Returning from W9DXCC where I was able to attend FlexRadio’s Greg K5GJ’s presentation and chat with him at length as well, I would like to update my predictions:
- Amateur Radio’s leading Edge will move hugely forward. We’re at the cusp of a huge leap forward as FlexRadio brings to market what before only a few intrepid folks (like the TAPR folks) have been able to do.
- This technology will be a huge hit with those willing to work the leading edge. Expect to see a SmartSDR Client on a lot of busy people’s PCs for those lunch hour QSOs.
- Group/Remote Stations will allow more people to get on the air. The easy options to shack/antenna restrictions will now include remote operation as a regular possibility.
- I was wrong on much in way I predicted that Special rules or Special Classes will being needed when these radios appear in contests and QTH collection programs (IOTA/SOTA/DXCC). The new technology won’t be much of an issue. Reports are that when a transmitter location criteria is used it becomes easy to to incorporate the new technology into these programs. I was seeing a problem that doesn’t really seem to be there (and has already largely been solved where is does appear.)
- Someone will exploit these units, forcing some security demands on owners – but it will be pretty hard for hackers to exploit. Basically if you are smart enough to get into them you’re already smart enough to make your own. Enough said.
- While limited advances in small run offerings by other teams may come close, or perhaps equal/exceed the Flex-6000 Series in a few areas, it will be a long wait until there is a contender. The catch-up game for contenders is huge and expensive.
- They will be a LOT of fun! REALLY a lot of fun! Imagination will only get you part way to what these radios will do.
- Every ham who is computer/technology savvy will want one.
- We will have some new jargon/language to deal with – examples below.
It is hard not to be pumped about this new series.
BTW I am not selling my Flex-5000A – it is too good of a radio to part with.
Some things learned from the W9DXCC Presentation.
New word for most hams – “Netcentric” reflects the connectivity by internet of this new gear.
Another new concept is “Radio Server” where your Signature-Series Flex-6000 could be thought of as a just another sort of server on your net.
“Super Browser” is the descriptive for the thin client software.
“Phase Noise Dynamic Range” will be the axis for measuring one Radio Server against another, as we see the developments focus on letting us hear well.
The amount of data going through one of these Radio Servers is stunning – where a clasic Multi-Conversion rig runs at roughly 96 ksps, and a Single-Conversion doubles that for 192 ksps, this new Direct-Sampling implimentation is zooming at 246,000 ksps (or 246 Msps).
Likewise the distortion of conversions which with Mutli-Conversion happens at 3 or 4 places, and with Single-Conversion halves, this new Direct-Sampling drops it to zero hardware points and single software point… well sort of as each technology typically has a few more points.
Signal to noise is the game – with Radio Servers offering a major step forward.
Also I am VERY humbled to realize that the Folks at FlexRadio have thought through much of what I have pondered upon, and years ago. In conversation Greg K5JG was gracious enough to share some of the OB/OM (Organizational Behavior/Operational Management) philosophy they have implemented at FlexRadio Systems and pointed me at references where I could learn more about their successful management style. The W9DXCC was also a flattering experience when I learned that people actually read & remember the content of these posts. I am humbled and grateful.
Back to the this new world of Generation 3 SDR radios and the Flex-Radio 6×00 series – simply put “The possibilities are amazing!”
First post of this series Flex-6700 Fantasies – “Dreaming What Might Be!” Series
Planning in a few weeks to have another first hand look at the Flex-Radio Flex-6000 series radios at the W9DXCC Convention in Illinois.
……one can imagine, dream and scheme can’t one?
Reading the Flex-Radio literature, Insider newsletters and reflectors there is one massive amount of promise to this new radio an architecture!
I’d like to touch on a few items that have caught my eye, and what I imagine they might offer for the future of amateur radio.
Be absolutely certain I am speculating, I have no extra insight or sources (nor would I betray information given to me in confidence) and I am doing analysis based on what it out there. I’m going to have fun speculating what might be.
Putting some guesses and construction to the pieces of information over the next few weeks, we’ll see if I guess right on anything announced at the W9DXCC or later when radios ship.
I’ll try to get a thought out every few days in the lead-up to the W9DXCC Convention and then an assessment in the week or so directly after the event.
I’ll link them to this “Flex-6700 Fantasies – “Dreaming What Might Be!” Series” starter and again in the wrap up.