My Flex SDR Experiences

As noted in my previous post I had purchased a Flex 1500 SDR at the DX Convention in Visalia. It’s a QRP rig but I bought it as an inexpensive way to see if I wanted to go further with SDR. Primarily I wanted to see how the reception and filtering would compare with my FT-2000. I also wanted to see how operating a rig only with the computer would work out.

I got it all hooked up and the software installed. The Flex 1500 uses a USB connection instead of Firewire so I didn’t have to get anything special for my existing PC. My PC is a Dell Dimension 9200 running Windows 7. Not state of the art but certainly should be fast enough. That was part of the test, too. Anyway, I started playing with it and there was a nice CW pileup going on up from a dx station. The filters are just incredible, I could wade into the deepest part of the pileup and usually just pick out a single signal. With my FT-2000 if you get the filter tighter than 400 Hz you start getting some ringing along with artifacts from the other nearby stations. With the Flex I had the filter less than 25 Hz and I could easily copy the station. This will be great for getting rid of the guys on top of the dx or picking out just the dx station when he is simplex.

I still need to find a good SSB pileup to see how the filtering works then. I haven’t been around much due to family obligations so I had to set things aside for awhile. Meanwhile I had been talking with my friend Martin (W6PG) who has a Flex 3000. I knew eventually he was going to upgrade to the Flex 5000 so I told him I would be interested in his 3000 at that time. Well, he called me up about a week later and said he was ready to upgrade. I said I would take the 3000 and he ordered his Flex 5000 and had it by the end of the week. The next Monday he brought over the Flex 3000 and we went and had lunch together. Now I had ordered a Firewire card but it had not arrived yet so I couldn’t use the 3000 yet. I also ordered a higher performance video card since mine seemed a little marginal.

After a few days all of the parts came in and I hooked up the Flex 3000 and got it working with the amp and all. Not much different from the 1500, 100 watts vs. 5 watts and a wider frequency pan adaptor display. I’ve just started using it so I’ll leave my experiences for another post. I will say, though, while my existing PC isn’t slow by any means, it would be nice to have a dedicated PC for the radio. Stay tuned for more info.

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