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Flex 5000A

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by k2cm, Sep 22, 2008.

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  1. KB9OFM

    KB9OFM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why I do not see myself buying a flex radio.

    1.Needs a computer,and we all know computers don't last.
    2.Needs windoze for a os.
    3.I beleave that hard ware base radios will last a lot longer.
    4.Needs windoze for a os.
    5.My kenwood ts 870 from 1996 works and looks great.
    Do you think a computer will last that long?
    Do you think that flex will support it for that long?
    6.Needs windoze for a os.
    7.I would fine it a little hard to take it anywhere.
    8.Needs windoze for a os.
    9.I myself fine flex to be expense compared to a hardware base radio.
    10.Needs windoze for a os.
    In others words,I guess it is just not for me.

    good day dennis
  2. K3ROJ

    K3ROJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is worth the effort

    Iv'e had my 5000A for almot 2 years now and no matter how many times I had to reboot or figure out why something didn't work right, I still say it is the best radio available. Just it's ability to eliminate noise is spectacular and have acquired many new countries because of being able to hear them. It was a learning curve for sure but now I can straighten out my friends computers when problems when they ask for help. I recently received my new Flex 1500 which is a software defined QRP transceiver and use a laptop to run it since it uses USB instead of Firewire. I look at it this way, some people spent $10,000 for the ICOM 7800 which cannot compare with the Flex 5000A. Take that leap and join in the fun with us Flexers.
  3. W1AEX

    W1AEX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Very interesting thread. As a new Flex 5000A owner, I enjoyed reading what others have experienced with this rig.

    My simple observation is that Flex has done a great job of simplifying the installation of this rig. UPS dropped it off at 10:30 AM and mine was up and running at 11:30 AM, sitting in the spot that was previously occupied by my beloved Pro III. It took about an hour of operating to realize that the Pro III would never earn its place back in that spot on my operating bench.

    Regarding issues that Mike (WY6K) has mentioned, it sounds like your computer may be dealing with an IRQ sharing issue. Some devices simply do not share well, and this can certainly cause stability issues, long loading times, and unfortunate events as the OS tries to sort it out. It is critical that your computer's firewire interface does not share an IRQ with any other device. My Flex is installed with a computer that is running 3 different sound cards and they all do their own thing perfectly without any issues.

    Also Mike, regarding split frequency operation, if I toggle the Multi-Rx button at the bottom of the PSDR interface, the receiver will instantly switch from receiving the primary frequency (VFO A) to dual watch mode (A + B). Toggling the A< >B button will instantly switch VFO A with VFO B. I'm not sure if that addresses what you are looking for regarding split frequency operation.

    In any event, with more than half of this rig residing in the computer, all the variables that exist with whatever computer is used will come into play. I don't think Flex can carry that burden for each user. I am running mine with my old gaming computer, a P4 - 3.0g single core - hyperthreading processor using 1 gig of memory, an ATI Radeon 9800 graphics card, and XP/SP2. It is a fairly respectable machine, but certainly not as adept as a dual or quad core machine. I have found it performs best with a sampling rate of 96000 rather than 192000. It will run the higher sampling rate, but I can detect little glitches now and then when other software on the computer make resource calls. No such problems are seen at 96000.

    The Flex 5000A hardware has worked flawlessly for me up to this point. The pre-2.x.x versions of Power SDR have also worked perfectly. My adventures with the 2.x.x versions of Power SDR have been fun, but it's beta software, so now and then stuff happens!

    Flex has gotten the installation procedure down right. There's only one connection (firewire) between the Flex and the computer, and the installation software handled the drivers and Power SDR very cleanly for me.

    Running the Flex is more like running my Johnson Viking One than my Pro III, there's a lot to keep an eye on, but for me, that's more than half the fun! Assuming there are no computer issues for a prospective buyer, the Flex will run fine right out of the box with all the default settings. But if that is all you want to do, you might prefer a stand-alone rig that doesn't require a computer. For those who want to dig a little deeper, the Flex is probably a better fit than a stand-alone box.

    Rob W1AEX
  4. K3ROJ

    K3ROJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    New Computer

    I have helped 2 other hams get their Flex radio 5000A up and going in this area. By visiting a local retailer (Best Buy) and looking around for an HP QUAD 4 processor with at least 6 Gb RAM for $6.50 and then buying a separate graphics card such as a Nvidia 9800 for $130. A new power supply for $90 (650 watts or more) is necessary to run the PC and it's new card. Windows 7 64 bit has turned out to be the most stable operating system yet for Flex Radio. With the graphics card installed, 2 nice 22 inch LG monitors can be used which makes for some very good operating. Then getting a good Trackball mouse can move the pointer around just as if you were working at NASA.
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