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Why did FlexRadio decide to go with a RJ45 microphone connector for Mic1 on the Maestro?

Mike Smoot
Mike Smoot Member ✭✭
edited June 2020 in Maestro
Why did FlexRadio decide to go with a RJ45 microphone connector for Mic1 on the Maestro? As I understand it, the RJ45 was intended primarily an Ethernet connector and, in my experience, often provides insufficient cable strain relief for a typical hand-microphone w/coil cord application. Also, some types of RJ45 female sockets are rather fragile and easily damaged by tension on the cable - deforming or breaking the thin latching lip on the socket face. I've experienced a number of RJ45 failures under light cable tension; for example on my Ameritron solid-state mobile HF amplifier that uses ethernet cable interconnections to the (optional) remote control panel. Slight tugs on the cables while in mobile service eventually required that I replace all four RJ45 sockets due to latch failures. For that reason I prefer the far more-robust Foster 8-pin (round) style connector for mobile or portable microphone service.

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Answers

  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited April 2018
    Oh, ****! You mean the factory supplied 6300 FHM-1 mike (and the Heil I replaced it with) won't work with the Maestro which was designed specifically for the 6000 series? How'z that again? Was the left hand not paying attention to what the right hand was doing?

    I am not pleased. FLEX should supply the necessary adapter at no cost.
  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Most likely they felt the need to provide some sort of legacy connector to backup the BlueTooth connectivity.

    They also have years of successful field experience with the modular on other FRS models, so rather expect they will have selected a decent grade connector for the Maestro.

    FRS has offered an adaptor for years - and lists a "Mic conversion cable for FMH-1-8P (8-pin Foster) to RJ45" as a Maestro accessory.  (Like you I want to use some of other microphones with a Maestro as well.)

    73

    Steve
    K9ZW
  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Really?  You'd actually take an FHM-1 Replacement mic off the radio to go use with a Maestro?

    Which Heil did you end up with - the inexpensive hand microphone is a $20 item (I think it is the only on currently offer with RJ45) or if you have the nicer HMM you already are using an adaptor cable to hook to the 8-Forster I think?  

    73

    Steve K9ZW
  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Hi Steve. I am using the Heil HMM Handheld with an adapter to Forster. It works very well and the audio qualilty reports are consistently good.

    Am I misunderstanding something here? Can I use the HMM mike with the Maestro, or does Maestro come with it's own mike?  Confusion reigns (and also rains...)

    -Dave
  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Hi Dave

    Doesn't HMM terminates with TRS plug(s)?

    It would look that you need a different additional adaptor - from the TRS to the RJ45 - and then could use the Heil HMM with the Maestro.

    OR you could use the entire Heil setup you have and add the FRS 8-pin-Foster to RJ45 adapter between your Heil adaptor and the Maestro.

    Either way should get the results you want.

    The Maestro isn't listed as coming with a microphone, but the accessories list show an optional FHM-1 with a direct RJ45 termination for yet another choice.

    Lastly I would imagine a 8-pin-Forster to BlueTooth adaptor will eventually appear.

    Appreciate hearing about the HMM reports, as I take a 6300 to the field and a hand mic and a small powered speaker is the choice if non-hams are observing.  Otherwise I prefer to wear a boomset.

    73

    Steve
    K9ZW


  • Michael Coslo
    Michael Coslo Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    Of course, if Flex used a standard connector, instead of an RJ45, someone else would be angry. 

    That's the never-ending problem. Can't please everyone. I can't say I'm fond of the RJ45, although I do have some mics with them already. Heck, I had to make an adapter for my boom mic. And some of my other mics have different pinouts. But I'm a Ham, and know how to do that kind of stuff. 
  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    OK Stve, TNX. Let's try it this way:

    Since I have not had the opportunity to run a Maestro, does it come from the factory ready to operate with what came in that box and the 6000 series it will control? Or is it dead in the water until some adapter is ordered and received to match it up with either the original FLEX Mike, or whatever mike the user has substituted along the way? (Do you see the confusion which may be in many users minds?) 
  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Steve ... If my concern is correct, it appears that when the Maestro's start pouring out of the factory and the new owners eagerly tear open the box and set up Maestro by the big chair near the TV set hoping to work some SSB DX via their wireless network using their Flex 6000 in the ham shack located in another part of the house, then discover their factory supplied microphone doesn't match, I think this board will light up like a Christmas tree. A major reason for buying Maestro is to not have to sit next to the Transceiver in order to use it.

    Please allay my concerns and explain what I am missing.  TNX. Dave.
  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    I think you have to select a microphone option and get it.

    The webpage and data sheet do not list an included microphone or adaptor.

    If you want a wired microphone with your Maestro you need to select an option that ends up a RJ45 in the end.

    In your case when FRS calls and asks what accessories you want with your Maestro tell them you want a 8-pin Forster to RJ45 adapter .

    As FRS will be calling each new Maestro owner for payment, and they said they would take accessories orders at that time, things should go pretty good.

    Hope I haven't made this sound confusing.

    73

    Steve
    K9ZW
  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    OK Steve. That "afterthought" fix should work. This is the sort of information that fills in the gaps and has been missing. I don't mind buying what's needed, but don't really like the surprises, especially since there has been plenty of time to communicate while we are waiting...

    >If you want a wired microphone with your Maestro you need to select an option that ends up a RJ45 in the end.

    Ahmmm... What other kind of microphone is there? Is there some other way to talk from the Maestro in the living room that does not use a microphone? Can we talk into the speaker? (See the room for confusion?)

    >Hope I haven't made this sound confusing.

    I think we are getting there...

    -Dave

  • KY6LA_Howard
    KY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2020

    There are so many options for using a Mike with the Maestro

    The Maestro comes with two Mike Ports - RJ-45 and a 3.5mm TRRS

    But you can also use a Bluetooth Mike and, of course, you can also use the 8-Pin Foster and the Balanced Mike inputs atyour 6000 Series.,

    If you have the Flex Hand Mike you can order a RJ-45 Adapter cable

    If you are using a RadioSport Headset you can order a TRRS Adapter cable with right angle connectors so you wont have stress issues from connecting in the back of the Maestro

    I have had superb audio reports using Apple Ear buds that came free with my iPhone.. and a 3.5mm TRRS to dual TRS splitter that I found on Amazon for $6


  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited June 2017
    Thanks for that info, Howard. The trick is to be informed of all this ahead of time, BEFORE the box appears at the door. (Who knows what else is lurking out there?)  -Dave.

  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited December 2016
    Dave asked in a few replies above...

    Since I have not had the opportunity to run a Maestro, does it come from the factory ready to operate with what came in that box and the 6000 series it will control? 

    The factory supplied microphone is intended for use with the FLEX-6000.  To adapt the FHM-1 to a Maestro, you can purchase an adapter cable, or you can unplug the coiled cable from the mic head and connect a CAT5 or better Ethernet cable.  This option works better because the coiled cable connected to the back is a little clumsy.  Personally, I would use a PC headset before using the FHM-1.  For me it is more convenient, the connecting cables are more flexible and lighter weight, and a headset frees up both hands to operate the Maestro.


  • George Fenwick
    edited December 2016
    All good comments/thoughts, but they don't answer my concern: I don't need or want a Foster connector male/female pair flopping around on my pool patio glass table while I sit and operate with the Maestro. FRS should make available a coiled mic cable with RJ45s on both ends. That would 'cleanly' connect the FHM-1 to the Maestro. I assume it is the cable used with the 1500. In any event, the 'adapter' method is a poor one. And a Cat5 cable in lieu of a proper coiled mic cable is also unacceptable. And when casually operating by the pool, I don't need/want a headset . .
  • KY6LA_Howard
    KY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited March 2016
    The adapter cable is a coiled cable with RJ45 on both ends
  • k3Tim
    k3Tim Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Hi Howard (or anyone)

    Thanks for jumping in and clarifying (~NDA).  I am a tad confused however. The TRRS connector should have mic + L-R audio on the 4 connection connector. Why was an adapter required for the ear buds?
    I assume an 'Android' TRRS ear bud set would plug directly into the M-box, correct? It seems odd the latest TRRS wiring standard puts the mic connection on the sleeve rather atna ring-2.

    BT headset - does M-box support Bluetooth / version? I thought reading previous posts i would not at first release.

    A suggestion to FRS (if I may be so bold) to include information as to "what's NOT in the box" as opposed to "what's in the box" so users can hit ground running and not have to wire up connectors / batteries.
    Speaking of batteries, this is another item the user must supply ahead of time.

    Anything else?


    Thank you for you time / expert help.

    k3Tim
  • Barry N1EU
    Barry N1EU Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    The specs currently up on the Flex Web site say nothing about TRRS.  They say TRS mic and TRS headphone jacks.  What am I missing?

    Thanks & 73,
    Barry N1EU
  • KY6LA_Howard
    KY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited March 2016
    Your r right Barry. I got it backwards. The earbuds are TRRS but the adapter goes to separate TRS for the MIke and TRS for the stereo audio.
  • k3Tim
    k3Tim Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Hi Barry

    Thanks for pointing this out. I should have checked the FRS main site before posting but now read the "specs" menu addresses most questions. Will assume Howard meant to type TRS and not TRRS and used a Y cable to convert the TRRS headset to TWO TRS plugs.

    The specs page also shows a AC to DC power supply is included. Hopefully this is RFI clean!

    Many Thanks

    Tim

  • Gary F
    Gary F Member ✭✭
    edited March 2016
    The Heil Proset Media is an excellent choice.
  • George Fenwick
    edited December 2016
    Howard: Apparently not yet up on the website. The only adapter for sale by FRS presently adapts the Foster to an RJ45. And prior exchanges I've had with FRS mentioned nothing but the current adapter. It was suggested I use a cat5 cable! Where is the coiled RJ45<>RJ45 cable? Also, where are the Maestro accessories with prices?
  • George Fenwick
    edited December 2016
    AH! Must be the ACC-CLV-310 for $12. Too bad there's no picture!
  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Tim- This discussion is about FLEX changing a major connector in the middle of a product family launch. IMHO that probable "green eyeshade" decision will cost FLEX a lot more in unhappy customers and complaints and perhaps in product returns and sales not made than could ever be saved by such a short sighted decision. And telling customers about the problem at the time of sale has all the charm of buying a new car and at the cashiers desk being told "Oh, but the new car doesn't include tires and rims. They are extra. But we can sell them to  you here. Or you can buy them elsewhere."

    Looks to me like the cheapest way out (both financially and in saved face) at this point is to just put an adapter in the box with every Maestro delivered and forget about it. But that first requires acknowledgment of the problem.  TNX. -Dave
  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016


    Didn't FRS say that new Maestro owners would be contacted prior to shipping for their accessory requests/order and for payment?

    I think they also intended to confirm schedule with each person as well.

    What would be helpful is for the Flex-Insider to include a checklist of things to think through prior to the FRS order confirmation call, and another list of the minimum configuration & added items to have on hand to get your Maestro on the air.

    Those two lists could go a long ways to reducing worry and making sure the best possible out-of-the-box experience is had by a new Maestro owner.

    73

    Steve K9ZW



  • Michael Coslo
    Michael Coslo Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    I agree with Tim re a PC headset. In fact, Howard even touched upon it writing of the Apple earbuds. Regular Amateur Radio mics in my opinion, just aren't very good. I have a Logitech H800 bluetooth headset that not only sounds better than my Heil Proset Elite, but I have been guilty of forgetting to take it off after wearing the headset ll night! No way that would happen with the Heil - after an hour, they gotta come off. 




  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    @ Dave W6OVP  RE: "Tim- This discussion is about FLEX changing a major connector in the middle of a product family launch. IMHO that probable "green eyeshade" decision will cost FLEX a lot more in unhappy customers and complaints and perhaps in product returns and sales not made than could ever be saved by such a short sighted decision. And telling customers about the problem at the time of sale has all the charm of buying a new car and at the cashiers desk being told "Oh, but the new car doesn't include tires and rims. They are extra. But we can sell them to  you here. Or you can buy them elsewhere.""

    I didn't catch where the Maestro was ever going to have an 8-pin Foster?

    Unless they did promise Maestro would have the 8-pin not paying attention to the published and shown video specifications is more the problem than anything FRS is responsible for.

    The emotiveness over needing an adaptor for your favorite microphone isn't really in the amateur spirit.  I sure don't see any ill intent by FRS in using a decent grade RJ45 for a microphone connector like you do.

    Like you I like the 8-pin Foster, but it is in no means a deal breaker.

    Demanding an adapter be automatically included seems a bit of a stretch, more so when you consider others may well want different adaptors than a 8-pin-to-RJ45 one.

    Then there is always that problem of pin-outs being inconsistent with the same 8-pin Foster.

    Let's not keep missing the obvious as well - FRS has said they will be confirming payment, any added accessories wanted and delivery schedule with each ham before shipping. 

    If a ham ignores ordering up what is needed to feed & care for their Maestro when FRS calls, then basically tough luck. They need to have some ownership in station setup.

    I hope like myself you are eager to try the various ways to do audio-in with the Maestro, and compare them.

    It is going to be fun!  Yeah!

    73

    Steve K9ZW


  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    >If a ham ignores ordering up what is needed to feed & care for their Maestro when FRS calls, then basically tough luck.

    Steve- I don't have any problems with fanboy comments but am sorry that you miss the whole point of my posts. There aren't many other ways to indicate the concern here is not about technical choices or standards, but the care and feeding of the emerging 6000 product line, and, of it's paying customers. (>They need to have some ownership in station setup...)

    The thought that a customer would voluntarily add another major item in an emerging Premium product line and then have to buy a different microphone (or adapter) than one that was already purchased for that same product line in order to compensate for some design hiccup along the way is hilarious on its face. It's the sort of thing that technical lore and joke books are made of. (Most of us with serious experience have great stories to tell.)

    But it does raise questions about who is in charge of what? Where is this product line going? Is anyone really watching the store? Potential competition is watching for sure, and making decisions based on what it sees. Regards. -Dave.

  • Rick Hadley - W0FG
    edited January 2018
    I suppose one could make the argument that a microphone should be included with the Maestro, but complaining about what is arguably the most common standard microphone connector for "transportable" rigs seems pointless.  Looking over my shoulder at my secondary operating position, I see three radios, one from each of the Big-3 Japanese makers, all equipped with RJ45 mic jacks.  
  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited June 2017
    >seems pointless

    You are right, since it totally misses the point of this thread.

     >Looking over my shoulder at my secondary operating position

    Looking over my shoulder at 4 new stations, Kenwood, Yaesu, Elecraft and FLEX I see 4 different mike connectors. But again, that isn't the point of this thread is it?

    The subject of this thread goes in the Technical Product Jokebook in the Chapter titled:  But Boss, the plug don't fit no more!

  • Michael Coslo
    Michael Coslo Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    Well now - that is a different kettle of fish altogether!


    If reliability and strength is an issue, you need one of these:


    http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Amphenol-Industrial/PT06PG-14-19S072/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMvs8jAuka%252b...

     Now we can talk about a good connector. 

    I used a lot of Mil spec connectors back in the day, and a Foster or RJ45 are in the same boat AFAIAC. 

    I've had several Fosters fail. in fact more than RJ45's. I have an Icom mic on the workbench right now - bad connector.



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