Maestro Review - WiFi was EZ

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  • Praise
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)
I ordered a Maestro via RadioWorld here in Canada the day it appeared on the Flexradio website. Not knowing the date RadioWorld actually placed the order with Flexradio I was starting to get very frustrated to see many others who ordered much later getting delivery, so I was pleased to hear that on June 9th RadioWorld received their first shipment and got mine delivered two business days later. Reading all the Maestro posts in anticipation I was confident with my experience that I'd be able to work through any of the WiFi issues seen here. Now that I've been playing with it for three days now with success, sharing some details and an initial review may benefit some.

Internet Connection: Have a cable connection that is usually averages about 12mbps downstream but doing a speedtest.com test right now for this review, the download is just 5.06 Mbps and the upload is a mere 650 Kbps, not very good at all but good for testing. We have many devices in our home using the internet/WiFi including 3 computers, tablets, 5 smartphones, smart TVs, an android box and now a Maestro.

WiFi: When playing with mesh last year I counted nearly fifty 2.4G routers in my neighborhood. To simply put it, 2.4GHz WiFi today is like 40m on a contest weekend but 24/7. Using a TP-Link WR-1042ND on channel 9 (2.4G). I have a 4-port hub in the shack where the shack computer and Flexradio 6500 are plugged into. The hub is then routed to one of 4 ports on the TP-link router using shielded CAT-5 cable. This will ensure the 6500 will be on the same sub-net as the Maestro.

After initially learning how to get into the WiFi setup, I immediately saw our home networks as well as some neighbors, click on our network, entered the security key and bingo. OK, that was too easy, so before I went any further I decided to change to dual band router, TP-Link WDR3500 so I can put the Maestro all by itself on the 5Ghz band. For testing I kept the router in dual band mode 40Mhz channels but I will likely just dedicate that router for the Maestro so to keep everyone else in the house happy. Right out of the box doing nothing except setting up the 5G and 2.4g WiFi, it works with a problem. No port forwarding or additional tweaking of the router at this point. That router works in both bands on the ground floor however as others have indicated, the range of the 5G isn't as good as the 2.4 so on the 2nd floor the signal is challenged. I've got to figure better placement of the router with respect to where I want to operate from. With the signal varying from no bars to 4 bars, the audio stream would stutter for a second or two but I found that adjusting the FPS and RATE in the display to near minimum and that allowed the audio stream to be much more stable. I will try a range extender so I can play when I'm out by the pool.

Using the Network Diagnostics, with a reasonable WiFi connection, the Network Status: Excellent, Latency: 1ms, over a few hour period just receiving, with over 1.6 million packets, just 81 were dropped. Not sure where that can be attributed to, probably someone in the house loading a video or something. At this early stage I do not suspect anything with the Maestro in the regard.

Maestro Review: Rather than sitting in shack I thought it best to review the Maestro in it's intended environment, anywhere outside the shack. So the last couple nights I've been in the
living room in my lazy boy with Maestro beside me wearing a cheap
LogiTec headset, watching the tube, oh, I mean watching the LED, or is the LED really watching me? I quickly realized I had to create a bunch of new Global Profiles for the Maestro specifically for various operating conditions I may use. Created a new Mic Profile for the cheap headset. I do have a Heil ProSet Elite but I am putting them up for sale as I have rarely used them. This allowed me to easily switch to 80/40 slices, check activity on 6m, and jump to 2m SSB for a QSO and so on.

We all knew the input contesters had in the layout of the Maestro and it is indeed very nicely done. The built-in carrying handle above the battery compartment allows a firm grip on the Maestro to carry safely without disturbing the front panel as compared to how you carry a tablet around. They knobs have a good grip and are sturdy as compared to my late model IC-7600 where every knob you can wiggle that gives the feel of something loose, too much play. Well done Flex. The VFO lock was something I'd have yet to use TUNE and ATU buttons but then I have resonant antennas in general. , but I constantly use Profiles and Memory. Having to go to MENU is becoming a pain. As per the display, so many positives. Love the touch screen and how quick you can change things. The power management to adjust the brightness of the display and LEDs is nice. 

Issue/Suggestions: This is a initial short list of things so far.
  • DISPLAY button (bottom left) at some point stops working, Tim has already indicated this is on the list to be fixed for next Maestro release.
  • VFO A volume a few times changed on it's own, sometimes up and sometimes down, could be due to packets dropped as I checked dropped packets and it's now higher than previously noted, 579 out of 3 million plus packets.
  • I often switch between operating situations with Global Profiles is easy but having to hit MENU first is an extra step. I would have preferred a Profile/Memory button, the empty area between Step and Lock buttons would have been a good location.
  • adding more options to select-able functions keys, such as Profiles, Audio and Memory.
  • ability to reprogram BW SELECT adjust/button for other features, such as TNF, WNB.
  • ability to lock BW Select from accidental bumping.
  • the EXIT button top left of the MENU should be a larger button that the others and perhaps a different color to stand out. I have adult fingers as that button in the position it is requires a bit of care to hit it right.
  • I'd like the ability to have a few font/color options of the frequency readout.
  • when pressing the Power button, initiate a count down timer to indicate "Powering Down in 4 seconds if you continue to hold down power button". Guess that would be idiot proofing, guess I'm admitting I'm an idiot. I can't be the only one who has press the button more than once to power up or down. Guess I should have read the quick start guide.
The marks are quite high from me as I managed to setup and start using the Maestro without referring to either the Quick Startup Guide or User Manual. At this early stage I do not see any of the WiFi issues some others have experienced. I'm sure there will be more suggestions as soon as I post this but that's it for now until I get more play time.

I shall enjoy conducting my orchestra.

Mike, VE3CKO
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Posted 3 years ago

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Brent Parker

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Mike,

So it passed the Steve Jobs test, you didn't have to read the manual!  :) 

73  Brent W8XG

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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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APPENDUM TO ORIGINAL POST:
I totally forgot there was an on-board battery. It's only for about 2 minutes when power unplugged, and should allow enough time to re-plug power supply to operate in another location. I now have the recommended Mojix 10400mAh battery for when I do need to go cordless. This will really help to find the WiFi dead zones in our house and try to rectify.