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Flex-Radio Flex-5000A Impressions after Six Months or so 31 - March - 2009

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Operations, K9ZW Shack, K9ZW Uses.
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My impressions of the Flex-5000A SDR radio keep going up.

I’ll have to admit to having done less than a 1000 QSOs using the Flex-5000A.  Based on my still modest sample the impression of quality and utility are 100%+

The listening ability is exceptional.  Using the Filter-Matrix, RX-Equalizer and the Noise-Reduction/Reception-Processing Matrix the number of stations I can hear and isolate is extraordinary.  Operating at times where other stations complain about the lack of stations heard, I often have a large number of stations that can be heard on the Flex-5000A.

The number one feature I am enjoying is the Display.  The various Panadapter displays have something for every operator.  Setting the viewed with to take in the most bandwidth makes getting a band snapshot easy.  Increasing the focus to allow more precision in selecting an observed signal to listen to certainly helps for DX Hunting.

Transmit Audio reports have been excellent.  A Yaseu MD-200 Desk Microphone is the current setup, though I plan to experiment with a boom mounted mic & foot-switch to see if I can gain some desk space back, and to use a more directional pickup patten.

The Dell computer is doing great.  Typically I will have PowerSDR, MixW and Safari (3) running.  I’ve avoided updating to the Safari 4 Public Beta having observed its huge appetite for  system memory and how it never gives up memory it no longer needs.

The software combination seems content with each other, tracks well and is stable.

I’ve written before about two observed software anomalies, an occasional reduction in audio out after periods of idle and frequency excursions (which may be my fault).  I haven’t been able to duplicate either, so they may be operator error.

Short term there are a number of tasks to accomplish in my installation:

  • Two longer shielded DVI cables are here and ready to install.  The Dell supplied cables are too short for my physical configuration.
  • The boom mike experiment to gain desk space.
  • The Contour ShuttlePro Multifunction Controller needs to be installed & configured.
  • Room has to be found to put the 6m Amp on-line.

Additionally the K9ZW shack setup wit the Flex-5000A needs a general tidy-up with cable-ties put on cables, power supplies moved so the switches are not hidden, the PowerMaster SWR Meter & Green Heron Rotor control hooked up to the computer and possibly replacing the RatPak antenna switch with one that can be computer controlled.

Lots of excuses to get lost in the shack for a few hours here & there!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Comments»

1. John Dunlop - 1 - April - 2009

Hi Steve,

I am about to purchase a Flex 5000a so good to hear all appears well with yours. Very appealing and have held of from my purchase long enough now. Pity about the exchange rate so hope to see more comments re this SDR rig.

73, John VK6AI.

2. AL - 10 - April - 2009

I am certainly glad Flex Radio at last came out with signed drivers and updated console software. Am very pleased now using my new Vista 64 computer and making a lot of contacts. Am using a Heil Heritage balanced microphone and getting great audio reports. I tried the Shuttle PRO but went back to using a mouse since it seems easier for me. My ham friends who stop by to see my setup are amazed when they see stations on and how easy it is for me to pounce on them. Sometimes I get electrical noise from our power line but the 5000A makes it go away completely. Experimenting now with using another antenna for receiving, making it a dual diversity setup along with full breakin on CW. Out of this world.

3. Gary KW4Z - 11 - October - 2011

I’m wondering if anyone is using Flex and the software under the Macintosh (Apple) system using an emulator such as Parallels or Fusion? I tried to download a sample software load and run it under test but never could get it to install and run under OSX and Fusion.

Is there an advantage to running under windows or if you can run it under the Apple system is there an advantage of running it under Mac?

k9zw - 12 - October - 2011

Gary KW4Z,

Reports are that many folk have successfully run their Flex-5000A radios with OSX Machines, though typically with an emulator or bootcamp.

You can find PowerSDR on OSX Machine information at:

http://kc.flexradio.com/KnowledgebaseCategory60.aspx (You may have to drill down)
and at the FlexRadio Reflectors

(Arichives) http://www.mail-archive.com/flexradio%40flex-radio.biz/ and to join via the drop down menus at the main Flex-Radio site under support>reflectors

The Wiki has some general configuration and setup guides: http://flexradiowiki.com/

There is also some discussion with links on the future for an OSX version of PowerSDR at http://forums.flexradio.com/Topic4941-59-1.aspx

The upcoming generational leap of PowerSDR is called Deep Impact, and planned to be multi-platform, expecting much like fldigi in having selected builds for common operating systems. No date on that project resulting in a release is available.

Good luck & 73

Steve
K9ZW


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