Gaining Access to Windows on the Flex 6500 SDR Transceiver and Installing Other Programs

The Flex 6500 is a now discontinued (only refurb units available for US$2,600) transceiver SDR made for amateur radio use. Together with the optional Maestro control panel, it forms a fully standalone SDR based transceiver, with built in SDR software available on the Maestro's LCD screen. The system runs embedded Windows and is locked down to prevent the user from getting outside the Flex radio software.

However, a Norwegian University radio club found the Flex radio to be very inflexible as they could not connect the radio to their Universities WiFi system, which requires users to authenticate first via a web browser. What should be a simple task on any Windows system was unfortunately not supported by the radio software, and Flex radio themselves were unable to help.

Fortunately the students were able to hack the Windows filesystem via a backdoor found in the built in software, allowing them full access to the Windows desktop. The hack is fairly simple, consisting of gaining access to Notepad and thus the filesystem and command prompt via a "view source" right click menu on the web login interface. Once hacked, the students were able to install custom software like the N1MM+ contest logger, and WSJT-X for WSPR decoding. They were also able to connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse which was not supported by default.

[Also seen on Hackaday]

FlexRadio 6500 hacked to gain access to Windows.
FlexRadio 6500 hacked to gain access to Windows.

4 comments

  1. Ben Dover

    THE MOST overpriced “SDR” ….sad the marketing of “SDR” (which was meant to lower prices by removing hardware components and creating them in software/math) has been so misused even the scanner industry got on the band wagon. SDR the “technology” is almost 60 years old now, and were on our what…almost 3rd full generation of electronically/disposable consumer electronics users. And the even more sad part is, as this article shows…nothing is “specialized” its ALL off the shelf readily available electronic components.

    • Robert

      Absolutely spot on.
      Sure, there is a price to pay for R&D, tight tolerance components, as well as fancy sampling devices, but the rest is all just software… 1’s and 0’s .
      The prices some of the big names are charging is plain outrageous, then add to that cutting or withholding a reasonable support request? about as arrogant as they can get.

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