Jerry is into ham radios and he wants to know if a software-driven radio is a way to go. Leo says that everyone is going with software-driven radio design now, and a lot of Chinese companies have flooded the market with inexpensive models. SDR USB dongles can even turn a computer into ham radio. But he's frustrated because it doesn't save his information or channels and he has to reacquire everything. Leo says that sounds like a flaw in its design. It could also require a driver for that USB dongle. Or, turn on the computer. Let is power-up, and then plug it in.
Ed is blind and has trouble controlling his HAM radio with his computer. Leo says if he has software that is designed to control it, and a cable that converts USB to RS232, then it should work. The chatroom says that they haven't gotten it to work on Macs either. Macs don't work because they don't recognize COM ports. Windows, by contrast, is backwards compatible and has support for that. He'll also need drivers. If the COM port adapter came with software, then that could also be the issue.
LaSalle just got licensed as a HAM radio operator. Leo says that's great news and HAM radio is a great hobby. It's very important after a disaster because often every other communication is down. The FCC eliminated the requirement for morse code, so it's easy to get a basic license. He's looking at the ICOM radio. Leo says that they're great. Handy Talky is a great way to start out, and they're more affordable and would make him more mobile.
Lenny is a Ham (KP4XN) and wants to know what Leo thinks of EchoLink. Leo says he's used it before. It's a system that uses the internet to connect one operator to another. It uses ham radios that transmit to a repeater station which goes over the internet to an other repeater station where it comes off the internet and through a radio tower.
Gordon has a BaoFeng UV5R+ ham radio, and it keeps displaying an error whenever he tries programming the radio through Windows. Leo says that less expensive ham radios don't have an ideal user interface to allow the user to troubleshoot easily. Leo suspects that the USB cable is broken, but he also suggests making sure the drivers for Windows are installed first.
The Chatroom says it's the "prolific driver" that's causing the connection. They recommend using Chirp on Windows to find it.