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Reviews Categories | Interfaces, Radio to computer, amp, rotor, coax switch, internet | Radio Shack USB to Serial Cable 26-183 Help


Reviews Summary for Radio Shack USB to Serial Cable 26-183
Radio Shack USB to Serial Cable 26-183 Reviews: 11 Average rating: 3.2/5 MSRP: $39.99
Description: 6' cable with a little bulge in it containing some level-shifters & such.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&category%5Fname=&product%5Fid=26%2D183
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K8LEA Rating: 4/5 Nov 3, 2003 19:16 Send this review to a friend
Useful with a newer PC  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The old Notebook croaked, and the wife let me buy another one. For various reasons I ended up with one that lacked a serial port. Not fun since I have three radios that use a PC (via serial port) for programming.

I'd seen other references to gadgets like this, and happened to be in RS, so....

Took it home, and it worked perfectly once I installed the proper drivers. Unfortunately, the supplied driver disket wouldn't read in my PC.... Fortunately, the RS web site had the drivers, and they were both easy to find and easy to install. (OK - I'm a "pro" - people pay me to do stuff like that, but it was pretty simple. Way to go, RS!) The instructions tell you that the new port will be on COM3. That's where I found it.

I dug out the cable for my VX-150 and lashed things together. Worked fine....

Next night I noticed that the FT-1500M in the car was acting strangely (it sometimes flakes when there are power glitches due to a bad start). Took the notebook and the cable set outside. "COM3 Invalid!"....

At that point I was cursing the lack of the original packaging....

Then I recalled that each time I'd tried to use the thing, I'd tried another USB slot (there are three), and that some sort of "installation" had occurred each time.... Eureka!

Right - the supplied software (and/or my copy of XP-Home) mucks with the port choice, and tries to re-install the port _AND_ puts it on a different COM port each time I try another USB port.... Mine ended up on COM5!

I ended up deleting the device from the Device Mangler, and running the supplied "suicide" program that blows away the drivers, and then completely re-installing the software. It's back on COM3....

Naturally, the FT-1500M didn't want to feel left out. It got completely scrambled, requiring a full reset and reload. Good thing I had the notebook working by then! I ended up reading the PDF version of the manual out in the car to find the reset instructions....

Not a 5 because of all the silliness above (I've not tested that disket - it could be _anything_ at this point), but it does work with the VX-150 and FT-1500M cable sets. It _should_ work with my TH-F6A, too - haven't tried that. A little pricey - the idiots could have put a serial port on the dumb PC - but it is handy.

(I've got yet another ancient notebook - guess I should fire up Windows 3.x on it and see what runs - but it's got a bad CMOS _and_ main battery and.... It's also a 386SX-25. Good enough for this job, but it's not on my network either and.... All my problems should be this small.)

There are other adapters of this type out there - however, some of them aren't smart enough to work with a radio like this. Don't buy anything you can't return....
 
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