Tag Archives: ham radio

Program Your Amateur Radio HT From Linux

Having recently moved my ham radio equipment into the bedroom, where I spend most of my time, I decided it was time to finish up the Linux control of my available radios.

One of my favorite hand held radios is the tried and true Yaesu FT-60R dual band hand held, or HT for short.

The FT-60R will transmit on the 2 meter and 70 centimeter bands with 5 watts of power. It is also able to receive, just like a scanner, your local public service bands, aircraft and air traffic control, National Weather Service broadcasts, and lots more!

With this much versatility,  trying to program all that manually would take a great deal of time and drive you nuts!

Enter a lovely cross platform program called Chirp.

Chirp is in the Ubuntu repository, so installing it is as simple as opening your Software Manager and searching for Chirp. You can also download the source code from the Chirp web site.

Chirp radio programming software

Chirp radio programming software

Chirp will allow you to send and receive radio frequencies, transmit offsets, and most of your radios other options, after setting them up in the convenient programming matrix as shown above.


Download / Upload context menu

Download / Upload context menu

Using the very easy, self explanatory menus, you can upload and download channels and settings. The software is compatible with a wide range of radios from Icon, Yaesu, Kenwood, and many many others.

Download menu

Download Menu

Because most modern radios are designed to use a standard 9 pin serial port, using an inexpensive USB to Serial converter is fast and easy. The large majority of them will function with Linux without doing anything but plugging them in!

Opening a Linux terminal and typing: sudo lshw will list the available ports, and once plugged in, you should see which port your adapter is on in the listing. Then just plug that into the download / upload dialog as shown above.

Radio Settings

Radio Settings

Chirp will also allow you to set radio parameters like repeater offsets, Auto power off. Favorite channels etc. with ease.

There is lots of help available on the Chirp web site if you runinto any problems. Most people who report problems,are having trouble following the radio manufacturers multiple button pushing in the right order you need to do to put the radio in the serial send and receive mode. Hang in there, it took me a few tried so get it going too!