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MaestroControl - the next generation FlexControl



  • Tim - W4TMETim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    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?

    That is not up to FlexRadio.  DDUtil is a third-party application.  If Steve wants to add support for any multi-function controllers, be them from FRS or someone else, that is his prerogative.
  • John MolendaJohn Molenda Member
    edited December 2017
    nice shack but too orderly for me Ha Ha 
  • edited January 2018
    When will multi client be due out so SSDR remote and Maestro going to be able to concurrently control a 6700 WAN attached? Thanks
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited January 2018

    Flex does Not Publish expected release dates for future software release.  

    They wisely, in my opinion, stopped doing this several years ago after a very uncomfortable user backlash about being late on a date.

    The reality of software development of complex systems is that it is almost impossible to predict when a program will be finished.   Even when coding is done, things need to be thoroughly tested to discover any interactions which break other things that in turn need to be fixed.  So it is not as simple as just writing code and throwing it out there but rather they need to go through a very thorough testing process to make sure everything still works

  • KevinKevin Member
    edited January 2018
    The reality of software development of complex systems is that it is possible to predict when a program can be released if it is managed properly. Wasn't there a post a while back that FRS uses agile development? Or was this just someone throwing around buzzwords? Agile has a very specific meaning as it relates to releases. "It advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change." Even if not Agile, each development method includes predictive tools for release management. Well except maybe the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants development but I don't think that's the case here, right?

    Do they really "make sure everything still works" before "throwing it out there"? Flex Agile (Flagile) maybe. 

    Sorry Flex felt uncomfortable about user backlash. I hate it when someone is uncomfortable.

    Do right things for the right reasons.

    Kev K4VD
  • IW7DMH, EnzoIW7DMH, Enzo Member ✭✭
    edited January 2018
    The reality, or what we feel from this side, is that Flex has almost completely stopped SW development when the new models were announced. The "7610 effect" has messed up what in the beginning was a very good plan. Today we have a 2.0 version that does not support the DAX using the great SmartLink system, a sw that needs a very powerful computer to properly handle the CW tone generation and a radio that is practically useless with a 1-Mbit network. The last one against the "thin-pipe" techonologies benefits.
    While I firmly believe in the Flex sdr approach, today I'm a lot less enthusiastic than two years ago. Going around the world and playing with a $3,000/$7,000 Flex with my tablet is not my greatest ambition. I would be much happier if only I could have, just to say one, panadaper spots and be even more competitive during the contests.
    We will wait for better days, for the moment I wish you a great 2018.

    Enzo iw7dmh

  • Al_NN4ZZAl_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Hi Rich,
    Saw your comment (excerpted) in another post today.     


    I think this may be what you want, maybe if we get enough votes and interest  FRS will build it.  

    Al / NN4ZZ  
    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
    6700 & SSDR-W  V 2.1.30

  • Elliot SkultinElliot Skultin Member ✭✭
    edited March 1
    I find the Smart SDR interface with a mouse and thumb wheel so fast and efficient, I can’rt understand why anyone would want to go back to knobs. If my iPad could use a mouse, it would be excellent. More junk on the desk isn’t attractive.
  • Al_NN4ZZAl_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2018
    Hi Elliot, There is definetly still a desire for knobs and buttons. And glad to see that Flex offers options like the FlexControl, Maestro and M model radios. They have all been popular options. When the “concurrent client” feature is implemented, some may want to use the Maestro along with their SSDR client on the PC. I’d prefer a smaller footprint like the Mega-control suggested here. I currently use 2 FlexControls and it would be about the same size bur have more knobs and buttons. Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
  • Sergey KN7KSergey KN7K Member ✭✭
    edited May 2018
    Hi All,
    I am following Flex forum and debating, debating, debating if I am ready to switch from FT5000MP fo Flex 6xxx series radio.
    Few things that bother me not related to this thread (mostly funstionality and SW), but for control, I would be interested in your proposal with some tweaks.
    Looking into Legacy radios vs Flex , I do not like idea of extra clicks - change band-tap on the screen and than click band,
    most of the settings on my FT5000MP available from the front panel. So, band switch buttons is a must in my opinion. 

    I was thinking about other idea, but not sure if anybody would develope it or would be interested. Most of us have tablets in different sizes. I have iPad 9.7" and I think it would be cool if I would have controller with just few buttons and by click on any slider on the Tablet screen make my Knobs active for tuning this specific slider. Yes it still 2 clicks and extra box for control, and I think I saw some prototype a year ago from somebody, but do not remember who it was and I think it never came to life.
    Sergey, KN7K
  • I0JBL - LucI0JBL - Luc Member ✭✭
    edited May 2018
    This discussion does not concern necessity but habits.

    With the mouse in SSDR everything can be done. Can everything be done quickly and accurately?

    My opinion is no.

    Since the 6500 has arrived in my shack I have always used it with Pegasus Plus and Tmate2 and I immediately had some options to manage the equipement that in the development of SSDR come years later and some features that are in PP there are not still in SSDR.

    Two years ago I was bitterly criticized, I do not remember from who, because of a further program on the desktop was useless and generate confusion.

    For me it was not so thanks to Carl N4PY and his Pegasus Plus.

    I also have Maestro, but I find it superfluous useless if it can not be used simultaneously with SSDR on a PC.

    PP and Tmate2 cost a third of the Maestro and do more things.

    My 10 cent.

    Best 73

    Luciano I0JBL
  • Al_NN4ZZAl_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Will V3 support the "control surface" idea we talked with Steve about a few years ago at Dayton?

    Maybe not at first but is it still planned in V3 with MultiFlex?

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

  • W7NGAW7NGA Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    If I am reading between the lines correctly, this function will NOT be implemented in this version of multiFlex. I would have purchased a Maestro if it worked as you have specified.
  • Al_NN4ZZAl_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited January 2019
    I have also seen a few unofficial replies that suggest it is NOT in the initial release but some hints that it "might" be coming in a later 3.x version.   But again that's unofficial (not from FRS directly). 

    Regards,  Al / NN4ZZ  
    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
  • W7NGAW7NGA Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    I would be happy with an enhanced FlexControl ... a subset of the Maestro front-end (as with the latest Icom). I am surprised this functionality is not being offered with multiFlex. Guessing, again, but I think I should be able to monitor multiple bands or segments of a band with my 6600 and SSDR, select a specific band or segment with the Maestro and operate in that fashion. 

    I currently do something like this with my Surface Pro 4 laptop and 43" monitor running SSDR. I can 'pop out' a panadapter to the laptop and yet still monitor other bands on the large screen. I am without a knobbed interface, but honestly, the mouse control works very well and probably faster in many instances.
  • Matt NQ6NMatt NQ6N Member ✭✭
    edited April 2019
    When I first got my 6600 I didn't know whether I would decide to purchase a Maestro. My first experience using 6000 series equipment was with a Maestro and I found it very solid and intuitive to use, but I was curious to try SmartSDR on its own to compare. 

    So I ordered only the FlexControl knob and use it with SmartSDR.  

    My takeaways are as follows: 

    Needed Improvements to the FlexControl: 
    • PTT should be available in addition to MOX. 
    • Ideally any button could be made to initiate or toggle through a list of CAT commands.  That would make the unit much more useful.  Even better would be linking the pressDown, pressUp, press, double press, and "hold" interactions with specific CAT commands.  Things like QSY UP 5 KHz, set the filter back at 400Hz, toggle through a few filter settings, etc. 
    • The ability to lock the FlexControl to a single slice
    • The ability to use more than one FlexControl and have each locked to a separate slice.

    Missing features in the 6600 without Maestro: 

    Using the 6600 without a Maestro leaves one glaring issue, which is the lack of CW Sidetone when operating remote. It's also a pain to connect a foot switch. 

    Nice to have features of SmartSDR without Maestro: 

    The panafall windows can un-dock from the main MDI window, but the logging software focus helpers do not work when they are un-docked.  This is a minor bug but it forces me to leave the MDI window open which makes it much less useful to arrange the panafalls in the kind of intuitive left radio / right radio arrangement on the screen that undocking the windows makes possible. 

    Must have features for an updated control knob/box: 

    • Winkeyer chip and audio mixing for locally generated sidetone when operating remotely. Why not also add a connector for PTT (foot switch) as well. 
    • Separate VFO knobs for each slice (I'd personally prefer 4 large knobs arranged horizontally, one for each slice, or one large knob per box if more than one box can be connected to one instance of SmartSDR)
    • The rest of the knobs and buttons on the device do not need to have pre-defined functionality, why not just let them all be customizable so that the user can map them to whatever features of SmartSDR he/she wants? Each large knob should have a few concentric encoders and a few buttons, but labeling them and restricting them to only one use seems quite limiting. 

    SmartSDR is very well done and it looks beautiful on my 4K and 5K monitors that I use in my operating position. I have come to prefer SmartSDR to using the Maestro because of how good the panafalls look and how easy it is to visually spot the weak signals.  The only thing missing is a small hardware box that makes CW keying and foot switch connection plug and play via remote.  

    73 and thanks for the great products.  Really looking forward to downloading V3 in the coming months. 

  • W7NGAW7NGA Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    I agree Matt. SSDR looks gorgeous on my big screen monitor and laptop, and I find that, generally, mouse control works very well. Oddly, the turn-off for me with the Maestro is the inability to disable the waterfall. I typically do not use it and would find it a waste of precious real estate.
  • Asher - K0AUAsher - K0AU Member ✭✭
    edited March 14
    Matt, I solved the CW keying, PTT/footswitch AND the sidetone problem for LAN remote by using a RemoteRig 1258. RemoteRig has worked flawlessly for 5 years.

    A real mystery for me is why Flex doesn't send CW sidetone back over remote audio. I have 1ms of network delay. No idea if that would interfere with paddle keying, but sidetone for remote-emulated-WinKey CW should be a no-brainer for contesting. So I use a RemoteRig and an external WinKeyer as workarounds. And the RemoteRIg supports paddle CW for everyday Dxing.

    I use DAX channels for digital modes to remain in the digital domain. Works great except for the occasional DAX distortion bug.

    I've been patiently waiting for a way to use SSDR concurrently with a Maestro where the Maestro is more of an advanced control surface and an interface hub. Maybe in V4!
  • N8FNRN8FNR Member
    edited June 18
    Getting back to the original post, if Flex came up with a device that looks like the image at the top of the page for $300 or so I would place my order right now. Would be sweet have a control surface like that. I know I could get a Maestro but I only operate from my PC that is next to the rig and feel that I have no need for the Maestro. I never operate remotely.
  • Al_NN4ZZAl_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited January 2019

    Me too!

    Even $400 would be a good deal.

    Al / NN4ZZ  
    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
    6700 & SSDR-W  V 2.4.9

  • Asher - K0AUAsher - K0AU Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    I'd buy the current $1200 Maestro if it had a control surface mode and I can retire my RemoteRig setup. It would be one fewer box and eliminate an extra A/D conversion for mic and headphone
  • roger na4rrroger na4rr Member
    edited January 2019
    As per one of Tim's comments FRS still waiting on selling 9999 units.  They are not Icom. I dont think they will ever get there.
  • Al_NN4ZZAl_NN4ZZ Loganville GAMember ✭✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Hi Roger.....I thought Tim was just kidding....maybe not.

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

  • Matt NQ6NMatt NQ6N Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Asher -- thanks for the recommendation. I've been reluctant to buy one of those in case the issue can be addressed with software or Flex hardware, but it's nice to know that it is working flawlessly for you. 

    I think there are probably a few different approaches to side tone (including sending the audio back slightly delayed) which would work but which wouldn't fully make operating remote just like sitting in front of the rig.  

    The other day I turned on FDX and listened to my second harmonic to get some side tone :)
  • Asher - K0AUAsher - K0AU Member ✭✭
    edited January 2019
    Matt - for cw contesting I use a numeric keypad and AutoHotKey to command N1MM+ macros. I need to hear the generated CW because I want to know if I fatkey the wrong macro. Bit of latency would not matter at all.

    I suppose I could write a WIndows app to the FlexLib API to track a slice on the second harmonic of the TX slice... On second thought it would be hard because I can't control Pans with a non-display API app. On third thought I might be be able to do it with V3 if a client can see another client's slices. Won't know until we see the V3 API.

    I'm not complaining; I'm happy with the solutions I've developed and I'd appreciate learning if I missed something in station design for LAN and WAN remote operation.

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