FAQ

Version 3 (Dan Smith, 03/09/2012 09:45 am)

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h1. Frequently Asked Questions
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{{>toc}}
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h2. Cables
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h3. What kind of cable do I need?
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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":http://www.kawamall.com for cables. Also check the [[CableGuide]] page, which has details about potential pitfalls and some information about cables that are compatible with multiple radios.
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h3. What if my computer does not have a serial port?
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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.
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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.
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On Windows, determine the COM port that is assigned to the adapter by going into _Device Manager_ and looking under _Ports_.
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h3. Can I use a USB cable?
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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.
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*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!
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h3. What if I need to use a COM port other than what is in CHIRP's list?
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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.
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h2. Transferring data between radios
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h3. I have two different radios, how do I transfer data between them?
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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.
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h2. Programming your radio
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h3. Should I put my Icom radio into clone mode first?
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No, Icom 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.
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h3. Should I put my Yaesu radio into clone mode first?
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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.
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h3. What is a live radio?
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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.