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Using the Yaesu VX-8 Cable on Mac OS X

Posted March 14th, 2016 in Bread-crumbs by admin

Using the Yaesu VX-8 Cable on Mac OS X (El Capitan in my case)
3.14.2016

If you have a Yaesu radio (the Yaesu VX-8DR in my case) and have purchased the Yaesu cable (the ADMS VX-8 in my case) to program your radio you may find some difficulties when it comes to using it with your Mac.
Protip: If you haven’t bought a cable for your Yaesu yet, skip the VX-8 cable and get a FTDI cable that isn’t RT Systems proprietary, like this one.The software that comes with it only runs on Windows so don’t bother opening the disk. Instead, head over the CHIRP site and download the latest daily build and the the Python runtime libraries referenced in the Mac download section. Install the Python runtime libraries and then run CHIRP. Easy.

But the difficult part is yet ahead. The cable you have from RT Systems is based on the FTDI chipset, which is the chipset you want when it comes to USB to Serial adapters, but RT Systems has made their proprietary so that their software will only use the RT Systems cable. Unfortunately, this also prevents the native Mac driver, the FTDI driver, and the Mac driver from RT Systems (which is odd), from identifying the VX-8 cable and thus being used by CHIRP.

There are two things you can do to fix this issue; modify your Mac’s native FTDI driver to load when it sees the RT Systems proprietary FTDI cable, or modify the VX-8 cable to work with native FTDI drivers. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but I went with the latter, modifying the VX-8 cable via software. Both are outlined below.

Method 1 – Mac Driver Modification

To modify your Mac’s native FTDI driver to recognize the RT Systems VX-8 USB cable you will have to modify the driver to “teach” it to load and support the Yaesu cable. This seems like the obvious choice, but unfortunately (fortunately?) the security of the Mac OS makes this more difficult and the idea of weakening my systems’ security makes this a no go for me. But if you want to move forward with this method, you’ll have to modify one file and you’re good to go.

Note that you will have to disable security features to even be able to modify this file, so again, think twice about this method. Assuming you’ve disabled the mechanisms to prevent modifications to your drivers, you’ll need to open /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBFTDI.kext/Contents/Info.plist and find the IOKitPersonalities section. Add the following stanza, save the file, force unload/reload of the driver with the kextunload/kextload commands, or simply reboot.

<key>AppleUSBFTDI-RTSystems</key>
<dict>
<key>CFBundleIdentifier</key>
<string>com.apple.driver.AppleUSBFTDI</string>
<key>IOClass</key>
<string>AppleUSBFTDI</string>
<key>IOProviderClass</key>
<string>IOUSBInterface</string>
<key>InputBuffers</key>
<integer>8</integer>
<key>OutputBuffers</key>
<integer>16</integer>
<key>bConfigurationValue</key>
<integer>1</integer>
<key>bInterfaceNumber</key>
<integer>0</integer>
<key>idProduct</key>
<integer>0x9000</integer>
<key>idProductMask</key>
<integer>0x9000</integer>
<key>idVendor</key>
<integer>0x2100</integer>
</dict>

Method 2 – VX-8 USB Cable Modification (recommended):

If you have the RT Systems VX-8 cable for your Yaesu radio and plan on using it exclusively with your Mac and CHIRP, this is probably the best way to go. You don’t need to modify your Mac’s security settings, mess with its native drivers which may change during an update, etc. The disadvantages to this is that the Yaesu/RT Systems software will not leverage the cable until you back out these changes and restore it to its original settings. Do note that you will have to have access to a Windows system to modify the EEPROM of the VX-8 cable. If you don’t have a Windows system or a friend with a Windows system contact me and I’ll do it for you at no charge.

Before you can program the cable you’ll need to plug it into the Windows system, I was using Windows 7, but it should be the same for all versions. Windows should see the cable and install the proper drivers automatically, but I had to go to the device manager, click on the VX-8 device and check the box to use it as a VCP device before CHIRP would see it as a serial device.

You are going to be reprogramming the EEPROM of the VX-8 cable which sounds pretty scary, but luckily there is a utility to help. Go to the FTDI’s website, download and install the FTPROG tool which requires the .NET framework to run. Go here and download the FT_PROG 3.0.60.276 – EEPROM Programming Utility:

http://www.ftdichip.com/Support/Utilities.htm#FT_PROG

Plug in your RT Systems VX-8 cable and start FTPROG. Have it scan for the cable and it should find it and load all of the settings for it. BEFORE you do anything else, save these settings as the default template so you can go back if you need to use the Yaesu software!

The only thing we need to change is the Vendor ID and the Product ID. Don’t touch anything else. Head to the USB_Device_Descriptor section and change the setting to the FTDI Default.

ftdi

You might want to save this as a template as well in case you need to toggle back an forth later.

Click the Program button, which is the one with a little lightning bolt on it to program the device. and you’re all set. Plug it into your Mac and CHIRP will see it strait away. To verify, open the Terminal app and look for the device, “ls /dev/cu*” will show you something like /dev/cu.usbserial-RT8K31V.

Simple.

Eliminate Pingback And Traceback Spam On Old Posts

Posted June 13th, 2013 in Bread-crumbs, News by admin

Because spammers suck and should all die in a fire I’ve had to disable all Pingback and Trackback  options for the site. Easy enough, you just click the Discussion link under settings and disable them. That will disable them for all future posts, but has no effect on past posts which the scumbag spammers were posting to the site with. I found that there wasn’t a good way to globally disable Pingbacks and Tracebacks and it was just too daunting to manually go to each page shut them off, so after a little messing around in the database, here’s what I used to easily and globally disable Pingbacks and Tracebacks.

For Posts:

UPDATE wp_posts SET ping_status=’closed’ WHERE post_status = ‘publish’ AND post_type = ‘post’;

For Pages:

UPDATE wp_posts SET ping_status=’closed’ WHERE post_status = ‘publish’ AND post_type = ‘page’;

 

Getting AirTunes To Connect To Airport Express

Posted December 20th, 2011 in Bread-crumbs by admin

iTunes not connecting to your Airport Express’ AirTunes? Turn off IPv6 and it should start working again.

To turn off IPv6 open the terminal app and enter the following for your network adapter(s). For example, if you’re connected via the Wi-Fi interface:

sudo networksetup -setv6off WiFi

 

Ring Buffer With Tshark

Posted December 14th, 2011 in Bread-crumbs by admin

Using a ring buffer with tshark

You can use a ring buffer with tshark to overwrite files by time, size, or both. So to capture on interface ath0, disable name resolution, start a new file when the previous reaches 250k, capture up to three files with the prefix wifi-cap_NNN_<dstamp>”, capture only traffic with DST or SRC set to xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx you can enter:

#tshark -n -i ath0 -a filesize:250 -b files:3 -w wifi-cap -R "wlan.addr eq xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx"

 

New How-To:Using the Apple iPad/iPhone Configuration Utility for VPN

Posted December 12th, 2010 in Apple, News by admin

I just added a new How-To on using the iPad/iPhone Configuration Utility to centrally configure iDevices to use a VPN connection. The same tool can be used to configure iDevices to do a multitude of things as well. It’s a complete walk through that will guide you through installing and using the tool, complete with links and screen shots. See it here:

Using the Apple iPad/iPhone Configuration Utility for VPN

Redirecting URLs with mod_rewrite

Posted May 12th, 2010 in Bread-crumbs by admin

If you’ve ever needed to move a web page’s location or change it’s URL but didn’t want to break external links to it as well as loose your Google juice, you can use Apache’s mod_rewrite to redirect a user’s browser automatically to the new location. Although there are many ways to do this with simple URL names it can become more challenging when using dynamic links. The question mark is a special character and escaping it doesn’t produce the desired effect when used on URLs like somepage.php?id=12&yada=yada.

When I changed my URLs to pretty human readable URLs I used the following to keep from breaking my links.

Old URL

http://www.fatofthelan.com/articles/article.php?pid=29

New URL

http://www.fatofthelan.com/technical/how-to-install-postfix-dovecot-amavis-clamav-and-spamassassin-etch/

So in my httpd.conf I added the following stanza that redirects the old URL to the new URL.

RewriteEngine  on
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^pid=29$
RewriteRule .* /technical/how-to-install-postfix-dovecot-amavis-clamav-and-spamassassin-etch/? [R=301,L]

One word of caution. Don’t forget to add the question mark at the end of the new URL as this forces a blank query string. Otherwise, the original query string will be retained and appended to the end of the URL producing a 404 page.

mod_security missing from Debian

Posted May 8th, 2010 in Bread-crumbs by Tobias

Due to some licensing issues, mod_security was removed from Debian. To get it back you can do this. Etch users add this line to your /etc/apt/sources.list:


deb  http://etc.inittab.org/~agi/debian/libapache-mod-security/etch ./

Apt doesn’t know about this site’s gpg key so you’ll need to import it.


gpg --keyserver wwwkeys.eu.pgp.net --recv-keys  C514AF8E4BA401C3
apt-key add /root/.gnupg/pubring.gpg
apt-get  update

Now you should be able to install as before!

Mac backup with rsync

Posted May 8th, 2010 in Bread-crumbs by Tobias
I needed to backup my wife’s MacBook to our home server and have it be “1 click” easy so she’d use it. I used ssh and rsync so she could use it anywhere securely.
First I generated her ssh key:


ssh-keygen  -t dsa -b 1024 -f ~/.ssh/backup-key

Then I copied the contents of .ssh/backup-key.pub to her ~/.ssh/authorized_keys2 file on the server.
And finally, I created the following script to backup to the server:


#!/bin/sh
# This backs up Eve's data
# Backup  with this one:
rsync -avz -e "ssh -i /Users/eve/.ssh/backup-key"  --delete --stats --progress /Users/eve eve@myserver.com:/home/eve/   --exclude '.Trash' --exclude '.DS_Store'

And that does the trick. Backs up, deletes files that have been deleted on the Mac, and excludes .Trash and .DS_Store files.

Fix GPG error with debian volatile

Posted May 8th, 2010 in Bread-crumbs by Tobias

If you’re having trouble adding debian’s volatile source, this should fix it.


gpg --keyserver wwwkeys.eu.pgp.net --recv-key  EC61E0B0BBE55AB3
gpg --export EC61E0B0BBE55AB3 | apt-key add -

Then apt-get update should work fine.

Deleting old log files

Posted May 8th, 2010 in Bread-crumbs by Tobias

If you need to create a script to delete old logs based on number of days, you can use this:


find /path/to/logs/ -mtime +90 | xargs rm -rf

…and that’ll remove any thing older than 90 days.