Frequently Asked Questions

General use

What is it?

CHIRP is a FREE cross-platform, cross-radio programming tool. It works on Windows and Linux (and MacOSX with a little work). It supports a growing list of radios across several manufacturers and allows transferring of memory contents between them.

Is my radio supported?

If it's listed on the front page, then it is. If it is not listed, then it is not supported. If you're interested in getting support added, please see How can I get my radio supported by CHIRP.

My radio is on the web page, but not in CHIRP. Why?

If your radio is listed on the front page as supported, but is not available in CHIRP, you are in one of two situations:

1. Your CHIRP download is too old. Simply grab the latest version from the download page.
2. Your radio is listed as being supported in "daily builds" and you have a regular release. Go to the bottom of the download page and get the latest development/daily build.

Will this replace the OEM software?

Maybe. CHIRP's focus is to support reading and writing the memory channels of as many radio models as possible. This provides the ability to exchange your programming information between dissimilar radios. It does not focus on supporting every single knob and setting that each radio supports. Doing so would severely limit the amount of developer time available to supporting a wider-range of models.

How do I program split TX/RX configurations?

If your radio supports it, you can choose split in the Duplex column. This causes chirp to treat the Offset column as the transmit frequency. In such a configuration you could, for example, receive (Frequency column) on 146.52MHz and transmit (Offset column) on 446.00MHz.

What are "stock configurations"?

These are canned frequency plans, some of which are built into chirp. These include standard US calling frequencies, the channelized 60m frequencies, etc. They can easily be opened or imported into your radio from the File and Radio menus.

Can I add new stock configurations?

Yes! Adding your group's frequency plan to the stock configurations can make it very quick and easy to program new radios. Further, putting various configurations into the stock list can make switching your radio between multiple functions or geographical regions easy. Simply save a CSV file into the stock configurations directory and restart CHIRP to have it show up in the list. On windows, go to Start -> Run and type:

APPDATA\CHIRP\stock_configs

On MacOS or Linux, the path is:

~/.chirp/stock_configs

Why can't I upload my CSV file?

CSV files are generic and not specific to any one radio. Your radio needs an exact copy of its memory to be uploaded to it, and will not accept CSV data. So, you must first download a copy of your radio's contents, modify them in some way, and then upload those contents back to the radio. In order to get CSV data into your radio, you should download, import the CSV file, and then upload back to the radio. See the Beginners_Guide for more information.

I get "application configuration is incorrect" when I try to run CHIRP

The full error message as seen by the user is: "Application cannot run because application configuration is incorrect"

This is a problem with your Windows XP machine and its standard libraries. Most users seem to be able to resolve this issue by downloading the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package.

If the above does not help you, Google for this error message and you will find many such problem reports with myriad other applications, as well as suggested fixes, depending on what the root cause of your problem is.

Can I adjust the port settings for improved communications reliability?

No, this is a common misconception. Please refer to this more detailed page on the topic: FAQ_Adjusting_The_Serial_Port_Settings_In_Windows

How do I upgrade to a newer version of CHIRP?

Nothing special is needed. Just download the newer version and install it. The install will replace the old version automatically. This applies to the daily builds as well.

I'm a blind ham. Can I use CHIRP with a screen reader?

CHIRP uses a graphical toolkit called GTK. This lets it run on all platforms unchanged. Since GTK is native on Linux, screen reading software for Linux will work with CHIRP without any trouble. On MacOS and Windows, GTK is not native and thus screen readers on these platforms will see CHIRP as a blank window. This cannot and will not be changed, as it would mean writing CHIRP three times, once for each platform, or dropping support for MacOS and Windows entirely. Please do not ask about this issue as it has been covered many, many times on the mailing list!

How do I print from CHIRP?

Chirp does not support printing directly. One solution would be to export as CSV, and import into a spreadsheet program (e.g., Excel, Google Sheets, LibreOffice, etc) where you can format and print as you like.

What platforms (OSes) does CHIRP support?

Currently only Windows, Mac, and Linux are supported. See the Download page for more information. Note that there are no plans to support iOS or Android at this time due to major technical limitations. Short answer is that CHIRP is heavily dependent upon PyGTK, which do not exist on these platforms. See issue #1369 for a deeper discussion.

Cables

What kind of cable do I need?

Usually the cable supplied by your radio manufacturer is the highest quality cable you can find. However, it's usually also the most expensive, and is often bundled with software which you may not want or need. There are many 3rd party cables available and they should all work just fine for the most part. Check eBay and KawaMall for cables. Also check the CableGuide page, which has details about potential pitfalls and some information about cables that are compatible with multiple radios.

When shopping on eBay, look for the sellers that are regular merchants, and that have fixed price items and full stores of merchandise. Here are some recommended common cables:

Check KawaMall and Valley Enterprises for other options. See the CableGuide for more information about which cable to use for your radio.

What if my computer does not have a serial port?

For the most part, USB-to-Serial adapters work without problems. These attach to a USB port and create a virtual serial port that software can use as if it was a regular port. Some adapters are very poor quality and can cause you issues, so if you are experiencing difficulty, you may want to try a different one.

Without a doubt, the highest quality (and most expensive) adapters come from KeySpan, but you may find that it is worth the money for quality.

On Windows, determine the COM port that is assigned to the adapter by going into Device Manager and looking under Ports.

Can I use a USB cable?

Typically, yes. These cables simply have a USB-to-Serial adapter integrated into the cable itself, and are easier to manage and hook up. Follow the same procedures as if you were using a separate adapter.

NOTE: Recently, RTSystems has been selling "Version 4" of their software with a "New USB Cable". It appears that they have specifically designed the cable to be incompatible with other software packages. Beware that if you bought this "new" cable from them you may be unable to use it with CHIRP!

How can I access Device Manager in Windows?

The answer is dependent on what flavor of Windows you are using. Here are a few common methods:
  • XP: Start > Control Panel >System > Hardware > Click on the Device Manager button.
  • Vista: Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Device Manager
  • Win7: Control Panel > System and Security > System > Device Manager
  • Click on Start in the Taskbar then Run and enter devmgmt.msc in the resulting box
  • Press the Windows key+R, in the resulting menu type devmgmt.msc
  • Click Start --> Right click on My Computer and select Properties, click the Device Manager link on the left.
  • Press the Windows key + pause/break key
  • Set up a .bat file with the following using Notepad or Wordpad. When you want to run this, right click on it, select Run as Administrator (Vista, Win7)
    set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
    cd %SystemRoot%\System32
    start devmgmt.msc
    

How can I use Device Manager in Windows to diagnose an error?

See the USB Cables and Drivers page on the Miklor website which has extensive information on drivers and how to use Device Manager to diagnose errors

What if I need to use a COM port other than what is in CHIRP's list?

You can type anything into the box you need, so if your adapter is assigned to (for example) port 15, simply type COM15 into the box and you should be off and running.

Transferring data between radios

I have two different radios, how do I transfer data between them?

CHIRP provides the ability to transfer data between incompatible radios by means of the Import and Export functions. For example, if you have opened a Yaesu VX-8 in CHIRP, you can use the Import function and specify an image from an Icom 2820. A dialog box will open asking you which of the memories from the Icom 2820 you want to import into your VX-8. When the import is complete, you can upload the result to your VX-8. See the Beginners_Guide for more details about this process.

Connecting with your radio

Should I put my Alinco, Icom, or Kenwood radio into clone mode first?

No, these radios are well-designed and allow the software to place them into clone mode automatically. This is far more reliable than manipulating the radio by hand and synchronizing the software. Simply plug in your programming cable, power on the radio, and instruct CHIRP to read it.

Should I put my Yaesu radio into clone mode first?

Yes, Yaesu radios do not respond to commands over the serial port and must be manually manipulated. Start CHIRP with the cable plugged in and the radio in the intermediate clone mode (usually entered by powering the radio on with one or more buttons pressed). When downloading from the radio, put CHIRP into download mode (where it is waiting on the radio) before initiating the clone out from the radio. When uploading, put the radio into clone receive (or clone wait) mode before initiating the upload from CHIRP.

What is a live radio?

Most of the radios supported by CHIRP are programmed by downloading an entire "image" or "snapshot" of the radio's memory, manipulating it, and then uploading it back to the radio. These are called "clone-mode radios". Live mode radios instead communicate with the computer by sending and receiving individual memories one at a time. That means that when you use CHIRP to program them, changes are sent to the radio immediately instead of held until an upload.

No serial ports are listed for download

If you go to download from your radio and find no options in the serial port drop-down box, one of two things is happening:

1. Your computer has no serial ports
2. You are using a USB-to-serial cable and the proper drivers are not installed.

Most people will fall into #2 above. Install the drivers that came with your cable or USB adapter and try again.

Giving or Getting Help

If you have a question about anything, please join the CHIRP mailing list and ask your question there. Please do not contact the author or developers directly!

The mailing list has the latest discussion traffic and news about CHIRP.

Can I report a bug or request a feature?

Have you found a bug or do you have a good idea for a future release? Please help out by reporting it! The issue tracker provides a way for users to report bugs, generic issues, and request features. Please read How to report issues first!

Can I help?

If you are developer, please see the Developers page for details on how you can contribute. If you're not a developer, but are good at breaking things, then please file bugs and submit reports. If you can write documentation, please volunteer to help with that as well. Many folks have loaned their radios for the purposes of getting support for them added to CHIRP. Please see the Honor Roll for that list of people and be sure to thank them if their generosity resulted in support for a model you use!

If you are multi-lingual, please consider translating CHIRP into another language. No developer skills are required for this and it helps make CHIRP accessible to more people around the world. If you are interested in helping with this, please open a new issue for the translation and a developer will contact you with more details.

Can I donate some money?

Of course, developing and maintaining the CHIRP software and website is not free. Monetary donations are always appreciated and can be made via the "Donate" link on the download page. These donations go towards hosting costs of the website, as well as to purchasing new radios, programming cables, etc. for the furtherance of the software.

How can I get my radio supported by CHIRP?

In order to add support for a new radio model to CHIRP, a developer needs to reverse engineer the clone protocol and memory format of the radio. This can often be done in a relatively short period of time, but requires physical access to the radio itself.

If you're interested in loaning your radio for this process, please follow these steps:

  1. Look at the front page to make /sure/ that it is not already supported
  2. Look at the current set of new model requests to see if it has already been requested. If it has, do not open another issue, but feel free to post comments and pledges to help in that item
  3. If neither of the above applies, then open a new request

Please note that there are many new models hitting the market each month. The chinese radio manufacturers crank them out at unbelievable rates. Many of these are copies of the same model, but often changed in very tiny but incompatible ways. As a volunteer-fueled project, we can't possibly address every model that shows up. Everyone wants their radio to be supported, but we have to address the models that are the most popular and which have developer support. If you are in the market for a radio, it is highly recommended that you check the CHIRP model support list before making a purchase. At the beginning of 2016, there were over 300 requests to support new models in CHIRP pending in the issue tracker.

I am a vendor with a new radio for sale. How can I get it supported in CHIRP?

Please see InformationForVendors.

Using the Mailing List

Should I subscribe from my arrl.net address?

Only if you send from that address too. If your address forwards to and you send from , the mailing list server will reject emails you send because it thinks you are not subscribed. Subscribe with whatever email address you are going to send from.

Why was my mail to the list rejected as a non-member post?

See the answer to the question above. If you send an email to the list from an address other than the one you subscribed from, the list will reject your post. Please re-subscribe the proper address or change the address you are sending from.

How do I unsubscribe?

Every email you receive from the list contains a few links at the bottom that allow you to manage your email delivery preferences, including removing yourself from the list. For reference, that link takes you here. Please do not email the list or list owner asking to be unsubscribed.

How do I change my email delivery preferences?

Please see the answer above about unsubscribing.

What if I forgot my password?

Use the following tool, which will email you your password:

http://intrepid.danplanet.com/mailman/options/chirp_users

Why am I getting warnings about "excessive bounces"?

In most cases, this is because your ISP is using a new spam-fighting strategy called DMARC. This strategy breaks many of the decades-old rules of email delivery, including most mailing lists. They're choosing to optimize their workload instead of delivering everything to you and letting you decide what is spam and what isn't. In order to work around this, the chirp mailing lists would have to introduce some acrobatics to try to appease these new filters, which would compromise the experience for others and be more work for the mailing list admins. At this time, we don't have plans to enable such workarounds.

If you are suffering from this problem, please contact your ISP and ask them to deliver your mail. Since that is unlikely to result in any different behavior, we recommend you switch to another ISP or mail provider for chirp emails. People seem to have no problems with Google's free GMail service.

Sorry for this inconvenience. It sucks, we know. We wish there was something reasonable we could do about it.