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MaestroControl - the next generation FlexControl

Al_NN4ZZ
Al_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
edited June 2020 in New Ideas
FRS has announced that a version of the Maestro software will eventually be released that will  operate as a control surface and run concurrently with SSDR for Windows.  The screen would not display the current panadapter and waterfall but rather it would have some additional radio data and touch buttons.

Here is a different idea.  How about creating a new device that is just 1/2 of a Maestro (no display or SSDR client).  It would be a smaller package with the knobs, buttons. winkeyer, paddle jack and a USB port.  It would function like a FlexContol on steroids and provide a paddle / key input as well as more knobs and buttons than the current FlexControl.  

It would be a compact device we could connect to a laptop for remote and allow us to run CW Skimmer, loggers, spotting programs etc.    It would address the enhancement to add a paddle to a laptop.  

It could be connected to your PC in the shack in place of your FlexContol.  

image

Add your votes and comments if interested.....

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
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Comments

  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Here is a link to the enhancement I referred to about adding a PADDLE to a laptop for CW.  Steve commented they have plans to do this but that was 2 years ago before Maestro.  I haven't heard any comments to the contrary but this idea could be a solution also.

    https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/remote_is_cw_via_a_paddle_in_scope_for_the_remote_e...

    Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
    6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
    SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
    Win10
  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited January 2018
    Not to hijack your thread Al, but I would be more thrilled if FRS came up with a device that adds Band Data, Relays and remote functionality. Something that you can plug to the back of the Flex Radio that connects to the Ethernet port and provides a bridge to the LAN (so you don´t need to have 2 ethernet cables), controls rotors, amplifiers and relays and will communicate with SmartSDR and Maestro and has WiFi and Bluetooth.

    I also think that an opportunity was lost by FRS by not making the Maestro what it is plus a replacement for the Flex 1500. If the maestro was an HF QRP (10w) radio by itself a lot of people will buy it as an entry into the Flex line of products. It could have been a 500 Khz to 1Mhz single panadapter. If you love the device you can then buy a 6300 and add a full feature 100w HF radio that you can control with the Maestro.

    Just ideas...
  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Hi Salvador,
    Agree, it is different.  Here are some links from about 3 years ago to add an external box for shack peripherals.  There are other posts about it as well.  Seems like it is also being considered but not sure if any recent developments have changed the direction or plans. 

    https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/looking_all_over_for_band_data

    https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/band_data-3xef1?topic-reply-list%5Bsettings%5D%5Bfi...

    There is no shortage of enhancement ideas (hi hi)

    Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
    6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
    SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
    Win10
  • W7NGA
    W7NGA Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I am wishing for something as simple as I2C data, well-defined, on the data port for me to consume via Arduino and do what I want with it. As an amateur radio operator (and electronics engineer) I can actually solder, wire a harness, program for most any add-on do-dad, and experiment. I'll be the judge of the insanity of the notion .. I have fun playing ham radio and enjoy having options available to me.

    W7NGA  dan
    Pont Aven, France
  • W7NGA
    W7NGA Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    I love your idea AL .. it is exactly how I would use it. 
  • I0JBL - Luc
    I0JBL - Luc Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Be patient because my English is not very fluent. I agree with the Salvador's opinion. We are still far from a system capable of being able to be easily interfaced with the rest of the devices that compose a modern ham radio station. We need to use third-party products and the "sherpa" IT advice seeking, and fortunately, found the path to the light. My 5 cents. GD DX to all
  • Roy Laufer
    Roy Laufer Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I am sure that some of you are aware of this, but for those that aren't, there is a great little piece of hardware, called a Tmate2.
    image
     Unfortunately, it doesn't have any "driver hooks" that directly interface with SSDR, but I use N4PY's Pegasus Plus software to accomplish this!

    Not quite as many knobs, buttons, and dials as the Maestro (which I own as well), but it is a nice gadget when you're in the mood for twiddling a couple of knobs...
  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Roy, Thanks, have seen it. But I'm looking for a device that is directly supported by FRS (no additional software application) and that has winkeyer support and a paddle/key jack. All in one unit....the MaestroControl would do it all. Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Does anybody know if the Elecraft wharever-they-call-it will work with the Flex?
  • Jeff Griffin
    Jeff Griffin Member
    edited December 2016
    Don't know. But I do know it actually works remotely without a PC on either end...

    73 Jeff kb2m
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    I meant their KPod. It's like, I believe, the FlexControl but a weighted knob, metal, and more options. By default I believe it wants an RS-232 connection to the radio direct,but it also has usb. I am guessing it'll work just like the FlexControl does but be metal as opposed to plastic.At $250 or so it's a tad pricey as an experiment.
  • IW7DMH, Enzo
    IW7DMH, Enzo Member ✭✭
    edited January 2017
    Hello,

    a lot of good comments here! If you search in the community older posts, you'll find a similar device already exists and, for what I can say, it works very well. But... while I am a firmly supporter of the standalone Flex usage, I have to admit that without a pc you can't get the best from our rigs.
    My idea, and experience, is that adding such a new device will not satisfy real people needs.
    This is my idea for a new controller.
     
     image
    It is a 4,5x3,5 inch device and it should be connected to the PC via RS232 port. It is modular so you can add another of it and have A and B slice control (they should fit in in some way). A host software should pass-trough commands to the Flex while a small oled display (128x64 pixels) should give minimal slice informations.

    Of course at the moment this is only a wish but I am pretty sure it can be done. 
    Of course my first wishes are that Flex will implement PSK, RTTW and CW on Maestro and my last hope is that they will decide to open at least SSDR GUI APIs or better the Maestro GUI API.

    73' Enzo
    iw7dmh

  • Simon Lewis
    Simon Lewis Member
    edited July 2017
    I'd buy one if it worked as nice as the Maestro controls :)

    I have a Maestro but I still like the big screen on a PC with ext controls


  • Ria
    Ria Member ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    I had the chance to try a Maestro this weekend. Currently evaluating it during Sweepstakes SSB. The concept is nice for those who want a traditional radio feel but for me I like my radio display on the main screen or 2nd monitor.

    But I would absolutely love to have that main tuning knob for the flexcontrol. It feels pretty nice and heavy like a REAL radio knob. I love the flexcontrol but I feel a heavier knob would make it better. I am not really interested in any fancy display or anything although that would be nice. A subRX knob would be nice but not necessary. 
  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Hi Ria,
    I'm also a fan of having the SSDR display on a large monitor.   And I also like having a few nice knobs for tuning, XIT, AGC as well as the buttons for macros.   Here is a picture of my current setup with 3  27" monitors and using 2 FlexControls.   If the Maestro type control ever is available I would definitely look at it.

    Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
    6700 - HW.................. V 1.9.7.85
    SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.9.7.169
    Win10


    image


  • Kevin
    Kevin Member
    edited July 2019
    I'm glad this thread resurfaced. I think I ignored it first time around because I saw "Maestro" in the title and wasn't interested in such a thing. But, since my purchase of the FlexControl, even with its minimal functionality I can see a lot of value in having a focused radio control working in conjunction in front of computer  monitors. Regardless of where my focus is on the computer a short reach to a "MaestroControl" would allow me make adjustments to the radio. 

    This seems like a prime opportunity for a third party developer whether a commercial or homebrew (kit) project. It also seems like a logical and missing next step between the FlexControl and Maestro.

    Some features I might also be interested in include:
    1. A bar graph showing power out, SWR, ALC. A single or double row multi-function meter. (A multi-function meter application would be just as nice.)
    2. Slice A and Slice B controls to be symmetric. Common controls to be centered. (Some sort of intuitive layout.)
    3. Single press controls for all main operating functions. Minimal functions hidden behind long presses or double presses.
    4. The device's focus must remain on the radio even when other applications have the focus.

    73,
    Kev K4VD

  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    After using the Maestro and seeing the amount of time it took to be in the Market and the number of iterations of the software, so far, to make it work, and the lack of features yet (no wan, bluetooth, tnf, dexp....) I would prefer if FRS focuses all of its efforts in improving SmartSDR (ANF, NB, NR, GUI improvements, etc...) which is beneficial to all, as opposed to accessory development.

    I find that knob usage is to a large extent personal. Someone might want quick access to XIT RIT while someone else might want Filter Width, volume, etc... I find some of the design decisions on the Maestro odd (i.e a dedicated button for tuner when the tuner is an option on the 6300....) for my personal taste and practice... not really questioning the design, it just doesn't match my own priorities.
    In my case, the Maestro will not get used much until WAN happens or once I can use the Maestro in combination with SmartSDR, this last one I really hope it happens soon. At that point I will have more external controller than I need.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    I totally agree Sal. However, fixing what doesn't work, properly, in SSDR is an expense whereas a new toy is a capital expense.
  • Ria
    Ria Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    You can join the dark side with instant gratification and set up a VPN. :) 


    (I'll even help you if you wish, just saying)
  • W9TVX
    W9TVX Member ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    I would definitely buy one
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited May 2017
    If you'd commit to an additional 9999 units, I bet Gerald would seriously consider doing it ;-)
  • Ria
    Ria Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    9998. I'll buy one. :)
  • W9TVX
    W9TVX Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    And here I was hoping for a one off!
  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Tim,

    RE: If you'd commit to an additional 9999 units, I bet Gerald would seriously consider doing it ;-)

    LOL, but seriously I'll bet they would really sell if you could price them in the $300-$400 range.   I like my FlexControl but this would be so much better and match the 6xxx series.  If you are taking reservations, I'll send my $$$ in now.

    Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com

    image


  • Paul Bradbeer
    Paul Bradbeer Member
    edited May 2017
    Yes Al, I think you're right. I bet people love the utility of SSDR on a big screen but just wish for a few key buttons and knobs to twiddle.
  • Clay N9IO
    Clay N9IO Clay N9IO Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Tim, lets say for the sake of not messing with current SSDR development this new device were set up to work with ddutil does that make any better sense?

    I have not ventured into using ddutil yet so don't know if that's ok to suggest or even remotely desirable.

    9996, getting closer.
    You know, this really is a good idea, I too miss the big screen.
    I suspect there is just too much going on right now to gather steam.
  • Ross - K9COX
    Ross - K9COX Member ✭✭
    edited June 2017
    Just DO IT
  • Sergey R5AU
    Sergey R5AU Sergey Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Al, nevertheless, not need to wait and i use my Behringer CMD Micro DJ Midi Controller right now:
    >https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/behringer-cmd-micro-dj-midi-controller-for-use-with...



  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Hi Sergey,
    RE: why I prefer waiting for a MaestroControl over the Behringer CMD Micro DJ Midi Controller.

    My dual FlexControls are working for me now but IMHO the Maestro control would be a better option for a number of reasons:
    • It would be an FRS supported product
    • It not require another third party helper program but be supported in the SSDR software
    • It would be hardware supported by FRS
    • It would "match" the look of the 6xxx product line
    • It would be familiar in terms of button and knob locations to anyone with a full sized Maestro
    • It would have the same ergonomics for contesters as the full sized Maestro
    • It would fill the gap between the older FlexControl and a full sized Maestro and likely make other devices less popular (and less supported)
    image

    Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
    SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
    Win10


  • Sergey R5AU
    Sergey R5AU Sergey Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Fully agreed Al, native is always native !
    i have my Maestro and wait for SSDR multi user capability :-) to realise mentioned above.

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