The 1500 Is Dead – Long Live The 1500

Well I got the call from RadioWorld that nobody wants.

Both the FlexRadio 1500 and the Diawa power supply are too expensive to repair.

Of course this information was provided with a bill for the cost estimate but if I buy another rig from RadioWorld they’ll wave the estimate which is enough to get my attention and fair enough although the cost does sting a little.

So what to do?

RadioWorld sells the major brands plus the Flex so it comes down for me a Kenwood TS-590s or a FlexRadio 3000 or…and this came to me this morning at 3 a.m….I could just replace the FlexRadio 1500 …for now.

So why would I do that?

Well despite the well-meaning encouragement of some to get a “real” radio with a 100 watt  P.A. which trust me has its attraction especially during the SSB pileups during last weekend’s CQ WW DX there is something to be said about working Australia long path in the middle of the afternoon with 5 watts during a major contest.

Any appliance operator (not all QRO ops are appliance operators…just saying)  running a KW into a beam could have done it as the VK was loud enough and occasionally in the clear. But to do it at 5 watts was a thrill I won’t soon forget.

Same thing for working Senegal and Gambia later in the contest.

Anyway the TS-590s is an amazing radio but it’s $2000 including power supply to get it home. That’s a lot of cash right now and tantalizingly close to bringing home a KX3 with cash to spare for a 100-watt add-on amp.

But my station is all setup for QRP contesting with the Flex, the FlexKnob and the display.

And despite what some say the 22″ wide panoramic display on my monitor is something I’m not willing to give up.

The display is a huge advantage when contesting and those that don’t use one (a) don’t know what they’re missing and (b) will find their next radio has one.

So why not buy a FlexRadio 3000?

Cost again. The difference in price between a $600 Flex 1500 for which I’ve got a second power supply at home that is perfect for it and a 3000 at $1800 plus a new power supply at just under $200 means a cost of $2K plus taxes to get it home.

Now the 3000 has a 100-watt P.A. plus it has VOX which the 1500 doesn’t (and should have) and an auto tuner built in but I am growing weary of SSB contests regardless of power and moving toward CW and digital contests where the 1500 is at no real disadvantage. I’ve also got two external auto tuners (an LDG and the tiny Elecraft) so does a price difference of $1400 equal $1400 more advantage and fun. Don’t think so.

Besides what I want….what I really, really want is either a K3 plus amp or a Flex 6000 series.

And in two more years, who knows what ICOM or Kenwood or Yaseu may bring out!

Needless to say we’re in the early stages of a multi-year negotiation around the future of the VE3HG contest station on the home front. Started with an expensive dinner out last night with wine and sushi.

Finally a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who offered condolences and the loan of equipment to help get me over this setback. I won’t embarrass you by name but thanks Doug, VA3DF and Mike, VA3MW both members of Contest Club Ontario.

Lots of folks from the Flex community have also offered encouraging thoughts and sympathy and I can’t tell you how much it means to be a member of an international community of caring and concerned friends.

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This entry was posted in FlexRadio, QRP by Peter West. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

One thought on “The 1500 Is Dead – Long Live The 1500

  1. Pingback: QRP M2 | VE3HG

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