Re: Base station transciever - Need some advice on selection
I own a Flex (5000) and a Kenwood TS-590S and have to say they are both excellent rigs that perform beautifully. If I could only have one rig I would definitely choose the Flex platform since it offers more versatility than any rig I have ever owned. Once you have a panadapter it's really hard to go without one! That being said, the TS-590S certainly holds its own and in fact at this point I prefer to use it for all my digital mode communications and CW.
If you have narrowed it down to the Flex 3000 or the TS-590S you won't be disappointed with either choice. If you are comfortable with your computer and are willing to read the PowerSDR manual the rewards for traveling the SDR path are great. The issues with RFI problems are horribly overblown by those who have not bothered with installing a single point ground system for their operating bench. I run full legal limit power with my Flex 5K from 160 - 10 meters and have never had an issue.
For better or worse, if you are interested, I have some information about the software EQ settings for the TS-590S at the link below:
That's very cool but I still want some knobs and buttons to turn and push for that kind of money.
I totally understand that because I feel the same way. On the other hand though none of the other radios in my price range have a nice bandscope like the flex SDR. The notch filters in the flex implementation are also unique and on my small lot I get a fair amount of noise. Most of it was fixed through grounding but others I have yet to get rid of.
Both Jim and Rob seem to really like their flex 5000 and Rob has a ts590 as well. I think I'm going to ignore my want for buttons and knobs and give the flex 3000 a shot.
Is the flex website the only place to purchase their SDRs? I can't seem to locate them at the usual places.
Yes, in the US, Flex radios are sold factory direct. Their customer support is excellent. I had about 4 hours of receiving on mine, when the receiver went belly up. I posted a message on the reflector, and within a few MINUTES, somebody got back to me, and this was on a Sunday night! The next day we did a Skype session, and they walked me through some of the service menus, and determined one of the devices had gone bad. I had a UPS shipping label within minutes, and sent the radio back the same day. They had it repaired and shipped back the same week, but because "regular" UPS doesn't deliver on Saturdays, I had to wait until Monday to pick the radio up at my friend's business where I get all my packages shipped. That was in 2006, and the radio has performed flawlessly ever since. The only other Amateur Radio manufacturer that I've dealt with that's that good is Elecraft. -- One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.
I'm glad you enjoyed the Viking story Chris. That was the best 30 bucks I ever spent!
I think you'll enjoy the Flex 3000 very much. I agree 100% with drjim regarding the product support you get from Flex on those rare occasions when it might be needed. They go the extra mile and make things right for their customers.
PowerSDR has a number of tools that do a beautiful job of scrubbing out noise when it shows up on the band. The noise blanker is unbelievable. Following a huge storm during the fall of 2011 there was tremendous damage to the neighborhood power lines. Until it was repaired I suffered from S-9 + 20 dB of noise on 10 meters from a cracked insulator about 800 feet away. Check out how the noise blanker completely removed that noise:
I'd love to buy an American made radio but I just can't get into the looks of the thing. Plus I know this is dumb but the thing has a serial port on it and the mere presence of a serial port gives me the impression that the radio is outdated.