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Author Topic: Flex 6400/6600 - New User Reports/Impressions?  (Read 64491 times)
N6YFM
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Posts: 813




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« on: February 06, 2018, 10:20:05 AM »

Now that people have been receiving and setting up their new Flex 6400 and 6600 models, does anyone
have any first impressions to share?   What do you like/dislike, etc?
(Please, only actual users of the new models)

Thanks,

Neal
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K9ZW
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Posts: 310


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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2018, 01:08:03 PM »

FlexRadio Systems allowed me to purchase my Flex-6600M early, and I have been writing about it at:

With Varying Frequency:  http://k9zw.wordpress.com

As I already have Flex-6700s and Maestro's in my shacks (along with a Collins S-Line in each shack) I'm very accustomed to operating with SmartSDR.  The Flex-6600M is a shiny new radio for sure, and brings all of the Flex-6000/SmartSDR features to one's shack.

There are important new features in the version of SmartSDR released (and preinstalled on radios) that came out with the Flex-6400/6600 radios.

There will even newer features as successive versions roll out.

From FlexRadio Systems pictures a LOT of amateurs will be on the air with the new Flex-6400/6600 series radios very shortly.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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KA4DPO
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Posts: 1305




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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 01:07:10 PM »

So far I have only seen one legitimate review for the 6600M and a bogus review from some fanboy who doesn't own one. 

There is one review for the 6400 and it is not all that good so now I'm beginning to wonder.  If Flex really did start shipping these rigs at the beginning of February, where are all of the reviews? 
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K5TED
Member

Posts: 229




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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 06:49:45 PM »

Could be Flex users aren't interested in wasting time being flamed here, opting to do ham radio instead.
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VE3WGO
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Posts: 441




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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 07:35:03 PM »

It's still early days.  The Flex community boards don't have many 6400 or 6600 owner comments yet either, but it is clear that shipments are starting to happen.
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W8MLS
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2018, 04:50:34 AM »

Still waiting on mine to ship.   Thinking it should ship next week.  My friend got his ship notice and should have his radio by Monday 2/13.   I had a 6300 and will be able to see if there is any edge over it.   I doubt it.   
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KG0AQ
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2018, 12:09:34 PM »

There is one review for the 6400 and it is not all that good so now I'm beginning to wonder.  If Flex really did start shipping these rigs at the beginning of February, where are all of the reviews? 

I was the first person to post a review on the 6400. I'm not sure how you got "not all that good" out of my review?
It was my first review on Eham and I did not go into great detail but thought it was fairly straightforward with a 5 out 5. This radio is fun!

I am playing in the CQ RTTY contest today and this radio is really shining.  There are 20 over signals up and down the band and the receiver is razor sharp with no overload. I parked between 2 strong signals and copied a weak station in the middle easily with NO interference from the sides.  The AGC level adjustment is the key to using this radio in strong signal conditions.

I worked some FT8 on 30 yesterday and the weak signals from Europe decoded perfectly. Worked Z60A on 20 RTTY yesterday in a huge pileup.  Rag chewed with some buddies on 160 last night and they loved the audio. I am certain their receive audio sounded better than on my Flex 5000. The receiver is just quieter all the way around.

I am still tweaking all the settings for optimal use. Finding new things and learning as I go. If anyone wants to know any particulars of the 6400 and setup just let me know.

73 Dan KG0AQ
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KA4DPO
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Posts: 1305




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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 11:13:04 AM »

There is one review for the 6400 and it is not all that good so now I'm beginning to wonder.  If Flex really did start shipping these rigs at the beginning of February, where are all of the reviews? 

I was the first person to post a review on the 6400. I'm not sure how you got "not all that good" out of my review?
It was my first review on Eham and I did not go into great detail but thought it was fairly straightforward with a 5 out 5. This radio is fun!

I am playing in the CQ RTTY contest today and this radio is really shining.  There are 20 over signals up and down the band and the receiver is razor sharp with no overload. I parked between 2 strong signals and copied a weak station in the middle easily with NO interference from the sides.  The AGC level adjustment is the key to using this radio in strong signal conditions.

I worked some FT8 on 30 yesterday and the weak signals from Europe decoded perfectly. Worked Z60A on 20 RTTY yesterday in a huge pileup.  Rag chewed with some buddies on 160 last night and they loved the audio. I am certain their receive audio sounded better than on my Flex 5000. The receiver is just quieter all the way around.

I am still tweaking all the settings for optimal use. Finding new things and learning as I go. If anyone wants to know any particulars of the 6400 and setup just let me know.

73 Dan KG0AQ

Perhaps I should have said less than glowing.  I think your review was honest and I think you are generally pleased with your new rig.  The things you said that caught my attention were:

" Useable Band stacking on the 6400 requires a third party program called FRStack."

"Using CW Skimmer requires a third party program called SDR-Bridge."

"There is a workaround to get WSJT to work but it is not a Flex issue."  (yet it still requires a work around)

"The real issue I have is using Fldigi RTTY in split mode. For the time being you must use XIT which is kludgy at best. Again, not necessarily a Flex issue but needs work."

"Conclusion: You must be a patient person to use Flex products. Software is ever changing and requires time to develop. This radio is an absolute keeper! To me the bottom line of any transceiver is the receiver and transmitter performance...The 6400 is TOP NOTCH! I can wait for the enhancements and remember the key to Flex products...they keep getting better with each software release."

I understand the goodness aspect and I am sure that the Flex 6400 is a good rig but I am not patient, and I don't want to be hostage to a companies software releases to make my rig do what it should have done out of the box.  It's like they make you a beta tester.  That's OK if you have the disposition for that sort of thing, I sure don't. Grin
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K9IUQ
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Posts: 2969




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« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 02:24:01 PM »


"Conclusion: You must be a patient person to use Flex products. Software is ever changing and requires time to develop.


Deja Vu
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Wait, wait and wait some more.Within several years Flex will maybe have a finished Radio. Then they will abandon your beloved radio, and they will introduce the Newest and Greatest SDR. And the routine will start all over.


Stan K9IUQ
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K9IUQ
Member

Posts: 2969




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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 02:46:58 PM »

Could be Flex users aren't interested in wasting time being flamed here

Flex users are afraid of honest,truthful information. Eham is not full of Flex Lovers willing to tell the truth about their beloved radio.

Flaming:If that bothers the Flex Lover, they need to stay on the official Flex Forum. Bulldog Tim, Gerald, and Steve will all give you that warm feeling that you bought the right radio.

Flex Lovers here are known to attack hams that dare to question the Flexradio spin. A good example is K9IUQ. He has repeatedly been attacked personally. He has been called terrible names, has been wished dead, and a long thread was started by a Flex Lover to BAN K9IUQ on eham. It was a long thread which got deleted because of over the top nastiness. That thread was horrible, and was the only thread I have seen that got deleted.


Stan K9IUQ
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VE3WGO
Member

Posts: 441




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« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2018, 03:52:53 PM »

As more and more mid- and upper-tier Software Defined transceivers hit the market, I am sure competitive pressure will force manufacturers to improve their "out of the box" performance and software features without the need for ongoing and time-consuming updates.

Ratings will be based on what a product actually does, not what it is expected to do at some future date.  The software IS the product, and an honest evaluation of it means the current version is being evaluated.  Just like how Microsoft Office 2016 is considered a different product from Office 2013 and gets evaluated that way, and is not just a $99 update.

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K9IUQ
Member

Posts: 2969




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« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2018, 04:06:21 PM »

the product, and an honest evaluation of it means the current version is being evaluated. 

Honest Evaluations of Flexradios are far and few between. They always fail to mention the features that are not yet in the software. Look at Flexradios past history.

New Flexradios are ALWAYS touted as the BEST ever radio by their owners.

Stan K9IUQ 
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VE3WGO
Member

Posts: 441




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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2018, 05:27:59 PM »

Well, it seems to be a given that Flex software is a limited speed process, probably due to company size or whatever.  Meanwhile....  I am not inclined to keep upgrading software in anything I own.  If it needs frequent updates, I buy a different brand of cellphone, laptop, transceiver, etc.  The ONLY things I will accept to be regularly updated are my computer's anti-virus software and my eyeglasses prescription.

Flex-6600 owners will probably find it hard to confirm if their new radio performs any better than a Flex-6400.  They BOTH can't be the best at the same time!  I will be interested in hearing about this kind of discussion.

We know from the Flex site that the specs comparison table shows that the 6600 preselectors are more sophisticated than the one in a 6400, but the 6400 specs are already in the upper range of receivers to begin with.  And then there is the 6700 at the top of the family, I would expect it to be the best of the lineup.  Almost every manufacturer of any product type has a "good - better - best" option in their product family lineup, and Flex seems to be no exception.

Let's see if Bob Sherwood can find a difference between a 6400 receiver frontend and a 6600 (or 6700) ... that is, other than the fact that the 6600 has 2 of them.

I will be interested to see reactions of owners of the "M" versions of the new radios to see how they compare in user friendliness and attractiveness to the computer or Maestro driven non-M versions (and perhaps to "Brand I" as well, which will really get my interest).

73, Ed VE3WGO
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N6YFM
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Posts: 813




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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2018, 08:57:43 PM »


"There is a workaround to get WSJT to work but it is not a Flex issue."  (yet it still requires a work around)


Hi KG0AQ:

I am the orig poster, and still don't yet have one of these radios, but am thinking of buying.
But KA4DPO's statement above for WSJT-X, had me a little concerned, but when I read the following
thread from Flex, found with google, I can't see that any workaround is required.

https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/202037343-Configuring-WSJT-X-and-SmartSDR-for-Windows

That setup is no more complex than what I do for my Icom or Yaesu rigs.
Can you expand?   It looks fairly simple and straight forward.

But anyway, thanks for the other remarks.   Sounds like the performance of the RX is great.

Cheers,

Neal
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K9ZW
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Posts: 310


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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2018, 05:21:51 AM »

Using the General Release SmartSDR 2.1.30 Software and latest SmartSDR for iOS software I am really enjoying my Flex-6600M.

Been hard to not be on the air (when bands allow) and will have to make time to update my blog and review.

A couple thoughts on prior comments:

FlexRadio Systems Signature and SmartSDR products are meant to evolve.  This is a paradigm shift that might seem challenging if you expect to never upgrade your radio. 

Add-in Software, especially non-FlexRadio Systems software, is welcomed.  You can build the station you would like using these software building blocks. While you can build it and leave it be, you also can upgrade as new releases come along.

The new Flex-6600M/6600 and Flex-6400M/6400 radios are "hardware & packaging evolutionary" so they setup, configure and work just like the Flex-6700/6500/6300.  They have better features, improvements under the hood, and changed physical design/layout.  Please remember they replaced the Flex-6300 and Flex-6500 in terms of new production. 

Think station integration with the Flex-6000 series.  While you can plunk a new Flex-6400/6600 in any station, you can draw more if your plans eventually include the PGXL Amp, the 4o3a antenna switches and other related hardware.  Check out the USB-cable based data/automation or use the network integration.   

If all of this is a challenge or the ever-improving nature of the evolution doesn't sit well with you, you can of course set up your Flex-6000 and leave it alone - don't change that software - or pick another transceiver. 

Given the wide range of radio amateurs who are successfully running their Flex-6000/SmartSDR radios, it apparently is not so complex that you would not be able to operate one!  If my 86 year old neighbor can get himself up running a Maestro and a Flex-6300, well I think you can too.

Today I am planning to operate remotely as I have an house downtime between to appointments out of town.  I've previously cased this building and they have awesome internet, so my iPad and headset will be put to use making QSOs for that unavoidable down time.  This is a huge benefit for someone with schedule demands like myself.  Otherwise I guess I would be stuck reading about ham radio rather than doing ham radio for that downtime!

73

Steve
K9ZW
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