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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | FlexRadio FLEX-6300 Help


Reviews Summary for FlexRadio FLEX-6300
FlexRadio FLEX-6300 Reviews: 18 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $2,499
Description: FLEX-6300 for the Serious Amateur

The FLEX-6300ô is for the amateur operator who wants to
experience the magic of software defined radio in the
highest performance 100W transceiver family available today.
The FLEX-6300 provides an entry point into multi-dimensional
amateur radio operations from CW to the latest digital
modes. Providing dual panadapters and waterfall displays,
as well as two full-performance slice receivers, the FLEX-
6300 opens up new operating capabilities at an affordable
price.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.flexradio.com/amateur-products/flex-6000-signature-series/flex-6300/
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K9ZW Rating: 5/5 Dec 27, 2014 19:59 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Performance at a Value Pricepoint  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Okay, I bought my Flex-6300 as both a backup radio to the Flex-6700 in my shack and as a field portable unit to use at our weekend retreat.

I operated many weekends from Washington Island Wisconsin (IS Island WI-001L) with the Flex-6300 and a Toshiba Laptop, running into a SteppIR CrankIR antenna with outstanding success.

Rocky Ridge Farm was exactly that - a 100 year old farmhouse & buildings on a high rocky knoll in the center of the Island. Each weekend I would set up my gear and then take it down & store it until the next. You can read about the operations at k9zw.wordpress.com

The 6300 at its price-point is a stunning radio - much of the utility of the 6700 wit the obvious limitations of a single receiver (SCU) and limited slices & slice sizing. But since my antenna needed to be tuned as I switch bands it wasnít a handicap - and I didnít need to tear up my home shack to drag out the 6700. The 6300 also did fabulous when my 6700 recently traveled back to FlexRadio Systems for a factory upgrade program (PEN - Product Enhancement).

Operating from the RF quiet Island the simpler design and preselector-free configuration made no difference. I missed the boat by not bringing both the 6300 & 6700 to the Island at the same time to do some A/B testing.

My simple setup performed beyond expectations - not that many S-Units behind the Islandís best station in many cases, and it was also very easy to use for digital modes (DM780 software mostly).

Setting things up on the Toshiba was easy, but please if you are considering a SmartSDR/DAX powered radio realize getting your setup right is critical. I tried running the setup on an old IBM Laptop as I would have left that on the Island, but it didnít meet the suggested minimum specifications and wasnít swamping the processor when I tried adding HRD/DM780.

I also found it made a huge difference to bring a decent router rather than trying to make the Laptop happy with a direct connect, and even as it was I mostly hand logged (I kept forgetting to bring a second monitor so I could have all my software showing at one time).

All the QSO from the Island were made barefoot - the 100 watts into the CrankIR did the job easily. Again as I didnít want to rip my home QTH shack apart, I used a simple set of powered (AA batteries) computer speakers intended for portable use and an inexpensive set of MFJ-392B headphones when I didnít want to run the speakers. For a mic I used the supplied FRS hand mic.

Iím expecting the 6300 will make a few more trips to the Island before I find a way to set up a long-term station there, and will go traveling with me elsewhere.

Very pleased with the performance, especially the receiverís capabilities, at this price point.

73

Steve
K9ZW

BLOG With Varying Frequency http://k9zw.wordpress.com
 
WT8L Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2014 20:11 Send this review to a friend
Awesome!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The 6000 series is an extraordinary product line! First, I have to admit that my professional career was in computers, so dealing with the computer side of the flex isn't a problem for me and I've had no issues getting the 6300 and smartSDR to communicate with my laptop, amplifier (through DDUtil v3), FLDigi and my logging program.

The two standout features are the filters, the TNF in particular, and the AGCT control, which I haven't seen mentioned much. The tracking notch filters are worth the price of admission by themselves. The automatic gain control threshold does an outstanding job bringing weak signals out of the mud. The Orion had a similar feature, but the flex implementation is far more effective.

Is it perfect? Of course not, but software continues to improve and new features added. I considered the Anan 200D, but chose the flex because it's made in the USA, making any service issues easier to deal with...
 
WB5OXQ Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2014 14:51 Send this review to a friend
Very impressed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this radio 4 weeks ago and the setup was no problem at all for me. The lack of a users manual bothered me a bit so I have to experiment and ask questions about what some of the comtrols do.
I can honestly say in my 40 years as a ham I have owned many radios most of them TenTec and they were great radios for me. Now that I have experienced this sdr radio there is no going back. The receiver is very sensitive and you can easily set the randwidth to any widty you need too remove ajacent interfearance. Unless they are within 1 mhz of your operating frequency you can get rid of them. You can see everyones signal on the band scope too. I tried this radio on AM sldo and got great audio reports. Sopme said it was as good as a plate modulated tube rig. The fact that there are no i f stages means a lot in receiver clarity and fidelity. When tuning on the broadcast band and using good quality amplified speakers the quality is great and you can enjoy as much fidelity as the station can deliver. All in all a wonderful radio built in Austin, Texas USA ! A rarity these days. WB5OXQ
 
AA1UI Rating: 5/5 Dec 14, 2014 08:34 Send this review to a friend
Psyched to move to 6300  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've had a Flex-3000 for a while which I loved to bits. Sold it and some other stuff to get a 6300. Wow, it's cool, and different. It's going to take me some time to appreciate it's finer points, but I made my first few contacts just winging it (without manual) and it was fun and fairly intuitive. The display is fantastic. Many folks have left comments about all the great things this radio can and will do, but I want to mainly say one thing: I had a question about keying my amp, and I sent an email to support Saturday night. By Sunday morning, I had my answer!! Find me a manufacturer who can give you service like that? Better than that, the support rep actually answered my question (left at 9:23pm Sat night) at 11:23pm.. exactly 2 hours later!! (I just didn't think to check for it so quick)
THIS is why we love FlexRadio. Real people, building things in the USA, working their asses off to please us. Very, very rare these days.
 
N0UA Rating: 3/5 Nov 14, 2014 15:17 Send this review to a friend
Issues  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First, I am an old time computer geek and ham. Background includes using Icom series with MixW and other digital software products for many years and many other hardware/software brands before that. I also owned a small software company for 30 years and have personally written a million lines of code in many programming languages and I performed quality control on hundreds of software programs written by my staff. Finally, I have just 2 weeks working with the 6300.

The good: receiver seems sensitive, selective, with lots of options. Have not done any A/B comparisons yet with my 7700 and 7600.

The poor: no twin-peak DSP as in the Icom rigs - twin-peak DSP is very useful for RTTY. CW keyer could use additional features such as in-line commands for speeds and other features (these last features are not in ICOM rigs but are in external keyers). To get good audio signals through the DAX system (digital audio feeding external programs) you need a direct Ethernet connection (e.g. no routers, etc.) to your computer and a fairly fast computer. My first attempts feeding signals via DAX to my digital programs with a router in the way showed lots of artifacts in the MixW spectrum display - since resolved. Finally the default bandwidths for digital modes are poorly selected - a 200 Hz filter should be standard. Also, as a new user I have yet to confront changing the default filter settings. The FlexControl tuning knob has considerable latency with an AMD dual processor Win 7 32 bit machine (and 8GB of RAM). This issue is also resolved with my new I7-3940 processor machine (8GB RAM & SSD).

The awful: Install program and uninstall procedures need lots of TLC. Being a computer geek and knowing too much I manually deleted some of the DAX drivers and COULD NOT reinstall them until I manually edited the Windows registry and deleted all references to the Flex software. After this, I reinstalled Flex SmartSDR and it reinstalled the DAX audio drivers. This would be a disaster for the casual computer users.

Support seems poor. No call backs. Actually talking to the company seems very difficult. Where is a telephone number to an actual person?
 
KK8ZZ Rating: 5/5 Oct 20, 2014 18:13 Send this review to a friend
Great rig, great tuner !  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Others have a lot to say about all the stuff you're initially interested in, so no need to repeat it here. I was unsure about the internal tuner in the 6300... but I'm pleased to report that it will match wonderfully, including feeding it into a DXEngineering 43 foot vertical. Yes, even 75 meters. And 160 meters. Yes, 160 meters !! If you have the DXE 43 foot vertical and have any problems loading it up, talk to the guys at DXE (or really read the manual) and find that it takes a minimum of 150 ft of feedline to make the DXE 43 footer a real easy match, and a great performer on the low bands. I had to dig a new trench and add the extra feedline to my original 75 feet, but what a difference ! Do it, and you'll never be sorry you invested in a little extra direct-bury coax !
 
G4DWV Rating: 5/5 Sep 29, 2014 14:09 Send this review to a friend
WOW!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Coming back to active ham radio after 25 years has been amazing. My last rig had valves and my logbook was made from dead trees.

Months of reading narrowed down my hardware choices to the FTDX 3000 and the FlexRadio 6300. The latter won hands down after seeing a YouTube video. There is NO WAY a regular rig can do many of the things that this baby can. PLUS continual upgrades and updates that incorporate user requests - try that with your standard rig. Excellent company and a vibrant and friendly community of users.

73 de Guy G4DWV/4X1LT
 
KJ3P Rating: 5/5 Sep 24, 2014 08:38 Send this review to a friend
An Amazing Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a Flex 6300 during the ARRL Centennial in Hartford. Flex had a full booth, and it was great talking to the folks behind this fantastic radio. Delivery was two weeks later, exactly as promised.

I read the setup instructions carefullyÖ I figured that this is one time I should Read The Fine Manual! I hooked it up to my six-year-old computer running Windows 7 64-bit (this has proven to be an extremely stable OS), andÖ instant SDR! It worked great the very first time, and has gotten even better after some basic tweaks and the latest software update.

Specifcs:

1) Iíve heard complaints about the mic gain, but no problems detected here. I connected a plain Heil headset (through an appropriate mic adapter cable), and: instant wonderfulness. Iíve been getting unsolicited ďgreat audioĒ comments ever since. Even the included hand mic sounded fine to the Golden Ears.
2) Iíve heard complaints about the software, but these seem to be from folks who donít quite understand the SDR concept. Flex Radio said up front that the current version of the software provides basic utility, but theyíve provided a timetable for many planned new features. Perhaps the learning curve is a bit steep for some operators, but for routine operation, even contesting, there are enough features available right now, even at this early stage of software development.
3) The receiver and its Tracking Notch Filters are worth the effort to learn this new ham paradigm. And in the first week of operation, the amazing spectrum display allowed me to fully characterize and track down some local interference thatís been nagging me for years. The receiver, by the way, self-calibrates the radio with WWV.
4) To my ears, the mic audio processing algorithms are the best available to hams, at least when set for pleasant rag-chewing; Iíve not yet needed the more aggressive settings. And the De-expander (sort of a noise gate) works well if adjusted with care.
5) I like digital modes, and the Flex is super for thisÖ no audio cables, and no interface box... just run and set up the 3rd-party digital mode software. Learning curve? Yes.
6) Iíve heard complaints about the radioís fan, but my desktop computer is louder than the Flex. I can understand that those running nearly silent laptops will, however, hear the radioís fan. But frankly, I expected it to be louder, so Iím a happy camper. Actually, the radio does not have to be "at arm's length"...put it on a lower shelf away from your operating position if you really want a ďquiet room,Ē but I really donít feel itís a problem.
7) The optional antenna tuner is in its early stages of development, and provides only very basic auto-tuning. Iíve bypassed it and will continue to use my LDG tuner until Flex provides software updates.

But for me, what really cinched the deal was when I realized that I was willing to give up my beloved ICOM IC-7600 and use the Flex exclusively. I never thought that day would come! But since the day I hooked up the Flex, the 7600 has been collecting dust.
 
KC4BYB Rating: 5/5 Sep 21, 2014 13:26 Send this review to a friend
Amazing  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've owned many radios. This one is special. It requires a little computer knowledge and the software has some quirks. But I'm certain the Flex folks will get all that fixed. What I like about it the most: (1) Great receiver (2) Awesome spectrum analyzer. And...there are a few more buried treasures in there I really like. de kc4byb
 
K1PMA Rating: 4/5 Sep 8, 2014 17:49 Send this review to a friend
Mixed bag  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I traded in a Kenwood TS480 for this rather expensive SDR. I had messed around with a Yaesu 3000 plus PowerSDR IF in the past so I kind of knew what to expect. Setup went relatively smooth even though I am running Windows 7 in a Parallels sandbox on a Mac Pro. Flex told me beforehand that it should work fine but that they do not support it. There was a bit of fiddling with the Mac/Win7/Parallels audio settings to get it all to work. Also, it was not clear in the beginning that the Flex does not output any audio to the PC, rather you need either a powered speaker or an audio cable to connect the rear speaker jack to a computer's sound input jack. There is also a headphone jack.

The features of the Flex are well documented so I really won't go into them here. Maybe I will provide a more detailed review at a later date. The big caveat with the Flex is the fact that you must run Windows in order to use the radio. And that introduces a ton of factors that may cause issues, conflicts, inconsistencies etc.

Every once in a while I have to reboot the Flex and/or Win 7 or even the Mac to make things work right. The other thing bothering me a bit is that although I have HRD and got it to work OK, the Flex does not even have any memories for storing frequencies! Please, that should have been present in the first release and now we are at 1.3! So in conclusion I can see how this radio has a bright futures ahead (like in maybe 3+ updates) and serves a niche. quite well. But a plain old, good, regular radio like a Kenwood TS590 is hard to beat for simple, reliable use.
 
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