Homebrew Programing Cables - FT-60, UV-5R, IC-2730A

Discussion in 'Homebrew and Kit Projects' started by W5GX, May 26, 2020.

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  1. W5GX

    W5GX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been wanting to work on rev 2 of several programming cables. The first rounds were clunky and the cables were too stiff to my liking.

    So, I have four different radios: the above and an FT-7100M (still working on a cable for that), and I cling to the homebrew side of amateur radio. After some digging around, I had come up with the following.

    I used the jumper pins and sockets that you can use for Arduino, breadboards, PCBs, etc. and 3-wide socket housings. Heat shrink holds the two housings together.

    All are designed to be used with my CP2102 adapter:

    USB-TTL CP2102 Adapter.jpg

    My plugs are oriented with the pin locks facing up, to match the orientation of the chip on the TTL adapter.


    For my USB-TTL, I swapped the RX/TX pins. The Miklor site says this is possible; but the other cables I've built work just fine with the expected TX/RX arrangement, on the same TTL adapter.

    I used two separate cables - one 3.5mm and one 2.5mm cable, both TRS. Use some heat shrink for strain relief, and this was actually the simplest cable to create - only crimping terminals. It also seemed to be one of the best documented - there are other examples on the interwebs.

    My first version had the two phone plugs too close together, and soldering them was difficult. Having the "Y" further away helped that.

    My cable:

    Programing Cable - UV-5R+.jpg



    I actually connected to the 3v3 pin, and didn't have an issue. But then again, I found any VCC wasn't necessary - see below.

    The picture above I had just found recently - the one I was previously working with didn't give detail on the TTL side. My prior version used only resistors. It worked - out of sure will power, I guess.

    This took only one 3.5mm TRRS cable (watch out - 2.5mm TRRS cables are a thing). I lucked out, this cable follows OMTP, not CTIA - the ground is actually the shield wire. My luck was to be short lived; however, I didn't have a 120K resistor had to put a 100K and two 10K in series. Also notice I had to use heat shrink on the ground shield - so as not to short to the TX pin.

    My first version used a TRRS plug you solder directly to. I don't want to do that again (but I'm thinking of practicing SMC soldering - go figure)!

    My cable:

    Programing Cable - FT-60R.jpg


    Note that the stereo plug sketch isn't quite clear - the RX/TX line connects to the ring, not the tip. This also took one cable - 3.5mm TRS. This was the first one I tried, and really didn't add enough lead between the resistor and diode to their respective pin sockets - it was a slight push getting the pins locked into the housing. This was a first try for this cable, and I'm very satisfied.

    My cable:

    Programing Cable - IC-2730A.jpg

    In the end, some quick soldering practice, a lot of heat shrink, and dealing with small pins and sockets. It's fun for me.

    Overall, I'm not sure why these cables need any voltage from VCC. I have tried both IC-2730A and FT-60R with and without the VCC connected, and there was no issue. Since I assumed the ham radio "group think" knew better, I left them connected.

    Three successful mini-projects; and I hope that by putting these on QRZ, anybody with similar searches can get a little text explanation behind the graphics above.

    The Baofeng and Yaesu both worked successfully with Chirp, and the Icom worked with the CP-2370 software.

    Input is most welcome.
    K9ATS likes this.
  2. N4CIE

    N4CIE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I hope you can read my post. I have a quick question regarding the VCC connection. These USB to Serial Converters usually have two (2) voltages selection for the VCC output.
    Now my question...Which one? 3v3 or 5V ? Or it doesnt matter? I'm considering to make my own for an Icom IC-2730A too.

    Btw, this post is priceless thanks a lot!

  3. AB1YW

    AB1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

  4. W5GX

    W5GX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use the 3.3V connection. Haven't had any issues over the dozen or so programs.
  5. W5GX

    W5GX Ham Member QRZ Page

  6. W5GX

    W5GX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I recently purchased an FT-4X. Luckily, I had some parts on hand to build it.

    Got this from the interwebs. This one didn't need a resistor or VCC, so I'm not convinced it's necessary for the others as well. Que sera.

    20210617_200721 - Copy.jpg

    A note - I may try Chirp. Yaesu's own programing software seems to be junk - I don't think you can bulk load or even copy in data. If anyone has experience, I'm all ears.

    So, that's all for now.
    ZL4KL and VE3CGA like this.
  7. K9ATS

    K9ATS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you Chris W5GX for the write-up details! After making a CAT cable for my ICOM ID-5100A using a USB-TTL CP2102 in the past I have a few extra. I use RT-Systems for programming it, but at $50+ wanted to avoid it this time.

    I traded a local ham for a like new Yaesu FT-60R Saturday morning, and with no cable in sight I stumbled across your topic. Using your first post I put my cable together and it works great in Chirp! Also I was able to copy and paste my Baofeng UV-5R freq list of 49 to my FT-60R via Chirp, saving me lots of time too.


    I also have a Baofeng UV-5R and Radioddity GD-77 HT's with proper cables (they came with them), but work in Chirp or GD-77 with little more than plugging the HT in. I tried making changes for hours on my new cable/connectors until I gave up and watched YouTube discovering the power-on/programming sequence... little did I know not all HT's simply plug-in and work.

    No heatshrink, project box, etc as I normally would do as the TRRS was cut off a old headset (the solder TRS plugs I have, I do not know if they work on the FT-60R after all the changes I did). If I get a proper connector I'll make a better cable then. :)
  8. W5GX

    W5GX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used a TRRS cable as well - I tried soldering to a jack, and overheated the plastic holding the rings quite handily.

    Glad it worked for you. :D
    ZL4KL and K9ATS like this.

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