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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: 85 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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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.


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)
WV4I Rating: 5/5 Aug 30, 2013 19:43 Send this review to a friend
works great  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have a May 2013 build Flex 3000. I run it with a 3ghz Core 2 Duo Win 7 32 bit machine, 6gb memory, not all recognized, and CPU use usually around 65% with reasonable settings. I am using the firewire interface integral to the nForce 780i motherboard, no issues. I have NO RFI issues, with 2 different antennas, even running an amp up to 400w PEP. I never got the transmit audio to my liking with the MH-31 mike, so I bought the Heil HM-12, and now get good reports, stations answer me, etc.. I won't reiterate what can be gleaned from the Sherwood Engineering receiver test results. I think perhaps the NR algorithms either need some tweaking or I'm just not there with settings. The NR on my TS-590S and KX3 (using HDSDR) a little more effective so far, but really tough to compare apples to apples here. This is a terrific transceiver and a keeper.
WM4DE Rating: 5/5 Aug 9, 2013 06:26 Send this review to a friend
This Should Have Been My 1st Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have now had my Flex 3000 for 45 days. Enough time has elapsed that I feel very comfortable in saying that there is nothing about this rig that I do not like. The first time I saw a Flexradio in action was at Field Day, 3 years ago. A couple of months prior, I had passed my General exam, and had purchased an FT-857D, as my first HF radio. I felt intimidated by the Flex...I can't figure out why, since I've been in IT for over 20 years. As time passed, I purchased 4 more rigs, each one costing more than the last.

Then one day, the owner of the Flexradio became my Elmer. He invited me to his QTH, where I learned a lot about the radio, and got the opportunity to use it. Wow. To make a long story short, I had to get one. It just took some time to convince the XYL. Finally, the day arrived that the 3000 came to my door, and was taken into my shack. I had the radio up and running in 15 minutes. 5 minutes after that, I had my first DX QSO with the Flex.

Soon, I was adding software components to my arsenal, that allowed me to do even more with the Flex. Having nearly 92 Khz laid out in front of me is an incredible feature. I can click and pounce on signals with incredible speed. The ability to see the passband, and make lightning fast adjustments make contesting almost too easy!

There are so many features on the 3000, that are exclusive to Flex, or you would have to spend $1000's more on a conventional radio. I must add, this is not a 'plug and play' rig. There are so many features that you can add or adjust. You will learn so much about HF operation, just by having the ability to tweak PowerSDR (the software interface for the radio.)

It is so easy to dig out weak stations out of the mud. Do you have a strong station splattering while you're trying to work a weak station? No problem! By changing the width of the passband, or by throwing up a notch filter visually, you can quickly resolve the issue. The filters are like brick walls.

You can take a CW transmission, set the passband to 25 Hz, and all you hear is the CW! There are no roofing filters used or needed to buy, it's all done in the digital domain with your computer. The radio is very quiet...Yet the receiver is very sensitive.

I have a lot of QRM around my QTH. My vertical antennas are notorious, since they pick up noise in all directions. However, with a beam, it's all the difference in the world. I don't have a need to use my linear. With the same antenna setup, I now regularly log VK's, that I was never able to do with my FT-950 or Icom-7000.

Do you work digital modes? With the Flex, it could not be easier! Just use VAC to setup a pair of virtual audio cables, and fire up DM780, FLdigi, or whatever digital software you like, and you're in business! I could go on and on.

What it all boils down to is this...If you want a radio that is easy to use, and has features found in rigs costing 1000's more (or, are exclusive to Flex.) Then, the Flexradio is for you.
NY0P Rating: 5/5 Aug 4, 2013 22:35 Send this review to a friend
I love my Flex-3000  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I recieved my flex 3000 late winter this year. The software loaded easily to my Intel 7 powered HP desk top running Windows 8. I've got duel monitors with Power SDR running on one and AC log, DX Watch on Mozilla, QRZ on explorer, Pst rotor controling my Yaesu rotor, FLDIGI for PSK31 and rtty, all running on the second monitor. I have a VBA script that starts everything with one click of the mouse. With all that running the CPU is idling along at 10%.

AC log is linked with Power SDR and automaticly put the band and frequency info into AC Log for me. I can double click on the spotting window in AC log and it will automaticly tune the Flex to that frequency and place the call in the call line of AC Log. Too cool...

I'm using a Heil GM-4 mic and I get nothing but great audio reports on the radio. I do go to great lenghts to not over drive the radio or my ALS-600 which helps the audio quality. I might have to get a SPE 1.3k-fa early next year. It would be wild to have a no-tune amplifier that would automaticly select the band data from the Flex. (My ALS-600 is a older model without the rig interface jacks.)

The spectrum display is great, seeing where the signals are without having to blind tune around for them. Seeing other operators at the band edge and being able to see that part of their transmitt signal is out of band. I have my transmitt filter on the display so I can visually see if my signal will interfere with nearby stations around my frequency or if my signal will fall outside the band edge.

Another plus is 6 meter operation. It was a blast working over a dozen states and Mexico during the last VHF contest, all in a couple of hours, all with 100 watts output. Can't wait to get an HF+6m amp.

I would buy another one in a heartbeat...
VA3MW Rating: 5/5 May 28, 2013 20:02 Send this review to a friend
I've owned 4 of these  Time owned: more than 12 months
I first purchased my 3000 when the first came out. Never had a serious problem. I then sold that to buy a 5000 with the 2nd rx and Tuner. With that I got to play with the ESC (or beam steering) buy combing the signals from 2 receivers. That was pretty cool.

Recently, I swapped my 5000 for a 3000 because I wasn't using the 5000 to its full capacity. (Somewhere in there I also picked up a 1500 at Dayton).

While a few years a ago, most of us struggled with firewire issues. Those are just about a thing of the past.

The technical support is amazing. Where else will someone dial into your computer FOR FREE! Flex will bend over backwards to help solve just about any problem. Granted their are a few issues you just can't solve from time to time.

My ProIII is on the shelf collecting dust for most of the time. Awesome radio, but the future of receivers is in SDR.

The Tuner (ATU) is only average when compared to my LDG200Pro.

We have gotten to the point that we are now using the Flex radios as the contest radios.

If you want the best that money can buy, then pick up a Flex. There are some learning curves, but for the most part, it works out of the box.

If you want to turn on your new radio and never look at the manual, you can have your pick of any other HF rig where the development of that rig stopped the day it was sent out to manufacturing.

With my Flex, I get a new radio every few months as they update PowerSDR.

Good luck.
WW5AA Rating: 5/5 May 3, 2013 13:11 Send this review to a friend
Wave of the future  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I realized several months ago that SDR is the wave of the future. After reading reviews and articles on digital communications I tested the Flex-3000 at a hamfest and ordered one. UPS showed up two days later. I ordered the Abrohamneal computer (Neal provides a great service!). The big day came and every thing was hooked up. I'm not a tech guy but the Flex web site does all the brain work. Since I have a great antenna system, no RF problems. With Neals computer, no software problems. The receive is better than the IC-Pro III which is now the back up and diversity receive. I'll get the XYL a Mercedes, sell all the analog junk and get the 6700 next.
Lindy de WW5AA
N3LKA Rating: 3/5 Apr 30, 2013 07:44 Send this review to a friend
Ok, not worth the hassle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a used Flex-3000. I was excited as I hooked everything up, downloaded new software and drivers. Yes it has great receive and it sounds great, but when I transmit, forget it. I've never seen a radio so susceptible to RF than this flex.

I started to put snap on ferrite beads and torodial chokes everywhere. Reconfigured the grounding situation for my station to eliminate ground loops, different antennas, mics, speakers, headphones, etc. Just when I think I had it licked without the amplifier on, it came back bigger and badder.

I've ran 4 other radios in that operating position including my ProII and only ever ran into rf once, and a coax choke killed that situation.

I'm sorry, I want to operate and not spend hours tracking down an rf issue that I don't have with stand alone rigs. I went back to my ProII and started to ragchew, rfi free.

It's a nice radio, but the fact for me it acts like an rf sponge turns me off. Maybe some people don't have the rf issues, but I did. But as I mentioned above, my 718, 706, 746, and 756 ProII didn't. Also when I had both the ProII and the flex on at the same time, the receive wasn't that much better on receive. Maybe just a hair on the really weak ones, but it's not worth the effort of curing the rfi on xmit.
KF0XV Rating: 5/5 Mar 24, 2013 20:02 Send this review to a friend
Best Rig I've ever owned  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own the 3000 and a 1500 Flex. The 3000 is used almost every day. The 1500 when I'm in the mood to hook it up. I do CW mostly and this is the best rig for CW I've ever owned. I see and hear some, very few, complain about computers locking up and the sorts. Well buy or build a computer that is worthy of this fine rig. Like any rig, if you have a crappy antenna, you have a crappy rig. Flex is close to that analogy when it comes to its life support also. I use this rig on SSB, AM, Digi and CW (my favorite) modes and have not one complaint.
WB0FDJ Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2013 13:47 Send this review to a friend
Does a lot of things very well  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Kind of an update: Put this radio on the shelf for a while, played with everything else I own. The Jupiter is down with a busted wing (malfunctioning multi knob). Been using my 32 year old Argosy after a successful driver transplant. Now that the "new" has worn off thought I'd fire it back up after several months of non-use. Using an Acer quad core AMD that I picked up at Wally world for $300 and a $99 monitor: both dedicated to running the radio only. Updated the software. Wow, this is a very nice machine. Does everything but make coffee. Again: a great receiver. Phenomenal filtering. Does digi very well. Even CW is good, not wonderful but quite acceptable. No rats nest of wires running about the operating position. Not one problem using a stock off the shelf computer and a Firewire card I bought online from somewhere. I'd still recommend it. My operating experience matches Sherwoods numbers. Earlier review follows:

Heres my take on this radio. I've had it a couple of months now and have been able to do a little more than just "take it around the block".

VALUE: Sad fact is, two grand doesn't necessarily buy you a lot of radio these days. While this one is not perfect, you get a lot of bang for you buck. You get as good a receiver as you can find in any under $2K radio with plenty of very useful features, i.e. excellent filtering for most any application.

SUPPORT: Haven't needed direct support. Everything I wanted or needed to know was on the website and the users manual is very well written. Further there have been no surprises here, even the shortcomings are well documented and spelled out. You will know what you are getting when the box arrives.

PARADIGM: (yes I know, overused....)With this radio theres is a new way of getting it done. Pretty much everything is controlled by software. This means you have to get at least a little comfortable with setting up things like virtual audio cables, virtual com ports and the like. On the other hand if you want sharper filters you don't pry off the lid a put in a board, you adjust (meaning fiddle with) the settings using the software setup. You "tune" using everything except that old big knob. It's not hard, seriously if I can figure this out anyone can, but it is different. If nothing else owning and using this radio has forced me out of my rut and made me look at what I am doing in a new and different light. A good thing because once you get it, this is, well....way cool.

GRIPES: Ok, I've not found the perfect radio yet and nothing here is a deal breaker but it's got a few warts. Others have mentioned most of this. For example: when seriously operating I always wear headphones. Lately if I'm fiddling with my computers I like to listen to the QRP watering hole on a speaker. With this rig you need an amplified speaker. We all know it wouldn't be hard to include a small board to make that unnecessary. The CW relay is a bit noisy, not a problem with headphones but compared to my Ten Tec it's mildly irritating. I run a linux box in the shack, for years now, and would love to see some good linux control software: so far any discussion of that remains a pipedream.

So....if you are willing to learn a few things that are not difficult, take the time to work with the software to make the experience a good one, oh and make sure you have an adequate computer system you will have a very competent rig. Well worth the money you spend.
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