Congrats to K9CT M/2 team. New Flex 6500/6700 contest station w/alpha version Maestro's...

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  • Updated 3 years ago
ARRL DX Contest, SSB 2016 Mar 5
Congrats to K9CT M/2 team. New Flex 6500/6700 contest station w/alpha version Maestro's...
Writeup on Craig K9CT's 3830 report...

http://www.3830scores.com/showrumor.php?arg=OtajzOgcaavq0
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Clay N9IO

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Posted 3 years ago

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Lewis Cheek

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Take a LOT of rig to warrant replacing the Elecraft K3 stations. Perhaps after alpha team feedback and roll out of Maestro Flex Radio will work on contest enhancements, FRS do you read a question here?

Lew
N4CO
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Lewis

You are wrong in your assumptions... the contest configuration envisioned at last year's Dayton Dinner would be a single 6300 with Maestro replacing 2 K3 to run SO2R for about 1/2 the cost of the equivalent K3 configuration and with significantly less cabling and clutter as you no longer need the microham or other associated stuff  and cables to work SO2R

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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 Here is a photo of the K3 Rat's nest clutter at NX6T Contest Station

https://theta360.com/s/dGW1m3WwyeSK5Bvqgz8ZleYJE

 Photo by NN6X

This picture is why we are hoping Maestro actually works better than our multiple K3S as a contest machine in SO2R   There are so many crossing cables and ferrites that it has become almost impossible to troubleshoot anything.

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Lewis Cheek

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Hold on a minute, I can think of a number of CONTEST STATIONS that look this way, you're sure it's NX6T? :)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Yes... NN6X took the picture with his 360 degree Theta camera on Saturday and N6KI published it on Sunday after the contest.

Plus if you look closely you can see my blood and sweat on several connectors when I was trying to untangle and debug the mess...

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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Any RFI?? :)
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Lee, Elmer

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This is from Craig's 3830 comments.  

"Not one problem was encountered over the 48 hours. We had the computers, radios and Maestros all on wired ethernet. This was all stable. Not one problem with overload on the same band operation."

Very Cool

73  W9OY
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Maybe Craig K9CT will publish a picture of his much cleaner layout for his Flex Contest Station.

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Lewis Cheek

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Howard, this was more of a praise than criticism, when a major contest station is planning to replace what has been the contest standard rig for a number of years. While I like my Flex, the software needs some work.

Lew

N4CO
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Understood... The contest part of the Flex interface is getting very close to being competitive.. and yes there can always be more improvements to everything
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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VOX ;)
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Craig K9CT

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Craig K9CT

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A pictures say a thousand words. Here are some additional pictures..

https://picasaweb.google.com/103905235844471188868/2016ARRLDXPhone?authuser=0&feat=directlink

The operators did not have to be shown how to operate...they just sat down and went to work. They loved the audio...every one said that. Each explored the Maestro menus and learned about it over the weekend. Not one glitch all weekend...not bad for Alpha software. 

You should note that it is easy to interlock the transmitter on the Flex. Each pair of radios is considered one TX and they are interlocked. You can see the cables going from the TX3 relay to the Inhibit input on each radio. If you look through the pictures, you can see an operator signalling to the run operator that they have a multiplier to work. The bell is for each multiplier worked!

No RFI, IMD, ground loops, hum, distortion....just plain works and sounds great. You can easily see where to find a clear frequency to call CQ and you can also see lots of overdriven signals. You don't want to be next to them!

73, Craig K9CT
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km9r.mike

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Hi Craig,

It seems that pan adapter display was intentionally limited to maestro and computer displays were dedicated to contest software. Did the maestro provide enough display to satisfy your team's needs ? Were there any gee only ifs as a result of this configuration ?

I love seeing the pan adapter on a monitor for easy situational awareness and have learned to incorporate the flex knob for maintaining focus on n1mm so I have not thought about the benefit of limiting pan adapter to maestro. Congrats on the fb score.

PS tnx for k5p



(Edited)
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Craig K9CT

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Comments were quite positive from all team members about the display. They all said it was easier to assess the band very quickly to ascertain a new run frequency. They also said how easy it was to adjust the filters to reduce adjacent signal issues. 

As the Maestro software is evolving, they made some comments about programming that can be tweaked before Maestro is released. All in all they adapted very quickly to how it worked as it is intuitive. The touch screen ability to swipe the band or select stations was a plus that many of us did not consider as we had used a knob prior. This is a plus benefit unlike any other radio. Try that with a P3.
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km9r.mike

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thanks Craig
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Charles - K5UA

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Hi Craig,
Can't tell you how many times in this weekend's ARRL DX SSB contest that I called a DX station only to hear him come back to K9CT ! Would have been more discouraged had I not seen photos and video of your amazing antenna farm. Very nice score.

Our single transmitter(Flex 6500)/two operator station managed 1412 qsos and about 1,615,000 points.

Been contesting with the 6500 for two years now. Glad to see a big-time station adopting the Flex. That should silence the naysayers.

See you in the pile-ups.

Charles K5UA
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Yeah! They beat me to the pileup a number of times!
Well done.
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Trevor-EI2GLB

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Hi All

Can anyone tell me on the right monitor the 2nd box up from the bottom on the left side has two frequency readouts, what is that, Is it a N1mm+ window I have never seen it before

Thanks
Trevor
EI2GLB

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZCXQebM5zSs/Vt5ILiFujNI/AAAAAAAAyjU/lKfIVBoC3KA/s912-Ic42/2016030...
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Barry N1EU

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I'm stumped.  

Just to be clear, it's the window pointed out here:
(Edited)
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Craig K9CT

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Hi Barry

That is the interface to the SteppIR SDA100 controllers. It is PSTRotatorAZ.

http://www.qsl.net/yo3dmu/index_Page346.htm

 You are seeing only the SteppIR window of that software. It runs off the UDP of N1MM. The GHE runs off the same UDP and selects the antennas and band filters. 

73, Craig K9CT
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I was about to say that it looks like SteppIR software.
This contest station looks awesome!
Craig, do you guys have a video with a tour of the station?
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KK9W - Steve

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I think it is amazing that some people have 4 Maestro's to play with and some of us loyal customers that have been on the list for almost a year are still waiting for 1 of them . . . GUESS IT IS WHO YOU KNOW !!!
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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@Steven

Yes, Craig was directly involved in the design of Maestro and is on the alpha team.  As we have reported in multiple prior communications, we have about 50 units in the field with the alpha group.  We want to make sure the software is more complete before we release to the masses.  We are still filling holes in functionality and incorporating feedback from the alpha team.  I think you all want that too.  
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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I would like to thank the Alpha team members for their ongoing massive efforts. 

Their work makes for out-of-the-box usable products for the rest of us.

The quantity of time and quality of intense focus they give Alpha Release products is a process working well.

Only suggestion I could even think of offering is a communication clarity.  Perhaps by saying these were "Alpha Maestro" would save some angst and later in the ether of looking back at archival forum threads clarify the pre-release aspects of the product?

Again thank you to the team and 73

Steve K9ZW

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Clay N9IO

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Hi Steve,
I carefully worded the thread indicating K9CT M2 with Alpha Maestros.

Steve you got it dead right.
The Alpha team members are the reason the Maestro will be as close to
perfect as can be when it is finally released and these folks are
not even on the payroll, just some serious DXers and contesters that recognize the
potential in Flex 6K radios and want to see it through with the expertise of
the Flex Radio programming team.

My pop told me a long time ago that patience is a virtue so I see this
as well worth the wait for the added enjoyment  it's going to bring.
History "IS" being made here, great time to be in ham radio.
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Lee, Elmer

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If you read Craig's response it does say he is running alpha code on the Maesstro. I for one am very pleased at how well behaved his flex radios are in such an rf rich environment. His system is quite capable of litterally frying a ADC if 2 high gain antennas connected to 1500w got to pointing at each other, yet he reports no problemo. Certainly a testament to his well thought out logistics but also to strength of the radio.

73. W9OY
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Stand corrected - the weak side of snitching a look by smartphone and in a wines window while working on other work, or just poor reading on my part.

Awesome setup!  very cool!

73

Steve K9ZW
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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As a fellow alpha and technical lead at the N6RO CA superstation, I wanted to congratulate Craig, Flex and the K9CT team on this forum for an outstanding contest effort and Flex/Maestro Alpha showcase.  Its not easy doing a major technology conversion at an amateur contest station.  Its expensive in both $$$, time and intellectual clock cycles.  We are just starting to do the first permanant operating position integration at N6RO, and I am deploying the first 6000 with N6NU to the K6LRG remote M/2 hilltop station.  

Flex Signature is rapidly starting to cement its position in contest shacks around the world and I feel like a kid in a candy store to be participating in this.  Its very exciting.  

Clay I am confident your patience will be rewarded.   
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Ernest - W4EG

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Yes, I remember that rats nest of cables and the time that it took to get it setup too!

Nick, N6KI wanted to show the amateur world that a Flex radio would never be able to compete against a K3 or KX3. 

Mind you, My Flex-6700 was received just several weeks before the event and I was running SmartSDR ver.1.0. I bearably knew what the controls did and I had to call KY6LA  to get instructions.

Now, we see contest stations and their operators are are forming different opinions of the Flex equipment and the cost savings to set them up.

Flex is becoming the contest radio of the future.