[CQ-Contest] Flex Radio Question

Tod Olson tod at k0to.us
Tue May 6 00:16:16 EDT 2014


You may be correct ― I think the thing that I felt was coming through in
the email I received was the mechanics of logging entries and controlling
the radio. I am curious to know the call of the person in the Bay area to
whom you are referring - the one who chose to replace their K3.

You certainly are correct that successful use of any type of radio in a
contest requires thoughtful consideration of workflow to maximize your
personal effectiveness.

I have only briefly used a K3 at Ken Kopp's, [K0PP] in Anaconda, MT. It is
a nice radio with good ‘properties’ but I would expect it might take a
couple years for me to get everything working together well <radio,
switching, antennas and operator>. I would certainly expect the same if I
were to start using a Flex Radio.

Perhaps there is a difference in ‘ease of use’ that depends on logging
programs or maybe I just don’t understand all the details. I can imagine
that if one is running stations there might be one operating
characteristic and if one were doing ‘search and pounce’ there would be
another. I don’t have a feel for how quickly one can change frequencies or
swap radios or swap frequencies in SO2R etc. Somehow, correctly or
incorrectly, I would expect slight delays [command latency] between things
that I might not expect from the non-SDR equipment. Also, Stu, there were
only a few responses and only a couple from people I generally associate
with long term, skillful contest operation. Please note that I am not
focussed on the people who ‘win’ contests; there are a lot of very good
contest operators who will never win a contest from their current

It may be that the cost of the Flex Radio relative to a K3 is limiting the
number of persons who have elected to use them to contest ― that might
also reduce the number of responses to my question.

Several years ago I looked at SDR’s for contesting and felt at that time
command latency would be unacceptable. With Moore’s law working I would
suppose that the hardware is at least 8 times more powerful and perhaps
command latency is no longer an issue. Certainly the A/D conversions are
faster and a lot of software has been written to take advantage of that.

The idea that a single Flex Radio can operate as several independent
radios on different frequencies and modes simultaneously [ OK, time
multiplexed ] is interesting too. But why do you suppose that we don’t
hear more about SDR’s being used as contest radios? Are we at some sort of
‘Spark vs. CW‘ or ‘SSB vs.AM’ technology change? I wasn’t around for the
Spark change but I remember well the SSB/AM transition and as an early
adopter [1955] remember folks on 75 phone making us SSB guys operate from
3990-4000 kHz if we wanted them to leave us alone. It only took about five
years and folks recognized that SSB was a much better choice than AM. The
same does not seem to be the case for the SDR’s. What do you suppose are
the considerations that seem to be slowing the adoption of the technology?

Tod, K0TO


On 5/5/14, 8:33 PM, "Stuart Phillips" <stu at ridgelift.com> wrote:

>Really?  Who fed you this line?
>This is just utterly wrong - computer control of any radio requires some
>consideration for workflow.  Note - ANY radio.
>I successfully contest all modes with FlexRadio products and I¹m delighted
>with my 6700.  At least one other serious contester here in the Bay Area
>sold his K3 after buying a 6700.
>You never responded to my email offering comments - standing offer to you
>or anyone else - I am a serious contester with a FlexRadio 6700 and very
>happy - even happier to answer questions!
>Sorry Tod but you didn¹t get the straight scoop.
>Stu K6TU

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