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Flex-5000 Gives Way to the New Flex-6000 Series 20 - May - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Flex-6000, FlexRadio Systems, K9ZW, K9ZW Items For Sale.
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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.

Why?

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-1500                       $650
Flex-3000                    $1700
Flex-5000 base         $2800 now discontinued
Flex-5000 loaded    $3800 now discontinued
Flex-6500                     $4300
Flex-6700                     $7599

  • 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.

73

Steve
K9ZW

 

—————  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
points:

-

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
products.

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
transition.

**

73,

Greg – K5GJ

Risk vs. Reward – Returning to Common Sense in DXpeditions 25 - November - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, DX Interests, K9ZW, K9ZW Items For Sale.
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When is the risk worth the reward of mounting a DXpedition to a rare entity?

Over the last several years some amazing efforts have been made to activate places like Scarborough Reef (BS7H), Rockall Island (http://www.rockall.be MM0RAI/p and upcoming MS0INT http://www.eu189.com/) and other hazardous locals.

These operations put radio amateurs and their support crews at considerable risk.

Bluntly, they are not worth the level of risk being undertaken, much less are they worthwhile in an economic sense.

One cannot think of any non-emergency radio QSO (contact) that is worth putting another radio amateur in danger, much less worth losing a life to make that QSO.

These ultra-rugged DXpeditions certainly cross both those lines.

It is one thing if duty takes a person to a risky remote dangerous location, and they happen to be able to work QSOs as a radio amateur. It is quite another to foolishly egg on our fellow hams to undertake these risks for purely hobby reasons.

Could you forgive yourself if you were at the other end of the QSO when disaster struck down the DXpeditioneer you were in QSO with? Even one step removed making the connection less personal, could you look an DXpeditioneer’s XYL widow and family in the eye? Could you tell them “and it was worth it?”

Every task we undertake a certain element of risk – even typing for this blog is riskier than some alternative activities and safer than some other possible activities. We quantify perceived risk with “common sense.” It is a temporary set-aside of that “common sense” that leads us to encourage DXpeitions with off-skew Risk vs. Reward benefits.

What to do about it?

Some fellow hams simply won’t work risk crazy DXpeditions, to distance themselves from the problem.

Others use their checkbooks and sponsor only DXpeitions that are sensible.

Some call for the award bodies (ARRL, CQ, IOTA and such…) to simply disallow any DXpedition that is high peril.

I’m thinking as a community we need to do all three, and add a fourth item – get our “DX Drive” back in check.

There is no place to work that someone else hasn’t already worked. They might not be hams, but a radio contact of some sort has happened before.

DXing is often claimed to be a personal journey of self-challenge. Perhaps if we held that more important than encouraging high risk DXpeditions for personal vanity and brief peer recognition, we would be better off.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Excess Gear for Sale 22 - February - 2010

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Items For Sale.
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4 comments

I’ve not been very good about getting rid of excess gear, and I’m overdue clearing several excess rigs & bits from my shack.  I want another new rig and much of this gear really should find a new home:

  • TenTec 1253 Shortwave Receiver – Built from Kit by an SK, looks unused – $75 plus shipping
  • QRO King 6 meter full Kilowatt Amp built on a Heath SB221.  I lack the room for this outstanding amp in the shack.  - $1200 plus shipping.
  • ATS 909 SW Receiver – Like New – $150 plus shipping
  • NCS-3230 Multi-RX – as delivered new – again won’t fit in my present shack – $350 plus shipping
  • W2IHY 8 Band Audio Equalizer/Noise Gate and EQplus set with Ten-Tec Cables – $550 plus shipping
  • TenTec Pegasus Transceiver – Excellent NOS Like New Condition – Purchased as NOS and only Tested on air – original box, manuals and disks. Includes a 302 remote tuning pod. (This Pegasus does not have the internal AT, but is like new) $600 plus shipping [Retaining as a Back-up, having sold the other two Transceivers]
  • TenTec Pegasus Transceiver – Excellent Used Condition – Has the TenTec Internal Antenna Tuner – Case has light stacking scratches. Includes a 302 remote tuning pod. Manual & disks. $550 plus shipping [SOLD]
  • TenTec Jupiter Transceiver – Excellent Used Condition – was my main rig until I bought the Flex-5000 – original version w/o AT – $850 plus shipping [SOLD]
  • TenTec 1251 RF CounterpoiseThree Available One Left- Excellent Condition – $75 each plus shipping [Sorry, Error in Listing as unit is incomplete]
  • Henry 2K Amp, Original Teardrop Model – with extensive documented added protection circuitry, with roller cart and manual, one meter cover is in shabby shape, otherwise Good Condition. Unable to move down into my shack for complete workout – duplication of the professional upgrades would cost more than my asking price – $800 picked-up, or plus Palletization & Freight costs. [SOLD]
  • Dentron MT-2000A Antenna Tuner – Good Condition – $150 plus shipping [SOLD]
  • Drake TR-7 Transceiver and PS-7 Power-Supply, with a Drake W-4 Watt Meter – consignment from family friends has full filter board and full set of manuals (user & service) – appears in excellent condition – $550 plus shipping  [SOLD]

Contact me for more details. You can find lots of information on these tuners, including photos, at eHam, the manufacturer’s websites and by google.

I’ll leave these posted here for a couple weeks or so before putting out eHam & QTH ads.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Time to Clear-Out Excess Gear – K9ZW Items for Sale 4 - March - 2009

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Items For Sale.
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8 comments

PLEASE CHECK FOR LATEST LISTING – THIS IS AN OLD LIST

I’ve not been very good about getting rid of excess gear, and I’m overdue clearing several excess rigs & bits from my shack:

  • TenTec Pegasus Transceiver – Excellent NOS Like New Condition – Purchased as NOS and only Tested on air – original box, manuals and disks. No AT $650 plus shipping
  • TenTec Pegasus Transceiver – Excellent Used Condition – Has the TenTec Internal Antenna Tuner – Case has light stacking scratches. Manual & disks. $600 plus shipping [WITHDRAWN for Family's Use]
  • TenTec 1251 RF Counterpoise – Three Available – Excellent Condition – $75 each plus shipping [SOLD]
  • TenTec 1253 Shortwave Receiver – Built from Kit by an SK, looks unused – $75 plus shipping
  • Henry 2K Amp, Original Teardrop Model – with extensive documented added protection circuitry, with roller cart and manual, one meter cover is in shabby shape, otherwise Good Condition. Unable to move down into my shack for complete workout. – $900 picked-up, or plus Palletization & Freight costs.
  • Dentron MT-2000A Antenna Tuner – Excellent Condition – $300 plus shipping [REPURPOSED to Vintage Station]
  • LDG AT-1000 Antenna Tuner (Not the newer AT-1000Pro) – New as purchased direct from LDG, unboxed and sat on-top of the Palstar AT4K briefly. Firmware Upgrades Available from LDG. $400 plus shipping [SOLD]
  • MFJ-941E Antenna Tuner – Good Working Condition, Average Cosmetic Condition. $60 plus shipping [SOLD]

Contact me for more details. You can find lots of information on these tuners, including photos, at eHam, the manufacturer’s websites and by google.

I’ll leave these posted here for a couple weeks or so before putting out eHam & QTH ads.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Bruce Array Antennas & Warehouse Floors 8 - December - 2007

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW Built, K9ZW Items For Sale.
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The crank-up tower problem on Washington Island had taken down the Bruce Array I had built for W9EVT. 

In building the first one we’d learned a lot and in the field tuning more nuances of the Bruce Array were discovered.

Field tuning was much more sensitive than expected.

So plans are being made to build another Bruce Array for W9EVT on WI-001L.

The warehouse where we built last time is filled with winter storage at the moment, though with the experience of the first build proving out the roll-up build system we trialed I think we could do the build in a much smaller area.

The field-assembly system we designed also worked excellent.  The transformation from a spool of wire & antenna ropes to a ready to lift Bruce Array couldn’t have gone any better.

Reality is that until the snow clears on the Island and the ground firms enough for the Terex Lift the Bruce Array wouldn’t go up – so perhaps waiting for the storage to clear and building then would work out.

Thinking more than one will be built – the main new one for W9EVT and a spare for him to store (will leave the balun out of the spare for the time being).

It would not be very hard to make this a short run of Bruce Arrays. 

If any of you reading might be interested in a 40m Bruce Array for your QTH this spring, please drop me a note.  We could discuss if the design we’re building would work for you and put some costs together based on whether you’d be helping with the build & the final spec.

73

Steve
K9ZW

For Sale – Alpha 78 – Price Adjusted 13 - July - 2007

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW Items For Sale.
2 comments

Inside the Alpha 78 (less Transfomer)

— [ SALE PENDING ] —

I’ve adjusted the price on QTH and here on the Alpha 78 to below what it would cost a person to have an Amp redone like this.

If you’re happy with second-best in your shack you certainly can scrounge an Alpha 78 with bad cosmetics and perhaps less assured in being up to snuff electronically for less.

Consider me picky, as I just don’t fancy having a shack full of rough gear at anything less than spot-on functionally.

Perhaps I should box this one up and save it for my planned second shack at work.

Thank you for looking!

73
Steve

K9ZW

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