I’m a ham radio operator, and I recently gave a presentation to my local club on how to program your radio using software. To do this, we need to connect our radios using a USB cable.
Most of the radios use a concept called a VCP or Virtual COM Port. You install the VCP driver, then can connect your USB cable to your computer, plug the other end into the radio, and launch the software.
The software will want to know, what is the COM port number you are using. I have a variety of radios, and it seems each cable wants to use a different COM port, and every so often the cable will wind up using a different COM port than it did last time.
So how do you find out your COM port? Well it’s pretty easy if you know where to look.
Finding Your COM Port
The best place to find this is in the Windows Device Manager. Click on the magnifying glass next to the Start menu icon.
I have my Windows toolbar set to hide the search entry box, but some systems will have a text box right next to the search. Which ever way yours is configured, start to type “device manager” into the search.
You should see a pop up like you do in the image above when it finds the Device Manager application. Just click on it to run it.
Scroll down in Device Manager until you find the entry for “Ports (COM & LPT)“. Click the arrow beside it in order to expand the list, and you should now see the COM port for your cable, in this case COM10.
Note that your cable will need to be plugged in for the entry to appear.
There you go, I told you it was easy, the trick is knowing where to look.
While I did write this with my fellow amateur radio operators in mind, there are all kinds of devices that need to use a COM port to access them from your PC. Using this quick guide you can easily find where to look to get the right COM port number for your situation.