SD Radios (SDR) and my new Flexradio 1500

I remember when the Flexradio 1500 came out a few years ago. It really interested me and at the introductory price of $599, I almost bought one back then. However, I lost interest when it seemed like forever between the announcement of the 1500 and the eventual shipments started.

My buddy Russ, WB8ZCC, has become very interested in SDR and we used to banter back and forth about SDR and my concern with investing in a radio that was dependent upon a computer. What happens in 20 years when the hardware still works, but the manufacturer does not support the newer operating systems? Second, I just like knobs and a display on the radio.

Well you can imagine Russ' surprise when I told him I ordered a Flexradio 1500! I figured if I could get 10 years out of it then it would not be a bad investment.

I have to tell you that I am rather impressed with this little box. I have used it on SSB, CW, a bunch of digital modes like PSK, JT-65, and Hell, and even used it to receive DRM broadcasts on shortwave. The radio is just fun to use and so far I have not missed the lack of knobs on the radio.

Even with only 5 watts on this radio (the other Flex radios are higher power), this thing is pretty impressive. On SSB with 5 watts, I got a 58 report from a school station in Wyoming. Not to shabby. The Flexradio supplied software is really comprehensive. Through the use of virtual audio cable and virtual comm ports, you can use all sorts of external programs like MixW, HRD, DM-780, FLDigi, etc. and all through one single USB cable. Neat! No more interfaces and multiple USB/Serial cables.

So take a look at Flexradio and if you have the bucks, you might want to dip your toe into the world of SDR with the Flexradio 1500. You can find them at