FLEX-5000 Product PDF | Features | FLEX-5000A Details | Upgrades | Accessories

This product has been discontinued as of 20-May-2013 and is no longer available for sale.  It is however still supported in PowerSDR v2.x

The FlexRadio FLEX-5000A™ Software Defined Radio

High Performance Software Defined Radio at its Best!

FlexRadio Systems introduces the FLEX-5000A™ ultra high performance Software Defined Radio transceivers. The FLEX-5000A integrates all I/Q data and hardware control over a single FireWire (IEEE-1394a) connection to a user provided computer.

"I'm stunned at how *good* the FLEX-5000 receives! I've had, and still own, some pretty good radios, FT-1000MP Mk-V, TS-950SDX, and a loaded K2, and this rig is just so different, I really can't compare it to a "regular" radio. The noise reduction is just staggering. I live over a two-story commercial building, and I've always been plagued by power line noise.  Now, with one mouse click, it's GONE!" Jim, KQ6EA

A Fully Software Defined Radio (SDR)

Like all SDRs from FlexRadio Systems the FLEX-5000 is a true 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-5000 .

Top Performing Narrow-Spaced Two-Tone 3 rd Order IMD Dynamic Range of ~100 dB on 14 MHz Using a 2 KHz Spacing. Not the 20 KHz Spacing Like Everyone Else Advertises!

It is becoming evident that close-in dynamic range is the most useful specification to evaluate a receiver's performance. Receiving narrow bandwidth signals under crowded band conditions are where good receivers are separated from the best receivers. Most radio manufacturer's do not publish their 2 KHz two-tone, third-order dynamic range values because it is easier to get better looking (higher value) numbers at 20 KHz that are not that applicable to real world operating conditions. The FLEX-5000 at 500 Hz spacing, exceeds traditional radio manufacturer's top of the line performance by as much as 2-25 dB, depending on the model and testing methodology.

Industry Leading Narrow Spaced 3rd Order Intercept Point: Greater Than 39 dBm at 2 KHz Tone Spacing. 

A lot of focus in recent years has been put on the third-order intercept point (IP3) to tout a receivers performance. This specification is not an actual measured number; it is calculated from two other parameters. Therefore the IP3 value can vary dramatically based on the tone spacing used to make the measurements. The $10,000 radio manufacturers publish wide-spaced (20 KHz) IP3 values of +40 dBm, but shy away from reporting the "real world" close-in IP3 values. Why? This is because performance degrades dramatically inside their expensive roofing filters.

FlexRadio took a different approach – design the receiver to handle large signals at any spacing . That means that with the FLEX-5000 IP3 and thus third order dynamic range will not degrade as tone spacing (even at 100 Hz) is decreased. In practical terms, that means you can work the weak ones sandwiched between the high powered locals.

Integrated A/D and D/A Converters

The FLEX-5000 has integrated the A/D and D/A processing hardware built inside the radio. An ultra high quality 192 KHz 24-bit ADC and DACs with exceptional performance provides the spectral samples for the DSP to process. The integrated converters also eliminate the cumbersome and problematic audio cabling requirements between the transceiver and PC that were needed with the first generation software defined radios.

True Full Duplex Operation for Simultaneous Transmit and Receive

The FLEX-5000 is a true full duplex transceiver with independent transmitter and receiver signal paths. This means that the software can use the transmitter and receiver simultaneously for monitoring one band while transmitting on another when used with the optional full performance second receiver. With external transverters full duplex satellite operation is also possible. On phone and digital modes, you can hear and see the spectrum of your actual transmitted signal. Full duplex operation also facilitates very high speed T/R switching for CW and TOR digital modes.

Additionally, the existing MultiRX™ capabilities that exist in FlexRadio PowerSDR™, which allows multiple receive "windows" within the passband of the DSP is also available for the main receiver. This unparalleled capability provides the most flexible receiver configuration of any amateur radio transceiver at any price!

Optional Second Independent Receiver (RX2) for True Synchronous Diversity Reception

Using two separate antennas having different spatial orientations and/or polarization with the optional full-featured, second high performance receiver, true synchronous diversity reception is a reality. Diversity reception is a well know to "top band" operators for improving the readability at the noise floor  . By phase locking both receivers to the same frequency you can produce "stereo diversity" which allows your brain to more easily sort out signal from the noise. Other more advanced diversity reception techniques such as beam steering and null forming are also available with the optional RX2 module. 

Optional Internal Automatic ATU

A wide matching range antenna tuning unit (ATU) is an optional feature for the  FLEX-5000.  The switch-L tuning network will tune a variety of unbalanced antenna systems (coax) that facilitates its use with multi-band antennas where the SWR is less than optimal (actual matching range dependent on the complex impedance of the antenna).  When used with an appropriate balun, balanced antenna systems can be utilized also.  An ATU bypass function will completely remove the ATU from the TX RF signal path.  All ATU functions are automatically controlled using FlexRadio PowerSDR as well as having manual control of the ATU.
  • Continuous coverage 1.8 to 54 MHz
  • Power rating HF (1.8 to 30 MHz): 5 to 250 watts (100 watts on 6m)
  • Integrated with FlexRadio PowerSDR
  • Over 16000 memories for instantaneous band changing.
  • Tuning time: 0.5 to 6 seconds, <0.1 second memory tune
  • Tunes 6 to 1000 ohm loads (16 to 150Ω on 6M).
  • For Dipoles, Verticals, Vs, Beams or Coax Fed Antenna.

FlexWire™ Peripheral Interface Bus

 With the introduction of the FLEX-5000 family of transceivers, FlexRadio Systems introduces FlexWire, an intelligent, high speed, bi-directional communications interface that allows FlexRadio PowerSDR to communicate with peripheral devices. 

Single 1394a FireWire ® Connection to your Computer

No longer do you have to use parallel port connections to your software defined radio. To fully realize all of the capabilities of the FLEX-5000 and FlexRadio PowerSDR, a high speed RF shielded interface between the computer and the transceiver is a necessity. The FLEX-5000 family of transceivers utilize a single FireWire interface to facilitate access to FlexRadio PowerSDR. FireWire is the optimal technology to deliver high sampling rate radio control and I/Q data with FlexRadio PowerSDR.

Redesigned 100 Watt 160-6m Power Amp

Completely redesigned from the ground up, the new 100 watt MOSFET push-pull amplifier produces a full 100 watts PEP on 160 to 6 meters (full duty cycle, 100W ICAS). The PA has excellent spectral characteristics with low IMD and exceptional signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio that produces a phenomenally clean signal.

 Optimized 11th Order Filters for all Amateur Bands from 160 to 6 Meters

 The FLEX-5000 utilizes eleven, individually optimized 11th order front-end filters to cover each of the ham bands between 160 and 6 meters. Since the FLEX-5000 is a full duplex transceiver, there are separate independent filter banks for transmit and receive which is not like other radios where the transmit and receive filters are shared. These individually tuned filters minimize potential interference from strong out-of-band signals for ultra quiet receiver performance.

Balanced Microphone Input

Operators are increasingly making a serious effort to get the highest quality audio within the recommended 3 KHz bandwidth of a SSB signal. The FLEX-5000 easily facilitates interfacing with signal processing equipment by providing a 1/4" TRS balanced audio line input. Using the balanced line-in with a microphone pre-amplifier will allow you to use a variety of ribbon, dynamic and condenser microphones for the configuration that best fits your operating needs. Or you can achieve studio quality audio by deploying a complex audio chain with equalizers, compressor/limiters, aural exciters and other effects processors.

 Note: A microphone is not included with the FLEX-5000A and must be user supplied. 

High Stability TCXO for Accurate SSB, VHF+ and Digital Modes

Frequency stability is critical when operating VHF+ or HF digital modes. The FLEX-5000A incorporates a high stability temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO) which reduces frequency drift to no more than ± 0.5 ppm. For even greater frequency stability, the FLEX-5000 has a software switched, external BNC connector for connecting a 10 MHz GPS disciplined or other high stability clock source.

Three Software Selectable Antenna Connectors

The FLEX-5000 has three independent SO-239 antenna connectors that can be assigned as transmit and/or receive antennas by operating band and mode. This capability provides the ultimate flexibility in contest situations or hunting for that rare DX by being able to change to a different antenna with a click of the mouse.

Separate Dedicated Receiving Antenna

Not all antennas have perfect reciprocal characteristics, meaning that a good transmitting antenna is not necessarily a good receiving antenna. This is especially true at long wavelengths of 80 and 160 meters. Hams that are serious about "top band" operating know the advantage of using a beverage antenna for receiving. They also know that they are very poor for transmitting. To overcome this dilemma, the FLEX-5000 has a dedicated receiving antenna connector. In fact, it provides both a RX output and a RX input (loop) to allow the use of preselectors and preamps "in-line".

Transverter Ready - Full Duplex 28 MHz IF

The FLEX-5000's incredible receiver is perfect for weak signal VHF+ and WSJT operation as a 28 MHz IF for interfacing to external transverters. The FLEX-5000 will turn your VHF-UHF-microwave setup into the highest performance station around. Full duplex operation opens the door for satellite communications as well.

Three TX Control Lines for Keying Amplifiers, Transverters, Sequencers and Other Accessories

Keying external amps, sequencers and preamps is always a daunting task, but the FLEX-5000 makes it so easy with three user assignable TX control or keying lines with variable time delays. Each TX control line can be configured on a per band basis allowing the control of multiple devices.

No External Calibration Equipment Required

The new FLEX-5000 family incorporates Built-In Test Equipment (BITE). This includes a swept signal generator, power sampler, and transmitted signal spectrum analyzer. The radio is capable of testing and calibrating itself. All models are factory calibrated and aligned to exacting standards.

Audio Line-In and Line-Out Connectors

The FLEX-5000 has consumer level (-10 dbV) line-in and line out RCA type connectors for a variety of uses, such as recording audio from a contest so you can listen to that rare DX to make sure you don't have a busted call or output streaming audio to the web from your FLEX-5000

FLEX-5000A Technical Specifications:

Please refer to the KC article,
 FLEX-5000A Transceiver Specifications  for the most current technical specifications. Please note that the specifications for the FLEX-5000A are subject to change at any time without notice.

 Manufactured in the USA 

All FlexRadio Systems products are designed, manufactured, assembled, quality checked and calibrated in Austin, TX USA.

RoHS Compliant Manufacturing

FlexRadio Systems takes environmental issues very seriously making concerted efforts to minimize the impact of our products on the Earth. As such, the base FLEX-5000A transceiver is in compliance with the RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) directive for minimizing the amount of hazardous materials in its construction by using lead-free components and manufacturing techniques.

FlexRadio PowerSDR™ and the FLEX-5000 - An Awesome Combination!

The FLEX-5000™ family comes with FlexRadio PowerSDR software that performs all DSP, modulation, demodulation and control functions for the radio. FlexRadio PowerSDR is the "brains" behind the FLEX-5000's "brawn". With the release of the FLEX-5000, FlexRadio PowerSDR has been significantly upgraded and optimized to use a true multi-threaded architecture that greatly improves transmit and receiver performance.

Unlike those $10,000 radios where firmware comes out once a year, FlexRadio Systems provides a constant stream of enhancements that incorporate both internal and customer supplied code. Customers simply download and install free software updates from the FlexRadio website.

Since the software is the other half of a software defined radio, visit the FlexRadio PowerSDR Details   web page to discover the complete set of features the FLEX-5000A supports.
FLEX-5000 European Union (EU) Declaration of Conformity 
Download the complete CE Compliance Test Report for the FLEX-5000A with the RX2 (14MB)

FLEX-5000A 2-Year Limited Warranty 

This Limited Warranty is effective as of the date of first purchase by the consumer. Original equipment warranties and manufacturer support for FlexRadio products applies only to the original purchaser and are not transferable unless a warranty transfer agreement is purchased from FlexRadio Systems.  Before requesting warranty service, you should complete a careful review of the most recent version of the Troubleshooting Section of the FLEX-5000 Operating Manual found on the FlexRadio Systems web site or contact a FlexRadio Systems authorized service center for problem identification and triage. Any product returned for service that is out of warranty or has had its warranty voided is subject to a one (1) hour diagnostic bench charge (currently $85). This charge will be applied to any work performed.

What is covered: During the first two years after date of purchase, FlexRadio Systems will replace defective parts free of charge (post-paid) for transceiver components only. Any replacement hardware parts will be warranted for the remainder of the original warranty period or ninety (90) calendar days from the date of installation or repair, whichever is longer. FlexRadio Systems will also correct any failure caused by defective parts and materials. You must send the unit at your expense to FlexRadio Systems. FlexRadio Systems will pay return shipping.

What is not covered: This Limited Warranty as it pertains to the transceiver or radio components does not cover repair or damage caused by (1) misuse, negligence or user modifications; (2) any performance malfunctions involving non-FlexRadio accessory equipment; (3) connection to improper or unstable voltage supply; (4) improper execution of hardware calibration or test routines; (5) the incorrect installation of any and all cables connected to the radio by the user; (6) the use of third-party software applications or hardware that directly or indirectly controls radio functions and/or operating state by utilizing a communication or control protocol, such as, but not limited to CAT or I2C commands or (7) random acts of nature such as flood, fire, water, weather related storm, lightning or electrostatic discharge damage.

Limitation of incidental or consequential damages: This warranty does not extend to non-FlexRadio equipment or components used in conjunction with our products. Any such repair or replacement is the responsibility of the customer. FlexRadio Systems will not be liable or responsible for reimbursement for any special, indirect, incidental or consequential damages, including but not limited to any loss of business or profits, loss of property, loss of revenue, loss of use, loss of data, inconvenience or cost of unauthorized service.

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