2/7/04 - UPDATE:
I'm a member of the "F-WORD" club...(FINALS!)
One of the two output FETs failed in my radio this week.
100-300 milliwatts out on high power, still draws full current on TX.
Gate of one FET has bias, other one shorted (3 ohms.)
Things not in the manual or misprints:
Power connector: Rat Shack 274-1532 4.0x1.7mm coaxial, tip positive.
Use a 3 to 5 amp fuse in the power lead.
Charging current: 181-187ma depending on input voltage from 12.5-13.8
TRICKLE CHARGE: Measured at 13.7ma when radio is not in timed charge.
Voltage drops: Where's all my voltage going?
I measured a .16volt drop in each leg of the battery tray leads. That accounts for
.32 volts of it - the rest is internal resistance in the radio/battery tray/batteries.
Remember that NiMH batteries have higher internal impedance/resistance than Nicads.
COMING SOON: Schematic for MH-31 microphone.
Technical problems: AM audio
Some users have mentioned that the AM signal is distorted. After playing with
it on the test bench, I found that best audio and least distortion are at these settings:
Hidden menu setting 69 AM-CAR default 232, my setting 218
Regular menu setting 05 AM MIC default 50, my setting 15
Hidden menu is accessible by holding A,B,C and powering up. When
done, hold F
for one second to save the changes.
Note: This author is not responsible for anything
that might happen when you play
with the hidden (alignment) menu settings. We all know some "ten four bad buddy" is
gonna crank HF power and AM carrier and piss off his neighbors. When he fries a
pair of power MOSFETs, peace will return to the neighborhood.
Technical problems: FM audio
While the deviation was set correctly, the mic audio was hot. Come to think of it,
I had the same problem 20 years ago with the FT-290!
Regular menu settng 29 FM MIC default 40, my setting 25
Program a bank of memories as "dial off" bands. Select your memory
instead of selecting a band, then tune off with the dial. This gives you
more "bands" to use, and the V/M button becomes a "home" key
per "band". Example 1: Calling frequencies can be programmed
in memories, such as 50.125 144.200 432.100 - and not only can you check
calling freqs quickly, but when tuning up the band a quick press of V/M returns
you to the calling freq. Example 2: On HF, programming a band edge such as
14.150 in a memory makes contesting easier for the QRP portable op who tunes
up band calling the loudest stations. Once you reach the top band edge, just press
V/M to start over rather than spinning the dial back down or working back down the
band through stations you've just worked! Example 3: Programming a CW and SSB
freq for each band in memory, as well as out of band things of interest: 1.820/CW
1.900/LSB 2.500/AM 3.580/CW 3.800/LSB and so on will give you instant access
to "bands" and "sub-bands" rather than stepping through the band buttons and constantly
changing modes and losing your "general coverage" band info repeatedly.
This also works with the Icom IC-706, and probably other radios as well.
When using a "CB linear" for an amplifier, watch out! Have you
ever seen these things on
a spectrum analyzer? A test unit on my bench gave me 110 watts out for 2.5 watts in, but
the third harmonic was only 10 db down when transmitting on 80 meters! A transmatch
would help, but a bandpass filter is much better. You don't want to be putting out 10 watts
of 11 MHz signal with this thing!
Essentials for the FT-817 (excluding batteries):
Right angle BNC connector for front panel jack.
Rubber feet at the front corners of the battery cover.
12vdc 300ma wall transformer for charging.
FT-817 power output on different frequencies here.
You will NOT find the extended transmit modification here though.
Links to other FT-817 info sites:
Fine print: This author is not responsible for illegal modifications, FCC rule violations,
revocation of licenses, toasted radios, voided warranties, dizziness/nausea/vomiting, or any
other side effects that may be caused by the information contained on these links.
Yahoo groups -
KB2LJJ FT-817 mods
KA7OEI FT-817 pages
Yaesu (the company)
K6XX FT-817 pages
HB9DRV FT-817 Commander/HRD software
G0KPE FT-817 page
G4HFQ FT-Basic software
PI4FRG charge mod
HB9DRV / PH1PH Ham Radio Deluxe software Yahoo group
HB9DRV / PH1PH Ham Radio Deluxe
HB9DRV / PH1PH Ham Radio Deluxe software message board
FT817 Commander Yahoo group
The settings mentioned above are on a new FT-817 purchased 8/12/02.
were done on a Motorola R-2008D service monitor.
My opinions on the FT-817? Here they are...
Size. (of course!)
No finicky SWR cutback.
Internal battery charging.
Does "dial-off-memory" (see above)
Stands on end like a portable should.
Audio is not wimpy on TX or on RX.
Receiver holds up OK with strong adjacent channel signals.
MARS/CAP/transverter IF expanded coverage mods are easy.
FM receive sounds like a real radio.
A/B/C buttons are misleading. You want to push down on them instead of in.
Pinky-sized spinner hole in the main knob.
F button too close to main knob.
Lengthy subaudible tone set process.
Repeater split select does not unselect A/B split select.
No 220 band!
No receive above 154!
When will they ever put normal scanning in an all-band radio???
SEL knob detent is wimpy.
Nicads don't last long, and nickel hydrides have excessive voltage drop.