Tuesday, January 30, 2007

USB-to-Serial Adapter in Parallels

As I've mentioned previously, one reason I need to run Windows is to program my Yaesu VX-5RS and FT-7800R ham radios. I don't have the patience to do it through the radios' built-in menu system, and the programming software is Windows-only. It connects via a serial port and special cables to the radios. Since my MacBook Pro does not have a serial port (it has 1 FW-800, 1 FW-400, and 2 USB 2.0 ports), I needed to use a USB-to-RS232 adapter.

I have just such an adapter in the form of a Keyspan USA-19HS. I got it for use with my iBook so I could console into routers and switches. For that I use ZTerm.

With the instructions I found over on MacOSXHints here, I was able to use the Keyspan adapter in XP running under Parallels. After following the instructions I was able to read from and write to the memory of the VX-5. I have to disconnect the FT-7800R cable from Bagend, which entails moving it out from under a pile of stuff, so I didn't get to it yet.

As a side note, the ADMS software that I have for the radios has some of the most obnoxious copy protection I've ever seen. It must be installed from the original CD. It can't be copied to, say, a network share, and then installed. Doing so gets you an error whereby it rejects the serial number. However, the the software comes on 3.5" CDs which won't work in my MBP's slot-load drive. Thankfully, I was able to install it after putting it in Bagend's DVD-RW drive, which I then shared over the network. What a massive pain in the ass. If I didn't have a network-accessible machine with a tray loading optical drive, I would've been SOL.

After getting the USB-RS232 issue squared away, I installed my Brother HL-2070N printer in XP. It works just like a normal PC. I continue to be very impressed with Parallels Desktop.


Steve said...

Dave... 1st-time visitor here. I found your Blog through Google: you were one of only TWO hits on "Social Carbine", which I find a bit hard to believe. ANYway...

I saw your comment about the application requiring the original CD for installations, precluding an install from a network share, and I was curious about whether you had copied *all* of the files from the CD to the Net drive?. Seems like a silly question to ask an obviously intelligent techie, so I'll explain.

I had the same problem several years ago, with the same symptoms you seem to be reporting.
The fix was to copy *EVERYTHING* from the CD to the network share, including the Autorun.exe and Autorun.ini files.
In my case, the AUTORUN.INI file contained an entry for "Reg Key Last 4", and obviously the installer compared what I entered during installation to the contents of that entry in the .ini file. No .ini file meant no comparison variable input, hence the error. I had never before, nor have I since, seen that particular "copy protection" scheme.

It's a long-shot, I agree, but who knows? It might work for you.

Shoot Straight!

Dave Markowitz said...


Thanks for the tip. I don't recall if I copied the autorun files. I will give this a try when I install the software for my FT-7800R and post a follow up.

dixonge said...

cool - mac user - FT7800R owner - computer geek - I'm bookmarking this site!