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Ham Radio for Mac Users

OK, before we get into the details, there is one catch. You must have a single DVD-ROM version of Windows, complete with key, and remember that newer versions of Windows have some pretty sophisticated anti-pirate features, so best to have a full version (NOT an upgrade). You can buy OEM versions on line for around $100, but I'm not certain these will work (if anyone's tried it, please let me know) so I went with a regular version of Windows 7 Home Premium (don't sweat about which version to get - you can always upgrade later by paying the difference on line.) This set me back around $170 on Amazon with free delivery.

And you'll also need your original Mac OS DVD that came with your Mac... it has all the drivers to connect the Mac hardware to Windows.

OK, so I have my MacBook, My Mac OS DVD and a fresh new DVD-ROM with Windows 7, Now what?

Well, open up Boot Camp on your Mac (Applications -> Utilities -> Boot Camp) and click on the "Print Installation and Setup Guide button, then shut it down again! (It's really important you have this for reference while the process is running, and that you READ the entire thing before you start - specially the part about Windows formatting the new partition created by Boot Camp.)

OK, now you've read it all, you'll know that you have to make sure your Mac is completely up to date (and how to do it - it's really easy). You really don't need to check on line, just use the Software Update utility. (Click the apple symbol in the top left, then select software update.)

Now you're ready to re-open Boot Camp and create a partition for Windows. I used the 32GB option as the only programs I wanted to run are all relatively small. (I use the Mac for all the cool stuff...) but you make you're own call. From there it's a matter of following the instructions in the user's guide VERY CAREFULLY (did I mention getting Windows to re-format the partition to the correct format). It takes a little while (about 30 minutes all up for me) and you have to restart several times, but it should go pretty smoothly. If you have the Windows 7 DVD, you should be able to install the 64 bit version on most of the modern Macs.

Once Windows is up and running, (after all the restarts) you need to insert the Mac OS DVD (with Windows running) and let it complete the install of Boot Camp. This installs all the necessary hardware drivers for the mouse, track pad, camera, USB ports etc.

Lastly, while in Windows, you should download the latest version of Boot Camp (the .exe file for windows) from the Boot Camp web site to ensure you have the latest drivers.

Now you can download and install all you favorite ham radio programs. So far I have N1MM Logger and DX Lab Suite running, complete with USB interface to my K2. One nice thing, Windows 7 automatically detected my USB to RS232 converters and loaded the drivers just by plugging them in! Wow.

That's it - sounds much harder than it really is, so if you've been thinking about it, just do it!

If you'd like some help, or you have some questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Jim Scott, AD5YU


Fort Smith Area Amateur Radio Club

PO BOX 32 FORT SMITH AR 72902-0032