Updated after Hamvention 2017 review of my FlexRadio Systems SmartSDR Product Launch Predictions!

Okay here is what I’ve gotten right/wrong in my  2017 new product predictions:

Partially correct – (Some of) SmartSDR for Windows v2.0 will be shown, and anticipate at least a few weeks delay for public beta or a limited release  (later June ) . The WAN Feature is being called SmartLink (TM) and will be shown at Hamvention.  The Multi-User/Simultaneous User GUI feature does not have an announced name and will NOT be shown at Hamvention.  A general release of SmartSDR Version 2.0 will first happen some point AFTER Hamvention – when it is ready.

Correct but too obvious to be a winning prediction – SmartSDR for iOS v2.0 will follow suite with an implementation of the Windows v2.0 product and possibly will work with both SmartSDR v1.x and v2.x servers.

Got this wrong – SmartSDR for Windows v1.1x will also get an update, mostly to make upgrade/downgrade between v1.x and v2.x products possible and so everything else on the hamshack computer doesn’t breakdown when switching between versions.

Nailed it YES – PowerGenius XL – a close to production configuration of the joint 4o3a/FlexRadio System solid state amp will be shown and a start of shipping date will be announced. I’m guessing beginning of Q3 (July) if product hasn’t already arrived & cleared customs.

Partially correct as  YES it was shown, but more it will be included for preorders and other 2017 orders – TunerGenius S XL – will be shown in preproduction form, and likely will be available at the same time as the amps. A version that can be added to pair & controlled from the PowerGeniusXL is happening is a possibility.

Sort of Right, as they are working to do this – SmartSDR/4o3a Control Pad Software – hoping to see a significantly better integrated offering intended to run on a pad (iPad or WinBook type) alongside a Maestro or PC running SmartSDR

Sort or Right, but not Shown – RotorGenius/StationGenius/AntennaGenius and other 4o3a products will likely have upgrades to work better with the SmartSDR/Flex-6000 product line. (NOTE:  Aa a reminder, all of the 4o3a gear works in a non-FRS station too.)

YES but not Ready for ordersthough a headset to work for this use is ready – RadioSport iPod SmartSDR for iOS Dock – will be shown in a Mark II prototype. They showed an early prototype with a new headset design, so that may be a package at the Hamvention too.

Couldn’t Find them, but was “told it is in the works” – DogPark may have/show their SmartSDR v2.x compatible DogparkSDR upgraded version

No, got this wrong replaced by other developments – FlexRadio Systems SO2R box may reappear intended for the Flex-6500/6300 making those radios SO2R while the Flex-6700 as produced is already SO2R (actually SOnR).

Yes on new models to replace the old Flex-6300/6500, come in server and with faceplate (not removable) configurations and have more options. – EDIT:  A premature product datasheet release shows several new models of radio – Flex-6400, Flex-6400M, Flex-6600 and Flex-6600M.  The context didn’t give any insight into what these new models are and my guess is the Flex-6300 and Flex-6500 are being replaced, and that the “M” models are mobile optimized. Whether a new feature/price slot Flex-6×00 radio launches is doubtful beyond the 6400/6600 products.

Didn’t Find them, but keep hearing these are “in the works” – Several Antennas will be shown optimized for the characteristics of the Flex-6000. Most will be based on the Log-Periodic or mixed Log/Yagi designs.

No got this half wrong – Table talk only unless you are Uncle Sam as FRS does this for them but at a very non-Ham price point, but a ham version could be readied for the right price – There will be discussion of a many-SCU (Spectral Capture Unit) radio (Flex-14000 with six or eight SCUs) or a way to slave several Flex-6700’s together to bring larger scale multi-antenna diversity to the shack.

Didn’t Find Them – Possible accessories – a single unit Ethernet-fiber-Ethernet network isolation box to electrically decouple a Flex-6000 but not require the ham to roll their own isolation doesn’t sound like it is being shown yet.

Couldn’t Find them, but was “told it is in the works” – But some simpler Ethernet and SmartSDR/DDUtil aware antenna switches may be at the show.

Couldn’t Find them, but was “told it is in the works” – Possibly we may hear of a 4-square or K9AY style SmartSDR aware receiving array.  There may be software to add-on around SmartSDR to manage things like Shared-Use Flex-6000 Stations, Logging/Spots, Digital Modes, maybe even slice-sharing for RX now that the time stamping of packets has started.

Heard confirmations, but not really a firm commitment – Thinking more software will be announced over the net after FRS clarifies its forward direction and timing.

No I got this one Wrong – Maestro II as the M models have integral faceplates and production delays were technical – What I don’t think we will see is a sub $800 SmartSDR unit (a Flex-1500 direct replacement) or a Maestro-II (see comments below, I have changed my prediction to that we will see new Maestro II launched) as some folk have suggested. Unlikely that we would see a Flex-6000 with a permanently attached Maestro front-plate (like the TenTec Pegasus -> Pegasus FP -> Jupiter metamorphous years ago) though there would be no reason to not have a removable faceplate unit (like the old Kenwood 2000 did).  Not very certain that we will see a “SmartSDR for Linux” given the costs of doing that port.

One thing I really missed was the Emotive Outbursts from FlexRadio Owners who somehow (one or many of these):

  • Never Imagined New/Improved Hardware could happen.
  • Feel FRS owes them forever upgrades/support at no cost.
  • Feel FRS owed them to protect their purchase price by artificially pricing higher than mark for new radio models.
  • Somehow think that they would be better at running FRS for no obvious reason that they can share.
  • Forget they several dozen SmartSDR releases since the first version widely shared, claiming SmartSDR has been stagnant since 2013.
  • Attribute successful/better/more-advanced actions/communications/prices/features to other SDR manufacturers where they either are limited instances or simple are not reality.  
  • Don’t even own a Flex-6000 but feel they are experienced in operating one.
  • Feel their Flex-5000, Flex-3000, Flex-1500, Flex SDR-1000 were the penultimate SDR and nothing newer is any good.
  • Haven’t seen the new products in the flesh, but know all about them.
  • Say FRS taking reservations and deposits is BAD, but other manufacturers doing the same – some without even a price commitment – is somehow OK.

A lot of these folk need to get on the air more, or at least read the spec sheets…. more on this phenomena in a later post.

I’ll also have a Dayton Wrap-Up from my view point in a couple days.  Put on cover 700 miles (1100 KM) today driving home and running George W9EVT to the Washington Island ferry dock, so off to catch up on chores.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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