Home › Amateur Radio (Main Equipment) › Base Station Radio › Flex Radio Systems › FlexRadio Flex-3000
Like all SDRs from FlexRadio Systems the FLEX-3000 is a fully software defined radio. The accepted definition of a real software defined radio is one "where components that have typically been implemented in hardware (e.g. mixers, filters, amplifiers, oscillators, modulators/demodulators, detectors. etc.) are instead implemented using software running on a personal computer or other embedded computing devices". The advantages of a SDR over a traditional analog radio, a hybrid DSP/analog radio or "firmware defined radio" are many. Versatility, flexibility and immunity to obsolescence are just a few of the inherent characteristics of fully software defined radios. Don't be mislead by other manufacturer's claims that their radios or accessories are "software defined" when they are just really software controlled or have software defined "like" features. If you are looking for the real deal, a genuine software defined radio, then look no further than FlexRadio Systems and the FLEX-3000.
The FLEX-3000 utilizes high performance 24-bit A/D and D/A converters that enables its great close-in receiver performance in the sub $1600 price class of mid-range transceivers. It is able to achieve this level of performance without the use of additional expensive narrow bandwidth "roofing filters". Matter of fact there are no additional filters to buy - ever. All of the RX and TX filtering in the FLEX-3000 is accomplished using digital signal processing (DSP) so you can define "no ring" brick wall RX filter widths from 25 to 20,000 Hz that have amazingly steep skirts to eliminate adjacent QRM. The A/D and D/A converters are sampling rate selectable for either 48 or 96 KHz.
There is no need to extol the virtues of radios that have phenomenal two-tone, third order dynamic range (IMD DR3) numbers when tested using a close in spacing. When bands are crowded with strong signals, the ability to hear a weak signal a few KHz away from an exceptionally strong signal is what separates a decent receiver from a superior receiver. Software defined radios with high performance A/D and D/A converters really shine in this area and the FLEX-3000 is the brightest star in the mid-ranged priced amateur radio transceiver universe. With the IMD DR3 at a 2 KHz spacing measured with the ARRL test method of greater than 90 dB with the preamp off, the FLEX-3000 performs much better than other radios costing two and three times as much!
Using the same engineering philosophy as the FLEX-5000, the FLEX-3000 is designed to handle large signals at any frequency spacing. This means that the IP3 at 2 KHz and 500 Hz is exactly the same and the end result is that the FLEX-3000 can hear very weak signals inter-dispersed between very loud signals. The FLEX-3000 obtains an IP3 at a 2 KHz spacing of greater than +20 dBm with the preamp off. Again, this is an exceptional performance metric for a radio costing less than $1600.
One of the technological software defined radio innovations that the FLEX-3000 inherited from the FLEX-5000 was its FireWire control and multi-channel bi-directional audio interface circuitry. This high-speed SDR-to-computer interface is ideally suited for the multiple full-duplex data streams necessary to achieve its outstanding performance characteristics and to minimize system latency. Convenience and reliability are two another advantages of the single FireWire connection to your computer since it does away with the "rat's nest" of audio and control cables that plagued first generation software defined radios for amateur use.
Equipped with a temperature compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO) to provide the frequency stability needed for digital and CW mode operation, the FLEX-3000 TCXO achieves frequency stability better than ± 1.0 ppm over the operating temperature of the transceiver once calibrated to a known frequency source, like WWV.
<100 Watt Full Duty Cycle 160-6m RF Power Amp>
The FLEX-3000 utilizes an AB class RF full duty cycle (100 watts ICAS) power amp whose design is taken directly from the FLEX-5000 so this is not a newly developed RF power amplifier, but uses a well-vetted design that is tried and true. It delivers a full 100 watts PEP on 160-6 meters and does not miss a beat whether you are operating CW, phone or digital modes.
The FLEX-3000 is outfitted with individually optimized bandpass filters to cover both the ham bands and for general coverage reception. There is also an additional low pass filter for the broadcast bands. These individually tuned filters minimize potential interference from strong out-of-band signals.
An antenna tuning unit (ATU) is a standard feature on the FLEX-3000. The ATU will tune a variety of unbalanced antenna systems (coax) that facilitates its use with multi-band antennas where the SWR is less than or equal to 3.0:1 (dependent on the complex impedance of the antenna). When used with an appropriate balun, balanced antenna systems can be utilized also. The ATU, when tuned and enabled, is also in the RX signal path further enhancing reception. An ATU bypass function will completely remove the ATU from both the TX and RX signal paths. All ATU functions are automatically controlled using FlexRadio PowerSDR as well as having manual control of the ATU.
Network Type: Switched "L"
Impedance Range: 17 to 150 ohms
Power Rating: 100 watts 160-6m
One of the first things you will immediately notice about the FLEX-3000 is its compact (12.25" x 12.25" x 1.75") dimensions. Do not let its demure size fool you. The FLEX-3000 was engineered from the ground up so that the radio could be used easily for portable or remote operation, but still packs in all of the performance you have come to expect from FlexRadio Systems software defined radios. One of the advantages of the compact footprint is that it allows for multiple installation configuration options. It can sit underneath a laptop, it can be installed oriented vertically on its side to save desk space and can even sit underneath a desktop monitor.
The FLEX-3000 incorporates Built-In Test Equipment (BITE) capabilities, which were first introduced with the FLEX-5000 family of software defined radios. The FLEX-3000 includes a swept signal generator and power sampler. The radio is capable of manually testing and calibrating itself if necessary. Calibration data for the FLEX-3000 is stored in the radio's EEPROM, which eliminates cumbersome re-calibration procedures associated with early software defined radios. Calibrating the FLEX-3000 is usually not required after purchase since all models are factory calibrated and aligned to exacting standards before being shipped from our manufacturing facilities in Austin Texas.
Just like its "big brother", the FLEX-3000 has the same FlexWire interface as the FLEX-5000. As FlexWire peripherals start becoming available, you will be able to use them interchangeably on both the FLEX-5000 and the FLEX-3000 software defined radios.
Please refer to the FlexRadio Systems Knowledge Center article, FLEX-3000 Transceiver Specifications for the most current technical specifications for the FLEX-3000. Please note that the specifications for the FLEX-3000 are subject to change at any time without notice.
The FLEX-3000, like the world-class performer FLEX-5000, comes with FlexRadio PowerSDR software that performs all DSP, modulation, demodulation, filtering and control functions for the radio in addition to the lab grade spectrum analyzer Panadapter display at no additional cost. FlexRadio PowerSDR is what provides all of the radio's operational features and capabilities whereas the radio hardware is the RF and AF I/O interface. To get a comprehensive understanding of the features and capabilities of the FLEX-3000, you must look at the combination of the software defined radio hardware and FlexRadio PowerSDR as a complete radio system since each element compliments the other.
In view of the fact that the SDR software is the "brains" of a software defined radio system, visit the PowerSDR Details web page to discover the complete set of features the FLEX-3000 supports.
Unlike other radios whose firmware comes out maybe once a year if ever, FlexRadio Systems provides a constant stream of enhancements on a mostly weekly basis that incorporate both internally developed and customer provided features. Do you want a new radio every week? Sure you do! Users of FlexRadio Systems transceivers simply download and install free software updates from the FlexRadio Systems website in order to get that new radio. It does not get any easier or better than that!
ML&S are specialists in configuring any Flex Radio product with your PC. Please contact our engineering customer support team to get free advice on which components you require before you build the computer or even discuss our "Flex Ready" PC's that have been built on site by our own engineers.
FlexRadio Systems & ML&S go to great lengths to ensure that our software defined radio products are compatible with as wide a range of personal computers as possible. Unfortunately, not all computer-to-radio interfaces fully comply with industry recognized standards. For this reason, it is not possible for us to unconditionally guarantee that FlexRadio Systems' software defined radios will work with all combinations of personal computers and computer-to-radio interfaces. We are committed to working with our customers to resolve any incompatibility or connectivity issues to the best of our ability. The proper operation of the real-time audio processing in our radios requires minimum hardware and operating system levels to ensure proper operation. Before purchasing please refer to the minimum personal computer hardware and operating system specifications in order to make an informed buying decision.
Recently Viewed Items