Maestro's impact on SmartSDR software development

  • 3
  • Question
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Answered
I realize Flex is a pretty small company and with this in mind, I was just wondering what sort of impact the Maestro will have on future SmartSDR software development and refinement.  Lots of folks are waiting for features and fixes to SmartSDR and with all of the fuss over the Maestro including additional features it is going to require, it seems to me SmartSDR development may come to a crawl.....   I hope I'm wrong.
Photo of Norm - W7CK

Norm - W7CK

  • 761 Posts
  • 164 Reply Likes

Posted 4 years ago

  • 3
Photo of Neal - K3NC

Neal - K3NC, Elmer

  • 563 Posts
  • 192 Reply Likes
Norm,

I am sure you are wrong but really...

They just introduce an absolutely killer product and this is your response? Let the new discovery of the Maestro run its course and see how Flex reacts, why raise this storm cloud now?
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
Considering that the maestro runs SSDR i am pretty confident that SSDR feature development isnt going to "Come to a crawl". Yes there are some fixes and additions that will come to the software that will be primary for maestro users but i am sure that the company will also address other ongoing issues according to their roadmap.
(Edited)
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
It is what it is. Yes, FlexRadioSystems is a small company. Yes, their software group is even smaller. No, nobody is going to say the new software platform will cause scheduling issues for non Maestro things. But, if you sleep better hearing it from mgmt, maybe wait until they state it's all good, as that is the only acceptable, sane answer.
(Edited)
Photo of Jay -- N0FB

Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

  • 539 Posts
  • 213 Reply Likes
Norm,  lets remember what the Maestro is:  It is a Physical Human Interface Client component of the 6000 ecosystem.  Features, for the most part, live in SmartSDR within the radio server itself.  The client, whether it is Maestro, SmartSDR for Windows, DogParkSDR or K6TU Remote, all access the features of the radio via a common API.  This means the FRS Software Engineers build the new feature once and use it many places.  The extra work by adding the Maestro to the ecosystem is designing and coding the most effective way to present and control the new feature onto that specific client.  
I'm not saying there isn't significant effort to achieve this, but its not as bad as having to recode, as an example, the same DSP function for each client that its going to run on.  
Photo of Norm - W7CK

Norm - W7CK

  • 761 Posts
  • 164 Reply Likes
That makes a lot of sense Jay.   So, after the initial release and catch up, it doesn't look like the Maestro will have a significant impact on future software development.  My intent wasn't to stir up any trouble.  I was just curious.  I have my Maestro on order since last year and am eagerly awaiting notice!

Thanks again
Norm
Photo of Rob G6EIH

Rob G6EIH

  • 116 Posts
  • 16 Reply Likes
I work with industrial machinery and we call them HMI's Human Media Interface, same thing and for the most part they simply do what the manufacturer intended which is to provide an interface that's more hands on. Normally HMI's are rock solid and deliver 247 x 365 the fact that FRS can update and modify at will is a huge bonus.

I don't have my Maestro yet and am really looking forward to getting my hands on one to play with, bring on the WAN please.
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
Human Machine Interface, but I agree with what you said. Industrial automation is pretty rock solid.
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1515 Reply Likes
Official Response
Jay's explanation is pretty much dead on.  The vast majority of the SmartSDR code is actually in the radio, which is common to all client interfaces whether written by FlexRadio or third parties as Jay noted.  We have the only radios on the market that have a complete API with developers building commercial clients to run our radios.  

Maestro is another client with a physical interface.  As we add features some will map across both PC and Maestro platforms and some will not.  Some will only make sense on the PC GUI and some will make sense only on Maestro.  If you like a Mac or iPad interface you can operate with those too.  That's a new paradigm for ham radio. 
Photo of Lee

Lee, Elmer

  • 680 Posts
  • 287 Reply Likes
I think Flex did 3 major version upgrades in the past year.  I would not consider that a crawl.  I turned on a computer the other day that had a version 1.4.x on it installed less than a year ago

73  W9OY
Photo of Rob N4GA

Rob N4GA

  • 156 Posts
  • 27 Reply Likes
Those of us that have only wanted WAN capability have now patiently waited for a year-long product release to come before it. I understand business and the requirement for income so I'm not really complaining. Would rather have FLEX stay in business!!

I keep telling anyone that will listen at FLEX that if you would hurry up and get WAN, you will probably kill any and all competition. If you launched the 6xxx series with WAN from day one, you would of completely owned the market.

Let's face it, a SDR with native WAN capability...or one that does not have it (or requires all sorts of unreliable trickery)... which one would you choose?

What's the current roadmap for WAN?

Thanks,

N4GA
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9199 Posts
  • 3558 Reply Likes
The plan is to start working on SmartSDR 2.0 which will have the WAN feature set later this year after v1.8 is released.
Photo of Rob N4GA

Rob N4GA

  • 156 Posts
  • 27 Reply Likes
roger
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1515 Reply Likes
FYI.  Maestro will be running the K9CT super station remote from the ARRL booth at the Dayton Hamvention this weekend over VPN.  Thanks to Chris, K6OZY, for setting up the VPN and to Craig, K9CT, for enabling his station.  

Please note that the ARRL has requested that we not have a bunch of FlexRadio enthusiasts crowding the remote station since the prime objective of the demo is to entice new hams to become interested in HF operation.  Elecraft will also have stations using their K3/0 and Remote Rig.  
Photo of Burt Fisher

Burt Fisher

  • 1269 Posts
  • 485 Reply Likes
Will you sell and deliver those Maestros at Dayton?
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1515 Reply Likes
We will not be through shipping the backlog until probably sometime in June so we will not have any Maestros for physical delivery in Dayton.  We will take orders there with projected delivery beginning in late June.  
Photo of SteveJ

SteveJ

  • 83 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
The target ship date for a Maestro placed now though the Flex website is suppose to be at the end of May. So one bought next week at Dayton is the end of June?
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1515 Reply Likes
I was quoting from the top of my head on a Saturday from home. I am probably wrong so we will need to ask someone closer to the day to day action. I apologize for making a guess without real data in front of me.
Photo of Philip KA4KOE

Philip KA4KOE

  • 176 Posts
  • 22 Reply Likes
The ideer of sittin' on mah back porch playing radio while enjoying a cool one is beguiling.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1584 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes

Learning that the heavy lifting done for Maestro has already bettered the other "flavors" of SmartSDR, and that each step forward will bring the various parts (for Maestro, for Windows, Radio Service) all forward at the same time is neat.

The clarification that developments are largely cross-platform is appreciated!  Very cool!

Thank you and 73

Steve K9ZW


Photo of Lee

Lee

  • 84 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes

So another year+ for WAN?? Start working on it later this year?? I thought it was working and only some security issues remained?

So lots of my friends (and thousands of others) just got an Icom 7300 WAN works well right out of the box. Is a 7300 a 6500...well no, but in a year will a 7xxx go flying by....maybe. Flex did the innovation...but will they be passed & potential customers will buy one of the big 3....due to lack of resource to get things done in a timely manor? I hope not...as I have a 6500...but a lot of folks are saying just that. It is not my company...but IMHO the Maestro should have waited. After all looking at the long term if you don't sell a bunch of 6xxx's...you don't sell any Maestros.

When I got my 6300 then upgraded to 6500 no mention of a Maestro coming along & delaying all the things promised was made.

I think the big 3 saw the success Flex has had ...and the great architecture...and are jumping on the band wagon with lots of resources.

For now I would not trade my Flex for anything on the market....BUT...I came in early...lots of guys are buying the 7300 and reviews are stellar...a lot of these guys are getting it as there new radio...these are customers probably not going to get a Flex once they are in with Icom.


I only played with my friends 7300 for a while, but one thing is the RX is super quiet and the NR is much better than my $4300 Flex 6500.

Lee


Photo of SteveJ

SteveJ

  • 83 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
Lee is absolutely correct. The Maestro should have come out after WAN function. There is no doubt that the Icom 7300 took future sales away from Flex.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
But the point is, it came out now and WAN is, and always was, a 2.0 thing. Your radio works no worse now than it did yesterday. That's what you bought, it hasn't changed.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1582 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes
Just as likely that the Maestro pre-orders took sales away from the iC-7300?

It is excellent that Icom has a good popular rig on its hands.  But please remember that this is not a Zero-Sum Game (that if you buy brand X you will never ALSO buy a Brand Z) - or at least don't all the gear in my shack know that I wasn't supposed to ever buy any other new gear from another Brand after getting by 6000s.  It isn't like any one choice is mutually exclusive, is it?

I cannot speak for FRS on this, but given that the larger part of the work for WAN would be done to even accomplish LAN, it makes both economic and user sense to release the now LAN soon WAN able Maestro along the way.  

Actually it is brilliant to do so, in terms of an eager and invested core of users highly motivated to upgrade to the WAN-able version.  Some will even need to put down more money (some of us prepurchased upgrades when we bought our radios) making the Maestro a way to interest those prepaid into investing a few more dollars in FRS by interesting us in the Maestro rather than say just a FlexControl and a Laptop.

Armchair quarterbacking is pretty weak when the product is launched to huge success, with folks genuinely enthused.  

As a father-son project with one of my boys we're duplicating Chris K6OZY's Raspberry Pi based remote VPN exercise.  I am hugely grateful to Chris K6OZY as his videos and write up have done something super meaningful to me personally - they have captured the imagination & engagement of one of my sons, and he's pumped to do the project.  That sort of engagement is priceless.  

Regardless of our bemoaning what we don't control the Maestro was encouraged by many our hobby peers preordering and now buying them.  WAN will follow, and really we don't have any choice but to be patient.

Bully for Icom with their IC-7300, but really to declare that another brands success has drawn down sales of a product that the purchase process started 11 months ago just doesn't make sense.

Looking forward to version 1.8 and then 2.0 eagerly just like you - but I'll chose to be happy until they roll out, okay?!

73

Steve
K9ZW
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
I have a feeling (it's more than a feelinnn) that FRS products have a lot more horsepower under the hood. 7300 users are not gonna get big new features most likely but minor housekeeping updates. The PSDR rigs have made it pretty clear how many changes can be done vs initial release vs where it is now. When have the big 3 developed a single product as far as FRS has with PSDR or SSDR?
If people are only buying a 7300 due to Wan it sucks for them because there are plenty of remote station solutions that can be implimented on many platforms.
I too will wait for native WAN but I could care less about remote operating my station when I'm away, that's what my kx3 is for as I have the whole station with me.

/rant
Photo of Lee

Lee

  • 84 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes

All interesting comments......the 7300 already has a lot of super features...and some of the basic functions work better than the 6500 for $1500. NR is superb...I think the selectivity is still a lot better with 6500.


Well, I love Flex for what they have accomplished...but  (and I know quite a lot about business) they need MORE help in the SW development area. It may not be true...but a rumor they only have one SW developer for the 6000??

Well, the 7300 hits the street with full WAN.....so is it really that hard to do??

Lee

Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
When you have an army of engineers vs flex probably. Look at how huge of a company Icon is vs FRS.
I bet they have more than 1 person working ssdr software, but Icom probably employees more administrative assistants than FRS as a whole.

I find the NR excellent on my 6500 when used just as much as needed. Far better than my TT eagle. Also turning the agc down does wonders for backround noise. I have been able to pull some seriously weak stations out of the noise by minimal NR and turning the receive gain down.
And has anyone cracked a 7300 open yet to see what they are running? I know the FRS rigs have some serious silicon under the hood which means we have a lot of power to spare with updates, and generally stuff gets more efficient processing wise as it goes
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1582 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes
Why repeat rumors that if you actual read what FRS releases, meeting with FRS at the shows or just ask FRS you could state as truths, or end a falsehood - and must of all not end up rumor mongering like an old washer woman!

Since I've sat at FRS Dayton Banquets with more than one software engineer from FRS while others were elsewhere in the room, that unless they have let all these folk go (and you know that to be true) you are really doing a disservice to put legs under silly rumors.

If you're fascinated/taken with the IC-7300 you should buy one.  This isn't like dating - you can "go out" with two or more at the same time without risk!!

Have a great weekend and perhaps catch you on the ari!

73

Steve K9ZW  (Portable Flex-6300 from US Island WI-001L this weekend).
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1515 Reply Likes
@Lee I would ask that you please not repeat laughable, unsubstantiated, and possibly malicious rumors that most likely originated from someone with a personal agenda on another public forum. Such a comment does not even serve your own purposes if you would like to see FlexRadio continue to enhance SmartSDR for years to come.  

The FLEX-6000 Series with SmartSDR for Windows and SmartSDR for Maestro involves individual code bases for a Linux server running the radio operating code  (most of the brains of SmartSDR is here), a high end DSP processor running up to 8 radio signal chains, an audio DSP processor, seven individual system on chip microprocessors, three different VHDL code bases running on high end FPGAs, and two unique GUI clients (Windows and Maestro).  This does not include automated factory test software for each of the three radios and Maestro.  If you find a single software engineer who can do all of that and pump out three major releases per year with new features I want to hire him or her.  I would pay that person a small fortune!  

We have many more than one software engineer working on SmartSDR and have requisitions out for more than one right now.  
Photo of Steve - N5AC

Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

  • 1057 Posts
  • 1097 Reply Likes
Yes, I'll gladly trade in all of my open engineering requisitions for THAT software person.
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P

  • 4239 Posts
  • 1351 Reply Likes
@Lee, et. al.
It isn't necessary to expend a lot of energy yearning for the release of V.2.0 to enjoy WAN Remote.

I have WAN already on my 6500.  By using a VPN Router (about $150)  I can run SSDR or K6TU software remotely from my office, or anywhere else & have internet access.  My performance is limited a bit by the miserable upload speed on my ATT Uverse connection (756K), but by turning down FPS and waterfall rate I can get adequate performance.

Others are doing WAN access by simply running a freeware program (softether.net) on their hamshack computers.

Still others are running OpenVPN on a raspberry Pi (about $69) 

None of these options cost even as much as the software upgrade fee for V.2.0 will be.  For those who want to expend a little time and effort, WAN access is available right now.  If it is outside your comfort zone, there are many who are very willing to help a VPN noobie get it running.  (They helped me, and once you "get it" it isn't all that hard to do.)

Is it as nice an option as full WAN on V.2.0 will probably be?  No.  But it works well.  Come on in, the water's fine!  

Ken - NM9P
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
Just wait until 2.0 wan comes out and people cry about how bad it is due to their network not allowing access with out a bit of extra setup, or slow speeds.
So many different combinations of equipment.

My home network is a mess because it involves a bridge to another property but ill tackle the issue when it gets there, Lunch break DX sounds like fun. I take the trusty kx3 when I am actually out of town.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Or not
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
How can you say that 7300 works out of the box for WAN??
Have you tried CW? Where is the ethernet connection that makes the 7300 work in a network out of the box? Or do you need a computer? Is the software included with your purchase?

The 7300 is a great seller for the price but it is not even close to the panadapter performance of a 1500!! Every time I ask about the resolution of the display, or the FPS of the panadapter, or the power spikes at lower power settings, or the OVF effect of running another radio next to the Icom I obtain ZERO responses. There is no desire to talk about the technical prowess of the device or its downfalls.

Furthermore, someone please point me to the ICOM forum where we can have this discussion and have their owners reply!! Anyone?? Want to bet anything that I will obtain no response to any of the bolded questions?

All the talk about the 7300 is always to try to rile up Flex owners....and in this forum, with persons whose only participation in the forum is to talk about the 7300, persons that offer no technical insight or any value to the conversation,
We all know we just can't compare the devices, they are not in the same ballpark or even league. They are completely different animals.

How many people, given the opportunity, will trade their 6300 for a 7300?
And how many will trade their 7300 for a 6300?? No money added or deducted... just straight up trade... I bet you almost none with a 6300 and many with 7300.

Do not fool yourself and others.... the 6300 is a much better radio, better resolution, better design, better upgrade path. You need two 7300 to do what you can do with one 6300.

Ultimately, what does that radio or any other have to do with sales for Flex? Steve is 100% correct, owning one brand does not preclude me from owning other.
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1515 Reply Likes
Salvador, how well you see the future!  We at FlexRadio believe that the 7300 may be one of the best things to happen to FlexRadio.  Ever heard of "gateway drugs?" The 7300 is a very nicely packaged entry level direct sampling box radio.  

Question:  How many major feature enhancement releases has Icom historically made on their legacy radios and how many do you expect from them on the 7300?

Quoting directly from the IC-7300 Service Manual on page 3-4:
• Demodulator and D/A converter
The 36 kHz IF signal is digitally demodulated and processed by the DSP (IC901), whose design is based totally (emphasis added) on that of the IC-7100. The internal AGC control, demodulation, noise reduction (NB, NR and Notch filter) and squelch functions are also the same as those of the IC-7100.
In other words, the IC-7300 is an IC-7100 DSP with a direct sampling front end.  Their front end is a 14-bit ADC driving a FPGA that performs a single/simple direct quadrature down conversion stage and up conversion for TX.  

@Lee, the 7300 uses ICOM's RS-BA1 remote software and requires a PC at both the radio end and on the remote end.  The first 38 pages of the manual are dedicated to how to set up remote operation, 11 pages to basic operation, and 6 pages are for to troubleshooting.  We believe remote setup should ultimately be a lot simpler than that.

FlexRadio has pioneered in developing SDR software for 13 years as a business and another 4 years prior to that before becoming a business.  The FLEX-6000 Series with SmartSDR started with a clean sheet of paper to take all of our learning and and invest into a long term architectural vision - one where you have only seen the tip of the iceberg.

@Salvador, you are more prescient than you may know because this is already starting to happen.  We have recent testimonials to prove it.
How many people, given the opportunity, will trade their 6300 for a 7300?
And how many will trade their 7300 for a 6300?? No money added or deducted... just straight up trade... I bet you almost none with a 6300 and many with 7300.
FlexRadio would like to sincerely thank ICOM for delivering the gateway drug.  We hope they sell a boat load of 7300s!  
Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 623 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
Salvador, 

Please note what you are saying now; on what you criticized me concerning the 7300!
"All the talk about the 7300 is always to try to rile up Flex owners" ..." participation in the forum is to talk about the (Flex radios, NOT) 7300, persons that offer no technical insight or any value to the conversation," 
That is in essence what I was saying; on which you made numerous praises and comments of the Icom radio. 
I am happy that you finally saw the light. 
"how many will trade their 7300 for a 6300??"

Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
You are right, I guess I finally saw the light Ernest!! LOL hihi
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
@Salvador, we've been thru this before- make the effort to join the Yahoo group and read for yourself the various tests and comparisons for the 7300. Quite a few of the hams doing the testing are widely considered unbiased and fair, deeply technical and experienced. Posing questions and making false statements that you were never provided answers IS counterproductive and, honestly, an example of why Flex fans have bad reputation.

After you read the test results and actual owners' experience you will most likely remain a loyal Flex user. That's ok, no radio is perfect for everyone. The difference is that your decision will be based on something real rather than ignorance.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
N2WQ,

I didn't know Icom owned Yahoo. That might be the ICOM forum I was asking for, where the owners of ICOM post and answer questions. I would love a single screenshot of the CEO of ICOM answering in that forum. 

And, why would I join that Yahoo forum? I imagine you joined this forum because you are interested in Flex gear or own Flex gear. It is pretty sad if you just joined here to talk about the icom transceiver.

You have no idea what test I have perform or not on the 7300 both in person and remotely. The same way I don't know what you have tested or seen yourself. Questioning the validity of my comments on that parameter makes even your own statements invalid by your own measuring stick.

I asked several questions, you didn't answer a single one. But it is flex fans that have bad reputation. You also have gone as far as calling me a liar. That was very nice, it adds so much gravitas to your posting.... (<-- sarcasm)

Furthermore, I have read fantastic reviews of many pieces of gear, Icom included, and that has not defined my purchasing decisions... or maybe it has. How I spend my money is as much my decision as it is yours with your money. Why would I based my purchasing decision on loyalty.... do you?

You keep throwing terms like "loyalty" and "fan" when all I have asked every time this subject comes in this forum is technical insight.

If I question something, I am an "ignorant flex fan"... which is kind of funny... how do you solve ignorance? Guess what... asking questions. Are you then an "ignorant icom fan" if you ask a question about Flex gear?

Or maybe, just maybe, we are both consumers of amateur radio equipment with some spare time on the weekend to post in forums with genuine questions.

Look, I have no beef with you, even though I find calling me a liar out of line. I would love to get concrete answers to my questions though.
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
Things are pretty simple- if you genuinely seek the answers to your questions you would go to a source with authority and credibility. I am not an authority and have never pretended to be one. If you don't want to hear what respected hams have done and tested to evaluate the 7300 then I question your sincerity in asking the questions. No need for sarcasm or fancy rhetorics. Actions, or lack there of, speak louder than words.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
Deflecting again. You have better rejection dBs than the 7300. LOL
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Sal, two points:
1) Al, nn4zz, runs an all Flex forum on Yahoo.
2) Wayne and Eric, routinely answer questions on the Yahoo Elecraft, forum.

Personally, I think having a non corporately sponsored forum is, potentially, less defensive, and more open to non marketing speak.

At the end of the day, this is a FlexRadioSystems website and I believe people actually should be respectful of that... you know, be more filtered.
(Edited)
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1515 Reply Likes
Personal attacks are not helpful on this forum so I ask that they not continue. The 7300 is a nice entry level direct sampling radio. As I said, we are glad it is doing well.

All manufacturers have fan boys. All manufacturers have nice fan boys and not so nice fan boys. I would prefer that we all trend toward nice. Goading on any manufacturer's community whether ours or theirs is not so nice. Goading does not add anything to the public discourse.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
Well said.
If I have offended anyone with any of my posts I apologize.
Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 623 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
I like to accept your apology Salvador,
I was offended.
However, I noticed that portions of this page requires clicking on this page again in order to see the rest of the posted subject. Plus, there is another page with the same subject and my comment was omitted.
Why? I don't know why, we have two pages with the same subject; but no all the replies like we have here.
Thank you and hope to work you with the Maestro soon. 73, Ernest 
Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 623 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
I like to accept your apology Salvador,
I was offended.
However, I noticed that portions of this page requires clicking on this page again in order to see the rest of the posted subject. Plus, there is another page with the same subject and my comment was omitted.
Why? I don't know why, we have two pages with the same subject; but no all the replies like we have here.
Thank you and hope to work you with the Maestro soon. 73, Ernest 
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
Really Ernest? I am very surprised that my comment offended you. I was seriously admitting that I saw the light and that you were right.... I guess it is very difficult to convey what you really mean with just a few words. 
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
Really Ernest? I am very surprised that my comment offended you. I was seriously admitting that I saw the light and that you were right.... I guess it is very difficult to convey what you really mean with just a few words. 
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P

  • 4239 Posts
  • 1351 Reply Likes
@Gerald, a friend of mine just bought a 7300 to replace a FT-1200 that was destroyed by lightning. So far, after just a couple of days, he is thrilled with it. But he himself used the term "gateway drug" and said "you know that this is just temporary...I will probably make my way to a flex someday."

We have had several conversations over the past two years about my 6500. But even a 6300 was $1000+ more than the price he paid for the 7300. (Even more if he wanted the ATU).

I look for him to make the move in a couple of years.....maybe sooner after I demonstrate v.2.0 and WAN when it arrives.
(Edited)
Photo of Lee

Lee

  • 84 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
In 2 years there will be many choices...I hope Flex is the leader for many years to come.....Please don't let the others them pass you.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
@Walt, I forgot to answer your post. I am a member of both yahoo groups.
And not always a completely open forum (i.e eham.net) yields the best results. I think FRS does a pretty good job on this one, even if we sometimes get "passionate" about subjects.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
@Walt, I forgot to answer your post. I am a member of both yahoo groups.
And not always a completely open forum (i.e eham.net) yields the best results. I think FRS does a pretty good job on this one, even if we sometimes get "passionate" about subjects.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
No idea why I keep double posting and why I can't remove the second post.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
I thought I hit enter on that response. Top of page, about button, employee will resolve the question of employee count.. Steve who was introduced some number of years ago has nothing to do with counts now or tomorrow or next month.


I suspect rumors of the 7300 being the best thing since sliced bread is about as accurate as a signal from 1,000 miles away wiping out the 7300.


Even if the 7300 is vastly outselling the Flex line, it's a fraction of the price, that doesn't mean the Flex line isn't 2 or 3 of the best radios available. The Flex being really good doesn't mean the 7300 must suck (that is zero sum).
(Edited)
Photo of Lee

Lee, Elmer

  • 680 Posts
  • 287 Reply Likes
But then it appears the 7300 while not "sucking" is inadequate in this Icom fan's opinion:

http://www.eham.net/reviews/review/141497

Just a data point.

McDonalds sells a lot of hamburgers, that doesn't mean it's a good hamburger.  What do they call that "meat", pink slime?

I have seen Radio Havana (500mi) reach signal levels at my QTH which would crush the 7300's receiver.  Radio Havana beams directly at my house, and is the loudest station at my QTH on HF/MF.  It is louder than the 50KW AMer 10 miles away and the 10KW AMer 2 miles away.  None of them touch my Flex rigs, even on the 630M band.

I was running full duplex with 1100W a couple weeks ago running 2 DXpeditions at once

http://sdr-w9oy.blogspot.com/2016/04/why-i-own-flex-6500.html

So to which of these radios would one assign a STELLAR REVIEW?

73  W9OY
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
This is what Rob Sherwood measured:

Preamp OVF (Clip) Level
Setting dBm
Off -10
IP+ -10
1 -23
2 -27

Upon detailed review of the 7300's schematic, the conclusion is that the pre-amp ahead of the ADC should have less gain. In addition, as the pre-amp control lines are connected to the FPGA, the issue of too much gain might could be solved via a firmware update.

Further, these are some of Rob's comments regarding the overload "issue":

The Flex 6700 overloads around +11 dBm with the preamp OFF. -9 dB with preamp ON. The overload is soft, and I have never seen an overload indicator in the Flex software. I don’t think there is one. The ANAN-200D overloads about -10 dBm. There are minor variations by band due to the insertion loss of the front-end bandpass filters.

Also while the dynamic range is "only 81 dB" with no IP+, the radio degrades slowly. If one lets the third-order product increase 3 dB above the noise floor, instead of equaling the noise floor, the practical dynamic range is in the low 90s.

All 12 of my HF antennas are monoband, plus being in the country, I have not observed any overload except for IMD on 160 meters from AM BC stations. A 1.7 MHz high pass filter solves that. Likewise the FM broadcast station aliasing between 30 and 50 MHz goes away with a 54 MHz low pass filter. I can transmit through both of those filters.

With my narrow-band antennas I have not needed IP+ , the attenuator or even the preamps on the higher HF bands. Have not used the 7300 on 6 meters to any extent. There is no FM broadcast aliasing on 6 meters, only between 30 & 50 MHz and above 54 MHz. I have not seen so much chatter on the air from users of a new rig since the K3 shipped. I would think the 7300 is putting immense pressure on most of the Yaesu products and the TS-590SG.
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 4013 Posts
  • 975 Reply Likes
Well it shows one thing, SDR is really on the move. Many people would love an SDR radio if it can be had for the right money.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Why Bill? SDR has been around for quite some time e. Just not in the niche segment that is Amateur Radio. It doesn't raise the price of manufacturing, it lowers it
Photo of Gerald - K5SDR

Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

  • 830 Posts
  • 1515 Reply Likes
Walt, manufacturing cost may go down but software costs way go up if you have a big "S" in SDR instead of a little "s."
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1584 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes
@Bill. SDR is available for the right money. The Flex-6700 (#11 BTW) and Flex-6300 in my south and north shacks confirm it.

Everyone thinks they want million dollar and exclusive products for cheap. That is unless they are the seller !!

This stuff is not expensive. The 6700 and 6300 together cost less than the turbo I put on a motorcycle. All of that put together was half the cost of the prop AD I did on my bigger twin.

I'd rather pay a fair price and have support & updates than buy on price.

YMMV but for all the Flex, Ansn and other SDRs products are available at the right price already.

73

Steve
K9ZW
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
In fairness Steve the cost of a prop AD is completely unrelated to the cost of a hobby radio. I doubt anyone will bring a law suit against Flex because it stopped transmitting during a California wildfire. An aircraft falling out of the sky killing passengers and bystanders on the ground will bring law suits against any entity remotely involved with the aircraft, including but not limited to the prop manufacturer.

The first color TV manufactured would have cost millions of dollars to pay for both the fixed and incremental costs. Amortize that over 50,000,000 units and they can be given away as door prizes. On my current OLED television, each unit sold has its own screen but the software that runs it was written but once and merely loaded (copied) onto each of the 50,000,000 units produced.
Photo of Ken - NM9P

Ken - NM9P

  • 4239 Posts
  • 1351 Reply Likes
In 1993 I spent $1850 for a TS-850SAT with one optional 250 Hz filter in the 8.83 MHz IF. I later added $100 for another CW filter in the .455 IF. That is a total of $3213 in 2016 Dollars. More than the cost of a 6300, optional ATU, FlexControl Knob, carrying handles and rack mount wings.

The 850 was a mid-level rig, albeit an excellent one that I kept for 20 years. The Dollar to value ratio on a Flex-6300 is excellent.

A TS-950SDX at $3800 back then would be $6262 today, more than the price of a 6500, and almost enough for a 6700.

Expense is all relative.
Photo of Neal - K3NC

Neal - K3NC, Elmer

  • 563 Posts
  • 192 Reply Likes
When I re-entered the hobby my main expenditure  was high-end audio. Compared to that (or sailboats of which I was thinking of buying one) ham radio is a steal!
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
What's kind of humorous here is the point you guys are really, unintentionally, making. That is, that ham radio has become a (wannabe) rich man's hobby. Airworthiness Directives on ones larger twin, selfie working towards a ppl, buying a sail boat or thinking about it. That's fine. The people interested in the k3s, 7300, 6300 therefore likely aren't in your class, or actually are but have different priorities.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
I don't understand your post Walt. Have you seen the prices on a carbon fiber bicycle? Or a brand new motorcycle? A Gaming PC? A pair of sneakers?

Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1584 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes

The only important takeaway from all this is what Ken said "Expense is all relative."

It is easy to demonstrate that compared to a lot of indexes (average household income, average car price, or most stable measures of value) we're getting a lot of radio for the buck. 

We also have gear available to us at low price points previously thought unachievable for our hobby.

If you don't like my twin prop AD contrast (BTW it was on the bigger of the two twins I had at the time) that is okay, use another comparison.  If you think I am going to feel bad about having life-tools (or just even plain (plane) old play things) for some reason, well I'm not. 

Back on topic - I think it is easy to see that the Maestro with its "SmartSDR for Maestro" software has been the mechanism that moved the SmartSDR ecostructure to a LAN-able product and is leading that same ecostructure to the WAN-able future.

As so much of the Software for the Maestro project was accomplishing software developments that had to happen for LAN and WAN, potentially the software advancing will have been enhanced by picking up the Maestro project along the way.

Economically the project may have been a real advantage for further software development, but we will never actually know (nor should we expect to know).

For not unachievable amounts of money we are enjoy some pretty neat transceivers and software.  We are getting periodic updates included in our initial investment and even the major move forward will be pretty reasonably priced. 

Personally I am really enjoying my Flex-6000s, with the new Maestro accessory they have favorable caught the attention of the better half and a son, and I get updates that improve my radios in awesome ways! 

I'm having fun - hope you are too!

73

Steve K9ZW




Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
You guys misunderstood. Steve I don't know that I'd ever get a twin, a new Lycoming is ever so much more reliable than an old Continental for the weight it isn't practical, JMO. However, if I had to routinely ferry 12 people and couldn't afford a fractional then perhaps yes. Sal, $400 sneakers, I rest my case. CF bike frames, our son is into racing and century rides and has a CF frame on his racing bike. Should I ever win the lottery, my first purchase will be either a Piper or Cirrus personal jet. My point was only the expense of an affluent person's hobby does not magicly make 6700s and Maestro's inexpensive. Steve, it does my heart good knowing you like your toys.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1584 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes

Twins were all about crossing Lake Michigan, and were work tools to do that task in a way acceptable to our insurance company. 

Expensive/Inexpensive in hobby gear is a perceived impression contrasted with product performance/performance-expectations.  Hence the trio of price/feature packages (6700/6500/6300). 

In absolute terms a well antenna matched 6700 does much of what a serious man/machine investment did just 20 years or so ago - with the Flex-6700 coming in at 10% of labor and less than 1% of the costs. 

So is it expensive or is it cheap?  Depends on the reference point(s) used.

Regardless of absolute or relative costs, it is neat having both a 6700 and a 6300 how updates (and the Maestro) improve both the top & bottom of the product range. 

The thousands of volunteer Alpha Team hours (W6OY recounts in posts on another site that he received over 4000 Maestro Specific emails during the development process alone!) has had a positive impact on all flavors of SmartSDR software development.  I think that pretty much answers the question posed in this thread.

73

Steve K9ZW

Photo of Lee

Lee

  • 84 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
What does the talk about costs for toys etc.... have to do with the Maestro's impact in SSDR development?? It was about how some of us are disappointed about the Maestro (I will never want one) getting in the way of many things were wrer promised at Dayton etc...when we bought the radio.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1584 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes

@Lee - building the Maestro is hand in hand with the software's development. 

And honestly the question is moot, as the decisions were made & the product has launched - so anyone who doesn't want to believe that the Maestro helped advance and define the entire SmartSDR ecosystem is really saying that individual is unhappy with the course FRS picked.  I think in your restatement you make that more clear.

Since there is no going back - the Maestro with all of the improvements it brought to the SmartSDR suite are not going away - perhaps a better focus is on what comes next? 

I think all of our inputs help FRS as they chart towards the future of their products. 

Whatever you are looking for isn't going to be found in the past, only in the tomorrow's future!


73

Steve K9ZW


(Edited)
Photo of km9r.mike

km9r.mike

  • 425 Posts
  • 62 Reply Likes
@Lee for now , maestro and wan have zero added value for me. That may change in the future, but for now they are both meaningless to me. I do however love my flex SS rig and SSDR. Enjoy your wan.
Photo of SteveJ

SteveJ

  • 83 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
But wan has value for a great many others.  Would like to enjoy it whenever it becomes a reality.
Photo of km9r.mike

km9r.mike

  • 425 Posts
  • 62 Reply Likes
@steve, I am not saying it does not. I am certain that many desire this feature just like many desired maestro. I am just saying there is give and take and it can always be worse. I am however at this time more than content with just my flex SS rig and SSDR and am looking forward to additional transceiver related performance improvements via software and firmware updates. Patience is key and maybe what is missing.
(Edited)
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
There is a reoccurring assumption expressed in these forums that, IMHO, will come to nip FRS in the butt unless squashed today. Specifically, the assumption that the experience writing LAN software is directly transferable to WAN. It is not. There is a whole laundry list of challenges that need to be addressed and doing so is not trivial. Implementing reliable, secure, user friendly, and useful WAN capabilities is a huge effort that seems to be underestimated in this forum.

Without any judgement on FRS' developers- as I don't know what their skills are- the vast majority of developers do not understand the inner-workings of networking, HTTP/HTTPS, etc. They do know that if you send a packet from point A it will get to point B, but that's the limit of their knowledge. It is assumed that the network is there and developers should just focus on the app. This is one of the key reasons behind 95% of security vulnerabilities.

To be clear, my only recommendation to FRS is to proactively manage expectations that WAN capabilities are not trivial and will take considerable time. Letting the aforementioned assumptions run wild will only lead to user disappointment further down the road.

OK, I have one more recommendation- release WAN capabilities ONLY after they are fully baked, reliable, seamless, and as user friendly as FaceTime or Team Viewed. Don't assume that everybody has fast, reliable, low latency, and low jitter connectivity. Think security.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Interesting Rudy, as I've had similar issues rooting out what someone knows and does not know who enters a conversation, so welcome!
I think there is a different problem, and that is people's expectations with regard to WAN support. It's not simply routeable UDP packets, anticipated drop rates, and setting expectation over long mulicarrier paths, but how much of ones shack will be controlled or controllable from an indeterminate remote distance. The later expectation is outside the scope of moving TCP/UDP from a LAN to a WAN. Then there is to what extent, in a consumer market is AIM a problem that needs to be solved. Personally, I believe the later most definitely does and that, as you imply, is a very specialized area of software development.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
All good points but... does the majority prefer a "working with bugs" solution earlier or a "fully baked solution" later? I kind of prefer earlier... mainly because it is almost impossible to obtain a bug free solution. 
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1784 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
All good points but... does the majority prefer a "working with bugs" solution earlier or a "fully baked solution" later? I kind of prefer earlier... mainly because it is almost impossible to obtain a bug free solution. 
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
What makes this different Sal is real liability, ala Steve's propellor airworthiness directive.
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
It is roughly 80 times cheaper to fix a bug during testing, before going live, than when in production. This number is certainly lower for FRS as support is mainly online rather than on the phone or on site, but the general principle still applies.

Then there is the PR aspect of it deterring buyers that are not tech savvy and unwilling to deal with the nightmares of connectivity. Releasing buggy software invites further bickering between the fan boys of different radio manufacturers.

If this was my business, I'd avoid it. I'd aggressively and proactively manage expectations.
(Edited)
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
The WAN cat is already out of the bag, but if this was my business I'd kill the entire WAN roadmap. Instead, I'd focus on finishing all core features, squashing bugs, and further refining the GUI. Meanwhile, partner with a third party that has the skills to develop a WAN solution.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1584 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes

Ever wonder how much of the difficult WAN part may exist from FRS's non-amateur radio products? 

As the Flex-6000 series has generally borrowed from technology at one point formerly unaffordable or otherwise unobtainable for amateur radio, the development curve may be about "ham proofing" things (that liability part) as raw core development?

Some parts may be licensed - could make sense. 

As you all point out certainly not easy, trivial nor risk-free.

73

Steve K9ZW

Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
What are the non-amateur products and who is buying them?
Photo of Jay -- N0FB

Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

  • 539 Posts
  • 213 Reply Likes
The products are on the website. The customers are likely the DOD, NASA, CIA, etc.
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
Yes, I looked at the website, but could not find evidence of major government sales under the Bronze Bear Communications name. Here's the government's transperancy report on the Bear:

https://www.usaspending.gov/Pages/Tex...
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
Photo of DrTeeth

DrTeeth

  • 1687 Posts
  • 389 Reply Likes
I do wish that people would stop using the word 'ecosystem' when talking about software. Even a child's dictionary will give the correct definition, LOL. Sounds like Flex have got some marketing chaps in. I wonder how long we will have to wait until we see Maestro adverts that talk about it fitting in with one's 'lifestyle'? < Big shudder>
Photo of km9r.mike

km9r.mike

  • 425 Posts
  • 62 Reply Likes
Thanks for the Oxford perspective. I am have having a difficult time as well trying to accept ecosystem and for me it does not jive : ) . See that was easy. Ecosystem does not work for me either.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1582 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes

Is there a better descriptive for the Hardware (Radio Server (6000s), HUI (Maestro, FlexControl) and Third-Party Hardware (4o3a Genius Series comes to mind), Firmware (the Version of SmartSDR in the FPGAs), Software (SmartSDR for Windows, SmartSDR for Maestro, DAX, SmartCAT), Third-Party Software (DDUTIL, K6TU Products, DogparkSDR) and the API/SDK? 

Oh and I forgot the active user level product feedback loops (Community), large very active volunteer Alpha Team, FRS Engineering Team and Third-Party Engineering personnel. 

There are also Business inputs/interactions, largely FRS/BBC but also marketplace driven.

And their are the visionaries - many overlap the FRS team and leadership, but that part of this system would include many of you as well.

Having learned a little bit about the philosophy behind FRS/BBC the feedback loops from their adaptation of some GGOB precepts is a strong behind the curtain system to remember to include in the overall system. 

"Platform" doesn't do it justice. 

From the Business Software world there is an existing use of "Software Ecosystems" to describe this amalgamation, but perhaps there are better terms?

Part of the reasoning behind Ecosystems in an instance like this is that the project is Deliberate and Guided.   It is also symbiotically codependent on multiple levels. 

With a background more familiar with General Systems Theory and Management Cybernetics, "Software Ecosystem" seems a viable label if there is no extant use of a better descriptive.

One take away from a brief reflection on the label is how interwoven all the parts are, how though we may disagree to what effect they interact, their interaction is crucial.

On in extremes will growth down in one part of the Software Ecosystem have only negative effects on another part.  Sometimes that may be to trim (deadhead) - the "Weed the Garden" as they say in the movies.

So is there a better label?

73

Steve K9ZW

Photo of Lee

Lee, Elmer

  • 680 Posts
  • 287 Reply Likes
In the first 1935 definition ecosystem refers to an organic system. In later definitions it was generalized to include complex networks and linked systems. I think the word excellently defines Flex Radio and its products.
Photo of DrTeeth

DrTeeth

  • 1687 Posts
  • 389 Reply Likes
@Steve K9ZW
"So is there a better label?" Why not invent one rather than hijack one from another scientific discipline and bastardise its meaning?

Everybody can find a source with a definition that suits their purpose, irrespective of the fact that even a simple internet search brings up the correct and much more widely accepted (organic/organism) meaning. In fact, I have given up scrolling down my search results ("ecosystem" for proof) as after a couple or so minutes, have yet to come across a definition that is not biological.

It is easy to see which is the more widely accepted definition.

Q.E.D.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1582 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes


@Guy - Try "Software Ecosystem" together, as the usage in the computing world is nothing new. 

Alas afraid in the combined usage your Q.E.D. is more a D.N.D. (Demonstrandum non demonstrate)!

http://www.drkarlpopp.com/SoftwareIndustryandEcosystems.html#.Vz3ksML2Yp0
http://www.amazon.com/Software-Ecosystems-Analyzing-Managing-Business/dp/178195562X?
https://ewseco.squarespace.com/
http://news.sap.com/topics/ecosystem/

Are links to some examples - SAP has used the term for a long time.  You will find publications like Forbes using the term. 

And again without an adopted different term it seems the best fit.

We don't have to go the way of "The Man Who Says Things In A Very Roundabout Way" when a label is already in use.

Of course if FRS has nomenclature that would be the preferred. 

73

Steve K9ZW


Photo of Lee

Lee

  • 84 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes

N2WQ's post make more sense to me than ANYTHING!

It is: The WAN cat is already out of the bag, but if this was my business I'd kill the entire WAN roadmap. Instead, I'd focus on finishing all core features, squashing bugs, and further refining the GUI. Meanwhile, partner with a third party that has the skills to develop a WAN solution.

Let's quit messing around with all the other stuff and get done what his post suggests.

If I were Flex I would do that for sure....as the other guys in SDR or already having products (Icom etc) I see as a definite threat. How many really want / need a Maestro? How many really want/need WAN? AS COMPARED to the radio itself. Oh well....time will tell the story.

Collins, Drake, Hallicrafters etc were king until the Japanese radios came to town....now there gone.

But are still really great radios by the way as I happen to have had most of them in the last 15 years.


Meanwhile, just powering up the 6500....a great radio already. (What will I have in 2-5 years?? The best SDR radio at that time as I love the SDR approach/performance (hoping it will still be a Flex)

Lee


Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Lee, would you elaborate on your last sentence, SDR approach/performance.
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
Well, not so fast with the Maestro. The 6700 is overpriced now, but will be just right if you slap the maestro to the front of the 6700 and turn it into a knobed radio. A preemptive move against the real competition that is yet to come from Icom and the current MB1 from Expert Electronics.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Yep, as I said in a previous post, that combination would be a real game changing winner...same price point. I expect to see a 7851 class 7300 at a Flex6300 price soon.
Photo of Rick Hadley - W0FG

Rick Hadley - W0FG

  • 607 Posts
  • 132 Reply Likes
The Maestro screen is not nearly large enough to take advantage of the features of the 6700, but a 6300/Maestro priced in the range of the current 6300 would probably work.  Anything more than 2 pans is going to require an outboard screen, IMHO.  Even with 3 screens and an outboard laptop, I find myself wanting more space for additional CW Skimmers without losing what I'm already displaying.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Rick, that's easy piesy. The best product information comes out of why so many 6000 owners spent up to 25% of their radio's price to get 2 slices , knobs, and dials.
Photo of Lee

Lee

  • 84 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
Why do they want them (Maestro) I played with it at Dayton...no interest.
Photo of km9r.mike

km9r.mike

  • 425 Posts
  • 62 Reply Likes
Why ask why? I suspect over 50% of the ham market shudders over the thought of a radio w/o knobs. It is simply a clinging to the past. Their comfort zone. A fear of pcs whatever. It is what it is. Proof is in the pudding when so many will settle for an inferior product from an unproven sdr competitor and drool over it's inferior performance.
(Edited)
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Sorry, my lapse, up to 50% the price paid for their 6000, in order to get 2 slices, knobs and switches. I'd like to see FRS be that company.
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
Well ill start with the fact that (according to them) they had 5x the amount of pre orders for Maestro than their projections so it is obviously a product that was in demand. so while you had no intrest Lee clearly the vast majority did.

I am a strong pc user but dedicated controls is a pretty big deal in my opinion. Instead of sliders all over the screen when playing with settings to work weak DX in a pileup i will appreciate having my filter and vfo settings right in front of me. I worked some big and weak dx fine with my crap vertical at my rental and the Flex has done a great job. my other rig a TT eagle has a lovely reliever but the conditioning you can do do the audio pales in comparison. when i worked VK0 i fired up the eagle and no matter what i did i couldn't clean it up well enough.

Ill finish with this. I am a young kid in the ham game, i have shown some old timers my 6300/ now a 6500. The lack of knobs is honestly the only hurdle to some. The performance is there and will only get better.

Okay i am almost done with this... This is an American made product which in my opinion is a dam good reason to buy, FRS doesn't have the budget that the big 3 in JA land have because those companies build all kinds of stuff. FRS from my observations way overbuilds the hardware inside of the machines power wise because there are always big improvements that can be made. Compare this to the hot new direct sampling rig from japan which is a previous production radio (dsp) with a direct sampling front end.

 We are all ham ops here. what comes to SSDR is gonna be good for someone with a PC or a Maestro. Enjoy the ride for a little while and have fun, As a RTTY user i was happy to see the RTTY filter come out, as a Budding CW op (Haven't gone on the air but have been doing a lot of practice) I hope the CW bug gets sorted which it sounds like it is coming to the top of the pile. I'm not a hardcore FRS fanboy but i believe the product is of great value and will only get better.

Steven.

Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. We are all entitled to them but lets be respectful and keep an open mind.
(Edited)
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Who is Steven and who are you responding to?
Photo of Jay / NO5J

Jay / NO5J

  • 1674 Posts
  • 263 Reply Likes
Walt

Maybe, Steve - N9SKM is Steven, that's how he signed his post.
I could be wrong, It's just an uninformed guess.

73, Jay - NO5J
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Well, since he isn't answering I'll assume he was answering a question of clarification I asked Lee. Steven's was an emotional answer rather than the technical one I asked of Lee. I know of no post being disrespectful on this thread. That last sentence appeared as an admonition to a Steven.

I, in fact, was offering a hope that FlexRadioSystems would come out with a rig with the specs were like the 6700 but with a std glass front panel with analog inputs and external computer control was an option not a requirementand belief such a radio would be an instant hit. Hardly disrespectful so it wasn't clear to me what that rambling tome was about.
(Edited)
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes

Yep it was a emotional vs technical post, and in general there are a couple of people that get pretty persnikity around the community.

The last sentance was not directed at anyone just a sig.

73

(Edited)
Photo of DrTeeth

DrTeeth

  • 1687 Posts
  • 389 Reply Likes
I still wonder why people decided to buy a rig without knobs and then flock like lemmings to but a product that just puts knobs on their rigs without improving performance.

In fact, it is my understanding that the full specs of the 6500 and the 6700 (number of VFOs, slices, panadaptors etc) cannot be used. Only the humble 6300 user is not restricted. Were people so desperate for knobs?

Was the popularity of the Maestro a negative vote, in fact a BIG thumbs down, for the current GUI? Maybe those looking for an SDR will see the popularity of Maestro as that and not even buy a Flex rig, let alone the optional knobs?

The more I think about this the more I wished I had studied economics and business management. I am having several interesting off-forum chats on this topic which just keep on going, as unfortunately, such speculative threads do not find favour here.
(Edited)
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
Different use case require different interface. If you are chasing a DX and have all the time in the world then tinkering with the mouse and the GUI is OK. If you are running in a contest and making 200 Qs/h anything that makes you move your hands away from the keyboard is nothing but a huge distraction that costs time and stamina, let alone if you have to reboot a computer. In fact, during a contest I rarely look at the radio and rely entirely on the tactile use of the radio.

Then there is the question of who buys Flex and why. Without any empirical data, my guess is that Flex buyers are people who 1) enjoy being on the leading edge of technology and 2) have disposable income higher than the average ham. Such buyers are far more likely to buy into the innovative spirit of Flex.

For my contesting use cases the Flex is a poor value and I would not buy one. I have been using a loaner for the past 6 months, but still don't think it can fit well in my SO2R contesting station; will be returning it to its owner soon. If I were a DXer that would be a different story.
(Edited)
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
What strikes me about the whole knob / mouse preference issue is the emotion put into it. I totally agree with Rudy on contesting, not that I contest any more. However, I have been known to chase DX and for that I find knobs and dials infinitely easier than a virtual UI. I might want to tweak the audio or the power level and moving a mouse away from the app it's on to move a slider is awkward at best. Further I find a signal strength reported as S9+20 infinitely easier to comprehend than figuring out how far into the red labelling did the red streak go. This, as it happens, is how I corrected that in XPSSDR. Until I partner with someone to do the mechanical interface on top of an Android OS, I am stuck with mouse movements to adjust things. Ditto for power out. Now, having said that, that is my personal preference. It, in no way, diminishes anyone else's personal preference. And, as the saying goes, that's why they made chocolate as not everyone likes vanilla.  To my point though, what I found very questionable is the, almost pejorative ridiculing many on here seemed to use to deride every one else as being a 'knobber' and unable to cast aside old outdated laughably quaint habits. This only to,apparently in droves, spend a large percentage of their original purchase price to go back, not only to knobs and dials and switches but to vfo-a and vfo-b. I recall an individual admonishing someone else for not being 'up to' handling 8 slices and mocking, "it does occasionally require an aspirin".

I agree with you Rudy on the market viability of a 6700 (or 6500) inside with a, as an example, TS-990S on the outside. That being outstanding performance on the inside and outstanding graphics on the outside with high mass tuning dial, switches and knobs.  I think that would be an outstanding addition to the flex lineup. Or, perhaps, a 2 slice 6500 on the inside. The reason 4 years ago I ordered a 6500 is I couldn't justify 4 slices so there was no way I could justify 8 and 6300 was not an option at that time.  The theory was,from what I was told, that one would use the FlexControl as a temporary crutch until they became acclimated to the mouse. Given what I did for a living I was intimately familiar with a mouse, and Carpel Tunnel Syndrome as well, but I was getting paid for that. Four years later I find the FlexControl invaluable as an input device to the flex.

Again though, that's all me, my preferences, my opinion. Others may or may not share it. I do agree with Guy, and clearly others, that the whole ridicule 'knobbers' only to beat feet to become one has a certain comedic aspect to it.
(Edited)
Photo of Lee

Lee

  • 84 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes

Knobed radio?? Huh??

If I wanted a knobbed radio...I sure wound not have bought a 6500. I love running the 6500 with a big 27" screen. I would have kept the Orion II if I wanted knobs. OR I would have kept my Collins equipment and the Drake stuff too...The R-4C I had was and still is very high on Rob Sherwoods list.

However some do like Knobs....they can't keep the Icom 7300 in stock anywhere. I don't mind needing a PC as I use one in the shack anyhow(don't most of you?)

As to the question on the Approach/Performance I was talking about the superb RX we get on the direct conversion...SDR stuff, (6500 in my case).

Lee



Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
I am all for factual, evidence based, comparative information but receiver performance? That would be the stuff that is irrefutable. But what you said is not it and neither is "you know, the SDR stuff". Questions can not become the answer.
Photo of Jay / NO5J

Jay / NO5J

  • 1674 Posts
  • 263 Reply Likes
Hmm, maybe a Quad-Maestro, or an Octo-Maestro as future models, to go along with the original Twin-Maestro early prototype model. 
Think Bigger!!!

The future hasn't even been manufactured yet,
and it's probably still open for suggestions.

73, Jay-NO5J
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
I don't believe the correct question is if it will happen, it is who will claim that market.
Photo of Lee

Lee

  • 84 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes

I'm a little confused here...so you guys are saying that you want knobs, but bought a radio without knobs....and now don't mind paying $1200 for knobs AND a screen that will not be effective for panadapter/waterfall for 4-8 slices? If that's true...then a MFG that has a Direct conversion front end with top of the line DSP from there backward will be wonderful? Of course it will be a knob radio. An entry level (excellent performance and value) just came out from Icom and loads of people are buying it so it does appear that's what a lot of folks want. I had a TT Orion II and for a long time was at the top of Rob Sherwoods list (still pretty high up) BUT I got the Flex for the way it works on a large PC screen and the direct conversion approach (many reasons) and the promise it will have the best performance with weak sig DX and close in selectivity...WITH a great GUI that will be enhanced as what I was shown at Dayton 2014 was just the beginning and have WAN by end of 2015.

So if it's that important to add knobs and eliminate the PC to delay all the other stuff...well I guess the direction sure changed after I bought the radio.

I may be all wet....but I don't see a huge number of Hams paying $4300-$7000 for a radio without knobs and then buying a add on for $1200 to make it a knob radio.

I do see a huge number of hams buying a radio that already has knobs, a direct conv. front end with world class DSP and performance top of the line for $2500-$5000. I think we now have the beginning and I think the above is coming soon from several MFG.  

I am saying....5 of my close friends just got 7300's. I spend an evening with on last week....and nothing I saw would have me get one instead of my Flex 6500...not so much from function/performance...but because it does not operate like my Flex.

You cannot run the radio fully, with no latency, from the PC screen Icom provided SW. AND it is a small screen, not a full any size you want PC monitor. The screen using Icom's current SW is not scalable...you don't get the full screen operation. Don't get me wrong it is very nice and for $1500...WOW. I guess we see where it goes from here. Let's get the core functions, GUI, other things needing improvement finished on the Flex! Then let's see if the other guys can ever get that beautiful full screen operation going, If they can...then I guess it will be very competitive.

Lee

Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Lee, that 4" screen ICOM or larger P3 screen or even larger 990S screen can all be put up on a monitor, 50" 4k, or Jumbotron. The difference is, it doesn't have to be. I think the meta conversation in this thread is does the popularity of the Maestro and the popularity of the 7300 (yes, currently entry level radio) signify a huge market opportunity for a 6000 series at their same price point but with a world class glass front end? The innards would be identical, the ability to have remote Maestro, just like Elecraft and many mobile rigs have a remote head, would still exist for those wanting seamless WAN access. Modern aircraft have glass cockpits but the yokes, foot pedals, radios, and nav are real physical devices not sliders and buttons control by a pilot's mouse.
(Edited)
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
IMHO, the killer configuration would be akin to the TS480, not the TS990- if you want to use the radio as a desktop radio, no problem, the front panel is attached to the main box. If you want to operate from the den, the office, or halfway across the world, you detach the front and take it with you. If you want flexibility, you connect the radio the network and can access either via the panel or a computer, thus having the ability to use the 50 4K Jumbotron.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Ah!, Ergo,"bolting a Maestro to the front". I think that would be difficult to do at the same price point. Allowing those that want to work remote to buy a maestro would still allow a revenue stream from that device.
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
This knobs vs mouse passionate debate reminds me of another one that is just as heated:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=RDMh...
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Too funny. I've been doing cross platform since early 90's and Java since 2000, which is to say I've been designing cross platform solutions for over 26 years, much of which included IAM. There is no debate, just unenlightened and enlightened.
(Edited)
Photo of Lee

Lee, Elmer

  • 680 Posts
  • 287 Reply Likes
If you want to bolt the thing to the radio just get ya some velcro
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
But I think implicit in what Rudy said was both for the price of a 6700. Maestro comes with it. I'd much prefer the same cabinet volume but higher with a TS-990s style front panel. Insides the same same SSDR (radio). If someone wants SSDR Windows, great, if traditional control, great, but same goodness inside the box.
(Edited)
Photo of Rick Hadley - W0FG

Rick Hadley - W0FG

  • 607 Posts
  • 132 Reply Likes
I believe there are as many reasons that a person may choose a Maestro as there are hams who buy them. Personally, I much prefer the SSDR GUI and mouse/Flex Control for my normal in-shack operating, but don't care for it as much if I'm limited to it on a remote laptop and its smaller screen. The Maestro, on the end table next to my easy chair is a much nicer solution, that let's me spend more time upstairs with the XYL. I can keep an eye on the bands, albeit without the convenience of CW Skimmer and rotor control that I've come to depend on for serious work, but the Maestro is fine for SSB and casual CW. The CW speed control knob is probably the best non SSDR function, but the ease of adjusting the AGC-T is nice too. I spend far, far more time just surveying the bands than I do transmitting. What I'm really looking forward to is being able to do that from our usual vacation locations in AL & FL. I'm afraid that the summer home in MN is non-Flexable until we get real internet service with usable speeds. BTW, I bumped into Gerald and chatted with him in the elevator tonight, and said 'hi' to Tim as he passed through the bar/restaurant area where we were having dinner. Looking forward to the Flex banquet tomorrow.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1582 Posts
  • 775 Reply Likes


Picture is one fine reason to pick a Maestro as a complement to a Flex-6000.  Using the SoftEther VPN over Raspberry Pi setup Chris K6OZY shared with us all, this is the setup to make voice QSOs from work using my home station.  

YMMV but I can tell you that middle son KC9FVR and I had a blast putting this together and running QSOs!  

And QSOs and Fun is what this hobby means for me.

73

Steve
K9ZW
Photo of Steve (N9SKM)

Steve (N9SKM)

  • 198 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
You know what the best part is? 2 Pi's are far cheaper than the remote rig equipment and no nead for a PC either side! Awesome!
Photo of Rick  WN2C

Rick WN2C

  • 313 Posts
  • 47 Reply Likes
I have heard this (or seen) on several threads around the interweb that the 7300 has a very quite receiver and the noise reduction works very well.  
My question is if it is so quite then why is the comment about the noise reduction being so good being made in the same post by the poster.?  It would seem to me that if the radio was quite, then there would be no need to use the noise reduction.
(Edited)
Photo of Varistor

Varistor

  • 334 Posts
  • 74 Reply Likes
It's not just the 7300, but all new Icoms. The perception of a very quiet receiver comes from the following:

1) Low noise and IMD
2) Effective AGC
3) Narrow filters that do not ring
4) Effective NR and NB without audio artifacts

Somehow the default settings have been chosen very wisely so that you don't need to tinker with the dials to get a good copy. For example, AGC has been reduced to just a delay setting.

In other words, it is the combination of hardware and DSP software that make the Icoms so popular. IMHO, Icom has some really talented DSP engineers.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
No AGC-T? More chewy goodness.
Photo of Lee

Lee, Elmer

  • 680 Posts
  • 287 Reply Likes
I guess the question is quiet compared to what? My experience is SDR in general is far quieter than analogue radios especially crystal filter radios. Quiet was also my experience as far back as the SDR 1000
(Edited)

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.