we7u's picture

Radio Programming from Windows: Counterfeit USB-to-Serial Chips

I generally avoid Windows but sometimes cannot: Radio programming where Linux open-source programs don't support particular models.

Usually I use CHIRP, a Python program that runs multi-platform, so can do the programming on Linux. Linux drivers usually talk to USB->Serial chips, whether genuine -or- counterfeit: They just don't care.

Windows drivers have been tweaked by the chip manufacturer to detect counterfeit chips, then refuse to talk with them. To get around this you must install OLD Windows drivers various people have spirited away and made available for download. That's where the difficulty comes in... I tried and tried to get the old driver installed. The popups led me to believe I was uninstalling the new driver and installing the old. Turns out Windows is misleading. There's a checkbox you must check along the way to actually remove the files, which may or may not get removed depending on your permissions. I ended up with both drivers installed and still USING the newest driver. To fix this: Go into Win10Pro Device Manager. Select the USB->Serial driver of interest. Tell it to "Upgrade" the driver, search on my computer, show me the installed drivers, then click on the OLD driver. After this the port comes up and starts working.

The Chinese have counterfeited both Prolific and FTDI chips, so you may have to go through this procedure with either if you're running Windows. Turns out my Wouxun programming cable I bought many years ago and have been happily programing with under Linux happens to have a counterfeit Prolific chip in it.

For the FTDI driver there was at least one Windows driver version that detected the counterfeit chip and wrote 0's to the PID for the chip, therefore making it unusable in ANY operating system. There's a way to re-write a valid PID to the chip under Linux again. The lastest Windows drivers don't do this write so you needn't worry as long as you update to the latest drivers before plugging in that cable.

The problem for the user is not that the Chinese copied the chips, it's that they decided to make the chip identify as the real chips so they'd use the FTDI or Prolific drivers. If their chips used a new identifier and a Chinese-provided driver, there's no problem getting them to work. I've heard they're doing this now for some chips.

wa7nwp's picture



Testing basic markdown formatting.


##  Second level heading

* bullet list one

* two bullet list


And so forth... 

wa7nwp's picture

Checking in..


Good morning Wetnet!

Checking in to verify the platform is working.  I'm be back in a bit with last weekends brunch report.


we7u's picture

Android S/W Devel: App won't install on H/W device

A fun one. I modified my Android app and tested it on real hardware (Nexus 5x) with no issues. Later I went to install it on my Nexus 7 tablet: It started into the install and then errored-out with "App not installed" each time I tried. That error message tells me NOTHING!

Found the answer here:

The key part: The app was uninstalled for MY user but not for ALL users on the tablet. I had to go to Settings->Apps->name-of-app. Shows "Not installed for this user". Click on the appname there, click on the 3 option dots in the upper right, select "Uninstall for all users". After that the app can be installed using any of the normal methods. This problem occurred because I had another user set up on the tablet for the kids gaming on trips. The phone only had the one user.

we7u's picture

Android S/W Devel on Linux

Android S/W Development on Linux

For Linux, install latest Android Studio. Add an entry in /etc/udev/rules.d which matches the vendor of your Android phone or tablet. "lsusb" should show the USB device for your phone when it is plugged in via cable. Once you have that rules.d file in place and correct, "adb devices" should list the phone or tablet. You'll need to enable "Developer Mode" on your Android, as well as "USB Debugging".

I tried and tried using a Nexus 5x phone and a USB->MicroUSB cable with an add-on USB-C adapter. Never saw the phone. Switched to  USB->USB-C cable and it showed up immediately.

Once the cabling, software, and rules.d file are in place, you should be able to create your first project (See the Google web pages for this, it's very easy!) and run it on the hardware device directly.

we7u's picture

Android Phone + VHF/UHF HT (DMR optional): Almost there

Interesting. Basically a ruggedized android phone + dual-band HT with a 6AH battery (removable, so you could have spares with you). I looked for Part 90 certification but didn't see it in the specs. Too bad, 'cuz I could see applications outside of ham radio, assuming one could protect the glass enough for real outdoor use.

Also looked for mention of a modem for doing data through the VHF/UHF radio. Nothing. Looks like it has earphone and mic jacks under a rubber cover on the side (I can't figure out the top symbol there), so a Bluetooth modem should give you APRS/data capability at the expense of having something else strapped to it with a cable, and more batteries and waterproofing to worry about.

3.2 W on VHF or UHF, so might be the Chinese $35 HT guts added on to an Android phone. Runs Android 5.1, so it's behind the times already on that.

we7u's picture

Is this mic on?

Is this mic on?

Try turning the amp up to 11.



Not sure this is working... (drops mic)

n7ipb's picture

Were Back!!!

Below is a rehash of my posting to the seatcp mailing list back in May, outlining a bit about the death of the old wetnet server and it's resurrection.

As of today the website itself is back in it's original form.   I have plans for a complete web overhaul but life seems to be getting in the way so the old system will have to do until I complete the planned site upgrade.  

-------------------------The Story so far-------------------------

Back at the end of May the Wetnet server died while I was logged in fighting a sudden influx of spam and web bots along with it's sudden desire to kill processes for lack of memory, even though memory was fine.

Rather than fight it any longer I spent the remainder of the week (with the exception of a one day trip to Lyman to put a spare antenna on 224.78) getting the new server ready.  I already had the OS installed (openSuSE Leap) and was running a VM for the jabber/xmpp server so I continued on and put in roughly an additional 30+ hours.

It all got installed on May 29.

It's now a dual, 2.5Ghz Xeon quad-core server with 16gig of ram and lot's more disk space.   Thats the host machine.  There are Virtual Machines handling different services like mail, xmpp,dns,web and keyserver duties.  Plus a couple more for special cases like Curt's firenet processes.

In the long term all this virtualization will make it easier to protect, backup and even provide some redundancy by potentially hosting VM's elsewhere.

wa7nwp's picture

Wetnet Brunch 19-Sept-2015

(copied from

Brunch is always great fun - even if they had no Banana Creme Pie this week.

WSJT-X now has an auto-qso mode. What took them so long?

Good to see our wandering ski board friend on his seemingly annual visit.

MonWyDaHoTa - no, I haven't figured out what that means either.

Learned of the Gamma Research power supply. Special feature is that it uses capacitor technology to supply the peak current needed for a 100 W SSB or CW transceiver - but runs with much lower rated full duty cycle construction. Pricey but a small size.

I shared that both of the Elecraft K3S stations at Summer Gathering were using the recommended PowerWRX 12V SS-30DV supply. It has a small size and built in power pole connectors. Should be a lot lighter in a Go Box than a 7 A or 12 A Astron.

I brought the Dash Cam I picked up a few months ago to try and get working. Ren shared the well done Dash Cam reviews at Techmoan. (No - I didn't get mine working. It keeps power cycling like it's not getting enough current. Time to RTFM.)

The "Periscope" streaming video AP was demo'd.

It's possible to Screen share (VNC) between Mac devices - but what about Airplay screen casting? We experimented. No definitive answer yet.
(Update de Jeremy: You want to use Airplay to stream your screen to someone else’s monitor? Try Airserver: I’ve used it a couple of times to use a Mac laptop instead of an AppleTV off of my iPad.)

For your notes - the magic code at Jimmy Jacks is : J..J..sGu..1

Bob has a new 820T2 RTL SDR dongle running and is now a master of signal scoping. He claims he can't decode the 9600 APRS UHF packets by sight but I'm not sure I believe him.

It does appear that SDR#, the main SDR dongle software, is indeed supported and hosted by the Airplay folks at their site. Many have websites on how to get started but it's still confusing and not straight forward.


Bill, WA7NWP

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