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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: 14 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $2,499
Description: FLEX-6300 for the Serious Amateur

The FLEX-6300™ 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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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 carefully… 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), and… 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) I’ve 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. I’ve been getting unsolicited “great audio” comments ever since. Even the included hand mic sounded fine to the Golden Ears.
2) I’ve heard complaints about the software, but these seem to be from folks who don’t quite understand the SDR concept. Flex Radio said up front that the current version of the software provides basic utility, but they’ve 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 that’s 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; I’ve 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 this… no audio cables, and no interface box... just run and set up the 3rd-party digital mode software. Learning curve? Yes.
6) I’ve heard complaints about the radio’s fan, but my desktop computer is louder than the Flex. I can understand that those running nearly silent laptops will, however, hear the radio’s fan. But frankly, I expected it to be louder, so I’m 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 “quiet room,” but I really don’t feel it’s a problem.
7) The optional antenna tuner is in its early stages of development, and provides only very basic auto-tuning. I’ve 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.
 
GM4WCE Rating: 5/5 Aug 30, 2014 03:06 Send this review to a friend
A1 experience  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
A couple of moths ago I decided I would like to upgrade to a new rig from my four year old FT-950. I have had Yaesu rigs for pretty much the whole 30 years I have been licensed so initially thought I would probably go for the FT-3000. During the decision making process I saw that FLex now had a new 100w HF rig in my price range. I had looked at the FLex 3000 a few years ago but was not keen on the FireWire and also heard that CW was not great due to latency issues. After reading and watching reveiws I decided to go for the 6300. Six weeks on I can say I am very happy with the Flex. CW is perfect, no latency at all. I use an end fed 40m wire antenna with auto atu at the feedpoint and the RX performance is very, very good. I also enjoy listening to SW BC stations and the Flex does very well here too. I also have the FlexControl which I find very useful and makes tuning around really easy. The Flex Community support is first class, with the Flex company officers regularly contributing. I think that is pretty much unique in consumer electronics.

This is my first USA built rig (apart from my old HRO which I still use occasionally) and the build quality is excellent. Works well with Ham Radio Deluxe too. Highly recommended.
 
G3RCE Rating: 5/5 Aug 5, 2014 03:33 Send this review to a friend
Remarkable and fun  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Purchased this radio 1 month ago.
followed the setup instructions and it worked first time
- easy! CAT5 cable connection.

My first sdr radio and am very impressed.
works well on cw ssb and digital modes - no problems.
Definitely no latency problems using the internal cw keyer.
looking forward to future updates to smartsdr.
 
WD5GWY Rating: 5/5 Aug 3, 2014 08:15 Send this review to a friend
Good radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have only had the 6300 for a few weeks. And being on the road all the time, (truck driver) I don't get much time operating the radio. But, when I do get time,I have found the 6300 to be an exceptional radio. Once Flex Radio gets SmartSDR to the same level of performance as PowerSDR, then the radio will really shine. It will never replace my knobbed radios, (I enjoy tuning around looking for new contacts without knowing what is there) but, it certainly does make a great addition to my shack.
james
WD5GWY
 
N4LQ Rating: 5/5 Jul 4, 2014 13:36 Send this review to a friend
CW Dream Machine  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After 50 years of dedicated CW operation I know what to look for. I've been hooked on having a band scope since my first 756proII, then proII, 7800, K3 with LP-PAN and now the Flex-6300. Good QSK is very important to me and this 6300 blows away anything I've ever owned. Fast QSK is an understatement! I've experimented with it. I've sent dits at 100 wpm and can actually copy another station between the dits. This sounds crazy but I can copy CW better on this rig than the K3. Why? I ran the audio output of the K3 and 6300 to my dual trace scope while receiving 50 wpm dits from another transmitter. Guess what? The dits on the Flex are further apart. Reason...Lack of filter ringing. CW comes through so much cleaner, especially with the narrow filters. Now I enjoy copying through the 100 Hz filter with no fatigue. The internal keyer has a very nice touch with no sidetone latency like the older Flex rigs so I prefer to use it vs and outboard keyer. If I were to change anything about the rig it would be the fan. It makes the typical growling sound at slow speed. My cure was to just stick the rig behind my desk. Now it's quiet. Maybe once it's out of warranty I'll replace that fan with something quieter. I do have the FlexControl knob and depend on it for AF Gain, AGC-T and RIT adjustments. It's a real asset. One thing that never ceases to amaze me about the receiver is how it responds to QRN. On a stormy evening on 80 meters I can watch the base line float up and down as heavy QRN bashes the receiver but guess what, I don't hear it! The signal peaks float above the base line as if they are riding the surf. On my K3, QRN spikes like this simply blow holes in my copy as they smack the hardware AGC into action. The main difference in the 6300 and the other 2 models, 6500 - 6700 is the number of slice receivers. For the price I figured I could live with 2 receivers. I have no images on 160 which is amazing since there isn't really a "front end" in the traditional sense. I can see an entire band or 7 mHz of the spectrum or zoom down to look at a few kHz while I was limited with the LP-Pan arrangement to only 192 kHz. AM and SSB reception sound beautiful through my Bose speakers and so does cw for that matter. Hey...Try this with your other receivers....On a hot contest night, open you bandwidth to about 10 khz wide, tune in the middle of the CW contest and listen. With most any receiver, even with only 3 khz width, you'll nothing but mush. With the 6300 you can hear each and every signal with distinction and you can selectively tune through the maze with your brain. The quality of sound reminds me of the first time I listened to a direct conversion receiver. It's as if your brain is directly connected to the "ether". So I hear a lot of guys say things like "I gotta have knobs"...Ok..sure knobs are cool and there is nothing better than a big black box festooned with silver knobs. I agree. So when someone comes out with one that works this good I'll buy it. Meanwhile when I get knob fever I go out to the workshop and twiddle with my FRR-24 Navy receiver with its 88 tubes and dozens of knobs. Oh...Did I mention the silent PIN diode QSK switching? No relay racket here. Also the RX antenna input provides the same quiet, fast QSK. Any questions -- Email me N4LQ
 
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