A new radio came in the mail today, a Baofeng UV-5RA. This is a cosmetically different but basically identical model to the UV-5R that I already have, which will be a hand-me-down to KE8DDR who I promised a radio once he got his license.
Every new radio gets programmed with Chirp, so every time I have to re-figure out what I already knew about Chirp once and get it working again.
This time it took me three rounds of frustration before finally getting Chirp to work. My first try was with my relatively new Macbook Air; that required downloading a new driver for the programming cable, which successfully loaded but didn't work. Next, I tried an old Macbook, but the battery on that device is so weak that it reboots if you try to do the slightest bit of work on it.
The success came when I rehomed all of the work to a Raspberry Pi. I had to install both the Chirp software as well as X11 and Gnome, and these instructions for loading X11 on Hypriot were essential. Some large number of minutes of downloading new code later, I was ready to test. Still no good. What could possibly be wrong?
Finally I looked closely at the instructions, which say that you should turn the volume knob all the way up before beginning with programming. A twist later and all was well. I loaded in a few Washtenaw County repeater configurations from Repeaterbook, and we're good to go. A brief contact with W8TAM tonight on the W8UM repeater was a first contact.
I know that I'll want to revisit this effort, mostly because it makes sense to grab programming for systems in adjacent counties so that when I'm on the road there's someone possibly to talk to. I didn't add any 70cm repeaters, and I should put in the National Weather Service channels. Still - as a start - this was a relatively easy way to get a new radio working.