Inexpensive Programming Cable for Kenwood Mobiles

To program my Kenwood TM-V71A dual-band mobile I needed a cable to connect the radio to my computer. Kenwood sells such a cable (the PG-5G) as do other vendors, but they are all a bit expensive. Looking for a less expensive alternative, I searched Amazon.com for a cable with the right connectors. (I really like Amazon.com because of the free two-day shipping that comes with my Amazon Prime membership!) Immediately I found a cable for $10.20 — the 3′ Hosa DBK-103 — and was pleasantly surprised to find this helpful review posted by William Bowen, K8WHB:

I bought this HOSA cable to connect my Kenwood TM-D710A 2M/70CM ham radio transceiver to my shack computer. Hosa advertises this cable for use in connecting a computer to various electronic musical instruments. They need to widen this recommendation – the cable will work on any device that uses a 8-pin mini-DIN connector for an RS-232 port that is wired in the standard Apple layout (crossover of data & control signals from the DB-9 end to the mini-DIN end).

I’ve seen cable from other vendors for this purpose, and some of the prices are just nuts (Kenwood wants $38 for an equiv. cable!!) and the construction quality of some of the other cables I’ve looked at is a bit suspect. The Hosa cable is well built with good strain reliefs on both ends & uses good quality shielded cable. That last item is very important when the cable is to be used in a radio shack, since one does NOT want to get RF feedback back into the radio’s control ports, especially when you are doing packet radio.

I’d HIGHLY recommend this cable to any ham that has a radio or other equipment that requires such a cable – it is a HIGH quality cable at a very attractive price.

Since the Kenwood TM-D710A takes the same cable as the TM-V71A, I figured this was the solution for me. I went with the longer version, though: the $12.75 Hosa DBK-110 10 Foot Synthesizer Controller Cable, 8-pin Mini-DIN to DE9.

To make serial cables work with my laptop I need a serial-to-USB adapter. These adapters have a chipset in them that require a driver on your computer. The two most common chipsets are the FTDI and the Prolific. I’ve had mixed success with Prolific before (if you’re using Ham Radio Deluxe, stay away from it or you’ll get the blue screen of death!) so I went with the excellent FTDI chipset and purchased this adapter.

After the UPS truck arrived this morning I went out to my pickup, plugged these cables together and connected my laptop to the Kenwood. They work great!

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7 Comments

Filed under Kenwood TM-V71A

7 responses to “Inexpensive Programming Cable for Kenwood Mobiles

  1. Harold Mitchell

    Very helpful analysis and comments. We were sort of stand-alones 50 years ago.

    • Todd Mitchell

      Thanks, Dad. Speaking of 50 years ago, a couple days ago I pulled a handsome old Hallicrafters SX-100 out of a box that Antonio unearthed in our crawlspace. It still works! Do you have any idea how that came into my possession? I don’t recall ever seeing it on Inca Lane. Here are some pictures of another fellow’s SX-100 so you can see what it looks like: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3100/2771137912_56c928941f.jpg

  2. Scott Schoemann

    Prolific- Profanity is thy name! Bought a USB cat cable clone for my Yaseu that used a #%^$ chipset…. after searching and trying every driver available for it I gave up and was about to order the Yaesu cable. I accidentally reinstalled the original nonfunctional driver only to have it work on that billion and tenth try… Never again will I deal with that piece of …

  3. Cale

    I wonder if this would work for my TM-G707a?
    Thanks for the article
    73 K4CDN

  4. Scott Phillips

    You, sir, are a prince among men. Well written, exactly what I needed, and even included links *directly* to the products described. That’s not just “elmering” — that’s outstanding customer service.

    I’ll be promoting this article throughout the ARRL Ohio ARES program, as many of us are fans of the D710A for its cross-band repeat and APRS capabilities. Many thanks, and be well.

    Scott Phillips / N8SX
    ASEC, ARRL Ohio ARES

    • Todd Mitchell

      I’m so glad this is helpful for you and the other ARES operators there in Ohio! Your comment encourages me to start blogging again. Hopefully I’ll get back to it soon.

      73,

      Todd, N0IP

  5. Paul

    Being Kenwood shows the pin-out, how hard is it to make one? Is it possible to make a USB-DIN cable and eliminate the need for the adapter?

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