HAM Radio 101

Word of the Day (Firmware: Firmware–What it Is and Advice on Firmware Upgrades

Computer code that controls a device. The code is generally resident in a chip, and can be updated using whatever communications protocols are set up for this purpose. Many devices are now microprocessor controlled, and the ability to update firmware can greatly add to the capabilities and functionality of the device.

It is important to recognize that firmware updates do not mean you have purchased an incomplete or defective rig. Even after many months of real-world testing, it is virtually impossible to simulate all operating scenarios and detect each bug that may affect performance. Using customer feedback, manufacturers produce firmware upgrades that enable equipment to become even more user-friendly and operationally pristine.

General Advice on Firmware Upgrades

  • DX Engineering strongly recommends that you keep your equipment up to date with the latest firmware upgrades
  • Before installing, check the manufacturer website to ensure the firmware upgrade is intended for your specific model
  • Read the manufacturer instructions first and then carefully follow them
  • Follow on-screen warnings and instructions as you install
  • Never disconnect the USB cable during the update
  • Do not power down the device while updating firmware. Check to see if the battery is fully charged or DC power supply is working
  • Make sure the upgrade has been completely installed to avoid partial firmware updates

Not sure how to update your rig? Here are two videos from DX Engineering’s own Mark W8BBQ that will give you a good idea of how it’s done. Be sure to check each manufacturer’s website for valid firmware updates.

Updating firmware on the ICOM-7300

Updating firmware on the ICOM-7610

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