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Author Topic: Flex 6400M vs. Icom 7610 ?  (Read 113510 times)
VE3WGO
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Posts: 410




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« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2017, 07:10:15 PM »

flex radio prices are under the "Buy" tab on their homepage:    cart.flexradio.com  

Notice that the 6500 regular price is $4299 now on sale for $3999, ie $300 off.  That includes a built-in antenna tuner....  so the 6600 will be at the same price as the 6500 sale price while it lasts.

If you compare a 6400M plus ATU with the IC-7610, it's not a completely unfair comparison.  
6400M $2999 + ATU $299 = $3298 USD.  
IC-7610 price in USD?  couldn't find it yet, but it's £2,999.99 (swling.com) and $Cdn4995.00 (radioworld.ca) so that's maybe ~ $3700+ USD?    hmmm, that's $400 more than the 6400M+ATU.  Am I missing something here?

I wonder where the new Flex radio's electronics are manufactured to keep them so low-priced?  Any guesses?

Ed VE3WGO
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 07:14:13 PM by VE3WGO » Logged
N2DTS
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Posts: 929




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« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2017, 07:14:38 PM »

They used to be made in Texas, which is almost in the US.
Don't know about the new ones..
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K6AER
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Posts: 5550




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« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2017, 08:08:04 PM »

Called DX ENGINEERING today to find out about the pricing on the 7610. They think a bit North of $3600. They expect to start shipping the ICOM in the Fall.

Dayton (Xenia) was interesting to see the concern about Flex's new offering from the Icom booth. The 7610 was positioned in the back. The 6400M was out on the edge of the walkways.
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N2RJ
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« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2017, 03:19:22 AM »

Probably still made in TX. They've made cost reductions in the design (such as no providing foster mic connectors and putting 1/8" TRS instead)  to get the price down.
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N2RJ
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Posts: 2094




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« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2017, 05:42:02 AM »

The 7610 has two independent receivers (flex calls them SCUs). You can get these in the 6600 but not the 6400.

The one thing that bothered me about the icom booth and the 7610 is that nobody really knew whether it had an I/Q output. It's my opinion that this is a critical feature of a SDR. They were also playing recordings and not actual signals like the flexes were (remotely over the Internet).

But I believe the icom will sell, if not for nothing people will buy the brand name. I just hope they don't have the overload problems that the 7300 does.
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KX2T
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« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2017, 07:14:49 AM »

I was all hot to trot on the 7610 but with there current stated price of  $3700 I am looking more at the flex. Yes the Icom has a pretty faced front panel but to me the built in antenna tuner is a huge waste, I could really just go with the 6400 for now and even of I wanted the M version the flex is $700 less.  Flex is boasting RMD numbers of 116db which places it above  Icom 7851 and the RMD numbers slated for the 7610 are around 110db but we will have to wait on some real lab numbers but to be honest either is very good. The real test is how well the Icom will handle strong nearby signals either on the same band or from a close nearby amateur transmitting on another band cause the 7300's second order IMD numbers sucked. The Digi select in the new Icom should help but the second order numbers and maybe place the performance above the 7th order band pass filters in the Flex 6600 but only time will tell but if that does help the 7610 then that is were that $700 is well spent if your into contesting but normal operating would not really buy you much. It look like Flex has geared up to the competition and the big three are slow out of the starting gate with Icom having a slight edge over the other two from Japan. The 7300 was a huge hit for the price but it is not a state of the art design by no means, its technology used is already 5 years old as far as SDR designs go and who knows what exactly is used in the 7610 yet but Flex is more state of the art for us normal users only to be bested by Anan but that is IT hobby radio in my eye's were Flex is more for the masses.
I feel very strongly that if Icom does want to compete and really sell against other SDR companies the 7610 would be better at the $3K price point but I bet there were very surprised what Flex did at Dayton this year, I am sure they didn't see it coming at all, Flex really kept a good secret even till that very morning.
As far as PR work for the contest community for years K3LR's station has been only Icom radio's but Flex made there huge splash with using K9CT's super station as well but not only did K9CT start using Flex rigs I bet that he had a huge input as to what is needed in a top station radio design and Flex did have open ears. That is were the companies from Japan just don't really listen much, the last time they did that was when Yaesu developed the FT1000D but after that they seemed not to really keep an open mind.
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N2RJ
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« Reply #36 on: June 02, 2017, 07:51:50 AM »

The Flex 116dB RMDR number is preliminary. Gerald and Steve had said it could be better in lab testing. But for now 116dB is it.

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N2WQ
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Posts: 123




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« Reply #37 on: June 02, 2017, 01:46:02 PM »


But I believe the icom will sell, if not for nothing people will buy the brand name. I just hope they don't have the overload problems that the 7300 does.


Considering you do not own an Icom 7300, you should not be making any statements that are not supported by either hard data or personal experience.

Rob Sherwood measured both the 7300 and one of the 6000 series and established that both overload at the statistically identical point (measured in dBm). The only difference is that Icom has an overload indicator and Flex does not. Note also that the 7300 has a lot more RF, which arguably is indeed too much. You should really take the time to understand what you writing and get your facts right. It takes very little effort to search for and read the study. You may also learn about the difference between the 14 vs. 16-bit ADC and the bottom line will surprise you.

So identical overload points aside, it is important to keep in mind that people who do see the overload indicator do not know how to use the radio. It is really that simple. In all videos showing an overload you can see the RF gain is waaaaaaay to high. How can you tell- the waterfall is completely filled with solid color or color noise. The right thing to do is simply dial back the RF gain until all color noise disappears.

I have personally used the 7300 in 4 major contests (IARU 2016, CQ WW RTTY 2016, CQ WPX RTTY 2017, and CQ WPX CW 2017) for well over 6,000 QSOs, operating SO2R or M/S using triplexers and the same antennas for both radios. To put it in plain English, the input/outputs of both radios are connected to the same antennas. It doesn't get any more brutal on the ADC. The radios performed flawlessly without any overload or interference.

By the way, even though the 36 KHz DSP code is supposed to be the same as the previous Icoms, I don't think this is the case. I couldn't stand the under 250 Hz filters on the legacy Icoms, the 7300 is pleasure to use even at 100 Hz. There is a material difference in the DSP code.

So, by all means, go ahead and have your opinion on the Flex as you actually own one. When it comes to the Icom, however, I'd suggest you temper your speculations.
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K7JQ
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« Reply #38 on: June 02, 2017, 02:58:09 PM »

Look up N2RJ's qrz.com page. She's quite an accomplished ham and I applaud that. But also very tight with Flex Radio Systems. Nothing wrong with that, but you'll understand her bias towards Flex.
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NI8R
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Posts: 319




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« Reply #39 on: June 02, 2017, 04:49:24 PM »

The Flex 116dB RMDR number is preliminary. Gerald and Steve had said it could be better in lab testing. But for now 116dB is it.



I dont believe any of those numbers hold true to all bands. The 7851 in my opinion better sounding receiver than my 6500, 15k roofing filter and dsp work as well as any of the flex filters. None of the filtering compares to the Anan with the buffers turned up , which has been quoted around 200db. My flex does not work as well on 80 and 160, not sure why but the filters are just not as good.

In my opinion, you get what you pay for, it is very obvious when you turn the icom on. Ask anyone who owns a 7851, they will tell you it is a very pleasant radio to use.

I have a very basic ic7100, it has a terrible front end, and does just fine in contest traffic. Not sure why all of the filter specs are needed, should start with clean transmitter.

Greg ni8r
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W9OY
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Posts: 1843


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« Reply #40 on: June 02, 2017, 09:19:22 PM »

Greg

I think the filtering at least in the Flex 6600 is based around an out of the box SO2R experience that doesn't need another $1000 worth of RX filtering and switching. 

73
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N2RJ
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Posts: 2094




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« Reply #41 on: June 02, 2017, 09:45:53 PM »

Look up N2RJ's qrz.com page. She's quite an accomplished ham and I applaud that. But also very tight with Flex Radio Systems. Nothing wrong with that, but you'll understand her bias towards Flex.

Oh I am totally biased, but who isn't.

What I am not is beholden to the company. I don't work for them and I only bought one after looking at all available options, after 10 years of using icom (which has served me rather well). I almost bought a K3S but couldn't stand the front panel.

I almost bought a 7300 but the lack of the 2nd receiver and lack of I/Q output were huge negatives. I found that for an SDR it wasn't fully using a lot of SDR technology.

I also really didn't like the direct conversion radios like the 1500, 3000 or 1000 (the first one, whatever it was called), nor do I like the all in one 5000c. The 6000 series was the first commercial SDR that I felt was mature enough to actually get one.

I do have a long history with SDR experimentation- softrocks, Atlas based HPSDR etc. Attended DCC a few times, and I have a MSEE with a minor in math (in my undergrad). I find the whole field fascinating.
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N2RJ
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« Reply #42 on: June 02, 2017, 09:49:27 PM »

The Flex 116dB RMDR number is preliminary. Gerald and Steve had said it could be better in lab testing. But for now 116dB is it.



I dont believe any of those numbers hold true to all bands. The 7851 in my opinion better sounding receiver than my 6500, 15k roofing filter and dsp work as well as any of the flex filters. None of the filtering compares to the Anan with the buffers turned up , which has been quoted around 200db. My flex does not work as well on 80 and 160, not sure why but the filters are just not as good.

In my opinion, you get what you pay for, it is very obvious when you turn the icom on. Ask anyone who owns a 7851, they will tell you it is a very pleasant radio to use.

I have a very basic ic7100, it has a terrible front end, and does just fine in contest traffic. Not sure why all of the filter specs are needed, should start with clean transmitter.

Greg ni8r

I don't think RMDR is consistent for all radios either. Rob did mention that in his CTU presentation. He has been testing on several bands now including 10m where the 6700 and 6300 dropped a few notches lower. BUt he did say anything >80dB is really just a numbers game and inconsequential to real world operation.
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N2RJ
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Posts: 2094




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« Reply #43 on: June 02, 2017, 10:12:33 PM »

Considering you do not own an Icom 7300, you should not be making any statements that are not supported by either hard data or personal experience.

Rob Sherwood measured both the 7300 and one of the 6000 series and established that both overload at the statistically identical point (measured in dBm). The only difference is that Icom has an overload indicator and Flex does not. Note also that the 7300 has a lot more RF, which arguably is indeed too much. You should really take the time to understand what you writing and get your facts right. It takes very little effort to search for and read the study. You may also learn about the difference between the 14 vs. 16-bit ADC and the bottom line will surprise you.

So identical overload points aside, it is important to keep in mind that people who do see the overload indicator do not know how to use the radio. It is really that simple. In all videos showing an overload you can see the RF gain is waaaaaaay to high. How can you tell- the waterfall is completely filled with solid color or color noise. The right thing to do is simply dial back the RF gain until all color noise disappears.

I have personally used the 7300 in 4 major contests (IARU 2016, CQ WW RTTY 2016, CQ WPX RTTY 2017, and CQ WPX CW 2017) for well over 6,000 QSOs, operating SO2R or M/S using triplexers and the same antennas for both radios. To put it in plain English, the input/outputs of both radios are connected to the same antennas. It doesn't get any more brutal on the ADC. The radios performed flawlessly without any overload or interference.

By the way, even though the 36 KHz DSP code is supposed to be the same as the previous Icoms, I don't think this is the case. I couldn't stand the under 250 Hz filters on the legacy Icoms, the 7300 is pleasure to use even at 100 Hz. There is a material difference in the DSP code.

So, by all means, go ahead and have your opinion on the Flex as you actually own one. When it comes to the Icom, however, I'd suggest you temper your speculations.

You're right, I don't own one. I'm relying on documentation of the actual architecture of the radio - 14 bit ADC, very little front end filtering, as well as user reports. I considered buying one but the potential overload issue scared me off. It still is a very good value, $1200 if you shop around and pretty decent performance.

The 36kHz IF I mentioned because I found that by doing that Icom isn't really making available the full benefits of direct sampling SDR. You can't run wideband CW skimmer with it, nor any panadapter software, except RS-BA1 and it's not as fast and fluid as even a K3S with LP-Pan. I like to see spectrum as well as hear it, which is why I owned a 7000 (still do), 756ProIII and now a Flex-6700.

Quote
Rob Sherwood measured both the 7300 and one of the 6000 series and established that both overload at the statistically identical point (measured in dBm).

There are different 6000 series radios. The 6300 is a different radio from the 6500 and 6700. I can believe that the 6300 overloads as easily as a 7300 but not the 6500 or 6700. The dynamic range numbers don't back that up either.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 10:15:27 PM by N2RJ » Logged
ZENKI
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Posts: 1604




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« Reply #44 on: June 09, 2017, 04:47:57 PM »

One thing that is certain is that both these radios will have poor transmitter IMD performance that will always be unacceptable. Thats certainly a given for most amateur HF transmitters these days. Sherwood does not measure transmitter IMD performance. The great transceiver  real world technical performance delusion still continues!
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