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Help getting FT-450D on FT8

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by M7BDF, Nov 27, 2020.

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  1. M7BDF

    M7BDF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry if this has been asked before, I am looking for the simplest way to get my Yaesu FT-450D on FT8, I am totally new to this so please be kind and give me a dummies guide, cheers 73's Wayne
    2E0MNV likes this.
  2. G0JUR

    G0JUR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Computer, sound card, interface. Look up g4zlp interfaces he does an all in one
  3. KC3PBI

    KC3PBI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    You need to get audio back and forth between your computer and your radio. You also need the computer to be able to control TX/RX switching. Optionally you want the computer to be able to tune the VFO. That isn't strictly necessary but helps.

    You need to do all of that without RF getting out of the radio and into the computer through those circuits- isolation required.

    Yaesu makes a 1-box solution to this called the SCU-17.

    Tigertronics makes a generic box that works with pretty much any radio, the Signalink. This covers the audio and TX/RX control but no tuning. Rigblaster is another option.

    Anyway, once you've got that hardware squared away you're to the point where the WSJT-X quick start guide or any of a dozen youtube videos will teach you what you need to do a rough calibration and make first contacts.
    2E0MNV likes this.
  4. M7BDF

    M7BDF Ham Member QRZ Page

    KC3PBI many thanks for your help, I have ordered the SCU-17 and hope to be sending those strange noises very soon, 73's Wayne M7BDF
    2E0MNV likes this.
  5. 2E0MNV

    2E0MNV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can vouch for that. I have a workaround solution for the time being until Santa brings my SCU-17 unit. I use ferrite beads on the audio cables and a ground loop isolator which I purchased from Sotabeams for £15. It's not ideal and I do still experience RF and ground loop issues on certain bands, notably 30m and 12m. The laptop has to be operated on battery power because plugging it into the mains introduces a path to ground which causes chaos to ensue. PSK-31 decoding does not work very well either. I'm not sure if it's the cheap Chinese soundcard I am using for audio input into the laptop or if it is due to RF pick up in the audio lead. I'm hoping the SCU-17 will solve all my issues in one.
  6. KC3PBI

    KC3PBI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have found a Sabrent USB soundcard for about $8 that performs beautifully.

    Hang on to those ferrites, you are likely to need one or two on the USB wire feeding into the SCU- apart from that it should work great.
    2E0MNV likes this.
  7. 2E0MNV

    2E0MNV Ham Member QRZ Page

    One thing I'm worried about with the SCU-17 is, its manual talks about downloading COM port drivers for Windows. I'm using a Mac and I'm hoping I can still get CAT control to work.
  8. KC3PBI

    KC3PBI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some newer versions of Mac OS have an appropriate serial driver built in. Others will require you to install it yourself. It's not really a big deal, though you may need to authorize it in the security prefs to get it to load. Once you're through that it's fine.

    So when you get it, just try it. The mac should see the SCU as a USB hub with a Texas Instruments USB soundcard and two Silicon Labs serial ports, because that's exactly what's in the Yaesu box. If it only detects the soundcard, get the driver, UNPLUG the scu, install driver, reboot, reconnect scu.
    2E0MNV likes this.
  9. 2E0MNV

    2E0MNV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info, that sounds like great news. I've recently upgraded my old MacBook with a solid state drive and installed Mac OS Catalina on it and it works good as new. I'm currently running WSJT-X on it. Great to know, thanks!
  10. 2E0MNV

    2E0MNV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm also getting the Yaesu SCU-17 after reading this thread and I'm looking forward to using it. For the time being I'm doing it the dirty way just with audio cables and a load of ferrite beads which is not ideal and not 100% effective at stopping that RF.

    Once you get FT8 up and running, you can try other Digital modes like PSK31, Olivia, JS8 etc using the same set up if you like. For PSK31 and Olivia you will need software called Fldigi. For JS8, you need JS8Call.

    I started with FT8 and it's cool for making plenty of DX with a modest antenna, but I soon got bored after a while. PSK31, Olivia and JS8 are modes that actually let you talk to the DX station unlike FT8 which is just like a rubber stamp contact.
    KC3PBI likes this.

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