Monthly Archives: May 2013

Insider’s Viewpoint – the Sage Words on FlexRadio Systems FlexInsider eLetters

Every now and again we all need to be reminded what is ours and what is not.  FlexRadio System issued its twelfth FlexInsider today with a reminder that its contents are a targeted communication for early adopters of the Flex-6000 Signature series, and asked that wider distribution be held until FlexRadio Systems  either grants permission, or implied was until they decide to release the contents themselves.

In practice FlexRadio Systems has been making FlexInsider newsletters available as a download a month after the early adopters receive their emailed copies.

Makes a lot of sense, and With Varying Frequency – Amateur Radio Ponderings is onboard with the request.

Greatly paraphrased FlexRadio Systems FlexInsider #12 relays that progress continues on the remaining pieces of the product package for the SmartSDR Preview Edition releases.

When my radio is ready, well then it is ready.

What is included in the Smart SDR Preview, and later SmartSDR v1.0 is a-okay with me.  It isn’t like I am building or programing this radio!

I am preparing my radio room for the addition – actually I am doing a major overhaul/upgrade triggered by the new radio, but in honesty well overdue.

This week I did learn an interesting thing – my Flex-6500 order was in the first handful – something like the 4th order placed – kind of hard to tell.  It is at least in the first handful entered online.  My order since has been upgraded along the way to a Flex-6700 w/GPSDO.  FlexRadio Systems did say the upgrade wouldn’t interfere with my early delivery slot.

One can only imagine what it is like at FlexRadio Systems right now – the impending launch of a major product could be likened to childbirth one could suppose.  Must be amazing times!

If as customers we are pumped and excited, imagine what it must be like at the plant?!

Guess I better get my shack project sorted out, and get ready!



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Ham Hijinks – The Noise Blankers Radio Group WR5P

The WR5P Group knows how to have fun. (I know I’ve mentioned them before).

Now That's Rare DX

Recent articles include:

  • Instagram To Introduce New “Hamstagram” Filters
  • Man Attends 11 Storm Spotter Classes In A Row
  • Confused Protestors Picket Dayton Hamfest, Then Leave
  • “Ultimate” Transceiver To Be Unveiled At Dayton Hamfest
  • Hams Must Hold It As Dayton Says “No” To Restrooms

Think of it as “The Onion” for Amateur Radio:

Ham Hijinks – The Noise Blankers Radio Group WR5P.




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eHam Should be Ashamed Having Become the SDR Troll-Fest of Amateur Radio

Anyone have any idea why eHam allows open forum posting by renown Trolls?

The eHam SDR Forum,28.0.html has been taken over by a group of very negative Trolls

My repeated emails to eHam requesting action, reporting of their posts to eHam’s moderators, and the wider discussions about the problem in the radio amateur community have resulted in little action.

Actually less than little action, as apparently eHam has taken cue from the political world and chastises the ham who complains about their Trolls.

With a major new radio on the cusp  of shipping the eHam SDR Trolls are having a festival.  They do not own the radio they are blasting, openly state they have no intention of buying the radio, have never seen the radio, and yet are self proclaimed naysayers of the most vile Troll fashion.

Lambasting anyone who likes their radio with name calling, accusing the manufacturer of every vile trait they can make up, all based on some unhappy moment years ago with a different product.

The fact that they acted a the “customer from hell” every chance they got somehow never factors in.

The worse recent thread is Much Flex-6000 News where leader of the Troll Pack makes his usual attacks.

As eHam’s response to most Troll complaints is to trim the whole thread, rather than actually moderating, you might want to grab a screen shot if you want to read an think about the eHam trolls.

It is time for Amateur Radio to move beyond the eHam model, so perhaps eHam’s hands off approach will help hasten the development of a decent alternative.

I know a number of manufacturers have said they would not advertise on eHam due to the eHam Troll Problems.

What thinks you?



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Boomset Upgrade – Arlan RadioSport RS60CF Headset

RadioSport RS60CF Headset

RadioSport RS60CF Headset

One item I noticed at the Dayton Hamvention but was unable to buy there was the Arlan Communications RadioSport RS60CF Headset and related listen only headphones.

Several manufacturers were using the listen only version to demonstrate their radios.

I’d also recently read Stu K6TU’s account of how much he liked his new RS60CF.

Alas a search of the Hara from end to end didn’t find anyone selling the RadioSport headsets.

But they are featured on line:

These are in the same price range as a moderate to good basic aviation boomset, putting a a setup in the $350 price range.

Initial impression out of the box is these are above expectations and hugely comfortable.

I’ll post a report after I get some hours in using the RS60CFs.



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K9ZW 2013 Tower Repair Service List

When a complex project is undertaken, I find it a huge benefit to do a sort of checklist.

This way I get my thoughts down on paper and can mark off tasks as they are accomplished.

Linked as a pdf is my Summer 2013 Tower & Antenna Repair-Service List: K9ZW 2013 Tower Repair Service List

Once complete this part of my station should be in good shape for a few years.



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Flex-6000 SmartSDR – Beta Release, to First Release, to Full Package


Please note!  Additional Information:

FlexRadio Systems has just  announced what I’ve called SmartSDR Beta Release will formally be known as SmartSDR Preview.

The SmartSDR Initial Release is being called SmartSDR v1.0.

I’ll use their naming convention in future writings.

A few additional features FlexRadio Systems has announced as planned for the first full release update SmartSDR v1.1 have been added to my article below in italics.


If you read the various forums and reflectors some hams are having a difficulty with the concept that SmartSDR will have an increasing feature set program with various features being added by distinct milestones and many other features rolling out as they are ready.

Details on the SmartSDR Beta Release are that it will be the basic radio with full transceiver functionality.

The SmartSDR Beta Release is expected to have one-half of the final number of Panadapters (4 for the Flex-6700) though they will be much larger bandwidth (14 Mhz vs the pre-production specification of 384kHz).

There will be no remote facility in the SmartSDR Beta Release, nor will it have Waterfalls.

The SmartSDR Beta Release is likely to be short the other digital mode settings as well.

When the SmartSDR Beta Release gives way to the SmartSDR Initial Release additional features will start to roll out as available.

The SmartSDR Initial Release will likely follow the Beta by a month or two.  Limited on the same router remoting is expected in the SmartSDR Initial Release.

The clock for paid SmartSDR support starts with the SmartSDR Initial Release.

SmartSDR Release Updates will in a series of steps add:

  • Greater Remoting Capabilities
  • More Panadapters
  • More Modes
  • Waterfalls/Panadapter
  • Tracking Notch Filter
  • FM Mode
  • Many other features, tweaks, fixes and options.

As a milestone FlexRadio Systems has promised the Waterfalls during the first paid support period (the one that included in your purchase).

The additional Panadapters were also scheduled for an early implementation.

Features not publicly put on any timeline, but discussed include:

  • Tablet/SmartDevice Control
  • Dedicated I/O Unit for use with remoting
  • Onboard digital mode processing
  • Wide Area Remoting
  • Slice Sharing
  • Radio Datastream Combining and Processing

Some features, like a dedicated Contesting Module, are likely to be purchased add-ons by either third-party developers or FlexRadio Systems.

To be clear the radio will continue to work with the most current version of SmartSDR if an owner chooses not to subscribe, and to receive the features/enhancement upgrades a SmartSDR user will need to either be a subscriber or purchase a one-off upgrade.

The specialty add-on packages will be at additional cost.

With FlexRadio Systems licensing access to SmartSDR and the Radio itself’s APIs you will eventually have opportunities to purchase third-party software.

And to dwell on the point and repeat it – the feature set of SmartSDR in Beta and in Initial Release will be less than the feature set 6, 12, 18 and 24 months from now.

If missing one of the phase in items is a deal breaker for a ham, they could ask for their order to be pushed back until their needs would be met.

For my part I think SmartSDR will bring so many opportunities and features that I’m happy to start with the early software.  YMMV



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