Month: May 2014

FLEX-6300 – a more affordable 6000 series model from FlexRadio

FLEX-6300 Signature Series is the latest model from FlexRadio. A baby brother to the already established Flex-6500 and Flex-6700 SDR transceivers, the Flex-6300 is the more affordable one (if you can call US$2500 affordable), with a bit less options but still packing some punch. It still works the same way as the bigger brothers, uses the same software, comes with most of the same features and tries to offer great performance. You loose some of the creature comforts (only 2 slice recievers compared to 4 or 8, only 7Mhz spectrum view compared to 14MHz), some connectivity (the extra BNC connector/s for antenna are gone, so is the balanced mic input), audio bandwidth is only 96KHz instead of 192KHz and it only covers 100KHz to 54MHz, so no 4m or 2m bands. Furthermore, the external GPS reference input or the small front display are gone, so are the preselectors and the ATU is optional (for US$300 more). What is still there is the powerful frontend 16-bit ADC – albeit now running at half the speed, 122.88 MHz. The figure presented for “spurious and image rejection ratio” is only 80dB, significantly lower that the “over 100dB” for the Flex-6500/6700. Is it worth it ? Can’t say, but I sure was hoping for no compromise in the dynamic range. Anyway, until we have some real tests and review, we can glance over...

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SOTA activation YO/MM-005

After reaching the Tutuiatu peak, the second part of my Macin Mountains adventure on May 3rd 2014 took me to the peak of Iacobdeal (Jacob’s Hill, SOTA designation YO/MM-005, WWFF designation YOFF-161), only 341m tall, standing above the village of Turcoaia. This whole mountain is a big rock quarry and there is a road for the tracked excavators right up to a few meters from the very top. Unfortunately, the little Renault is not a match for such roads and we had to leave it about halfway, continuing by foot for about 30 minutes. The spot where we left the car was a great point to observe the Iacobdeal Lake, wich is a unique element in Romania’s geography; it appears to be of glacial origin but it is actually man-made, formed in a pit a bit too deep of the old rock quarry. Unfortunately I somehow forgot to take a picture, but you can find some really good ones on this nice travel blog. The hike is not very spectacular, the only … notable things are of industrial origin. Once you get to the top though, you experience the much-needed satisfaction: the village of Turcoaia and the Dunarea Veche Lake (The Old Danube) lay below making for a spectacular landscape. In distance, we can see the village of Greci with the northern chain of the Macin Mountains standing right...

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SOTA activation YO/MM-001

May 3rd 2014 was the international SOTA day, and it felt like a good idea to celebrate it by activating a few summits. This time, I tried exploring a part of my country i’ve never visited before, the Macin Mountains, not far from the Danube’s Delta. These are some of the oldest mountains in Europe, appeared around 300 milion years ago in the Hercynian orogeny and were once over 3000 meters high; but Mother Nature being herself, constant winds and temperature differences slowly eroded the tall and proud rock giants down to only a few hundred meters. The area is the home of superb biodiversity wich would deserve a few days on it’s own – not to mention the hystorical attractions in the area, but since I only had one day, SOTA was the main focus. To get to Macin Mountains we had to cross the Danube by ferry at the city of Braila – near the Great Braila Island, and then drive alongside an almost poetic area of water flooded forest. Passing trough the small city of Macin, we arrived at the village of Greci (yes, it means Greeks) and soon we’re at the base of the Tutuiatu peak (467m, YO/MM-001), with the sun smiling down upon us in the fresh morning air. The markings quickly disappeared and we had to go by instinct, trying to reach the...

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