In 1975 Johnny Cash recorded "One Piece at a Time", a song about how, over a 25-year career at General Motors, he takes home one piece of a Cadillac each day in his lunch box. A distributor today, a master cylinder tomorrow, etc.
At the end of the end of those 25 years, he assembles his brand new Cadillac.
On the Elecraft email reflector a thread is currently running on how several folks (not just E'crafters) essentially Johnny Cash themselves a Flex by attaching this to that, running a cable here, splitting it over there, starting this program, tying it to that program, etc. The entanglement of cabling to do all that, not to mention the configuration of various pieces, validates my decision years ago to just get the Cadillac as it was intended to be.
One cable. One cable only, and I have every mode, a panadapter and a sub-rx - all in one small, highly capable box. Stellar software that never crashes. The same goes for Apache Labs rigs.
Here's a review of a Flex by a new owner who sums it up nicely:
"I had been using a TenTec Omni VII, which is a great radio, especially on CW. With an external SDRPlay radio, COM-port sharing software, USB-RS232 adapters, a SignaLink device and other kloodgey stuff, I managed to get waterfall tuning working on my Omni. But it was always "buggy" with that COM-port sharing software failing from time to time. I was spending too much time chasing software bugs.
One day it dawned on me that I had effectively synthesized a clumsy version of a FLEX radio, so I broke down and got the 6400! No regrets - it's the most fun I've had hamming since the 1960's."
"What year model is it? It's a 49, 50, 51, 53......"