Upgrading firmware in older Yaesu System Fusion radios to accommodate new DR2X repeaters
This is a fairly lengthy message regarding the new version of the Yaesu System Fusion firmware available for older radios and currently incorporated in new radios. It affects the RCCT team members that will be using the updated Fleet Map on their personal YSF (Yaesu System Fusion) radios.
When Yaesu introduced an “improved” repeater for C4FM (the DR2X) they made some changes to the way the system operates. I recently purchased an FTM-7250 radio and became aware of the changes and the potential impacts to users. Yaesu encourages owners of older radios to update the firmware in those radios to accommodate these new changes. As far as I can tell, they only affect the digital side of things and may be of little consequence to most users. However, these new changes affect some of the setup menus and how the SD cards are formatted and used. The result is if you upgrade your firmware, older version of the RT Systems programming software will no longer work.
First, what are the operating changes? They modified the way AMS mode works and you can now specify if the radio should transmit Auto, FM only, DN only or VW only. In addition, they dropped the original Group Mode and substituted it with DG-ID. In the case of the FTM7250, two of the programmable keys on the microphone are fixed so that P1 will select the DG-ID memory and P2 will enter the DG-ID memory screen. That only leaves two keys that the operator can program.
In the original firmware, Group Mode would take advantage of DSQ (digital squelch) which was set on a global basis through the setup menus. This DSQ is similar in function to CTCSS Tone Squelch in FM. The DSQ is set in the TxRx menu under the digital selection. There are setting for Type which are OFF, BREAK and CODE. The Off is obvious but the Code and Break functions are some of the most highly classified pieces of data in the entire world, and I have been unsuccessful in finding the difference between them. You can also select a CODE which numbers from 1 to 126. As far as I am aware, the only group locally that used this DSQ on their repeaters was the Six Shooters (the website still alludes to these settings).
Unlike PL tones and DCS squelch settings that can be programed in each individual memory, DSQ is only set once and changing it requires entering the setup mode to makes changes. Not particularly convenient. My experience with my FTM-400DR was that setting the DSQ to match the Six Shooters repeaters resulted in no audio on digital signals from the Palomar machines which did not use the DSQ function. I would see the channel busy light come up, but to hear the conversation, the Monitor key had to be pushed.
Unfortunately, Yaesu’s new implementation is barely any better. Again, the DG-ID setting is global and cannot be saved in individual memory locations for different repeater systems. I found that some repeater coordinators have suspended the requirement that a DSQ or DG-ID must be set for a repeater until Yaesu figures out how to have different settings for different repeaters. I have seen in one repeater listing https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/niche/index.php?mode=YSF that all but one Fusion repeater in California has the DG-ID set to RX:0 TX:0 (which is OFF).
So if you buy a new radio like the FTM7250, the firmware will be set to use the DG-ID. If you have an older version of the current radios such as the FT1D, the FTM-400DR ,the FTM-3200 and possibly the FTM-3207, you may have to update the firmware on your radio. The latest for the FT-1D is version 3.01 with a DSP of 4.15 (both have to be updated). For the with the DSP of 4.1FTM-400DR the firmware is 3.10 with DSP of 4.15. The firmware is available on the Yaesu website. Be sure to select the USA version or you will get a firmware error. Don’t ask me how I know this. If you screw up and use the EXP version and get the error on power up, it can be corrected by downloading and using the USA version. You must then use the PCTOOLe_v415 to update the DSP. if you can't get the firmware to update correctly ignore any internet advice from hams in Spain that suggests using the original firmware from some Japanese website to recover the radio. It won’t work and all text on the radio will be in Japanese. Again, don’t ask how I know this.
So you say, this is all well and good but how does it affect us as RCCT members? Because we have extensive fleet maps which Jerry AK6QJ and others have so meticulously put together, with the new firmware, existing RT Systems Programming software will no longer work. I found with my FT1D that a number of problems occur. RT systems will no longer read or write to the SD card, using the SCU19 programming cable results in an error of “Wrong Computer” (figure that one out). The setup menus are sufficiently different between the old and new firmware versions that I suspect this is where the problem occurs. The FTM-7250 version works great, but I have not seen any information that RT Systems has updated the FT1D or FTM400DR or the FTM3200.
Yaesu has graciously provided their own programming software with the new Firmware files and have even named them similar to the RT Systems naming scheme (ADMS6 for the FT1D and ADMS7 for the FTM400) for most Yaesu radios. But, the software is maybe 85% crap. All data has to be entered manually. You cannot export data from the RT systems program (and I tried CSV and TAB limited files) and you cannot cut and paste in the Yaesu version. Plus, the Yaesu version refused to write to the SD card. I manually entered the data for my FT1D but had to use the problematic programming cable (SCU19) to transfer to the radio. I even tried creating a fresh .csv file from the ADMS6, then using a copy and paste from a csv file using the RT Systems program, then re-importing back to the ADMS6 program, and it still gets errors (even when you just try to save it).
My suggestion is to hold off updating the firmware on your radio as long as possible until RT systems gets their act together and updates their programming software (I suspect that is currently in process). The alternative is to wait until the new fleet map is approved then manually enter it using the Yaesu programmer I must admit I did not try CHIRP so perhaps someone can report on the success of using that alternative.
Sorry for the length but I wanted to pass along what I have painstakingly learned over the past week and a half trying to update the FT1D.