Flex Power

I’ve setup the FlexRadio 1500 with an LDG Z-11 QRP autotuner so now I’ve got an all-band, multi-mode, 5-watt rig that autotunes from 160 meters to 6 meters. Anticipating some of the big phone contests where competing at 5 watts is the equivalent to shouting into a tornado I also added an LDG Pro-200 autotuner and a Palomar 160-10 meter 100-watt amplifier. So now I also have a 100-watt rig that autotunes on all my antennas from 160 to six meters.

This is so cool and so now as compared to some of the older rigs I’ve owned.*

BTW until you actually see a Flex 1500 in person you have no idea how small this wonderful rig really is. It’s really small.

My issues with interfacing Writelog appears to be both a Windows 7 issue (7 handles audio much differently than XP) and a decided lack of computer horsepower. MY HP dual-core 2.9 gig computer runs between 20 and 30 per cent usage with the SDR and from 30 to 50 per cent with Writelog running rig control and CW keying from memories and the keyboard. If I add packet and the bandmap the usage is stable but if everything starts calling home at the same moment my CPU goes to 80 per cent and everything starts to stall.

I had some wag suggest that my $600 radio is no bargain when you add the computer and that’s true but I needed to add the computer regardless and so what if it’s a little more expensive than the Best Buy special I was using? I think this guy was ticked that my rig’s panoramic display on my 22″ monitor was way better and way bigger than his $600 add-on display for his K3.

Anyway it’s pretty cool to have a rig the size of a small brick sitting on top of one of two autotuners feeding another brick-size amp all of which could sit on the floor under the operating desk. The only things on the desk could be the computer display, Heil headphones, the March paddles and my Idiom memory keyer.

One Scot commenting on an international review site thinks his ancient TS830 and FT1000D hear as well as the tiny Flex 1500. Obviously he hasn’t used the Flex. The TS-830 was okay in its day but the heater switch on the front panel must be for this guy’s heating pad which he’ll need for his aching  back after lugging this beast around. They don’t call these old boxes boat anchors for nothing.

Same thing applies to the FT1000D which has that normal weird Yaesu over-processed audio. This is another big box that was on the road to obsolescence the day after this guy bought it.

These are your father’s radios and the GM ham who owns them doesn’t know what he’s missing especially when you add up the cost of the $4000 Yaseu and the $1,000 Kenwood. Now if the OM was talking about a TS-850 at least he would have had a rig with fairly decent audio…for $2,000.

Wow I wonder if this guy would adopt me? I could bring my $600 FlexRadio and we could watch the huge display without our reading glasses 🙂

*Picked up a very clean Drake 2-B receiver which lights up and hisses and needs some work. It’s a tube rig so I can warm my hands on its chassis this winter. Anybody got a Q-Muliplier and Xtal calibrator for sale? This helps make up for the loss of my Drake R4B and T4XB which I sold a couple of years ago.

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About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing, yoga and Ham Radio. I am a former photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and public relations practitioner with national, regional and local experience. A long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada I am taking on new challenges.

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