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Product idea: the Protege

frc2302 Member ✭✭
edited April 24 in Maestro

I bet I'm not the first one to think of it, but I, for one, would be interested in a Maestro without a display. I don't need the display; the PC is much better for that. I just want the knobs, which are a much more appropriate (and pleasant) human interface for making fine adjustments to frequency, AGC-T, RIT, etc. The FlexControl is ok for that on the go, but it's not nearly as functional as the Maestro's control panel (and the AGC-T can't be assigned to it!).

In anticipation of my Maestro's arrival, I was reading the manual, and learned about Smartcontrol, and realized that's really all I want: the right side of the Maestro.

A lower-cost, Smartcontrol-only version of the Maestro would require a whole lot less development and production complexity, too. Maybe even make it a USB interface instead of networked. Call it the Protege. 😁

I'd buy one!

2 votes

Active · Last Updated


  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    Some are using the El Gato Srream Deck Plus with FrStack. I have both the Stream Deck Plus and a Stream Deck 32 button version I use FRStack and Node Red on a Raspberry Pi.

    The Stream Deck plus has 4 knobs and 8 buttons plus a touch LCD ****. You can have multiple pages of configurations with labels for the knobs on the lcd ****. Just swipe right or left to load next page. The eight buttons are LVD backlit and can have custom labels. Each page can have different button configurations.

    Example - page one the four knobs are volume and AGC-T for Slice A and B. I have buttons to initiate a Tune on TG XL along with a button which using SVG graphics shows rotor position. Plus other buttons for common functions for radio, other equipment or macros to launch programs. Another page has preprogrammed beam heading buttons along with knobs for RX filters low/high cut for Slice A and B. A different page has knobs for RF Power and Tune Power adjustments (rarely used).

    I do have a Maestro C and use it daily standalone on SSB and also CW and FT8 for DXing. reason to use it standalone instead of SmartControl for me is my external audio gear for mic is plugged into the Y cable on Maestro.

    Probably more than most people need but I have done a lot with Node Red in writing flows for the Flex radios and 4O3A equipment along with other equipment such as AC outlets (DLI Web Switch Pro) and DC control (WMR 4005i), plus rotor control of Green Heron RT21 with auto or manual tracking to both AC Log and N1MM+. Makes operating remote VERY easy.

    More toys to keep me busy.

    73 Dave wo2x

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    This is a good idea.

    Can you move or recreate this post in the "New Ideas" area. I can't do that and it would good to have it there so others can upvote it.


  • W7NGA
    W7NGA Member ✭✭✭

    If you can get past its looks .. the DJ2GO2 Midi controller works extremely well with SmartSDR for Mac. Dual VFO knobs and rotary and slider controls for parameters. Fully user-configurable. Fun … and only $89 on Amazon.


  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    If you are up to building your own, you could build a TeensyMaestro which does exactly what you are suggesting. While probably not a beginner's project, it does not take extraordinary skill to build it (it is less complicated to build than an Elecraft K2). It is all point-to-point wiring. Not difficult, just a bit tedious. It is designed so that you can build as much or as little as you want. It has a display, but you could leave that off if you don't want the menu functions. One builder from England built only one side (i.e. Slice A controls). Others have left the CW keyer components off.

    On the GitHub page, you will find a User Manual, Builder's Guide, Schematic and Bill Of Materials (includes prices and supplier links). The load image is provided so that you can just load the firmware and go. If you want to modify it, the source code is available. Any help that you need will be provided on the TeensyMaestro thread.

    Here is a link to the GitHub page:


    Here is a link to the TeensyMaestro thread on this community:

  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Member ✭✭✭

    Hi here is an idea I submitted for this in 2020. See the mockup, I think this is what you are asking for. It has 31 votes.

    Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com

    6600 SSDR V3.6.8

    TGXL 1.1.20

    PGXL 3.7.32

    Win10 Pro V2004

  • W7NGA
    W7NGA Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 24

    MaestroControl would be perfect … if it was supported by SmartSDR for Mac.

    With an iPad (you know you have one) you'd be set …

    I've been thinking of buying one of these to play with programming. From Amazon.

    Bluetooth or USB, tuning knob with multiple functions, programmable OLED display. Cheap.


  • Gord-VA7GP
    Gord-VA7GP Member ✭✭✭

    I have used, and liked using, the Contour "Shuttle Express" to control SmartSDR:


    Alas, it fell into disuse, for the sole reason that every time I clicked outside SmartSDR, this ShuttleExpress lost focus and it's buttons and knobs were taken as input to whatever I just clicked (logging software, browser, etc).

    I didn't think this would be such a huge thing, but it is and it turned out to be a dealbreaker.

    Summary: I have controlled SmartSDR without a display, just a few buttons and a knob - I ilked it. But anything like this again would have to be 100% bound to SmartSDR

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