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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: 83 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.

Features:
* 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.
More info: http://www.flex-radio.com/Products.aspx?topic=F3k_features
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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: http://www.ke9ns.com/flexpage.html#GPLREV

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.

73,
Joe Lalumia
W1XWX

 
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 Flexradio.com. 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:

Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- 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?

Summary:
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.
 
W4RCY Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2014 05:22 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
New to Flex. I have some hearing loss, the flex makes it possible to totally "nail" the signal by sight. I will not be buying any new non SDR rigs from now on. What a JOY. I will be selling my other new non-SDR Radio.
 
EB5GGB Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2014 04:50 Send this review to a friend
A terrific transceiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
An excellent Rig !!!. Owned it for more than 4 years and I can say it is really a pleasure to operate it.
Running Power SDR on a somewhat obsolete computer with windows XP SP 3, everything works fine.
I'm active only in CW and SSB (not digitals). But what makes this Txcvr different from a traditional knobs radio is that you have all the menus in the PowerSDR Display (Panadapter) , so changing all the settings needed for voice such as gain, compression or equalizer for RX/TX, filters, TNF etc, is only as far away as a mouse click.
I feel very comfortable with the optional Flex Control Konb which allows me to control volume, Rit, VFO, without having to look at the display, in fact it works in second term.

Great is also the CAT connection to other shack needed software as HRD (Logging and looking for DX Spots) as well as CW Skimmer, this last with 24 Khz of Bandwith decoding possibility, and with only one click select the operator can choose the wanted station.

The only complain I can see on this rig are the noisy fans when I work full duty cycle at 100 W. The engineers of Flex Radio Systems should work harder to improve this little issue. But as said a terrific Radio !!

And still one thing more with each new update of PowerSDR you get also a new radio.

73

Vicent
EB5GGB
 
KB2EOQ Rating: 5/5 Sep 2, 2013 19:32 Send this review to a friend
Should have bought one LONG ago  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had been happy with my TS-2000 and intended to have a two-rig shack when I purchased the Flex 3000 but have not turned the TS-2000 on since the day the Flex 3000 arrived.

I used my 3000 with a Asus Desktop CM1745 with a AMD A8-5500 3.2 Ghz CPU 12 Gigs RAM 64 bit Windows 8. Got it for $500 from Bestbuy just to run the Flex. It works just fine with the Firewire card I purchased from Flex. I run CW Skimmer and also may digital mode applications and the CPU rarely goes above 25%. It handles RMS Express and Winmor timing without issues. CW operations are good.

I like the ease of the PowerSDR software, it makes operating a joy. At first, I found the tuning counter-intuitive compared to my operation of Simon Brown's SDR-Radio Console or RF Space's SpectraVue. It does lack the ability to independently tune more than one slice of the spectrum at the same time. For example, SDR Radio-Console allows up to 4 VFOs that you can monitor at the same time . PowerSDR allows TWO but you can do very little with the second audio channel .

CW Skimmer works well with PowerSDR , but you are limited to 24 Khz of decoded bandwidth and are forced to use the Softrock-IF setting in CW Skimmer since it does not formally support PowerSDR. I have read of others with different SDRs getting much broader decode bandwidth with CW Skimmer.

I am not much of a Phone operator but I have found the ability to easily custom your transmit audio and it makes phone operations enjoyable. I am using the supplied hand mic and have good reports. I enjoy Phone now, so might get a better microphone.

For CW, the CWX keyer is stunning! The Flex works well with my paddles and my straight key but the CWX features makes it easy to quickly work the DX that my skimmer finds . Just point and click with my mouse! I have found that if you click on the CWX buttons too quickly, PowerSDR locks up. For example if one button contained "TU 5NN" and the other "73 de K3UK", you have to be careful to make sure the first one has finished before you execute the second one. I have found this when using PowerSDR with a Flex 1500 and with the 3000.

PowerSDR's ability to easily employ filters when using digital modes is perhaps the deal clincher for me! With my Kenwood TS2000, the DSP feature when in USB would not get you any smaller than several hundred Hz. Getting rid of a strong PSK31 signal that was zapping an entire waterfall took a LOT of effort. With PowerSDR, I can get a 31 hz filter width, if I wanted, within a second.. I don't need to do this often but it is GREAT to do it when needed. PowerSDR has some fancier tools like the TNF notching but I find that this is not needed most of the time. The ability to easily create SSB filters wider than the standard 2.7 kHz is especially useful for digital mode work when you want to decode signals over a wider area. For example, the new WSJT-X works best when monitoring signals over a 4.5 kHz range. Many traditional rigs cannot do this. Also, PowerSDR allows me to direct the I/Q straight to VAC. With the digital mode application, Multipsk, I can monitor digital mode signals over a 48 Khz range and have any RSIDs detected. VERY useful , would be even better if more people actually used RSID!

One oddity of PowerSDR . If you are a digital mode enthusiast and want to be able to tune to the 14070 area AND also see the 14107 digital area on your PowerSDR screen at the same time.. you can't. Well , actually you can if you perform a trick. Without the trick the 14105 to 14109 digital area is just out of the picture. However, If you put 14109 in VFO A and 14070 In VFO B and activate MULTIRX, you can hear both portions of the band AND actually see them on your screen. Only digital geeks like like me will really care about this! You can also achieve similar results by changing the default IF setting in PowerSDR from 9000 to 0 Hz.

The ATU works fine on all my poorly made antennas. It is much better than the internal ATU in the Kenwood TS-2000, perhaps about the same as my LDG AT-200Pro.

The various meters with a Flex 3000 and PowerSDR are good, it would be nice to see SWR while transmitting. You can only see SDR while the TUNE button is pressed.

There is MUCH more , but this should give you a sense that this is a great radio. The only time I needed to contact Tech Support, I received a formal email back withing 10 minutes, issue fully resolved too. There are a few informal mail groups and Facebook pages for informal help. These can be hit or miss, sometimes quick answers sometimes no answers. Tim and Dudley from Flex are usually very helpful.

Andy K3UK (ex KB2EOQ)
 
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