I’ve noted before that one of the disadvantages of using a Mac in the shack is the lack of software. Fortunately, Tom, DL2RUM, has come to our rescue. His programs, RUMLog and RUMTrol, are really great programs. Oh, and did I mention they’re free?
About a week ago, I decided to get RUMTrol working. Instead of kludging together the USB-RS232 converter, followed by the RS232-CIV converter I built a couple years ago, I decided to purchase to but a USB-CIV cable. After reading some positive comments online, I bought the Radio Shack 20-047 Scanner Programming Cable. Unfortunately, it took quite a bit of futzing to get this to work properly.
First of all, I had to get the proper driver. Without this driver, RUMTrol couldn’t even see the port. A guy on the Ham-Mac mailing list pointed me in the right direction for this driver, which I downloaded from the FTDI website (www.ftdichip.com).
At this point, I could program RUMTrol to send data to the radio, but it wasn’t reading any data from the radio. I tried a bunch of different settings, but without any success. The frustrating thing about all this is that the radio seemed to be sending the data (at least that’s what I took the flashing lights on the cable to mean), but the computer wasn’t receiving it.
I posted a query to the RUMSoft bulletin board, and after a few go-rounds, Tom, DL2RUM, was able to set me straight. The problem seemed to be my choice of baud rate – 300 baud. My thinking was that if I could get it to work properly at the slowest baud rate, I could then jack up the baud rate so that it would work faster.
Wrong! I never did get the received at 300 baud, but after DL2RUM suggest that I set the baud rate to 9600 baud everything started working. I’m puzzled, but happy.