Category Archives: FlexRadio Systems

Maestros Coming – FlexRadio Systems starts the roll-out process

FlexRadio Systems Maestro

FlexRadio Systems Maestro

Starting Monday April 25th FlexRadio Systems started the fulfillment process for Maestro pre-orders confirming invoices, ship-to information and payment arrangements.

When my automated invoice arrived it was actually a second go, as I had updated my order by phone a week earlier as my order for several units had messed up the automatic system.   (I wanted a unit for each QTH).

There are a nice variety of accessories available, which I added what I felt would be useful.  I’ve already acquired a couple of the recommended batteries for each unit.

When they arrive each radio and any related computer running SmartSDR will need to be updated to v 1.7.xx. I don’t know if the arriving units include the software, information to a dedicated link, or if their will be a wider release.   Wait and see.

Really looking forward to working with a Maestro and a small laptop for logging, as if performance is where I hope it is there is a lot more operating time going to open up for me.

73

Steve
K9ZW

4o3a and Force12 show previews of a FlexReady HF Amp

Power Genius XL sneak peak

Ranko 4O3A and the Sky Sat team have been hard at work on the Power Genius XL linear amplifier and will be showing it at the Force 12 Dayton booth. Here’s a sneak peak of a recent test into a dummy load. This baby uses a pair of state-of-the-art LDMOS chips and cruises at 1,500 Watts 100% duty cycle (no worries in RTTY or JT65) and covers 160m to 6m (4m for Europe). We’ll be announcing full stats, availability, and pricing ASAP after FCC and CE testing.

Video linked here and also below.

Says Ranko: “First test of Power Genius XL. It easily runs1500W, and you can see is on maximum speed to secure good cooling, but final amp will have fan speed control and won’t be that noisy.”

Island QTH Flex-6300 Station – New Pc

Portable 6300 – Computer: HP EliteDesk 705-G1 Mini Desktop

As I put together the core components for a ruggedized Flex-6300 I wanted to select a computer to use when the radio was not out with a laptop.

Just brought in a HP EliteDesk 705-G1 Mini Desktop, AMD A8-7600B 2.2GHz Quad-Core, 8GB DDR3, 256GB Solid State Drive, 802.11n, Win7Pro 64-Bit.

One of my sons, Winston KC9FVR helped with a comprehensive updating and upgrading process to Win10Pro and pre-installed my usual suit of software. I needed a DisplayPort++ to HDMI adapter, which I let him scroung for me, and all is good.

Swapped it for the PC-on-a-stick/NUC I’d been using with the 6300 and a few minutes to configure and do final updates was all that was needed before being QSO-ready!

Slick if slightly heavy 7-1/4 x 7-1/4 inch footprint is very desk friendly. As I had a waterproof keyboard I was happy with, along with a mouse and a 22 inch dual use screen (TV/Monitor) I left the rest in place.

 

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The no-fan design is appreciated and operating from such an RF quiet island I was working DX barefoot via the SteppIR CrankIR which was set up to “eyeball tuning standards” as I’d moved so much other gear up and down that I didn’t fancy too many adjusting trips.

http://www.amazon.com/HP-EliteDesk-Desktop-A8-7600B-Quad-Core/dp/B01DJQW8KQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460943509&sr=8-1&keywords=HP+EliteDesk+705-G1+Mini+Desktop%2C+AMD+A8-7600B+2.2GHz+Quad-Core%2C+8GB+DDR3%2C+256GB+Solid+State+Drive%2C+802.11n%2C+Win7Pro+64-Bit

Nice little PC that seems to do the job!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Planning incorporating the Game Changer technologies of the Flex-6000, Maestro and SmartSDR

From a thread I started at the FlexRadio Systems Community:

It is really interesting what the Flex-6000, Maestro and LAN (and eventually WAN) versions of SmartSDR do to allow for significant differences in station design.

As I’ve mentioned I’ve been putting together the design and gear for a second summer home QTH that happens to be out on an Island.

Initially the concept was to put a heated ham shack space in the end of the new garage/workshop project.  Several generations of drawings and three sets of proper architectural renderings & plans (part of the packet eventually to pull the permit and for the builders).

The Maestro led to a rethink where the main operating point could be separate from the radio room, and the result was thoughts moved to the idea of to place all the radios in the main house’s lower level utility room (a room basically blasted out of bedrock and concrete lined) and my where the Maestro & Laptop set operating point to a desk in the main living space.  The lower area would get the non-Flex gear and might be where I would contest from.

That seemed a decent idea and drawings showing the numerous feedlines, other wiring to a multi-antenna layout were completed.

Enter the potential to seamlessly use the 4O3A Antenna Genius for 8×2 remote switching and the 4O3A Station Genius to automate a couple loose ends and there suddenly is no reason to bring all the feedlines to the main house – rather a star configuration for HF TX/RX antennas to a Shed – a true “Ham Shack” – would reduce the feedlines to two HF, one VHF and a special 72 Ohm set of lines for the Reversible Beverage On Ground RX-only Antennas.

Potential is there to further move the Flex-6000 itself and the Amp (though this would be simpler once the 4O3A Flex-Ready Amplifier launches) also to the Heated Shed, basically tethering back to operating desk by internet (Cat6e or Wireless)!

Certainly if we build a larger retirement home on the property the infrastructure increases, switching gear needed and all the headaches could be simply putting in a solid internet link between the retirement home and existing summer house and/or Ham Shack Shed.  The anticipated distance will be 1200-1600 feet, so internet can replace expensive ultra-low loss feedlines.

Very attractive compared to trenching into rock to lay heavy duty conduit for hundreds of feet.

It is simply boggling the differences in designs that are now possible, and the increases the next couple hardware and software launches will bring.

On another area the potential improvements in ergonomics may be huge.  I have one of those treadmill/desktop “walking desks” that I enjoy, but never got any radio time when at it.  That can change!  The contesters several ducks in a row counter with shelf above might metamorphose into a different configuration.

Truly a series of Game Changers!

73

Steve K9ZW

K9ZW Shacks Evolve – Proper Dummy Loads, Additional Metering, New Power Distribution, Specialized Headsets and more…

I knew that doing a new station build wasn’t for the faint of heart, and as usual I am loath to miss a chance for upgrading the home QTH station.

Here are a few of the recents adds:

Item                                                                       Home/Island

Alpha-9500 Amps                                                     X X
Rigrunner-4007U Metered Strips                         X X
4o3a Station Genius                                                 X
SP7IDX Hexbeam                                                         X
LMR-400DB Below Grade Feed                                X
LMR-400 Jumpers                                                       X
LMR-400UF Up Tower Feed                                     X
Polyphasers incl two custom multi-units                X
Collins DL-1 Dummy Load                                     X
Station Monitor                                                        X
Bengali Intrepid                                                       X
Alpha-4510                                                                X
Palstar AT-Auto w/Kessler Upgrades                     X
4o3a Antenna Genius Switches                            X X
Nueman BCM705 Microphone                                X
Shure SM5B Microphone                                     X
Behringer MX402A                                               X
Behringer MX602A                                                   X
Recording Grade Audio Shapers                        X X
Collins SM-2 Microphone                                        X
W7FG True Ladder Line Dipole                             X
Alpha-2000 Dummy Load                                  X
RadioSport RS22CR Classic                                   X
KD9SV BOG Beverage Amp & Switch                  X
WD1A Cable – BOG wire                                          X
K1FZ RBOG Reversible Beverage on Ground     X
Zero-Five Custom HD Flagpole Antennas       X X
CAT6eDB below grade control                               X
Radial Wire                                                             X X
Waters 334 Dummy Load                                        X
Helix 1/2 Prepared                                                    X
RG6DB for RBOG Feed                                            X
Tashjian TM-370 SkyNeedle                                   X
New Tower Base, Platform and Coax Arms         X
AlfaSpid Rotor                                                           X

On Order
Flex Maestro                                                            X X

There have also been massive deliveries of the needed connectors and other parts – whew!  I am sure glad I’ve not seen the costs all tallied in one spot – ouch!

All in all the order and assemble is fun other than the bills.  Now in spring the read work begins!

73

Steve
K9ZW

 

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Hamcation 2016 – Maestro Production Unit

Hamcation Orlando gave me my first look at a production Maestro.

W4TME Demonstrates the Maestro

W4TME Demonstrates the Maestro

The hands-on demo of the Maestro by Tim W4TME was a privilege as in two minutes Tim had me fully briefed.  Both that Tim is such an excellent and patient tutor, but also that the Maestro is just that well thought out!

With ease W4TME briefed Alison KC9MPL, my XYL, on what the Mastro will do now and with the upcoming software releases.

Great touch screen on the Maestro

Great touch screen on the Maestro

I especially liked the way the touch screen and menus have been done.

Not wanting to keep others from checking out the Maestro, I didn’t spend more time playing with it than that was needed to confirm that the production Maestro is yet another FRS “Game Changer!”

I’ve incorporated the Maestro in my operating plans while designing my new Island station, with an intent to do much operating from a Maestro-Mobile configuration other than the radio room.  Though I will have a conventional operating position for contesting, configuration and vintage gear operations, the main focus will be to have access to my station from anywhere on the property.

Was very pleased how enthused Alison was with the Maestro and the Maestro-Mobile idea.

All good things!

 

73

Steve
K9ZW

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