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Author Topic: Flex-5000 Discontinued  (Read 15823 times)
ZENKI
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Posts: 916




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« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2013, 05:33:39 AM »

And the Flex 6000 will also be discontinued because despite having some excellent features. Its not the radio that most hams want. You make money by producing a box with knobs on it.
Flexradio should have built a Flex6000  as standalone box with knobs on it and a TFT touch screen.  For the price the Flex 6000 represents poor value.  If most hams had a choice between a Flex6000 and say a Kenwood TS990S
the Kenwood would be the radio of choice. Lets face it how many people can listen to more than 2 bands at once so, whats the real point of  such a feature packed radio? Now if you could use those receiver slices to do some beam forming or direction finding it might be another matter. So unfortunately most of the potential of the Flex 6000 will be  wasted on the average ham.

The Flex5000 failed for all of the above reasons.

I would buy the Flex6000 as precision test instrument radio  if  Flex delivered decent spectrum analyzer software features and a radio with a clean 200 watt FET PA with adaptive predistortion. I am not going to pay such a huge amount of money for features I can get in a 500 dollar radio and then buying a decent SDR radio like those from RFSPACE and  the HPSDR group. I can buy  a Rigol spectrum analyzer, a HPSDR Hermes,  build a 200 watt FET PA and then buy a high performance SDR receiver that accomplish what the Flex6000 will do for a lot less money.

SO like the Flex5000 the Flex6000 is doomed to the technology graveyard of opportunity squandered because  Flexradio is not delivering anything is  useable in the real world of everyday ham radio. There would be far more interest
in the Flex6000 if they could deliver  features like transmitter monitoring, pre-distortion PA, beam forming, direction finding and a full working VNA. I dont need to receive all ham bands  at once. I only have one mouth and 2 ears for 1 QSO.
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NI0Z
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Posts: 560


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« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2013, 06:56:55 AM »

Well, now my silver and black box is obsolete, lol, so it goes will things we buy.

Flex 5000, it's a solid radio now, software is pretty much complete so that argument should be done.  Say what you want, the 5K will be my anchor rig until the Aan 100D can effectively replace it.  By that I mean fully functional software as I believe the hardware is there already.

Flex 5000 great?  Hmmm.  Well, depends on how you really look at it if we all want to be honest.

Lets grade it in some key areas.

CW = D
Digital Modes = B
SSB = A-
Contesting = D-
Software stability = C+

You can debate these grades, everyone has an opinion.  It works for me because I don't contest and I don't use CW.  Therefor for me it works like an A-.

Now, if you have to compare it to any other full SDR transceiver that used to be out there, it gets a bit better.  Compare it to the great knobbed radios and it gets pale.

All in how you want to look at it.

Am I a nay sayer or a realist?

You decide!
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K0OD
Member

Posts: 2541




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« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2013, 08:14:44 AM »

Flex radios really are test equipment with transmitting ability. They dominate Frequency Measuring Tests. The stock 5000a with its built in scope can measure to a few tenths of a Hz even without being externally disciplined. My 5000 shows absolutely no drift against WWV, The meter is accurate within one dB. You can create up to 10 passband filters for every mode. There's the IF level tracking notch filter that can nail notches to multiple points on the spectrum (among other features). The list of wonderful and unique features goes on and on. 

There ARE some very minor and enduring CW problems. I use my 5000a at 30+ wpm on CW all the time. Those limitations obviously aren't software fixable and the 5000 is six years old now so its "no spring chicken" as Dad would say.

Likely what killed the 5000 (which certainly has little to do with cabinet sourcing) are the support costs of dealing with a bazillion different, often underpowered, computer configurations. The high support needs also assured that Flex radios wouldn't sell well overseas.
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AD9DX
Member

Posts: 1477




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« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2013, 08:39:43 AM »

And the Flex 6000 will also be discontinued because despite having some excellent features. Its not the radio that most hams want. You make money by producing a box with knobs on it.
Flexradio should have built a Flex6000  as standalone box with knobs on it and a TFT touch screen.  For the price the Flex 6000 represents poor value.  If most hams had a choice between a Flex6000 and say a Kenwood TS990S
the Kenwood would be the radio of choice. Lets face it how many people can listen to more than 2 bands at once so, whats the real point of  such a feature packed radio? Now if you could use those receiver slices to do some beam forming or direction finding it might be another matter. So unfortunately most of the potential of the Flex 6000 will be  wasted on the average ham.

The Flex5000 failed for all of the above reasons.

I would buy the Flex6000 as precision test instrument radio  if  Flex delivered decent spectrum analyzer software features and a radio with a clean 200 watt FET PA with adaptive predistortion. I am not going to pay such a huge amount of money for features I can get in a 500 dollar radio and then buying a decent SDR radio like those from RFSPACE and  the HPSDR group. I can buy  a Rigol spectrum analyzer, a HPSDR Hermes,  build a 200 watt FET PA and then buy a high performance SDR receiver that accomplish what the Flex6000 will do for a lot less money.

SO like the Flex5000 the Flex6000 is doomed to the technology graveyard of opportunity squandered because  Flexradio is not delivering anything is  useable in the real world of everyday ham radio. There would be far more interest
in the Flex6000 if they could deliver  features like transmitter monitoring, pre-distortion PA, beam forming, direction finding and a full working VNA. I dont need to receive all ham bands  at once. I only have one mouth and 2 ears for 1 QSO.

While I am not going to be in the market for a Flex6000 series radio, the idea of listening (or better put watching) 7 bands during an ultra rate DXpedition would be awesome.  Watching them build at sunrise and/or sunset on bands would be really cool. Doing it while working them on a completely different band would be really cool. 
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
W7SMJ
Member

Posts: 120




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« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2013, 12:00:59 PM »


CW = D
Digital Modes = B
SSB = A-
Contesting = D-
Software stability = C+

You can debate these grades, everyone has an opinion.  It works for me because I don't contest and I don't use CW.  Therefor for me it works like an A-.

Why did you rate 5000 with such low scores in CW and Contesting if you don't even use it for those purposes???
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NI0Z
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Posts: 560


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« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2013, 12:21:20 PM »

On the contesting its easy for me to see based on my user experience why the Flex with PowerSDR can not truly be a consistent contest winner given the window focus issues.  This has also been lamented on by others here and elsewhere.

CW is based off the feedback from long time trusted Hams who have been Flex users.  I have no CW user expereince myself to pull from.

Fair is fair, I amswered your questions, why did you ask this question to me?  Are you successfuly contesting with a Flex 5K or doing CW without issues?
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K5TED
Member

Posts: 705




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« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2013, 12:24:01 PM »


CW = D
Digital Modes = B
SSB = A-
Contesting = D-
Software stability = C+

You can debate these grades, everyone has an opinion.  It works for me because I don't contest and I don't use CW.  Therefor for me it works like an A-.

Why did you rate 5000 with such low scores in CW and Contesting if you don't even use it for those purposes???

I'm wondering how any of the three current model Flex radios rates only a "B" in Digital Modes. Seamless audio I/O and COM integration with the major Digi software, no external devices or cabling needed. Brick wall filtering.

No existing knob radio in the Flex price range besides the TS-590 or IC-7200 can come close to the ease of digi operation/interfacing and quality of reception/decoding of even the Flex 1500.  

Wait, someone's wearing Trollaroma...

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K5TED
Member

Posts: 705




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« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2013, 12:28:20 PM »

As for the window focus thing, it's been well established that the correct way to use a Flex is to have it on it's own PC, separate from the shack utility PC. You don't use the tuning knob on a knob radio to erase a misspelled entry on a paper form, so why would you use your radio control interface to type in callsigns?
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NI0Z
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Posts: 560


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« Reply #38 on: May 20, 2013, 01:45:18 PM »

Besides the fact that Flex does not say you need 2 PCs to operate their radio for CAT connected software, doesnt it seem kind of ridiculous that I would have to add a second PC to run a software defined radio?  All anyone would have to do is add a Contest Mode button into PowerSDR to keep it from needing focus to solve this.

The CW issue is more difficult because there is latency involved.

Most radios have a shortcoming or two, I am ok with my rig not being the greatest one out there.  Its still does a decent job at the things I want from it,  there is no shame in owning a radio that is not the very best and there is no shame in being honest about what ones radio can and cant do well.

When I get my Anan I will tell it like it is on that rig as well.  Perspective buyers appreciate real feedback and not brand fan responses.

The truth among hams about radios should be written into the creed.  Its real feedback that makes radio manufactures build better radios and keeps other hams from buying poor products.

Everyone reading this, I encourage you to vow this year to tell it like it is! Smiley  Let the truth be known!

Dont take my response as an attack, I certainly dont see yours that way which is why I am asking you if it isn't kind of ridculous to have to have two PCs to contest. 



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K5TED
Member

Posts: 705




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« Reply #39 on: May 20, 2013, 01:56:55 PM »

No offense taken, and it is certainly a valid question.

The PC controlling the SDR is actually the control center for the radio, so, unless there is a compelling reason to run only one PC in the shack, having the SDR be on a separate PC and monitor from the "general use" PC is not an unusual concept. The SDR PC is part of the radio system and should be treated as such. Flex did not say you need 2 PC's to operate their radio. They said you need one PC to operate the radio. What you do on the side is up to you. With IP interconnected software like HRD, Logbook and DM-780, there's no reason to keep it all on one PC.

I believe many Flex customers went in thinking they could use their existing PC to control the radio. In many cases it worked fine. In many cases their existing PC was not up to snuff. In the case of a contester who may have more than one radio, more than one antenna, why is more than one PC so odd?
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NI0Z
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Posts: 560


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« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2013, 03:38:22 PM »

Because its a little like saying that to make your dog hunt you just need to bring another hunting dog along.

Are you using two PC's with your Flex 5000 to contest?
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W8JX
Member

Posts: 5629




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« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2013, 05:00:12 PM »

Besides the fact that Flex does not say you need 2 PCs to operate their radio for CAT connected software, doesnt it seem kind of ridiculous that I would have to add a second PC to run a software defined radio?  All anyone would have to do is add a Contest Mode button into PowerSDR to keep it from needing focus to solve this.

Actually you can tell windows to give high priority to background apps and with a multi core CPU you can even assign SDR to its own core and even boost priority too so needing another computer is not really a issue with right computer.
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--------------------------------------
All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
K5TED
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Posts: 705




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« Reply #42 on: May 20, 2013, 05:08:55 PM »

I don't "contest". I do take advantage of contests to collect new entities. I do use one PC for my Flex 3000 and digi software, and another for everything else. I've posted those PC configs and pics on the forum in the recent past.

Flex clearly states the recommended hardware. Nowhere does Flex, as far as I've seen, recommend using the same PC that controls the radio for Facebook, Netflix, general browsing, or logging at the same time you are Flexing. Nowhere does Flex state that, "Hey, guess what?? You can use your same everyday computer to run this radio and to do everything else you want to do at the same time.

Nowhere does Flex state that you don't need a separate PC for your shack. Flex does in fact state that a PC is needed to operate the SDR. It is implied that you will need to provide a PC to run the SDR. In the instructions there are detailed step to configure a PC for use with the SDR. The PC is part of the radio. It is an integral part of the radio. Without that PC, you have no radio.

What exactly is this purported "focus" "problem"? Is it really a fault of Flex radio for not making a greater effort to explain to hams who are obviously intelligent enough to put together contest stations that in order to take advantage of this cutting edge technology that happens to be at least 50% PC based, that it would be a good idea to dedicate a suitable PC strictly for use as the radio?
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K9IUQ
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Posts: 1682




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« Reply #43 on: May 20, 2013, 05:35:01 PM »

I don't "contest".

What exactly is this purported "focus" "problem"?

It is obvious that you do not contest. Try using the most popular contesting program N1MM  (Free) and the Flexradio in a contest.

You will quickly find out what losing focus is all about and also you will understand why any serious contester shuns the Flexradios like the Plague..

Stan K9IUQ
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 05:48:45 PM by K9IUQ » Logged
K9IUQ
Member

Posts: 1682




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« Reply #44 on: May 20, 2013, 05:43:08 PM »


I'm wondering how any of the three current model Flex radios rates only a "B" in Digital Modes. Seamless audio I/O and COM integration with the major Digi software, no external devices or cabling needed. Brick wall filtering.

You fail to mention that to use the Flexradios on Digital you must use a not free program called VAC aka Virtual Audio Cable. The Flexradios do not support Digital modes without this program. Also depending on your computer and Digital software you may also need Virtual Serial Ports Emulator (VSPE) which cost $$ for the  64 bit version.

Stan  K9IUQ
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