Flex 3000

Fleeeex!

Wooooo!

So I’ve been putting off this post for a bit just because I don’t have a lot to say. My birthday is on the 8th of February and it just so happened this was listed on the club buy&sell on the 5th of February. As I was looking at buying an IC-7300 or TS-590SG in the near future, getting a fully featured 100W SDR for significantly less was just too good an opportunity to give up.

FlexControl aka “FlexKnob”

This particular Flex came from the NSARC radio room in North Vancouver, and I’ve had the opportunity to use it a year before so it was a very known quantity. Part of the deal was the computer that ran all the software, the flex control, as well as computer accessories (monitor, mouse, and keyboard) which I elected not to take because well who needs another 1280×1024 monitor.

I was lead to believe that the setup for the Flex was quite involved but it turns out it was not the case. I also discovered my (gaming) PC also had the requisite 1394 Firewire port to interface with the Flex so no additional hardware was required \o/. Almost everything installed with PowerSDR, and anything that didn’t (FlexKnob) was automatically installed by Windows, except for one thing: The ability to interface with other programs.

The one thing I had trouble with was interfacing CAT control from other programs (WSJTX, fldigi) with PowerSDR. Turns out I needed a seperate piece of software for this: VSP Manager. Getting that setup was painless if slightly inconvenient as you have to email the maintainer to be given access.

So all in all it took me about 5 minutes to get on the air after plugging the firewire cable into the computer. 30 minutes if you count waiting on the VSP Manager authorization. I immediately gave a 5W JT65 transmission a go after that and was rewarded with a plethora of responses (none of which I responded to, sorry!). Given the number of hits from PSK Reporter I think I’ve been operating my IC706Mk2G at (very) below-optimal audio levels. So thats good, I have a better antenna than I expected to boot.

I’m very impressed with the software and the control interface (flexknob) and excited to get on the air more with it. Unfortunately back in January the septic line burst and flooded my basement with raw sewage, and then it snowed for several days so the restoration company and plumbing company couldn’t get access to my house. A day after I got my Flex setup I had to dismantle my antenna system in preparation for the repairs. For every part of the house thats repaired two more issues are found. tl;dr my house was not built to code in almost every aspect of plumbing and electrical. Good news: My house does not contain asbestos.