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
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
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 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!