Saturday, 16 January 2016
Flexradio 6300 review v1.6.17
Hurrah! After a 3.5 month wait for the sw/fw update v1.6.17, I now have a working radio! Not only that, the new sw has a winkey emulation function which works great with N1MM but is pants with Wintest (can't have it all). The cat port emulator is much improved except for the omission of having ptt and cat on the same port. I suppose this doesn't matter as all rs232 ports are virtual, so there are hundreds available (no cabling). I have eventually found an advantage to going down the SDR route, the back of my K3 is stuffed with cables and ferrites to such an extent that any alteration involves a full dismantle. The Flex however for the same functionality has only 5 cables attached which are well spaced out and easily accessible. I setup my 6300 for SO2R with N1MM+ and it thinks that 2 separate radios are attached (each slice has it's own cat and ptt port). The radio was nearly in the bin after the first 3.5 months of ownership including 2 separate hardware faults from new (missing screws/disconnected BPF board and a new cpu fan fitted) and crap sw/fw faults (cold startup problem leading to bad tx). It's been a rough road with Flexradio and I have to question the companies quality control, customer service and speed of debug/development of sw/fw when dealing with my problems. If you haven't got the patience of a saint, then I would not recommend the company (i.e. if you expect to buy a radio from them and for it to work out the box). The rx performance of the 6300 during a contest is predictable, the noise floor bounces around with various degrees of apparent blocking going on. In short the Elecraft K3 wipes the floor with it. Not really a fair comparison though as the 6300 isn't meant for contesting (6500 and 6700 will be better with their preselectors). So advantages: 1) Much less cabling 2) Brilliant for data modes 3) Simplicity of hardware (one set top box and a pc does it all) 4) SmartSDR is a visual treat 5) Great rx with typical small antenna setups (outside of contests) Disadvantages: 1) Poor selectivity for contests 2) Poor integration with 3rd party contesting software. 3) Poor company quality control 4) Poor customer service (Technical information flow from company to customer about hw/sw/fw faults are heavily sensored. Expect to ask technical questions and have them directly ignored. Instead the answer given will be that the fault is confirmed and that it will be fixed when it suits them. Your issue will then be promptly closed even although it has not been fixed). Very very frustrating! My experience was exactly the above and then a 3.5 month wait for the eventual solution.....poor! 5) Arrogant and stubborn attitude from the company (they are doing you a favour with their brilliant product). This isn't helped on the community by a band of american cheer leaders who won't stand any critism of the company.