Category Archives: FlexRadio Maestro

Getting confused when a Maestro Operator hasn’t read the manual

At the FlexRadio Community forums often posts are placed by users who may have glossed-over the user manuals, and because the community is  not curated inaccuracies persist with sometimes humoresque results.

In a recent post about the Maestro the poster missed the part that you need to ADD add battery of your choice to operate more than a a brief moment disconnected from the mains power.  The question also confused the differences in internal battery management between the two versions of the Maestro.

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multiFlex – sharing your Flex-6000 experience

Just in case you missed the FlexRadio official announcements, the new SmartSDR Version 3.0.19 was released this week.

SmartSDR v3 adds multiFlex, the capability to split your Flex-6000 into distinct virtual radios.

A bit of background – a Flex-6000 as hardware is a radio server.  While it does have some physical interconnects like antennas and power, an operator never directly controls a Flex-6000.  Rather their software operates independently on a computer that then reaches out to control the Flex-6000.

SmartSDR prerelease v0 and initial release v1 need the radio server and the operating computer to appear on the same subnet.  This requires both to be on the same LAN or use of a VPN.

SmartSDR v2 added SmartLink which brokers suitable WAN connections to allow easy access from your controlling computer to your radio server over the internet.

The new SmartSDR v3 adds multiFlex which allows a share of your radio server between coordinated multiple SmartLink or local connections.

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Maestro Versions – where’s the power button?

I’m often asked what is the external differences between current Maestro production and the earlier series?

Making the switch over between versions less clear cut are several field reports of Maestro units produced in the transition from what I’ve heard references as Maestro-A (the Early Production units) and Maestro-B (the current production units has of 2018).

Easiest external indicator is the location of the On/Off switch.

Maestro-A (Early Production) has the switch on the top, to the far left:

Early Production Maestro-A Top On/Off Switch Location

Maestro-B (Later Production) has the switch on the Left Side of the unit:

Early Production Maestro-B Left Side On/Off Switch Location

Internal differences haven’t been spelled out more than the improved resolution of the Maestro-B screen and assurances that the Dell OEM module of the Maestro-A was replaced by a better new OEM component.  (The original Dell module had product nuances that Dell may have considered “features” in their own use as a tablet, but were not the way FlexRadio users (or FlexRadio itself) expected the module to perform when used as an OEM component in a complex product.)

73

Steve
K9ZW

Remoting via SmartSDR and SmartLink v2.0 – in Daily Use

 

Travels so often put a person in a hotel somewhere with idle time to fill.  My last appointment of the day in Milwaukee finished at 5:30pm and after taking my youngest two university students out for dinner, Winston KC9FVR and Vic KC9NWB, I’d decided to stay in town.  A morning appointment at 7 am made running home and then hitting the road by 5 am seem a waste.

A Speedtest showed that this Art Deco hotel, The Ambassador, has a guest internet that can support remoting my Flex-6700, so it was a no-brainer to run QSOs from the hotel room.

K9ZW portable SmartSDR setup

My setup is super simple   An older 2013 era iPad Air with and even older AblePlanet noise-canceling headset with a boom microphone adapter.

I think the AblePlanet setup is almost ten years old and had made many overseas flights over the years.  I’d bought the boom microphone  to do some of the earlier voip programs.  I’d bought five of the headsets so everyone had one for a U.K. Trip, but I was the only one with a microphone as the option was a silly price back then.

Some folk didn’t like the headsets or found then fragile, and when they were being sold off cheap I should have bought more.

On the iPad I’m using “SmartSDR for iOS” which is truly an elegant implementation.

Logging is handled with the in-App purchase Logger add-in for SmartSDR for iOS.  Simple but elegant.

Now I have to admit I played radio only for an hour or so, but it sure was a blast.

I’ll talk more about putting this all together in a further installment.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Remoting via SmartSDR and SmartLink v2.0 – Both my Stations are UP!!

One of my “Dreams” I contemplated when the Flex-6000 (Deep Impact, right?) was announced was the idea that I could control more than one of my own stations remotely.

I forgot to shoot a screen shot, as I was able to sit in the W9EVT Mega-Shack receiving the stations I worked, while alternatingly working them from my North and South Stations!

When I got back to the North Station I did shoot this screen shot the next morning:

SmartLink doing both of my Stations

Let’s walk through the four entries:

  1. K9ZW Home (South) QTH via SmartLink – this is in Manitowoc, Wisconsin running a Flex-6700 Limited Edition (#11) barefoot to a Tennadyne T-8 at 60ft.
  2. K9ZW Island (North) QTH via SmartLink – this is on Washington Island, Wisconsin (hence the WI-001L) running a later Flex-6700 barefoot to a SteppIR CrankIR portable antenna.
  3. K9ZW Island (North) QTH via Local Area Network is the same station and shows because I within the wireless router’s coverage.
  4. Demo Flex-6700 is built into SmartSDR for iOS, and I keep it enabled to do quick show-and-tell sessions where I don’t have good internet set up.

So what I was doing was using George W9EVT’s Maestro and Flex-6300 to listen as I switch back-and forth from the North and South stations.  I was also monitoring via those stations as well.

The North and South stations are roughly 190 km/118 miles apart in a largely north(NNE)-south(SSW) displacement.  The roads are slow and a ferry ride make this a 3+ hour trip each way.

K9ZW South to K9ZW North – 24 degrees

Very interesting experiment which I hope to repeat!

Next step may come in the future, as I would love to combine the two stations in one virtual-station!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Remoting via SmartSDR and SmartLink v2.0 – First Impressions

Working DX stations on my iPhone with SmartSDR for iOS from the local airport cafe….
Monitoring the band via SmartLink using a Maestro from my work desk….
Working DX from the doctor’s waiting room via SmartSDR for iOS on that iPhone (I went the cellphone area to keep the quiet)….
Then working lots of Parks on the Air and iota stations from SmartSDR for iOS on an iPad but locally (LAN connection) while doing bills….

What an awesome product! Okay there are some things the initial v2.0 isn’t ready to do yet: No native digital (DAX digital streams are perhaps down the road), No remote control of other station equipment, No built-in standby/start control, the 4o3a gear integration didn’t make this release. Stuff that can come later.

What is awesome is that lickty split one can remote into their setup Flex-6000 station without a PhD in networking!

Nothing on the net is truely always plug-and-play so you might need some help getting through the initial setup. And of course you need enough low latency, low jitter and modestly bufferless limited (like satellite internet doesn’t seem to work) to make the connection. Would seem as a good rule of thumb if your connection will support a good grade of gamer’s connection with voice and all that, you may be in the right direction.

Setup is a ready the manual and follow the steps sort of thing. Makes sense.

Good stuff!

73

Steve
K9ZW