in this light the high price tag is almost a grace for us.  I speak from some experience on this one from having built an Internet accessible and controllable robotic observatory in my back yard over 10 years ago.  It was so cool!  And then it lost its fun because I became a slave to my creation. All those simple manual things I automated turned out to be the things that made it all enjoyable.

The journey will be long and painful for those that have high expectations out the gate and everything they advertised better work as advertised, because it all will get tested extensively.  Hams love to test!  And hams will bash them hard because unlike the KX3, a radio unfinished, we are talking $900-$1600 verses $7500.  We are going to see an unfinished radio hit the market.  My flex 5000 might barely be called finished. Existing flex users will be wise to heed their past experiences.  The radio will go out the door in 2013 sometime and the software is not done yet.

Sitting in the living room hamming on my iPad is intriguing, but then again, I might as well just use Hamsphere or a similar program and use the money to buy a nice tablet.  We sort of had this discussion in another thread here.  It will be cool for some, but not for others.  To really do that the users will need an an auto switching amp if they want to run power as well.  I got back to my robotic observatory, I could have just rented someone else's!  And then I am guessing that the magic of hamming on an iPad won't have the feel and nostalgia that going to the shack has and using all that you assembled.

I was surprised when I asked a flex engineer about network security and they said they were not even addressing that yet.  You need to plan ahead for stuff like that or you end up like Microsoft pushing patches every week. the potential for someone to reap havoc with one of these radios is going to be there.  There is someone with an ego out there just waiting to have there fun!

So while the skepticism might seem like a kill joy, there is fair reason to discuss all this.

It's not personal, please don't take it that way.  I am a current Flex owner and user.  It's a decent rig at this point and I have had a lot of fun with it and working past all it's quirks.  Look at my setup, you'll see I have quite a bit of time and money wrapped up in building my station around the Flex.

I just don't support the way they are rolling this one out. Why take the money upfront if they are on such solid footing?  It's a very valid and fair question.  Why claim paradigm shifts when the goods are not even in a working prototype yet?  The answer to this section question is obvious to me, the answer is because when you collect money upfront you have to provide justification and words like paradigm shift resonate with investors.

I hope you get some of what you want without it meaning that us others don't get messed up by the negative possibilities.  The good from them succeeding could far outweigh the bad and the cloners and fast followers will get the rest of us hams something similar at a much more affordable cost.  

The pioneers for this will wear their blood stained lab mocks with pride as they charge forth towards ham radio paradise boldly riding their Flex 6000 series radios to the next horizon for us in the spirit of progress!

Have fun and again, hope your dreams work out and all of us killjoys end up wondering how we got it wrong.

I hope you don't mind that I tried to add some color and humor to my response.  Stick around and we can have a fun discussion about all this if you like.  
« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 05:20:57 PM by NI0Z » Logged

W6UV
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2012, 10:35:29 AM »

IMO, the 6000 series is overpriced by about $2000 across the entire line.
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2012, 05:06:34 PM »

Just finished a nine-part series on my personal take of the new Flex-6000 Series, the up & downsides, impact of the technology, and my predictions:

I started reading your links but did not get far. It was kinda like a Democrat trying to watch the Faux News Network.  Wink Cheesy

You wasted your time. Only a true blue dyed in the wool Flexer would appreciate Anything you write. There are not many of them here on eham any more since unlike the Flexradio Reflectors, eham supports the truth and both sides of an issue.

Stan K9IUQ
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2012, 05:14:28 PM »

IMO, the 6000 series is overpriced by about $2000 across the entire line.

SDR's will never be mainstream with Flexradio like prices. To crack the everyday ham market the price must be between $1k-$2K. Flexradio SDR's at $4K plus prices will only attract Flexers, hams who already own a Flexradio.

At those prices Flexradio SDR's will never be Gamer Changers.. Game Changer radios must be affordable to an average ham. 

Stan K9IUQ
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NI0Z
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2012, 05:38:38 PM »

I think Gene has had it right about the QS1R.  

From what I can see, with a QS1R and Studio 1 you could run multiple virtual receivers already today with it and let's just say you bundle a 100 watt amp with it, your around $2000 verses $7500.  Apples to apples, maybe not but..

That's a lot of jack left over!

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K9IUQ
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2012, 05:53:41 PM »

you could run multiple virtual receivers already today with it

My thought is how many receivers does a ham need running at the same time? Two. One for the xmit freq and one for the pileup freq. Any more RX's is just too hard to keep track off. One RX in the right headphone and the other RX in the left headphone. What the heck does any normal ham need with more than TWO RX's running at the same time ?

CW hams already  have CW Skimmer decoding/watching gosh knows how many stations. On Digital modes you have HRD/DM780 doing the Supersweeper dance - Decoding 3KHZ worth of digital stations at once.

Stan K9IUQ
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NI0Z
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2012, 06:18:48 PM »

you could run multiple virtual receivers already today with it

My thought is how many receivers does a ham need running at the same time? Two. One for the xmit freq and one for the pileup freq. Any more RX's is just too hard to keep track off. One RX in the right headphone and the other RX in the left headphone. What the heck does any normal ham need with more than TWO RX's running at the same time ?

Stan K9IUQ

I agree Stan, it would just wear a ham out trying to personally use all those slices. It might look pretty, might seem cool, but not seemingly all that practical. 

To me the receiver spec claims on it are the most intriguing part of the new Flexes, but even there, what kind of antenna system does a ham need to leverage it?

It's going to be interesting to see what really happens with them.
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AB1KC
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2012, 05:45:39 AM »

I would have replied to this post earlier but I had 8 tabs open on my IPad and I was so stressed that I had to take a nap!
Information overload! All those tabs at once.....
What was I thinking?
I think I will sell my IPad, maybe go back to a simple, reliable Commodore 64.
Anyone want to trade a nice IPad for.......
Bruce
AB1KC
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2012, 06:26:53 AM »

I just don't support the way they are rolling this one out. Why take the money upfront if they are on such solid footing?  It's a very valid and fair question.  Why claim paradigm shifts when the goods are not even in a working prototype yet?  The answer to this section question is obvious to me, the answer is because when you collect money upfront you have to provide justification and words like paradigm shift resonate with investors.

Mark, this is a very valid question.  I certainly would not pre-order something this expensive without at least seeing a working model. That's putting a lot of faith in a company whose past reputation does not deserve it.  An unfinished radio for $7000+?  No way.

Gene
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AB1KC
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2012, 07:01:08 AM »

Gene
How ever will you be able to continue your constant flaming of Flex if you don't at least try one?
You will loose your credibility!
I am sure Flex would be happy to offer you a radio to try (or maybe you'd better ask Stan to get it for you)......I believe you can probably use the radio one slice at a time. Don't be afraid!

You are going to be relegated to history if you don't get one.
Of course you can still pick on the 5000 so not all is lost!

I believe I have said this here before but I'd like to repeat it again. I actually owe you and Stan a debt of gratitude. It was your constant complaining here on EHam that led me to try my first Flex radio. I just had to see for myself if anything could be that difficult to use or that awful.
Anyway, for me it was love at first try, in fact I have never been happier with a radio!

Got any other beefs with companies I should know about?

Thanks,

Bruce
AB1KC
Bruce
AB1KC
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2012, 07:32:43 AM »

Gene
How ever will you be able to continue your constant flaming of Flex if you don't at least try one?
You will loose your credibility!
I am sure Flex would be happy to offer you a radio to try (or maybe you'd better ask Stan to get it for you)......I believe you can probably use the radio one slice at a time. Don't be afraid!

You are going to be relegated to history if you don't get one.
Of course you can still pick on the 5000 so not all is lost!

I believe I have said this here before but I'd like to repeat it again. I actually owe you and Stan a debt of gratitude. It was your constant complaining here on EHam that led me to try my first Flex radio. I just had to see for myself if anything could be that difficult to use or that awful.
Anyway, for me it was love at first try, in fact I have never been happier with a radio!

Got any other beefs with companies I should know about?

Thanks,

Bruce
AB1KC
Bruce
AB1KC

Bruce, I am not a fool with my money like some of the Flex Fanboys.  I prefer to see a working demo of the Flex-6000 series before I purchase.  Flex has yet to even demonstrate a working Flex-6000.  I do not purchase on 'faith' alone like many of the Flex radio kool-aide drinkers.  I call it being prudent and cautious before buying into super-hyped marketing nonsense.  

Gene
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NI0Z
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2012, 07:57:13 AM »

I would have replied to this post earlier but I had 8 tabs open on my IPad and I was so stressed that I had to take a nap!
Information overload! All those tabs at once.....
What was I thinking?
I think I will sell my IPad, maybe go back to a simple, reliable Commodore 64.
Anyone want to trade a nice IPad for.......
Bruce
AB1KC

No, that's not the analogy at all.  How about surfing on 7 iPads while having a Skype conversation on the eighth.  That's more like what I am talking about.  Your eyes and brain are going to process more like the analogy you provided, one tab at a time. Let's tie it all together now.  If you only use one tab at a time, why do you really need 7 additional virtual slices all open and running at the same time?

Like I said before, you can do this today with a $900 QSR1 and Studio 1 if you want to be able to glance band to band, or tab to tab.  Why pay $7500 for that capability?

Here is a link where you can see this capability already.  You don't have to pay big dollars!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOjHTS5AhCc&feature=channel&list=UL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhf6Zb-Xn40&feature=youtube_gdata_player
« Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 08:16:50 AM by NI0Z » Logged

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