Remote CW with a paddle and Maestro - it works!

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  • Updated 7 months ago
I really wanted to see how sending CW with a paddle via Maestro would work remotely.  This morning I made about a dozen contacts with Maestro + paddle + SmartLink connected back to the 6500 in the shack via an Android smartphone acting as a Verizon hot spot. 

Because I wanted to see if I could get the same UI experience as when the Maestro is on the shack's LAN, the Maestro settings for FPS (panadapter frame rate), Rate (waterfall speed), etc. were not changed. 

Obervations
-Wow! It really works! :) Kudos to the Flex team!
-Great fun @ 30 WPM during this morning's Mini-CWT contest. 
-No need for any mental timing compensation.
-Tuning with the Maestro knob, or tapping on the screen, works like in the shack.
-The panadapter and meters on the Maestro work just as in the shack.
-A downside: the not so nice sounding Maestro CW side-tone when remote.     

My conclusion
I'd say all things considered, if you want to send CW with a paddle..and want a great remote setup ... get a Maestro and go for it!

73,
John AF3K

MORE DETAILS

Data Usage:
-Maestro network info showed 156ms latency and rx rate of 1438 kbps.
-Used 288 Megabytes of billable data in 30 mins. 
-Equivalent to 7.6 Megabytes/Min
-Equivalent to 1 Megabit per second.
-Not sure why the discrepancy between the billed rate of 1 Mbps and the 1.438 mbps Rx rate reported in the Maestro screen.
-To reduce data usage there seem to be lots of things to try that don't change the experience all that much - I noticed for example that in addition to changing FPS and Rate, enabling the new 2.0 "metering sidebar" reduces bandwidth by about 10% - I'd guess because less panadapter data is needed. 

Remote setup details:
-Paddle plugged into Maestro CW jack
-30 WPM using Maestro Winkeyer 3
-Maestro running SmartLink and WiFi
-Android phone acting as WiFi hotspot
-Verizon Internet LTE (SpeedTest: 64Mbps/28Mbps 36ms latency)

Shack setup details:
-6500 via ethernet to router 
-Arris TM822R DOCSISS 3.0 cable modem
-Comcast internet (SpeedTest: 180Mbps/24Mbps 10ms latency)
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John - AF3K

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Posted 2 years ago

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Mark WS7M

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Thanks John for a great post!   I don't have a maestro but it is nice to know this can work.

30 wpm!  Wow... when I try to send that fast my paddle I sound like some 2 year old playing around with the key!   I'm copying these days about 22 reliably and callsigns, 5NN, etc at about 40.  But I sure cannot send that fast.
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John - AF3K

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Mark - BTW... re: sending @ 30... It's at my upper limit, and only doable for short contest type exchanges. It's also a pretty new experience for me. The enabler being the (splurge) upgrading of the old Vibrokeyer to a Begali Mono.  - 73, John, AF3K
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Andrew Thall

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The answer is probably self-evident but does it work with a bug or a straight key?  I don't use keyers.  Like another poster, I didn't know about the Maestro supporting CW -- that was my big gripe when Version 2 came out -- I couldn't send cw -- except via keyboard with the remote set-up I had, so, I abandoned remote operations completely.  Looks like I may pick one up at the Hamvention.
One other question -- was the remote from some distance via internet or via your local wi-fi?

Andy, k2oo
(Edited)
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John - AF3K

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Andy -

1) I haven't tried it, but the v2.4.9 Maestro manual (3 Jan 2019) says you can use a straight key, which implies a bug would be fine as well. 

2) Most of the remote operation I've done uses my mobile phone as a hotspot. The path is: Remote Maestro Wifi <--> Wifi hotspot on phone <--> Verizon LTE wireless network <--> Internet <--> AF3K Comcast Internet <--> AF3K shack router <--> AF3K wired connection to Flex 6x00.

The Flex Maestro manual mentions that wired connections are generally preferred.
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Jim Gilliam

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That was a great post. Sir, you made my day!


Jim, K6QE

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Chris

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Are you using a Winkeyer?
Do I have to attach a winkeyer to the Maestro to work wit a Lambic Paddle?

Thanks for the great post.
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John - AF3K

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Chris - Maestro includes an internal Winkeyer. Just plug your key or paddle directly into the jack on the back.  There is a knob on the Maestro front panel that controls sending speed.  There is also a setup screen accessed from the main menu for detailed settings (iambic A, iambic B, reverse, etc.). 
73,
John AF3K
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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I've been running CW with the Maestro for a year and a half, and have never had a problem (except for disliking the sidertone) at all. I run normally between 25-30 wpm and have the F1 and F2 keys mapped to CWX for quicky DX QSOs. The Bencher paddle works fine too.
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Larry Krainson

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Is there a way to set memories on the Maestro for cw?

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John - AF3K

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Larry, 

1) Frequency memories are accessible via Maestro Menu -> Memory.
2) CW keyer memories can be assigned to F1 - F6 via Menu -> Function F1-F6
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Dave Gipson

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OK John.. I don't know where I missed it before but you just sold another Maestro for FlexRadio. To me, being able to operate CW remotely is a must and your post is the first I've seen to definitively say it was possible and doable. Guess it's time to get the checkbook out. Matt????
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John - AF3K

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Dave - Wow. I hope you like the setup or I'm going to feel bad. 
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Dave Gipson

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I'm sure I will. I've been looking for an excuse to pull the trigger. I'm sitting in a hotel room in Lexington, KY trying to operate and will be here another week. I am using the CWX but  would like the ability to use my key too. 

I have a 6-8 week road trip coming up and will be operating from the hotels and motor home. Hey Flex.... you bringing any Maestro's to Dayton to sell there? 
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John - AF3K

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One thing I couldn't do with the Maestro remote configuration was hear the CW sidetone when using programs like N1MM+ that generate CW.  However, this can be accomplished by adding a WinKeyerUSB and running N1MM+ on a laptop next to the remote Maestro.

This WinKeyerUSB setup provides sidetone from the Maestro for N1MM+ generated CW. A paddle may be used simultaneously.  CW speed is changed from within N1MM+ as you would expect. 

Here are the details:
  • Connect the RCA Key1 output of the WinKeyerUSB to the Mestro Key jack.
  • Connect the USB output from the Winkeyer USB to the PC running N1MM+
  • Note the COM port used by Winkeyer USB on the PC - (COM 3 in my case)
  • In N1MM Configurer --> Hardware, select the WinkeyerUSB COM port, and check CW/Other. 
  • Do not setup a Flex Winkeyer CAT port in N1MM+.
Caveats and more:
  • The above is using v2.4.9.45 of the Flex Maestro software, I haven't tired it on earlier versions.
  • If you don't have a WinkeyerUSB handy, it might be worthwhile waiting to see if Flex offers a more elegant solution in subsequent versions of SmartSDR before purchasing a new WinkeyerUSB.
  • If all you want to do is use a key or paddle with a remote Maestro (no PC generated code), Maestro has an internal Winkeyer and generates a sidetone out of the box - no need for a WinKeyerUSB.  
  • VE6WZ points out in his post another alternative if you are OK with typing CW - no paddle.
Remote N1MM+ setup for WinkeyerUSB:



Remote Maestro CW setup when using WinkeyerUSB:


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Mark - WS7M

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Seems like this is a very nice scenario!
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Tim VE6SH

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Tnx John. I will try this as well.

Tim VE6SH