Considering for the first time, flexradio SDR radio...

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by VE3GZB, Nov 17, 2015.

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  1. VE3GZB

    VE3GZB Ham Member QRZ Page

    My "local" radio store has some Flexradios on demo and they seem nice.

    But I'm not sure whether I should get a used Flexradio such as a 3000 or 5000, or should I go wholehog and get the 6300?

    My ham activities consist of DX chasing on SSB on 20 meters and shorter wavelengths and I'm just getting into digital modes now. I don't work any VHF or use FM.

    I live in a high QRM urban area where outdoor antennas are not permitted so I'm getting by with an attic fan dipole connected to an automatic tuner mounted in the attic. I'm presently using an FTdx3000 with good results but I'm interested in improving things more.

    Background QRM on a good day in my QTH can be S9.

    For these conditions which SDR radio would work best? Would the 6300 still be a best choice? Or would a good used 3000 or 5000 be good?

    73s.
     
  2. N8MSA

    N8MSA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Based on what you wrote, the Signature Series 6300 has three big advantages over the 5000 and 3000:

    - The Signature Series DAX (Digital Audio eXchange), used for radio/PC audio connectivity, is ideal for digital modes and is vastly superior to the the 3rd-party utilities needed for the 3K/5K.
    - Noise mitigation, while not best-in-class, is already better than the 3K/5K and continues to improve with every major release, which brings us to...
    - The Signature Series SmartSDR OS and GUI are under development, where the 3K/5K are end-of-life(d) and the last update to the PC software (PowerSDR) was over 1.5 years ago:
    http://www.flexradio.com/downloads/powersdr_v2-7-2_release_notes-pdf/

    There are, of course, a dozen new and used radios in the 6300's price class. If you like the idea of visualizing radio signals (perhaps an entire band or more), want a radio that will get updated about once a quarter and want what is likely the best digital-mode platform, then this maybe the radio for you. You might also want to consider an OpenHPSDR-based transceiver, such as the Apache Labs ANAN-100B, but this is more of an experimental platform and is somewhat less commercialized than the Flex products.

    http://openhpsdr.org/
    https://apache-labs.com/
     
  3. KM9R

    KM9R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi George,

    In the states, Flex offers a 30 day trial with full refund. I am not certain if that offer is extended to VE hams, but I would be surprised if it is not. Give them a call and if the offer is also valid for VE hams then get you a 6300 or a 6500 and try it for 30 days risk free.
     
    VE3GZB likes this.
  4. KG4NEL

    KG4NEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Can the Flexes run dual receivers?

    If I was serious about DX chasing, having separate subreceivers is life-changing...
     
  5. N8MSA

    N8MSA Ham Member QRZ Page

    6300 = one "Spectral Capture Unit" (ADC channel) with up to 7 MHz panadapter bandwidth and two "slices" (virtual receivers)
    6500 = one "Spectral Capture Unit" (ADC channel) with up to 14 MHz panadapter bandwidth and four "slices" (virtual receivers)
    6300 = two "Spectral Capture Units" (ADC channels) with up to 14 MHz panadapter bandwidth per SCU and eight "slices" (virtual receivers)

    SmartSDRv1_1_2pans_8slices.jpg
     
  6. VE3GZB

    VE3GZB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks. It's a lot to think about.

    I'm still sort-of in the doghouse as it were for my purchase of the TS-990 which really proved to be a very expensive failure here despite the firmware upgrade to V1.10. It's noise suppression schemes remained utterly worthless when combined with high QRM and restricted antennas. I gave up on it 2 months after it's expensive purchase and only recently was able to sell it at a considerable loss.

    I don't wish to repeat that exercise in seeking this SDR technology. I'm sure my wife would not understand.
    73s VE3GZB
     
  7. N8MSA

    N8MSA Ham Member QRZ Page

    George -

    I see that you live in Guelph; I remember seeing Flex Community posts from Guelph / Greater Toronto-area owners and I'm sure one of them would be happy to show you their Signature if you asked...

    Good luck with your decision.
     
    VE3GZB likes this.
  8. VE3GZB

    VE3GZB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Were these Flex community posts here on QRZ or elsewhere? I have been trying to do my research but much of what I find is located in the States. 73s
     
  9. N8MSA

    N8MSA Ham Member QRZ Page

  10. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have you investigated external noise suppression gear, like the MFJ 1026? In cases with strong local powerline QRM, they can work well if properly set up.
     

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