Have you ever tried to program your radio with a computer but ran into problems? Have outdated, hand-entered programming that you need to clean up but don’t know how? New to ham radio and need help getting started with FM communications and radio setup? If any of these or true, or if you want to just sharpen your skills, then the Fall Programming Clinic is for you!

SARA will be hosting and sponsoring a free radio and programming clinic for the amateur radio community. The Clinic will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 10am to 12 noon at the Wadsworth Public Library (map).

Experienced hams will lead a presentation and discussion on the following topics:

  • Basic FM radio operations
  • Basic antenna information including fixed, mobile, and H/T considerations
  • Basic repeater operations covering how repeaters work, offsets/splits, CTCSS/PL, Digital Coded Squelch (DCS), Allstar, and Echolink
  • Basic concepts in radio programming
  • How to program radios from the keypad
  • How to program radios using the Chirp software

Following the presentation, experienced hams will be on hand to program radios with a stock list of area repeaters or to help people program their radios with their own equipment. All participants should bring the following:

  • Radio(s) (including power supply if bringing a non-battery-powered radio)
  • Radio manual(s)
  • Programming cables for their radio(s)
  • Notebook and pens/pencils for notes

If you want to get a stock list of repeaters programmed into your radio, SARA will have laptops with programming cables for common radios makers available to load the new program. This program will erase any existing programming on the radio. Volunteers will program one radio per person until all people are served and then will program additional radios as time permits.

If you want to customize the stock list of repeaters or just need help with your custom program, please bring your laptop along as well. SARA will be able to assist with certain questions about radio programming itself. However, SARA members will not provide general tech support for laptops or hardware.

SARA recommends using the latest version of the Chirp software package for programming most radios. The Chirp site lists compatible radios.

Important Note: If you are purchasing a non-manufacturer programming cable for your radio, especially one from Ebay, try to purchase a cable that uses the FTDI serial chipset. Do not purchase one that uses a Prolific chipset, especially if you’re using Windows. The Prolific chipset will likely be a  cloned knock-off made by an overseas manufacturer. The drivers on Windows do not work reliably, if at all, with the knock-off chips and Mac OSX compatibility is spotty.

A flyer to use for distribution to clubs, VE session examinees, etc. is available here.

Please note this is not a license preparation class. This clinic will not cover Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), System Fusion/C4FM, or D-Star.