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Author Topic: Help me make plans?  (Read 10358 times)
KD8TUT
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Posts: 59




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« on: December 05, 2013, 04:31:49 PM »

Hi guys/girls,

Ok.. I'm really new, haven't been a ham for a year yet. But have HF privileges. Currently working both a Yaesu FTDX 5000 and Icom 756 Pro III via remote hams.

I'm really into computers having been a systems engineer for 20 years. So SDR is interesting to me.

The Flex 3000 looks like a good radio to me. But what other options do I have for interfacing a non-Flex radio to the computer in various ways? Also are there other companies doing SDR in a profound way like Flex?

Any comments are really appreciated.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 04:35:36 PM by KD8TUT » Logged
N9VV
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 04:47:37 PM »

Please take a look at the Apache Labs Transceivers. They are very high quality and high performance with an OPEN SOURCE attitude (unlike FLEX).   Communication is via Ethernet for both operating the Client--Server code and for upgrading the internal Firmware for the FPGA magical device. There are loads of good articles about this new technology. Don't go back 10 years to the FLEX-3000 QSD architecture when you can move ahead to DDC/DUC (Direct Down Conversion Rx and Direct Up Conversion Tx) and be on the leading edge of technology. Hundreds of these systems have been sold all over the world.

http://www.apache-labs.com

http://www.n9vv.com

GL de Ken N9VV
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N9VV
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 04:51:43 PM »

Oh, all the new DDC/DUC transceivers can be operated over the Internet remotely using the brilliant code from John Melton G0ORX in the UK. The whole Qt idea is described here with links to Windows binaries if you wish to tune in to the Qt Radio network. I am serving my SDRStick+HF1 on the QtRadio Network right now at 384ksps.

Online servers: http://qtradio.napan.ca/qtradio/qtradio.pl

QtRadio explained and all OpenSource: http://napan.ca/ghpsdr3/index.php/QtRadio_Installation

**ALSO** please note Android client that works great with tablets: http://napan.ca/ghpsdr3/index.php/AHPSDR

73 de Ken N9VV
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N2DTS
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Posts: 102




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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 04:52:09 PM »

There are loads of receivers, some kits like the softrock stuff, the peaberry V2 (1 watt tx), the flex stuff, and the ANAN radios built by Apache labs.

The flex stuff is plug and play for the most part, the others need some work with the software.

The 3000 and 1500 are very good radios for the price, they may not be the latest and greatest, but they work very well, except the 1500 on CW break in maybe.


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KD8TUT
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Posts: 59




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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 04:53:58 PM »

Please take a look at the Apache Labs Transceivers. They are very high quality and high performance with an OPEN SOURCE attitude (unlike FLEX).   Communication is via Ethernet for both operating the Client--Server code and for upgrading the internal Firmware for the FPGA magical device. There are loads of good articles about this new technology. Don't go back 10 years to the FLEX-3000 QSD architecture when you can move ahead to DDC/DUC (Direct Down Conversion Rx and Direct Up Conversion Tx) and be on the leading edge of technology. Hundreds of these systems have been sold all over the world.

http://www.apache-labs.com

http://www.n9vv.com

GL de Ken N9VV

You had me at open source.

Looking at it... thank you Sir!
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K5TED
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Posts: 727




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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 06:57:28 PM »

In the context of SDR, day to day use, what is the advantage of Open source" vs. Flex PSDR?

What is the advantage of firmware upgrades over Ethernet vs. Direct connection?

What is the advantage of a remote radio network consisting of 9 radios using QT vs the various other remote xcvr sites that also have a few remote controlled xcvrs of various makes and models?


Flex is the first and the standard by which all SDR xcvrs are measured. Dollar for dollar, the 3000 beats any other SDR in the $1700 price category.

Flex is American made, and support/repair is no more than next day air away. The user base is the largest of all SDR brands.

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HAMMYGUY
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 08:15:43 PM »

I've owned two of the Flex-3000's.  It certainly is a very capable radio, however it uses a very archaic firewire interface that is almost impossible to find on any currently available computers.  Even Flex has seen the light and it's new rig has an Ethernet interface.  The PowerSDR software has very real issues with lag on CW using either USB or Firewire.  IF you have an extremely fast machine it can make up for the issue.  

I currently have an Anan-10.  It uses a version of PowerSDR that has been converted to Ethernet.  There is no lag on CW.  It also has more features than the Flex-5000. Dual receivers (even more with other software) that really enhance the radio.  The only thing is that it's a lower power rig with about 15-18 watts available.  Toss in an amp and you're still WAY under the price of a new Flex-6700 transceiver which shows a price of $7499 (Good grief!) or get either of the two Anan-100 series and you won't need an amp. Again you'll be less than 50 percent of the price of the 6700 even with the most expensive Apache rig.  

There are several other SDR transceivers available.  Most are QRP with less than 5 watt's though.  

One other option is to purchase a higher end SDR receiver and slave a transceiver to it.  I also have a set up like this using a Kenwood TS-2000.  Most of the newer free SDR software supports the majority of the currently available receivers.  An exception might be the WinRadio rigs. These just haven't really caught on with the ham community.  

Flex is certainly a leader in the SDR industry.  There is no question about that.  However I have to question their decision to come out with such an expensive rig as the 6700.  While I enjoy the ham hobby, there is no way that I would plunk down that much cash.  

« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 09:17:36 PM by HAMMYGUY » Logged
HAMMYGUY
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Posts: 85




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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 08:17:45 PM »

Oh, all the new DDC/DUC transceivers can be operated over the Internet remotely using the brilliant code from John Melton G0ORX in the UK. The whole Qt idea is described here with links to Windows binaries if you wish to tune in to the Qt Radio network. I am serving my SDRStick+HF1 on the QtRadio Network right now at 384ksps.

Online servers: http://qtradio.napan.ca/qtradio/qtradio.pl

QtRadio explained and all OpenSource: http://napan.ca/ghpsdr3/index.php/QtRadio_Installation

**ALSO** please note Android client that works great with tablets: http://napan.ca/ghpsdr3/index.php/AHPSDR

73 de Ken N9VV

Excellent info Ken!  Thank you! 
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KD8TUT
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Posts: 59




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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2013, 03:04:06 AM »

In the context of SDR, day to day use, what is the advantage of Open source" vs. Flex PSDR?

What is the advantage of firmware upgrades over Ethernet vs. Direct connection?

What is the advantage of a remote radio network consisting of 9 radios using QT vs the various other remote xcvr sites that also have a few remote controlled xcvrs of various makes and models?


Flex is the first and the standard by which all SDR xcvrs are measured. Dollar for dollar, the 3000 beats any other SDR in the $1700 price category.

Flex is American made, and support/repair is no more than next day air away. The user base is the largest of all SDR brands.



Well, one of the areas I'm looking at is SDR on Linux which is the development environment I'm most comfortable in. Also I'm concerned (through experience) that a Flex may become a doorstop when Flex stops software support for older hardware.

An open source setting, would allow access to the source code and allow me to keep the hardware operating regardless of support status.

I"m not so interested in USB connections. I have no preference between a 1394 connection or ethernet, except to say that ethernet gives you a 290 foot distance to play with- and keeping the radio equipment away from my computers is an advantage.
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K9IUQ
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Posts: 1738




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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 04:27:33 AM »

a Flex may become a doorstop

The Flexradio 3K and 5K are already doorstops and have been for a while. The Flexradio 1500 is too small to be a doorstop, throw it in the trash along with your analog Tube TVs.   Cheesy Cheesy  Getting a Flexradio 1500/3K/5K would like buying a tube TV instead of a HD LED TV. Smart hams recognize this and are dumping them on the used market. Be aware the Flex 5K has been discontinued for a while. Only Diehard Flexers would ever recommend a Flex 1500/3k/5K at this point in time.

There are much better choices for SDRs. Ken N9VV and the Hammyguy gave you excellent advice. A wise ham will pay attention.

Stan K9IUQ
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2013, 04:31:19 AM »

One other option is to purchase a higher end SDR receiver and slave a transceiver to it.  I also have a set up like this using a Kenwood TS-2000.  Most of the newer free SDR software supports the majority of the currently available receivers.  

This is an excellent option and is exactly what I have done. I have a QS1R SDR synced to a TS-590s which has turned out to be an outstanding combo. The best of both worlds, SDR and Knobs.

Stan K9IUQ
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N2DTS
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Posts: 102




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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2013, 05:04:48 AM »

There are a lot of people still using the old sdr-1000's, even though flex no longer really supports them.
And there is no reason why they won't be running 10 years from now.

If you are looking at it from a radio standpoint, just getting a radio that works well (or can work well if you set it up right), the $1600.00 flex 3000 is a good radio (its on sale now).
100 watts, antenna tuner built in, its high in the Sherwood lists.

I blew out the output devices in a 3000 I owned a few years ago, my fault playing with a homebrew amplifier, and I TOLD flex that it was my fault, and they sent me a brand new radio next day air, and included a shipping label to send the old one back.
I was down for 2 days, and I think that was very good customer service.

I do not think you will get that kind of service out of the ANAN rigs, since you have to deal with customs importing it directly from India.
I tried to order one of their radios, but the web site would not take my credit card, and there is dealing with customs...

Overall, I do not see any great advantage in using an sdr radio for transmit, there are a few nice features, like the ability to record someones signal and play it back unaltered with the press of two buttons, but really, many ham rigs have better transmitters then any of the sdr radios.

They may get pre distortion working, which would clean up the TX of the sdr's quite a bit...

Radios like the sdr-iq hook up to most ham rigs, and give you lots of abilities at low cost, another receiver, the panafall display, point and click tuning, all mode demod, great filters, and it runs with at least 3 different programs.
The programs are important, since that really is the radio.

To see how you like sdr, a low cost kit like the peaberry V2 for $150.00 works amazingly well, and it includes a 1 watt to 4 watt transmitter.

If you know what you are doing, its no problem having the radio and computer in the shack, as long as you do not have massive amounts of RF floating around from using unbalanced antenna's.
I run full power with the antenna's right over the house with no issues.

 
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2013, 06:43:06 AM »

IDollar for dollar, the 3000 beats any other SDR in the $1700 price category.

Not true. I bought a Kenwood TS-590s ($1500) to replace my $3600 Flexradio 5000. The TS-590s easily matches the performance of the Flexradio and in many ways is much better. The only advantage the 5K had is the dual RX and the Panafall. Since I now use the TS-590s synced to a QS1R I have both 2 RXs and a Panafall.

I owned the Flexradio 5K for 11 months, the shortest time I have owned a radio in 52 years. I have owned the TS-590s for almost 3 years. This fact alone says it all....

Stan K9IUQ
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N9RO
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2013, 06:58:14 AM »

This is a very interesting discussion and I will provide my two cents. 

Flex has been with us for some time now and the results of their experiment using a thick client PC with Open Source software and a Firewire connection has been determine.  After many years of development the facts are in, we now see a COMPLETE Flex redesign moving to the thin client architecture Ethernet connected running proprietary software.  What I have noticed is that current design trends appear to favor getting all the meat out of the PC and having a somewhat less intelligent (more flexible) device talking to the SDR via the LAN. 

The 3000/5000 design was found to be not only limiting but simply had many issues.  These issues are no secret and are well understood among the tech community and Flex.  However, Flex deserves credit for letting us all see and experience just how well/poor this Firewire PC based architecture performed in the real world. 

I am not a Flex hater nor am I a Flex apologist, I still have a 5000 and will be adding a 6000 series in the near future when the software matures a bit.   To try and paint the 3000/5000 series a great technical success to those not knowing its history is not true in my opinion.  Although these legacy Flex SDRs may work well for less demanding hams and the eye candy can be appealing to many I believe it has been proven these legacy boxes were a poor choice for the ham community at large. 

I have an ANAN and they are fine radios for the price but if you look at the links provided by Ken you can see they are somewhat flexible but in my opinion not for the faint at heart when it comes to technology.

Good luck and 73,
Tim, N9RO
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Real techies don't use knobs.
KD8TUT
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Posts: 59




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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2013, 07:36:21 AM »

a Flex may become a doorstop

The Flexradio 3K and 5K are already doorstops and have been for a while. The Flexradio 1500 is too small to be a doorstop, throw it in the trash along with your analog Tube TVs.   Cheesy Cheesy  Getting a Flexradio 1500/3K/5K would like buying a tube TV instead of a HD LED TV. Smart hams recognize this and are dumping them on the used market. Be aware the Flex 5K has been discontinued for a while. Only Diehard Flexers would ever recommend a Flex 1500/3k/5K at this point in time.

There are much better choices for SDRs. Ken N9VV and the Hammyguy gave you excellent advice. A wise ham will pay attention.

Stan K9IUQ

Well I'm really more concerned with functional obsolescence than technical obsolescence. I've got an old National NC-190 receiver I still use. It's obsolete, but not functionally obsolete.

The problem that I see with Flex is the availability of software to run the things. Open source kinda of solves that problem because *someone* will make software to keep radios alive as they age. But I've yet to determine if the Flexradio API is open or not. The 1394 interface is also an issue. Even as an engineer... I'm not sure it will be around in 5 years.

So if I'm going SDR, I'd like the best *chance* at being able to still use the radio in 20 years (and computers will look very different in 20 years). I'm sure I'll own many radios. But given my nature I like to keep them around and functioning.

If I cannot find something that meets my particular standards, it will probably result in the purchase of a Yaesu FTDX 5000.
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