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Author Topic: USB to DB9 for HT Programming  (Read 6229 times)
KQ6Q
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Posts: 988




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« on: October 22, 2013, 08:16:09 PM »

Does anyone have recent success with USB to DB9 cables and older HT programming software ?
Do any of the products emulate COM1 through COM4 which is all most of the older programs will address?
What brand/model of /adapters worked for you? What Computer OS ? what make/model radios?
I'm using Win7 - and 10 year old Icom HT and mobile -  hoping to avoid trial and error on the adapter purchase!
thanks in advance!

Fred Wagner, KQ6Q
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KD0REQ
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2013, 08:26:32 AM »

mystery and intrigue.  short version, if the chip has good drivers, it all works.  it all depends on the software.

you are no doubt aware that USB is an active interface, it thinks and processes, while the serial RS-232 interface is just layer-1 signal conversion.  so you can't just run wire between the two, there is a chip.

some chips have better driver support than others, and there are drivers that only allow one instance of a NFG chip on the bus, where others will let ten YooHoo chips reside.  provided they don't all carry the same basic license number, generally.  you don't get to pick and choose based on which chip is in there, they don't tell you.

so there is some trial and error in using a USB/RS-232 adapter cable.

the driver interfaces to the BIOS layer for computer access, so in a Windows/DOS environment, you are using COM port assignments.  in the case of an -ix OS, there is a similar mapping to tables that the kernel reads.  the magic is in the assignments, and best of all worlds is there are no other serial assignments in use to complicate things.  in -ix, you can edit the tables at your own peril, don't make a mistake.  in Windows, if they don't let you have more than COM1 or COM2, and there is some other device that uses them, you are seriously driver-dependent.

if it works, you don't have conflicts.  they were fixable before The Registry took over starting with Win95.  The Registry is similar to the -ix device tables, except all the information is scattered all over the lot.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 08:30:16 AM by KD0REQ » Logged
AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2013, 10:25:13 AM »

Most of the time you can give the USB port a fixed COM port assignment from within windows and can set it to COM1 thru COM4. If you just let it pick an available COM port on its own it will often pick one of the higher ports.
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K6LCS
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2013, 11:31:30 AM »

TrippLite, Belkin and Keyspan make reliable ones - Available at Staples.

If I had to purchase one, I'd go with RT Systems and their RTS-03 ...

https://www.rtsystemsinc.com/RTS-03-USB-to-Serial-Adapter-p/rts-03.htm

Clint Bradford

 
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
KA1MDA
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2013, 01:11:09 PM »

It depends on the equipment. I tried a Keyspan USB to serial converter, and it worked great with my Kenwood TS-2000X and TH-F6, but would not work at all with my TM-D700A. Sometimes the programming software requires some of the handshaking lines, and these often don't translate well via USB. If the pinout for the radio programming port only uses the 3 lines (TX/RX/GND), a USB converter will work fine. If the programming port uses more than 3 lines (such as RTS/DTR/CTS) it's a toss up as to whether the USB converter will work.

Personally, I think it's far easier to just use a real serial port. Internal serial cards for desktops, as well as PCMCIA or EXPRESS cards for laptops are cheap, and available on line for $20 or less. And unlike the USB converters, they work with everything.
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KQ6Q
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2013, 01:05:25 PM »

Thanks for the comments and suggestions!
The 'real serial card' suggestion might be a good solution for working with my HT (I have a tower running Vista-64), but I was hoping not to have to take the IC-2720 out of it'sburial spot under the dash in my Element - my current laptop has USB, HDMI, RJ-45, and VGA ports - nothing that would take a card slot. It's time for a visit to Radio Shack and then Fry's !
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K6LCS
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2013, 01:34:35 PM »

RS and Fry's would be the last places I would go ... Staples has three reliable units available, as cited earlier.
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
N1DVJ
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2013, 05:05:55 AM »

Does anyone have recent success with USB to DB9 cables and older HT programming software ?
Do any of the products emulate COM1 through COM4 which is all most of the older programs will address?

See my other posting in the computer section about programming radios,  but basically they ALL will do this.  It's the  brain dead programs that talk to the com port that's the problem.

But to solve your problem, you need to 'free up' a lower com port for your cable to use.  Sometimes that is not so easy.  But if you can, free up the port and get your cable to install at that port and it will probably work fine.

Unless the software is REAL old and affected by timing issues...
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N1DVJ
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2013, 02:40:53 PM »

One other note about USB com cables...

 Beware of power management.  It can have a nasty habit of trying to 'manage' your port at the worst possible time.

When I was doing weather stations, the  word was the 'One-Wire' bridges would not work with a USB to serial cable.  But it turned out it was power management. 

It's shouldn't affect you for just programming a radio, but if the link is slow and you let it set...
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KQ6Q
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2013, 09:16:03 PM »

I bought the Gigaware USB-A to Serial cable through RadioShack.com, and it's perfect for my use. The drivers installed nicely on my Win7 laptop, I connected it with the ICom programming cable to the IC-2720H in my car, and the Icom programming software came up happily recognizing the radio on COM3.
Now I'll finish the PSK-31 adapter I've been putting off building, and try PSK31 with my 746Pro. (I did PSK31 years ago with a homebrew interface and and Argosy 525, never got around to it with the Icom. Now's the time!)
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KU3X
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Posts: 144




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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2013, 08:44:14 AM »

There are a lot of USB to RS 232 adapters that work. I just upgraded to Windows 8.1 and ran into issues.
My old Trenet adaptors worked with Ham Radio Delux but would not work with N1MM or the Kenwood programing software. After doing some research and
reading other posts, I purchased the Tripp-Lite USA 19H adapters and they work with every software package I have on this computer.

http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-USA-19HS-Hi-Speed-supports/dp/B0000VYJRY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381257919&sr=8-1&keywords=tripp+lite+usa-19h

Barry
ku3x.net
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