Is it worth it? Any screen shots?

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  • Question
  • Updated 2 years ago
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For those who have upgraded to v2.0 do you think it's worth it and why? What do you like? What don't you like.. do you have any screen shots of changes?

Curious...

Thanks
Photo of David Warnberg

David Warnberg

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  • inquisitive

Posted 2 years ago

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Chuck Farnham

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Here is Sushi and 20 meters with 2.0 this afternoon....
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Mike va3mw

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That nicely sums it up, doesn't it.
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Arnie

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Sounds fishy to me.
73 de Arnie W8DU
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Rick - W5FCX

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Yes it. Is worth it. I operate remotely 95% of the time and the SmartLink ability to connect from anywhere or any network readily without a VPN is tremendous for me... and for anyone who wants good performance without the complexities and limitations of a custom VPN.

I haven't had time to evaluate the other new features but for me, the ability to use my station remotely and natively is worth every penny of the very affordable upgrade.

Rick / W5FCX
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I think it is in the eyes of the beholder.

If you want simplicity of remote operation, then absolutely, yes, it's worth it.

If you're fine with using a VPN, or operate strictly locally, you're OK with 1.x for now.

I am on 2.0 because I like the latest and the greatest plus I want to support the company and development of new features (that's a valid reason too). I like my VPN but it is nice to quickly connect with SmartLink and not have to worry about it.

Remember also that this is a .0 product and there is more to come in the future. 

Ria
(Edited)
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WX7Y

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I think this is what sets the FLEX apart now from any other radio out there. 
It works great with a PC, IPAD, IPHONE, and Maestro which I have tried them all with several different Internet Providers including Verizon MiFi and ATT on my IPhone from across the country . 

Is it worth $200.00?  YES YES oh and YES.

The only thing that is a bit if'ee for me is what happens if the FLEX Server goes down and leaves us stranded with out being able to connect unless we have our old reliable VPN.

73's 
Bret
WX7Y
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Mike va3mw

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Not to worry, the Flex servers are hosted at very big place.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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As long as it doesn't rain ;)
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John - WA7UAR

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Does anyone suspect if radio authentication could be done directly with the "auth0" provider that FRS uses in their own Flex servers if it ever became necessary? If Flex servers were unavailable could SmartLink be achieved using auth0? Or perhaps it's just a naive question?
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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John - the flex "servers" I believe are hosted on cloud infrastructure which is very robust. Auth0 is just one piece of the whole thing. It cannot broker the connection by itself. It is just an authentication provider.

Ria
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Azure, right? I'd suggest a failover somehow in AWS just in case.  Both have been known to drop off the internet for a while. :-) 
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Ken Hansen

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I don't think either has entirely 'dropped off internet' - both azure and AWS have massive, massive redundancies, not just in multiple discrete data centers in US (for example), but multiple discrete data centers in multiple foreign countries.

A savy developer/admin can build in redundancies across several data centers across the country and remain within one service provider.

Coding for multiple cloud providers increases workload without meaningfully increasing redundancy. Flex could make their service redundant across several Azure (or AWS) data centers across the US quite handily and only have to code/support one cloud platform - Azure (or AWS).
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Yes, AWS sometimes have outages. This is why you set up redundancy across regions. You can use more than one provider but more than one region should be fine. 
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Ken - Sure they have -- AWS had a massive outage several months ago, it lasted for a whole day.  Netflix, and basically every AWS hosted site was offline (~4 or 5 months ago?).  I'm too lazy to look for the news articles right now.  Also, Microsoft has experienced several outages, one in particular I remember was when their DNS just stopped responding to anything. Doesn't matter how good their redundancy is if DNS doesn't work. Outages happen, no matter how big the environment is or how robust the redundancy is.  One bad mistake by a sysadmin can bring the whole thing down (and it has).  It's much better to assume the outage will happen and know what to do about it than it is to assume it's "too big to fail."
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Multi-AZ is quite easy with their newer offerings like RDS (the database product). S3 is also very much configurable for replication and backups, even to Glacier for long term storage.

Ria
(Edited)
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Ken Hansen

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Robbie - the 'major AWS outage' that impacted Netflix proves Ria & my point - it impacted AWS data centers in North Virginia (not 'all') and Netflix survived the outage by practicing multi-region redundancy within AWS cloud service.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/a...

From the article:

"The outages affected AWS services run out of datacenters in North Virginia - which the company refers to as the US-EAST-1 region."

"One AWS customer that managed to avoid any "significant impact" from the outages, according to a spokesman, was the video streaming site Netflix."

"In that instance, Netflix was able to rapidly redirect traffic from the impacted AWS region to datacenters in an unaffected area."

"Netflix was able to do this because it practices what it refers to as multi-region, active-active replication - where all of the data needed for its services is replicated between different AWS regions in a way that allows rapid recovery from failures."
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Tom N5MOA

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I operate remote 0% of the time. That percentage probably won't go up much, if any.

To quote Ria:

"I am on 2.0 because I like the latest and the greatest plus I want to support the company and development of new features "


Tom N5MOA
(Edited)
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KF4HR

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The new features of v2.0 are explained pretty well on the Flex website.  Take a look and determine if the new features are a benefit to you.  Personally I have no need to operate remotely, other v2.0 features are nice to have, plus I also feel its important to support the company.
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Tom N5MOA

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Not that I will run like this, but this is 4 panadapters and the radio panel popped out.

2x 27in, 1x 24in and a 16in monitor.



Might need to re-size a bit to use anything else on the screen. :-)
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Ken - NM9P

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The ability to run remote from my office, laptop, iPhone, iPad, or from a friend's computer with no complicated vpn settings is wonderful.

I also enjoy the pop-out Windows a lot.

Beyond that, is the foundation upon which additional features and improvements will be built.

Add to it the IOS version, and this is a very nice addition to my operating options.

In evaluating the value of V2.0, it is important to factor in the added value of what V.2.0 makes possible.
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Mike va3mw

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And, we have only scratched the surface of what can be done.  Between this and FT8, the surge is pretty amazing.
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Alan W4FBI

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FT8 ?
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Ken Hansen

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A friend shared this, it demonstrates a few GUI enhancements:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=y...
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k3Tim

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Another way yo look at upgrading is if something in 2.x (where x !== 0) catches your fancy and your throw in the $200 you'll kick yourself for not buying sooner. Also, as expected, when a 6k is being sold used, the lack of latest s/w version will be reflected in the buyers mind wrt price.
To me it was well worth it.

_..--
k3Tim
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John - AF3K

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To each his own, but I didn't see any reason to delay buying it.  I like playing with new features.  It seems the company has put a lot of effort into making 2.0 the most feature rich and cleanest version yet.  Buying 2.0 also provides a subscription to upcoming 2.x features, and I want to support that.  

Haven't seen one posted yet so here are screen shots of Maestro with 2.0 showing off the new XIT/RIT readout and the metering sidebar. 




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Rich McCabe

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Nice sidebar.  Did now know that was coming. Hope thats on the M radios too. 
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John - AF3K

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Interesting point.  I've been assuming that the M radios and Maestro will be able to run the same versions of 2.x. But I can see from your question that isn't necessarily a given that the features will be the same.
(Edited)
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Rich McCabe

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I would assume so as well. But the M display is different resolution of course and never know.  At Dayton none of the videos I watched showed the sidebar.


What I really hope for is Flex gets Multi client working and that sidebar can be incorporated into the front panel display while the user is running Smart SDR
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Ken - NM9P

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I would LOVE to have the RIT/XIT tag added to SSDR/Win, too.
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Mike va3mw

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Yes, all 6000 products run the same v2 software. We are trying to make it simple.
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John - AF3K

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Michael - That's great to know, and it IS SUPER SIMPLE TO USE! Keep up the great work. Thank you!  I think what we were also wondering is if we can generally assume the M display will support the same features as the Maestro display if they are both on the same v2 version.  As Ken points out, SSDR/Win has a different feature set than Maestro for the same v2 version for example..
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Mike Krzystyniak

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Aside from this RIT window, which I agree is a nice add, how does one view the documentation folder to see the entire list of V2 features, fixes, and enhancements?

Is this part of the V2 down load?  If yes, is it visible prior to licensing? 
Or is it available in a summary elsewhere?

Thanks...
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Mike va3mw

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John, that is the high  level plan but no details yet.  Eric's team have a  bunch of things to do still.  The good news is that we hear you.
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Ken Hansen

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SmartSDR v2.0 documentation is exactly where it should be on Flex website: http://www.flexradio.com/support/down...

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Lasse Moell

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OMG!
That RIT display alone, is worth $200 I better start upgrading right away!
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Mark WS7M

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I am finding I "listen" remote quite a lot now.  While I work I'm quite busy but I can have SSDR up and periodically see what is happening.

I think when FRS puts in DX Spots I might be even more tempted to TX remote but then again with my lousy antenna and setup I rarely can work them but it is fun to try.  Unfortunately I still need to turn on my amp etc so I've been working on a non-VPN way to do that.

I upgraded to 2.x for another reason and that is to support Flex Radio.  Regardless of the differences you may have or the feelings you may hold about lack of feature or order of features one simple fact remains clear:

FRS is the only ham company I know that:

a) Has provided a major feature upgrade to their radio.  
b) Has a forum where we regularly, daily, get information and assistance from company employees
c) Has the kind of product support where you can get your radio fixed and turned around in under a week.

Granted this is not true around the world and probably some will argue that the recent major software upgrade offered them nothing of interest.  But keep in mind that you got one.  When was the last time you got an update that drastically changed how your Kenwood or Icom worked?

Some will also say that other SDR companies offer this and more.  Perhaps, I have not been down that road.  If they do and they do a better job than Flex then why are you reading this post? 

As Ria said, the 2.x upgrade is not for everyone, but I would pay for it just to support FRS.
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Arnie

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Mark:
You can have the DX spots right now. Just use your iPad and SmartIOS at work. It is a terrific and stable app.
73 de Arnie W8DU
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Mark WS7M

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Hi Arnie,  I do have the app and have paid for spots.  I'll have to try bringing my little iPad to work and see what I think.

Currently I carry my laptop around at work so I'm waiting on spots for SSDR.

I am working on my own client and also a way to do spots of my own.  I'm also considering reviving HamRadioInfo which I did a little over a year ago for Flex users to post their operating data.  I'd like to merge that in with spots.

Anyway I'll try the iPad at work.
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David Warnberg

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Thank you all for your replies / feedback.. glad to see many happy HAMS out there.. guess I'll bite the bullet and join in on the fun.

Thanks Again

David
(Edited)
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Gene - K3GC

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I love it.  I operate strictly from the shack - always SSB.  The pop-out panels alone are worth it.
I don't know how many updates there have been in the 3+ years I have had my 6500 but there have been a lot - like having 2 or 3 new radios at no charge. It is worth the money to support FRS.

My previous radio was the Yaesu FT DX 5000.  It was a great radio and they had, I think, 3 firmware updates during my time with them.  Other than that if you want an update you have to buy a new radio.

V2 is IMO a home run. 
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Working DX via SmartLink on my iPhone over breakfast at the airport diner was well worth it. The hams at the table were interested, but the non-hams were fascinated and intrigued. This I have two that will join the next licensing study class as the demo tipped them past the no-return decision making point.

BTW I was stunned that our hole-in-wall diner had such fabulous internet. Wow.

Then spent much of the day with a Maestro on my desk. Fantastic!

YMMV but for this ham the upgrade was well worth the costs and the wait.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Jim Gilliam

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VPN backup is a nice luxury to have. If you have an Asus router or one that supports the TAP mode of OpenVPN, it is very simple to set up. OpenVPN works as well if not better than Smartlink. Unfortunately, IOS does not support TAP so one has to use L2TP. For that, I need a serving computer running Softether.


Jim, K6QE

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Bill N3HQB

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Remote in VW bug...

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Mike - W8MM

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Very cool.  What microphone is that?
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Ken Hansen

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Looks like a Motorola Land Mobile radio mic.
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Ken Hansen

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Very nice install - surprised you don't have a vertical antenna in the bud vase!
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Bill N3HQB

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Standard/Vertex (Yaesu) MH-25A8J commercial mic, factory-wired for Maestro Mic-1 input.

On iPhone : Remote Touchscreen Display for SPE Expert 2K in Parallels Access.

(Bud vase model discontinued)

It's mobile/remote... What antenna??
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Mike - W8MM

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So you're saying the MH-25A8J plugs right in as is?
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Bill N3HQB

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Yes
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Mike - W8MM

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What is your experience with drop-outs from transitions among different cell sites affecting the happy enjoyment of continuous operating while moving?
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Bill N3HQB

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Using the low bandwidth option there are almost no skips.