What is there in store for us before 2.0?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
I am really enjoying the new 6700. What a machine! And I find that the radio with Smart 1.5.1 has pretty much everything a conventional transceiver has and then some. I am aware that we do not get a road map anymore (too bad!) and I understand why. Nonetheless, I post this question. What do you guys think Flex has in store for us? There has to be a new version that will enable Maestro functionality. Will that be 1.6?. We also know that 2.0 will bring WAN. But what about between 1.5 and 2.0?

Improvement in the noise mitigation algorithms?
Cluster integration?
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Posted 3 years ago

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K1UO - Larry

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Cluster integration as well as Flex6700 radio control works extremely well now via the DX Labs suite of programs via the API.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Which app in DXlabs and does it integrate directly into the SmartSDR screen
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Guy G4DWV/4X1LT

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I would like to see a complete overhaul of the GUI, not only visually but operationally. The latter because many controls are either too fiddly to adjust in a fine manner or do not follow Windows convention (particularly sliders not working with a mouse wheel - taking focus with the cursor over them and then being adjustable with the mouse wheel). The former because the colours and their brightness are currently designed well - particularly if one wants to make the readability of a scale more difficlt when it needs to be made easier. I also wonder why the DAX control panel is a separate window when one needs to adjust the sliders often enough to justify at least one (configurable) pair of DAX sliders to be in the main window.

I would like to see FRS work with a cross section of users in depth with a range of capabilities (both as hams and as professionals) on the case with this, to brainstorm ideas for the GUI. Even a light user would have as much to contribute in this matter as much as one who spends hours a day on the air (lucky soul) or lives for contests.

Each time I look at my FRS window, as I have said before, I look at the SWR and power level scales and wonder who could have 'signed off' on the scheme we are stuck with at the moment, LOL. FRS needs all the help it can get and I mean that in a respectful way.

Now that I have got that off my chest somewhat, lets not forget noise mitigation too  <vbg>.
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Walt - KZ1F

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As I am sure you realize Guy, what you are asking for can get very contentious very quickly. Further, the GUI is the way it is for a reason. Asking them to revisit decisions already made and relitigate past issues, likely won't be met warmly. I am reasonably sure Gerald didn't give anyone the winter off.

Does central Texas even have a winter?

I suspect they have some small wrap-up activities for rel 1, then they'll be heads down into rel 2. Remember, rel 2 is the money shot.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Maybe not a complete overhaul, but I think Guy makes some good points. GUI Integration in the way things are done within the windows environment will also make it easier for new user to learn smartsdr, so it is a good business decision.

Things such as using the mouse wheel, moving windows around, attaching dax to the main window, etc... They all make a lot of sense to me.

But I don't think in needs to be a major thing.
As far as gui, one thing that drives me crazy with a 1080 display is that I cannot see all of the menus on the right if I have them all open. Even making the borders smaller might make them fit. It would make sense considering nowadays 1080 is pretty standard.

Silly question, where/how do I join the newsletter?

I found it myself http://www.flexradio.com/resources/fl...
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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"Even making the borders smaller might make them fit." - no, that won't do it.  If I did it, oh, wait I did, it would be a vertical scroll box I suspect one of the features of WPF over whatever they used for PSDR was with PSDR, if you didn't use the precise screen geometry and aspect ratio it looked like ... well, you had to use the prescribed screen geometry and aspect ratio. This is the nature of the beast with gui applications, be they Windows, JavaFX, or Android. I suspect Mac and iPhone as well. In SSDR, it was a vbox, just not scrollable. WPF, apparently, and JavaFX8 are a quantum leap forward in handling different form factors. Android did it right from the get go, certainly, in the at least the last several releases.
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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With the eventual software products being multi-platform I would ignore Windows convention whenever not specifically useful to operating the radio and establish an FlexRadio Systems convention.  Windows simply wasn't designed to run an SDR.

IMHO sliders should never take focus and be mouse-wheel linked, as I always want the mousewheel to tune when focus is on SmartSDR.  Introducing "sub-focus" wheel control requires eyes on the mouse pointer to confirm what is being controlled by the mouse wheel.

The GUI is well thought out and is evolving well.  I am appreciative of hover-over help and other small improvements that make using SmartSDR much easier.

Bringing SmartCAT, DDUtil and DAX into SmartSDR as seamless modules would be a worthy goal, as would be bringing in as seamless to the user things like logging, spots, digital modes and utilities like the meter and some of the other capability expanding apps.

YMMV of course,

73

Steve K9ZW

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K1UO - Larry

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Oops...  forgot. ... Memory is not what it used to be but I believe a prior announcement via the Flex Newsletter mentioned that V1.6 would be released with a "contest theme "  of features and Maestro support.
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Ken - WA8JXM

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I agree with the OP regarding the sliders being hard and slow to operate.   How can you adjust your keying speed while transmitting?  If someone answers my CQ at a slower speed, it's 20 seconds to find the the mouse arrow and very daintily try  to adjust the speed.   I would very much like to see that function mapped to the +/- keys on the keyboard.   That's just the start.  Many functions should have optional user programable/selectable keyboard shortcuts.   Quite frankly, the mouse interface is one major reason that I use my Elecraft K3 for most CW work (most of what I operate.)  The 6300 is relegated to digital work (WSJT-X and fldigi) where I don't need to use the awkward, slow mouse for everything.
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Alan W4FBI

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Regarding the Roadmap - I recall it being stated that Flex prefers not to disclose their specific future plans, as it would advantageous to competitors. If it were my company - my Public Roadmap would be fairly general in nature.

My .02
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Bill -VA3WTB

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It has little to do with competitors. Some on this forum made a big fuss when flex was late with a release and it became a personal attack on some at flex.
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Alan W4FBI

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Well, I think you are incorrect regarding competitors.
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Walt - KZ1F

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You are both correct. Steve did mention competitive advantage and what this forum put FRS through was nothing short of embarrassing.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I understand Alan, and that is why I presented the question to the community.
On the other hand, a bit of expectation and knowing what will be available in the future can help undecided buyers. For the longest time I read many negatives because Flex wasn't delivering what other radios have (FM, RTTY, physical buttons, etc...). 

As I mentioned before, the radio, now, has those things and more. So I am looking forward to a 2016 filled with interesting surprises... I just have no idea what some of them would be. And it is fun to daydream.
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Michael Henry

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Band edges would be nice.
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Phil - N6ERP

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Maybe even with a drop-down box to select your license class for customized band edges?
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Dave Dave

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Squelch ..... just a dang squelch

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Walt - KZ1F

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Is this really productive?
Alan's comment was mild. FRS was far more definitive on the subject.
There is already a vehicle to express ideas for future things FRS can do is and when they hit a dry spell.
Frankly, I'm expecting someone to say they'd like a purple pony and a supermodel, not necessarily in that order.

It's known in advance, the central question here will never be answered. It's possible, though improbable, adding 'pretty please' might help.

I realize this is supposed to be cute and fun and whimsical, that's not my reaction to it however. Just a thought.
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Walt

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Expectations?   None any more.  A year and a half ago I had some, but after whining for so long, (and with others) just to get a RTTY Rx filter, there is no more fight in this old dog to argue with others as to how Flex should allocate its resources.  

Features in my Flex-1500 have not made it into the 6000 software - maybe never will.

As far as a roadmap - Flex will have to present a REAL list when they start asking for more money for version two.  I will review that list closely and a deliverable will rate many more stars than a promise-for-version 2.5.  After these few years, I am done with the sizzle, I want to see the beef.

And now its time for a pint !
Cheers
    
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Guy G4DWV/4X1LT

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That's a very good point Walt (the one with 72 posts), to get our money, a definitive road map will have to be produced to get us to part with $199 for v2. If FRS has decided, for quite understandable reasons, to stop doing them for the v1 series, they will not have learnt how to manage them for v2. Vague promises for a paid upgrade will not work and I am sure many of us will likely just sit on the sidelines and wait unless v2.0 will have all the good stuff in it and each release after that will just be bug fixes, tweaks or very minor feature additions.
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Walt - KZ1F

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I knew it Walt!!! It truly is 5pm somewhere!!!

I seriously doubt they will do that at all Guy. The model is nobody has to go beyond 1.6. If you do want WAN it'll be $200, which gets you everything else in Rel 2. They could decide rel 2 is only WAN and charge for each major feature from rel 1 forward. You are sounding like you perceive you have leverage.

There are many on here who would buy whatever FRS chooses to sell.

Oh, and if you don't want WAN, that works for them too.

I didn't realize when I wrote this that Bill said much of the same 2 posts below. Yes bill, I agree with you.
(Edited)
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I was just asking what is it that you guys think that is in store for us... Not a wish list of what you want ... Oh well....
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Bill -VA3WTB

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One thing I know. they are not going to re-invent SSDR to please a few. I don't think a road map for V2 would effect sales. They have already answered the call as the radio sits now, lots of good reasons to purchase one. I see them coming out with V2 and release notes for us to buy or not, not much notice I imagine.
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Bill W2PKY

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A concept not mentioned so far is the expansion of "User Preferences". Where a control on the screen could be used several different ways there could be a Preference Manager that defined the action of the control for that user.
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Guy G4DWV/4X1LT

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Spot on Bill, exactly what is needed.
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KF4HR

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Adding a Squelch function (not just for FM) would be a nice addition. 

Rather than band edge markers, perhaps a better idea would be the ability to add (or remove) titled markers as needed, and with small flags that show up and ID the title of the marker when the cursor is put on them (band edges, regular net frequencies, DX Windows, etc).  This would also lend itself to international amateurs with different band regulations.   

I'd like the see the Road Map come back.  Besides a continuous level of ownership excitement, it also points to a long term improvement commitment to the 6000 platform.   
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Walt - KZ1F

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If FRS simply announced one day that rel 2.0.9 is released and it includes full WAN support plus the following fixes, would you purchase it? If 6 months later they announced rel 2.0.19 that included pinnacle panadapter and full squelch controls and was free but required rel 2.0.9 as a prerequisite, would you install it?
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Nop, I don't see that happening. they already said we can pick and choose what up grades we want, But I wonder Walt if any service releases would depend on any pay updates?
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I would assume that any release after v.2.0 would require 2.0 as a prerequisite.
I would also assume that v.2.0 will include several renovations in addition to WAN support.  At lease I hope so.  for the cost of the upgrade, I would hope that there would be several cosmetic refinements, in addition to many practical operating, control, and performance improvements.

But alas, these are only hopes and dreams that will be evaluated once it is announced as available for purchase.  Or in my case, if I decide to apply my credit towards the release of 2.0.  I already paid for one upgrade on my initial order two years ago, back when the plan was for annual software upgrade fees.  I am glad they made the change!

But here is a little of my perspective.... all of this software is going to be expensive.

K6TU's iPad controller program will be about $10 per month or $99 per year.  I am sure it will be an excellent program.  (I may play with it a month or two, but it will probably be more than I need to spend for just playing around.  But If I traveled around a lot like Howard and others, I would probably subscribe.  And I still might, just because....)

Dogpark SDR will be $99 per major release, and looks like it will be astounding for MAC users.  (If I had a MAC...YES i would get it.)

HRD is $99 initially and $49 for each upgrade.  (I don't use it, I have found other programs more suitable for my operating style that are less expensive.)

$199 for a major FLEX release will include not only the client software, but the radio firmware.  Not such a bad deal, again assuming that it carries enough performance enhancements. If I don't think it is worth it yet, then I can continue using 1.5.4 or 1.6.0 or whatever is the last v.1.x release before the upgrade.  (Now if they included spotting integrated into the panadapter, that would be a real plus!)

Again...my 2 cents.  and probably about all it's worth!  ha.

EDIT:  there might be additional bug fixes for 1.x after 2.0 is released.  But I cannot imagine them pursuing major performance enhancements and feature releases for v.1.x after v.2.0 is released.

Ken - NM9P
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I really like the idea of programmable "markers" they could be color coded, labeled, and could even be set up as pairs with an announcement bar that would indicate whatever text is programmed into the markers when defined, such as "SSB Sub-band" or "80 meter RTTY Sub-band" (for a pair) or "Oscar 7 Beacon" or "Sewage SSB Net frequency - stay away!"  (For individual markers)

The markers could be made one pixel wide for individual markers, or could be made to be very wide with transparent color to mark a whole sub-band or specialized range of frequencies.  A pair could be marked with edge markers with an option to "fill" the space between them with color, sort of like a wide TNF filter but with more transparency.

Ken - NM9P
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Walt - KZ1F

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@Bill, I'll stand by what I said. It is all in how you parse what they said.
Sure, you can bypass WAN, I don't suspect many will, and wait for something you are more interested in. But, at the point you order anything 2.0x you'll owe them $200 ($199.95 or whatever). I strongly doubt they will do concierge release 2 stuff. That will be a bear to manage as you may have a, b, c, and d and I might have b and d and have a problem. That scenario is a nightmare to debug. I strongly suspect you can wait for the nth drop to get anything 2.x but that first one will cost you the 2.x upgrade fee and whenever you jump aboard the 2.x train, you'll get everything up to that point. The other scenario will suck the life out of them.

In that scenario I only installed drops b and d. I got, however everything to that point. Can one technically do the other in,say, git. Yes, but it is a support nightmare. Going back to my mainframe sysprog days, every fix (or enhancement) has prereqs and, potentially, coreqs. Basically the graph of supported releases, rather than being a race track becomes a maze. The alpha team would have to test every permutation of software components.
(Edited)
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SteveM

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Perhaps I am mistaken on this point, but it is hard for me to believe there is still no interface to assign shortcut keys. This is especially pertinent for me since for some reason, either due to installing SSDR v1.5.1 or installing Windows 10, the Windows spacebar shortcut switches focus to a different control. Thus, I can use the spacebar to engage MOX but I have to use the mouse to disengage because focus has moved away from the MOX button to a dialog box.
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Walt - KZ1F

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I don't believe that is a win10 thing, that would be a WPF control thing, and while I can barely spell WPF, I have to believe it exists.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@ K1UO - Larry
You stated " Cluster integration as well as Flex6700 radio control works extremely well now via the DX Labs suite of programs via the API."


CAN YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS?

Which app in DXlabs (Spot Collector)?

Does DXlabs integrate SPOTS directly into the SmartSDR screen like in the DogParksoftware for MAC or NaP3 for the K3?
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Maybe he meant clicking on the cluster and parsing through cat to SmartSDR... not really integration. I don't personally like DXLab, not intuitive at all.