Should I buy the Maestro

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I'm a early pre-order customer 5/19 4:58p., Since it has taken this long to get close to receiving my new 6400, which I paid in full last week. I have saved up enough to buy a Yaesu 450 rotor and a K4JIO Hex beam with just enough left to get a Maestro.

This will be my first Flex and SDR radio, the Yaesu FTdx3000 will be boxed to take to its new home at a friend’s house shortly.

So I have a couple questions I would like to ask.

I never had a radio without knobs and I see that a lot of people have their Maestro's in the closet or put away. I also see a lot of people ordered a (M) version of the 6400 and 6600.

For those who use their Maestro's instead of the PC what advantages do you feel it has or what do you like about using the Maestro. I am a CW op first and do not like being unable to use a key on the laptop would be one negative for PC.

I will be retiring in about a year, and we are looking to buy a condo in the Rivera Mia area in Mexico and living there 6 months out of the year. So remote operations capability is key. How well does that work with the Maestro.

Since I am primarily CW, can you plug in a keyboard to use the CWX function and setup profiles in the Maestro.

How well does the Maestro play with programs like HRD, N1MM, WSJT-X and other programs running off the PC.

Does the coming version 2.1 on the PC have anything over the latest version on the Maestro or is it the same.


Thanks in advance - DE KC3DOF
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Robert Greene

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Posted 5 months ago

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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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I had ordered the 6600M originally and changed it to a 6600 and Maestro instead. The Maestro allows for remote operating, not only from afar over WAN but also around the house. Family room while watching football or baseball, out on the deck on a nice summer day, etc.

You can also use it at the operating position to free up the PC monitor for logging, digital and other software or just web browsing and email. It is about how do you want to operate?

For operating CW local to the radio, plug the key into the radio and not the PC or Maestro.
CWX from a laptop does work well and I use it for live CW keyboard typing instead of using a key.

I actually have two Maestros. The original hardware version and the new hardware version. Only difference is location of the power button and the original you need to plug in every couple of months if you are not going to be using it long term to charge the internal battery. I plan to keep the original Maestro plugged in at my desk at work when I go back in a couple of weeks. The new Maestro will be used locally in the shack and remote (have a Pelican travel case for it)

Dave wo2x
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Robert Greene

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David, thanks for the info. Should I also put the microphone, PTT, and powered speakers in the radio instead of the Maestro.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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If at the operating position, yes. That would give lowest latency.
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David Marotti

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I have a Maestro and love mine!  I prefer it to the PC because I too prefer dials and knobs.  I also have Smartlink configured on mine so that I can used it remotely, and run it via a hotspot on my phone.  So hands down, I would recommend it.  Also, the VFO knobs (especially VFO A) is so well balanced, it is a pleasure to spin to move down the band.  Or, alternatively, since there is a tablet built into the Maestro, you can just double tap to move down the band quickly as well.  It's a well build piece of equipment that you will be proud to have in your shack.  I also bought 2 of these batteries from Amazon @ $17 a piece.  And at 20,000mAh, I can operate all day without a plug.  How can you go wrong?

To be fair, I also have an iPad and bought the Smart SDR software (2.2.2) with the added Band and DX Cluster plug-in's.  That too is amazing.  I have Apple airpods (wireless ear buds), and they work perfectly too.  I had a QSO with So. Africa the other day (from NJ) and the operator at the other end asked me what mic I was using because I was so clear.  He was shocked when I told him I was remote, on an iPad, and using wireless earbuds.  This software is amazing!  I only wish that that spots can be shown on the Maestro the way they can in iOS (see my other thread).

You might ask why did I get the Maestro if I use an iPad.  Well, I'm a mix of old-school and modern I guess.  I love using them both for specific reasons.  If I want to casually operate, I'll use the iPad.  If I want to work stations all day, then the Maestro is the ticket for me.  I also prefer wearing a headset in my shack.

Hope this helps you to make your decision.  BTW, for transporting the Maestro, I use a police duty bag I have (with dividers).  It's rugged, durable, and yet soft inside to protect the Maestro and miscellaneous accessories I store in there as well.  It's a great system for me.  Best of luck!

David, NK2Q


https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B073X3Q5LN/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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wb7ond

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Thanks for the tip on the duty bag, Amazon has a great selection, I had never paid much attention to those bags, they sure have a plethora of compartments.  Again thanks...
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Robert Greene

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Thanks David for your thoughts on the Maestro. Lucky me I got a $50 Amazon card for Xmas. just enough for two batteries for the Maestro and one spare for my GoPro Hero6. I also checked out the Police duty bags, looks like the bags I take to the gun range.
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David Marotti

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Yes, police duty bags are bigger than most gun range bags, so make sure you review the sizes first; although most are pretty much the same size.  I've use one for years in my patrol car, so I'm used to the weight.  It's definitely a personal preference, but I love mine for my Maestro.  I have a few. ;)
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Scott Russell - N1SER

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Excellent post David. Thanks!
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Gary Johnson

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The M version lets you play radio without the hassle of dealing with Microsoft updates.  The M version,  I understand runs Windows 10, but this version is proprietary to Flex and they get to massage any updates prior to my downloading them.  A Maestro or other computer will work with an M version, especially after Multi-client becomes reality.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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Maestro also does not require Microsoft updates.
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KF4HR

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I hadn't thought of that.  Excellent point Gerald.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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They run virtually the same software.
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KF4HR

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It wouldn't surprise me if those that have opted for one of the "M" models, also pick up a Maestro since the Maestro's display basically mimics the M's display, but adds portability. 

I actually prefer running SmartSDR using a PC and the Flex Knob, but for portable use I prefer the Maestro over an iPad.   
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Gary Johnson

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I probably will be one of those, once Multi-client becomes reality.  2 operators, 1 radio.  How sweet is that??
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David Salomon

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Speaking of Multi-Client, does anyone know if is will be a limit to the number of simultaneous users that will be supported?

For example, I will have the 6600M.  Will I be able to use the front display, and a PC via hardwired Ethernet and an iPad simultaneously?

73 - David, AG4F
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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The details of how multi client will work have not been released so unknown what Flex is designing in that regard. They have not talked about when it will be available. 

I would guess we will learn more as it gets closer.

Dave wo2x
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David Salomon

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Thanks Dave.  I thought it already existed for the previous signature radios.  I guess I read some post from somewhere incorrectly.  For my operating style, I probably wouldn't use that much, if at all anyway.  I was just curious.

73 - David, AG4F
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Gary Johnson

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All of the limited knowledge of multi-client comes via Duffy at last years Texas State Convention in Austin.  I understood from him that you could have the primary user plus one other, each with up to 2 slices on a 6600M.  How the radio tracks who is talking and on what band is somehow hidden in the software.  How the radio will do it is of no interest to me - just look forward to doing it.  How that works in contesting (1 radio 2 operators - Multi Multi I guess) - I haven't a clue.  Would be a screaming good time at Field Day though or roving on state QSO parties.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Duffy?

Just asking...  :-)
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KF4HR

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I assume he meant to type Dudley.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Yes I know. Just having some fun.
Sorry for my weird sense of humor.

We need more humor!

Dave wo2x
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Gary Johnson

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Begins with a D, ends with a Y.  I'm 68.  How much memory can I expend in any one sitting.  At least I didn't screw up his call - then I truly would have committed a cardinal sin.
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Gary Johnson

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I got 3 of the 6 letters correct.  Be kind to we older folk.
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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I knew who you meant. My answer was meant to inject some humor. Believe me, I am one of the worst at remembering people’s names.

Dudley is a great guy.

73
Dave
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Duffy??? I was wondering if K3LR jumped ship from being a hard core ICOM guy. I knew 6 meter BBQ was jointly done with Flex, but... :)
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Gary Johnson

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One would think that they would run virtually the same software - in either case the user is protected from Microsoft by Flex and that helps me sleep better at night.  Microsoft just realized my XYL's computer which  she uses to run Bernina Embroidery software (requires Microsoft 8) so when she forgot to disconnect from the house WIFI, they dutifully upgraded her laptop.  Now I have to try to reverse the install to get back to Windows 8.  Windows 10 is like the BORG - everyone will be assimilated.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Official Rep

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Gary, you are correct. Both run virtually the same software and are “locked down.”
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KF4HR

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Gary - my xyl is in a similar situation, but worse, a business environment.  She runs Coastal Quilting Plus, a nationwide quilting business.  Thankfully her long arm sewing equipment, while running a version of Windows, are never connected to the internet, so she doesn't have to worry about Windows upgrades messing things up.  Having Windows "locked down" certainly has its merits!
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Gary Johnson

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When I want to use the radio, I don't want to first have to play computer technician.  Just leave me alone to play in the magic that is radio.
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Robert Greene

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Thanks everyone for answering my Maestro questions. After reading them all and watching every Maestro Youtube video last night, I decide to give it a go. So I will add it to my to be shipped when I get my email to verify my purchase. Hopefully it will be next week. 
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I am not a knobs person at all. I find the Maestro to hinder my operating style and I like everything accessible in one place. But it's good that we have choice. 

If you aren't getting a Maestro now, try SSDR without it. If you find that you need the knobs, you can always get a Maestro after.

I may go against the grain for this, but I don't generally recommend the M models unless you HAVE To have an all in one with knobs or you want the HDMI out separate from a computer. I nearly always recommend the plain faced 6600 or 6400 (or 6500, 6700 or 6300) and a separate Maestro as an option. This way you can take it anywhere, SmartLink or simply wifi on your couch, or in a hotel room or something. Even on the same desk you can tuck the radio away on a shelf and have the maestro on your desk. 

Ria
N2RJ
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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I was originally going to order the 6600m but changed it to the 6600 and Maestro combo. I am fortunate to be testing them and glad with my choice for my operating style. I now own two Maestros. The original one will be left on my desk at the office to use at work during lunch. I use a Maestro every day from the family room while watching tv.

When in front of the operating position I have a dual monitor setup and run SmartSDR for Windows along with logging, amp Control and other software.

The M series radios make sense for those who prefer to have the radio at the operating position and is completely self contained. It does not depend on a computer, network or other clients (Maestro/SmartSDR for IOS) to operate.

It is all about choice and picking the solution which fits your preferred operating style.

Dave wo2x
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Brad A. Steffler

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I think that the present point anc click interface is terrific. I am 69 and I remember when we went to key board entry from punched cards ( I worked as a Fortran IV programmer then). I was ecstatic with the new keyboard, character-oriented interface and ASCII rather EBCDIC! When we got the mouse and graphical interface, I found myself in heaven. I have no desire to go back to knobs. The combination of the graphical user interface and my ear hearing what comes out of the headphones or speaker work to make operating terrific fun and quite fast as well. Do I  have a little nostalgia for spinning the dial on a Hammarlund receiver on a cold winter's night hearing all the signals from the ether? Sometimes...Nah. Give me point and click. At least one old geezer prefers no knobs!

Robert, you will love the point and click interface!

Brad
KE4XJ
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I started with patch panels and was thrilled to graduate to paper tape

I love Point and click. So add another even older geezer who has little use for knobs