Tips For Working With CHIRP

Chirp can be a temperamental program. So why work with Chirp?

It is provided for free (donations are accepted) and it has ability to program an incredible number of radio models from various manufactures. It is a huge improvement over programming through the face plate of the radio.

A better understanding of how chirp functions can make working with it a much less frustrating experience.

Downloading a blank IMG Copy From The Radio

When you first download your radio to obtain a blank program to start entering data save several copies of the blank program before you begin entering data.

If something goes badly wrong while programming your radio you will still have a clean copy to start over with.

Avoid Losing Your Work

Save your work often as you write your program.

Chirp crashes and when it does it will usually not retain any changes that were not saved prior to the crash.

I also recommend saving an additional back-up copy of your written program.

Editor Row and Line Number Quirks

Chirp defaults back up to line #1 after each entry. Instead of scrolling back down to where you need to work each time simply remember the next line you want to work on and type in the number. Chirp will go to that line.

You can use copy/paste or cut/paste commands to move rows within a file or from one Chirp file to another. They must be inserted into an empty row so first create an empty row where you want to paste a line. Kenwood radios that require live programming can be programmed this way using a chirp file for a different radio as a source to cut or copy rows from.

When deleting rows the choice of “Shift all memories up” often causes Chirp to crash. The option of “Shift block up” usually results in smoother operation. “Shift all memories up” must be used to delete the last row of a program. If you are deleting multiple sequential empty rows you must start from the bottom if using “Shift block up”. “Shift all memories up” will work in any order. “Delete this memory” will clear the data but leave the empty row. When inserting rows above or below you must base it off a row that has content. If you reference off an empty row nothing will happen. Swapping the position of sequential rows can be easily accomplished with the “Move up” or “Move down” commands.

Do not leave a cell open cell after making a change.

Chirp will reverse the change if the cell remains open to long.

Click somewhere else on the screen to close the cell you were working in after changes have been made.

PL Tone Mode and TSQL

If a change is made to the PL in the “Tone” cell Chirp may default the “Tone mode” cell back to the default of “Tone” if it was set to “TSQL” or another setting. Watch for this if you are working with “Tone mode” settings.

Chirp files can be transferred between computers by e-mail or flash drives.

Generally they can not be opened in Chirp unless they are placed in the folder where Chirp will look for them.

This is usually a folder called “Chirp Files”. Do not attempt to open the file from this folder. Open Chirp then open the file from inside of Chirp.

If you have trouble connecting to the radio check that you have selected the correct manufacture and radio model in Chirp.

Verify the cable is securely plugged in at both ends.

There is also a possibility that you may have a cable that will plug in to your radio but is not wired properly for it. Make sure you have a cable designed to program your exact radio. Many of the cables have FTDI or other chips that convert a USB port to a serial port. These chips require a driver. Verify the driver was downloaded. If it has not been downloaded you may need to do so manually.

Make sure the port number setting in chirp matches the port number the computer has the programming cable on. The port on a PC can be located under “Device Manager” then “Ports (COM & LPT)”. I am not sure where it is on a Mac (can anyone help). The COM port number the computer has the programming cable on along with the status of the driver for the cable can be checked here.