Kachina 505DSP Transceiver    The origional software controlled radio

Users Resource Website


January 3, 2012
Updated firmware project information.

June 29, 2010
Added the "Updating Firmware EPROMs" section information.


Software "Types"

Control and operation of the Kachina 505DSP is dependent on two types of software: (1) a control program operating on your PC, which we just call "software", and (2) a program contained within your 505DSP in either two (EP)ROM chips or a PCMCIA ROM card, which we call "firmware". Each type has a version number associated with it, often quite similar and confusing. See the section on SOFTWARE for version number information.

Firmware Files

At this time, we do not have any versions of the firmware online. Contact webmaster (see "Contact" section) if something is needed.

Updating Firmware EPROMs

Thanks to Claus (OZ2IE) for the following information:

General information for those thinking about programming new firmware EPROMs for their Kachina 505DSP.

I have had a long E-Mail story with Clyde, WA6DCM, concerning programming chips with newer firmware for the Kachina. The main issue in up-dating the firmware is to get the right EPROM. It is a jungle out there! First, it can be hard to find the chip, and second, to get them with the right speed. Now it sounds easy but the manufacturer of those chips makes it difficult by marking the speed on those EPROM in different ways, some are marked 15 or 20 and they are 150 and 200ns. Definitly too slow. Atmel AT27C256-45 is 45ns and will do the job, also the AT27C512R-45JU which I have used is working. Remember that it is a PLCC32 housing.

The chip must be better than 60ns. 50ns or 45ns is preferred making a margin to the limit of 60ns. Finding 27C256 might be difficult but then take 27C512 and make the image from X8000 to XFFFF.

I have made the 3.49 firmware and it is working in my B2 401 HW. I have used AT27C512R-45JU. To program the EPROM, you need a programmer and a adapter. I made the adapter from a 1:1 PLCC32 to DIP28 purchased from Hong Kong for US$2, a piece of prototype board and two Molex pin rows and 28 short wires.

I will be able to help programming the two EPROMS with either 3.49 or 4.49 firmware now I have made the adapter. E-Mail me for more details. Claus OZ2IE. Email address: claus (at) rimestad (dot) net
Photos below by Claus, OZ2IE:

PLCC32 to DIP28 PLCC32 to DIP28



Without going into great detail, here's a recap of the situation: Kachina Communications Inc. (KCI), the manufacturer of our Kachina 505DSP transceivers is no longer in existence. Efforts to gain a copy of the firmware source have all ended without success. The original firmware writer and others contacted will not even reply to email. The techs who worked at KCI have supplied us with some information, but do not have the source files.

It is important to the life of the 505DSP to be able to make changes and additions to the radio's firmware. A couple years ago, an effort was started by AE5K to disassemble a version of firmware and to figure it out. "Figure it out" essentially means producing a reconstructed source code file that is reasonably commented with meaningful labels, one that will compile or assemble to produce the binary firmware files we already have. A disassembler was purchased and much work was done in placing comments and labels in the "reconstructed source" file. At this time, much more work is needed on this to be of any value to us.

Update January 2012: Due to the past four years of health related problems, I (AE5K) have more or less put the firmware project on indefinite hold. Over 200 hours and personal purchase of Assembler and Disassembler had been put in by the end of 2007, resulting in only a partially commented and labeled "source" file. Many areas of the firmware were figured out, but many more than many still remain "unfigured". To date, several discussion list members and owners of the 505DSP expressed interest in helping, yet when the files and information were sent to them, generally, I never heard from them again! It is (or was) an overwhelming project.

Improved utility programs and our understanding of certain tables and parameters which must be restored in case of backup battery failure have lessened the need to figure out the firmware. Besides the utility programs mentioned elsewhere on this website, Dave W1HKJ has written some further help utilities, which, besides the "kcat" control program, appear free to download from his website. W1HKJ

If anyone would like to continue with this firmware project, I can send them the files and a whole bunch of supporting material. I still have interest in this, but just cannot justify putting it on my priority list. If interested, email me (see the contact web page).

Files Available via Email

Original binary version 4.49
Original output from disassembler
Ongoing reconstructed source
Ongoing reconstructed source assembler listing
OpenOffice spreadsheet file of SRAM usage
MC68HC16 info - list of files, manuals, etc. (some large)

Technical Notes for Project Participants: Please let us know what you are working on and your progress. We'll post more information here as time goes on. The file to start looking at is the "k449s.dis" as it will be here that your comments/labels are added.