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Connecting a Flex maestro to a Flex 6400 and a pc.

Jim Member
edited February 2020 in Networking
New Flex owner here have a question. I have a flex maestro using a flex 6400 directly connected using cat-cable works fine. Now I want to also use my pc that has ft8 on it alone with the maestro at the same time. I have the current version of smart sdr 3.1.8 for windows. How can I use ft8 on my pc and my maestro at the same time? Thanks for your time...


  • John KB4DU
    John KB4DU Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2020
    Connect the Maestro to the Flex as normal. Then bring up SSDR on the PC, and connect as usual. Should work. Only caution is there are only two slices available on the 6400, so the Maestro gets one and the PC gets one. Both will show as Slice A on their respective connections. I don't have a Maestro, but I do connect SSDR on the PC and SDR for IOS on an ipad at the same time.
  • Jim
    Jim Member
    edited February 2020
    Thank you for the speedy reply! My stumbling block is I connect my Maestro to the 6400 via cable, no wifi. Or I connect my 6400 to the pc via cable. But being there is one single cat cable connection on the 6400 and one on the Maestro how do I connect the Maestro, computer and 6400 altogether ? Thanks again for your time.
  • JohnSweeney
    JohnSweeney Member ✭✭
    edited February 2020
    The Maestro has audio in/out jacks on the back.   Simply connect those jacks to your computer audio in/out jacks and you can decode FT8 just fine.  I prefer to use a small external USB sound card on the PC instead of windows internal sound card.  I have never tried VOX operation on DIGU so you may have to play with that to get the PTT to work on TX.

  • K0FLY
    K0FLY Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2020
    What you need for hardware to connect everything together is an either net switch ( 4 port will do) or a router .  Connect  each unit to the switch or router via cat 5 or 6 cables.  The switch will permit both the Maestro and PC to talk to the 6400.   I believe that Flex has some documentation describing this hardware setup on their site.

    Gayle K0FLY
  • mlstutler
    mlstutler Member ✭✭
    edited February 2020

    I would avoid just connecting the audio to the pc.  One of great features of Flex is the use of the ethernet port for connectivity.   Look at this drawing below.   

    Substitute your 6400 for the radio.  Notice that there is a ethernet switch providing connectivity between the internet router, radio, and pc.  You will just connect your Maestro to the switch like any other device. 

    Here is the switch that I use.  You can get them for less than $50.   You should already have a ethernet cable that came with the Maestro.  

    Now when you operate.   Start the Maestro and load SmartSDR.   On your computer all you need to do is start CAT and DAX.   It will see the Maestro client and you can connect to it.   You will need to configure the programs to connect to both CAT and DAX.   There are plenty of tutorials on that.  

    This one of the main features that make Flex a great radio.  Simplicity.  

    Good luck 

  • John KB4DU
    John KB4DU Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2020
    Like Mike said.

    However, getting a network that is compatible with the Flex can take some trial and error.  I had some intermittent disconnects where the network health indicator would go red and lose connection. Tried several configurations with varying frame rates, waterfall variations, different cables, location of equipment. I had the same switch as above, 1 gig switch, 1 gig port on the computer (laptop). Seems it should work. In desperation I reconfigured an older router/wifi box to disable the wifi and use it as a switch with 100Mb ports. Now no disconnects. I don't understand.
  • k7rfh.rich
    k7rfh.rich Member ✭✭

    I see this thread has been around for a while, but I have a related question.

    I want to use my maestro and pc anyway from the main 6400 location but still within Wi-Fi range to do digital comm"s. I have not received my maestro yet but should be soon.

    Is this possible? Do I connect the pc (laptop) to the maestro directly?

    When I am in the radio room, I connect to the 6400 with SSDR, DAX and CAT. Are the apps the same when not locally wired? I do FT8 and other varieties of digital. All the these connect via the CAT configurations setup on my desktop pc.

    Any help or pointing me to documents would help greatly. Thanks.

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    Hi Rich, If you are on the same LAN, each GUI client (SmartSDR, Maestro) connects to the radio the same way whether it is over WiFi or directly wired to a network switch or router.

    Before you get your Maestro, take a look at the Maestro User Guide section 9 (SmartControl):

    This feature will let you use your PC (using SmartSDR) and Maestro to control the same slices concurrently. It gives you knobs and buttons at the same time as a large panadapter/waterfall display.

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Rich, something to remember the Radio is a server and rather it be a computer, Maestro, MAC. Or IPad/Iphone which are ALL clients and they all talk back to the Radio (Server) as long as they are on the same Network through your Wireless or Wired Router, a Ethernet cable, or over the Internet with SmartLink or a VPN.


    Bret / WX7Y

  • k7rfh.rich
    k7rfh.rich Member ✭✭

    Thanks for the great info and reference.

  • k7rfh.rich
    k7rfh.rich Member ✭✭

    One of the sections said:

    9.5.9 What you Cannot Do in SmartControl

    • The Maestro Mic input is not available while in SmartControl Mode.

    • The Maestro internal speaker is disabled when in SmartControl mode

    Guess I should have said that I do voice intermixed with digital. Is the mic and speakers then controlled by the laptop?

    The other thing (which I should have mentioned) was that when I am in the radio room environment slice A runs digital and Slice B runs voice. In addition, I want to have a CW key connected to the maestro.

    Sorry I didn't mention all of this in the first post.

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭

    Not sure if this is what your asking about with "SmartControl" that is totally different than SmartLink.

    SmartControl just lets you use the knobs on the Maestro or what ever device control the radio and has the MIC and Speaker on that device disabled.

    One thing to note that if your USING "PCAudio" then the DAX button on SmartSDR needs to be turned off, If your running Digital on the external device then turn the DAX button on.

    IF I understand your question properly.

  • k7rfh.rich
    k7rfh.rich Member ✭✭

    Ah, I think I have answered my questions about DAX and CAT by reading the manual. The maestro only replaces the SSDR portion. DAX and CAT run as normal on the laptop providing the connections between the digital mode apps on the pc and the radio.

    I see that the CW key has the same jack on the maestro as on the main radio.

    Since I am awaiting a maestro C, I may need to wait for the updated manual for more specific details.

    I think it is odd that with Smart Control the mic and speakers are disabled, but there is probably a good reason.

    Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction.

  • Trucker
    Trucker Member ✭✭✭

    If you are using SmartControl you can still use the microphone input on the radio and the speakers ( powered speakers connected to the line out connection on the rear of the radio) . Just un-select PC in the upper right of SmartSDR and in the TX box select the connection you are using on your radio.



  • k7rfh.rich
    k7rfh.rich Member ✭✭

    Thanks again for all the help. Don't have the maestro yet. Been waiting for it since April 2022. It sounds like there may be some changes from the B version, so will wait to see what I get. I now feel comfortable with using whatever comes, thanks to all your help.

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