FAQ

Version 49 (Dan Smith, 12/14/2020 12:27 pm)

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h1. Frequently Asked Questions
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{{>toc}}
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h2. General use
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h3. What is it?
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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.   
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h3. Is my radio supported?
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If it's listed on the [[Wiki|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 [[FAQ#How-can-I-get-my-radio-supported-by-CHIRP|How can I get my radio supported by CHIRP]].
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h3. My radio is on the web page, but not in CHIRP. Why?
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If your radio is listed on the [[Wiki|front page]] as supported, but is not available in CHIRP, you are likely running an older version from before it was added. Go to the download page and get the latest version.
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h3. Will this replace the OEM software?
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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.
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h3. How do I program split TX/RX configurations?
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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.
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h3. What are "stock configurations"?
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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.
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h3. Can I add new stock configurations?
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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:
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 %APPDATA%\CHIRP\stock_configs
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On MacOS or Linux, the path is:
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 ~/.chirp/stock_configs
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h3. Why can't I upload my CSV file?
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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.
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h3. I get "application configuration is incorrect" when I try to run CHIRP
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The full error message as seen by the user is: "Application cannot run because application configuration is incorrect"
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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":http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=5582.
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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.
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h3. Can I adjust the port settings for improved communications reliability?
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No, this is a common misconception. Please refer to this more detailed page on the topic: [[FAQ_Adjusting_The_Serial_Port_Settings_In_Windows]]
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h3. How do I upgrade to a newer version of CHIRP?
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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.
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h3. I'm a blind ham. Can I use CHIRP with a screen reader?
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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!
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h3. How do I print from CHIRP?
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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.
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h3. What platforms (OSes) does CHIRP support?
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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.
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h3. Is CHIRP safe to use with my radio?
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The CHIRP development team takes radio safety seriously. We receive no help from the vendors or manufacturers of the radios, and as such our drivers are developed by reverse-engineering. There is some risk involved in that, but everything carries some amount of risk (like buying the cheapest possible programming cable from questionable eBay vendors to program your expensive radio with). As with anything that is widely deployed and used by regular people, over time urban legends have developed about CHIRP, how it works, and how it is or is not dangerous to use. The internet gives anyone a soap box to stand on, and it places everyone on an equal footing, regardless of their actual level of understanding of the thing they're talking about. CHIRP comes with no warranty (or cost!) and you are always using it at your own risk. However, here are some facts from the people that have developed it that you can use to draw your own informed conclusions:
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 * Developers are taking the most risk by writing the drivers and testing them against their own radios. No developer has ever permanently damaged their radio (or if they did, they didn't tell anyone about it)
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 * We write the drivers to behave exactly as we observe the official software (or cloning routines) to behave
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 * No manufacturer or vendor has ever approached us and asked us to remove support for their radio from CHIRP, or to make any changes to the driver for increased safety
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 * Some large vendors actually choose to *rely* on CHIRP exclusively as their programming tool, not releasing (or supporting) the manufacturer's software at all
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 * Many thousands of users around the world use CHIRP every day, including individual users, resellers, and professional fleet managers
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h3. What is the license for CHIRP?
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CHIRP is released under the GPLv3 license, which you can "view here":https://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/repository/entry/COPYING
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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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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:
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    * "Yaesu VX-7R cable":http://stores.ebay.com/KAWAMALL-RAD/Other-/_i.html?_nkw=vx7+cable&submit=Search&_fsub=1&_sid=55765193 (works for VX-6R, ICOM IC-Q7A) - $18
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    * "Yaesu VX-8R/DR cable":http://stores.ebay.com/KAWAMALL-RAD/Other-/_i.html?_nkw=vx8+cable&submit=Search&_fsub=1&_sid=55765193 - $23
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    * "Yaesu FT-7800 cable":http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=yaesu+7800+programming+cable&_sacat=0&_odkw=yaesu+7800+cable&_osacat=0&_trksid=p3286.c0.m270.l1313 (works for 7900, 8800, 8900, etc) - $14
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    * "OPC-478 clone cable":http://stores.ebay.com/KAWAMALL-RAD/Other-/_i.html?_nkw=opc-478&submit=Search&_fsub=1&_sid=55765193 (most ICOM, some Alinco radios) - $14
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Check "KawaMall":http://stores.ebay.com/KAWAMALL-RAD and "Valley Enterprises":http://stores.ebay.com/Valley-Enterprises for other options. See the [[CableGuide]] for more information about which cable to use for your radio.
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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. How can I access Device Manager in Windows?
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The answer is dependent on what flavor of Windows you are using. Here are a few common methods:
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* *XP:*    Start > Control Panel >System > Hardware > Click on the Device Manager button.
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* *Vista:* Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Device Manager
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* *Win7:*  Control Panel > System and Security > System > Device Manager
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* Click on _Start_ in the Taskbar then _Run_ and enter _devmgmt.msc_ in the resulting box 
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* Press the Windows key+R, in the resulting menu type _devmgmt.msc_
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* Click _Start_ --> Right click on _My Computer_ and select _Properties_, click the _Device Manager_ link on the left.
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* Press the Windows key + pause/break key
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* 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)
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<pre>
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set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
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cd %SystemRoot%\System32
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start devmgmt.msc
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</pre>
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h3. How can I use Device Manager in Windows to diagnose an error?
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See the "USB Cables and Drivers":http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_Drivers.php page on the Miklor website which has extensive information on drivers and how to use Device Manager to diagnose errors
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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. See the [[Beginners_Guide]] for more details about this process.
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h2. Connecting with your radio
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h3. Should I put my Alinco, Icom, or Kenwood radio into clone mode first?
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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.
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h3. Should I put my Yaesu radio into clone mode first?
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This depends on the type of Yaesu radio.
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Almost all older 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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Newer Yaseu HTs (FT-4, FT-65, FT-25) do not need to be placed into clone mode manually. CHIRP can put the radio into clone mode and can also operate if the radio is already in clone mode, e.g., if you first download from the radio, then modify your setting in CHIRP, and then upload back to the radio. CHIRP cannot command the radio to leave clone mode, so you must power the radio off after the CHIRP session.
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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.
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h3. No serial ports are listed for download
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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:
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1. Your computer has no serial ports
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2. You are using a USB-to-serial cable and the proper drivers are not installed. 
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Most people will fall into #2 above. Install the drivers that came with your cable or USB adapter and try again.
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h2. Giving or Getting Help
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If you have a question about anything, please join the CHIRP "mailing list":http://intrepid.danplanet.com/mailman/listinfo/chirp_users and ask your question there. Please do not contact the author or developers directly!
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The mailing list has the latest discussion traffic and news about CHIRP.
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h3. Can I report a bug or request a feature?
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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":/projects/chirp/issues provides a way for users to report bugs, generic issues, and request features. Please read [[How_To_Report_Issues|How to report issues]] first!
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h3. Can I help?
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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|Honor Roll]] for that list of people and be sure to thank them if their generosity resulted in support for a model you use!
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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":http://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/issues/new for the translation and a developer will contact you with more details.
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h3. Can I donate some money?
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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|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.
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h3. How can I get my radio supported by CHIRP?
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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.
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If you're interested in loaning your radio for this process, please follow these steps:
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# Look at the [[Wiki|front page]] to make /sure/ that it is not already supported
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# Look at the current set of "new model requests":http://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/issues?query_id=15 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
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# If neither of the above applies, then open a "new request":http://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/issues/new
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*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.
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h3. I am a vendor with a new radio for sale. How can I get it supported in CHIRP?
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Please see [[InformationForVendors]].
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h2. Using the Mailing List
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h3. Should I subscribe from my arrl.net address?
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No. Most people use their arrl.net alias purely for receiving, not sending. Using your arrl.net alias will make it difficult for you to send to the list, and more importantly, difficult for you to unsubscribe later when you forget that you used that alias in the first place. This creates a large amount of trouble for the list admins, which have to manually unsubscribe users that don't understand the problem they have created for themselves.
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For this reason, *arrl.net addresses are not allowed to join the list*. Use your real email address when subscribing.
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h3. Why was my mail to the list rejected as a non-member post?
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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.
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h3. How do I unsubscribe?
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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":http://intrepid.danplanet.com/mailman/listinfo/chirp_users. Please *do not email the list or list owner asking to be unsubscribed*.
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h3. How do I change my email delivery preferences?
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Please see the answer above about unsubscribing.
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h3. What if I forgot my password?
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Use the following tool, which will email you your password:
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http://intrepid.danplanet.com/mailman/options/chirp_users
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h3. Why am I getting warnings about "excessive bounces"?
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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.
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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.
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Sorry for this inconvenience. It sucks, we know. We wish there was something reasonable we could do about it.
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h3. Why is my aol.com or yahoo.com address banned from joining the list?
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Unfortunately, these ISPs have decided to reject all mail from the mailing list. This happens because people that use these services subscribe to the list, and then later decide they don't want to be subscribed. Instead of following the instructions _at the bottom of every message_ to unsubscribe, they instead mark all the mails as junk. This tells the ISP that the CHIRP mailing list server is sending large amounts of spam, and thus they block it outright. This is a false positive, and caused by CHIRP users themselves, but alas the ISPs in question are completely non-responsive about remedying the situation. If the mailing list allowed you to sign up, you wouldn't be able to receive any of the mail, and because the aol and yahoo servers reject everything, it just clogs up the CHIRP server until it is manually cleaned out.
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So, sorry to say, but if you want to subscribe to the mailing list, you'll need to use another ISP.