Earlier this week I became a Maestro owner, and have now had a chance to make a number of QSOs. Really wish I could have taken some time off work to pound out a couple hundred QSOs but wasn’t going to happen.
Initial impressions are really positive here! Set up was slick and easy. I was running QSOs within minutes of unboxing, which makes sense as this accessory if really just a different HMI (Human-Machine Interface) running now familiar SmartSDR in a LAN-remote fashion.
I’ve really enjoyed sitting in our dining room and on the deck doing radio, rather than limited to the shack down in the house’s original wine cellar.
A really cool and unexpected bonus is that the Maestro has intrigued the family. Better Half is impressed (always a good thing for deistic tranquility) and middle son is helping me do a Raspberry Pi 3 based dedicated VPN remote project based on work presented by Chris K6OZY. The project is neat, as I should be able to remote a Maestro from my office desk back to my home shack’s Flex-6700, but more importantly I have the attention and engagement of an otherwise very inactive youth ham (this son has his General Class, but is more interested in technology than QSOs). That I might be able to pick up some of the uncommon DX that ends up being a no-QSO due to my extended work hours is not a bad thing either!
I’ll be pairing a Maestro with a Panasonic ToughBook at the Island QTH. The laptop is about logging and doing the station control.
Really looking forward to working with a Maestro and this small laptop for logging, and I mentioned a few weeks ago a where I am very excited it is there is now going to be a lot more operating time going to opening up for me by using a Maestro.
FRS hasn’t said how many Maestros were built in the initial production run, but they did say there was a 100 unit pre-general release run made. From the photos FRS released they would appear to be more than 800 units in the initial run, maybe much more if they only showed part. With accessories it looks like the Maestro is a million dollar product right from first general release.
When you consider how polished the initial release is and then reflect on where the Maestro is going wit the pre-announced version 1.8 and 2.0 upgrades, I think FRS has knocked another one out of the park! Congratulations and well done!