Thursday, September 18, 2008

The FLEX-5000

I recently joined the ARRL, in response to their announcement that members would have access to their archive of QST all the way back to 1915. That was what it took to push me over. A few days later, I get a nice fat envelope from them that contained a welcome letter (which I nearly threw out without first detaching the membership card that was Intel-boogered to it), a solicitation to join the Diamond Club (seems mighty expensive for what little it gets me), and the most recent issue of QST.

So I've been browsing this issue, while recovering from the flu. I'm feeling well enough now to form coherent sentences, so I'm going to blog some reactions. First one is to an ad (QST appears to be about two-third ads), for the FLEX-5000 SDR being sold by FlexRadio Systems. I'm very interested in software defined radio, but frankly the $2799 pricetag for the FLEX-5000A is out of my league. And the $5299 tag for the FLEX-5000C seems way overpriced, given that it appears to just be the 5000A with an imbedded Wintel system (and a speaker), which I can't really see being worth $2500. It's my general impression that high-end ham gear is markedly overpriced, probably because the people who can afford to buy this stuff for a hobby are generally just drowning in spare cash and don't really care about the difference between $2000 and $4000 (or even $10,000). So while I'm interested in SDR, I'm not this interested. Even the USRP2 (at $1400) is less of an investment, although the USRP needs a lot of additional gear to make it into a full-fledged HF radio (mainly amplifiers, as the USRP RF daughterboards have relatively low power outputs).