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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | FlexRadio FLEX-3000 Help

Reviews Summary for FlexRadio FLEX-3000
FlexRadio FLEX-3000 Reviews: 86 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $1699
Description: The FLEX-3000™ is the newest member of FlexRadio Systems' high performance 100% Software Defined Radio (SDR) transceiver family. The FLEX-3000 is a "direct descendant" of the FLEX-5000™; it integrates all A/D & D/A functions and control over a single FireWire (IEEE-1394a) connection to a user provided computer running FlexRadio PowerSDR. The FLEX- 3000 is the perfect transceiver for hams just getting started with high performance software defined radios.

* Uses FlexRadio PowerSDR to provide all SDR capabilities and features.
* TCXO equipped for enhanced frequency stability.
* Compact size (12.25" x 12.25" x 1.75").
* Optimized band pass filters for all ham bands plus a BCB low pass filter.
* No additional roofing filters to buy. All filtering is done via DSP
* FlexWire™ peripheral interface bus.
* 100 watts RF output 160-6 meters.
* General coverage receiver.
* 48 & 96 KHz A/D and D/A sampling sate selectable.
* Single Firewire cable connection to computer for audio and hardware control.
* No external sound cards or "rat's nest" of audio and control cables are utilized.
* Built in test equipment (BITE) for convenient external equipment free calibration.
* Modular microphone input.
* ATU 160-6m a standard feature.
Product is in production.
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K4FX Rating: 5/5 Feb 22, 2018 08:46 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I owned a SDR-1000 some years ago, and I must say the SDR radios have come a long way. I purchased this Flex 3000 a couple of months ago, and was pleased to see that it was basically plug and play. I have only played with it a couple of weeks and I am still learning. I have it on all modes, talking to my logging software, pretty slick. CW is smooth, no issues. After using this one I really want to try a 6000 series Flex. These are great rigs and with the new 6000's coming out there are many 3000 and 5000's available at really good prices.
GM8GIQ Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2018 03:49 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT ALL ROUND  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Acquired a FLEX 3000 at a good price, was running a TS2000 at the time which has since been sold. Have owned a few tx/rx in the past including TS480,FT897, FT817s,TS2000 but none come anywhere near the performance of the FLEX.
Run it on an HP workstation with Firewire down (VIA chipset), virtual audio cables and virtual com ports no RFI or pick up issues at all. Also use the excellent PowerSDR software from KE9NS and currently use Version

Pros are the RX performance and in particular the filter selections. Ease of use with a transverter.

Only con so far is the auto ATU which is slow and reluctant sometimes to auto tune.

Must be the best bang for the buck on the 2nd hand market. If you get the chance of one jump at it, its a keeper.
N8WGM Rating: 5/5 Feb 4, 2018 09:39 Send this review to a friend
Excellent receive and transmit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just got a new to me Flexradio 3000. Got it at a pretty good price. Using PowerSDR v software. Thank you KE9NS!

I had issues at a new fire wire card and found out after a bunch of hours that it was no off the Microcenter to get another card.
If you get a message when installing the radio to your computer that says that there is no connection, then check the fire wire may be faulty.

Installation is fairly easy. The download of the KE9NS PowerSDR software is easy and well worth it. Far better than the software officially supported by FLexradio. If you download from the KE9NS site, everything you need will download to your computer. When installing fresh, use the orange download button on the KE9NS site....if upgrading from other versions of PowerSDR, then use the green download button on the KE9NS site.

I highly recommend getting a high quality fire wire cable from Granite Digital. That and snap on ferrite beads from DX Engineering. The Flexradio 3000 system using the fire wire connection is prone to RFI.....and so best to cut off that problem with quality RFI suppression. A good ground is also mandatory.

Receive with the 3000 is awesome. It does not take a back seat to the newer Flexradio 6000 series. I am getting excellent audio reports using a highly modified Marshal MXL990 mic with a Yamaha mixer and an Ibox W2IHY adapter.

My first SDR was an Elad FDM duo.....a very nice radio...but QRP. I wanted a full power SDR and so the 3000 Flex is now a very good deal used and is in demand. Get over the Fire Wire situation and suppress the RFI and you will really love this radio combines with the KE9NS PowerSDR software.
W5WAA Rating: 5/5 Aug 4, 2017 05:28 Send this review to a friend
Most radio per dollar...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been using Flex 1500 for years, decided to "move up" to the 3000. Was a good decision, there is not a lot of difference in the two radios, except for the 100 watt output and a slight improvement in features, but does perform better.
Like many hams I spend a lot of time researching new equipment. I realized that since it is on the first page of the Sherwood Engineering equipment tests, there is only a handful of radios above it, most of them costing considerable more. So as I quit looking and discovered a free undated software created by a ham (KE9NS), it fixed a lot of things and made it even better.
So I won't be looking for any new equipment for a long time. Almost bought an Icom 7300, but couldn't deal with the tiny touch screen when I've been using a 22 inch monitor for my Flex equipment. The 3000 is getting hard to come by, prices continue to rise on the used market.
ON6AB Rating: 5/5 Feb 10, 2017 04:24 Send this review to a friend
Whisper quiet  Time owned: more than 12 months
I don’t want to bother you guys telling what a fantastic transceiver the FLEX3000 is. Everybody knows this by now.
The only thing that bothered me was (yes WAS) the fan noise.

Now there is no free lunch in “fan world”. Either they blow, either they’re silent.
A combination of the two does not exist and I can tell you the stock FLEX3000 fans, they blow….
I changed them by a bunch of other “miracle types” but they all fall short.
The closest comes the Gelid 6 fans.
They’re ok for 100w regular SSB/CW work and MAX 20W JT65. NOT for contest use.
They’re very quiet though and they’re a direct fit.

My “final solution” is this:
- Replace the stock fans by Gelid 6’s.
- Buy/find a big 12cm 12v fan and let it run on 5v. Doing so, they’re whisper quiet .
- Put your 3000 on your (wooden) bench and cut out a 10cm circle in the bench right under where the finals are.
- Mount the 12v fan on the underside of your bench blowing right through it, to the FLEX3000 bottom plate.
- Problem solved.

You can feed the fan via the 12v/1A DB9 connection on the Flex (pins 1 and 8, put a zener in series to get the 5v).
- A cool bottom plate keeps the complete inside of the Flex cool.
- Cooler air is blown along the finals by the Gelid 6's.
- The bottom plate normally gets very warm so it dissipates a lot of heath. It is not just a bottom plate, it is part of the cooling system, so cool it.

The result is amazing.
The FLEX runs cooler than with the original fans.
N1ERF Rating: 5/5 Dec 24, 2016 10:14 Send this review to a friend
Great - Even if obsolete  Time owned: more than 12 months
I originally got this radio a year before FRS stopped production of it because of EOL.

The pleasure of using it was rejuvenated when Darren KE9NS began writing add-on features & improvements a while back. His work made using the radio even more fun.

His software plugs into the existing (FRS last software release - PowerSDR 2.7.2). Anyone that hasn't upgraded would be happy to discover the new added features.

His webpage:

I for one am thankful for his extraordinary work on it. Those that haven't installed this add-on should make an effort to do so. You won't have any regrets.
F5LHF Rating: 5/5 Dec 24, 2016 05:07 Send this review to a friend
Great rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought mine used a month ago. That's an outstanding value for the money and it would certainly be my first choice today.
I got very good reports in SSB on 40 m, but my main interest is QRP and digital modes. The virtual com port and the 2 virtual audio ports were very easy to set up. I'm using PowerSDR 2.7.2 and WSJT-X without any problem, using a normal PC (G645, 8 Go RAM).
I recommend it highly.
And if you need some help for the set up, drop me an email. I would be pleased to help you.
73 and merry Christmas,
Thierry - F5LHF.
W1XWX Rating: 5/5 Nov 28, 2015 11:14 Send this review to a friend
Why 3 out of 5?  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a follow up review of the Flex 3000 which I have now owned for about 2 years.

Yes you must setup 2 virtual com ports and 2 virtual audio ports to make the radio function properly. This is VERY easy to do. Once set-up properly the radio functions perfectly without any issues. The software is fully mature and also runs very well using Windows 10.

I usually run JT65 which the Flex 3000 does without any additional hardware. All the various versions run just fine. For PSK31 I usually use FLdigi which also runs fine. On SSB I get excellent audio reports using the built in equalizer and a Heil PR 781 microphone. The computer I am using is a 4 year old HP desktop quad core, with 6 gigs of memory.

I installed a TI chipped Firewire card which I bought from Fry's in Garland, Texas for about $39.

The only "real" issues are that the noise reducer does not work very well but by using other controls in the interface such as the AGC-T which acts like an RF gain noise can be reduced to a very low level. On the other hand the noise blanker seems to work just fine on various different noise sources. PowerSDR version 2.7.2.

Right now the used prices for this radio are around $1000 which makes this 100 watt transceiver an outstanding value. You will be amazed at the filters, the visual panadapters, and the receive quality which is right up there with the best high cost receivers.

My Flex 3000 has run almost daily for the last 2 years without any problems. As you may know it also has an auto tuner built in which tunes most any antenna even my 127 ft end fed long wire.

I can recommend this radio (used) for your consideration EVEN as a first HF radio. You will not be sorry you purchased it.

Joe Lalumia

K5DJU Rating: 5/5 Nov 2, 2015 20:53 Send this review to a friend
Had to see to believe!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Purchased my 3000 used, from a gentleman taking a break from the hobby...It's was one with a late serial number, and the price was right..Right of the bat, this is not an "open the box, plug in, and start TXing" radio...There's just a little bit of homework to do...Before I decided to buy it, I downloaded the software from You can do that without having the unit,and use it on your pc for demo purposes only...This is a very good way to get familiar with the buttons and settings..I also read the manual, and watched a lot of YouTube..If I ever upgrade, I'm sure I won't have to do as much homework.. But for the first time SDR buyer, I'm just putting it out there. This is the only radio you can do this with without physically touching it...
Now, this bad boy has filters that eliminate all tuneruppers, and the majority of splatter and qrm..It matches up great with the EQplus processor and 8 band equalizer..I don't have enough room or time to brag on it..I'll give another update in a few months..But for now, I'd give it 10 stars if I could...73's and keep it between the mustard and the mayonnaise!!!
WA5UP Rating: 3/5 Aug 14, 2015 19:57 Send this review to a friend
Great performance but inconvenient to operate  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this radio used because I wanted to work remote and thought this would offer the most flexibility in that area. I also liked the idea of using virtual audio cables to interface the audio for that purpose. I owned the rig for about six months and here are my thoughts:

- Filtering is second to none. They aren’t joking when they say “brick-wall”, they are razor sharp and don’t distort the intelligence in the passband at all.
- Panadapter is great – tons of bandwidth and adjustable settings for the noise floor and amplitude range. Really aids in finding weak stations and adjusting the filtering.

- The fan is so loud it sounds like a space shuttle launch - and it doesn't take much to get it to kick on. Not kidding, it’s so obnoxiously loud I thought it must have been replaced by the previous owner with a lower quality product. After researching on the internet I found that it was original, and that many others have complained about it. Seriously, I don’t know how a fan could even be that loud – even if you stuff the rig under the desk it’s still audible in the mic when using SSB. Inexcusable bad design.
- Configuration of audio / control ports for digital modes such as PSK31 is a nightmare. I understand that they want to keep PowerSDR thin and don’t want to load it down with unnecessary options. But, there really should have been some provision made in the software to directly do PSK31. The owner is left to purchase add-on software do create virtual audio patch cables and com port connections to interface PowerSDR and third party software. To make things worse PowerSDR only accepts these devices on com ports 1-5. Every time I restart my PC invariably some other device occupies one of these ports, so I end up reassigning the port, then opening the software to create the comport pairs, and then configuring PowerSDR. It’s not difficult, but it’s so inconvenient that I pretty much just stopped operating PSK31, which is my favorite mode. I’m told that Flex addressed this problem in the 6000 series radios, but I have no experience with those rigs.
- No internal audio amplifier or speaker. There is no way to hear the audio unless you purchase a separate amplified speaker or use headphones. This is a radio right? Maybe we should include a speaker?
- Did I mention the fan noise? Seriously?

Ok, sarcasm aside, overall the performance of the rig is top notch. It’s sad that a few oversights make a great product mediocre. I’ve gone back to my 756 Pro, which I consider to be one of the best values in ham radio, and don’t miss the Flex at all. Ok, maybe I miss the panadapter a little, but overall, I wouldn’t buy another 3000.
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