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Reviews For: FlexRadio SDR-1000

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - non QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : FlexRadio SDR-1000
Reviews: 58MSRP: 1399.00 100w ver/ $925 1w ver
Software Defined Radio: RF section on three small boards. A Tayloe Detector/mixer converts the RF to two channels of audio 90deg out of phase. DSP, etc. is then done in the PC, using the soundcard.
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W4RDM Rating: 2023-09-17
20 Year Review Time Owned: more than 12 months.
20 Year Review. I have two of the SDR-1000's radios. Bought the first one in 2003. They have worked very well, do pretty much anything as well as the modern day sdr radios. Only maintenance required is cleaning the foam filter on the cooling fan. The only problem is the windows OS. As long as I can maintain window I'll keep using them. I will always remember the daily PowerSDR updates. Nothing like getting a new radio everyday.
KO5MO Rating: 2022-12-19
2022 and still working great! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My SDR1000 is still alive and the heart of my SSTV station. Running Windows10_32Bit on a home built solar power PC. Its stable and not subject to power outages :)
I love this radio, 100W get me out and around. Works great on WSTJ too. (10-20W).

W5SOG Rating: 2017-12-19
Pi-SDR puts new life into the SDR-1000 Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Back last spring I purchased a nice used SDR-1000. I've seen and followed the Flex radios for years but never had the money to purchase one. I found this one at a hamfest and the owner had it priced almost at a give-a-way, so on in impulse I bought it.

Little did I realize the cold, cruel facts of trying to get that radio to work with a modern computer, i.e., anything later than XP. The radio came with a Delta44 (minus the real drivers that work), an EMU0404 (drivers here BSOD'd every 5 minutes, and a set of OZY/Janus cards with no drivers but not the usb to lpt adapter. Thanks to Doug, W5WC he sent me a his modified copy of PowerSDR 1.18.0 with a set of OZY firmware that worked. The SDR-1000 ran fine but obviously 1.18 is little dated and many improvements have been made since.

In early summer, I happened upon the PowerSDR-IQ yahoo group and found that Christos, SV1EIA, was working on the Pi-SDR+, an ethernet based sound processor with SDR-1000 CAT control. Last week, I received my unit.

In a nutshell, within 15 minutes, I had installed PSDR 2.5.3, added the SV1EIA extensions, hooked up the IQ cables, attached the Usb-LPT cat adapter, ethernet cable, and wala, my SDR1000 was now working on Win10, 64bit via ethernet. There are NO windows drivers required, only an ethernet card. WOW!

Obviously, I've only had it working for 5 days now but the Pi-SDR+ works beautifully. I had to perform the expected SDR-1000 calibration with my Elecraft XG3 for better performance. Receive sensitivity is 25%ish better than my IC7000 and it certainly has fulfilled all my expectations.

All that for only $275 intro price plus shipping,

If you have an old SDR-1000 gathering dust in the closet and would like to give it new life, then the Pi-SDR+ is your ticket. More info can be found at .


Don Jarvis
VE3QZ Rating: 2017-09-25
KE9NS software on the SDR-1000 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I was revitalized recently when I discovered that the KE9NS PowerSDR 2.8.0 had been modified by a ham in Russia to run on the SDR-1000. It took a bit of effort but it was worth it and it does work well. I had to convert my PC to Win7 32 and download a 4.5 or higher version of .NET framework. You can find the SDR-1000 version of PowerSDR 2.8.0 software by searching for "Excalibur201010 sdr-1000". I was also recommended to run 1.18.6 first and then the new software. It certainly added a new dimension and lease on life to my aging SDR-1000.
KD0CQ Rating: 2017-06-24
Don't You Forget About Me! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Around a year ago I traded for the Flex SDR-1000, 100w version, and I've never looked back.

The radio outperforms anything I've had on the bench before in terms of receive and the transmitted audio is crisp, clean, and natural. Its ability to pull out weak signals, customizable filters, auto and tracking notch filters, and DSP abilities make it an unmatched performer in its class and age bracket.

I had to overcome some hurdles with RFI because of the convoluted Delta 44 sound interface breakout board, but with the breakout eliminator most of those issues were resolved. I upgraded to the Edirol FA66 sound interface after 6 months, the overall performance improved even more. The Delta 44 allows up to 96KHz of spectrum visibility while the Edirol FA66 you have up to 192KHz, although at 192KHz there is some drop off at the edges, so you're getting closer to ~175KHZ display. I run it at 96KHz and performance is great.

Because you need to interface to a computer, and for general sanity I suggest you buy the Palomar Engineers HF Base RFI Kit. It COMPLETELY eliminated all residual RFI issues and the noise floor dropped ~10dB! At the time of this writing the RFI kit was less than $40. It is a must with any SDR transceiver as far as I am concerned.

There is a draw back to using this particular Flex model. It relies on the old LPT/Parallel interfacing. What I mean by this is it uses many of the pins there and requires full control of the LPT port. 64bit versions of Windows do not allow for full control. So you're stuck with WindowsXP up to Windows 7 32bit versions. I'm running a dedicated PC with a hardened version of WindowsXP with a strict external firewall and some custom modifications to prevent any nasties from attacking my SDR machine.

There is a Flex USB to Parallel interface but I could not get it to work with Win7 64. I've read where people were able to get this working with customized drivers, but the drivers are no longer available any where I have found links.

If you can get past the OS issues this radio is totally worth it!

I have transverters for all bands up to 10GHz so the ability to interface with them is a must for me. Supposedly you should be able to hook right in to the QRP designated port on the rig and go. However I found that I wasn't getting a signal to the transverter that way and grew tired of fighting it. To get it to interface properly I made a small modification, basically fed the pins from an exposed jumper that are intended to feed an internal Flex 2m transverter, to an added BNC connector on the back. From there I feed my 50MHz through 432Mhz transverters. When using my 902MHZ and up transverters they are fed from the 144mhz or 432mhz transverter.

Being able to pick out weak signals on the waterfall on the VHF and up bands is awesome and allows for some exciting operation that would be non-existent otherwise. This is how I plan on working Phase4B when it gets launched as well. (I'll be using the softrock RXTX XTALL feeding an addition IF transverter to allow for the dual band microwave operation since the Flex only has MutliRX abilities on a single band)

One thing about an SDR is you get to see all the noise on the bands around you. All those birdies and noise you hear when spinning your dial are visible and using the available software filtering and DSP you can normally turn very noisy band conditions into a pleasingly quiet listening experience.

Digital Modes are another area where this radio shines. You'll get more contacts with the improved RX capabilities, no external devices and wires to tangle up or absorb RFI. Easily configured virtual audio cables (software links) and virtual com ports take their place.

I could go on and on about this radio all day. The Flex SDR-1000 has its pitfalls as I mentioned above, but they are easily overcome. A little initial patience will yield a station worth bragging about.

Don't think you need to spend $3000-$5000 to have a nice SDR station. You can get started with a Flex SDR-1000 for around $500 and outperform many other brand new radios on the air today!
M0ZOL Rating: 2015-12-08
Don't let them make you forget this one. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Now that Flex has tried to make you forget this radio ...DON'T!!!
The radio side by side comparisons blows my Icom IC-7800 away. The receiver is 1st class, put it this way I have not found a better radio.
Mine's with a Roland sound card FA-66 which is a pro card thus the performance of the radio with this card. Do not use anything less than this.
Flex have removed most of the files for this radio and only let you download early software and there are later software that has the tracking notch filters but if you request them they do send some, but not all files to you.The source code is also available so to modify the instructions allowing you to TX all HF and also adapt to run on win7 win10 etc . There is a usb lead which also works well .
If you have a chance to get one do it. Iv'e had mine for over 5 years longest radio iv'e owned , It can be hard to set up but once done you wont regret it.
Mine is used for RX and ESSB with 100w HF and hard to match with anything else even today..

KI6USW Rating: 2012-06-15
Fun, fun, fun! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Bought this radio almost two years ago and it sat in the box for all of that time. Why? Intimidated. Not that I don't know my way around a computer - I can build and set them up with the best of them. I just got a bit flakey about getting off of my butt and away from the Kenwood TS-2000. That is a nice radio - too.

But what really got me going on this project was a local Ham that put together a "Ensemble TXRX" 10-15m kit radio - which is also software dependent (it uses the "HDSDR" software). He was raving about how much fun he was having, how well the receiver and transmitter worked, and the fact that the software had the panadapter. He told me to hook up my Flex; so I did.

After a day and a half of struggling to make it work, I got around to reading the SDR-1000 manual. Should have done this in the first place. Hindsight is 20-20 - isn't it? That straightened out what I needed to know. At this point, I knew what questions needed to be answered and the manual delivered.

I also had to purchase a FireWire PCI-E card in order to get the Edirol FA66 sound card into the computer. After installing the Edirol driver, the FlexRadio driver, and the Power SDR software, I was able to start the software for the radio. It finally lit up!

The other problem that I had at first, was figuring out where the three sets of wires went between the Edirol sound card, the Flex, and the computer. Flex has a pdf for that too; so that made it easy.

Once it was all set up correctly in the setup menu, It was time to set up the freq cal, level cal, and RX image cal. Used WWV for that.

Latency isn't a real issue - IMO. That will depend entirely on the quality of the sound card, the computer speed, and the way you set up the parameters in the setup GUI. I use a quad core AMD 3.2ghz processor with 4gb's of RAM, and a 1gb video card. No bottlenecks here . . .

After all of that, it has been fun playing with all of the adjustments and filters. If you are into eSSB at all; this is the radio for you. However, if you a into DX/contesting or SW; they have a transmit profile for those too. The filters - and the panadapter screen that can be used to control them is easy, informative, and just fun to use.

This particular radio I bought had some of the options, such as the antenna tuner, TCXO crystal, and the 100w amp.

You might feel like a pig on roller skates for the first few days. But that will quickly pass as the fun this radio can generate just using it and discovering just how 'Flexible' these radios really are.
AE5YJ Rating: 2011-10-28
Fine radio, now that I finally got it up and running Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I agree with the last reviewer who stated that this radio is not "plug and play". It is a chore to get the 1k working, especially on a newer system. Few issues I had that are very common...

1. Radio seemed RF deaf. I could not hear the relays initializing at launch of powerSDR, and the panadapter shows only soundcard noise. Problem is that the parallel interface isn't communicating (bit-banging) to the radio. You can use the rare FlexRadio Parallel to USB adapter (which is only supposed to work with WinXP, but I am living proof that it will also work with WinVista 32 bit). I did not have any luck with aftermarket parallel cards, regardless of interface. I have been told that the drivers for Vista only support limited communication with these devices, and that to run them properly to use Winxp. Perhaps, but my advice would be to run a windows xp system with an integrated parallel interface on the motherboard and just be done with it. You should not have the "rf deaf" parallel port problems using an xp system with mobo integrated parallel port. If you do, check your cable (not more than 6').

2. Stray RF. I am running a short G5RV apex at 20'. This Rig is not forgiving of RF in the shack. In my case, RF would hit the parallel-to-usb cable and knock out my computer. This was only on a tuning carrier of approx 5-10 watts. SSB was a little more forgiving, but as soon as my voice hit the right pitch, it would knock out the cable (usually mid transmit). I added a choke balun at the feedpoint of the antenna and redid my grounding system to allow for better RF ground. Seems to have solved all my RF problems.

I mention the above two common issues because unlike the previous reviewer, these were not problems of the radio, but problems of the computer or station design. True this radio is not very forgiving of installation mistakes, beginner or otherwise, but it does perform as advertised.

Now that I have been able to finally enjoy the full RX/TX potential of this rig (within limits of my antenna) I must say that I am very impressed. RX seems very hot, much more so than the Yaesu FT-920 that it replaced. I do get annoyed looking at the spurs present on 15/12/10, but from operational standpoint they don't interfere. Speaking of interference, there is nothing that I have found that the multiple tracking notch filters in the latest version of PowerSDR can't take care of (yes they are stackable). Full control over TX bandwidth is a plus as well, I want to explore ESSB someday with some good rack gear (although using a large-diaphragm condenser mic with the FA66 sound card gets awesome audio reports with PowerSDR's TX EQ and downward expander).

I am really happy with this radio now that I finally have installed and configured correctly. I understand the newer flex radios (1.5k, 3k, 5k various flavors) are more streamlined to install and configure. I would love one, but see no need at the moment to upgrade as the 1k is doing a fine job. I have to admit that returning to a traditional transceiver with LCD display and rigid filter options (or lack therof) makes me feel blind. The powerSDR panafall display is the ultimate in band situational awareness. I do miss a physical radio interface, but the ability to see everything for a 96kz swath quickly makes up for it.

My only fear is that the radio will outlast the legacy system that is supporting it. Modern computer tech. seems to have left this radio in the past, with the requirement of the parallel interface. Might have to build a just-in-case system for that possible eventuality, I don't plan on getting rid of my flex for awhile.
K4CMC Rating: 2011-10-17
Poor driver support Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Bought SDR1000 with Edirol soundcard. Went out and bought dual core computer to use and found SDR drivers simply would not work with VISTA software. Had my computer guy downgrade to XP at a cost of over $100, but still it did not work. Despite numerous attempts I was unable to get the Edirol drivers to work with the SDR software. Called Flex, but got no real effective help. Also posted on the user site asking for help and got none. Guess if you are a computer mavin you might be able to get the SDR1000 to work, but I gave up and sold it. Definitely not plug and play!
KG4GLI Rating: 2010-04-16
Very Good Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have owned my SDR 1000 for about 3 months now and all I can say is it is a very good rig. The software is whats makes the rig so great. It has the pan adapter all the filter you will ever need. When they update the software it like getting a new rig. I am debating on selling it to purchase the New 5000A, I thought about the new 3000 but the 1000 still offer more. This thing will transmit 6khz wide for some great ESSB audio. You just cant beat the rig it has one of the best receiver I have every heard. Great Rig all the way. All I can say is it's a Flex.