Wired (and wireless) interface for digital modes for Yaesu FT-817ND

I had bought a sound card interface kit (http://foxdelta.com/products/sc2.htm) some time ago which I planned to use with soundcard-based digital modes such as PSK31 and RTTY.

Recently, I finally found time to build it and wire it to my new Yaesu FT817ND radio. Overall, it was an easy and pleasurable build – took me less than an hour. The design is very well thought and easily expandable.

I made a small nice add-on by soldering an $2 USB ebay soundcard directly to the USB power and SND IN/OUT connector leads.



This way when no jacks are inserted, the signal gets routed to/from this small USB soundcard directly. The wires are very short so no shielding was necessary.

The interface wire was built using a short piece of network patch cord cable (regular unshielded Cat5 cable) and a 6 pin DIN connector ($2 on ebay). I added two ferrite beads closer to the connectors and secured them using electrical tape to avoid RF pickup by the cable.

I’m not using VOX circuit to drive the PTT as I used a bluetooth CAT interface ($20 on ebay) to control the radio. This is a cool gadget.  The only improvement I’d suggest is to add on/off switch to it. Otherwise, it will discharge your battery pack if left connected. Or, disconnect the battery pack when not using it (e.g. at home and not portable).

I also liked the idea of fully wireless link between PC and the transceiver as to avoid any ground loops.

The majority of these dongles sold on ebay are preset for 9,600 baud communication speed. I’d suggest search and upgrade for a 38,400 baud version as this would allow to use it simultaneously with LDG Z817 tuner (which is preset for 38,400 baud speed).

On the computer side, the set up is simple (Windows 7):

  1. Add new bluetooth device using wizard. The dongle’s password is 1234.
  2. Check the COM port it assigns to the device (on the properties tab). If not in COM1-4 range (mine was automatically assigned to COM15) it may not work with HRD v5 (although may work with N1MM and other software). So I went to the device properties (then clicked ‘advanced’ button) and reassigned the port to COM4 which I knew wasn’t used for anything special. Confirm on the confirmation dialog, a reboot, and that worked perfectly.
  3. Check COM port speed – must be 38,400 9,600 baud.
  4. In HamRadioDeluxe – create new profile – e.g. choose Yaesu – FT817 – COM4 (see #2 above), click Connect

The CAT control works great – it even turns ON / OFF the radio when HRD starts / shutdowns!

Now I want to wire an $5 bluetooth headset instead of the sound card interface so that I can control and use the radio for PSK31 ragchew completely wirelessly by using my laptop from another room and a bluetooth connection.

And then maybe a remote disconnect switch for the antennas….

Will add pictures later.




About va3paw
Ham radio enthusiast, software developer

2 Responses to Wired (and wireless) interface for digital modes for Yaesu FT-817ND

  1. Did you find a nice 38,400 baud Bluetooth. I found a couple in Europe.

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