What is this FlexRadio Systems “SmartSDR Preview Edition” program? That seems to be the first question any ham I talk to asks about the new FlexRadio Systems Flex-6700 radio.
Especially as not everyone has followed the new FlexRadio Systems Flex-6000 Signature Series program from the start, there seems to be a fair bit of confusion.
Then when you add Limited Edition Signature Series to the equation – well even those of us who have followed things get a bit rushed.
Subject to revision (and correction) here is the deal as best I know:
- All of the new Flex-6000 series radios will be “Signature Series” radios.
- If you ordered in 2012 up to the pre-order cut-off date, your radio is also “Limited Edition” and will carry that on its face.
- Alpha/Beta Testing process, along with constructability input from FlexRadio System’s manufacturing partner were completed with a production ready version of the Hardware slightly ahead of software.
- FlexRadio Systems offers an opportunity to join a wider Software testing group to the “Limited Edition” pre-order holders. To participate a pre-order holder had to sign up. This group is called “SmartSDR Preview Edition” program.
That “SmartSDR Preview Edition” software is a subset of the eventual production software, with many features not yet “turned on” for the test group. Software revisions are very Frequent (every week or so).
Participating in the “SmartSDR Preview Edition” program with a new Flex-6700/GPSDO radio, it has the feel of being at a “tech rehearsal” for a play. The plot is all there, you can see exactly where things will eventually fit, but the focus is on adjusting the music levels, lights, props and all the parts that make the play happen.
- Circling back the “SmartSDR Preview Edition” program members are volunteers from the “Limited Edition” Pre-Order place holders.
- The “Limited Edition” group committed to purchase and placed deposits on their radios ahead of radios shipping by as much as 15 months or more. This group receives the specially marked radio, a second year of software support, a discount, and a few other perks for committing so far ahead.
- “Limited Edition” pre-order holders who did not volunteer for the “SmartSDR Preview Edition” program will receive their radios next, when SmartSDR version 1.0 is ready. Their hardware is the same as the Preview Edition, only the software is different.
- “SmartSDR Preview Edition” program members will receive SmartSDR version 1.0 at the same time.
- The software support clock starts when SmartSDR version 1.0 ships.
- The next waves of buyers will receive “Signature Edition” radios, differing by faceplate markings with the latest SmartSDR version.
All sounds more complicated than it is. And to tell the truth, once SmartSDR version 1.0 ships it won’t matter either.
Hope I’ve helped answer the question!