Using both Maestro AND Monitor together...

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Anyone else out in Flex 6K land wish we could use both the computer monitor AND the Maestro ? I like my Maestro but really miss looking at the 27" monitor. I want it all ! If there is a way to do this would someone please let me know.
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Brian Hemmis

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Posted 3 years ago

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Mike va3mw

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Brian. Unofficially, this is being discussed by the Alpha team as a nice to have. No plans yet, but you are not the first to suggest it. :)

73, Mike va3mw
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Brian Hemmis

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Tnx, Mike. I'm a recent returnee to the Flex fold. I like my Maestro and will ultimately be using it more for a remote from my 2nd QTH in FL. I was really surprised when I initially hooked it up that I couldn't use my monitor with it. That's half the fun of a Flex.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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If you have a 6500 or 6700 with 4 or 8 slices it is a bit more than "Nice to Have" I would say almost "Must have"

Right now using the Maestro makes my 6700 a 6300 and removes TNF and Downward Expander.... it is a considerable "downgrade" in usability. 

I personally would like to see those 3 things added in the next 6 months to a year otherwise the Maestro might not make a lot of sense to me. 
(Edited)
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Brian Hemmis

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You are correct, Salvador. Currently the Flex, the Knob and a big monitor are much more practical, convenient and fun to use. The promise of remote capability is the only thing making me keep the Maestro at this point.
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Mike va3mw

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I have been running only remote with my Maestro. In fact, I almost never use SSDR any more.

The setup to use Softether is not as complicated as it sounds. And, once you have it functional, imagine being able to take your Maestro and connect to your buddies station as a change of operating location. Spending some time learning SoftEther (or some other VPN) is time well spent.

The hardest part of remote operating is managing your antennas and amps. Remember, you can't twist any knobs now. Relays your friend.

I am a Hurricane Watch Net operator and while I was travelling for work, I was on the net in 4 unique locations, all using my Maestro, IOS, or SmartSDR. Awesome stuff.

For a large number of operators, most who may only have a 6300, the Maestro is a perfect match. And, you don't even need a PC.

Mike va3mw
(Edited)
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Understood Mike. I also think there is potential for the Maestro and I spoke with my wallet buying one.

But, if I use my laptop to control the Flex I can also work digital mods, log contacts and control other devices. The reality is that in order to use the Maestro efficiently in my station I also need a computer, and if I am already using a computer with a better screen than the Maestro, then why would I use the Maestro? 

I lose TNFs which is a huge deal for me because ANF is very crappy. I lose Downward Expander, which is even more necessary because I can be in a more noisy location with the Maestro, like outdoors in my deck.

I had to modify the hand mic and add a couple electret capsules to make it usable with the Maestro. The dynamic element from FRS is borderline adequate at best (for my voice).

Maestro doesn't have bluetooth, so I have to be tethered to the device. I can use bluetooth headset with the laptop.

The speaker on the Maestro is average with fairly tiny sound, headset is almost a must.

The idea of the Maestro is a cool one. On paper it was great. The device is built correctly... I don't find the construction to be any better that other similarly price electronics. Some things feel cheap, such as the ON OFF button. The screen is that of a regular tablet, not HD in there.

Other design decisions are just odd. Having the RJ45 plug in the back instead of the side.... weird, undue stress on the connector. I have to literally grab the device and look at the back to figure out where to plug things. Not having headset and mic on the front..... very weird.

I have the option to turn on the Speaker when I have headset on... or it seems so on the Menu, but the function doesn't work. I cannot hear on the Maestro speaker if there is a headset connected (which I can do with the radio). Limited functions available for the Fn buttons. The list goes on and on.

The last thing, the Maestro by itself is useless. A $1000+ device that will do nothing at all by itself. At least a laptop can be used for multiple functions. 

I imagine FRS will look into some of these things, or all of them, but since they decided not to share any roadmap anymore I have no idea what will happen in future upgrades so I have to take the device for what it can do today and make my decision of ownership on that.

If I have to score the Maestro in a scale of 1 to 10, I will give it barely a 5 in its current state. And that is because I feel generous.

While I was writing this I turned it on, it is plugged to my power supply and connected to my Gigabit network with a short patch cable to a smart switch, same switch where the Flex radio is connected.... so all ethernet with good quality cables and the Maestro has dropped 0.03% of the packets!!! in barely 5 minutes!

It is very difficult to like this device. :(

PS. A few more minutes while I reviewed my own post and the drop rate is 0.04%
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Mike va3mw

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Your packet issue is unique. I ran mine all weekend on a 100M lan cable hand wired back to a switch - 3 long days and not 1 packet loss. Zero. This with 2 others streaming NetFlix at the many times.

I honestly thing the newer switches and routers are not handling their buffers very well and the Maestro streams a ton of data.

My Maestro connection is the cheapest indoor CAT5 cable you can buy and it runs from my cottage to my boat house where the radio and the cable modem is. It is buried under the grass 1/2 the way and even has 2 splices in it due to the fact someone hit the cable with a shovel in 2 places. I just used traditional phone wire splicing techniques and some waterproofing. No time for proper RJ45s.

It has been i place (under the grass) for about 8 years now. Certainly not done to spec by any means. Thousands here will say it shouldn't be working , but it does and perfectly. This is the vinyl cheap crappy CAT5 that you can buy.

Can you check your Lan cable wiring and switch? Maybe try a different port or just change something in your network to see if it improves or changes. As Stu K6TU reported, he had a similar issue and it was related to a number of commercially available patch cords that were miss wired. Once he changed those out, it was rock solid.

I'm sorry it isn't what you expected. You could always part with it if it is that painful. Personally, I love the fact all the connections are on the back and nice and clean. Cables out the front drive me crazy.

73, Mike va3mw
(Edited)
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Brad Adams (N4PYI)

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Using an older 10/100 switch works well with the Maestro. The newer Gigabit switches do not work well with the Maestro for some reason. I love my Maestro and yes, it has some features that are not available in SSDR such as TNF, but all in all when you look at the market, i don't see anyone else doing it as well as Flex. I work in radio technology and understand the difficulties involved in manufacturing a product like the Maestro. Flex will keep plugging away at it and it will improve!
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I am using a Cisco small business-class gigabit Ethernet switch to run multiple FLEX-6000 and it works flawlessly.
(Edited)
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Mike va3mw

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What this proves is that there is no 'standard' with all these devices which should work.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Regarding Michael's comment, I have to agree.  I have an extensive background in high availability, high-bandwidth networking and while the FLEX-6000 does not generate high traffic volumes, it is streaming UDP data constantly without buffering at the client.  In this type of data flow dynamic, the switch buffers are very important.  Most consumer grade gigabit Ethernet switches are designed to deal with the most common type of "home" type traffic; a relatively slow Internet connection compared to the Ethernet speeds and buffered at the client streaming media.  With this being their primary use case, they do not add the extra expense of additional CAM buffers in their products because they are not needed.  This is not a knock on these devices, this is what they were engineered for.  Different data-flow dynamics require different types of port level buffering.  Once you have eliminated cabling issues, if you are still dropping packets, then the switch is probably the culprit.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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It is a Smart Switch, so a bit more than your average auto switch, but it is home grade.
It is the highest rated smart switch on Amazon with 100 reviews and almost 5 stars.
https://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-Gigabit-Ethernet-Desktop-TL-SG108/dp/B00K4DS5KU/ref=pd_lpo_147_bs_t_2...

Nonetheless this is good advice and I will follow it.
I am also going to try to run it on 100 to see if it makes a difference.

Interestingly, sometimes I get dropped packets and others I get Excellent and no drops, it just seems that the maestro sometime wants to work with me and some others it doesn't, very temperamental.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Double post again! Tim, can you remove this one and the one above? Thanks!
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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PROGRESS

I unplugged the ethernet cable without restarting the Maestro and plugged it back in and now I have 0% dropped packages.

So who do we blame now? :) I didn't change cables, and didn't restart the Maestro or the switch. Now it works.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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@Mike with the RJ45 I meant the RJ45 connector of the hand mic not the ethernet which makes sense in the back.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Salvadore- Looks like the switch did not auto-negotiate port speed and/or the duplex settings (or flow control) of the Maestro when it initially connected.
(Edited)
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Maybe. I will check other scenarios see if I can find the culprit.
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Brad Adams (N4PYI)

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Tim, what is the model of the switch you are using? I had a Cisco Gigabit switch that wouidl not work with the Maestro, but it was not a business class, Is yours a managed switch?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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It is a managed switch.  I am using the Cisco SG 200-08.  I am not certain it is still in production.  I think the SG 300s have superseded it.
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Brad Adams (N4PYI)

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I vote yes also. Put it on the "must have" list. 
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Ed Rod kk4x

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Would love to have this feature!  also must have list

Ed

kk4x

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Brian Hemmis

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That will be on the Maestro 2 if Flex follows Apple's business plan ;-)
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Simon Lewis

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ditto - not nice to have ... its a MUST ... I've a maestro and I still lean towards the PC ... it's not quite there
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Mark WS7M

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I was starting to write something like this for almost this very purpose.

My idea was to write a piece of software that would sniff the network for the 6000 series radio and subscribe to the slice and perhaps meter data.  Then it would simply scan the network looking for outbound UDP packets from the radio IP and just piggy back decode them into pans and waterfalls.

I was going to call it Flex6000Monitor as it would offer no control, just sniffing and monitoring of the slice data and panafall displays.  I already have the code to connect to the radio, get slice data and also to paint waterfalls and pans.  I just need to pull that apart and make it work as a non-control app.

I was able to write a small app to sniff out the UDP packets of radio data.  So that combined with the code I have for displays might make a cool monitor app.

My idea was this would be great for a couple of purposes:

Any op could paint their slices and pans on a second, perhaps bigger monitor.

Ops with Maestros could use a laptop or other computer with display to show other slices/pans

Anyway I can think of lots of reasons this would be cool.  I have started on the project but have not had the time to get it really working yet.

If I make some progress before FRS puts this ability in I'll let everyone know.  If you'd like more personal updates on my progress drop me an email:  ws7m@arrl.net.  Let me know you are interested in the monitor app.
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Stan - VA7NF

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Before you start down that path, please remember that the radio server calculates the panadapter display content, not the end device.  Multiple different displays needs multiple network connections and additional display content creation and FRS to write parallel support in the server.

This means that if the target is the Maestro, or a different device, the stream will be tailored for those screen/target attributes.

I share the request for multiple concurrent display devices as I like the Maestro control and work flow but also miss the high quality display (size and resolution) of SSDR.

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Mark WS7M

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Hi Stan, this I know already.  The pan data particularly is amplitude and pixel related.  

While perhaps the "right way" to do this is the multiple network connections and having each "GUI display" tell the radio server what to send, I think it is while before FRS goes that way and with the pressure on WAN it will be one of the later features added.  I could be wrong.

That being said it is possible to examine the UDP pan packet and determine the pixel width of the display.  This I've done already.  Knowing that it is possible to apply an up or down scale factor to both X and Y.

Not saying it would be gorgeous or pretty but it might be usable and if I can somewhat mimic the current pan display with slice display it still might be useful.
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James Whiteway

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Mark, you could add spots to the pan image without too much overhead. Of course no click and tune using the second pan in this manner.
Glad to see you back in the fold:-)
Happy coding!
James
WD5GWY