Success with RUMTrol

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.

Comments

  1. Actually,that doesn’t surprise me. With today’s computers… and the Mac in particular, they are so fast and expect everything else to talk with such speed, I would imagine that getting a computer to recognize 300 baud would take some interesting programming. 300 baud is pretty darn slow, I know when I got my first “modem” back in the day, I could read the text on the screen faster than the computer recieved it. For a computer running at gigahertz on a port designed for 800+ megabits a second to listen for 300 BITS a second is pretty darn slow. Maybe I’m way off base, but I know with some of my music gear, that’s the case. The lower baud rate settings just don’t work.

    I’m interested in the MAC ham mailing list. Didn’t know one existed. Can you hook me up? Pretty please?

  2. The URL for the Ham-Mac mailing list is http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/ham-mac.

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