Category Archives: K9ZW Items For Sale

Two of my Collins Station Setups are For Sale

Having acquired an HF-380 during the lockdown my now extra Collins radios need to find a new home.

K9ZW Collins HF-380 Rack in progress

Would prefer to sell each setup as a group. Both ran well, but have been sitting idle since before the virus lockdown (or longer).

Expect separate detailed posts later with more detail, each but in a nutshell:

Continue reading


Printed Flex-6000 Series Manuals

Several new FlexRadio Flex-6000 series owners have emailed me asking about pre-printed manuals.

FlexRadio as a Software Defined Radio outfit sends a CD with new radios (or at least mine came with them) and depends on downloads for updates.

That is great if you are somewhere with good cheap connectivity and if you are like me where a printed manual is helpful, are willing to print out a copy.

Peter WA2CWA at the ManualMan has an arrangement to offer preprinted manuals: FlexRadio Manuals

Technically the Hardware and Software manuals are different downloads, which ManualMan offers unpunched, pre-punched or comb-bound.

They print the latest public released version, unless you ask them for an older version.

I started using their manuals when my Flex-5000A arrived in 2008 – WHERE IS THE BOOK ON THIS THING? – HIGH QUALITY VINTAGE MANUALS FROM THE MANUALMAN

Of course they offer a lot of other manuals, claiming to have some 15,000+ manuals available!!!




K9ZW Station Evolution – The Direction K9ZW is Heading

That questions would come my way on what I was doing after hams read the extensive list of excess equipment I’m selling off was expected.  That the questions would start within hours of posting the list of gear for sale wasn’t expected though!

Both my Home QTH and Island QTH stations are becoming FlexRadio focused.  I’ve not used the backup radios (TenTecs) in a long time, and have rarely used the vintage stations.

I’m also actually in the final stages of completing a third station at my workplace, and of course with the Home QTH house move the Home QTH Station is at the starting stages of being redesigned & rebuilt at the new location.

Going forward, each of the three stations will have a Flex-6000 and a local computer.

Presently I have four Flex-6000s – two 6700s, a 6600M and a 6300.  Work QTH will get the 6300 and must likely each of the other stations will get a 6700.  The 6600M will be a hot-swap backup radio, and will fill much of need for a transportable HF rig.

Island and Home QTH’s will have FlexRadio PowerGenius XL amplifiers, AntennaGenius antenna switches, RotorGenius rotor control of AlphaSpid Rotators, Studio-Grade Microphones with Behringer amps, Radiosport Headsets, and roughly similar antenna arrays.

The Work QTH station is not getting an amp and will be limited to a HF vertical antenna only.

As the present Vintage Collins Stations are simply are not being used, they are on the block.  When both sell I will be looking to replace them with a single “very mint” station of a TBD configuration.  Basically I don’t have shack space for gear I can’t make time more than a few times each year to operate.

The TenTec units once were my mainstay, as they have excellent RX and decent TX, are light and robust.  But unused since buying the Flex-6000 transceivers, again how many extra radios can a guy have?

The Alpha-9500s are being replaced with FlexRadio PowerGenius XLs.  The Alphas are awesome amps by any measure, and I’m not 100% certain I should even be letting them go – especially as they are in short supply at the moment.  But again I don’t have the room to store them.

I’ve really enjoyed the PowerGenius XL I have had since being able to buy one as an Alpha Tester very early in the production.  I have a second PGXL I ordered I deferred delivery to let somebody else have an Alpha Tester opportunity, though I hope to get that unit this Spring.  Eventually I expect to order a backup third PGXL at some stage.

So I’m standardizing equipment between QTHs, rationalizing any extras, and cutting back the excess.

End result is to spend more time on the air of course!



Excess Gear for Sale – November 2018

I’ve not been very good about getting rid of excess gear, and I’m overdue clearing several excess rigs & bits from my shack.  This gear really should find a new home:

  • TenTec 1253 Shortwave Receiver – Built from Kit by an SK, looks unused – $75 plus shipping
  • QRO King 6 meter full Kilowatt Amp built on a Heath SB221.  I lack the room for this outstanding amp in the shack.  – $1200 plus shipping.
  • ATS 909 SW Receiver – Like New – $150 plus shipping
  • W2IHY 8 Band Audio Equalizer/Noise Gate and EQplus set with Ten-Tec Cables – $600 plus shipping
  • W2IHY 8 Band Audio Equalizer/Noise Gate and EQplus set with Flex-6000/Yaesu Cables – $600 plus shipping
  • TWO NEW 4o3a Antenna Genius 8×2 Antenna Switches, SO-239 connectors.  I had ordered N-Connectors and the replacements arrived before I used these in the field. $650/each plus shipping (I’ll pick up shipping if someone takes both of these).
  • TenTec Pegasus Transceiver – Excellent NOS Like New Condition – Purchased as NOS and only Tested on air – original box, manuals and disks. Includes a 302 remote tuning pod. (This Pegasus does not have the internal AT, but is like new) $500 plus shipping [Had been retained as a Back-up]
  • TenTec Jupiter, original version but black case, updated firmware, includes an uninstalled Internal Antenna Tuner kit, $700 plus shipping
  • TenTec Jupiter, original version grey case, with factory installed Internal Antenna Tuner, $700 plus shipping
  • TenTec Jupiter original version grey case, no Antenna Tuner, $500 plus shipping
  • Alpha-9500 Amplifier, second version, low hours, has been retained as my back-up Alpha-9500, picked up or price plus shipping $5800
  • Alpha-9500 Amplifier, second version, also low hours, has used as a back-up to a FlexRadio PowerGenius, picked up or price plus shipping $5800
  • Collins KWM-2A station, including 30L-1 Amplifier, 312B-5 Remote VFO, Collins Power Supply, second Collins portable power supply (the one that goes on the back of the KWM-2A, and D-104 microphone, with interconnect cables  – this is my Island QTH Collins station – $2200 plus shipping
  • Collins S-Line station, including 75S-1, 32S-1 ( the receiver/transmitter pair), 30L-1 Amplifier, 312B-4 Remote VFO, Collins Power Supply, Digital VFO (uninstalled, see ads in Electric Radio magazine), Speech Processor (uninstalled), and Collins SM-1 microphone with interconnect cables  – this is my home QTH Collins station, unused since gathered from known working components – $2200 plus shipping
  • Palstar AT-Auto Antenna Tuner – unmolested original, modest hours, updated firmware, $800 plus shipping
  • Palstar Kessler AT-Auto Antenna Tuner, withe most Kessler mods installed by Kessler, unused since upgrade, $900 plus shipping
  • Murch UT-2000 Antenna Tuner(s) – I may have two of these in storage, but for sure have one left.  Working except usually meter problems.  $250 each plus shipping, or $500 for the pair shipped.

Contact me for more details. You can find lots of information on these tuners & radios, including photos, at eHam, the manufacturer’s websites and by google.

I’ll leave these posted here for a couple weeks or so before putting out eHam & QTH ads.



Flex-5000 Gives Way to the New Flex-6000 Series

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-1500                       $650
Flex-3000                    $1700
Flex-5000 base         $2800 now discontinued
Flex-5000 loaded    $3800 now discontinued
Flex-6500                     $4300
Flex-6700                     $7599

  • 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

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Risk vs. Reward – Returning to Common Sense in DXpeditions

When is the risk worth the reward of mounting a DXpedition to a rare entity?

Over the last several years some amazing efforts have been made to activate places like Scarborough Reef (BS7H), Rockall Island ( MM0RAI/p and upcoming MS0INT and other hazardous locals.

These operations put radio amateurs and their support crews at considerable risk.

Bluntly, they are not worth the level of risk being undertaken, much less are they worthwhile in an economic sense.

One cannot think of any non-emergency radio QSO (contact) that is worth putting another radio amateur in danger, much less worth losing a life to make that QSO.

These ultra-rugged DXpeditions certainly cross both those lines.

It is one thing if duty takes a person to a risky remote dangerous location, and they happen to be able to work QSOs as a radio amateur. It is quite another to foolishly egg on our fellow hams to undertake these risks for purely hobby reasons.

Could you forgive yourself if you were at the other end of the QSO when disaster struck down the DXpeditioneer you were in QSO with? Even one step removed making the connection less personal, could you look an DXpeditioneer’s XYL widow and family in the eye? Could you tell them “and it was worth it?”

Every task we undertake a certain element of risk – even typing for this blog is riskier than some alternative activities and safer than some other possible activities. We quantify perceived risk with “common sense.” It is a temporary set-aside of that “common sense” that leads us to encourage DXpeitions with off-skew Risk vs. Reward benefits.

What to do about it?

Some fellow hams simply won’t work risk crazy DXpeditions, to distance themselves from the problem.

Others use their checkbooks and sponsor only DXpeitions that are sensible.

Some call for the award bodies (ARRL, CQ, IOTA and such…) to simply disallow any DXpedition that is high peril.

I’m thinking as a community we need to do all three, and add a fourth item – get our “DX Drive” back in check.

There is no place to work that someone else hasn’t already worked. They might not be hams, but a radio contact of some sort has happened before.

DXing is often claimed to be a personal journey of self-challenge. Perhaps if we held that more important than encouraging high risk DXpeditions for personal vanity and brief peer recognition, we would be better off.