K6TU Remote - Sneak Preview

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  • (Edited)


Here is a short video as a sneak preview of the new iPad app I'm working on - K6TU Remote - for full remote control of the Flex-6000 series radios over LAN and WAN (Internet VPN required with adequate performance).

Some likely questions and related answers...

What does the App work on?
The app works on the Apple iPad.  Testing is still in process but its likely that the app will require Apple Metal (graphics engine and GPU) for adequate performance.  This probably means an iPad Retina or more recent unit.  The software works on an iPad Mini but performance is not acceptable to me.

When will the App be available?
Probably in a couple of months - all the heavy lifting is done but I want the UI experience to be uncluttered, natural and easy to use.

Will there be an alpha/beta version?
Yes - but all the alpha and beta test slots are already committed - sorry.

Will the App be free?
Free?  Like in free beer? No - there will be a "lite" version of the App which will be a free download from the App Store but it will only support receive operation and a single slice.  The full function App will be available for purchase on the App Store at a price higher than the current K6TU Control App.  The final price is still being debated.

Describe the App
K6TU Remote at the first release will support a single pan adaptor (with waterfall) and a maximum of TWO slices.  You will be able to make CW and Phone QSOs - there is no digital support for modes like PSK, RTTY etc although you can use this App in parallel with SmartDAX & SmartCAT running on a computer.  It is likely that there will be no CW sidetone at the first release - you will see the CWX typed characters change color as they are sent.  You will NOT be able to use SmartSDR at the same time as you are using K6TU Remote - the current radio firmware supports a single GUI client at a  time.

Will the be an Android version of K6TU Remote?
No.  I don't have the cycles to be able to support Android devices - sorry.  However, there are others working on GUI apps for Android as you can see by searching the Community.

But I have many more questions! :-)
Alas GrassHopper I have used today's quota of answers.  Answer rationing is in effect here in California so tomorrow doesn't look too good either... ;-)  I will do my best to answer questions but I'm in the coding process and working like fury to get the alpha out to the testers so please excuse me if the answers aren't by return.

Thanks for looking and hope it whets your appetite!
Stu K6TU

PS: The waterfall renders really nicely but looks a little washed out in the video.  I will post some high res video stream captures when I have time.
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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  • a deep coding session coming on...

Posted 4 years ago

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Photo of Lee - N2LEE

Lee - N2LEE

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Stu, EXCELLENT  Job !  It is so refreshing to see the work you are doing for the iPad.
I can't wait. :)

Lee
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Nice! WAN remote when v 2.0 hits, too?
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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WAN remote NOW using the VPN solution I described. I will of course add v2.0 WAN support when FlexRadio releases it.

I made two QSOs today from my office remotely to my radio. Worked great as the SoftEther server supports the iPad native VPN support. No additional software required.

Woot!
Stu K6TU
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Steve W6SDM

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Fantastic.  I have the iPad app now and use it a lot.  Having direct control is really nice in a contest.  I am really looking forward to this app.  Program faster.  :)
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James Whiteway

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Very nice! Congratulations and well done. I might have to get an iPad after all!
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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Looks great Stu!  The only thing that I can offer is that (in my estimation) the Pinch In and Pinch Out functions should be reversed for zooming in or out. 

Great job Stu!   I can hardly wait for the completion and release.
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Lee - N2LEE

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Jay, I thought it was just me but it seemed backwards as well.
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Doug - K3TZR

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Very nice Stu, you've obviously been busy. I can't wait to try it out.
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WA6FXT Mike

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Stu,


  I'm sold (If I can afford it and the Maestro)!

  Very nice job, so far.

73's de Mike


PS: I also think the pinch is backward. (It just feels more natural to have the display move the same way as the fingers).


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K6OZY, Elmer

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Will this be an upgrade to the existing app or a new app entirely?
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Chris,

This is a new App and K6TU Control will continue to be used for radio control in conjunction with SmartSDR.  The two apps are intended for different purposes.

Stu K6TU
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W5UN_Dave

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Stu, looking mighty good (as I would expect)!
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Sergey, R5AU

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Stu, as usual, you did nice app. !
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I0JBL - Luc

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Congratulation Stu. Very nice app. Another step forward in the FRW (Flex Radio World)
73 Luc
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Just showed your video to the OK1 DXpedition crowd in Prague. Everyone is excited.
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KM4CQG

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Very Slick Stu

Ian
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KD8TVB

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Stu please take my money :)
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Alan - KA4B

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Stu, the finger pinch seems counter intuitve.  On my MacBook Pro opening the fingers magnifies the screen and closing them make the object look smaller.  Do you have the option of reversing the way the gesture works?  Very nice, BTW.
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Alan,

With the the same comment now from several folks, I will reverse the effect. It's just a simple matter of programming :-). Shouldn't be too difficult.

I appreciate the feedback on this feature! I want this app to be uncluttered and very easy to use so these feedback a especially at this stage really help.

Stu K6TU
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Lee - N2LEE

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Stu, one option that might be helpful and still accomplish your goal of keeping the app uncluttered is to create a hotspot for the left and right side or top left and right corner.

By touching a hotspot it would slide out addition controls or instructions on the touch commands.

For Example: Touching the right border would slide out a panel and activate the keyboard so you can enter the frequency directly and/or other functions.

If you need any GUI or graphics help let me know. I would be happy to create a few screen mock ups.

Lee
(Edited)
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Lee,

Do you have my office bugged? ;-)  What I'm implementing is very similar to your comment:
  • Swipe from the left side of the screen to present the transmitter controls
  • Swipe from the right side to present the receiver controls
  • Swipe down from the top for miscellaneous controls like disconnect, setup
  • Tap on the heads up display to get direct frequency input
  • Hot spot on left side of screen to get quick access to display controls
At least that is the current plan.

CW operation will be a little different with the presentation of a CW specific keyboard and an area for type ahead/see what you sent.  I'm still thinking about exactly how this will be presented as it will need most of the screen given usable finger sized "keys". 

Stu K6TU
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Stu

When I remote via Bluetooth headset to my iPad , I tend to prefer to use VOX rather than a MOX button when feasible Be great if one had both options.
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Lee - N2LEE

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Ooops did I accidentally reveal that I work for the NSA. Darn I hate when happens. LOL

Sorry no bugs just a keen sense of understanding on how valuable limited screen real estate is and whats involved in implementation. Every pixel on a screen is valuable and most people do not realize when you have a list of 20 features and functions that when you implement or move one that affects the 19 other controls. :)
(Edited)
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Howard,

VOX already works and will have controls to turn it on as an option.  I had also hoped to use the button on the Apple supported remote control (the audio controls on the earbuds, head sets etc) but alas that's not looking possible.  Seems that Apple doesn't want the functionality of that control being over ridden from the audio player.

Much to my chagrin...
Stu K6TU
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Andy F5VAI

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Stu You have my support; much appreciated as always.
 
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George - AB4FH

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As a user of your current iPad, Flex Control app, I look forward to purchasing and using this new app
as well.
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Jeff - G4IUA

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Great to see this add-on in development.  I use the K6TU Control App but having (almost) full remote operating capability on an iPad would be a wonderful addition to the setup.  Good for FlexRadio and hopefully some pennies towards Stu’s time and troubles!

 Jeff – G4IUA 

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Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

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I have already pre-ordered. ;-)

I hope the radio chooser includes the Nickname and / or the callsign. At Field Day this year we had two 6700's and we did not have our serial numbers memorized.
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K6TD

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This app is going to change Ham Radio. 73, K6TD
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Dale KB5VE

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Once again you have knocked it out of the park. I want to set my truck up for remote as soon as 2.0 is out although I might goahead and do it with your set up you posted. But I really wanted to use the iPad. The main thing we need is a hard ptt for Mobil blue tooth head set or wired headset is fine and vox is fine but a ptt is required.


The statement about which pad will work is disappointing ing since I have a ipad2 and if it was stolen out of truck or damaged it would not hurt. I do not wish to run multiple slices mobil so is this a definite that I will need to upgrade?


Also will the flex knob be able to interface with the ipad?
(Edited)
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Dale,

On remote from your truck using the VPN solution I described, the viability of this will depend on the bandwidth you can get from the iPad over its wireless data connection. The K6TU Remote app is getting about 1 MBps of data from the radio (audio and pan adaptor/waterfall etc) so its not a huge hog.  There is a version of the Broadband Speed Test that runs on the iPad/iPhone - if that shows you can get at least 3 MBps down and at least 1 MBps up, you should be able to get reasonable operation providing you aren't on the other side of the country from your station.

The Wireless Data connectivity has considerably more latency than typical home broadband connections would experience and also suffers from considerably more lost data packets especially when you are in motion.

I understand your comment about the likely requirements for which iPad will support the K6TU Remote App but the iPad 2 and iPad Mini are almost 10x slower than the latest Air 2.  Its not just a CPU issue but also one of how well the graphics subsystem performs.

Here's a link that shows the performance comparison just as an example...

https://browser.primatelabs.com/ios-benchmarks

I'm very grateful to Chris K6OZY for sending me a link that I believe knocks over the problem of using the Mic button as a hard PTT - I have to sort this out but I'm optimistic I will.

The FlexControl will not interface to the iPad as there isn't a native USB connection on the iPad.  I know there are some third party adaptors that might solve the problem but I haven't experimented with that.  You can however tune the slice by using finger gestures on the iPad - I'm working to make this easy to use.

Stu K6TU
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Dale KB5VE

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Great I have loved the iPad 2 and have no problem using it at home and investing in a newer version based on what you recommend... I signed up for the new control station at daytonwith the desire to use it Mobil and portable but I have no desire for knobs so if your I pad app works I might just use that money to upgrade the iPad. I will check my band width on my iPhone and blackberry two different providers.

Also I am not eat up with the panadapter in the Mobil. Will that being cut off help a lot on the bandwidth.
(Edited)
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Dale KB5VE

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Ok stu just ran my blackberry which would be my first choice with connected to my ipad2 and I am getting 34 to 40 down and 9 to 10 up so I should be in good shap. How about the remote running on a iPhone 6 or 6 plus
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Dave KD5FX

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Looking forward to this! Let us know when it's ready to order!
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k0eoo

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Hi Stu, if this new app works as well as your last one I'll have to get on board too....  Do you think a 4th gen iPad with a benchmark of 768 would respond well enough?  Or can't you now yet?

Dennis, k0eoo
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Dennis,

Still too soon to tell. I havent had enough time to evaluate the performance on different iPad models. All in time as I make progress.

Sorry.

Stu K6TU
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WA6FXT Mike

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Stu,


  Stop answering posts and get back to work, we're waiting (hihi).


73's de Mike WA6FXT 

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Lee, Elmer

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I hate the business philosophy of Apple but your app is intriguing enough that I bought an iPAD on Friday to see how it works.

  W9OY
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Lee,

I used to have a similar view but Apple does a lot for the App developer - they sell and protect the digital asset.  That's worth a fair chunk of the 30% they take off the top.  The real challenge with niche apps (and markets) like ones for FlexRadio is the approach to marketing.

Marketing awareness is critical but the market size for Apps like K6TU Remote is small enough that conventional marketing is simply cost prohibitive.

I hope folks will hold off on purchases (if they don't already have an iPad) until I can calibrate exactly what horsepower is needed.

Right now its very unlikely that the app will run acceptably on iPad Minis or some of the older iPads...  I am gathering data on this as I have a group of 25 folks engaged in the alpha testing - across quite a range of devices.

Stu K6TU
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Lee - N2LEE

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Lee, Apple has done more to bring innovative products to market than just about any other company. They have a vision and they follow that vision and philosophy. 

Read a book by Ken Segall called "Insanely Simple" and you might come away with a better understanding of why they do what they do. 

http://kensegall.com/insanely-simple-book/
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Lee, Elmer

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Stu
I found an iPAD 4 64 with retina for $150 on craigslist so couldn't pass it up.  Worst that can happen is I use it for your other app, give it to my daughter, or watch a movie (like I have time to watch a movie).  I mostly want something I can check the bands while in my gym at the other end of the house or out on the patio, or turn on "tune" when at the antenna 

Lee
As far as "Simple" goes wintel had the same philosophy back in the 80-90's, slowly increase the horsepower and sell a new generation of slightly better hardware/software every year.  It's a marketing scheme not brilliance.  Brilliance would have been going to parallel processing in the MAC 30 years ago.

73
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Lee - N2LEE

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Lee, sorry I don't understand your point. Apple's philosophy is to make better products that are easy to use and designed for those that appreciate quality. If I understand your point about "power" then this indicates you are not familiar with the Mac OS architecture.  Windows is bloatware and requires a lot more resources than the OS X. Because Apple has an integrated hardware & software platform and runs on a Unix based system it doesn't suffer from the problems Windows has had for decades. 

It sounds like you are caught up on speeds and feeds and hardware. That is left over Intel marketing hype from 286, 386, 486, etc. You can't compare hardware for hardware because OS X is so much more efficient and requires a lot less memory, disk space and CPU than windows.

I could list dozens of Apple innovations but this is not the place to have a the Apple / Windows debate.
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K6OZY, Elmer

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With Stu's permission,  I have made a few videos.   Please note that the issues with the screen responding to my fingers were because of the dryness here in AZ.  After I recorded these,  I moistened them a bit with lotion, and it worked fine.  I need more aloe care!

This first video is to show the extreme sides of available iPads.


Fun with digital modes on the iPad (Kinda)

I was able to contact K2L yesterday on the iPad.  Today K2M and K2F.



I'm hoping to record a few more, but so far I'm super impressed.
(Edited)