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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | FlexRadio FLEX-6700 Help


Reviews Summary for FlexRadio FLEX-6700
FlexRadio FLEX-6700 Reviews: 16 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $7,499.00
Description: Software Define Radio Transceiver with 8 independent full performance receivers from 0.03MHz to 77MHz and 135Mhz to 165MHz
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.flex-radio.com/
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W4EG Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2014 16:03 Send this review to a friend
The best radio in the market today  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am not going to bore you with details and specifications. If you need that information it is available on the FlexRadio System website.

I have been using SDR radios since the days of Ten Tec Pegasus and Kachina. I have owned all radios that Flex has sold 1000/1500/3000/5000 and now the 6700LE Signature radio.

The new 6x000 series radios are super. The performance and operations; I can simply say there is nothing out there to compare to.

Operationally is simple, the learning curve is modest and there is no need to have a degree in computer science requires.

Why do I appreciate this radio; simple... I don't have to tweak knobs! Why? Again, it is all done in software!

And it keeps getting better with the software updates.
 
VK2JN Rating: 5/5 Jan 28, 2014 16:13 Send this review to a friend
Truely 3rd Generation + my follow up  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
A quick update to my 1st review brings some further good news concerning what was the annual subscription model that is now based on a major upgrade event (not time) that is akin to installing a new hardware board. This means for example that versions 2.00 3.00 4.00 etc will carry a reward incentive for the development engineers and needless to say adding value to our future proof true "server" radios at fraction of the price compared to hardware replacement models.

It just keeps getting better unlike my old traditional radios where the gloss fades a year or two down the road.

As this radio ages we can build upon it indefinitely due its future proof giant fpga server architecture. As in my previous review please take the time to understand the "UNIQUE NATURE OF THIS VERY SPECIAL RADIO". Its a long term investment with big dividends and for us fortunate owners like myself who are already reaping the benefits already in the latest beta.

The discerning technology buyer will be able to identify the 6000 series as the first of its kind involving 1000's of hours in its software creation and won't settle for a compromise PC based DSP package. I'm sure glad I didn't !!!! Over the years I have learned "if you buy on price alone you PAY THE PRICE when you have to re-buy what you should have in the 1st place !

Executive Summary : Even Happier as I sit next to a triumph of technology
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Its very important to 1st understand what this radio actually is as sadly not one ham I have talked about this product seems to know EXACTLY what it is. Without my statement in the paragraph below the 6000 series will simply be regarded as another SDR radio without knobs and therefore the whole appreciation of its futuristic design being a paradigm of monumental scale would be lost.

It cannot be compared to any other SDR including the fine HPSDR/Anan project as the whole operating system is built into the rig itself. FROM THE OUTSET LETS UNDERSTAND THIS IS NOT A PC BASED SDR AS ALL THE DSP IS INSIDE THE BOX ! THIS IS a TRUE 3rd Generation machine..... therefore the only roll a PC plays here is a thin client that provides a virtual window into the FPGA. We can run our digital programs on windows through the digital audio exchange (DAX) released ahead of time before Christmas 2013 and soon to come many other platforms will become available. THE BEAUTY OF THE 6000 SERIES IT WILL BE POSSIBLE TO CREATE A THIN CLIENT OVER MANY PLATFORMS FOR DEVICES OF THE FUTURE freeing it from the Windows prison.

I was an early adopter and took a leap of faith last June after waiting 14 long months from Dayton 2012 and now own a product that blows me away every time I think, use and look at it.

The 6000 is designed as a SERVER transceiver for our modern day tablets of which currently I use a windows tablet over the home WiFi LAN. Soon to be released will be the WAN capability along with features that place all other rigs in the vintage category. My 6700 is frequency locked to the GPS system that provides a master REF out for other shack peripherals.

While the internal operating system is closed source the Flex folks have designed a business model to ensure I will always have the latest technology updates for $200.00 per year subscription after the 1st year. This gives me certainty and the engineers will have reward for their efforts. While the internal radio operating system is Flex's area as I write there are application interface apps well under way to make the experience even richer.

So far its early days however what shocked me was the roadmap for January was released in December that turned my 6700 from an experimental beta machine to a fine usable product. I know there were nay sayers, doubters and early beta product release recipients that did not accept the delays bringing this advanced technology to market but I sit here today with a product I am extremely proud of.

Executive summary ?  Sure....I just love my 6700 !
 
W5HFS Rating: 5/5 Jan 20, 2014 13:23 Send this review to a friend
The Future - New Young Amateurs - Absolute State of the Art  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This review will concentrate on my reasons for buying the Flex 6700, and why I feel it will significantly enhance your experience of radio and provide major benefits for our hobby. Other reviewers have delved into many technical issues that I need not repeat.

The FlexRadio 6700 is a totally new approach to radio. For years I’ve primarily operated my Collins S-Line, KWM-2, and 30L-1. While I have an Icom 706MKIIG, I’d not found any “modern” rig that felt as much fun to operate as the Collins. That all changed when I bought a Flex 1500 (the Flex QRP rig I’ve also reviewed elsewhere on eham) a couple of years ago and discovered a radically different way to view radio. Immediately I was finding more activity, different modes, exciting options. The visual displays changed my conception of the radio spectrum itself. Prior to the 1500 I was concentrating on restoring and maintaining radios from the “golden age of amateur radio” – primarily Collins.

After encountering the Flex 1500 I reconsidered everything. I decided to move from reflecting on the beauty of the past and move into the leading edge of the future. With this decision I dramatically increased my potential for new knowledge, and, equally important, I lay the foundation for introducing younger people to amateur radio. Let’s face it, half century old equipment and stories of how it used to be are not effective advertising and PR for young women and men who would really enjoy and benefit from amateur radio, if they could see how it fits into their internet connected, social media, digitally saturated world. The FlexRadio 6000 series radios are designed to fit directly into that world.

The 6000 series was introduced at Dayton in 2012, and I placed an order for a 6700 on the introduction day. It took more than a year for my “Limited Edition” 6700 No. 93 to be delivered. Even then I and many other early buyers elected to take with the understanding the software was still in development. The version 1.x final software was released in late 2013.

The 6700 has been a joy to operate from the day I took it out of the box. The ability to have multiple bands displayed all at once alerts me to activity and the MUF helping me make contacts with DX I never would have found. Regardless of where I’m operating I have the 20 meter (14.070) digital stream running in the HRD Digital Master 780 SuperSweeper.

Signals of every mode nearly in the noise I would never hear simply tuning across a band show on the screen and often lead to an important contact. Having never before been involved in computer controlled hamming I’m now able to implement the very forefront of that technology. Flex is following a “roadmap” introducing important features as they are perfected by their software engineers. This progress is constantly monitored through a web-based community site where information is shared immediately.

I’ve used my 6700 with several different computers. With my Microsoft Surface Pro tablet I have the tablet screen and two additional monitors up. Interestingly the computer I use the most is a Lenevo Q150with two monitors. This is a small $300 machine made to use with a TV for connection to the internet. Since it has a fairly good NVIDA graphics processor, it handles the 6700 screen displays fairly well. The performance of this minimal computer is adequate, but a little more power, especially in the graphics department is the best way to go.

I believe the most important aspect of the FlexRadio 6700 and its siblings, the 6500, and the 6700R (receiver), is their influence in bringing the world a completely new conception of ham radio and radio in general. For us as amateurs this will attract the many new and younger people we need to grow and evolve. These Flex radios drive radio again to the forefront of technology, just as the radios of Marconi did over a century ago.
 
N8MSA Rating: 5/5 Jan 16, 2014 10:37 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Out-Of-The-Box Experience  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My 6700 arrived yesterday. I installed SmartSDR (the new client software), SmartCAT (rig control), optimized DAX (Windows playback and recording virtual sound devices) and was on the air in twenty minutes. I am decoding JT65-HF on one slice (a "virtual receiver", the 6700 currently offering four with more on the way), PSK-31 on another slice, and monitoring two SSB QSOs on two other slices.

This is, in my experience, one of the few times that a commercial amateur radio product has lived up to my expectations. The Signature Series is, having used virtually every commercial and "open" SDR available, the best SDR available today. It does everything that Flex claims that it will, and does it well. Certain features need a little time to mature, but the current capabilities will suffice the vast majority of hams that enjoy best-in-class equipment.

I am writing a full review for Mark Abraham's SDRzone over the next couple of weeks, and will update eHam as time goes by.

73 de Mike - N8MSA
 
K9ZW Rating: 5/5 Nov 11, 2013 19:57 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio with Radio-of-the-Month upgrades  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Have not had more fun with a Radio and its Radio-of-the-Month upgrades

I've had radio Number 11 for five months, first as one of the SmartSDR Preview Edition program running pre-production beta software and now with the first public release & public beta SmartSDR versions.

It has been a well appreciated experience to participate as features have been rolled out, tweaked & re-tweaked. On arrival the radio had only the most basic features, where with the current releases the basic radio is all there.

Most importantly Flex Radio Systems has laid out a "Road Map" for additional features that runs over the next year.

The limitations of early software are removed in phases, as features are added and experience gained.

It is like having a "Radio-of-the-Month" club, the software updates offering much in each release. I've had access to 6 or 7 releases over these first months.

At the time of this writing, early November 2013, there are items I would really like to see coming up.

As a snapshot right now, this November evening, the 6700 offer a noteworthy receiver that is very easy to listen to, does an outstanding job if digging out SSB DX, and has earned me many complements on my transmissions.

SmartSDR is simple, intuitive and reasonably robust. It is certainly far better than the first public releases of the older PowerSDR. How things have moved forward since 2005 and Flex's first SDR-1000 kits.

A strong suggestion for prospective owners, review the Road Map to identify when Flex Radio Systems expects to have any personally mission-critical features ready. Some hams have not enjoyed the steady diet of upgrades and would be happier if they would wait for the feature set they feel they need before going for a 6700/6500 radio.

Another area the 6700 excels is in value for money. The receiver quality is impressive with A<->B testing with big name radios costing 1-/2 to 2 times as much putting the 6700 with early beta software as equal to these great rigs. Many of the other features are unique to SDRs and something the big name rigs can't begin to offer.

I am not going "knob free" with the 6700, and feel the FlexControl pod is integral with my enjoyment of the radio. I couldn't imagine doing any contest time without "the knob" either.

Very glad I added the 6700 to my radio room, have enjoyed each of the upgrades, and have great expectations of where this radio will be as each milestone on the road map is met.

And it is fun to operate!

73

Steve
K9ZW

http://k9zw.wordpress.com/
 
KY6LA Rating: 5/5 Apr 22, 2013 22:08 Send this review to a friend
First Public Demo - Visalia DX Convention April 2013  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

The Flex 6700 radio was definitely working but clearly it was a beta test unit.

I did manage to crash the software at least once and many features are yet to be fully operational.

For the uninitiated… the radio software is now a simple browse that does NOT need a major computer system
All the processing is now done inside the radio with its own computer power…
it should even ultimately be able to run on your iPad or other simple device…

Interestingly it was interfaced directly to N1MM Contest Logger, a SteppIR DB-18 and an Alpha 9500 so it clearly was set up for contesting.
While I am not the contest Ultra Maven… I personally found the clean simple interface much more intuitive for contesting than my Flex 5000
as you really never need to have your hands leave the logger keyboard. I can see where the Flex will finally be more than competitive, if not excel the K3 for contests.

In spite of the limitations of the beta test software, the receiver performance was astounding.
It appeared that the radio was hearing down to -142dBm (or about S0 – 15db or almost 2 ½ S Units below S0)
BUT what was more astounding was that they introduced DSP gain into the system so that it could hear down to -149 dBm or about the phase noise levels. I am not sure how to measure down to those levels as the thermal noise in my test equipment is higher than that. (The figures are un-calibrated- we will see what Sherwood says)

Adjacent Channel rejection appeared be out of the world….you could totally block an S9+40db signal 100Hz away…..
This would be especially important in multi-stations…. AND you do not Need to use any Roofing Filters

Of course it was really cool to be able to listen to several slices of the band at the same time and easily jump from band to band without losing any information.
They had 4 spectral operational but could only receive on 2 slices… (It will be 8 slices in the final model)


Real World Performance…
Several times we had Armchair copy in QSO’s with Hams who had could barely copy our signals due to their poor antennas and outdated equipment
We definitely could easily copy the very weak DX Stations…

Although I am not a CW Operator .. The CW ops I talked to said it was full QSK with no delays whatsoever…


Delivery
Flex said they hoped to ship production units within 30 days (maybe by Dayton anyone?) however I am skeptical that they can get everything 100% by then as clearly there is still a lot of software to get right. I suspect that in order to meet that tight schedule, they will ship the first units with a reduced feature set. The good thing about a SDR is that you can easily upgrade in a matter of seconds.

Bottom Line:
When I read the specs and placed my order at Dayton 2012, I knew that this was going to be the radio that will set the bar for the next standard in Ham Radio

However, I was personally astounded by the performance which even in Beta far exceeded my expectations.

 
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