K6TU Remote - Sneak Preview

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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 Robert -- N5IKD

Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

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The word on the street (third-hand) at Summerfest was that this app was still at least a year out.

I understand that you don't want to offer a definitive date because someone will take it as golden. I would like to hear your response to this rumor and maybe some updated videos.
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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I am working to get the app in the App Store before the end of this year (2015) and have 25 folks alpha testing the software, QSO's being made with the app and with regular app updates.

Back to coding...
Stu K6TU
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Steve W6SDM

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Hmmm... I think I saw it in Vegas this weekend being demo'ed by Elvis.  :)
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Indeed!  Elvis was the first on the K6TU Remote alpha test list.

Stu K6TU
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N3NER

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This has my attention!  Will this work on a iphone as well?
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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No.

Designing for an even smaller screen isn't a challenge I'm up for at the moment. Designing a touch driven interface to the radio and getting a clean, uncluttered display that is intuitive to use is presenting its own set of challenges which are slowly being worked through.

Although the screen resolution is comparable, the amount of screen real estate required for accurate touch of a control requires that the control is physically larger requiring a different layout/control presentment design.

The iPad mini has a similar but not as bad issue... the best experience is on the regular sized iPad.

Also to note... the app is processing a lot of data - dealing with 24 frames a second of a pan adaptor, waterfall updates and remote audio is almost 2 Mbits/second.  The later iPads like the Air2 handle this without even heavy breathing or sweating... the older model iPads don't have anywhere near the processing capabilities of the later units.

Still TBD which models of iPad will be supported by the app.

Stu K6TU
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N3NER

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Ok, thanks much!  I guess I'm going to sell my winpad and get an ipad. What versions of the ipad do you feel is best to run with this app?
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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"Still TBD which models of iPad will be supported by the app."

Sorry - but I don't have a definitive answer for you at this point.
Stu K6TU
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Al / NN4ZZ

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And the new iPad PRO ( 12.9" screen) is due out around November.   Might be a good choice.

http://www.macrumors.com/roundup/ipad-pro/

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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Jon - KF2E

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Hi Stu,

I'm really looking forward to your app. I guess I will wait until the app is out to decide on an upgrade for my gen 3 iPad. 

I'm curious how you plan to handle updates? Will they be included or will it be like SSDR and require paid upgrades at some interval?

Jon...kf2e
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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I have not yet made a decision regarding this.  Part of the answer requires me understanding Apple's own requirements regarding app licensing.

Stu K6TU
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Joe - KC2TN

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I see you're tuning the Steppir in the background, any thought to implementing a rotor control for possibly selecting any one of 8 compass points?
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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I'm currently using DDUtil to handle the background station automation tasks - it runs on a separate computer right next to my radio, amps etc.

Station automation is indeed an area that must be addressed for remote operation of anything beyond the "boy and his radio" station.

This won't be addressed in the first release but is the topic for the second release.

Stu K6TU
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k0eoo

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Yes, DDClient works very well on the remote PC along with SSDR....  Wish DDClient would echo the watt meter so I could verify power and SWR remotely with AMP on....

Dennis, k0eoo
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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Will the new iPad pro be supported? Thanks
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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If y'all club together to buy me one on which to test - sure! ;-)

Seriously - it should run the app fine although likely not in two app mode under iOS9. K6TU Remote only supports operation in landscape mode and you can only run two apps in portrait mode.

I have not yet tested the app under iOS9 but that is on the list of things to do and to make whatever changes are needed for the app to run.

The iPad Pro reportedly has 2x the performance of the iPad Air 2 so it will sing!  

As a note, I do intend to restrict the iPad app to require at least an iPad Air because of the performance requirements.  The older iPads are just not up to the job of running an app this demanding.

So for best results, an iPad Air 2 or more recent is recommended.  An IPad Air or more recent will be required.  Apple will not show the app in the AppStore to devices before the iPad Air.

Stu K6TU
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K6OZY, Elmer

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As a note, the new iPad Mini 4 has the same guts of the iPad Air 2.  This means that is now a viable option for Stu's app.
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Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

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Stu,
The sooner the Remote app is available, the sooner I can chip in to buy your iPad Pro? ;-)
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Reg

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Since the iPad Pro won't ship until November I am waiting impatiently for both the iPad Pro and K6TU Remote.

Reg
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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Any updates Stu?  Patiently waiting 
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Thanks for asking - very timely!

The release candidate for the K6TU Remote app has been in the hands of the alpha test team for the app for several days and is stable.  I am in the throes of compiling the web pages that describe/support the app and will be submitting the app into the Apple review process in the next couple of days.

The review for a new application like this can take 2 to 3 weeks assuming Apple doesn't have any issues with the apps design.  So I would expect early to mid October for availability in the AppStore.

I will post an updated video together with a link to the web pages for the app as soon as they are done and I've submitted the app into the store review process.

The app will be a free download and in its free version, will support receive operation on a single slice.

Unlocking transmit capability (Phone only for the first release) as well as dual slice operation (so you can work DX operating split) will require an in-app purchase.  You can make voice QSO's using the internal speaker/mic, a wired headset or a Bluetooth headset.  Due to iOS limitations, PTT using the remote controls on a headset currently only function on a wired headset.  There is an onscreen PTT button which may be used as well as VOX for keying the transmitter.

In-App non-renewing subscriptions for US AppStore customers will be $9.99 for 30 days and $99.99 for 1 year.  When the subscription expires, the app will revert to receive only on a single slice.  Prices for International AppStore customers will depend on Apple's pricing and tax collection policies.  

The subscription covers all features released during the period it is valid.  A subscription can be extended (from its current expiration date) at any time with the new subscription taking effect when the current one expires.

I have a roadmap of features that will be implemented after this first release and that roadmap will be on my web site.  Features for post the first release include CW support (via on screen and Bluetooth keyboard), integration with logging software on the iPad and eventually station control.

As the saying goes, watch this space!
Stu K6TU
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Travis Best

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Stu,

How is the release coming been watching the app store looking forward to the release