[chirp_users] CHIRP on Mac mini M1

Scott Lopez scottjl at gmail.com
Sun Sep 12 13:49:03 PDT 2021

What matters is the chipset in the USB cable, it's actually a USB to
serial. Most cables are made with a chip from one of two manufacturers:

Future Technologies (FTDI) - https://ftdichip.com/drivers/
Prolific Technology -

MacOS does come with default drivers for some of the chips from these
manufactures, but they aren't always the most up-to-date. The easiest way
to find out what chipset you're using is to use the System Information
application (located in /Applications/Utilities). Open the app, look at
Hardware > USB and then look for your cable. Look for an item that says
something about serial or UART. Or unplug and replug the cable, pressing
Command-R each time and look for something that disappears and shows up.
Once you find the right item, you can select it and get more info, under
vendor ID you should see either Prolific or Future. You should be able to
figure out the chipset from the item name itself, for example one of my
cables identifies as "FT232R USB UART" which tells me it's a Future
Technologies chipset and needs the 232 drivers. Another cable I have
identifies as "USB-Serial Controller" with a vendor ID of Prolific. Looking
at the Product ID I see it's "2303" which happens to be a chipset from
Prolific looking at their website. There's only one MacOS driver available,
so that's the one to use. Pretty much 99% of these cheap $10 cables are
going to use one chipset or the other and not something very rare. I
haven't seen any cables that are USB-C yet, these are all USB-A, so I need
to use them with an adapter or hub with USB-A ports for my MacBook Air M1.
Even though the drivers aren't ARM native, they seem to work just fine in
my experience.

You will also have to do some guesswork when selecting the port in CHIRP
itself. On the MacOS version the drop-down list for port will show things
like /dev/cu.somethingsomething. Look for one that says "usbserial" or the
like. If you can't find it, again it might be useful to try unplugging and
replugging just the cable, and restarting CHIRP and look for an entry that
disappears and shows up on the list. Remember what you select, as it should
be called the same thing in the future.

It won't hurt to install drivers from both manufactures, they'll just be
sitting around unused if you don't plug a cable with that chip in, so if
you're really stuck, install both. If you're still at a loss, then get
another cheap cable from Amazon, look for one that says FTDI or Prolific

Also important, do make sure the cable is plugged in all the way to your
radio, some of my radios require more pressure to push it in fully. Set the
radio to an unused frequency and set the volume to 70% or so.

I have no problems programming all of my radios with CHIRP on MacOS (Intel
or M1) or Windows 10 following these general guidelines.
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