[aprssig] IOGear USB Adapter with AGWPE

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Sun Dec 27 17:23:04 CST 2009

On 12/27/2009 2:50 PM, William McKeehan wrote:
> I have an IOGear USB-to-Serial adapter (GUC232A) that I am using with my
> Windows XP laptop. When using it with AGWPE as part of a soundcard interface,
> AGWPE will lock-up and keep the radio keyed. I have t use Task Manager to kill
> AGWPE when this happens.
> Has anyone else had this problem? Any pointers on what I may have setup
> incorrectly?

USB-to-serial dongles are notorious for NOT fully emulating a true 
serial port.   This is especially true in ham applications that use them 
in non-standard ways, such as wiggling the handshaking lines to key a 
transmitter without using the actual data TXD/RXD lines to send/receive 
data.   Some of these devices will work with some programs but not 
others, -- or -- will work on some versions of Windows but not others.  
You may have to experiment with several makes/models of USB<-->serial 
dongles before finding one that works reliably with your particular 
program or version of Windows.

In my experience, they are VERY sensitive to the revision level of 
drivers.    Try to identify what chipset  this device is based on, and 
then go the the CHIPSET vender's website (not IO Gear's) for the latest 

 From comments on various ham mailing lists, the devices based on the 
Prolific or FDTI chip sets seem to be least problematic.


Of course, the simplest way around this issue is to use a sound card 
interface that DOES NOT USE a serial port for PTT keying.   My homebrew 
version at:


or the TigerTronics "Signalink USB"


are two possibilities.

My interface is essentially an external VOX system that keys the radio 
whenever it hears tones from the computer soundcard.    The TigerTronics 
is actually an entire second sound system with built-in interface, in a 
box at the end of a USB cable.  When plugged in, it "automagically" 
shows up in WinXP as a "Generic USB Sound System", with no further 
drivers required.

The advantage of this is that OTHER Windows activities that make sound 
(boot up music, error messages, streaming media, etc) continue to come 
out your original sound system, and don't go out over the air. Further, 
you can set the TX and RX audio levels once on the Signalink second 
sound system, and NOT have them messed up/reset by other sound-using 
programs on the computer.



Stephen H. Smith    wa8lmf (at) aol.com
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