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Author Topic: Best place to get lead for HRD with my FT 950  (Read 13672 times)

Posts: 30

« on: October 11, 2012, 01:40:55 PM »

Hi there guys,
any recommendations on where to get the interface cable to use HRD on my PC and my FT 950? Looked on ebay, but not too sure if these are the correct ones. Don't really want to get raped by Yaesu for their official brand which is probably wayyy overpriced. Thanks!

Posts: 28

« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 07:22:12 AM »


For CAT control or for digital/soundcard interface?  You need one for each.  I think the FT-950 has a standard DB-9 serial port for CAT control. The other end depends on your computer.  Could be a serial port or a USB port.  USB would require a USB to serial converter cable(Buy one with FTDI chipset not Prolific) to enhance your odds of success. 

Since you are wondering about the Yaesu cable, I am thinking you mean for digital work.  But, more info is needed, like what is your soundcard interface?  Also, I don't know which port on the FT-950 is used...RTTY or PACKET or what...?  You may be able to buy a less expensive cable from someone like TigerTronics just to get out of your rig to usb and go from there...

Hope I am helping point your somewhere!


Posts: 875

« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2012, 12:29:13 PM »


I do not own an FT950, but have had a look at the online manual.
It appears the CAT interface is a standard RS232C interface with Serial data in, Serial data out, used for data transfer.
Also, it has two RS232C control signals called Request To Send (RTS) and Clear To Send (CTS).
Depending on whether the FT950 is classified as a DTE (Data Terminal Equipment) or DCE (Data Comms Equipment) the wiring will be slightly different.

Looking at the serial port pinout on the FT950 you can see that pin 2 on the rear DB9 (DE9) CAT port is defined as serial data out.
On a standard PC serial port pin 2 is defined as serial data in.
A PC's serial port is normally defined as a Data Terminal Equipment (DTE) device, so it appears the radio is setup as a DCE device (modem type).
This means that you should be able to use a straight through RS232 cable to drive the FT950 from the PC.

The two control lines RTS and CTS are for handshake control.
They work by one device raising RTS (Request To Send), and the other device will raise CTS (Clear To Send) when it is ready to accept data.
This is used as a stop-go valve for slow devices, which are not able to digest data coming in at high data rates.
If you use these two signals for flow control it is called hardware flow control.
It needs a cable with these two extra lines connected between the two DB9 connectors.
So you would have Data-out, Data-in, Ground, RTS, CTS all connected - giving 5 wires needed.

Another method is software flow control which uses special characters to stop and start the data transmission.
These two special characters are called Xon and Xoff.
Since these two special characters are sent over the serial data lines you don't need RTS/CTS wiring if software flow control is used.
In this case you only need a cable with three wires: Data-out, Data-in, and Ground.

Most radios do not need RTS/CTS flow control and Xon/Xoff software flow control is quite adequate.


You probably only need a serial cable with three wires Pin 2, Pin3 and Pin 5 connected end to end on DB9 connectors.
(make sure you have the gender of the DB9 correct).

This cable is only for radio control and has nothing to do with packet/digital modes.


For digital working (including RTTY), you use the RTTY/Packet connector on the rear panel.
It appears to be a fairly standard 6 pin mini-din which Yaesu uses on most of its radios for this purpose.
Basically, you need to get the appropriate cable for whatever interface you buy/build to get audio/PTT in and out of the radio.

The FT950 manual is quite clear on how to interface the RTTY/Packet cable.


Many PC's these days do not come with an RS232 port as standard so you may need a USB to Serial port adaptor.
Standard PC serial ports need voltages from +/- 3 Volts to +/- 15 Volts to meet the specifications.
USB ports only have +5 Volts, so USB to serial adaptors have DC to DC converters onboard to give the higher voltages.
Having said this, many times you may find that manufacturers "cheat" and use 0 to 5 volts on the serial ports.
This does work in most instances - and I mainly mention it for a heads up in case you measure it, and find this is the case.

As regards specific purchasing decisions, like all of us, you will have to take your chances and hope for the best.
But the FT950 CAT interface seems very simple and if I were doing it, I would just use a three wire cable with a DB9 on each end.
The FT950 seems to be setup as a DCE (modem type) device , so interfacing is very simple.

Good luck, 73 - Rob

« Last Edit: October 13, 2012, 12:36:16 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged

Posts: 30

« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2012, 02:04:49 PM »

Thanks for replies guys!
I just downloaded Ham Radio Deluxe (free version for now) and just wanted to hook my FT 950 to it so I can use my laptop for all its options, so my question is a really a basic one, what do most people use for this purpose and where can I get one of these cables? Surely someone must me making em to capitalise in on people using HRD.

Posts: 875

« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2012, 02:32:02 PM »

Hi Andrew.

Yes, many people do use HRD with their radio's but the problem is that their is no one standard way of connecting them up to a P.C.

The problem lies at the radio end.
For example ICOM, Kenwood and Yaesu all use their own methods of computer connection.
And the method even changes from radio to radio within the same manufacturer.

For example:
The Yaesu FT897D radio has a CAT (radio control) port which uses an 8 pin mini-din connector.
In addition, although it uses an RS232 data format, the voltage levels at the radio are TTL (0 to 5 volts) not RS232 (+/- 3 to 15 Volts).
So, with the FT897/FT857/FT817 Yeasu radio's you need both a cable and a voltage level converter.
This cable has a built in converter and Yeasu sells it as a model CT62 cable.

BUT - you would NOT use this cable with the FT950 since it appears Yaesu is now using true RS232 levels (+/- 3 to 15 Volts) on the FT950 CAT port.
This is also indicated by the fact that they are now using a true RS232 DB9 type connector as the CAT port.

From my previous post you will see it appears the FT950 is set up as a "modem" type device as far as RS232 is concerned.
So theoretically, you could just use a direct wired pin for pin cable on TXD, RXD, and Ground.
I hesitate to say you could use an old modem cable since there is a lot of variation in them and you could end up damaging your radio.

I would suggest you do some study of both the FT950 manual on the page where it shows the CAT port pinout, and RS232 in general.
Basically, you need to match up the PC RS232 port TXD, RXD, and ground and the equivalent FT950 pins.
Keep in mind that RS232 is an OLD standard which comes from the early days of computers.
TXD (transmit data) for example is on one pin for a DTE device and another on a DCE device.
Otherwise you would have both devices trying to send data out on the same pin - which for RS232 is not possible.

So, do some online study on the RS232 standard, and it will become clear what you need.

If you are looking for an off the shelf consumer solution, I cannot help you, but I am sure google will.

73 - Rob
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 02:34:15 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged

Posts: 1209


« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2012, 10:44:08 AM »

Hi there guys,
any recommendations on where to get the interface cable to use HRD on my PC and my FT 950? Looked on ebay, but not too sure if these are the correct ones. Don't really want to get raped by Yaesu for their official brand which is probably wayyy overpriced. Thanks!

From the tone of your posting, I draw the conclusion that you can't (or do not want to) build your own cable/interface so that leaves purchasing one. Since it also sounds like you aren't comfortable in analyzing the interfaces and deciding which might be the one to use, I would highly suggest that you bite the bullet and just get the OEM one DESIGNED explicitly for your FT-950. It isn't like you're going to have pay for this over and over again so a one time purchase (albeit maybe a bit more than a 3rd party aftermarket interface) might just be a cost savings in the long run and probably results in less issues and problems.

Also it might require more than just a cable to complete the interfacing of the radio to the PC. Not sure what (if any) level conversions might be required for the FT-950 to serial interfacing. If you were capable of doing it yourself, I believe you'll find all the information you need to connect the PC to the radio in the radio's user/service manuals and the pinouts for a standard RS232 9 (or 25) pin PC serial port - all most likely available online somewhere.

With regards to 3rd party cables/interfaces, my advice is "CAVEAT EMPTOR"

Good luck in your adventures Smiley

Gene W5DQ

Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp

Posts: 30

« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2012, 03:03:28 PM »

Thanks for all the great responses, I will go over everything thathas been posted!

Posts: 16

« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 05:51:37 AM »

Got to RTSystems web site and look for this:

USB-63 Programming Cable/Control cable for:
KENWOOD TS-480 TS-570 TS-590 TS-870 TS-2000
YAESU FT-920 FT-950 FT-2000 FT-5000 FT-9000

 It is what I use.

Posts: 30

« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2012, 12:22:58 AM »

Thanks Mike!

Posts: 1

« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2015, 03:23:29 PM »

Beware: RTSytems newest driver(2014) for Windows 7 causes a error re: unsigned digital signature. Even if you disable this digital sig checking it still may not work, as in my case. RTSystems states it's Windows issue, of course, and has no other solution other than sending cable back for testing. Yeah, right.
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