MaestroControl - the next generation FlexControl

  • 29
  • Idea
  • Updated 2 months ago
FRS has announced that a version of the Maestro software will eventually be released that will  operate as a control surface and run concurrently with SSDR for Windows.  The screen would not display the current panadapter and waterfall but rather it would have some additional radio data and touch buttons.

Here is a different idea.  How about creating a new device that is just 1/2 of a Maestro (no display or SSDR client).  It would be a smaller package with the knobs, buttons. winkeyer, paddle jack and a USB port.  It would function like a FlexContol on steroids and provide a paddle / key input as well as more knobs and buttons than the current FlexControl.  

It would be a compact device we could connect to a laptop for remote and allow us to run CW Skimmer, loggers, spotting programs etc.    It would address the enhancement to add a paddle to a laptop.  

It could be connected to your PC in the shack in place of your FlexContol.  



Add your votes and comments if interested.....

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1798 Posts
  • 627 Reply Likes

Posted 3 years ago

  • 29
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1770 Posts
  • 542 Reply Likes
Not to hijack your thread Al, but I would be more thrilled if FRS came up with a device that adds Band Data, Relays and remote functionality. Something that you can plug to the back of the Flex Radio that connects to the Ethernet port and provides a bridge to the LAN (so you don ́t need to have 2 ethernet cables), controls rotors, amplifiers and relays and will communicate with SmartSDR and Maestro and has WiFi and Bluetooth.

I also think that an opportunity was lost by FRS by not making the Maestro what it is plus a replacement for the Flex 1500. If the maestro was an HF QRP (10w) radio by itself a lot of people will buy it as an entry into the Flex line of products. It could have been a 500 Khz to 1Mhz single panadapter. If you love the device you can then buy a 6300 and add a full feature 100w HF radio that you can control with the Maestro.

Just ideas...
Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

  • 1798 Posts
  • 626 Reply Likes
Hi Salvador,
Agree, it is different.  Here are some links from about 3 years ago to add an external box for shack peripherals.  There are other posts about it as well.  Seems like it is also being considered but not sure if any recent developments have changed the direction or plans. 

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/looking_all_over_for_band_data

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/band_data-3xef1?topic-reply-list%5Bsettings%5D%5Bfi...

There is no shortage of enhancement ideas (hi hi)

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.21.77
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.21.159
Win10
Photo of W7NGA

W7NGA

  • 437 Posts
  • 187 Reply Likes
I am wishing for something as simple as I2C data, well-defined, on the data port for me to consume via Arduino and do what I want with it. As an amateur radio operator (and electronics engineer) I can actually solder, wire a harness, program for most any add-on do-dad, and experiment. I'll be the judge of the insanity of the notion .. I have fun playing ham radio and enjoy having options available to me.

W7NGA  dan
Pont Aven, France
Photo of W7NGA

W7NGA

  • 437 Posts
  • 187 Reply Likes
I love your idea AL .. it is exactly how I would use it. 
Photo of I0JBL - Luc

I0JBL - Luc

  • 32 Posts
  • 6 Reply Likes
Be patient because my English is not very fluent. I agree with the Salvador's opinion. We are still far from a system capable of being able to be easily interfaced with the rest of the devices that compose a modern ham radio station. We need to use third-party products and the "sherpa" IT advice seeking, and fortunately, found the path to the light. My 5 cents. GD DX to all
Photo of Matt NQ6N

Matt NQ6N

  • 97 Posts
  • 33 Reply Likes
When I first got my 6600 I didn't know whether I would decide to purchase a Maestro. My first experience using 6000 series equipment was with a Maestro and I found it very solid and intuitive to use, but I was curious to try SmartSDR on its own to compare. 

So I ordered only the FlexControl knob and use it with SmartSDR.  

My takeaways are as follows: 

Needed Improvements to the FlexControl: 
  • PTT should be available in addition to MOX. 
  • Ideally any button could be made to initiate or toggle through a list of CAT commands.  That would make the unit much more useful.  Even better would be linking the pressDown, pressUp, press, double press, and "hold" interactions with specific CAT commands.  Things like QSY UP 5 KHz, set the filter back at 400Hz, toggle through a few filter settings, etc. 
  • The ability to lock the FlexControl to a single slice
  • The ability to use more than one FlexControl and have each locked to a separate slice.

Missing features in the 6600 without Maestro: 

Using the 6600 without a Maestro leaves one glaring issue, which is the lack of CW Sidetone when operating remote. It's also a pain to connect a foot switch. 

Nice to have features of SmartSDR without Maestro: 

The panafall windows can un-dock from the main MDI window, but the logging software focus helpers do not work when they are un-docked.  This is a minor bug but it forces me to leave the MDI window open which makes it much less useful to arrange the panafalls in the kind of intuitive left radio / right radio arrangement on the screen that undocking the windows makes possible. 

Must have features for an updated control knob/box: 

  • Winkeyer chip and audio mixing for locally generated sidetone when operating remotely. Why not also add a connector for PTT (foot switch) as well. 
  • Separate VFO knobs for each slice (I'd personally prefer 4 large knobs arranged horizontally, one for each slice, or one large knob per box if more than one box can be connected to one instance of SmartSDR)
  • The rest of the knobs and buttons on the device do not need to have pre-defined functionality, why not just let them all be customizable so that the user can map them to whatever features of SmartSDR he/she wants? Each large knob should have a few concentric encoders and a few buttons, but labeling them and restricting them to only one use seems quite limiting. 

SmartSDR is very well done and it looks beautiful on my 4K and 5K monitors that I use in my operating position. I have come to prefer SmartSDR to using the Maestro because of how good the panafalls look and how easy it is to visually spot the weak signals.  The only thing missing is a small hardware box that makes CW keying and foot switch connection plug and play via remote.  

73 and thanks for the great products.  Really looking forward to downloading V3 in the coming months.