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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | FlexRadio SDR-1000 Help


Reviews Summary for FlexRadio SDR-1000
FlexRadio SDR-1000 Reviews: 55 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $1399.00 100w ver/ $925 1w ver
Description: Software Defined Radio: RF section on three small boards. A Tayloe Detector/mixer converts the RF to two channels of audio 90deg out of phase. DSP, etc. is then done in the PC, using the soundcard.
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.flex-radio.com/
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SV1FXO Rating: 5/5 May 9, 2008 12:26 Send this review to a friend
Simply revolutionary  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought it brand new on February 2007 so it’s one of the last produced with the latest mods applied by Flex Radio. My configuration includes the 100W PA and the Edirol FA-66 sound card. It actually deserves a 4/5 but due to the innovative techniques it implements, its experimental nature and its overall performance, I excuse most of its weaknesses and give a 5.

Pros:
• Minimum use of hardware and design simplicity.
• Control, calibration and DSP are done via PC.
• Marvelous visualization.
• Exceptional dynamic range.
• Numberless user selectable knife-edge band pass filters.
• The AGC is perfect making listening pleasant even with the presence of heavy QRN.
• NB that works.
• Dual reception capability.
• Up to 192 kHz real time spectrum analysis.
• Very accurate s-meter indication independent of rf stage gain status.
• Equalizer on both Tx & Rx audio.
• Excellent quality 100W PA.
• User defined control of external devices.
• Ever evolving free software (Power SDR)
• Since you get amplitude and phase information you are able to demodulate every type of signal you can imagine.
• Record the entire bandwidth in IF level.


Cons:
• Not spurious free VFO. AD9854 DDS produces many birdies that are above Rx noise floor especially from 10 MHz and above. The Spurious Reduction button helps in most cases but it does not solve the problem.
• Rx image rejection is very deep (better than 60 db) at the frequency you make the set up but it gets worse across the rest Rx bandwidth. It is also band dependant and the software doesn’t let you store different settings for each band.
• Edirol FA-66 suffers from pin one problem (Tx echoing) and also produces noise spikes every 1 kHz when a cable (even a short one) is attached to RCA inputs 3 & 4. Unfortunately the use of good quality external isolation transformers is unavoidable.
• Noise reduction is OK but needs improvement.
• ANF works only when it has to deal with a single beat frequency. In the presence of a voice signal plus the beat frequency it is completely useless and distorts the audio.
• There is no Manual NF.
• Tx audio can be extended up to 20 kHz making it a good choice for Enhanced Splatter Side Band use.
• Flex Radio has stopped the hardware development of this model so any enhancements to be expected are only on the software side.


I believe that SDR-1000 is a milestone rig since it introduces a neglected method of RF handling, which due to current process power the modern components provide, has become feasible and accessible to everyone.
 
K3ROJ Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2008 07:08 Send this review to a friend
WOW  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Was planning on getting a 5000A but they can't make them fast enough and was told it would be perhaps three months. Just happened to find a complete SDR1000 station on E-BAY including a desktop computer all loaded and ready to run. Instead of an old CRT monitor, a 22 inch LCD not only takes up less room when mounted on a wall, you can watch the Flex Radio software along with MixW or HRD. All of the cables are a hassle going to my 44 Delta sound card interface but it sure works well. My antique ICOM 756PRO now sits in the closet since the SDR1000 outperforms any radio I have ever had. Never dreamed I would enjoy CW so much, being able to pull any signal out and using down to 25 Hz filtering without ringing. Had bought the 756PRO to use the spectrum display for weak signal work on the 144 MHz band using a Elecraft transverter but the SDR radio is able to see the weakest signal. Was surprised when I was able to see signals from a moon bounce station in Texas using a 13B2 beam here. One thing I like is using Tortoise software for automatic downloading changes in software and updating. When searching for CW signals, using the split screen with the panadapter on top and waterfall on the bottom makes for excellent CW operations. The Shuttle Pro is used here for tuning and other control. It is like learning a musical instrument since it can sit on your leg or desk and your fingers automatically hit the correct buttons and jog wheels. Will still get a 5000A in the future for portable operations using a laptop.
 
2E1RDX Rating: 5/5 Jan 30, 2008 10:53 Send this review to a friend
Just love it  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
this is my 2nd SDR-1000 the first being the 1watt version that I have now replaced with the 100w version after some research i decided to use a Audio Technica Mic directly into the Delta 44 soundcard and I am getting excellent results.
The mic was around £40 so a very cheap option
As my previous review just love the receiver and the received audio is perfect I never use the Noise reduction just back the AGC-T off and you have a perfect quite receiver.
For what these radio's are fetching now 2nd hand they are an excellent choice and would make an outstanding Receiver for SWL etc, just love it
rgds Ian
 
K4FX Rating: 5/5 Dec 4, 2007 16:16 Send this review to a friend
The Best for the bucks  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is an amazing radio, far better than anything I have ever ran (TS940's, IC-746's, IC756's among others) the DSP is amazing, the lack of knobs is a bit misleading, there are all sorts of knobs and sliders they are just in the PowerSDR software, about anything I have been able to think "boy that would be nice" next thing I know there it is, already there.

This is NOT a plug it in and talk radio, you are gonna spend a few days tweaking and getting used to it, but it's more than worth it. With the new 5000 out, these 1000's can be had for 1K with the FA-66 sound card, what you would have paid 2K for last year.

The most interesting thing to me being an RTTY op. was the fact that with VAC (virtual audio cable) you do not need an internal sound card to use software base digital modes, it's all done in the PC, quite amazing to me, the panadapter is great, there's nothng quite like seeing the band.

I was concerned about support for an older Flex but when I had some minor issues fellows like Tim W4TME and others came to my aid and were a great help.

If you want to get into SDR now is the best chance you'll have with all the used SDR1000's out on the market, try one you'll like it.

One final note, some posters talked about cutting back on XP because of audio glitches, I run my logger, MMTTY or MMSSTV, surf all I want and no glitches at all, I have a P4 3.0Ghz with 1.5 GB of dual channel DDR-400 ram, nothing that fancy by todays standards, but if you have a 400 dollar Dell with 256 mb ram, forget it.
 
N1DZ Rating: 4/5 Nov 11, 2007 22:11 Send this review to a friend
Real Radios Need Knobs  Time owned: more than 12 months
I like the SDR-1000/powerSDR very much. Due to the many negatives and the lack of knobs I do not use it anymore as my dedicated transceiver. I use it primarily for broadcast SWL and monitoring the VHF/UHF bands with its excellent panoramic scope.

The radio consist of a black box the SDR-1000 and the PowerSDR software. I use version 1.10.1.
The black box SDR-1000 works perfectly. A newer improved black box is available the SDR-5000 but the basic transceiver is the same as it is the powerSDR software.
The software (powerSDR) runs under windows XP My computer is an AMD4200X2 1MB Ram, Nvidea GEForce 7600 and a M-Audio Delta audio card. This is more than sufficient computer power.
Most of this review is about the PowerSDR software. The powerSDR software is the actual radio and its interface. This software is the same as used by the newer hardware version SDR-5000. Much of this review applies to the more expensive SDR-5000 too.

Pros:
-The receiver audio is outstanding. For broadcast SWL the synchronous AM detection is fantastic. I have it hooked up to stereo speakers and the audio is stunning.
-The panoramic bandscope is amazing. It is far better than the Pro III. No-comparison.
-Great responsive service from Flexradio.
-The radio is constantly improving.

Negatives:
-No knobs, buttons. The interface is the mouse. I find the mouse interface just awful. It does not work for me.
-It runs on a computer under windows. The most unreliable electronic piece of equipment in my shack is my windows computer. Most of the RX/TX problems are related to my computer. To make the radio work w/o receive clicks/interupts I had to run the powerSDR software on a dedicated computer. I had to strip XP down to the bare bones to get rid of the many interupts which you hear as clicks in the audio. If you are not comfortable with working under windows than forget about this radio.
-The software is constantly being updated. Some improvements cause instability of the program. It also seems that there is no focus of where the software is going and that Flexradio is in a tug of war with the various interest groups. Some groups are very vocal and do get more attention. The AM crowd and ESSB crowd seem to have hijacked the development.
I found a stable version and have no interest in upgrading the software unless it has some very compelling improvements. Currently Flexradio is occupied with making the software run on the SDR-5000. This seems to have slowed down the improvements this radio needs to bring it on par with the top of the line Icoms/Kenwoods/Ten-Tec's.
-Reading the Flexradio web site I got the impression that the SDR-1000 is interfacing perfectly with VHF/UHF transverters. It does not. I had to modify the hardware radio to make it work safely with transverters. And then the next software update might mess it up.
-Very complicated use of memories. If your operating style is just sitting on one frequency and ragchewing the powerSDR is just fine. For old fashion tuning in search of DX it lacks the ergonomics to make it my dedicated transceiver.
-This is not a great CW transceiver and needs major improvements.
-Good noise blanker but it completely deteriorates the receiver performance making it useless for the lower HF bands.
-Many birdies on the higher bands.
-The image rejection on very strong signals is not good enough even after calibration. This might not be a problem on HF as the band is generally very noisy. On VHF during a contest with S9+20 signals the receive image rejection is not sufficient. This is not a show stopper.

The SDR-1000/powerSDR is a fun radio to have as an additional radio. The drop of the second hand price of the SDR-1000 makes this a very affordable transceiver with good basic receiver performance. For Broadcast SWL this is a great bargain. I would not upgrade my hardware any time soon to the SDR-5000.
 
W8SYD Rating: 5/5 Sep 1, 2007 23:58 Send this review to a friend
Great, but challenging to a newcomer  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've had the SDR-1000 for about 6 months. It's great! It's versatility permits it to be many rigs in one. I concur with most of others comments. If you want a plug 'n play radio, the SDR-1000 is not it. Go to the SDR-5000. I prefer the 1000 because it's an experimental radio. The 5000 is a much more refined product.

I've been a ham for over 50 years. The SDR-1000 is the radio I dreamed of inventing when I was a teenager.

The software features beat almost any radio, but they are still in their infancy. As more programmer & hams tinker, the sky is the limit.
 
UT6EG Rating: 5/5 Aug 28, 2007 12:08 Send this review to a friend
UT6EG  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I been greatly impressed by the performance. I agree with the all previous review.None of the other radio have the operating enjoyment of the SDR. Fantastic opportunities. Magnificent work Nilolaj UT6EG.
 
N7BUI Rating: 5/5 Aug 5, 2007 12:30 Send this review to a friend
Bored with ham radio? Try a Flex-Radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
If your bored with your current ham toys, you should spend the money for at least a used SDR-1000. This radio can really help put the fun back into ham radio. Mine gets a daily workout while the other radios (FT-847, FT-817's, etc) sit quietly on the desk awaiting their turn to be used. Never has one item in the realm of ham radio caught my attention like the Flex.

I've been pleasantly surprised at the support from the user community and the manufacturer. They are a fantastic bunch who are more than willing to lend a hand to the newbie or the experienced user.

The abilities of the radio are amazing. Everything from the real time spectrum analyzer, filters, and excellent receive and transmit audio all lend to a very rewarding experience that will help to respark that interest in radio that you had as a new ham operator.
 
2E1RDX Rating: 5/5 Jul 7, 2007 05:34 Send this review to a friend
Just love it  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
the best receiver I have tried so far superb received audio I am using the Delta 44 soundcard and set up was straight forward I am using VCOM and VAC for Digimodes and it works great no problems
One thing to be aware of it will save a lot of time with your station set up I used a Heil HM-10 Microphone via the SDR front panel socket and had terrible problems with feedback after a whilr trying to research the problem Julius W2IHY supplied me with information regarding the Heil Mic with a Standard Yaesu cable is wired incorrectly it will work but with problems the fix I did was to purchase a Behringer XENYX 802 mixer and Behringer XM-1800S Microphone and feed this via the Delta 44 souncard rather than the SDR front panel now no problems and great audio reports I am using the 1 watt version of the SDR and I have a TOKYO HY_POWER HL-50B Amplifier which give 5 watts output for 1 watt input so i am having great fun working QRP
I have found that I am happiest using the Mouse to tune the radio via the scroll wheel and then fine tune with the keypad this works great for me after probably in excess of 40 different HF Radio's including the TS-950SDX 756-PROII TS-2000, TS-870 etc I have found a radio that is just more fun and the receiver is the best I love it tnx to all the guys who spend years developing this latest Software defined equipment
rgds Ian
 
W8XR Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2007 15:22 Send this review to a friend
The Flex-Radio is my primary radio.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had "dropped out" of ham radio for a number of years, but when I read Gerald Youngblood's article (somewhat after the fact) and then found that someone was manufacturing one of these radios, I got seriously re-interested. I can honestly say that the FlexRadio and the projects I've been involved with around it, have been the most fun I've had in amateur radio. I've been a computer professional all of my working career, and again, I can honestly say, this is the most fun I've had with a computer as well... I'm enjoying some of the "spin-off" technology as well (the SoftRock and DDS-60 work, HPSDR, Time Nuts and others) - it was FlexRadio users that hooked me up with these as well. It's technically a solid radio with incredible audio, astoundingly intuitive software (the operator console) and a truly great receiver. There are periodic challenges (when I upgrade my computer, sound cards, etc. there are compatability considerations that I didn't have before) but these are just part of working the leading edge. At every paradigm shift there are new challenges. Some folks hide from them, some love them. I'm definitely enjoying riding this new wave.

Mark
W8XR
 
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