Here is the info and files to add to your node so you can program a variety of radios.  The HamVoIP site is the source for most of this but I am helping you to add what is needed for the MLS2, MVS and MASTR III radios.

On your bench computer/desktop/laptop/whatever_you_access_node_with you’ll go into your home directory then into the .ssh directory and edit the file ‘config’.  What you’re doing here is adding lines so that it will accept X window forwarding (you’ll read more on that in Doug’s writeup later).  You are adding the line ‘ForwardX11 yes’ as seen in this example:

Host node
        HostName node 
        Port 222
        User root
        ForwardX11 yes

Host kg7ytj
        HostName ke7ytj.servebeer.com
        Port 222
        User Steven
        Forwardx11 yes

Host benchserver
        HostName 172.16.8.34
        Port 1296
        User Thor
        Forwardx11 yes

Open up this web page and follow the instructions there (with addition I show below):  https://hamvoip.org/hamradio/motorola_programming/

Basically you’re going to log into your node and run these commands:

pacman -Syu hamvoip-dosprogspacman -Syu hamvoip-dosmisc1echo “X11Forwarding yes” >> /etc/ssh/sshd_configecho “X11UseLocalhost no” >> /etc/ssh/sshd_configsystemctl restart sshd

Then log out of the node and log back in.

Next you’re going to download the appropriate software to your node.

cd /dosprogs

wget http://n7jct.org/RadioProgramming/MLS2.tar.gz

wget http://n7jct.org/RadioProgramming/MVS.tar.gz

wget http://n7jct.org/RadioProgramming/MASTR_III.tar.gz

If you look at my web site at http://n7jct.org/RadioProgramming/ you may see that I have other software too. For example, you may be unfortunate enough to be stuck with a Vertex VXR-7000 repeater. If so you’ll find the wideband version of CE27 software here for that radio as well and you can download it in the same way.

Now you’ll extract the files you just downloaded.

tar -xvf MLS2.tar.gz

tar -xvf MVS.tar.gz

tar -xvf MASTR_III.tar.gz

If the file is a .zip then use the unzip command to extract.

You should find the LBI’s for these radios in the folders when you extract them. That’s a bonus for you, makes it handy to learn how to connect things to the radios. If you’re not familiar with GE, LBI stands for “Little Book of Instructions” and it is the service manual or other relevant data.

Now if you log into your node and run the command ‘dosbox’ at the command prompt it will open a window on your local machine.  Even though it appears on your local machine it is actually Dosbox running on your node.  Within Dosbox you are running a copy of Norton Commander and it should be fairly obvious that you are looking at the programs contained within the /dosprogs directory.

For programming non-GE radios you’ll want to pay attention to the note on the HamVoIP web page regarding hardware configuration. Some of these radios, especially the Motorola radios, make use of some very odd baud rates. For those you need to have that specific USB-to-RS232 cable.

MASTR III is a little more forgiving. I’ve used a variety of cables on those and have yet to find one that didn’t work. The connection to that radio is a standard 9-pin serial cable and you may use either the front or rear port on the radio.

See the Repeater Builder site for information regarding the MLS and MLS II radios. Learn the difference and be sure you have an MLS II radio. The MLS is a different beast and requires a completely different programming arrangement. Don’t waste time on those radios, get yourself an MLS2.

MLS II Overview

MLS II Connections For Nodes or Repeaters

Additional MLS II Information

Programming of an MLS2 radio, or the MVS, will make use of a USB-to-TTL adapter. You can build your own cable or lash it up in a temporary fashion to get the job done. You could even build this into the radio itself. Do what works for you and please don’t judge others.

Take this opportunity to read the information on Repeater Builder and get very familiar with the microphone connectors on the MLS or MVS radios, whichever you are programming. There is unfused battery voltage present on these connectors. You don’t want to fry your equipment so you need to be careful that you are NOT connecting anything to those particular pins.

In the case of the MLS the pin to avoid is Pin 8. Looking at the microphone connector from the back of the radio this will be the left most pin, the one farthest from the center of the radio. Left to right the pins are numbered 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 with Pin 1 being closest to the center of the radio.

On the MVS it is Pin 2.

Check them with a voltmeter. Know which pins these are. Do not connect your programming apparatus to those pins. You have been warned.

As with most serial communication, you will only be using three wires here. One wire is for Ground. One wire is for TX Data. One wire is for RX Data. You can be fairly relaxed about these wires. If you get TX and RX mixed up it’s no big deal. You won’t be able to read or write to the radio is all. And, if that’s the case, simply flip the connection and try again. No harm will come.

So your USB-to-TTL converter may have more pins on it than that but all you really care about are Ground, TX and RX.

With the radio powered off and the converter not plugged into the Pi, let’s make the appropriate connections.

Connect ground first. For the MLS this is Pin5 on the microphone connector. For the MVS you want Pin 1. If you have any doubt you can check these with an ohm meter, you will have minimal resistance between this pin and the body of the radio or the black power lead.

Now connect the TX and RX leads. I might describe them backward here. If I get it wrong and the radio fails to read, simply flip them. Then drop me an email to tell me how it really is and I’ll update this page.

If programming an MLS you connect the converters RX line to Pin 2 of the MLS microphone connector. Connect the converters TX line to Pin 7.

If programming an MVS you connect the converters RX line to Pin 9 of the microphone connector and connect the TX line to Pin 8.

Now plug the converter into the Pi USB port and apply power to the radio. Turn the radio on, fire up the software and attempt to read the radio.

Again, if the radio fails to read, exchange the RX and TX connections and try again.

That is all!