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Author Topic: PowerSDR, Flex, RF, crashes  (Read 25819 times)

Posts: 448

« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2013, 02:26:35 PM »

Careful the wind doesn't blow all your signal away!!


Posts: 926

« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2013, 07:53:01 AM »

Mark, good idea about PC ground strap!  I run my PC with Skype for remote, and have ferrites.  No RFI problem,  But I'm going to add the ground, just in case.   Thanks.

Posts: 448

« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2013, 09:10:21 AM »

You can always spot a Flexradio owner at a hamfest. He is the fellow carrying a large bag of ferrites and the ARRL RFI Book...  Wink

Stan K9IUQ

Funny, I've never noticed that one!  Cheesy
Most Flex users I've seen are at the Flex booth drooling over
the 6000 Series radio (demo) or if they only have a 1500 like me
looking at the 3000 or 5000.
  While I'm glad that I did not put a deposit on a 6500 like I was
tempted to do, I still will consider one, once they actually ship and
get the inevitable bugs that will show up, cleared up.
For now, my Flex 1500 is a fun qrp rig, and my Yaesu FT-1000MP MKV
along with my mobile setups (pickup and 18 wheeler) are plenty of fun
to me. Oh, and I have plenty of ferrite beads in stock, but, those were here
LONG before the Flex 1500 was purchased. Wife does not like to hear me
over her stereo while she is watching the big screen tv!! And I don't care for
computer lockups either. The beads, and good grounds and proper routing of
cables seems to have fixed that problem long ago.

Posts: 402

« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2013, 05:31:50 PM »

This business with Flex radios supposedly being more prone to RFI  is only an issue because certain people want to make it an issue. As I said, I've owned a 5K and now have the 1500 and the only ferrites in my shack are the ones that come on the cables themselves and a couple that were added to my amplified PC speakers long ago when I had a Kenwood. Never once have I had any issue with RFI since solving it while running the Kenwood.
Michael, W4HIJ

Posts: 2835

« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2013, 04:59:29 PM »

This business with Flex radios supposedly being more prone to RFI  is only an issue because certain people want to make it an issue.

Typical fantasy thinking from a Flexradio owner. Flexradio enthusiasts are prone to ignoring problems and denying them at every opportunity. If that does not work then they put the blame on the operator, computer, shack etc.

The fact is any radio controlled by a computer is going be RFI prone. Steps have to be taken to minimize these problems. Running 5 watts on an Anemic Flexradio 1500 is not going to give anyone problems - it just is not enough power to cause problems.

However if you are an operator that values his hamradio time and runs 1500 watts AKA legal limit your experiences are going to be different. I can only relate my own experience with Flexradio RFI problems which have been well documented here on the eham SDR forum. Every word I have been written has been the truth.

I am not a newbie ham, I have been hamming for 52 years and have experienced all kinds of different radios. Flexradio has been one on my few disappointments. I overcame all my RFI problems with the Flexradio 5K. It took much effort and $$$ to do so but I was successful.I tried 3 different computers - all recent manufacture and with steel cases bonded to the ground system. The RFI symptoms occurred on all the computers. Only after spending $100 plus for quality ferrites and the best Firewire cable that $$$ could buy were my problems abated.

I never believed the fault was entirely the radio. My RFI problems were caused by the computer - radio relationship. Many Flexers thought that I did not have a proper ground. I had 4 long ground rods and perhaps around 150 radials in the ground thanks to my 160mtr and 40 mtr verticals. I also have a nice beam antenna and wire antennas. Everything was bonded together properly.

The RFI problem in Flexradios does exist and I was not a lone example. A little prudent internet Googling will find many others. Few are as vocal as I have been for fear of being attacked like I have been for telling the truth.

Stan K9IUQ 

Posts: 2835

« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2013, 06:24:15 PM »

My Flexradio RFI problems manifested itself in a couple of areas.First off

I had owned my existing shack and antennas, ground system for 10 years before I invited the Flexradio 5K into my shack. Never did I have any RFI problem until the Flexradio. In that 10 years I had 2 Yaesu radios a Kenwood 2000 and 4 different Icom Radios. Most of these were $2K plus radios. None of them had any RFI problems. None. Before the Flex I did not even own a ferrite except the ones that were already formed on cables.

Enter the Flexradio 5K. The first RFI I noticed was xmit audio in the external powered speakers. Unlike other radios, Flexradio cut corners and does NOT provide a speaker amplifier in their radios. You must provide an external speaker and amplifier. The first speakers I used was an  old pair I had laying around. Terrible xmit audio thru them.  I perused the Flex Reflectors and found that everyone recommended a pair of powered Bose speakers available at Sam's Club for under $100. I bought them. The RFI with them was about the same and I hated the RX audio. Even after putting ferrites on ALL the Bose speaker cords (both ends) the RFI persisted. I got my $$ refunded.

I then went to BB and demoed and looked at every powered speaker they had in stock. I bought a pair of M-Audio powered speakers at $100. With ferrites this speaker setup worked perfectly. No more RFI from xmit audio and they sounded and looked much better than the Bose speakers.

Next I was getting SSB audio reports of "stuttering"SSB audio. This was at the 100 watt level, no amp on.These reports came from different bands and antennas  - but not always. Sometimes the Flex worked without issue. Sometimes it stuttered. Once I started getting in pileups and using my Ameritron Al-1500 that changed. RFI in stuttering SSB xmit audio happened almost all the time. It is interesting to note I never had any RFI problems with CW even at high levels of RF power.

I tried about everything to rid myself of the dreaded Flex Stuttering audio. Ferrites on everything including my German Shepherds tail.  Wink Also I tried at least 4 or 5 different microphones fully ferrited.

After a couple of months I finally got rid of the stuttering SSB audio. If this was the only problem I experienced with the Flex 5K I would probably still own it. Alas. the Flex 5K had many other warts - things I could not and would not live with. I got rid of the Flex 5 K after only 11 months, the shortest time I have ever owned a radio. I took a big $$$ loss, it was worth every penny of loss to get rid it.

Stan K9IUQ


Posts: 683


« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2013, 09:52:26 AM »

Stan's assessment with regards to more power equals more problems makes perfect sense to me.  I only run about 400-500 watts max and the most I have run is about 700.

I have three sets of Ferrites on my Flex.  The ones that came with the FireWire Cable.  The ones running to the Bose Speakers and the ones on the Microphone cables.

All equipment is strapped to RF ground, including the computer.

I did have to space and locate my equiment just so and with a certain distance between each piece of gear in the system.  Perhaps this best  explaines how I have few issues most as it definitely made and continues to make the biggest difference.

I have explained all this in articles on my site.

Why am I bringing it up again?  I would fully expect new problems if I upgraded to a legal limit Amp.  In fact, it might even cause things to become completely unrealistic and unmanageable.  Why?  Well, you can only put equipment so far appart without having a shack that spans your entire basement!  lol I can visualize this in my head.

Yes, the problems are real!  Very real!

Perhaps I was hasty in telling one person earlier they didnt need all theose ferrites on their computer.  Maybe they are running legal limit or have not tried managing the issue with equipment spacing and location.

I sure hope Flex has shielded their 6K series radios.  I think that good protective measures to shield and limit issues would be helpful.

Happy Hamming to all!

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