Good Bye Ham Radio Deluxe

I’ve finally given up on HRD (Ham Radio Deluxe). Version 6.0 gave me nothing but grief when I was attempting to use it with the TS-990S. HRD 6 sort of, almost, kind of worked with the 990. The rig control part of the program would stop working for no apparent reason from time to time, it occasionally did bizarre things, like somehow change the maximum transmission power to 25 watts for no reason I was ever able to figure out. I couldn’t get it to trigger transmit via the COM ports no matter what I tried, and had to resort to using VOX. Even worse, I couldn’t make contacts with it in the digital modes, which is what I wanted it for in the first place. I’d call CQ until I was blue in the face, and nothing. I didn’t even show up on the PSK spotting network. According to the dials I was putting out a nice, clean signal. I fired up another receiver and hung my iPad on it with a PSK program running and it had no trouble reading what was coming out of the 990. Nothing. No contacts. No spotting reports.

Switch to Fldigi and guess what? My call sign started to immediately pop up on the spotting network.

Fast forward to now. I upgraded HRD to version 6.1. This version directly supports the TS-990. It’s supposed to have more bells and whistles and work better.

No, it doesn’t. First, rig control is abysmally slow and unresponsive. After clicking on a frequency, you sit there and wait for two, four, eight seconds before it finally gets around to actually changing the frequency. There are similar delays when switching between windows, such as jumping from rig control to the logger to the digital software.

Still, there are so many goodies buried in that program that I kept trying to use it.

I checked my output, it was putting out a nice PSK31 signal, or so it seemed. The response I got? Nothing. Zip. Not even showing up on the spotting network.

Switched over to Fldigi, and the very first CQ I did popped up on the spotting network.

So what the heck is going on? I have no idea. I give up. I have dozens of hours into trying to get this bloody program working properly. It seems to be working, it’s putting out a PSK signal. But I get zilch results. I switch to Fldigi, and I start getting contacts and showing up on the spotting networks. 

So I’m saying good bye to Ham Radio Deluxe, at least in it’s current incarnation. I’ve wasted entirely too much time on this when the alternative, Fldigi, works just fine and dandy.

9 thoughts on “Good Bye Ham Radio Deluxe

  1. I thought I was the only one that had these problems. Used FLdigi then tried HRD and had problems with it locking up with Olivia 5/800. Finally gave up on it and went back to FLdigi

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    • Fldigi just plain works. It may not have HRD’s bells and whistles but it’s been rock solid. That being said, I am testing the latest version of HRD. I’ve upgraded to a new high-end laptop running Win 8.1 and I’m going to see how it works on there. Fldigi of course, continues to run beautifully. The new HRD… The results are mixed. Rig Control just — stops sometimes, with no error messages or no indication of what went wrong. Same with the DM program. Again no error messages or any indication of a problem. Just Windows saying “this program has stopped”. I need to see if there’s some kind of system log that stores messages.

      One thing I need to try and haven’t yet is switching from the TS-990 to the TS-2000 and see if the same problems crop up there, and altering baud rates. I’m running at the maximum baud rate, and someone said that dropping down to 57K may help. We’ll see. Right now I’ve got too much going on to have time to tinker with it.

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      • I have never had a problem with rig control with HRD. That has always worked fine with my IC-7200. The main issue is with DM locking up and/or crashing. I don’t trust it because it stops right in the middle of a QSO with a message saying we are sorry but this program needs to close. FLdigi has never, not once, ever done that.

        Like you, I upgraded my computer because I was running Windows XP, so went to Win 7 with a lot more RAM and processor power. But that didn’t “fix” it. It will crash with the signal sweeper going, as I think the program has a serious memory leak. FLdigi’s signal browser “just works”. FLdigi doesn’t look as nice as HRD, and it doesn’t have all the features however. The one thing I like about HRD is the rig control. But that’s more of a novelty than a necessity. With 200 memory channels in my ICOM rig it’s just as fast (and easy) to simply spin the memory channel knob on the radio to switch bands and/or frequencies. And since the memory channels also store the operating mode and filter settings for a particular freq, having a SDR rig with HRD is merely what I said – a novelty.

        So for now I’m sticking with FLdigi as it does what I need it to do.

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        • I have the same problem. DM just did it to me this morning when I was trying to make a contact in South Africa on 10 meters with PSK31. No warning, no error messages, just ‘this program has closed’. Man, that was irritating! So I quick fired up Fldigi, but by the time I got it started up band conditions had changed and I lost the chance.

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  2. I am so glad I read this. I had a very similar issue with my Rig Expert Standard. FSK doesn’t work at all and even on a relatively fast Windows 7 PC HRD was way too slow.

    I purchased HRD about two years ago and I was told by support by that time that the FSK issue with Rigexpert is a known bug which will be fixed with the next version. Next version came, problem persists, speed even dropped. So I didn’t use HRD until now where I gave it another chance with the newest version 6.2.x. After downloading, HRD no longer runs on my (now Windows 10) machine. All other HAM Radio software just runs fine but HRD just hangs after it has been started the first time.

    So I contacted support again. They said they don’t support Windows 10 as it was not released (even though it was released to developers already – the final release!) and that I have to pay extra 50 US$ in order to get support. So I paid another 50 bucks and waited until the next day when Windows 10 was officially released. No answer. Waited another 5 days. Meanwhile some people on HRDs Facebook page already wondered if HRD will run on Windows 10. I told them it doesn’t at least on my machine and I am waiting for HRD to respond.

    The next day, HRD indeed responded and told me that they will refund the $ 50 and that they don’t want me as a customer anymore as I am blaming them over facebook.

    So I deleted HRD and are looking for alternatives.

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    • I had also upgraded to 6.2.x and my experience was pretty much the same as yours. All of the old problems were still there, the unexplained crashes, etc. I’m very disappointed with their response to your problems. There’s no excuse for that at all.

      Right now what I recommend for the digital modes is Fldigi. It doesn’t have all of the capabilities HRD has, but it’s got everything I need, handles all of the commonly used digital modes, and it’s been rock solid. It’s available at http://www.w1hkj.com/ and it’s been rock solid. It has basic rig control, a bare bones logging program, and does a very good job with digital. In my opinion, it’s digital decoders work considerably better than HRDs did. It seems to be able to decode very weak signals far better than HRD does. And unlike HRD, it does a surprisingly good job decoding CW. Fldigi will also run on just about anything. There are versions for Windows, Apple and Linux.

      I haven’t upgraded to Win10 yet because of software compatibility questions, but I’m probably going to take the plunge and do that.That ought to be interesting

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      • Yes, it’s really a shame with HRD. They are probably a bit overcommercialized since they took over HRD from HB9DRV some years ago.

        So far, I didn’t know about fldigi and I will definitely give it a try next weekend and to be able to run the same software even on my Mac is definitely a big plus.

        I am running Windows 10 for quite some time on my Surface Pad 3 as I am a developer and need to test my own software on it. Since the final release, I have not had any issue with windows 10 with the exception of HRD. All my other HAM Software runs just fine (MixW even the SDR # and SDR Console along with the different plugins). My impression from Windows 10 is even that it is more compatible to older Windows version than any other.

        Thanks for your post here to let us HAMs know about alternatives to HRD.

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    • do a search for ham radio deluxe blacklist. You were a lucky one if they gave you back the 50 bucks. They did worse to others. N2SUB went public and there are several 150 plus page threads until of course Fred at qrz locks them (qrz and hrd are in a partnership even though qrz says no, on older posts he says yes.) QRZ and HRD both need to just go away.
      On a more positive note, I also love fldigi but lately have been using dx lab. You may want to try that one.

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      • I’ll look into dx lab. Alas I haven’t had much time for any ham related activities for a while now but I’m hoping to get more involved in the near future.

        I heard about the blacklist issue. HRD’s response to bad reviews was probably the worst thing a company can ever do. Did they seriously think that the people they did that to wouldn’t publicize how they were treated? The last upgrade I did for HRD was back 2015. I just gave up. I still have it installed but I never use it any more. It’s a shame. It’s a hell of a nice piece of software if they’d ever get it working right.

        As for QRZ, I don’t know if there’s a relationship between them and HRD. I’m a platinum member so I never see the ads, and I tend to avoid most of the forums except for the for sale ads and the news items. I have seen some of the complaints about Fred, but I can’t really comment because I really don’t know what the situation is.

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