Saturday, March 29, 2008

FTB7800 Radio Programming Software

Awhile ago I'd purchased Yaesu's programming kit for their FT-7800R radio. The kit consisted of ADMS programming software and a cable. The software works but it's clunky. Recently, I tried to install it on my MacBook Pro's Windows XP Parallels virtual machine, and it would not accept the serial number.

So, I decided to spring for G4HFQ's excellent FTB7800 programming app. I downloaded it, sent in my order, and received a license within minutes.

I was able to install FTB7800 inside the XP VM, but couldn't get it to talk to the radio. I'm using a Keyspan USA-19HS USB-to-serial adapter, since the Mace doesn't have a serial port. The VM sees the adapter but I'm not getting FTB7800 to see the COM port. (In contrast, I was able to get this working fine with Yaesu's software for the VX-5.)

As an interim measure until I get this working on the Mac, I installed FTB7800 on my old Compaq Presario 710US laptop, which I keep around for one of my kids to use. I still need to use the Keyspan adapter, since it too lacks any serial ports.

Initially, installation of the Keyspan failed with an error, but it was usable after a reboot. I was then able to read my FT-7800R's memory, and import a list of PA repeaters which I had created using the ARRL Travel Plus for Repeater software, which is installed in the Mac's VM. (I transferred the FTP7800R installer, along with several repeater lists from the Mac to the Compaq using a thumb drive.)

I now have over 200 repeaters plugged into the 7800R. Tomorrow, I'll fire up the second 7800R which I bought earlier this month, program it with the repeater list (and probably some more), then hopefully get it mounted in my truck in the coming week.

Compared with Yaesu's software, FTB7800 has a better user interface. Just as important, G4HFQ's customer support is simply outstanding. I had a question about importing repeater lists in the app yesterday, sent him an email, and got back a helpful reply in about an hour or so.

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