Back in the saddle

Posted on by AE0BQ

I have to confess I have not been on the air for the last 18 months or so. So, I fished my QYT KT-8900D, MFJ-4225MV 12V power supply, and a dual band mag mount whip out of my storage container. Stuck the mag mount outside, ran the cable through an existing opening, connected everything, powered up, and then realized I needed to reprogram the KT-8900D.

I have a dual boot setup on my computer, and happened to be booted into Windows 11 instead of Ubuntu. So, I went out and downloaded the latest version of CHIRP. However, when I plugged in the USB programming cable for the KT-8900D, the Prolific USB driver complained that it wasn’t a valid Prolific device. Gee thanks, Prolific! Or maybe that should be “Gee thanks to the Chinese silicon vendors that cloned Prolific’s chips and used their VID/PID”. Anyway, I went off in search of the solution that would get my USB programming cable working under Windows.

Turns out I needed to downgrade to an older version of the Prolific USB driver, v3.2.0.0, which can be downloaded here. I went ahead and used Device Manager menu to manually uninstall and remove the current driver, then installed the v3.2.0.0 driver, then rebooted and everything worked.

Downloaded the radio memory, and since it was all out of state repeaters that I will not need in my new location, cleared all memory slots except the first two, and typed in the parameters for two local repeaters, which I obtained from

After CHIRP uploaded to and reset the radio, I selected the VHF repeater, listened for a bit and heard no traffic, so I kerchunked and got the repeater ID! Woo hoo! Of course, I know you’re not supposed to kerchunk, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt just this once. I monitored the VHF repeater for a couple more minutes but there wasn’t much traffic, and there was a lot of QRM that sounded like people trying to get in with HTs or something.

Next, I switched over to the UHF repeater, which is linked full-time to SARnet. When you key your mic on a SARnet repeater, you are hitting all 17 repeaters statewide that are networked via the Florida DOT microwave system (analog, baby!) with towers up and down the major Interstates and Turnpike. That’s quite a megaphone!

I monitored the UHF repeater for a few minutes, and heard traffic from all over the state, mostly signal checks from people traveling the Interstates, trying to see if they are hitting the various repeaters as they travel between coverage areas.

I waited for a lull in the traffic, keyed the mic, counted silently to one, and said: “This is AE0BQ alpha echo zero bravo quebec looking for signal check please”. KF4ZOJ came back and said I was 5 by 9 and full quieting. This stands to reason as I’m running 25W about 3 miles from the repeater input. Being nervous and rusty, I fumbled his call sign, sorry about that, KF4ZOJ! Also did a quick QSO with K4NRD and KQ4DFJ.

I’m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly jimson weed
I’m back in the saddle again

Rest in peace, Orvon Grover Autry