The new software upgrade is a significant upgrade and those who have tested it say it makes CW out of the $600 radio a breeze.
A poorly functioning CW mode was one of the earliest failings of the radio but now appears to be a thing of the past. The second issue is more difficult to solve.
Reading the Flex reflector it soon becomes apparent that most of the issues newcomers have is actually with their computers and not the radio (although they confuse the two). I know this to be true as I struggled with my dual-core underpowered Best Buy midnight special computers to run the 1500.
Both computers used to show a CPU running around 30 per cent. I could receive without issue but occasionally the CW would drop a character when the computer went off to do something else. Turning off everything I could in Task Manager helped and if the CPU was less than 25 per cent all was well.
With the new upgrade the CPU is running around 20 per cent and the CW if flawless. If I want to make certain there is sufficient CPU available I can turn off the panoramic display (a $600 option on some competitive radios) and my CPU drops to under 10 per cent.
Of course the answer is run SDR stations with a decent computer. Obviously the computer doesn’t need to be much better than the two old beaters I have so a quad-core name brand computer should do.
BTW I wouldn’t recommend a laptop and some guys are using Mac Minis with a Windows 7 emulator. Macs approach issues like interrupts differently from PCs.
I used the 1500 on the ARRL DX CW contest on the weekend (using the old software. I’m not changing anything 48 hours prior to a contest.) and had a ball. I worked everything I could hear (and a few I couldn’t) and can’t wait to see how the new upgraded software works in the ARRL DX SSB.