FT-817ND keyer setup question

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KJ6BBS, Dec 4, 2009.

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  1. KJ6BBS

    KJ6BBS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I run an FT-817ND, and I am looking into buying a straight keyer for it, so I can work CW. The problem I have is I don't know what to get, and if I do get it, do I have to construct my own connection wire? Ideally I would like to get the American Morse Equipment's KK1, but it doesn't list a connection device. The FT-817ND requires a 3-conductor jack. So where do I go to find all the materials I need to connect the key to the radio?
    KA0USE likes this.
  2. W9IUF

    W9IUF Ham Member QRZ Page


    First, the American Morse KK1 is a key, not a keyer. A keyer is an electronic device that connects to paddles to generate morse code. The FT817ND has a built-in keyer if you were to use paddles with it. A keyer is not needed if you use a straight key.

    Page 5 of the manual shows how to connect a key to the radio. You need a mono 3.5mm plug and some wire. A stereo 3.5mm plug would work also, but in that case, you connect the key to the tip and the ground connection of the connector and leave the middle connector empty.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
    KA0USE likes this.
  3. W0GI

    W0GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    1/8" sterio phone plug like this. Radio Shack has them.

    The manual has the wiring diagram.

  4. W9IUF

    W9IUF Ham Member QRZ Page

  5. KI6DKC

    KI6DKC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I got the mono plug at Radio shack and used some surplus speaker wire to connect it to my strait key. W9IUF is correct that the manual for the radio shows how to hook the wires to the mono plug. Then you will need to check the manual instructions to turn on the external keying. Be certain you get it turned on. There is a way to operate the keyer for practice without having the radio transmit. This can be fustrating if you aren't paying attention and think you are actually sending.
  6. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you don't have the right connector lying around, the cheapest way to get one is to go to your local dollar store, buy a pair of stereo headphones, and cut off and discard the headphones. You'll be left with exactly the cable you need.

    There will be an outer braid and two other wires. If you're using a set of paddles (to use the rig's internal keyer), then the braid will be the common wire (probably in the center), and the other two wires will go to the other terminals. If they seem backwards, then reverse those two wires.

    For a straight key, the braid and one of the two wires (the one that goes to the outer part of the plug) will hook to the key. It's easiest just to use the process of elimination to figure out which one.

    If you are using a straight key, then you will need to go to the rig's menu and turn off the internal keyer. If you don't, you'll just get a string of dits (or dahs) when you push the key.
  7. KJ6BBS

    KJ6BBS Ham Member QRZ Page


    Thanks for the tip! A picture always helps =) Thanks everybody. Looking very forward to working CW
  8. N0NB

    N0NB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Be careful with a mono plug! While I used a mono with my '817 with no problem I recently bought an FT-100 that also uses the 3.5 mm plug for a CW key. The FT-100 manual warns against using a mono plug as damage to the radio could result. So, I made up an adapter using a 3.5 mm stereo plug and a 1/4" stereo jack. Since all of my keying devices are terminated in 1/4" stereo plugs, it works well. My straight keys and external keyer are wired to tip/sleeve with no connection to the ring. This allows them to be interchangeable with all of my rigs.
  9. W0GI

    W0GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Using a 3-cond. plug is always the safe way to do it. I use my straight keys in different radios, and with the sterio plug, I don't have to worry about a problem from the "ring" being grounded.
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