Programming Comercial Radios Using DosBox

Ham radio operators love old gear and we make use of a lot of older comercial gear, especially when it comes to repeater building. The biggest problem (besides interfacing) is most of these radios require older dos programs to program them. Some are soo finiky they require older computer hardware or else the CPU cycles go above and beyound what the radio can do.

I use linux throughout my shack and I use DOSBOX to run the programming software in a native dos enviroment.

First we install dosbox

For me when I plug in my programming cable which is USB it shows up under /dev/ttyUSB0 but the persmissions are for the root user. To change this run

When in dos and the programming software will want to set a COM port to talk to the radio. So now we have to set the /dev/ttyUSB0 serial device and point it to COM1

Using your favorite editor open up ~/.dosbox/dosbox*.conf

and look for the line that reads serial1 and replace that line with the following

The only other items I have had to change is sometimes the CPU frequecy is too high and I need to change the "cputype" in this configuration file as well to make it emulate a slower processor. But for the most part things work well just the way they are.

When connecting to the radio in the software choose COM1 and it will go through your USB serial connection

Your programming software or more so the folder that it is located in will need to be mounted in DOSbox before you can use it. To keep things neat and simple I extract my programming software to ~/dosbox and when I launch dosbox I run the following command

From within dosbox when I switch to C: it shows my the ~/dosbox folder and I am able to execure the programming software