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