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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Is this mic on?

Is this mic on?

Try turning the amp up to 11.



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

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