Flex 6600 or 6600M

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Flex 6600 or 6600M. Am almost new in the world of Flex. I doubt between a 6600 or a 6600M. I already own a maestro. I would have liked to know what the big differences are and whether the maestro needs to upgrade to have the same features as the M version. So please give some clarity in this new discovery. Everyone talks about the M version. Am I then wrong to take over a colleague's maestro to use it on the 6600 version? Thanks and best 73 '
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Kurt Onvijfdz

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Posted 3 years ago

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KF4HR

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The main difference I see between the 6600M and a 6600 with a Maestro is the screen resolution (of their 8" displays).  1920x1200 for the 6600M vs 1280x800 on the Maestro display. 

Since the screen size is the same, perhaps we'll eventually see an updated version of the Maestro debut with the higher resolution display.
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Kurt Onvijfdz

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Thank you for your answer! Soft or hardware update for existing Maestro or new maestro? 73 '
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Brad A. Steffler

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I have grown so accustomed to using the screen and the mouse that I view using knobs as a return to the past and an undue complication to operation.  While using CW, even, I only make adjustments while in receive so that using a mouse does not interfere with my using a key. And I am VERY right-handed (because of a left arm nerve injury). Even thought I am 68 and almost 69, I still find use of the mouse to be more intuitive than knobs. Just to give perspective,I started out in ham radio with a Kenwood TS 520SE in 1980. It only took me about 30-45 minutes after I got my Flex 5000a to decide I liked using a mouse better than using knobs and deep menus with knobs.

Sooo  - the 6600 is much more appealing to me for the HF rig rather than the 6600M. I just replaced my 6500 with a 6700, I am so convinced that my comuter screen, for my old eyes, and my mouse are much more efficient. I may get a Maestro, but I really enjoy the seclusion, comfort, and privacy of my shack and my two large screens so much that I seriously doubt it. I do use a tablet, but I much prefer my desktop with 24 inch screens. I also have fat fingers and I find the small touch screen on my phone to be a hassle. I like the big screens.

Disclaimer: I am a former Fortran IV and C programmer and thus I am biased to my desktop and laptop computers and their point and click interface. I also am a diagnostic radiologist and I read CT, MRI, Ultrasound and conventional radiographic exams off a pair of high resolution screens for my income. So I am very comfortable with point and click.

Just another perspective.

Brad
KE4XJ
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Kurt Onvijfdz

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thank you for your answer. Is indeed another vision about the use of the device.
73 '
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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I came up with Fortran IV also. That might make me partial to the punch card & line printer. But there was a long period of glass teletype work. Point and click came much later. I am halfway serious when I tell folks that Flex should support keyboard control more than they do. Different strokes, indeed!
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Gary L. Robinson

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I am in the same boat as Brad.  I don't need or want the knobs and dials.  I even bought one of the USB knobs from Flex a year or two ago and after a few weeks never used it again.  So I sold it.  For me it's just faster using a mouse and keyboard with a big screen.  I'll be 68 later this year and will never go back to an analog rig with teeny menus, and a pot full of knobs and switches - so it just depends on what works for you.
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Adde Tjernberg

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I'm going for the 6600... and a Behringer CMD Micro instead of the Maestro.
73 de Adde, SM0SHG
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Kurt Onvijfdz

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Is the suggested microphone not to be used on the maestro?
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Kurt Onvijfdz

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thank you for your answer. Is indeed another vision about the use of the device.
73 '
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Gary Johnson

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I opted for the 6600M simply because when I do radio, I like it to be radio, not computo-radio.  I detest windows 10 which is why I lean that way.  Additionally the 6600M is able to be used in the 6600 mode - i.e. with my computer if I so desire.  I spent half of the NAQP Contest working on a friends 6700.  Tuning via the mouse was efficient and pleasurable.   Best of all worlds would be the 6600M able to use a mouse in M mode.

Patiently waiting for my 6600M.  Can't get here soon enough.

73, 
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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My preference would be for a 6600. A separate maestro if I desire to operate one. In other words, about the same that I have today.

Why? I like the versatility of moving around and de-cluttering my desk. I am not hung up on "computo-radio" as someone else said. I am 100% fine with the concept of controlling a radio via a PC. And the Maestro separately provides a similar experience to a radio like the IC7000 with a separation kit, except that my cable is ethernet OR wifi. 

About the only thing I don't get is the HDMI port but if I want that I can attach a HDTV to my computer.
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Since 6600M getting 1920x1080 resolution, will Maestro get resolution upgrade from 1280 x 800 to the HD 1920x1080?  I am thinking to get 6600, but do not want to get original Maestro with lower resolution. 
Thanks
Sergey, KN7K
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Bill -VA3WTB

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The display on the Maestro is better than most displays in ham radio. For instance, the Icom 7610 will have a display of 800x400.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Both old and new Maestros are exactly the same resolution. The only difference is the location of the power button.  For an 8" display it is very nice. 

The M series went to 1920 x 1080 since it can be extended to a large monitor via HDMI. Having the higher resolution on a large monitor... the M series will be noticeably better than the 7610 via DVI. The 7610 extended resolution is only 800 x 600 maximum.

Dave wo2x
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Reggie

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I love the 6500 and Maestro; however, the boot time is too long.  My IC-7300 takes 5 seconds to power up.  My 6500 and Maestro take about 60 seconds.  I know you can leave the 6500 on all the time since it is a server, but the fans are too loud.  It would be nice if Flex added a sleep mode to the 6600M so the rig wouldn’t have to perform a complete boot when turning on the rig. 

Since the 6600M adds the functionality of the 6600, I ordered the 6600M.  I plan to use the Maestro on my boat if it works with the 6600M.

 73,

 

Reggie

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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Reggie, the fan noise on the new 6400 and 6600 series radios is MUCH lower. My 6600 is on the desk about 2 1/2 feet from my ear. 

Dave wo2x
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Jeff-W7NEE

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I currently have a deposit sitting on a 6600. As we near the release of these fine radios I am finding my self debating between the 6600 or 6600M.

It is my understanding that the 6600M will operate as a stand alone rig (thus no computer)? I have owned a 5000 for more than 6 years and absolutely prefer the operating style of the mouse and computer. However as my life is starting to near retirement and wanting to travel or the radio was needced for emergency communications... 

I am reaching out for confirmation that the M model is a standalone rig, but if I wanted to run it with my computer and have the same control as if it were a non M model that this is correct? If this is the case, and the money is not the issue I could have the 6600M connected to SmartSDR with my PC, but if I choose to take it to another QTH that already has an operating positio but did not want to use it with a computer it could operate as a stand alone radio? My other thoughts on this, is if there was every an emergency and wanted to run the rig by itself with a 12volt system it would be possible without the need of powering a PC and Monitor to run SmartSDR.

Is there anything else that will be lost between the 2 models? 

Your inputs are appreciated!

73,

Jeff N
(Edited)
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Correct Jeff, the M series radios will run full standalone or be used with remote clients such as the Maestro, PC, or SmartSDR for IOS either on local network or remote via SmartLink and WAN connection.

The one feature you would have on M series vs non-M with a Maestro is the ability to have HDMI out to a larger monitor to mirror the front display @ 1920 x 1080 resolution. Note - that display (whether a TV or PC monitor) would be dedicated to mirroring the radio display and cannot be used with PC software at same time.

Dave wo2x
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James Whiteway

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You are correct. But, should you want a knobbed interface with the 6600, a Maestro will give you that. It can be connected directly to the radio via a network cable . A bit more to handle if portability is your goal.But, not too much. I opted for the 6600M because it frees up desk space and still gives options for other configurations should things change.

Tough choice. But, either way, it will be fun.

James

WD5GWY
(Edited)
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Paul

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Am I correct? I'm a Newbie, please correct the following statements:

1a) The 6600M has HDMI output to drive any sized monitor at 1920 by 1080.  One plugs the monitor into the HDMI jack on the back of the 6600M to get a nice large sized display.

1b)  The 6600 or 6700 does NOT have a HDMI display jack on the back.

2) Regarding the 6600/6700,  a mouse CANNOT be connected directly to the back.  To get mouse control, a COMPLETE Windows PC must be connected to (which jack?) on the back of the 6600 or the 6700.

3) If you operate a Maestro, PC, or Mac Ipad wireless from the the 6600/6700, over your WIFI, you open yourself up to additional complexity and potential problems including:  drop-outs, freezes, RFI, and Win 10/IOS upgrades that can damage the operation of your current version of Smart SDR.

4) The RFI problem is much more likely in 3) above if you are running an amplifier.

5)  If you connect a PC directly to the 6600 with a short cable, to the back, with fer-rite rings arranged to reject common mode RFI, you are much less likely to experience drop-outs, freezes and RFI issues than in 3) above, especially when you are using an amplifier.

6)  When you plug a large monitor into the back of the 6600M, you cannot simultaneously drive that monitor from a PC.  However, if you use a switching device, you could dedicate the monitor to one or the other.

7)  The 6600M display uses touch screen adjustments/changes, and it is not possible to use the 6600M with a mouse. You can only get mouse control with the 6600/6700.

8)  If you plug a display into the HDMI jack in the back of the 6600M, that display must have touch-screen capability if you want touch changes while you work on the large display.  Otherwise, that large screen will only display what has been accomplished on the smaller, built in 6600M touch screen.

9)  A Maestro can be operated with a 6600/6700 using a dedicated cable, rather than WIFI or a cable hook up to your router.  This arrangement with ferrite rings, decreases the likelihood of RFI, dropouts and freezes.

Thank you,

Paul
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I won't try to teach anything to you in regards to the correct way to do things that would simply be my opinion, but I can just give you information on your questions.

1a, is correct.
1b, is correct. The 6600 and the 6700 are used with a computer, so no need for an HDMI connection on the radio.
2} is correct. A mouse needs to be working on the computer side, not the radio side. The computer is connected to the radio by lan cable, so the mouse is native to the computer.
3} Not correct. In most cases were there are drop outs or freezes, this is caused by poor wifi connectivity, or router settings. Not RF. Win 10 upgrades used to re name Dax drivers and stop Dax from working, this has been corrected.
4} Any wire connected to a radio could become an antenna for RFI. IN many cases we use chocks on the lan cable mostly a cat 5 cable. If running in high power conditions.
5} Is correct. How ever not everyone has RF problems in the shack.
6} is correct, If the monitor is connected to the radio then it is not connected to a computer. You can use a computer with the 6600M for complete radio control along with the large monitor.
7} Is correct, the mouse controller is from the computer side.
8} Not correct. The radio does not have touch screen drivers for large screens outside the radio. The large screen displays the same information as the on board screen. and the radio control is done from the control face of the radio.
9) The only connection cable used is a single lan cable for hard wiring, or use wifi. Same as stated above, any cable may become an RF antenna, but in most cases RF is not a problem for many.
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Neal Pollack, N6YFM

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I will answer those which I know about.  I own a Flex 6600 and Maestro.

#2:   Correct.  The Flex is not a computer.  The mouse will always connect to a computer and control the graphical user window system on that computer.   The user interface is not running on the Flex radio.   The only thing that goes to the Flex radio over the network is short commands using the Flex API interface spec.

#3:   No, unless you have improper antenna, feedline, station grounding, or poor network.   In a normal station, with proper antenna, feedline, and grounding, RFI is not going to be a problem.   I have not had any RFI in the shack, nor any computer or network freeze, and my little amp usually runs between 400 and 500 watts for DX work.    Network?   No issue there either.   But if you have terrible network connectivity and a really bad wifi router, than you  may possibly have some network drop outs.      My shack has a google wifi mesh-network puck sitting on a shelf and I have 5-bar wifi for the Maestro and laptops.   The Flex hooks into wired ethernet in the shack.

#4:   See #3 above.  No, not a problem at all, unless your station, amp, feedline, and antenna are not set up properly, not matched, and not grounded properly.   I run an amp right next to the Flex, right next to my Maestro - Zero problems.

#5:   ONLY, if, again, you have a badly setup, improperly set up, station.    I do not use ferrite's on my ethernet cabling or audio cabling around my station, and it works fine, no issues.  But it is well matched, properly grounded, and has very good feedline and antenna. (not just a random wire tossed out a window and shoved into the center pin of the coax connector :-)  :-)  )
By the way, proper station grounding includes the chassis of your desktop PC also connected with a braided cable to the same bus-bar that your transceiver, amp, tuner, power meter, and other items are all connected to.  Don't count on the AC cord ground pin, or you will likely have trouble. 
If using a laptop, a good trick to get it PROPERLY grounded to your station ground bus-bar is to cut up an old USB cable, and connect ONLY the USB ground shell to a wire that goes to the same ground bar that your transceiver, tuner, and amp go to.  This will keep the potential THE SAME between your laptop and your other equipment, so that you don't blow up the USB port on your laptop, as some people (not related to Flex) have done.

#6:   Correct;  Monitors can only display a picture from ONE source device at a time.  They do not "mix" video.

#7:  I do not have the M version.

#8:  The industry standard HDMI cable spec does not carry touch information back to any device or computer.   Touch displays require additional wiring to carry that information back to a device.

#9:  Yes, you can hook a Mastro to wired ethernet and connect it to the same network hub/switch that the Flex 6600 is connected to.   If you use a cross-over (special) ethernet cable, you can directly connect the two without a network switch, but that would defeat remote access, or access to a PC running SmartSDR and DAX and CAT.  But your connection options are "Flex" able...
Again, ferrite cores will not be needed unless your station, grounding, cabling, coax, and antenna are not properly installed or not properly matched.
[Most people (but not all) that have trouble with RF in the shack are doing one of two things;
1.  HF antenna is in the EXTREME near field, typically less than 20 feet from where they are sitting to operate. (No lie, one fool that was complaining on a forum had a vertical antenna on the other side of the wall, 5 feet away from his chair, and wanted to know why his equipment went off-line each time he keyed up with 500 watts.   I personally think the equipment was the least of his problems.  He probably never heard of the RF distance/safety calculator.)

or

2.  Using a random wire antenna, poorly matched, where a good portion of the RF rides right back down the coax shield, into the shack, and raises hell with the PC, and other equipment.  Notice I said RANDOM wire, not End Fed Half Wave.  I use an End Fed Half Wave (EFHW-8010) and run power into it, and have NO problems.  But a random wire is not resonant on any band, and needs a counterpoise, and typically has some good amount of RF coming back down the coax.  Therefore, they typically also specify a minimum amount of coax, typically 50 to 100 feet.   The EFHW is a much less problematic wire antenna design in my personal opinion, having operated about half a dozen of them in many locations and configurations over the last 4 years.

I rarely see these issues with dipoles, Yagi's, or properly set up verticals that are at least 50 feet or more away from the operator's chair.]

Hope that helps a little bit.
Keep the questions coming.
Most here are willing to help and your new adventure is going to be fun.

Cheers,

Neal
(Edited)
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Paul

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Bill and Neal, the outstanding corrections and suggestions you made are most helpful in understanding the trade-offs that a future Flex owner has to sort through!  Thanks. Best of 73's, Paul, VE1CHS