obligatory obscure reference

self-deprecating yet still self-promotional witty comment


Making a Yaesu FT-897 work with OSX

Filed under: Amateur Radio — jet @ 15:52

I have a nicely functioning OSX FT-897 setup and thought I’d document things to make it easier for others wanting to do this.

What didn’t work

Let me start out with what *not* to do. Do not buy anything that is not %100 guaranteed to work with Mac OSX by the manufacturer. When I say “%100 guaranteed” I mean an explicit statement that it the product is fully supported on the Mac by the manufacturer, not “it will work if you get drivers from a third party.”

I used a West Mountain Rigrunner Nomic with my old Powerbook using a USB<->Serial adapter and it kinda worked most of the time. When that third party solution stopped working due to driver conflicts when I switched to my G5 desktop, I upgraded to the West Mountain Rigblaster Data Jack plug & play because the very first line of the description says, “USB interface support for Mac (OS9,10), Linux, Windows (98SE – Vista 64)!”. What I missed was this on a different page of their site: “NOTE: WEST MOUNTAIN RADIO DOES NOT OFFICIALLY SUPPORT MAC INSTALLATIONS. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT US WITH ANY QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS USING THESE DRIVERS. THE DRIVERS ARE SUPPLIED BY SiLabs THE MAKER OF THE CHIP”. In other words, if you can’t get it to work with a third party driver, they’re not going to help you. I wasted a better part of a weekend trying to get it to work and got nowhere fast, and I like to think I know a thing or three about *nix, serial, and USB. (And I now have TWO Rigblasters I need to sell.)

What worked

After the West Mountain fiasco, I broke down and spent 2x as much on a microHAM USB Interface III. It’s a pretty cool little unit that does everything over USB — only one cable to hook up to your computer! It’s actually supported by uHAM and therefore supported by OSX software authors. For software, I finally got around to upgrading my aging copy of MacLoggerDX to the 5.x release which has full Cocoa support. It really was just a matter of setting the internal jumpers, installing all the uHAM drivers, plugging in the USB cable and the rig cables, launching MLDX, setting some configs, and I’m chasing clusters and beacons with the best of them. Serial seems to be working pretty reliably at 38400. (Note that this is under 10.5.8, I haven’t taken the Snow Leopard dive just yet.)


No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress