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Author Topic: Flex Radio 1500 - Great Radio for the money Part Deux  (Read 7724 times)
AF4RK
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Posts: 39




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« on: December 24, 2012, 12:53:29 PM »

I'm sorry, maybe I should have gone into greater detail. The computer cost me $300. If I wanted to spend $3K on a radio, I would have purchased an Elecraft K3. The total cost with the QRP amp was $1350, including the computer. I have no intentions of spending $2,000 on a computer for a $700 Flex radio or any SDR radio for that matter. The goal of this project was to make a $300 computer work with the Flex. And I did. I would hope that your $3K quad cores work better than my refurbished Dell laptop!  Wink
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WD5GWY
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Posts: 403




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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2012, 01:18:38 PM »

I wasn't trying to offend you by my comments. Just saying that I have not experienced
the problems you mentioned. And the total cost of my computer, (home built) is less
than the cost of the Flex 1500 new. I would not put $2,000.00 into a computer to begin
with. Maybe someone that was heavy into gaming could get that much invested in a computer.
 But, to me, that would be a waste of money. Even some new off the shelf computers do not
cost anywhere near that much. (Mac's not included!  Cheesy  )
 I know a couple of guys using some cheapo WalMart specials with their 1500's and having no
problems at all.
  If what you have works for you, then that is all that really matters. When problems arise,a lot
of times, it is caused by RF getting into the computer from cables that are unshielded. (such as
speaker cables, wired keyboard and mouse cables etc.) Ferrrite beads and good grounding will
help to eliminate that. (and some planning on routing of cables too)
james
WD5GWY
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K5TED
Member

Posts: 741




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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2012, 09:18:22 AM »

Actually, you could easily buy a nice, clean pre-owned Flex-3000 and a quad core AMD Phenom desktop barebones kit with Windows 7 Home for $1300. That would give you full 100w out on HF-6m.

Just saying.
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W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2013, 08:33:30 AM »

You can build a pretty powerful new computer yourself for $300.  I sold my Flex 1500 awhile back to upgrade to a 3000 but then some family medical issues came up and I wasn't able to do so. I was without a radio at all for awhile. At the beginning of December I built a new PC and I just ordered a new 1500 last night. All said and done, I'll have $920 dollars in the entire setup. I don't think that's too bad a deal.
Michael, W4HIJ
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NI0Z
Member

Posts: 569


WWW

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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 06:25:09 PM »

You can build a pretty powerful new computer yourself for $300.  I sold my Flex 1500 awhile back to upgrade to a 3000 but then some family medical issues came up and I wasn't able to do so. I was without a radio at all for awhile. At the beginning of December I built a new PC and I just ordered a new 1500 last night. All said and done, I'll have $920 dollars in the entire setup. I don't think that's too bad a deal.
Michael, W4HIJ

The genesis kit radios offer a lot of radio for about $350 delivered, check them out!
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W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2013, 12:38:35 PM »

You can build a pretty powerful new computer yourself for $300.  I sold my Flex 1500 awhile back to upgrade to a 3000 but then some family medical issues came up and I wasn't able to do so. I was without a radio at all for awhile. At the beginning of December I built a new PC and I just ordered a new 1500 last night. All said and done, I'll have $920 dollars in the entire setup. I don't think that's too bad a deal.
Michael, W4HIJ

The genesis kit radios offer a lot of radio for about $350 delivered, check them out!
I looked at them but I don't care for the band choice limitations. Unless something has changed since I last looked, you can select certain band combinations but not all bands.
 There is supposed to be a transceiver kit coming out later this year from the gent who keeps winning all the ARRL homebrew challenges. He talks as if it's going to be an SDR and front panel radio for about half the price of a 1500. Of course it's vaporware at this point so who knows. He has produced an amplifier though called  the " Hardrock 50" which they are trying to get through type acceptance right now. In the end though I just opted for another Flex 1500 because I very much enjoyed my first one. And now of course I'll get attacked for saying that.
Michael, W4HIJ
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NI0Z
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Posts: 569


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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 12:48:34 PM »

Well, there is the infamous e G6 as well which is supposed to be the equivelants of the Flex 5000 and better for around $1300 that will come out this year as well.  Guessing QuickSilver will have something along with several others as well.

If they were still doing the G59 it would be great. Must needs enought people to produce another run of those.



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W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 12:55:14 PM »

Speaking of Genesis, I recall seeing a screenshot of a PowerSDR offshoot that was for their radios. I liked it very much, especially the meter graphic, was not like any other I had seen, but I have not been able to find it again.
Michael, W4HIJ
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K7LZR
Member

Posts: 25




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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 12:33:53 AM »

I use an older Dell GX520 3ghz machine running Win XP Pro with my 1500. Average CPU usage is 22% while running PowerSDR and I have no issues whatsoever. I often leave it running in the background for listening while I do other things for hours on end and it never freezes nor chops audio. I also get consistently good TX audio reports.

This computer cost me $80 used. Flex 1500 cost me $650. Added a used RM Italy HLA-150 100w amp for $234. Total cost = $964 for a fantastic SDR HF system which works very well and outperforms many other 100w radios. It is also quite versatile because I can take the 1500 & amp (or just the 1500 if I wish) in the field with my 1.7ghz Itronix gobook laptop and it works well there too.
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W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 03:34:37 PM »

I use an older Dell GX520 3ghz machine running Win XP Pro with my 1500. Average CPU usage is 22% while running PowerSDR and I have no issues whatsoever. I often leave it running in the background for listening while I do other things for hours on end and it never freezes nor chops audio. I also get consistently good TX audio reports.

This computer cost me $80 used. Flex 1500 cost me $650. Added a used RM Italy HLA-150 100w amp for $234. Total cost = $964 for a fantastic SDR HF system which works very well and outperforms many other 100w radios. It is also quite versatile because I can take the 1500 & amp (or just the 1500 if I wish) in the field with my 1.7ghz Itronix gobook laptop and it works well there too.
No issues? How can that be? From what I understand from the anti Flex crowd here, we have to have issues!  You and I must just be lucky I guess! Cheesy Sounds like a nice  fairly inexpensive setup you have there.
73,
Michael, W4HIJ
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N0YXB
Member

Posts: 320




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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2013, 09:01:07 AM »

Yeah, that sounds like a real nice "setup", particularly the amplifier.  Sarcasm.
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W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2013, 01:47:07 PM »

Yeah, that sounds like a real nice "setup", particularly the amplifier.  Sarcasm.
I don't understand the sarcasm.  The RM amps work, why not use them? My 50 watt amp is built from a PCB and parts kit based on the ARRL homebrew challenge winning entry a couple of years back. The "case" and "front panel" are made out of a metal yardstick. Does a great job for me when I need a little extra kick  on SSB or PSK31 but I suppose it wouldn't be good enough you either, hunh?
Michael, W4HIJ
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WD5GWY
Member

Posts: 403




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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2013, 05:17:07 PM »

The sarcasm part, I am pretty certain, is the fact that RM Italy  for the most part, builds
cheap amps intended primarily for the CB market. However, the HLA series, is not intended
(according to the manufacturer's website) for that market. Instead, they are for Amateur
radio use. But, none of the HLA series amps, have yet been submitted for FCC certification.
That is why dealers like HRO, Texas Tower and others, do not carry them.
There is a very detailed writeup on W8JI's website, that covers those amps. And the HLA 150
in particular. He did state that as long as the amp was kept under 100 watts output, that the
IMD products from it, were within regulation requirements. Driven beyond that and IMD gets
pretty bad, fairly fast.
  At one time I asked one of Flex Radio System's engineers (at the Belton, TX hamfest) what
amp he would recommend for my 1500 should I want to run a bit more power. His suggestion
to me was the HLA 300 from RM Italy. I told him I thought that those amps were problematic
and he said that with no more drive than the 1500 produced, that the IMD products from the
HLA 300 (not the HLA 150) would be within accepted limits.
 So far, I have not attempted to buy either amp. I find that for the most part, 5 watts is fine.
BUT, I may end up getting some sort of amp one of these days. OR, when, the 6000 Series
radios finally come out, and (hopefully) prove their worth, the 3000 and 5000 radios will start
showing up for sale at better prices than they currently sell for!
james
WD5GWY
 
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W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2013, 03:34:34 PM »

I understand the origin of the RM amps but I've seen  the information you referenced and other bits and pieces as well about the suitability of the HLA series. That's what I mean with my simple  statement.... "they work why not use them". FCC certification is nice but it's certainly not the be all end all word on amplifier performance. The designer of my little amp went to great pains to make sure it had clean output. My amp was part of one of two " group buys" of parts and PCB's and wasn't even really a complete kit so no certification was necessary. It's the forerunner of the "HardRock 50" amp I mentioned in my earlier post in this thread.
Michael, W4HIJ
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 03:40:24 PM by W4HIJ » Logged
WD5GWY
Member

Posts: 403




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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2013, 04:14:15 PM »

Transceivers and amps built by Amateurs( either from a kit or scratch) do not
require any certification that I am aware of. But, they still have to meet some
emissions standards. Should the FCC monitor an amateur using an amp or
transceiver that is not meeting spectral purity standards, then, they can issue
a warning or worse. Obviously that rarely happens unless someone complains
enough to draw their attention. But, given the current lack of enforcement by
the FCC for so many things, I seriously doubt, that short of a LOT of complaints,
they even care anymore. (look at 11 meters to see just how little they care)
That is one reason why we, as Amateurs are expected to be more or less, self-policing.
Most of the time, the offending station does not realize they have a problem.
Some tactful help by informing them that they have a problem, can go a long way
towards cleaning up the bands. Certainly not 100% of the time, but, I think it can help.
I know I appreciate it when someone informs me I have problems with my signal.
james
WD5GWY
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