FlexRadio Systems Banquet 2013 – Highlights 21 - May - 2013Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, Hamvention, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: Flex-5000, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, PowerSDR, SmartSDR
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I enjoyed the 2013 FlexRadio Systems banquet though the Dayton Grand needs taking to task for not measuring up. Over 180 hams attended!
Announced was the end of Flex-5000 series – see other article I just posted.
We’re told a new PowerSDR version 2.7.x expected over summer. PowerSDR development will continue.
Flex-6000 roll out will ship 6700′s ahead of 6500′s, with a voluntary Beta-Software program available. The 6700 firmware/software is a few weeks ahead of the reduced set of the 6500.
Annual Subscriptions for Beta-Software will start with the release of a non-Beta software package, expected to be some weeks (not many months) aftr the Beta-Software gooes live.
Demonstrated remote access to a Flex-6700 with a Windows Tablet by handing it around for all 180 of us to have a chance to play with it!
InnovAntennas developing an optimised Log Periodic to work with the Flex-6000 Series and it’s enhanced reception capabilities. They also will have some optimized antennas for exploiting the diversity reception capabilities of the 6700.
The Flex-6500 and Flex-6700/6700R are SDR “Radio Server Appliances” in the new lingo.
FlexRadio Systems is moving towards being a software house that happens to also provide “Radio Server Appliances.”
The gap between the PowerSDR Flex-3000 and the SmartSDR Flex-6500 will eventually be filled with a new SmartSDR radio below the Flex-6500/6700 in both ultimate capabilities and pricing. This new radio won’t start development until the 6700/6500 are released and established.
SmartSDR is only one GUI/HMI offering and is not the meat of the high value software. Other GUI/HMI programs are highly likely over time.
API developer licensing will be available and some 3rd party development is underway under NDAs.
Expect a hardware Remote Station I/O Manager Device to work with SmartSDR – a way to hook your headset, PTT and key to your remote tablet/pad device. FlexRadio Systems did not put a timeline on this accessory.
Expect SmartSDR apps for more than Windows devices – iPod and Android were mentioned.
Initial Beta-Group Flex-6700/6500 software will expect a direct connect to the SmartSDR computer, later upgrades will allow remoting within a workspace and eventually full remoting should be possible.
There is substantial professional interest in the Flex-6700R for other than Amateur Radio useage.
The data time-stamping from the GPSDO option will open up a lot of opportunities to combine data streams.
These topics will be fleshed out and discussed over the new few months.
Flex-5000 Gives Way to the New Flex-6000 Series 20 - May - 2013Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K9ZW, K9ZW Items For Sale.
Tags: Flex-5000, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled
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The speculation I’ve read in various amateur radio forums and on reflectors about FlexRadio Systems discontinuing the Flex-5000A has been concerning.
No concern over FlexRadio System’s commercial decision to discontinue the Flex-5000A, rather it has been concern for the highly damning actions of some of the community of radio amateurs who post to forums either complete wild-guesses or outright deliberate false statements. Some of the forum folks even have taken upon themselves to fabricate alternative speculative reasons with no basis outside of their fantasy world. Shame folks, shame.
The real story on the End-of-Life for the Flex-5000A is very simple.
FlexRadio Systems has discontinued the Flex-5000A earlier than expected (note the timing) due to the H-Case Enclosure becoming uneconomic/unavailable at the current production volume of Flex-5000A radios currently being sold.
These lower levels also made it costly and mored difficult to source some other select components needed for the Flex-5000A at production acceptable costs.
Together these were problems that would drive the Flex-5000A sell price up unreasonably or require a product redesign with all those costs, neither which are viable options for a product that was already long in the tooth.
These were the items forcing the accelerated timing for the end of the Flex-5000A production, but perhaps by what might be less than a few months earlier than expected.
Because the Flex-5000A occupied a product position in the overall line too close to the new Signature Flex-6000 Series though the phase-out timing originally had been suggested to be many months after the new line was shipping in bulk – provided the Flex-5000A was still selling. Anyone who had listened carefully at the 2012 Dayton FlexRadio Systems Banquet would be clear that the PowerSDR hardware range would loose the 5000 series at some time once the SmartSDR 6000 series was established.
The Flex-5000A sales had already fallen off in favor of Flex-6000 series orders.
The old radio was been seen by the market as old technology at a price point too close to the new technology to maintain significant new sales volume.
What are the Marketing Price Points for Popular Multi-Price Point HF Brands?
In May 2013 roughly present price points are:
Flex-5000 base $2800 now discontinued
Flex-5000 loaded $3800 now discontinued
- Brand-T has four USA Built HF rigs at $1000, $1800, $2800 and $4400
- Brand-K has price points for HF rigs at $1000, $1100, $1540, $1600, $2000 and $8000
- Brand-Y price points are $1000, $1500, $1900, $2700, $6000, $10100, and $11350
- Brand-I features price points at $700, $900, $1000, $1100, $1500, $1900. $2600, $5000, $6000, $10,500 and $11,800
Comparing that to other brands FlexRadio Systems could be argued to lack a super premium like the IC-7800 and FTdx9000 rigs, and there would appear to have an open market price point slot between the Flex-3000 and Flex-6500 with the Flex-5000A having been discontinued.
Now to be fair for each Flex you need some sort of computer. ( Interestingly the capabilities of the PC needed drops in specification from the highest grade PC needed for Flex rigs 1500-5000 which use PowerSDR which is “Thick Client” needing a significant machine – like an entry level game machine, where 6500/6700 use SmartSDR which is a “Thin Client” GUI/HMI only.)
With most stations having a computer in them already the bump-up in ownership costs may not be as dramatic for FlexRadio Systems now as it was when the Flex-5000A was first introduced.
Again listening to FlexRadio Systems statements as they transition to a Software Company that any new radios would be Thin-Pipe SmartSDR products. They said this last year and again this year, that the new architecture is the framework for new products.
Now what about the values of used Flex-5000A’s?
Mine isn’t going anywhere, not for sale. Arguably the most capable fully mature amateur radio SDR transceiver it has a long term place in my radio room. Having been there for nearly six years I would expect it to be part of my station for another 4-6 years at least.
There is a new PowerSDR version 2.7.x due out this summer and the Thick-Pipe structure is robust enough to weather a few more Windows upgrades at least.
Other hams need to sell their Flex-5000A radio to part fund their new Flex-6000 radio.
Overall the market for used Flex-5000A radios is healthy and pricing seems fairly stable.
Pricing should reflect that mixture of economically forced sales by upgrading hams and retention of value by multi-Flex equipped stations.
————— Official FlexRadio Systems “FLEX-5000A End of Manufacturing Announcement”
I should be 100% clear that the preceding article was my own take and the following is FlexRadio System’s official announcement to handle all the speculation on the internet. 73 Steve K9ZW
Dear FlexRadio Systems customers:
The FLEX-5000A began production in 2007 as our flagship Software Defined
Radio product. It has been highly successful and its chart-topping
performance is enjoyed daily by thousands of customers around the world.
Recently, we’ve been faced with procurement challenges related to
subsystems and components used in the FLEX-5000 product that would force a
product redesign. These challenges plus the dramatic customer shift from
the FLEX-5000 to the FLEX-6500 for new purchases make it economically
unfeasible to continue manufacturing the FLEX-5000. Here are the important
We will continue to support and service the FLEX-5000A in our US,
Canadian, and EU Service depots for many years to come just as we?ve done
with all FlexRadio products.
We will continue to enhance and support PowerSDR? as we have done for
the past 10 years. Four new releases of PowerSDR have been delivered in
the last 12 months and more enhancements are in development now.
We will continue to sell the RX2 second receiver and the ATU autotuner
upgrades for the FLEX-5000 as long as there is a meaningful demand for the
We sincerely appreciate our loyal FlexRadio customers and it was great to
see so many of you this weekend at Dayton Hamvention 2013. We thank you
for your support and understanding as we make this necessary product
Greg – K5GJ
EtherGeist: FlexRadio 6700 – LF Reception Report and Video 19 - May - 2013Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K6TU, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, SmartSDR
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FlexRadio 6700 – LF reception
Another interesting test for any receiver is to see how its LF performance functions. Although we haven’t got low frequency allocations at 137 KHz or 497 KHz yet, hopefully we will in the not too distant future. I was curious to see how the 6700 would perform at those lower frequencies.
Stu K6TU again shares his Flex-6700 explorations.
Dayton 2013 – Friday Report 17 - May - 2013Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Dayton Hamvention, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, Hamvention, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: Alpha 4040, Alpha Radio Products, Array Solutions, FlexRadio Systems, Green Heron Engineering, Hilberling, Hilberling PT-8000, Hilberling USA, LUSO, TenTec, TenTec Rebel, VNA, W2IHY
Been an interesting Hamvention so far.
There are some new products – the IC-7100 successor to the IC-7000 and the TS-990 was being shown.
Interestingly the Kenwood was somehow locked up and the floor team didn’t have a way to reboot it.
My first focus was a visit with Julius at W2IHY where I was having a very serious look at the new line of switch gear. I’ve always admired the quality of his gear and this new range of products doesn’t disappoint. http://w2ihy.com will fill you in on the new gear. I already have a lot of his audio gear and will be adding some of the new line.
A visit at Hilberling found that they fully up and running for the USA market. Never intended to be “everyman’s transceiver” they have delivered over $1million of these new “uber-radios” so far.
Long chat at FlexRadio Systems and one has to admire their willingness to trickle out radios even while the eagerness and requests to ship are so huge. It was hard to get up close with the crowd, but i did get some time on their Flex-6700 simulators. Tim W4TME was kind enough to give me a guided tour of the inside of the visual Flex-6700 – and I obliged by pretending I knew what all that stuff was (actually it is pretty neat and straight forward.) FlexRadio Systems has put the Flex-5000A on end-of-life status with a when stock is sold, they are all sold noted on their website. Flex-5000A critical components have become unavailable and it was fairly easy to see their was a product line overlap (a fully loaded Flex-5000A was within five hundred dollars of the new Flex-6500).
Very nicely the FlexRadio Systems team explained to me that when my radio is ready to ship, it will be ready. Tomorrow is the FlexRadio Systems Dayton Hamvention Dinner where I hope to hear much more.
Over at Alpha the long awaited Alpha-4040 Tuner was being shown in working form. The tuner looks well worth the wait. The touchscreen display is awesome!
I was really taken with the dual port VNA (Vector Network Analyzer) at Array Solutions. This “black box” connects to your PC to create a full test lab doing much more than I can recollect. Jay (Array Solution’s owner) showed me how to do a TDR (Time Division Reflectometry) examination of a feedline and antenna system (including the VNA even measuring a human hand touching an antenna element), how to do a full in depth coil measurement, and a bunch of stuff I am going to have to brush up on. This look like my next test gear addition.
The Japanese LUSO tower people took the time to explain their very cool crank-up towers. Really amazingly serious amateur radio gear.
I was surprised at a couple vendors living the past. Some of the big name rotor/rotor-controller folk have amazing new technology (Green Heron Engineering is a personal favorite, and they sold me one of their new station control modules) and other are promising to catch up to market norms by adding computer control to their rotor-controllers in perhaps a year….
TenTec was showing off their latest and a new Model 506 “Rebel” QRP transceiver I hadn’t seen before. Apparently this new radio has the guts of an Arduino running the show – very cool!
EtherGeist Report – Flex-6700 Unboxing and First Station Report 14 - May - 2013Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K6TU
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First reports trickling is as expected:
FlexRadio 6700 – out of the box and how it sounds
I’ve been tracking personal milestones in my journey with the FlexRadio 6700:
Alpha hardware delivered ✓
Alpha software releases ✓
Production hardware delivered ✓
For anyone with experience in system development and manufacturing, committing the build of production hardware is no small decision – it simply has to be right! Of course the science is in the “simply” – just like “oh, it’s a simple matter of programming” – wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that!
So when I got the automated notice from FlexRadio that my production version of the 6700 had been shipped, I was even more excited that when the alpha was shipped… first customer ship was approaching!
LINK for full article by K6TU: EtherGeist.
With reports of the Flex-6700 supporting 56 Mhz (!!!) of simultaneous band monitoring… well this is “way cool” beyond expectations!
FlexRadio Systems Flex-6700′s Major Announcement – Soup’s On! 14 - May - 2013Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K5SDR, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, N6V, SmartSDR
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FlexRadio Systems Flex-6700/6500 radios will start shipping within six weeks of Dayton.
In a major communication Gerald Youngblood K5SDR updates those with deposits on the project status.
The hardware is done.
Production software is not.
With the GUI SmartSDR out on the thin-client the updating procedure module is to be finished.
They are recruiting a limited number of Flex-6700 Software Beta testers who will receive their radios shortly.
I of course have volunteered.
The panadapter module is also being tweaked.
Original commitment was eight slices at 384 kHz for a 3.1 Mhz combined panadapter coverage.
Current implementation is four slices at a whopping 14 Mhz – each!!
This 56 Mhz ( an 18 fold bonus beyond the spec) capability is being reworked into a eight slice configuration. (Four for the 6500).
Gerald K5SDR’s communication provided a lot more information, and a commitment to weekly FlexInsiders starting end of May.
FlexRadio Systems will have four running demonstration units (unfortunately into dummy loads) and a live station in the Ecomm van at Dayton to give customers a hands on feel for the new radios and software, along with 16 of their staff being at the show.
Soup’s On! Almost ready to serve too!