Tag Archives: FlexRadio Systems

Imposed EUA – Do you actually own your IoT Hardware?

Sonos Speaker Examples

Sonos forced EUA (End User Agreement) update 09NOV22 presumed that as an established Sonos owner I could be forced to renegotiate the terms & conditions of my purchase & usage of their IoT Speaker/Stereo system.

No way to use the gear without agreeing to whatever they mandated. Quick counting I have 22 active Sonos speakers between our home, my radio room/workshop, my work office, and our Island home.

If I set out to replace everything at current Amazon level pricing we have a $7700 investment in Sonos.  That is not counting the $1400 worth of gear that Sonos orphaned by declaring them at EOL (End of Life) and removing them from hardware supported by the Sonos software.

A significant investment but given the number of rooms the setup covers – roughly 12 rooms/areas in four distinct buildings – not all that bad per room/area for fairly decent music capabilities.

Have no idea what is in the forced agreement, as at 10:30 pm at night ready to put on a few songs played from my central server, I had neither the patience or discernment to deal with a “stick you hands up” level of interaction.  So I clicked through.  Of course I cannot find now a way to actually review the changes forced upon me.

Big resentment was their claim that I had no right to use my purchased Sonos Hardware and the Sonos Software under previous EUAs.

This touches on the blended situation of dedicated hardware, proprietary software and mothership server/cloud interactions being sold and then unilaterally terms & conditions being forced through a change.

Went through this with Canary.io security cameras – read: https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2022/07/15/when-a-technology-product-walks-back-their-products-purchase-commitments/

Canary.io Camera Examples

And of course have a stable and agreeable situation in my Ham Shacks with the FlexRadio and FlexRadio/4o3a gear.

FlexRadio Flex-67600

One of my technology purchases that bit the dust with an undeclared EOL and unresolved incompatibilities with current Operating Systems were my Drobo units.  Junk now.  https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2022/09/13/another-one-bites-the-dust-drobo-reaches-eol/

drobo NAS

So where does this put IoT equipment owners?

Do these owners really “own” their purchases when the company unilaterally demands actions be taken to use the equipment?

The K9ZW take on IoT ownership is IoT devices range from temporary possessions to fairly solid possessions that you can consider that you own, to the reverse situation of ephemeral/transitory possession of the moment.

None of these three classes are as solid as true “you own it, lock, stock and barrel” grade possessions.

The Ephemeral/Transitory are the highest risk, you can expect they will become untenable rather quickly, and accordingly your investment should be very modest.  Some Ephemeral/Transitory IoT devices are enough of liability and risk, that even if obtained free they would be a bad value.  Some indicators that an IoT device is likely in this category are:  Public Complaints, Periods of Downtime, Single Owner/Engineer shops, recent Venture Capital buyout, noise that fees will be added soon.

Solid Possessions are certainly not 100% truly “yours,” rather you are co-owners with rational sane people/organizations.  In this category there often is a prominent public commitment that no matter what you will be able to run your IoT with the software you possess.

Temporary Possessions are in  the stuff in-between the other two categories, and basically includes most IoT where you really do not know how secure your forward operation is, but you also have no indicators of elevated risk.

The Benefit vs Risk ratio has to more solidly favor Benefits to even consider Ephemeral/Transitory at all.  Any investment in money and time needs real benefits within the “likely to run window” or you are wasting your time.

Temporary Possessions open up the time window to recover your investment.

One could argue that Solid Possessions could be treated as wholly owned property, as in most cases the characteristics are not distinguishable.  I prefer to consider them separately as the differences matter in the provision of backups, as it suggests that any backup to a Solid Possession IoT would not duplicate the same product or IoT provider.




[Photos of example IoT items added at Dale N6JSX’s suggestion]

Tagged , , ,

Out of the Ashes – the FlexRadio Community Reborn

Back in June 2020, FlexRadio Systems was told with only a couple weeks notice of deplatforming, that Sprinklr/GetSatisfaction was shutting down their community platform servers.

I don’t think FRS was even given a month to rescue its data from Sprinklr/GetSatisfaction and of course the Sprinklr/GetSatisfaction had no migration plans for their customers.

The very short timeframe and comparatively small market of customers didn’t create the environment where porting-services could emerge.  If you remember the Yahoo Groups phase out, services evolved to port our existing group to another platform.

FRS grabbed the bull by the horns, and in addition to securing all its data from the terminal Sprinklr/GetSatisfaction platform, started systematically evaluating potential new platforms.  While I had no involvement or input, the rumble is they really dug deep into possible options.

Eventually they selected the Vanilla Forums platform as the one for the reborn community. Vanilla’s link:  https://vanillaforums.com/en/

Then it seemed like FRS went a bit quiet, though most of us expected they were elbow deep in porting over the old data.

The new FlexRadio Systems Community is at: UNEMBARGOED LINK (https://community.flexradio.com/) (went live on FRS announcement)

In waves they are setting up former community members, and you eventually get an email inviting you in. I expect it is best to wait for the invite unless you really want a clean break from your former community user identity. You most likely will be asked to update your password, and if you want to change your avatar picture there is that sort of housekeeping left for the user to sort out.

Initial impressions is the new platform looks really good. I’m perhaps not so taken with the cartoon-stock appearances of the default avatars and badge thing, but under that light-hearted appearance there seems to be some really good stuff going on. The effort to move everything over is non-trivial, being an investment in time & resources.

That FRS has done the huge port-over is quite a compliment to their community participants.

The failure of Sprinklr/GetSatisfaction was brushed off and the community will be better than before!

Like the song says:


From the ashes of disaster, grow the roses of success!
Start the engines!
Batten the hatches!
Man the shrouds!
Lift the anchor!

Well done FRS!



Tagged , , ,

FlexRadio Systems Flex-6600M Transceiver and Power Genius XL Amplifier in early use

FlexRadio Systems extended me an opportunity to acquire one of the first production run Flex-6600M Transceivers and a few weeks back a PowerGenius XL Amplifier both early as a “Beta Team” participant.  (I’ll be abbreviate Flex-6600M as just “6600M”, Flex-6700 as just “6700” and the PowerGenius XL Amplifier as “PGXL.”)

As mentioned, I’d participated in a similar program when the Flex-6700 launched.

The “Beta Team” really couple be considered “Late Addition Alpha Team” or “Temporary Alpha Team” or “Little Alpha Team” team members, as to handle the information flow.

Quick disclaimer FRS is still working on parts of the product package for the new Radios, so while I will receive production hardware, the configuration and software parts are not in the final general release form. This again parallels the Flex-6700 program I had participated in.

In my case this new Flex-6600M it will temporarily displace a Flex-6700 at my main home QTH.   I’m definitely planning to retain that Flex-6700.  I have configured the station temporarily to allow fairly quick A/B switching from the 6600M to the 6700.  I have enough W2IHY switchgear to potentially hardwire the A/B setup, but for now the intent is to do plug and play.

My shack is compact – and is especially compact as the sanctity of my radio shack in the old wine cellar room has been encroached  upon severely by buying too much wine in Italy and from a long time Alpha team’s family’s California Vineyard, all arriving as I decided that personal health triumphs.  So those cases have filled what extra area the shack had.

To make room, after my personal testing of the PGXL I’ve decided to remove the Alpha 9500 Amplifier and the Expert SPE 1KW backup Amplifier physically from the operating area, putting them on my “shack reserve shelving” for the moment where they join my fail-safe Alpha 78 Amplifier and a 6M King Conversion Amplifier.  Actually I enlisted some help from my youngest son, Victor KC9NWB, as any college kid home for winter break should get a chance to lug his Dad’s ham shack gear around, right?

I still need to figure out where to move a few items to, especially the audio-amplifier that was going to help tweak my main Shure SM5B microphone’s voice signal but has ended up set so flat that it is really just isolation and audio signal gain.   That said, here is the 6600M/PGXL as of January 6th 2018:

K9ZW 6600M and PGXL Overview

K9ZW 6600M and PGXL Overview


I’ve found the 6600M/PGXL combination really awesome to use.  Reports “out of the box” have been so good that I’ve not spent much time optimizing settings yet.

My station is pretty simple, smaller scale, and gets ends up effective.  The6600M/PGXL combination have in two simple pieces of gear have noticeably improved my station.

I was having so much fun working DX on 20m, that I forgot to snap a photo to share until propagation changed enough that 80m was the lively band.  My present home antenna situation is limiting on 40/80/160m bands compared to 20/17/15/12/10 and the UHF/VHF bands.  So I turned things back on a shot a quick snap will running 80m figuring you all have seen a full panadapter screen before!

So here a quick “station selfie” snap:


K9ZW 6600M and PGXL Up Close

K9ZW 6600M and PGXL Up Close

As previously mention that like both of my Flex-6700’s, this new Flex-6600M was ordered with the GPSDO option.  If software eventually allows I hope to use the accurate time stamping on a station-mixing basis.  If that doesn’t happen the extra accuracy never hurts.


My “Late Addition Alpha Team” status came with my agreeing to not speculate and to not detail the exact Alpha Team’s progress & problem solving details, but I am pretty sure it didn’t have any agreement preventing my speaking to how absolutely engaged the FlexRadio Systems, 4o3a Team, and the Alpha Testers really are.  The efforts, feedback/update speed is truly impressive!!

More later this week, and as a teaser I’m going to add two more photos that I will explain in-depth in a later posting – with the SmartSDR versions improving I’ve run into a band situation where 160m was unworkable until I engaged the FlexRadio Systems exclusive WNB (Wide Noise Blocker).


SmartSDR no filters and a bad 160m band

SmartSDR no filters and a bad 160m band


SmartSDR with WNB making the 160m band okay

SmartSDR with WNB making the 160m band okay

Pay attention to the waterfall difference – the noise is gone I was in business, if RX a bit faint (55 to 53 – clear but weak).  As for the source of the noise, I’ll have to see if it reappears and track it down.

Much much more to follow!



Tagged , , , ,

FlexRadio Systems Flex-6600M Transceiver – also on the way

FlexRadio Systems extended an opportunity to acquire one of the first production run Flex-6600M Transceivers early as a “Beta Team” participant.

As mentioned, I’d done a similar program when the Flex-6700 launched.  I currently have a FlexRadio System PowerGenius XL (PGXL) amplifier in transit on the same early-adopter program.

Quick disclaimer FRS is still working on parts of the product package for the new Radios, so while I will receive production hardware, the configuration and software parts are not in the final general release form. This again parallels the Flex-6700 program.

In my case this new Flex-6600M it will temporarily displace a Flex-6700 at my main home QTH.   I’m definitely planning to retain that Flex-6700.  More when the Amp shows.

Like both of my Flex-6700’s, this Flex-6600M was ordered with the GPSDO option.  If software eventually allows I hope to use the accurate time stamping on a station-mixing basis.  If that doesn’t happen the extra accuracy never hurts.

Oh, in clarity the FRS expanded test team has been both called “Beta Test Team” and as temporary Alpha Testers.  This special status is expected to disappear in a few weeks, so basically FRS cloned the agreements from the established Alpha team and pressed them into service in the effort to get these radios (and the first PGXL amps) into  wider range of user’s hands.

Timing is interesting, as my piggy bank got spanked with two units of expense.  Glad I saved for these station components!



Tagged ,

When Something is just built Right! – The Superior Foot Switch from RadioSport

Some station accessories are so simple, yet so hard to get right.

One is the PTT (Push to Talk) Foot Switch. Almost every shack ends up with either on of the ubiquitous commodity grade Foot Switches or a home brew Foot Switch often made with the switch unit from a machine tool on homemade cabling.

The commodity switches work, but not always, they are not built all that badly but they are not lifetime products, and as many have several cables you often see one of the cables bundled up with a tie wrap laying next to the switch.

The home brew often use the same superior actual foot switch that is often seen in machine shops. Yet often it is cabled with a audio RCA cable that perhaps has a knot and a grommet for strain relief and ends up breaking down over time.

RadioSport has a better mousetrap – their PTT-FS-RCA is truly a better grade of a common item.

Here is what the unit looks like when it arrives. Nicely packaged in a ziplock which perhaps can be reused when moving your station.

Unit bagged as arrived

Unit bagged as arrived

Here is the unit out of the bag – the in-the-hand feel already shows off its quality.

Sans Bag (which is even a reusable bag!)

Sans Bag (which is even a reusable bag!)

I’ve bought this sort of switch (NOS) off eBay, but not in powder coat finished like the RadioSport unit.

Side View

Side View

Never seems possible for use regular folk to get this quality of strain relief, and as the actual cable is a custom product produced for RadioSport we’re not going to find this grade of reinforced cable to use.

Excellent Strain Relief on Top Quality Cable

Excellent Strain Relief on Top Quality Cable

Terminating the cable is a high grade RCA in gold plate. No hamfest 25-cent bulk in the bins connector, but perhaps the highest grade RCA I’ve seen in a long time.

Gold Plated High Quality Connector

Gold Plated High Quality Connector

Completing the unit is anti-skid pad made of a very grippy polymer. Combined with the noticeable weight this Foot Switch will tend to stay put compared to the feather weight commodity brands.

Industrial Grae anti-slip pad on bottom

Industrial Grade anti-slip pad on bottom

All this at a price point that is affordable, though in interest of full disclosure it is about $20 or so more than the commodity brands.  There a similar high quality adapters for radios requiring different connectors.

Here is Radiosport’s own write up:

At last a quality Foot PTT Switch you can rely on.

This rugged industrial grade all metal PTT Foot Switch is just what you’ve been looking for for that DX or Contest or Net Control Station.

This rugged item is truely intended for industrial manufacturing floor use and the construction is there to support this sort of heavy-duty use. I call it the “SuperDuty*” of Foot Switches. Powder coated finish, rubber non-slip pedal and foam rubber cushion on the botton to prevent wandering under your operating position.

Links – RadioSport http://www.arlancommunications.com/products/amateurRadio/radioSport/ptt.asp and FlexRadio Systems http://cart.flexradio.com/Radiosport-PTT-Footswitch-with-RCA-plug_p_953.html

A lifetime quality PTT Foot Switch at an affordable price! Who can ask for more?



Tagged , , ,

K9ZW Northern Station – The Tower and the Antennas

K9ZW Northern Station – The Tower and the Antennas

The Tri-EX/Tashjian TM-370HD Skyneedle is here at a friend’s trailer yard, where we will do some light refurbishment (scrape and paint some light tin parts that are showing surface rust) and fit the Alfa-SPID RAK Rotor, while we wait for the new base and a few added accessories to arrive.

Here are a few pictures of the tower being removed from storage and transported to my friend’s trucking yard:

Crane lift of the TM-370HD

Crane lift of the TM-370HD



A bit about the TM-370HD – this is a motorized 70 foot tubular tower that has some pretty impressive numbers.

I have a full set of engineering calculations and the wind loading they cite is roughly five times what my array will be, and perhaps 35 times the weight load is available.

Not certain if the numbers they provided are after application of the designer’s safety factor (would presume so, as they were done for code compliance rather than product engineering) so the ultimate wind loading and weight bearing is truly impressive.

Initially going up is a SP7IDX Hexbeam HD Mark II antenna currently in production, and a W9INN Half-Sloper which I had on the ready.

The Hexbeam will cover 6m to 20m and the Half-Sloper will carry onwards 20m to 160m.

I thought I had another Tennadyne T-8 antenna locally sourced, but the present owner decided he didn’t want to sell it even though he’d just advertised it. I’d been interested in having both the LPDA and Hexbeam up to do some A/B comparisons.

Karl and Norman at Tashjian Towers Corporation have been super as usual.

They have in production a new base for me, and I am adding the work platform (tower already has the ladder) which will allow me to do 98% of service work without a lift.

That the work platform will make an awesome birdwatching and other outdoor pursuit platform hasn’t escaped me either! It is quite likely that it will also open up a way for my getting very high speed internet to this QTH, as aDSL isn’t going to quite cut it for remoting a full Flex-6000 based station.

There are a lot of logistics to go – I have verbals from the professional help to get the base in and the tower up, and I have access to a DitchWitch to bury the conduits needed. ( want to run the power separately from the coax feeds and other control wiring.)

I even have some nice touches to add features, like a set of industrial/maritime intercom units so one will be at the tower and the other in the shack.



Tagged , , , ,