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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: 10 Average rating: 4.9/5 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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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
 
W0CZE Rating: 5/5 May 27, 2014 13:23 Send this review to a friend
WOW - GREAT VALUE  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I AM A ONE WEEK WIZARD. HAVING USED A FLEX 5000FOR YEARS. THIS RADIO HAS ELIMINATED THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IE FIREWIRE THAT I HAD WITH THE 5000 AND 3000. RECEIVER NOISE IS ALL BUT GONE. FILTERS ARE EVEN BETTER. WELL DONE FLEX RADIO TEAM. I LOOK FORWARD TO THE DIGI MODES AND OTHER FEW FEATURES THAT ARE MISSING .
 
VK3APG Rating: 5/5 May 26, 2014 03:56 Send this review to a friend
great radio..good update  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Had the 6300 about a week. was easy to setup smartsdr still a work in progress but even in its current basic form (v1.2.1) it works well. Looking forward to further enhancements.

using ddutil v3 and smartcat have had success in communicating with 3rd party programs including HRD 6.2 and fldigi have also successfully got working woodbox radio smart s meter.

sounds great on receive and had some great reports already on transmit, i use both a Heil HC4/5 desk mic as well as Heil ProSet Elite both produce great audio on air.

I have been using Flex Radio's since the SDR 1000 and more recently the Flex 5000a. I am more than happy with my choice in purchasing the 6300 and appreciate it may take to v2.0 smartsdr to experience everything that is possible from the transceiver.

When appropriate will update the review after further use.

Great release Flex Radio
 
N5WJ Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2014 20:17 Send this review to a friend
Really Nice Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Received my Flex 6300 about 2 days ago.. took it out the box and had it setup in about 10 minutes... really easy... Software runs very smoothly and is fun to operate... Using a Heil PR-781 Mic which drives the rig perfectly and I got good audio reports right out of the box... Wish they had a few more software tricks for programs such as HRD and some of the other external programs that I use.. but it looks like they are still a little ways from being able to address those issues.. but overall I think the radio is really nice and will be a big hit with the ham community... Will update this review when I have had more time with the radio...

Tnx, Frank... N5WJ
 
W9OY Rating: 5/5 May 9, 2014 20:10 Send this review to a friend
Full featured Entry Level SDR  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this radio about a month ago as part of the alpha testing team. My radio is the production radio. I am in no way a part of Flex.

This radio is designed for those of us who desire the chance to get in on the SDR fun without breaking the bank. It is fully functional and full featured. Flex was able to make this radio at this price point because it left some things out of the box and changed a few things that were left in. The 6300 has a simpler front end and antenna switch. There are 2 full antenna paths and a transverter path which pinch hits as a RX antenna port. This way you can easily switch in the K9AY array while transmitting on the vertical. Another hardware difference is the ADC which runs at half the bit rate of the other 6000 series radios. There are not as many jacks on the back. Only one AMP keying jack is provided for example, so over all its a simpler radio. The radio does not have provision for a balanced mic but only a single ended mic. Simpler does not however mean a compromise in performance. The radio is still capable of 10khz transmit bandwidth and it is still capable of high speed QSK.

The radio basically feeds the RF from the antenna through a 20 dB pe-amp which can be disabled, directly into what is called the SCU or spectral capture unit. The SCU listens to the entire spectrum from 10khz to 54mhz. That spectrum is then sliced into segments of 7 mhz (called "slice receivers") and each 7 mhz slice is displayed sequentially on the radios panadapter. Of course to you the radio looks like it is merely tuning from 10khz to 54 mhz in one continuous band. You can drill down in resolution on a 7 mhz segment until you are looking at granularity of 400 hz per segment across the face of the panadapter. At this granularity a 2.7 khz ssb signal takes up about 1/4 of the screen. You can see every burp and hiss.

The panadapter is how you tune. You can click which allows you to randomly move to different freqs. You can grab the display (left click and hold) which allows you to smoothly and sequentially move up and down the band or you can use the 3rd wheel on the mouse to scroll up and down like you would with this web page. There is also the optional FlexControl which gives you the experience of a weighted tuning knob.

The radio exhibits exactly the same practical functionality as the rest of the 6000 family but it is not quite as fancy. The 6700 has 8 "slice receivers" spread across 2 SCU's. The 6500 has 4 "slice receivers" spread across one SCU. The ADC in the 6300 runs at half the speed so there are only 2 slice receivers. My experience is 2 gets the job done. It works fine for crossband or cracking DX pileups using point and shoot tail ending or to watch 6M or 10M for an opening while ragchewing with the boys down on 75.

CW in this radio (and the rest of the 6000 family) is finally solved. The radio's keying is a butter smooth real time experience. I use a K1EL usb winkeyer but to truth be told I like the sound of the internal Flex keyer better because of how the software shapes the keying. At 19 wpm and below the wave has a milder rise. But at 20 and above the rise is quicker. This gives more time for the receiver to be active (better QSK). The rise is not so quick to in any way be clicky. On CW receive filters can be reduced to 50 hz bandwidth without ringing and the filters have the famous "brick wall" characteristic. Tuning is so easy to do I usually run my filters at 100hz for tuning and QSO's. The radio has a very effective APF filter for CW which nicely peaks CW signals that are in the mud. To round out the DSP features there are noise blanker and noise reduction both of which are effective but could be improved. Since this is a SDR improvement means just upgrading the code to an improved algorithm.

Sideband has several new features including a speech processing idea from Dave W9GR which improves average power by nearly 3 dB without adding distortion. It changes the Hilbert function by correcting the overshoot. This idea will be the subject of an upcoming QEX article by Dave, but its already coded into the latest edition of the SmartSDR software. The other new feature is a downward expander (DEXP) which greatly improves the dynamic range of speech. Of course graphic eq on both transmit and receive. Finally there is there is the AGC threshold which allows you to tune the dynamic range of the receiver to a given band noise/antenna.

Digital modes are well represented and the radio has 2 channels of wideband I/Q (96khz wide). This allows each slice to control or be controlled by an instance of CWskimmer that is to say you can run 2 skimmers at once. You can lock one skimmer to the DX and use the other to pounce around in the pile up making tail ending like shooting fish in a barrel. The radio also comes with a program called DAX and that program allows several channels of audio (virtual sound cards) so you can transmit and receive DIGI modes like RTTY and PSK etc using your favorite DIGI software.

The transmitter works well and I get great reviews. My radio puts out right at 100W plus or minus a couple of watts. I do have the optional antenna tuner and its algorithm is crisp and efficient.

A common question is how strong is the receiver. So far I have tried everything I can think of to crunch the receiver and have yet to make it fail using normal over the air conditions. I have a 50kw AM station 10 miles away to the southwest and a 10kw station 5 miles to the north. I would sometimes on some antennas get stray bleeps or bloops on 160 with my Flex 5K but this radio is rock solid. I have tried to make it fail in a couple of contests (not huge ones yet) and it works great, I haven't tried SO2R with it yet but all of the pieces are there.

I am very happy with this purchase. Owning this radio is like stepping in a stream. You never step in the same stream twice. It's always different, always fresh and always new. If you want to give SDR a whirl on a budget this is one hell of a way to go. There are improvements to be made for sure and the lily to be gilded. For me it's a lot of fun to be along for the ride and a suggestion or two of mine has made it into the radio.
 


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