Factual Radio was allowed to see an advanced prototype of a new product that will address some of the issues plaguing modern amateur radio operators today. My friends at Geen Idee Engineering have created and will soon be shipping the Companion Radio Assistant Peripheral, addressing the needs of many ham radio operators. The first version of the product will be shipping for use with Elecraft K3 and KX3 transceivers, but I have it on good authority that the product line will be expanding soon to include other transceivers.
Meet Companion Radio Assistant Peripheral
The product fills a simple need, eliminating the requirement of paying attention to several built in indicators on the K3 transceiver, and also addresses concerns about illegal transmissions outside the amateur radio service. Here’s a picture of the prototype version attached to an Elecraft K3:
Connecting the Assistant Peripheral to the K3 is very easy, there are two cables to plug into the radio, and your new best friend is ready to work for you. The three large indicator tell you almost everything you need to know. One of the developers explained the functions to Factual Radio:
The massive red LED array lights when you are potentially going to transmit outside your band restrictions. The Assistant Peripteral can be configured for your license class and geography, including any special affiliations (MARS, Embassy, etc). A planned option is to interface the unit to a GPS for accurate location of your radio, to insure you are operating on the correct frequency at all time. The LED can also be configured to illuminate on band edges, and an optional speaker assembly can produce one of 43 programmable audio signals to assist you. Just think, no more having to remember where the bands begin and end!
The white LED indicator illuminates when your rig is set for split operation. No need for the operator to look at the LCD display in the K3, if the white LED is on, you’re in split mode. This single feature alone is worth the cost of the entire device!
The Companion Radio Assistant Peripheral’s third LED array is the Blue LED, and can be software assigned to a number of different functions Geen Idee Engineering also plans on adding hardware to support a keyboard, coffee pot and toaster oven. The prototype was configured to indicate that DC power was being provided to the PowerPole connector on the K3, in case the connector was pulled apart during operation.
Easy Firmware Upgrade
The integrated cellular modem supports automatic firmware updates any time. No need for pesky computers and faulty serial cables to make upgrades happen!
The device will be available in a number of standard case styles to meet the needs of amateur radio enthusiasts everywhere. Although first releases will be factory assembled only, Factual Radio was informed that later in 2015 they will offer the units as a no solder kit. Case styles include classic black, flashy chrome, and decorative gray finishes, in metal, wood, or cardboard.
Geen Idee has been gearing up for initial shipments for several months now, in fact they are just waiting for cases to be delivered. The firm hopes to begin accepting preorders on the first of next month, and expects to begin shipment “any day” after that. As mentioned earlier, the initial units will include cabling for the Elecraft K3 and KX3 transceivers, but a long list of rigs will be supported early in 2016, including the Icom 735, TenTec Jupiter, and Baofeng Hurricane. A spokesperson for Geen Idee suggested more than 235 radios will be supported. One of the unique new modules for the device, coming in late 2016, is the connection to the operating seat with electrodes to provide a stimulating current when band edges are reached. (this option will not be available in all countries).
Early adopters will receive special pricing during the first 60 days of ordering. You’ll be able to own your own CRAP-01 for the low introductory price of 1249.95 US dollars. Free shipping is included during the 60 day new product period. All Geen Idee products carry an exclusive 5.0 week warranty. For orders of 2 or more units, customers will receive a set of Ginsu knives in addition to their station accessory .
You can easily order your own until from their website http://www.Geenideedevelopmentsinc.biz/ordermecrap.aspx
Geen Idee has filed several patents on the Companion Radio Assistant Peripheral, and the development team is anxious to get started on some of their other innovative products and services. We at Factual Radio are convinced that you’ll have no idea where these folks come up with products like this. Here is a quick photo of the senior development team at Geen Idee:
Thanks Geen Idee, for letting Factual Radio be one of the first amateur radio bloggers to write about the new product!