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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | FlexRadio FLEX-5000 Help

Reviews Summary for FlexRadio FLEX-5000
FlexRadio FLEX-5000 Reviews: 106 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $2799
Description: The FLEX-5000 is the next generation of software defined radios which now integrates all A/D & D/A functions and control over a single FireWire (IEEE-1394a) connection to a user provided computer running PowerSDR. A separate sound card is not required.
* Greater than 105 dB two-tone 3rd order dynamic range at 2 kHz spacing
* Frequency Stability: 0.5 ppm, TCXO equipped
* Individual optimized bandpass filters for all Ham Bands
* Receiver can monitor transmitter spectrum
* SO2R ready with optional second receiver
* FlexWire™ for external control of rotator, antenna, and much more.
* 100 watts output 160-6 meters
* General coverage receiver
* Separate RX antenna connectors for optimal reception
* Optional full performance second receiver (dual watch is standard)
* Single cable connection to computer
* Full Duplex transverter ready
* Fully automatic internal test/calibration. No external calibration equipment necessary
* Standard input/output jacks. Internal antenna switching for up to 3 antennas plus receive only antenna
* Balanced TRS line/microphone input
* Full QSK
* Quiet high volume fan keeps unit cool
* Optional full featured ATU 160-6m
Product is in production.
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WX4US Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2019 03:46 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned 5 of these rigs starting with the basic single RX and ATU, which I traded up to the dual RX, ATU & VU5K. never a minute of trouble until I go hit by lightning. Replaced it with another 2 RX, ATU & VU5K and another 1.5 years later took a direct hit and lost half of my shack. Replaced it with a 2RX & ATU only to upgrade once again to the 2 RX, ATU & VU5K. That covers my last 7 years before this writing. One of the best rcvrs of any radio on the market. I can hear DX stations long before I can work them even using legal limit wattages. There is a small trick to tuning your mic audio, but once done you will have the cleanest on the band. It can use a balanced mic or unbalanced @ 600 ohms. BNC connections for transverters and a RX only antenna connection plus 3 SO239 for your HF & 6m. Filters are razor sharp and fully adjustable in width. 10 preset filters/band/mode. From 16k in AM mode down to 100hz in CW if you want it that tight. LSB, USB, DSB, CWL, CWU, FMN, FM, AM, SAM, DITL, and DITU. Follow for the initial setup then custom tune for your own taste. There is even an onboard sound card for decoding digital. There is not much this rig can't do. I use DDutil_V3 to integrate my N3FJP logbook and DX spotting. Just click on the spot and it tunes the radio and selects the proper mode. Also works with HRD or most any other ham software. The VU5K is great for contesting, simplex rag chewing or repeaters, both VHF and UHF. People on repeaters often remark how good my audio sounds. I never thought I could get used to a radio without knobs, but I find it hard to go back now. These rigs have come down in price and are so affordable they just might be the best buy on the market today. The only down side is that they require a firewire connection. Not many laptops today have one so your best best is to get a card for your desktop computer and a quality cable. Many owners of the 5000a that are selling them usually include a card and cable. If not, they are not very expensive and are readily available. You will not regret it...enjoy.
Fred - WX4US
W8NVC Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2017 23:27 Send this review to a friend
KE9NS.COM  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hello Hammy's This is Nick the Barber W8NVC with another review on the Flex 5000A. I must tell all of you that still own this great radio, Darrin KE9NS upgrades for the Older Power SDR Flex radio's has made my Flex come alive again. Darrin's software upgrades are second to none. It breathes new life into the radio with ease of operation and performance. So, If you have a Flex 5000 and was thinking of upgrading to a newer Flex series, you owe it to yourself to try his upgrades. I assure you, he made it more fun, easy and attractive with more and more coming all the time. I myself can not afford to upgrade to a newer Flex. Now please, don't get me wrong, Flex is a great company and was there for me when I had some small issues and they made me smile but, lets face it, If you can't afford a large price tag and you still love power SDR.
All I got to say is, Thank You Darrin. You improved my Flex 100%. Check out his webpage. He even has videos on YouTube for each upgrade that tells you what has been added. KE9NS.COM
The Flex 5000A Is the radio for me until I win the Lottery and, I have owned 2 of them. Long live Power SDR and Darrin.
Thank you for reading. 73 from W8NVC Cleveland Ohio.
N5LB Rating: 5/5 Aug 27, 2016 07:06 Send this review to a friend
Updated Review of 5000-CW op  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had the issue with the internal keyer and latency, aggravating, but by using a K1EL keyer (a great value by the way for a simple homebrew project) this issue has been corrected. I mostly operate CW and for me this is a big deal. In the weekly CWT I find the receiver to be excellent in a very crowded band with many very loud stations. I have no issues with the rig in this difficult environment.

The NB and NR are very good at my QTH. SmartSDR still seems to be evolving in this regard.

My computer is an AMD A10-6800 running W10x64 and normally 9-20% CPU load with DXLab and DDutil running.

When I compare the specs of the 5000 to the 6300 I don't see much difference except for the QSK ability of the 6300 and even as a CW op the 5000 does fine.

I like new shiny things but struggle with the economics of replacing the 5000 that for me performs as required. Add in the KE9NS upgrades to PSDR and 5000 seems new with each revision, as I believe Flex intended in the original PSDR development.

The new and shiny 6xxx is coming but in the meantime the 5000 is performing to my satisfaction.

The 5000 and PSDR form an excellent system. The 5000 is an economical way to jump into SDR with a top notch rig from a very good and responsive company.
K2PMC Rating: 5/5 Aug 26, 2016 20:57 Send this review to a friend
Rock solid, great radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my Flex 5000A new in May 2012. I sold my Elecraft K3, not because I needed the money to buy the 5000 but because I liked the 5000 so much better than the K3.

First, let me debunk a myth. The Flex 5000 does not need a super computer to make it perform. I used my 5000 with a 2005 vintage Dell PC running Windows XP on a single core Pentium 4 processor running at 3.0 Ghz, with 3GB of RAM and a firewire card. I used it on all modes, including digital which drove the processor at around 75%. I ran all the Flex latency tests and the old Pentium passed with flying colors. I've since upgraded to a new computer, but not because of the Flex 5000. However, if you're using an older laptop you might want to do some testing before you make the leap.

I am a CW OP and CW latency is a problem with the 5000. However, I've never had that problem because I use an external keyer to drive the Flex in CW mode.

The Flex 5000 is not a contesting machine. However, I've recently acquired a WoodBox Radio TMate2 Controller that will control many of the functions of the Flex without having the software focus on the PowerSDR window. Sort of like a mini Maestro at a much more reasonable price. The jury is still out on the WoodBox because I found a bug in the software that has not yet been resolved. Franco, from the ELAD support team has promised me that the problem will be rectified soon. Stay tuned.

Recently, Darrin, KE9NS has taken it upon himself to incorporate some major enhancements to PowerSDR. And, let me tell you, when you download and install his latest version which is T9, you will think you have a brand new radio sitting in front of you. I have only a cursory knowledge of the Flex SmartSDR software but I would be willing to bet that the KE9NS version of PowerSDR would not take a back seat to it. You Flex 5000 and below users out there who have not taken advantage of his great software are missing out on some great features.

With the Flex 5000 and dual receivers you can experience true diversity receive and dual band monitoring, a feature that is not available in the 6000 series until the 6700.

Last, but not least are the Sherwood Labs performance charts. I see the 6700 at the top of the chart and the 5000 at #10. No mention of the 6300. I would venture to say that the average ham (myself for sure) would be hard pressed to distinguish the difference between #1 and #10 with their own ears. The Flex 6700 retails for $7500 while you can get the 5000 on the used market for ~$1500.

For those 6000 series guys out there. I am not crusading against the 6000 boxes but merely pointing out the fact that there is still a helluva lot of life left in the 5000 boxes.
DJ3MQ Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2015 09:27 Send this review to a friend
Flwex 5000 with Win 10  Time owned: more than 12 months
One of my best radios ,
running with an Texas Instruments Chip Set
and a firewire Gold cable. Last week i change from Win 7 to Win 10 .
Everthing is ok , no further problems .
In resume , change to win 10 and the radio
is running the next 10 years or longer .
And dont spend thousends of Dollars for the
6000 familie , samtimes i think it´s not
a computer equipment when i look to the price ,
its a barrel of Gold , hi.

73 from Germany
KK4IBG Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2015 17:56 Send this review to a friend
FANTASTIC Radio I just bought a second 5000a  Time owned: more than 12 months
I love the Radio and have been using one for about 3 years now , I had a devastating fire in my house and lost everything my flex was in the fire and under water. I was able to clean it and got it somewhat running , then the Fine people at flex radio heard about what happened and sent me a shipping label. they went thru it and fixed it, cleaned it, for free, then sent it back to me .
it works great. Thank you flex radio for all your help . Just recently I bought another 5000a loaded and I plan on giving the other one to my dad , he will love it . The bottom line is not only does this radio perform like a dream but the company stands behind their products and goes above and beyond expectations. I am a customer for life.
Robert Albo KK4IBG
AB4D Rating: 5/5 Jun 21, 2015 09:04 Send this review to a friend
Good SDR  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had a Flex 5000a with the sub receiver and tuner for a couple of years now. It works very well for SSB. It's a very versatile rig with many adjustments that allows the operator to create a rig that is truly their own. Performance wise, it compares favorably with my other top end rigs, and cost is significantly less. On the used market, IMO it is the best bargain in amateur radio today, less than $2000.

Although it is very good, nothing is perfect, and this rig is no exception. There are some known quirks with the 5000a. One has to understand, the computer does most of the heavy lifting, and the components used to pass data between the Flex and the computer are somewhat critical. The Flex 5000a uses FireWire 400 architecture to pass data. I found the factory FireWire cable was insufficient. I experienced operability issues when trying to use that cable. A replacement cable from Granite Digital resolved those issues. The FireWire card is just as critical, and certain chipsets work better than others.

The S/RF meter in the 5000 also leaves a bit to be desired. The output meter is not very accurate when using SSB, definitely average reading, not peak. The 5000a is voltage sensitive, anything less than 13.8 volts, and power output drops significantly. I note, there is a voltage drop using the factory cable on the Flex 5000a. Utilizing the onboard voltage meter, it showed about 8 tenths of a volt drop from the power source, in relation to what was reported by power SDR. 2.7.2. Other operators have also noted latency issues when using CW, something to consider if you are a serious CW operator.

Another issue I have is not so much with the radio, but with Flex as a company. There have been instances when they have not always followed through with what they say, or announced production schedules have not been met. As an example, when Flex Radio announced that the Flex 5000a was being phased out of production, they also stated that development and improvement of Power SDR would continue. However, there hasn't been any additional work done on that platform. I recently asked Gerald Youngblood, if any additional work is planed for Power SDR, and his response was, "Power SDR is a mature product". Therefore, no additional development is forth coming. My only concern, if there comes a time when Power SDR won't function with a newer OS, will Flex step up and provide a patch.

In retrospect, I would still make the purchase again. It's still a unique transceiver that offers an operating experience that is significantly different than any knobbed radio.

NS5F Rating: 5/5 Jun 2, 2015 09:30 Send this review to a friend
A Truly Amazing Radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Since I'm retired living on a limited budget, I had to wait a while for a good used affordable FLEX to come my way. I'm using a nice pre-owned Flex 5000A complete with the 2nd receiver and ATU running on a spare Intel Duo-Core 4gig "Win XP" computer I had laying around. I base my opinion on the many rigs I've owned in the last 45+ years of ham radio including Collins, National, Drake, Kenwood, Yeasu, and most recently an Icom 756 Pro II.

First impression...
I am blown away with the receiver and it's amazing ability to dig signals out of the muck. Plus the 2nd receiver allows me the benefits of real diversity reception. It's true, SDR is a "trip down the rabbit hole" where with a simple mouse click you can custom change a filter width and skirt on the fly to eliminate QRM. Interference from a station above you? Just drag the upper filter limit down to where the station goes away..Very easy and very effective.

Regarding transmit quality..
As a former Chief Engineer and current audio processing consultant for AM and FM broadcast stations, my expectations for transmit audio are higher than the norm. With the FLEX I've found the on-board Transmit DSP allows for a decent amount of tailoring the audio to your voice. It gives you the ability to correct EQ issues with up to 10 bands of graphic equalization which along with a nice leveling amplifier and downward keying expander helps you maximize talk power without hearing everything going on in the house. If that's not enough for you, the balanced 600 ohm line level input is a major plus for adding professional out-board gear for even more control over your "sonic signature". Plus you can easily adjust the bandwidth of your transmitted signal on any voice mode with just a single click of the mouse.

My operation style is average I'd suppose. I'm a rag-chewer, a casual contester, I dabble in digital modes, enjoy operating legacy modes such as AM or CW and SSB. In all situations I've found this FLEX exceeds my expectations.

Even though this model is no longer in production I HIGHLY recommend the 5000 for someone who wants an exceptional value in SDR. There is one caveat. If you are not comfortable with and don't have a basic understanding of computers, then SDR and the FLEX are probably not for you. But if you come across a nice used 5000 at an affordable price, BUY IT...73 NS5F
W4PGM Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2015 15:51 Send this review to a friend
Excelent Service  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my Flex-5000 V/U for a number of years. This year it developed a problem that required service. The service was performed quickly and the charges were more than fair. This company is dedicated to customer service. While the 5000 was out I picked up a 6300 an I am amazed at the performance. It will be hard to go back to the 5000.
KA1API Rating: 5/5 Apr 25, 2015 09:43 Send this review to a friend
A Bargain  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased a Flex 5000A with ATU. Over the years, I have had the Flex 1000, 1500, 3000, 6500 and 6300 (as well as pretty much every other rig except for the TS-990). The 5000A is probably the biggest bargain rig you can buy right now. Once the 6000 series was announced, prices on the "older" Flex rigs began to drop.

The 5000 has a top notch receiver with excellent filtering, and it is still near the top of the Sherwood receiver list. The filter goes down to 25 Hz with no ringing, and no additional filters to buy. The receiver is nice and quiet and I can listen to it all day.

I have had excellent results on CW. There is no latency when used with a newer computer. The TR switching is by a relay, but with a 60 ms delay setting, I am able to get a good balance and can hear between characters. I am using an Intel I3 computer that cost around $400 so it is nothing special.

I just got a $20 firewire card and installed it in my computer, plugged the 5000A into it, installed the PowerSDR software, and I was on the air and making Phone and CW contacts, complete with integration with Ham Radio Deluxe. The microphone jack supports the standard Yaesu 8-pin connector so I am able to use my existing microphone set up. I have gotten great reports on Phone too. You can get on all the digital modes without having to buy an external interface.

Once you have experienced using the panadapter, with point and click tuning and being able to see all the signals on the band, you won't be able to go back to other rigs. PowerSDR software is very mature and doesn't crash - and it is free. Please note that even without the second receiver (RX2), PowerSDR supports listening to two frequencies on the same band, which is very helpful in pileups. You can have the DX station in one ear and watch/listen to the other stations in the other ear.

Not that you need it, but to help you transition from knobbed rigs to SDR, there is the FlexControl knob. It allows you to control the VFO, Volume, RIT and other aspects of the rig.

The 5000A fan runs nearly silently too so you can have it right at your operating position. There is a great support network if you need any help. If you've been on the fence about trying SDR, now is the time to give it a try!
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