Why I Chose The Icom 7610 Over The Flex 6400M

When the price of the Icom 7610 was announced in the US, many reservation holders started looking at the Flex 6400M as an alternative. The Icom 7610 is priced at $3,899.95. The Flex 6400M is $2,999.00 (add $300 for the auto tuner). That’s a pretty big difference and they are comparable SDR transceivers. The Flex 6400M has knobs too!

Why did I choose the Icom 7610 over the Flex 6400M? When I saw the price and researched the Flex 6400M, I almost persuaded myself to go with the Flex.

Getting the most out of your radio?

Please join our growing Icom 7300/7610 community.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

Receive e-mail notifications of new articles. I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Flex 6400M vs. icom 7610

Features I Like About The Flex 6400M

  • The Flex 6400M has a few knobs and I love the touchscreen. It is hands-down the best touchscreen on any HF rig. It’s an 8″ IPS touchscreen with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and there is a HDMI output on the rear. The IPS touchscreen alone almost got me. See the Icom 7610 info below.
  • I wouldn’t have bought the auto tuner, so it would have been about $900 less than the Icom 7610 (not really a feature).
  • Two VFO knobs on the front. The Icom has just one, but you can add the RC-28 remote control USB encoder.
  • Flex 6400M remote operation with Smartlink looks like it’s a breeze. Use an iPad or PC without any hassles!
  • Full Duplex (with stipulations) The Icom doesn’t have it.
  • 7 MHz panadapter bandwidth. I would love to see that much of the bands on a 30″ monitor. It may be too much for me to handle 😯 The Icom 7610 has 1 MHz.

icom 7610 IC-7610

Features I Like About The Icom 7610

  • Dual RF Direct Sampling Receivers. Independent receivers, separate antennas. The Flex 6400M shares the same antenna with the receivers.
  • I/Q signal output from the USB connector (provided in future firmware). Both radios have I/Q output.
  • RTTY (FSK). The Icom 7300 spoiled me and I enjoy FSK. The filtering is superb. The Flex 6400M doesn’t offer FSK.
  • The Icom 7610 has a RS-BA1 server onboard. No PC required at the rig for remote access. Similar in both radios.
  • (2) USB ports on the front for either a USB stick, keyboard or mouse. There is an SD card slot on the front too. (2) USB ports on the rear, one is USB 3.0. The Flex 6400M has (2) USB 2.0 ports on the rear.
  • A and B external speaker jacks on the rear. Flex has one.
  • Microphone, phones and key jack on the front. The Flex has 3.5mm jacks on the rear.
  • Dual clock displays on the front. Convenient!
  • The Icom 7610 has a 7″ touchscreen that is 800 x 480 resolution. It’s much better than the IC-7300 and better than the IC-7600. I like the layout and Multi Function Meter display better than the Flex 6400M. There’s also a DVI-D video output on the rear of the IC-7610.
Meter Display - icom 7610

Just one of many display options.

Icom IC-7610 vs Flex 6400M

There is a lot more, and I mean A LOT MORE, to these radios than the few things I threw out there. As far as specs and features go, they look pretty equal.

After considering everything, this is what decided it for me:

  1. I enjoy using FSK with N1MM and MMTTY in RTTY contests. The twin peak filter is very effective in RTTY mode.
  2. My familiarity with Icom and the Icom 7300 is a big advantage. There’s not much of a learning curve for me.
  3. The IC-7300 really delivered and I’m confident the IC-7610 will too.
  4. My LDG AT-600ProII external auto tuner connects to this rig just like it does on the IC-7300.
  5. NR and NB are proven to be effective. I need this.
  6. The Icom 7610 front is not as software (menu) driven as the Flex Radio. Operating without a PC will be better with the IC-7610.
  7. The Icom IC-7610 just flat out looks better than the Flex, IMO.

That is what tipped the scales in favor of the Icom 7610. It was close between the two and I am sure I’ll have a Flex someday. They make great SDR transceivers in my opinion.

Surprisingly, I got a free Heil mic from HRO with the purchase of the IC-7610. It should be in my shack early December.

I’m keeping the Icom 7300. There is still more to do with it.

What do you think about these SDR transceivers? Did you decide on the Flex 6400M? Getting the Icom 7610?

Please comment below.

73’s Rich, K0PIR

Sources:

Icom America – Icom 7610

Flex Radio – Flex 6400M

IC-7610 Yahoo Group

Icom IC-7610 Facebook Group

Flex Radio Yahoo Group

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

K0PIR

I'm an Amateur Radio enthusiast. I love the hobby and experimenting with radios, antennas and software. On my YouTube channel I upload videos on the Icom 7300 and Icom 7610 along with Ham radio software programs. I hope to inspire people to try new things in Amateur Radio.

Call
93 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Guest
jim aa9nn
3 years ago

Thanks for this, I know its a simple look but you have to start at the 50000ft view and drill down! Like you I have a number of radios here, I have the 7300 sitting next to a TS990 and a TS590SG. I sold off a Flex6500 and 6300. I’m watching the Flex guys closely, as well as how the 7610 will roll out. frankly I was more than surprised at the $3900 price but this is Q4 for Icom as well as the resellers, so orders at a high margin are at the top of the list!! the hobby is fun for a lot of reasons, new Technology is always a blast! and using the TS990 in SS Contest is smooth and clean!……and the 7300 is holding his own! 🙂 and running the SPE 1.3 its easy to hold a freq with either radio.
I’m glad Flex and Icom are working on keeping investments in to Ham Technology!
73! aa9nn

Guest
Andrew Barron
3 years ago

I have been a 100% SDR guy for a long time now, but I have to say, the Flexradio ‘aint a looker. The 7610 looks like a ham radio. The 6500 looks like they made the box bigger and glued a Maestro to the front. It actually has a better touchscreen than a Maestro but the layout is the same. that said the Icom looks like they put the case on upside down. Why the curves on the bottom and not on the top?

Personally I would say, if you want the knobs buy the Icom, you wont be disappointed. If you don’t need the knobs, buy the FlexRadio6500 model without the knobs.

Great website Jim, keep up the good work. 73 Andrew ZL3DW

Guest
David
3 years ago

Thanks Rich,
As a digital operator mainly I am disappointed that both receivers can’t be outputted to a USB port on the 7610. You can on the Flex.

My solution to full diversity and twin receivers on digital costs only $995 at the moment and that’s a second 7300!!!

Guest
Michael Walker
3 years ago

I had a quick review and I wanted to comment on a few items. While the 7610 will have IQ data available, the 6400 has IQ data available on both Slices today. Since you will be feeding the IQ data to a PC program, no addition cables are required. IQ DATA is provided by the Flex DAX (Digital Audio eXchange).

The 6400 does have 3rd Band Pass filters which make it great for Field Day or other high HF RF areas. I am not sure if the 7610 has similar. The 6400 does have an amazing Wide Noise Blanker that has done a great job on urban noise especially on the low bands. Look at YouTube for some examples of a dead band going to a usable band. Cool stuff.

The front panel is a very personal preference. Some find them too cluttered some find them to not have enough buttons.

Don’t kid yourself about the 7610 not being as much ‘software driven’. There is as much software in the radio as any radio, especially an SDR.

Flex does have a similar multifunction meter so you can see Power, Audio Level, Compression, SWR, ALC, and S-Meter at the same time on the M models and the Maestro.

You can add an external monitor to the M models for 1920×1200 display which is very cool.

Anyway, I do know the Flex series very well. Good for you on your 7610. Also a good choice. Good DX

Guest
Dave De Coons
3 years ago

I will chime in with one comment about using external monitors with the 7610 or 6400M – The 6400M has HDMI out which supports 1920×1200. The 7610 output uses DVI which will support 800×480. The Flex will look much sharper than the 7610 when on an external monitor.

The other thing to clarify is operating either radio can be done easily without a PC. There is no need for a PC when using the 6400M. Your statement “operating the 7610 without a PC is better” is a false statement.

The 7610 will be a fine radio if you choose to go that route but I just want to clarify some statements you made.

Guest
Ria Jairam
3 years ago

Thanks for your review. Allow me to clarify a few things –

Hardware wise, the 6400 to 7610 is not an apples to apples comparison. The 6400 only has one ADC because it’s the lower end of the Flex-6000 line, replacing the 6300. A more appropriate comparison would be the Flex-6400 to the icom 7300 where the 6400 would win in nearly every category except that it’s a bit more expensive. And the 7610 should be compared to the 6600. The 6600 starts at $4000 list, just like the 7610. Yes, you do need a computer for that model but I have never found that to be a hindrance. For $5000 you have the 6600M which adds in the built in control panel. So please, let’s not compare a BMW 5 series with a Ford Explorer. Let’s not forget that with the 6600 you’re getting four slice receivers with the two ADCs. With icom you only get two. This is helpful to me because I can work DX split on one band while rag chewing or monitoring FT8 or WSPR on another.

Has anyone confirmed exactly how much I/Q out you’re getting from a 7610? I’ve heard that they tap it off at the final IF so it would only be 12kHz. That is a really small amount of bandwidth. Even the cheapest $10 softrock gives you more than that. With the Flex 6500, 6600 and 6700 you can get as much as 192kHz. That’s most of the CW portion in most bands. It would be helpful if they released that spec.

There is NO full duplex on the icom 7610. If you have two receivers in a flex you can transmit on one and receive on another at the same time. This enables things like SO2R in a single box, and monitoring your transmitted signal for making easy adjustments. Or…

… multi client. In the near future you will be able to have two or more clients accessing a flex-6000 radio at the same time. This is a killer feature for multi single contesting. It simplifies wiring and allows someone to use one radio for a complete M/S solution. You need full duplex for this to happen and icom doesn’t offer it.

I also have a number of different interfaces available to me with a flex 6000. I can take a maestro and go outside, use a PC or Mac, or use my iPhone and iPad. I’m not tied to RS-BA1 and windows. I’m not tied to the front panel. But even though icom makes a pretty radio, their display is only 800×640. With the 6400M and 6600M it comes with 1920×1200 and can display this on an external monitor via HDMI.

Finally – FSK. I don’t get why many hams are hung up on FSK. With DAX (digital sound card) on the flex you get the same signal purity as FSK RTTY. In fact with DAX receive I get superior signal decoding. Working weak as dishwater 9U4M on 30 RTTY while my friends didn’t get any decodes made me smile from ear to ear. But, if hams want FSK, I have already relayed this to the flex dev team. I don’t see it as a deal breaker. The most popular FSK mode on HF is FT8 and 99% of people are using AFSK for it.

The 7610 is a nice looking radio, well laid out and will sure to appeal to many but if you want the best of the best, Flex still is it.

Hope this clears up some things.

73
Ria, N2RJ

Guest
Luis Velazquez
2 years ago
Reply to  K0PIR

Had a IC-7610 nice radio but, for the money, the layout should had better designed my IC-7300 is the bomb I will keep it for ever no complaints at all, they should have put two IC-7300 in a case and named it IC-7610, the screen mega pixel are not very defined they look like my IC-756pro III rounded unlike the IC-7300 crisped
and when I had two signals together you could not tell where they start or end big blob, well Ria I too favor the Flex-6600 and my Maestro take it everywhere no problems imagine taking the IC-7610 to a coffee shop, all and all good radio but like any other radio it has its likes and dislikes.

73
K4BTA, Luis

Guest
john A
3 years ago

I just bought a 7300 for $999 after rebate. I figure that is a pretty good price and will hold me over until prices drop on the 7610 and reviews roll in on both radios. Not sure why Icom had to come in so high on that radio, had one on reserve but $3900 is out of my budget.

Guest
KY6LA Howard
3 years ago

R&L is already offering the 7610 for $3,499 so Icom is already discounting the 7610 because at $3,995 it is clearly not competitive with the Flex 6400M which is a better and more feature packed radio at $2,995

Of course, the Flex 6600M and 6700 totally blows the socks off any Icom offering period

BTW… I run RTTY on a Flex.. there is NO NEED for FSK in a MODERN SDR because the entire RTTY path is totally digital already and no complex interfaces or setups are needed. A further benefit is that I can typically hear about 6dB better on my Flex because the entire path is digital so there is no analog to digital to analog conversions needed. This really shows up on FT8 where I always hear about 6 dB better than non SDR radios hear me.

BTW… I hope you asked for the $500 discount?

Guest
Mike
3 years ago

Hello! Nice assortment of information on the Icoms and the Fkex radios.

I have had many, MANY Flex radios, my last being the Flex-6500. I presently own two of the IC-7300 radios, and i have an IC-7610 ON ORDER. (I have owned two of the Flex-1500, one Flex-3000, two of thre Flex-5000a, two Soft-Rock SDR, a Flex-6500 (signature series) in total.)

My point is that you might also consider the APACHE-LABS radios. I have an ANAN-100, and I have owned an ANAN-200D. To me, the HPSDR , as it’s feature rich software package (which is being upgraded at a rate that it is hard to keep up with!) is the major selling point as well as the versatility of the BNC ports on the rear of the radio. It was the SOFTWARE that caused me to get rid of the Flex-6500.

As I said, i have owned many SDR’s and the ANAN is the king of the hill for ME. The IC-7300 and IC-7610 offer a compelling set of facts such as the fact that you can run these radios without a computer, and the 7610 has a server built in for remote operation.

73; Mike, K0JTA

Guest
Dan O'Connell
3 years ago

Thanks for the reviews. It seems that there are quite a few of us, including myself, who have decided that one of theses two radios will be in our future. I’m leaning toward the Flex, because of the company’s long history of producing SDR radios, vs. ICOM’s rather recent entry into the field.
PS: Is the 7610 a kind of “hybrid,” rather than a “full” SDR?

Best, Dan/KC2TRX.

Guest
Matt
3 years ago

I see you like the Flex 6400-M, when did you get delivery of yours?

Guest
Steve
3 years ago

Interesting comments from all.

I have owned and used two flex 6300 and a 6500 over the last four years, all used heavily for hf and 6m contesting, and transverting onto 4m. I was tempted by the Anan 100 but decided the flex would be more user friendly and better graphics – which turned out correct.

I was planning on buying a 6600 to replace my 6300 due to wanting so2r dual rx facilities . I bought an ic7300 earlier this year, to replace my transverter for 4m and have used it in major contests since September as the ssdr software has become unreliable for contesting ( frequent disconnects and crashes). That fact, plus the delays in the new flex radios coming out have led me to opting for the new Anan 7000dle. I wanted a full dual rx sdr to play with on lf over the winter for diversity, and there was also a 5% discount last weekend bringing the price down to £2949 delivered – better diversity facilities and noise reduction facilities than the flex, a squelch that works, and pure signal pre distortion for cleaner tx signal. I have only had around 4 hours with the radio so far due to business trips away since last week, but so far I am impressed with the more mature client software and the speed of development going on. Will still be interested to see how the new icom and the new flex radios pan out in time for contesting use, but in the meantime I am going to be putting the Anan through its paces on lf hf and 6m dxing and contesting.
73 es hny
Steve gw0gei / gw9j

Guest
Eliot Skultin
3 years ago

KE0PPC – Morrison Colorado

I placed my pre-order for Flex 6400 back in November and FLEX just informed me by E-Mail they will begin shipping radios immediately. They have been working on the newest software release for the new 64 and 66 while validating backward compatibility to older radios. This makes me happy because FLEX is continuing to support legacy radios in the field with new features. Before making my decision, I sat down in front of an ICOM 7300 several times, and the receive sounds nothing less than wonderful. Today (Jan 11, 2018) I sat with the new 7610, (Ham Radio Outlet, Denver) and to my immediate ear, it sounded a bit better than the 7300.

Alas, I am not sure I want to throw down $4k (including taxes), on the ICOM, when the receiver audio and ADC specs of the 6400 are mostly identical to the ICOM 7610. Other features not withstanding, I am looking forward to DXing with this new FLEX SDR.

I hope to talk on the radio with all of you in the near future,

Cheers from 8400′ elevation!

Elliot – KE0PPC

Guest
Eliot Skultin
3 years ago

Nice site. I look forward to more content in the near future.

Guest
Bob
3 years ago
Reply to  K0PIR

I tried to leave a comment earlier but it didn’t go thru. Here goes again.
I am on the edge of the fence on either a 6400 0r a 7610. Great discussion !
The flex has a higher resolution display than the Icom. Has that been an issue for you ?
I don’t have a huge widescreen monitor, mine is 19″ Maybe OK with the Icom ?

Bob
K6UJ

Guest
Anonymous
3 years ago

Great discussion on the Flex vs Icom radios guys ! I am on the edge of the fence as to which way to go. Either the Flex 6400 or the IC-7610. I have an IC-7300 and it is a great radio. Was thinking of selling it and using the proceeds to help pay for either the 6400 or 7610 but it is a great radio and can’t let it go. I work mostly CW split and either radio I’m sure will do the job nicely. Two things that concern me, one is the NB/NR on the Flex, from what I hear they haven’t been that effective from SmartSDR so far but the new V 2.1 coming which the 6400 will use is supposed to be significantly improved. Users of the 7610 say the NB/NR performs very well, better than the 7300 which works really well. The other concern is the better resolution with the Flex display compared to the 7610. Maybe that is not an issue for me, I don’t have huge widescreen monitor. Its widescreen but only 19″ How does the resolution suit you with the 7610 on your monitor ?
I have never had a Flex type SDR radio before, all things being equal I like the radio feel of the 7300 with knobs and switches and the 7610 looks to be a good operating radio too.

Bob
K6UJ

Guest
Dave
3 years ago

I have an Icom-746 (not Pro) and am thinking of upgrading. I am in a noisy urban environment. Am mainly looking to improve reception. Would also be nice not to have to manually toggle between the DX and the pileup, but rather have one in one ear and one in the other. So… with the 7610, can you send one receiver to the left ear of the headphones and the other to the right ear? In addition to the pileup situation, this seems like it could help with two separate antennas, for digging CW signals out of the noise (i.e. “diversity reception”). What is “AFP”?

Guest
Mike
3 years ago

Might want to have a closer look at this model…

https://eesdr.com/en/products-en/transceivers-en/mb1-en

73
Mike

Guest
tom
3 years ago

Hi Rich,

I have been trying to decide between the 6400M and the 7610 since both have very nice features. As of today I realized that Flex, is dependent on MS for Windows10 OS, and is vulnerable to driver loss with Windows10 updates, which will occur frequently, indefinitely and cannot be discontinued. I understand those issues are solved by completely deleting the installed SmartSDR software and reloading from scratch but that’s a chore.

Looks like I’m staying with the Icom line which uses a proprietary in-house written (Linux-based ?) OS. I expect Icom to be pretty cautious about drivers during (voluntary) software updates.

Considering the relatively recent initial release of the 7610, it appears to be relatively bug-free and the few things that have popped up have been quickly fixed.

What do you think?

73,
Tom

Guest
Bob
3 years ago

Rich ,

Got my new IC-7610 yesterday from DX Engineering. Immediately upgraded the firmware to the latest V1.06. It works perfectly. No issues at all, used it on SSB , CW, split, everything but the digi modes. I have the RC-28 too. Today I will hook it up and see all about it. I am delighted with the radio. The background noise is noticeably very low ! So far so good !

Bob
K6UJ

Guest
Mark
3 years ago

Wow this thread has been going on for a while.

I’m a current Flex6500 user. I have an order in for a Flex 6600 (non-M model) as I do not see myself using the front panel at all. Since I like to build things if I want knobs I will build my own interface.

My plan is to mount my 6600 in my “ham shed” where my tuner and amp reside. It is a short 20 foot run to route mic, key, speaker, and foot pedal wires to my op location. All my antenna feeds come into that shed.

I spent the morning closely looking at the 7610 but in the end and after reading this set of reviews and views I’m going to stick with Flex. Here are my reasons:

1) I want to support an American radio company. I think they are doing a good thing and I want to be apart of that success.

2) I op from many different locations. Some is at my op position where I have two 29 inch monitors and a nice PC. From that location I can do anything I want including CW, Voice, Digital with just a few clicks of the mouse. I can also do ALL OF THIS on my laptop sitting in the living room watching football.

3) I can easily op all modes remote on my work PC, work laptop, iPhone or iPad. The iOS app for flex is pretty darned nice.

4) Unrestricted TX bandwidth. I do find I enjoy SSB at 4.0+ bandwidth. I’ve gone as high as 8 kc. Yes if the band is crowded I go much narrower but sometimes for a ragchew some of my friends and I open it up. It seems the 7610 is hard limited to 3kc.

5) Flex provides a reasonable API. I’m a software developer by trade and writing small utilities and software for the Flex is a snap. In fact yesterday I wrote a short piece of code to drive my flex transmit slice from band edge to edge in 5 kc increments. At each stopping point I toggled the tune feature on my SPE amp, then toggled the tune feature on the flex and waited until the SPE amp said it was tuned. I started this program running and went upstairs for breakfast. I came back down and it was completed. Now just about anywhere I go on the bands my SPE amp internal tuner has matched the antenna at that point. I have a few places that are just off enough that I have to use my HF Auto tuner. But most of my op spots are just change and go at full power.

While there have been a few failures of the early 6400 and 6600 models from flex I am confident they will support them and figure it out. Most of the failures have been M model related anyway.

In scanning the net I have seen a few IC-7610 failures as well. In my past experience a fix with Flex is US shipping and some fix wait time. A fix with Icom has usually for me been a month to two month turn around.

So I’m going to stick with Flex. I’m hopeful that by the time I get my 6600 they will be solid. I have not traded in my 6500 yet as I may want it as a backup.

I selected the 6600 for the dual hardware receivers and for the better filters. I’m not a big DXer or contest op but I do like having some abilities in the rig.

I would love to hook up with a 7610 owner on the air and talk about their likes and dislikes.

Mark – WS7M

Guest
Thomas de F4HPX / AG7JQ
3 years ago

Hello Rich

Glad to see you enjoy your IC-7610. I saw a video on YouTube yesterday and looks awesome.
I have still my Flex-6300 and although entry level in Flex 6000 family I was impressed what I could do.
New 6400M is interesting and I was initially thinking about it. Maestro alone had a price tag that was discouraging me (you may have a separate rig for that).
I moved recently to 7X land for some time, applied for local license to be back on the air and in meantime working remotely from within US. This is a whole new experience and most of the operators are surprised working me this way.
I was considering IC-7610 too, but being abroad where it’s not that easy to operate any radio I’ve chosen
to go with IC-7300 instead and not even bringing my 6300.
The main reason is that it’s small, does everything I want without complicated PC setup and it’s cheap or I should rather say good price/features ratio. Especially if for any reasons might be lost or unable to re-export back home.

Yes, I witnessed some troubles with Windows 10 and SSDR (uninstalling and reinstalling with some manual console commands) but and the end got used to that.
Will see what will buy next once my assignment in 7X ends.

73 Thomas

Guest
Andrew Obrien
3 years ago

Up until a few weeks ago I owned a Flex 6300, Flex 3000, and a Icom 7300 at the same time. Once I got the 7300 I stopped using the 6300. The 6300 is a great radio and the Smartsdr software is beautiful to behold , and frankly can do more than a 7300. However the simplicity of the 7300 really got me hooked and I used the 6300 less and less. I liked not have to use a PC in addition to a radio. I liked not running in to finicky virtual serial ports and using applications like VSPM and DDutil that sometimes had minds of their own that need tweaking to keep working correctly. I did not like the excessive installation of more DAX audio than is needed for a 6300. Then, I received notice my Flex 6600M was almost ready to be shipped, once payment was sent. I thus sold my 7300 to raise to 6600M related cash . I stopped using the 7300 and shipped it to California and went back to the 6300. After 2 days I really missed the 7300 despite the many extra capabilities of the 6300. I tried to use the 6300 to run some digital modes like VARA, ARDOP and Winmor and performance was poor. ARQ modes and a Flex have a difficult history, but I was not sure it was some other problem. So, after several days of missing my 7300, I sold the 6300 too and, same day, picked up a 7610. I decided to wait a few months to get a better sense of the 6600M reviews . If the 6600M comes in with high ratings, I figure I can sell the 7610 for a couple hundred dollar loss . However, the 7610 has performed much better than my Flex with VARA mode and a few other ARQ modes , MUCH better. No having to fine tune settings and find ways to address latency issues. The 7610 IS much quieter than the 6300 , but perhaps not the best Flex to compere it to. The NR on the 7610 does a much better job than NR on the 6300 with SmartSDR. The ability to use a mouse with the 7610 and hook up , via DVI, a large screen TV is a big advantage over the 7300. The Flex 6300 and other Signature radios do have advantages in terms of simultaneous decoding of digital modes. With a Flex you can be decoding FT8 on 80M and decoding RTTY on 40M. With a Flex 6600M you could decode 4 different digital modes on 4 different portions of a band (or bands) . With a 7610, as best as i can figure out, you can only decode one digital mode on the MAIN VFO, the second VFO is essentially a “listen only” application… listening only to the audio signals you can’t direct the signals in the sub band to software for decoding. You have to switch these signals over to the main band if you want to pipe them over to WSJT or Fldigi. At least that is what i have found so far. Even with the build in RTTY and PSK decode cpability of the 7610, you can view BOTH decode screens at same time . So, the 6600M seems like you will be able to do much more with it than a 7610 , if you are a user than multitasks and wants to be active on many bands at same time. When I used a 6500 in the past for several months I found that the ability to operate on 4 bands at same time was novel but I quickly settled in to one or two bands at a time only. With a Flex I spent more time fixing software related glitches (mostly pilot error or Windows annoyances, ) . So I am happy that I got close to the price of a 7610 by selling my 6300 and 7300 and I have a radio that is easier to use and at least allows me to operate on one band and surf the other bands via the sub band. I have not ruled out a 6600M , but my aging brain seems happier with the ‘easier” Icom that also handles ARQ much better. I don’t view it as a Ford Focus versus a BMW (as Ria did) . I see it as TWO BMWs with the same model name , the 7610 is the base model and the 660OM will likely be the the one with heated seats, convertible roof, better gear box, and driver less parallel parking.

Guest
Greg N8MW
3 years ago

Seems to me from the reviews and comments that the Flex 6600M is the technical winner. Personal preference and price could be reasons for either the 7610 or 6400, if you can accept the technical differences in one of those two.

Guest
Bob Hand
3 years ago

It is nice to hear that the QSK on the IC-7610 works well since that is a requirement for my next rig ( as well as being able to work with a amp without hot switching).
I never hear anything about how the T/R switching is handled on the Flex Radios though.
Are they good at QSK and CW ?

Bob K0RKH

Guest
Keith
3 years ago

I own and use an Anan 100D as my daily radio and it is a fun radio. I am very casual operator primarily interested in 6m where the Anan 100D really shines. It is sensitive and the HPSDR software is very good. There are certain things that I think are not so good and my biggest issue with it is the loud T/R relays and no QSK. This is a real bummer for me as I like QSK operation very much.

I am leaning towards a Flex 6400M over the Icom 7610 but I would mind having both. I like the polished look of the Icom 7610. I have used the Flex 6600M during a contest and it is a very nice radio but I was not in love with its form factor. That is an entirely personal opinion so like anything else take it with a grain of salt. The low resolution output of the Icom 7610 is a complete downer. I had a good friend buy one and own it for a couple of weeks. He raced about the receiver and the APF and Noise Blanker but hated the low resolution output. I am a stickler for external display and this is a real bummer for me in regards to the 7610.

Will the choice come down to a more polished box, better display or who has the better QSK. Tough and fun decision ahead.

Guest
Keith NZ5F
3 years ago

Rich,

Since my Alpha 8406 takes three minutes to warm up my Anan power up sequence which is about a minute doesn’t bother me. Instant on is not a big deal. With the Anan I turn on mutilple pieces of software in a specific sequence before I power up PowerSDR HPSDR 3.4.9. Not a big deal for me.

I don’t think the 6600M unit takes that long to power up. I used a 6600M during a contest and I don’t remember it taking much time to power up.

This discussion is so interesting to me because everyone has a preference. I owned a 7300 for about two weeks but didn’t like the no direct output to a large screen without the RS-BA1 software. Also the inflexibility of that software to change the panadpter size which is terrible looking bothered me (maybe this has changed by now). I think if I ever own the 7300 again it would be for a backup rig and as a nice possibly portable. Once the used prices come down to the $600-700 I am likely to scoop one up.

I like the Anan for other reasons not stated in previous post. With all the open source possibilities of the Anan and creativity it allows developers to create new firmware, protocols and software the Anan is an exciting and flexible platform. I work in tech and open source is a big pull for me. The Thetis protocol which should be in the next stage of wide release soon should offer increased capabilities. Of course I already mentioned the relays which I don’t care for in the Anan and the U/I is not terribly modern albeit it is functional. A new sexier panel based user defined U/I would be nicer for sure.

So at the end of the day there is no perfect radio so far but I keep looking.

Keith
Nz5f

Guest
Joe Conover
3 years ago

MB1 HF SDR with 6& 2 meters from Russia with built in power supply and on board computer has my down payment now

I do like icom 7610 and Anan 200D a possibly still,,,

I like hear more about MB1 I guess the cost is holding most people back

Joe ,Sitka Alaska

KL4QG

Guest
JOE CONOVER
3 years ago

MB1 for now has my deposit money .I like the Russian build 6,and 2 meters with built in power supply and on board computer,,

Anyone here try out MB1

JOE
KL4QG

Guest
Joe K4PX
2 years ago
Reply to  JOE CONOVER

I have the 6400+Maestro and love it. My 7300 is my backup. Icom and Flex are both excellent.
73
Joe
K4PX

Guest
Roger J. Buffington W6VZV
2 years ago

Meaning no offense, but reading this review, I can summarize it pretty simply: “I chose the Icom over the Flex because it has better knobs and I like Icom gear which I have owned in the past and am therefore familiar with.” Nothing wrong with that, both radios are good enough to go with.
I do a lot of digital, SSB, and CW, roughly in that order, and I was in a position to buy any radio I wanted. I chose the Flex 6400M for many reasons. Firstly, the resolution from the Flex on my PC screen is fantastic. Secondly, playing around with both radios, the Flex simply seemed like a better-designed, more intuitively set out radio. Thirdly, I loved the way the Flex receiver sounded. Lastly, doing some reading, the Flex is a much purer form of SDR than is the Icom — the Icom seems like a legacy radio with an SDR front end. The Flex is SDR in its pure form.
These are just my impressions. I didn’t spend a LOT of time with the Icom, and no doubt it has virtues that I missed. But I’ve never regretted going with the Flex. Oh, and it is worth noting that the Flex staff and the Flex community are a joy to work with. I had some questions about setting up WSJT-X, for example, and within an hour or so one of the Flex users posted a You Tube video showing exactly how to do it. And it worked the first time for me.
My $.02. de Roger W6VZV

Guest
Martin Szymanski (W7RU)
2 years ago

I note the Sherwood testing of data. The Filter Ultimate makes a difference. The Drake
R-4C/CF-600/6 at 130 dB is the winner for slicing adjacent channels. Interesting but true.
A receiver is like your eyes. The better contrast the better to isolate what you see. Modern radios are going through a Upgrade Train. For now it seems the updated Flex 6700 is on top. http://www.sherweng.com/table.html

Guest
Martin Szymanski
2 years ago

Am getting the 6400 for now. I used the SDR1000 from inception, in 2003. It has worked with a 4-1000 Amp at 19?? watts with no problem. 🙂 I do like the fact the 6400 and 6700 have a 3rd order preselector (+ for the 6700). Some $10,000 radios in the past paid for that.

Guest
Roger J. Buffington W6VZV
2 years ago

I don’t know if it is worth mentioning that the knobs on the Flex 6400 are pretty darned nice. No cheap feeling here. I’ve been using my 6400M for several months now and it is a joy to use. I will admit that much to my surprise I have taken to using SmartSDR on my computer more, and the transceiver face less. I never liked Ham Radio Deluxe as a radio control program (love DM780 though) but Flex’s SmartSDR looks gorgeous on my wide screen display and I find myself using it more and more.
de Roger W6VZV

Guest
Renato
2 years ago

Hi, K0pir, how are you?
My name is Renato, I’m Brazilian, amateur radio amateur PY2REC
I have an IC7610, spectacular radio, but I can not make it recognize with my imac. I even made a bootcamp, installing windows but without success! I see on youtube, several hamsters using it on mac, could you help me? If it runs on windows why did not it run with windows through bootcamp?
Congratulations on the topic. strong 73.

Guest
Renato PY2REC
2 years ago
Reply to  K0PIR

I did not make that attempt yet, because I did not know. The process I did, was to install Windows on my Imac, I am trying to install RS-BA1, I downloaded all the drivers for windows but I did not know that driver for apple. Thanks for the links, I’ll do the process on the imac system and then I’ll boot into windows to see if it recognizes. I thought about even using a 3.0 cable to see if it was connecting. Thank you very much from the heart.

Guest
Steve
2 years ago

Interesting comments. Obviously there are a lot of GREAT radios out there. Pluses and minuses to all of them. I am a Flex guy but have owned two 7300’s. I currently have a Flex 6600 and a Flex 6400 on the way.
I am primarily an AM operator. I issue I had with the 7300 is the “Mickey Mouse” EQ..come on now..treble and base??? give me a break. Limited Xmit and Receive bandwidths are also a problem. Just my two cents worth. Flex gives me “FLEXIBILITY”…73’s

Guest
AA5UN
5 months ago

Still happy with your decision?

Guest
Dave
3 months ago

Rich, I bought my 7610 from DX Eng.2 years ago during a week long sale for $2995.95. They even threw in a power supply. Great radio!. I;m still on a learning curve with it.

Callsign
K6KDL
Guest
Robert Guertin
3 months ago

I had a Flex 6500 for about five years. The Flex development process was progressing nicely until Flex won a big government contract. The last upgrade was SmartSDR 3.1.12 which came out in September 2019. The noise suppression system on the Flex doesn’t hold up against the Icom 7610. There is no zero beat on the Flex, the Icom is superior in this department. The antenna matrix system on the Icom 7610 is far superior than the Flex. After 5 years and no further development in site I decided to part company with Flex and go with a proven company.
I love the looks of the 7610 plus the performance to me is slightly better than Flex. The onboard PSK and RTTY system does not require a computer which is a plus.

Callsign
W1GLV
Guest
Rick Filcoff
2 months ago

The IC-7610 is now just under $3000 at R&L. At that price, I believe it is a no brainer to get the IC-7610 over the 6400M

Callsign
W0RCF
Guest
Rick Filcoff
2 months ago

The IC-7610 is now unde $3,000 at RandL Electronics. At that price, I believe it is a no brainer to go with the IC-7610 as compared to the 6400M. I you must have a 1920 X 1080 display, there is softwar availabe for $60 that will provide the connectivity (through you PC).. Add $130 for and SDRplay and you have features far beyond the 6400M.

Callsign
W0RCF
Guest
Dave
1 month ago

I went from a 7600 to a Flex 6400M last year. I wanted an Elecraft K4 but there none to be had and the inventory of them were all spoken for. Several of my ham buds already had the 6400/6600 radios so I joined the list as well. Love the 6400. If I had t do it again I would save $1K by not getting the Maestro on the front. Never use it. I love the Smart SDR program so I don’t even miss the knobs. I have the optional FlexControl which is multi functional. Even when I had FSK I really found no operational difference between soundcard and FSK RTTY. Flex does have a RTTY mode and even shows the 2 lines (Mark/Space) in the spectrum. I was an Icom fan for over 17 years. I still have 2 Icom mobile radios (2720/2730) and a 7100 that I use for 2m FM and 2m SSB in the shack.

Callsign
NT9E
Guest
Gary Mullican
26 days ago

I chose the 7610. I the bought a FTDX-101D, went back to the 7610.

Callsign
The 7610 suits me better than any rig I have owned.
Guest
Gary Mullican
26 days ago

After owning a TS-990, FTDX-101D, TS-590, IC-7600, IC-7300, and others, I have a 7610. It suits me better than any rig I have owned. Your results may vary.

Callsign
K4QJL
Guest
Ben Ramler
17 days ago

Why I chose the 7610 was because I’m an OTR driver, and I’m not always at home. So what’s important to me us remote operations. Thats why next to the 9700 will be the 7610.

Callsign
K0BLR
93
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x