I will watch this thread in anticipation.
73 de K5RHD
I use many different techniques to operate via my iPad.
One example close to the Maestro in functional equivalent is to use. k6TU iPad App which is a stand alone app that does not use the PC
I control my SteppIR MonstIR, my rotor, my Wsttmentere and my SPE Amp remotely
And several other peripherals
I leave DDUTIL running on a PC that is connected with 5 physical serial ports and a bunch of USB ports to all my peripherals. DDUTIL reliably and very quickly obtains Band Data from SmartCAT. Much more reliable and much quicker (1 Gb/s vs 9600 Baud) than the old SLOW serial ports used by CAT
Bottom Line: I just don't use the excuse that my 6000 needs CAT Serial Data Ports to run remote. It's pretty obvious that DDUTIL will easily and reliably carry the peripheral,load for remote operations. In fact, I would still need a PC with DDUTIL unless someone could figure out how to multiplex all my peripherals on the 2 USB ports on the 6000
I could imagine the howls from owners if Elecraft, Icom, kenwood or Yaesu tried to suggest such a thing.
I want to ditch the PC's not add more complexity to them.
My Microham kit needs a CAT port from the radio .. thats it done
Not ....attach the Microham to a PC, run some software, configure it, mess around configuring it, running the PC all the time I want to operate.
It's a great big glaring gap and looks ridiculous - I like my flex too but relying on a 3rd party software to do something it should out of the box is an excuse and work around that is unacceptable
Maestro Control Console for the FLEX-6000
The FlexRadio MaestroTM is an intuitive, plug-and-play control console that directs operation of any FLEX-6000 Signature Series transceiver without need of a traditional PC.
Flex should caveat this with ... AS LONG AS YOU DON"T WANT TO INTERFACE INTO ANYTHING ELSE
because this is NOT true you still need a PC to connect any device that needs CAT control .. pretty much everything in my shack is controlled via CAT!
1. The 6000 series only has 2 USB Ports which is clearly not enough ports to control all the peripheral devices found in a typical ham shack
2. Many ham shacks have multiple CAT Interface control devices (such as Microham and Array Solutions Stuff) hanging off their Legacy Radios...
I suspect that Flex will introduce something like the 4O3A Station Genius which has a LAN interface to provide integrated CAT control of all your peripherals rather than the much more limited SLOW serial CAT port.
This would allow for a PC Free Environment
In the longer run, (we are seeing a lot of this already) I expect that most if not all ham peripherals will be controlled directly via LAN and NOT CAT.
Here is one of my posts from back then....maybe we will see a dedicated controller at some point. It might take the form of the "station genius" that Howard mentions.
2 years ago
I also use DDUtil currently to control my amp, bandswitch, etc. It is a good program, works well and I'm glad to have it. But there is a drawback. It requires a local PC running Windows. PCs can lock up, need periodic rebooting, and may require remote logins to manage them or launch programs.
The stated long term vision for the 6000 is to connect to the internet for remote capability and to remove the need for a local PC, (i.e the "computer in the middle"). See snapshot. Most of us have station peripherals like amps, band switches, etc. If we are not going to use a PC then we need some other way to control them. Even if you just want to operate your radio from another room or out by the pool, it would be better to not have to rely on a PC to control your peripherals.
Eventually (maybe many years away) I think most peripherals will support being network attached. In the mean time I think a good solution is for someone (FRS or some enterprising third party) to build a dedicated peripheral controller. It could attach to the 6000 via the network or the usb port or the accessory port. It could provide all of the various protocols and connectors (usb, serial, CIV, BCD, ethernet, relay contacts, etc). Rather than put all of the legacy protocol software in the radio, put it in the external dedicated controller. Rather than building a number of dedicated hardware solutions in or attached to the radio, put them in the external dedicated controller.
Sort of a like having "DDUtil in a box."
Sorry for being long winded....hihi
Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
As other have suggested, the most attractive answer is for somebody to create a box that sits on the network, interfaces with the radio, and provides "value added" relays, BCD band data, and/or legacy CAT interface or whatever. What NN4ZZ called "DDUTIL in a box".
Windows 10 IoT is free... You write control software in any .Net language (let's hear it for C# !) talking to the radio through FlexLib. Put it all on an RPI 2 with a 4" LCD touch screen. It's a relatively simple project in the end. I've even experimented with this myself.
It would be a nice little opportunity for somebody to capture a niche market. Or even for Flex... they've certainly got the in-house expertise.
And, yes... I realize that doesn't help anybody who wants to run their Maestro in January and who doesn't want to engage in a software development exercise.