Over the years, I’ve tinkered with the poor man’s SDR – primarily SoftRocks and various “dongles”. They’re fun, educational and well worth what little money they cost.
I’ve also considered adding Elecraft’s panadapter to my K3-based shack.
Both of those paths seem to be leading to one much more efficient place – an SDR radio with real functionality that can perform the above-mentioned (and many other) tasks.
The Flex-1500 has been around a while. When it was new, PC’s required to operate SDR well were costly – back then, I would have had to buy a “performance” PC to run the rig. That’s not the case anymore and my very basic PC (purchased 6 months ago) easily exceeds the specs required run this little rig well.
Elecraft’s panadapter costs $750 and it’s just that – a panadapter with a small display.
The Flex-1500 costs $700 and can be a panadapter for any rig. And of course it’s already a complete multimode QRP rig itself. It’s also a SW receiver and a way to enable me to experiment with operating a CW skimmer, a WSPR beacon, a 2nd receiver for spotting mults during CQWW, etc.
And it would make a great 6-160m travel radio since a computer always makes the trip with me anyway.
Many reviewers, blog postings and other websites rave about the ‘1500 with many mentioning that they would find it difficult to go back to a “knob & dial” rig.
Perhaps most compelling is that Sherwood Engineering puts it right up there with the TS-990 and other expensive rigs in terms of receiver performance – and at only a fraction of their size and weight.
I don’t mean to sound like an ad for Flex…just mentioning the mental debate I’m having…