Maestro, Maestro, oh where you be?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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If I don't soon see a Maestro, someone is going to have a chance to purchase a NICE 6500, this thing is a PIA to operate without knobs :).

Lew
N4CO
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Lewis Cheek

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Posted 3 years ago

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W3DCB

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Anticipation, A-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n is making me wait!...Mid-April...Will be worth the wait....Hang in there!  I am excited too!  
  de W3DCB  Daniel  
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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How much? 
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W3DCB

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Come one guys! Has Flex ever let us down, yet?  OK, they have missed a few "deadlines."  However, ever since that first Dayton debut, everything from the first Signature series release down to each software release has met and surpassed expectations. ------->  Anticipation, A-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n...  <-------  Listen to Carly Simon!
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Soon come....

It was just two weeks ago FRS wrote to all of us:

 From our current position, it looks like we will start shipping Maestros about mid-April and continue until we have them all shipped.  To meet this schedule, our first release of software for Maestro, dubbed v1.7, will be completed in the same time frame so it can be loaded on your Maestro at the factory.  At the same time, we will also be releasing a new SmartSDR with the same version number, v1.7, with changes to support Maestro.

 
After this initial release, we plan to follow up with v1.8 that will have even more Maestro features including many things we just couldn't pack in before the hardware was ready to ship.

So we all have to hang in there another 3 weeks or so, depending on where our pre-order is in the sequence. 

Soon come....

73

Steve K9ZW

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AB9UU

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Well, I too am getting impatient.  It has been a long wait.  I know with computer software and the pursuit of doing things right the first time that things can be tough.   In just two days it is April so I hope I hear something soon.  The release must be close as there are and have been testing versions out for a while.  Another update would be nice.
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Burt Fisher

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Last fall I offered  my deposit as long as I didn't have to take delivery by April, they refused.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
As per the latest FlexInsider sent out on March 10

There's still plenty of work to complete the Maestro software, but we're making great progress.  This week we're "wiring up" the software to the internal Winkeyer and perfecting the sidetone, working through many of the menus that appear in the display when setting up your Maestro, and ensuring that all of the elements we show on the display appear clear and convey the state of the radio.  Of course we're keenly aware that each of you would like to receive your Maestro soon.  From our current position, it looks like we will start shipping Maestros about mid-April and continue until we have them all shipped.  To meet this schedule, our first release of software for Maestro, dubbed v1.7, will be completed in the same time frame so it can be loaded on your Maestro at the factory.  At the same time, we will also be releasing a new SmartSDR with the same version number, v1.7, with changes to support Maestro. 
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Lewis,
I would certainly not like to be restricted to operating my 6500 with only the mouse & mouse-wheel options. While some operators have adapted to life without knobs...I have not.

But, while you wait for your Maestro, there are other options available to improve your interface to this excellent rig.

1) The FlexControl Knob is about $99 and works very well.  I have been using one for about 2 1/2 years.  It is very small and sits to the left hand side of my keyboard, while my mouse and Keyer Paddles are on the right hand side.  It makes for a very smooth operation.  One large knob and three programmable buttons in a small package.  It is hard to beat, at 1/10 the price of a Maestro.

2) Many Flexers have adapted the Behringer CMD Micro DJ Controller (Currently about $79 at Amazon, while they last.)  William has written a very nice program that converts the Midi Commands to Commands that control the 6000 rigs, giving them not only tuning knobs, but multiple controls for other often used functions on their rigs.  It works very nicely.  If you know, or can learn the open source "Processing" language (which is not too hard) you can modify the code to use with any of a number of DJ controllers.  I have had the program running on a Hercules DJ2 LE, and a Behringer CMD PL1 (about $83).  You can even program your own custom functions to suit your own needs or rearrange the control layout as you become more proficient.  The sky's the limit!  You can find links to his code in other posts on the Community.

The bottom line...the Maestro isn't the only way to get knobs on the 6000 series.  
I am sure it will be an extraordinary piece of equipment when it is finally released.  The Alpha testers are working very hard to make it so.  

In the meantime, I would encourage you to check out some of the other available options that will match your operating needs.  

Ken - NM9P
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Walt - KZ1F

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Is there any documentation on writing an interface to the Flex controller? Not all of us use Windows.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Walt, I think you can still download William's source code for the CMD Micro in Processing. The link is in the thread....search for "CMD Micro". Just looking at it can give a lot of hints.

Or are you talking about interfacing the FlexControl Knob? I would like to learn how to access that, too.
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Walt - KZ1F

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I have zero desire to use a boombox. I give myself huge accolades for exercising restraint on that subject in this forum.

A USB interface is different than a com port interface. FTDI allows a USB device to look like a com port. A USB device has a, for lack of a better term, a registration code so the OS recognizes the device. To my recollection Linux has no idea what Flex control is. So it's that plus handshaking infomation. I'd need on the device.
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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The FlexControl works fine under Linux.  (None of the Flex software does, however.)  See http://blog.aa6e.net/2015/01/flexcontrol-for-linux-hamr.html for the protocol.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Thank you Martin!! Where my USB lines for the KAT500, KPA500, and DCU-1 are /dev/tty/ttyusb0, usb1, usb2 (ftdi) and a thumb drive and such generally announce themselves upon mount, I assumed Linux was not seeing (or recognizing) it. But now I know what to look for...yep, it's right there. Excellent, excellent, excellent! This will make my control surface ever so much more useful.
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Jeffrey Kerber, N3VE

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I would put my money on no release until at least right before Dayton, or later.
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Lewis Cheek

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Jeffrey, waited this long, and nothing I can do to move Flex along. :) While I'm sure Maestro will be nice, question is will it be worth the wait?

From what I understand, GUI is either Maestro or computer, not both at same time. For me, I'm looking more for KNOBS than portability. None of this remote stuff does much for me. :)

Lew
_ N4CO
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Walt - KZ1F

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In a sense though, you'll, sort of, need a pc one way or the other for logging, for propagation reports, ddutil type tasks. I preordered this in 2012 and have been in possession since the summer of 2013 and I still miss knobs and rocker switches. I just don't miss them enough to spend an additional $1200 to get them and lose 2 slices/panadapters in the process. But, I have a control surface not requiring Windows, controls my station (rotor, linear, tuner, and that is in the process of doing logging and superimposing spots on the waterfall. All that has cost me is time. And once I get Opus working it will be remoting on an Android.

Later, perhaps as soon as later this year, one will be able to have multiple control surfaces simultaneously connected to the radio. So says Tim and Steve.
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Jd Dupuy

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I went ahead and sent the balance due on my Maestro this week. They have all my money now. And I will wait. I could not imagine being the CEO of a company like Flex, knowing that it has to be absolutely  "right" before release.  Having been with Flex since the beginning I am confident it will be!
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km9r.mike

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I am happy I have been set free from my knob master. My mouse/wheel master is more flexible imho. I will use the flex knob to maintain focus on contesting software however. Hopefully your wait will end soon along with your pain.
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Lee Maisel

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I'm waffling between getting a Maestro, or a good tablet PC.   If i go the tablet, I can do all the digi modes right on it.   on the other hand, the Maestros are darn cool.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Lee, I have two Windows tablets, An HP ElitePad 1000 G2 and Dell Venue 11".

SmartSDR really struggles on the HP as it is an Atom cpu and only 4 GB ram. Forget about running CAT, DAX< and digi programs on same tablet. The HPs are crap. All the department heads at work gave up using them as there are too many issues, including very sporadic WiFi and cellular connectivity. We are trying to puch HP to take them back but so far they are reluctant. As a result we have declared no more buying any HP products.

The Dell was ordered upgraded to 8 GB ram and it has the Intel M cpu. MUCH better than the HP for my work use. SmartSDR does run OK on this tablet but I would think running DAX, CAT and digi software will really tax the CPU not to mention the 10.8" screen is too small for my 55 yr old eyes :-)

The Maestro will be optimized to run SmartSDR and has knobs and buttons, plus good I/O on the back for key, mics, PTT, speakers, etc. Also will have Ethernet jack.

The tablet solution will be better solution when on the run especially with a decent Bluetooth earpiece (I use the Plantronics Voyager Legend).

The Maestro would be better solution for remote fixed location operation (vacation house, hotel, Field Day.

If ordering a tablet, get a better cpu and at least 8 GB ram. Some tablets can also be ordered with better graphics capability.

Note - when operating away from home you will need to provide some kind of VPN between the radio network and tablet/Maestro.


Dave wo2x


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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Or buy an iPad and run. k6TU Remote App
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Yes. I have that as well. Does work well with VPN, but Lee was mentioning the tablet to run digi programs as well as SmartSDR.
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Lee Maisel

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I have an old ipad, his software wont run on it.  I have an iPhone 6+ (the big new one) and it SHOULD run his software no problem, but he DOES NOT offer it for that platform.  :(  dont know why

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