Flexible HF+ rig

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KE8KDU, Nov 23, 2018.

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  1. N5AF

    N5AF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Like KK5JY said, it's all about what you want. The 590SG & 7300 are both fine radios. A year ago to the day, I purchased the 590SG Anniversary Edition sitting here next to me. I went through the reviews of everything multiple times, 7300, FTDX3000, FT991A, 590SG, etc. I realize SDR is the future, however I wanted a radio without a screen. I've been around computers and software long enough to realize that what seems "state of the art" at the moment will quickly be relegated to the dustbin and likely, unsupported.

    I view the purchase of a transceiver as a long-term investment. My mind kept circling back to "what will the availability of the touch screen on the 7300 be in 10 years?". I prefer buttons anyway. In my profession, we use a specialized device with a touch screen. The failure rate of these supposed "rugged" devices is abysmal, on the order of 60%. Did I mention I'm not a fan of touch screens? ;)

    Unless I have a major component failure or lighting strike, I'm sure my 590 will be purring along just fine 10 years hence. If you must have a panadapter, interfacing one of the inexpensive RTL devices or an SDRPlay RSPx is very easy to do with the 590.

    I would certainly make your purchase this weekend or on the coming "Cyber Monday". HRO has some good transceiver prices right now.
  2. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, but that's not what I asked, and remote control doesn't make a radio more flexible. Any of the devices the OP named can do those things. If you are going to claim that Flex is more flexible than other radios to the OP, you should be ready to support that claim.

    Here is the link: https://www.flexradio.com/api/ -- and it's not in the community group, either.

    Specifically, the SmartSDR Waveform API claims to allow you to write modules that add new modulation modes to the radio, and internal to the radio. That is one capability that "box" radios don't have. In theory, somebody else could write such a module, then publish it, and you could download it to your own radio. An example might be a plug-in for FreeDV, to allow you to work that mode like SSB, but without needing external software to the radio.

    There are several other API options for the Flex, but that appears to be the only one that allows you to add a new mode to the radio itself.
  3. KE8KDU

    KE8KDU Ham Member QRZ Page

    The flex looks really interesting but is $2k even with Black Friday deals. Hro/giga has 7300 at $960, sg @ $1280 and 3000 @ $1330.

    Can the 7300 be expanded to same extent as sg and ftdx, e.g. external antenna switch, etc? If I were to go with the ~$300 cheaper 7300 could I upgrade it to similar capabilities as the ftdx and sg without spending much more than $300 in the future?
  4. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    It depends what expansion you want.

    E.g., here's how to add the "external RX antenna" to the 7300:


    I'm not sure I would trust the "RF sense" part, especially for modes like SSB and CW... that said, you can drive it with your amplifier SEND jack, which should be very reliable.

    DXE has a similar device, but it's (unnecessarily) much more expensive. (Edit: if you can find a used RTR-1, they are very nice devices -- I still have one in my collection. If you find one used, you should be able to get it for about the same price as a new 1708B...)

    Building an external antenna T/R switch should also be very cost-effective, if you have soldering skills and such things interest you.
  5. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's simple. Just get the 7300. ;)
  6. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    While we're talking about SDRs, there's more than one manufacturer of them--Apache Labs, for one: https://apache-labs.com/

    As an aside, there was a ham here who wrote an excellent post comparing FlexRadio's and Apache's performance from the computer end of things*; his opinion was that the Apache was the better choice. So, just something else to consider: the computer's specs (including its operating system) has a direct bearing on how well it'll interface with the rig and the performance you'll realize with it.

    *I wish I could remember which thread it was in and who the knowledgeable ham is; my apologies to him for not remembering.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  7. N6PAT

    N6PAT Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    How about being able to add a new band if a new one becomes available? Flex does this with a TURF file without hardware changes.

    How about increasing the pre amp capabilities? Flex did this in one of the newer releases of SSDR without any hardware changes.

    How about adding new modes? Flex does this with waveform modules that you can add via API.

    From the SSDR docs:

    Waveform Modules may be implemented for signaling and digital modes such as RTTY and PSK-31 extending the capability of the radio. Waveform Modules also allow a user with appropriate programming skills to add modes or functionality to the FLEX-6000, by using a defined, open API (Application Programming Interface).

    What other rigs allow you to add new modes by yourself?
  8. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I would suggest doing some quick studies of the manuals for those radios, and examine the back panel to see what kinds of connectors they have. I'm afraid I don't have time to look at it for you, but you can download that manuals online for all of those rigs.

    My DXer/contester expert once recommended the TS-590SG to me as the top choice, but I believe he's now become an IC7300 believer. I just like the sound of that receiver, which you can also experience on YouTube in some head to head comparison videos.
  9. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I thought their overall architecture was very cool. Granted, I haven't tried to write any firmware for their gear yet, so I'm going off their own press releases. ;) But if it does what they say, it's actually quite awesome. :)
    Yes, that was the one I was trying to ask about earlier. That's real flexibility. The example I noted (adding a DV mode natively to the radio) is what I would consider to be an easier one to try, but if the architecture is open, the sky is the limit.
    This was the one that I thought had probably the most utility, especially the "internal" version of the API, where you could "add it to the box."
    Indeed. Very cool.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The ARRL Lab was also very impressed with the Apache stuff.

    Developed in India...the place where a lot of advanced software originates, and half the world's call centers are.:p

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