Status, SmartSDR 2.0?

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A few years back, Flex Radio Systems released a roadmap for SmartSDR. It stated that version 2.0 would be released sometime in 2015.

With v1.4 being delayed, it came as no surprise that v2.0 would also be delayed. However, since then, the roadmap has not been updated, but rather removed, and there is no word on the ETA of v2.0. Perhaps FRS can shed some light on this?

As I have also indicated in my post about nine months ago (https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/smartsdr-remote-operation-wish-list) my primary interest in v2.0 is the ability to operate remotely. If possible, it would be really interesting to hear exactly how this feature will be implemented in practice.

Regards,
Bjorn
LB5TG
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Bjørn Ove Kristiansen

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Posted 4 years ago

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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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I  don't have any insight into their product release plans but I'm quite curious as to what FRS will announce at Dayton this year.  
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Bjorn

Like you, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of 2.0 WAN.

Unfortunately due to vociferous complaints (whiners)  about the Roadmap timetables, Flex was forced to remove any mention or prognostications about future plans.

Everything we know about the future is normally detailed in the Flex Insider. 

Beyond that and possibly the Flex Dinner at Dayton, your guess is as good as mine about when V2.0 and especially true WAN features will arrive...

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K2CM

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I have my Flex 6.7k on line remote. I have a simple technique and Howard has a simple technique. You can operate remotely now.
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Bjørn Ove Kristiansen

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Hello K2CM, and thanks for taking the time to respond.

Yes, you are right. But using Flex-6xxx in a remote setup is not an ideal user experience at the moment, for various reasons which I pointed out in the thread I linked to in my previous post. Hence I think the questions I am raising are fair. And also, given that FRS themselves have given me reason to expect a proper remote feature through their previously public roadmap (an important decision factor when I bought my radio) I don't think it's too much to ask for an update at this time.

Regards,
Bjorn
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Walt - KZ1F

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I would contend just the opposite. The existing method of remoting offer full shack control. Running Maestro remote does not provide shack control, leaving people to require a secondary path into their shack and an additional vectors to potentially be exploited by the ebil doers.

I wouldn't expect Toyota to announce what they'll be shipping for 2017. Why should anyone expect FRS to?

I believe burt's observation is sound.
(Edited)
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Asher - K0AU

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Don't blame the whiners.  It's the Internet - whiners are everywhere. 

A few whiners whined and Flex elected to stop publishing a road map.  Which is a bit sad, since the real challenges in station building (after antennas) are hardware and software integration - not box performance.  Not that Icom/Yaesu/Kenwood have figured any of this out, but we can't count on them not figuring out how to build a modern SDR RF deck forever.  Analog Devices will be happy to share a few clues on fast ADCs and decimators if they haven't figured it out already.

I'd like to get integration guidance (and software support) for things like antenna switching between ANT1 and 2 on my 6700 to use both SCUs in a way that doesn't drive most loggers insane and protects the second SCU on transmit. 

I'd like to get a roadmap that says when the Maestro will coexist with SSDR so I can decide how much more time to spend on my own FlexLib control software that works with a 3rd party control surface.  I'd like to see / learn if the Maestro CW integration properly handles the paddle/sidetone/N1MM+ cases I've painfully integrated with 3rd party gear.

I'd like to get a roadmap that says when I can control multiple Flexes from a single SSDR instance (if I can't get good antenna and amp switching control then I'd probably redesign my station with 2 x 6300 or 6500+6300 for full redundancy rather than 1 x 6700) but I can't control multiple 6300s from the same client.  Of course this means smart audio, keying and control routing as well.

I'm actually a bit frustrated with the "whisper, whisper we're working on great contest integration" story.  I've seen dozens of good ideas for tighter contest software integration with station control and loggers.  As a tech guy I'm sad that it takes a box of software shims to tie the various pieces together - I've been in tech long enough to know the shims all go TU in the middle of a contest when you really need them.  Better to have one stack that's solid than options on 12 stacks held together with bailing wire.

I've been on the 6K train since before the general release and it feels like we're a bit stalled right now.  I love the Flex performance but we need to see the software go somewhere more innovative than a standalone GUI glued to a few knobs that takes a year to release.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Asher, what was it you ordered in 2012?
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Burt Fisher

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I had thought Sept 2016, now as Maestro drags on I guess a year from now, 2.0 although I think it possible not ever. But I bought accepting what we have now is it. What we have now is amazing, think of it!
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DrTeeth

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The v1 series has a way to go before v2 should be released IMHO. AIUI, v1 will be feature-frozen when v2 is released.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
The "ETA" for SmartSDR v2.0 is after the initial Maestro release (v1.7) and the Maestro/SmartSDR follow-up release (v1.8).  This infers we plan to start working on 2.0 by late summer. Other than the previously announced WAN connectivity feature, we have not done release planning, therefore, we have not decided on what other features will be included in SmartSDR v2.0.  Once we know, I am sure we will share our release plan.
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DrTeeth

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Thanks Tim. If I am correct in my understanding that v1 will be feature frozen, only getting bug fixes when v2 is released, when will you be in a position to say what features and fixes will be included in v1 before the freeze? Personally, I am thinking of all the GUI/usability requests, possibly further work on noise mitigation and band edge markers.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Thanks Tim!
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Rob N4GA

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If WAN was in included from the start, FLEX would of clearly won the race by now.

Probably they already have but nobody would even care about any other SDRs.

All other requests are minor wants and needs compared to WAN.
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DrTeeth

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All the people who have been clamouring for WAN have already managed to setup remote working. I would say that as it is easily possible now, the urgency for native WAN support has much diminished taking the pressure off Flex.
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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I am inclined to agree with you Guy..  Whatever the official definition of remote is.. the flex can be operated remote now and how to do it is well documented.
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Burt Fisher

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If there never was a Maestro would 2.0 be out by now?
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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You'll have to find a parallel universe full of hams and set up a control experiment to find out.....

Actually I would venture that if a firm wasn't the innovator that could bring out a product like the Maestro they would not likely be the innovator who could do a 2.0 feature set. 

Much of what technology goes into SmartSDR 1.7/1.8 is obligator precursors to 2.0.

While there isn't a way to measure it, there has likely been both delays and acceleration in 2.0's development as a result the Maestro project.

73

Steve K9ZW

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Bjørn Ove Kristiansen

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First of all, thank s to Flex for an official response.

To those of you that think urgency of this has been reduced, I respectfully disagree, and there are two reasons for this:

First, yes it is technically possible, but certainly not user friendly. But the most important reason is simply that Flex needs to be optimized for running over networks with limited bandwidth before this is a viable solution for a wide audience. Remember that in many places Internet connection is asynchronous, and an uplink of 1mbit/s or less (a common scenario with f.i. Adsl) will simply not work well at the time of writing.
(Edited)
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Jon - KF2E

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Bjorn, I wish you luck in getting what you wish. I'm not sure that Flex will be able to gin up the magic necessary to operate a Flex remotely over slow links. Skype, Gotomeeting and others have spent far more resources and the bottom line is pretty well known. My Flex only works adequately over a 100Mb ethernet link.
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Jon - KF2E

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Tim said...

This infers we plan to start working on 2.0 by late summer. 

So this means that any of the changes that users have been asking for are at least another year off?
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DrTeeth

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Tim, my understanding is that v1 will be feature frozen when v2 is released. I have said this several times in different threads and have not had Flex say that I am wrong...yet. I will not be happy paying for v2 to get features or enhancements that have been requested, let alone promised, before the feature freeze. I wonder if Flex could clear this aspect of v1 > v2? Personally, I do expect that Flex will not be one of those companies that release (fake) major releases just to invoke another payment. Personally, v1 needs a lot more work doing on it if there is to be a feature freeze when v2 is released.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Guy, at about the time 1.6 was released Steve said something to the effect that would terminate release 1. It was around the time I was asking if there was to be a final buff and polish (maintenance) release for 1.x. Strictly speaking, I suspect 1.x has been feature frozen for some time. Case and point, there is a noise blanker that, personally, I have yet to see do anything. If they were to work on it in 1.8 that would be maintenance, not a new feature.

As Tim said above, the only identified feature so far for 2.0 is WAN. Speaking strictly from industry experience, once a development effort pivots from release x to x+1, release x is in sustaining mode. New development is a different animal, tax wise, than prior releases. There are tax implications.
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WW1SS - Steve

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They need to get ALL the bugs out ov V1. Get the NB working decent before jumping into V2. I had the same gripe 2 years ago when I had the 6300. Get the core system 100% with everything working then add the features. Get the bugs outif V1 before abandoning it and working on WAN and V2
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Bill -VA3WTB

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The problem is, many think some things are bugs, but are really a planed function. Flex has made it clear in the past they will continue to work on known bugs through all the upcoming releases. Is it possible to get at a place when every owner will agree 100% it is complete? 100% free of bugs? A case in point, the noise mitigation, it is working as it is supposed to, for many it is wonderful and others have never seen it work because the noise they have is outside the use for WB noise blanker.
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DrTeeth

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I think it would be helpful if Flex could chime in and explain how v1 will be treated once v2 dev starts and after v2 is out wrt bug fixes, enhancements and maintenance. It could cut short another rapidly growing speculative thread.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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We have.  It is on the FlexRadio website on the SmartSDR product page under the Upgrades tab.  http://www.flexradio.com/amateur-products/flex-6000-signature-series/smartsdr/

The third bullet is the applicable piece of information.  I have reprinted the entire tab here for your convenience.

SmartSDR Software Upgrades and Licensing

Key Points:
  • All FLEX-6000 Signature Series radios are shipped with the latest major version of SmartSDR software.
  • Each major version of SmartSDR comes with free updates and maintenance releases for the life of that major release.
  • After a new major version of SmartSDR is released, maintenance releases for earlier versions will be provided free of charge on an as needed basis.
  • The choice to upgrade to the next major version of SmartSDR is yours. Your radio will continue to operate on its current major version of software as long as you choose.
  • Each major release of SmartSDR (v1.0, v2.0, v3.0, etc.) will have an associated license fee (currently $199.00 USD plus applicable tax).
Description:
Your FLEX-6000 Signature Series SDR comes with a version of SmartSDR software that will operate your radio as long as you want. Period. We will continue to make improvements and fix instabilities (aka "software defects") in that major version. At some point in the future, we will release a new major version of software and offer it for sale. It's up to our product management and amazing engineering teams to come up with exciting new features and capabilities to convince you its worth upgrading to a newer version. In the meantime, we'll work hard to make sure your existing software version remains stable and functional. (Note that anyone who purchased additional years of "Flex Advantage" when they purchased their FLEX-6000 Signature Series radio will be credited for that many major SmartSDR software version releases.)

We will support SmartSDR through all of our in-person, online, and distributor channels, in the same way we do today with our other products without any restrictive time limits.

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DrTeeth

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Mni tnx.
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KC2QMA_John

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Look forward to the next version of SmartSDR. When the Maestro is released will you be able to use simultaneously with SmartSDR on the PC?
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Walt - KZ1F

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I believe both Tim and Steve have both said 'not initially'.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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That is correct.  Simultaneous use of two GUI clients (SmartSDR and Maestro) will not be a feature of the initial Maestro software release.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Just by way of clarification Tim,at such time as multiple 'client gui' applications are supported it will support any two 'client gui' apps,not just Maestro and smartSDR?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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TBD
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Tim,
At Dayton last year Steve talked about a "controller mode" for Maestro.  The Maestro software version that provides only tuning and other "mega-Flexcontrol" type functions wouldn't be considered a client gui if I understood Steve correctly.  This version would not have a panadapter, or waterfall.  Instead it would display some radio information and have a few touch screen buttons along with the knobs for tuning, etc.  

At Dayton last year he said that capability probably would not be available initially.  But it would operate concurrently with SSDR just like the FlexControl and other third party controllers do today. 

Is this still accurate?

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

 
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Walt - KZ1F

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Tim, if I might vote on this early, I'd like it to be any two, or more, client GUI s

Thanks!
(Edited)
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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Although that would be optimal for the end user and the most desirable eventually, It would also likely heavily complicate the project. (since some clients are 1 slice only, some 2, etc.).  Starting with Maestro in a control or mirror mode would probably be easier and quicker to implement from a programming and implementation standpoint.. no inside info and I am just speculating.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Walt - your comments are noted.
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James Whiteway

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I like Walt's suggestion as well.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Well, now I know what I want for Christmas!
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Jay / NO5J

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George
Would that be next christmas, or the one after that?
73, Jay - NO5J
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Wish I had twice as many software engineers or days in a week.  I wish I could snap my fingers and get everything done on my to do list (and theirs).  I wish we didn't have to make hard trade offs every day.  I wish we had a team of people dedicated to just keeping up with everyone's wishes.  I wish software development were more predictable like loading the dishwasher (my wife loves me for loading and unloading that thing - very predictable outcome).  

Hmm, while we are wishing, I wish I were 40 years younger knowing what I know now.  Wish I could drop about 10 pounds.  I wish everyone would walk a mile in my shoes.  Oh well, I'm getting carried away....  

I wish it were April 1.  Gotta have a little fun.  ;>)
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Ken - NM9P

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So much for wishful thinking!  LOL!  Thanks for the laugh, Gerald.
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Charles - K5UA

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I wish I were 40 years younger and didn't know what I know now.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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NOOOOOO, Charles.  Youth is really wasted on the young in my opinion.  Although, ignorance is bliss until you hit the wall.
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Charles - K5UA

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LOL! Just keep on keeping on, Gerald. Only you know the best allocation of resources to achieve the goal you want to attain.

In my dental community, if 99.5% of a dentist's patients are happy, the 0.5% that are unhappy will make most dentists feel like a failure. In baseball, a 0.995 batting average would be considered superhuman..
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ka7gzr

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Gerald,

I'm not sure the point of your post. Is it to make excuses for your non performance with the 2.0 software and Maestro?

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Ken ve7kwa

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Yup... they shoulda closed it while was still constructive...
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Walt - KZ1F

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Yep, as I've said, the polar opposite of irrational exuberance if irrational anger.
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Jerry NY2KW

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Any update on SmartSDR 2.0 for WAN remote?
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Yes.

FAQs are at https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/new-flexradio-products-faq

Has been massively discussed in other threads (bet the wonky search engine on the community was the lead to this year old thread...)

73

Steve K9ZW

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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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It's in alpha testing right now and was demonstrated at Xenia. I believe they said that they are targeting a release sometime in June/July but don't quote me on that. 
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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As of FAQ release 1.1 (May 24th, 2017):


SmartSDR v2.x

When will v2.0 be released?

The target release date is before the end of June.

But it is best to keep an eye on the FAQ or other official FRS announcements.

Would be typical to see a FlexInsider Newsletter issue in the run-up.

73

Steve K9ZW

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