I have continued to upgrade my shack to keep current. I used two radios, each of which are an Elecraft K3 which provides HF and 6 meter capability in a single transceiver, the best receiver specifications then available, and what were cleanest transmitter spectrum measurements. Each had the P3 panadapter.
As time passed and I added more capability to my station, the complexity grew to amazing proportions. Better radios came along. And the phase noise generated by the K3s made SO2R challenging.
Along came the Flex Radio 6000 series. There are three radios in the series, the 6300, 6500, and the 6700. The Flex is a true SDR and caught my interest.
Bill Axelrod 10 March 2016
Along with better specs than the K3, especially the transmitter specs, I grew more and more enamored with the radio. I had the opportunity to operate the radio a couple of times and had the good fortune to talk with some of the key people at Flex Radio. When I learned of their interest in making the Flex into a machine that fully supported contesting, including becoming one radio that could do SO2R with much less complexity (and far fewer wires behind the desk) I was sold.
A couple days after that, one of the local hams decided to sell his Flex Radio 6300. The next day it was in my shack and on the air. A week later I had my K3s, P3s, and other supporting equipment sold. Flex is developing a SO2R device that will turn my 6300 into a SO2R machine. But, I have no, zero, none patience. I wanted to get back to SO2R contests soonest. In November I upgraded to a Flex 6700 which already does SO2R. Tested it out in the November CW Sweepstakes and made over 1000 QSOs despite the learning curve associated with a new radio and a very different user paradigm. There a picture of the 6300 on the left and the 6700 on the right. Both great radios.
Click on the button to the right to visit the Flex web site for more information.
The good news is that Flex Radio is not sitting around on its hands admiring the status quo. They are developing a device called the Maestro which is just starting to be shipped. I was able to get an early version.
Maestro is a fully capable remote interface to the Flex 6700 series radios. Maestro interfaces with the Flex radio via your home network, wired or using wireless WiFi networks. I can simply pick up my Maestro, go outside to sit on my deck with the beverage of my choice, and operate just as if I was in the shack. How cool is that! Or I can take it with me and chase DX while I am on my treadmill in my exercise room. Later this year Flex will be offering a software upgrade that will allow Maestro to interface with your radio anywhere in the world you can connect to the internet. Wow!