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Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | FlexRadio FLEX-5000 Help

Show all reviews of the FlexRadio FLEX-5000

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N8FNR  Rating: 5/5 May 17, 2009 15:26  Send this review to a friend!
I would not go back to an old fashioned rig.with knobsÖ  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first HF rig was an Icom IC-740. It got me on the bands and I remember it fondly. BTW the antenna at that time was an AEA Isoloop 2nd version. Sold the 740 and got a used TS-850SAT. There was a big difference in the RX on the 850. I loved the RX audio on that rig. Over time I added several filters from International Radio for CW & SSB. I swore that I would own that rig until it was pried from my dead, cold hands.

However after a while I was the mood for a newer rig as the 850 was getting long in the tooth and several components failed for the display. Did a lot of after reading about the Flexradio SDR-1000, downloaded the demo and played with it. The panadapter was a revelation. Imagine being able to see a chunk of the band you were on! After that I ordered a SDR-1000 figuring that it would be cool to play with but that the 850 would be my main rig. Well after the 1000 arrived I never turned the 850 on again. The panadapter was everything I could hope for. Now I could see how the DX and how they were running the stations that wanted to work them.

Shortly after getting the 1000 I disconnected the TS-850 and stuck it on the shelf as I no longer used it and never looked back. The panadapter had me hooked. Making a chunk of the frequency spectrum visible was so powerful that it made the 850 look, well old fashioned.

Even though the way that the 1000 connected to my PC was kind of buggy I quickly grew addicted to its amazing performance. And the panadapter was to die for.

Well not too long after purchasing the 1000 the Flex-5000 came out. Once I read that it only needed a Firewire cable to connect to the PC and that the performance had improved I decided to sell my SDR-1000 to help pay for a 5000A. Since I still had the TS-850 I also sold it on ebay to a ham in the Czech Republic (my families origin BTW. How ironic). The package included the TCXO, built-in tuner and computer interface. Looking back he got a great deal.

So now I have had the Flex-5000A for 18 months and have to say that it is the best rig I have ever owned. Being able to see how DX is operating in the panadapter is a huge advantage. Plus there are regular software updates that sometimes make a quantum leap in performance. Is there any other rig like that?

Here are a few other things that set the Flex-5000A apart from any others. You will NEVER have to buy any filters. All filters are digital being built into the software. And you can reshape them as needed. Being brickwall they are very sharp. For you high quality audio freaks there is no need for any external SSB/AM processing equipment as the software TX EQ probably does everything that you need. Do you want a voice keyer? There is a free program that you can download. And for you CW ops there is a built in keyer with 9 memories. I have operated a lot of contests and never used anything except the built in keyer. I have a Begali Simplex Mono that is going on ebay as I have never used it (sigh). Another nice thing is that you can buy a RX only preamp for 6 meters and put it the RX chain. Last of all there is no need to buy an interface for digital modes. All processing happens in the software. And the amazing online group is always available to help.

On the other hand it is not the prettiest rig on the block. After all it is just a grey box that sits under my desk next to my PC. No knobs or anything, just a bright blue light telling me that it is on. I look in the ham mags and think how cool the IC-756PRO and FTDX-9000 look. But if you look at the performance specs of the Flex-5000 it ranks among the best ever built. And even though I donít have the greatest antenna system I rarely hear any DX that I canít work. Please note however that you will need a decent PC to get all of the performance that you expect.

The last reason that I love this rig is that it was designed and built in the USA.  
Product is in production.
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