Too much noise to copy phone/voice on FT857D

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by K5CDR, Aug 28, 2015.

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  1. K5CDR

    K5CDR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi all and thanks for your advice and help.

    I'm a new HF MARS operator (yes I am permitted to transmit on those bands and I will have a general ticket mailed soon enough).

    I have two radios with HF capabilities - both Yaesu FT-817ND and the FT-857D, both with filters and TXCO with the BHI DSP that is a W4RT upgrade on the 817. I do not use a tuner with it as I have a 10/20/40 Trail Friendly antenna that seems to receive quite well without a tuner with minimal to no VSWR. Now the 857D, does have an LD Z100 tuner and the optional FT-Meter. What I find odd, is that with my current antenna system (the best I can muster with an HOA and an 1/8 an acre with much less in the back), I have a Chameleon EmComm II in an inverted L to permit some NVIS use across two fiberglass poles. I am not using a counterpoise because many say you really don't need one on an endfed zepp design since the coax will become the counterpoise. I digress to say I only have access for this antenna an 18ft RG-8X cable and the feed line has to rise about 3 ft to meet the bottom of the EmComm II. I do not have the space for a sloper either and I am aware the band conditions are absolutely terrible across the HF spectrum.

    I suppose my two questions are, anyone see any issues with my current (temporary) antenna design until I can get it more exact and mounted as designed. It's sucks sitting outside in almost 80-100 degree weather messing with this and yes I can receive and transmit Olivia just fine with 10-20 watts. My second question is, it almost seems the FT-817ND can decode better, especially HF voice. The DSP option is really just an on and off switch but I'm not too familiar with how to better adjust the 857 DSP options. I do use the noise blanker and I am using the DNR feature set around level 8, which makes a suitable difference in tuning out unwanted background noise. Nonetheless, during this evenings net - it sounded like I was listening to Star Wars Ewoks or Jawas. I noticed various High and Low Pass filters but I'm not sure how to apply them correctly. Everyone I can tune into, except the useless shortwave on AM modes are perhaps described as 355 or 'weak unreadable'. I called my region TM and he said he couldn't hear me check in but couldn't really really hear stations that he normally hears loud and clear anyway, likely due to band conditions.

    So therefore, if anyone has a few band suggestions to regularly tune into during the evening hours on 40 or 80 preferably and can advise me on what options can better make intelligible audio copy from a Yaesu 857 or 897 it would be much appreciated. Also, if you happen to run this antenna design - I'd like some comments on if your use or lack of a counterpoise really makes all that difference because too many have said if you have a decent length of coax it should be acceptable. On a final note, no I can't run a diapole - my trees and HOA will certainly not allow it for now. Right now, if anyone is willing - I need some feedback on a few goof morning or evening 40/80m HF stations to practice tuning to and figuring out how to make the best of the DSP options in the 857D.

    You guys are always helpful - thank you
    PY1RCH likes this.
  2. PA1ZP

    PA1ZP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi K5CDR

    I do not know anything about your antenna at all.
    But With DSP in the FT857D I am very well known.

    DSP noise reduction in SSB, max at 3
    DSP bandwith from 300-2800.

    NB full throttle if needed and only if you see at the S meter it lowers the noise.
    Otherwise shut it off.

    Mike and readability
    Do not use TX EQ .
    Do not use compressor
    Set mike gain from 50-100 and set switch in the back of MH31 to 2.
    you also could try to take menu TX carrier LSB to + 150 Hz and USB TX carrier to -150 Hz.

    If you use an end-fed antenna use a current balun and a good one at about 5-10 feet away from the end-fed feedpoint.
    For such a current balun see G3TXQ website

    I made quite a few end-feds from the hy-endfed design and slowly turned that design to my needs , and they work realy good.
    But an half wave end-fed design for 80 and 40 mtrs is at least 75 feet long.
    My 5 band end-fed for 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 mtrs is 23 meters long (about 75 feet) and that is the smallest end-fed that will give you a bit of performance that will let yourself be heared good in 80.

    Here are the antenna half wave end-fed designs for half wave tuned end-feds.
    multiband end fed.jpg
    As the half wave antennas have very high impedance I use an UNUN to get the antennas tuned to 50 ohms.

    It looks like this:
    1op50-Trafo English.jpg

    If you do noy make multi band end-feds and do not use the capacitor of 130-150 pF take 2 windings of the transformer so it is 2 + 6 + 6 instead of 2 + 7 + 7 as shown in the picture.

    My transformers for at least 100 watts are wound on either 2 stacked FT140-43 cores or a single FT240-43, just what ever cores I have I use the 2 FT140-43 or the single FT240-43.

    1 of my 10 transformer looks like this:
    Note this is a QRP up to 50 watt transformer without capacitor and 1 winding to many as I was still adjusting the transformer, it was wound on a single FT140-43

    I am using larger coilforms and different wires to build the 34 and 110 uH inductors, and use an LC meter to get them to their value correctly.

    For use in NVIS on 80 and 40 mtrs, do not use inverted-L but use horizontal antennas at 30 feet high for 80 and 15 feet for 40 mtrs.
    Get the antenna at least 15 feet above ground for 80.

    On my hollidays in Belgium I hung up a small 3 bander ( 40, 20 and 10) end-fed of 11.8 meter long up at 10 feet in the air and yes that is a bit to low, but I had no trouble at all working stations up to 1500 miles on 40 mtrs at all.

    And I did use a good current balun 7 feet away from the feedpoint, I had perfect RX with very low noise as on the camping site there were no QRM makers like switching power suplies, when my wife put the mobile phone battery charger in the mains my QRM went up 4 S-units.

    It was recieving heaven for me there hihi.

    For fighting with room Yes already fighting for 23 yrs now as my lot is not so big either, but with over 200 antennas build I am still able to get better results on 80 and 40 mtrs, not in DX though, I had a full size vertical for 80 mtrs for 7 yrs, that I used as a half wave end-fed on 40 mtrs, very hard to beat such a vertical in DX.

    As I do not DX at all just sold the 21 mtr long vertical.

    Good luck on HF and have lots of fun, the FT857D I own is 13 yrs old now but still works OK, and believe me if you use good antennas it is a very hard to beat do it all rig.
    Even my TS590S doesn't do a better job in RX it only has more comfortable RX audio and TX audio, but what I hear and work with the TS590S I can hear and work with the FT857D.

    Put your efford in antennas first and do not blame the rig, it is able to get you all the DX and local contacts you ever want if you use the right antennas placed at the correct way.

    73 Jos
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
    KB0TT likes this.
  3. KB0TT

    KB0TT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good stuff ...... I have an FT 897 D ..... It is , for the most part ,
    the same as the 857 D ..... Once the bands perk up , the use of
    the Digital Signal Processing ( DSP ) will ABSOLUTELY help .....

    Many people do not know how to ' fine tune ' their rigs ..... Once
    he MASTERS the parameters , he will find that it is comparable to
    many higher end ( priced ) units .....

    I must ADMIT that it has taken ME a long time ( lots of manual reading )
    to adjust my 897 D ' s settings ..... LOTS of menus ..... It just
    takes time ..... The 857 / 897 really ARE the best bang for your buck ......

    The antenna delimma IS a tough nut to crack .....

    Jos has a good grasp of your small lot 1/8 acre size .... BUMMER .....

  4. PA1ZP

    PA1ZP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi JB and K5CDR

    I just only am used to metrical measures, I havent got the faintest Idea what 1/8 of an acre is.
    Here 1/8 of a hectare would be about 1250 square mtrs and I have only 150 square mtrs in my lot that is a house in a row of 10 under a single roof and a lot with the house and shed on it of 28 x 5.7 mtrs.

    my front garden with shed of 4 x 2 mtrs is 12 deep x 5.7mtr wide and my back yard is only 6 x 5.7 mtrs.
    Still managed to put up 32 mtrs of antenna hung from the front over the top of my house to the back yard with beginning and end at 5 mtrs high and the top at 11 mtrs high.

    The FT857(D) and 897(D) are technical the same with only a different cabinet around the rig the FT817(ND) is a FT857/897 without the 100/50/20 watts amplifier board but technical the same RX and TX.

    The FT857D is a very good rig certainly if you see what it can do for the money, it is a shack in a box.
    For good use on CW I have the narrow Collins CW filter installed.
    I had it for 13 yrs now , I can not part from it , it is the most bang for the buck though the competition of Icom is getting big.

    Concentrate on antenna situation and getting to know the FT857D better, that will do the job.
    I have very often outperformed even an IC7800 and IC7700 because i had the better antenna performance.

    A small picture of my end-fed holliday antenna, wich uses the same end-fed high Z transformer as my base end-fed antenna for 6-80 mtrs.
    vakantie 3 bander (2).JPG
    the 34 uH inductor tube form is 8.5 cm long and 4 cm in diameter, to give you an idea of the size of this antenna, I just hung it between 2 trees using the 2 x 8 mtr long ropes on the little roll in the picture.
    The inductor is sprayed with plasty dip to protect it from the weather, but the inductor wire is 1 mm laquered copper wire.

    This antenna will handle 500 watts of SSB power and has a SWR of < 1.5 at 100 KHz on 40 and SWR < 1.5 over the entire 20 mtr band.
    These antennas are for sale at the Hy-endfed compagny , but I have prommissed myself to build all antennas myself , so I did do that.

    Untill now the antenna counter has gone over the 200 antennas build, in all kind sizes and forms from very simple 2 mtr GP antennas for $2.50 in costs a piece, to very big monoband beams for 10 and 15 and 20, to full size unguyed verticals for 80, a few 4-squares for 40 and 20, a vertical 2 x 5/8 wave coliniair for 10 mtrs (portable), and even a few magnetic loops.

    Every antenna was carefully moddeled with antenna software and when tested and build I gave away most of the antennas to hams for free or for the cost of materials.
    They got very cheap antennas I got the knowledge.

    73 Jos
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
  5. K5CDR

    K5CDR Ham Member QRZ Page


    Thanks for all the info. Looks like the bands are slightly improving. I actually had my Chameleon EmComm II stretched the whole length or depth should I say of my house as instructions said for NVIS. It was about 10ft or so under the sides of the roof but I suspect the rain gutters may not have been helping nor all the old satellite and cable lines (which I plan to use their entrances later to the shack room). Thanks for the DSP setting values as mine were all lost when I needed to wideband it. This is the configuration I'm using now (and do you really think that my feedlots really needs more length or perhaps I should use the counterpoise) - the 10/20/40 Trail Friendly by LNR Precision doesn't permit one like the EARCHI design from the Hawaii club but then again the FT-817ND can use one at the ground if needed.

    Here's the direct link to the Chameleon EmComm II and people swear by them for some of the best EndFed Zepp designs also with good service. ANTENNA/CHA EMCOMM II/CHA EMCOMM II.html

    This is the design I am currently using. Chameleon says (optional counterpoise) but their promo YouTube videos do not. I get the resonant length concepts but shoot my 10/20/40 Trail Friendly isn't cut to resonance I don't think either (it may be though since it uses no external tuner. Thanks all and nice builds, I know they aren't difficult but I'm a dad of two little ones and working in network/security administration eats all my time.

  6. DRBEN

    DRBEN XML Subscriber

    Sadly the Americans cling to the Imperial System of measures almost as tightly as they cling to their handguns.

    1 acre = 4,046.9 sq.metres
    1/8 acre =505.9 sq.metres = 0.051 hectares
  7. PA1ZP

    PA1ZP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi DRBEN

    So the guy has 3 times the amount of room I have and he can not fit in a dipole or a decent antenna.
    Back to the subject.

    How to work HF and what is important:
    1 Location location location, how much QRM will ruin my RX.
    2 Antennas antennas, how good is my antenna system
    3 Operator, how good is the operator in working the best out of his rig and antennas and conditions
    4 on the lastplace by far , what rig do I use.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some great answers here.

    I didn't see anyone mention these, though:

    Why do you have to sit outside in 100 degree heat to operate? I'd lengthen the coax and bring it in through a window or something so I could sit inside, with the antenna outside.:) Since the coax is your counterpoise at this point, making the coax longer may actually help the antenna work better.

    Also: Do you have a vehicle parked very close by, such as in your driveway or a parking space next to the QTH? If so, you may find a good mobile antenna actually works better than what you have, and can also be used "remotely," by simply running coax from the mobile antenna into the house so you can have a good antenna connected to a rig indoors where you can comfortably operate.

    Although mobile antennas aren't efficient on 80m, they're better on 40m and some of the "big" ones with center and top loading may work better on 80m than what you're using. NVIS on 40m isn't so common (it happens, but you can't depend on it), and on 80m a good NVIS height above ground for a horizontal antenna is 0.15 wavelengths, which is forty feet (above ground). As you lower the antenna, NVIS does not improve, it gets worse due to ground losses.
  9. K5CDR

    K5CDR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello all and thanks for some great tips. Why do I have to sit outside is a great question. It's because my spouse doesn't like amateur radio and I'm not using a headset along with the fact that I wanted to be able to quickly make any antenna adjustments on the fly. After discussing this with both Yaesu and Carl at Chameleon - the Inverted L at 15ft vertical and 45ft horizontal is sufficient. I ended up lowering my RF Gain which helped, adjusted the DSP bandpass filters and noise reduction slightly and used the 2.3k SSB filter instead of the CFIL. The most annoying part (since I also compared this with an FT-817ND and 25ft of RG-174 straight to an end-fed 10/20/40 Trail Friendly zepp that has excellent SWR without an ATU) is that the 40m band still seemed poor. After simplifying everything and turning everything off, I thought - what if I kill the 60ft 10awg counterpoise and used a longer coax instead?

    So I connected a 75ft RG8X to the bottom and made several loops below to help account for any RFI (which I don't believe I had anyway) and saw only minor improvement. That's when I decided to just bypass the whole darn LDG Z100 ATU straight into the 857D. To my surprise, I was actually getting an improvement. Being that I picked up the ATU from a great friend of mine who now works for FEMA - I knew he's always done me well and loaded me up with everything he could so surely he wouldn't give me a bad ATU. I looked at the gray coax jumper and thought - well, what else could it be then?

    Then there was the cause, a faulty coax cable. When I replaced it with the 18ft of RG8X that I had for 2m/70cm use - I had almost perfect copy all the way to 30m as expected. What an annoyance as when I received these a few months ago, the ATU and FT-Meter along with a SignaLink and data cable (which I don't use since I have an SCU-17) - I was given the impression all was well. Guess he never checked the coax that came with the ATU but I can say that I heard the Katrina anniversary pile-up on 80m from MS if I recall and stations all over and today I received a 'good readable' after requesting a radio check this morning during a MARS net. I want to thank all of you for your assistance in helping me pinpoint this surprisingly simple annoyance.

    Best Regards and 73's
  10. K5CDR

    K5CDR Ham Member QRZ Page


    Keep in mind there's a 2200 sqft home sitting in the middle of that space and its a single story with no antenna's allowed (hence I needed something as stealthy yet high as possible. My backyard is maybe 18ft long and 46ft wide with the highest point being my chimney in the back. I'd use my attic if I didn't have a radiant barrier and 2ft of insulation up there. This is why I chose the original NVIS of 60ft length along the longer side of my home however it lacked some height and it would be more ideal to have something vertical if possible, therefore the simplest and least expensive way to do this (while keeping as low profile as possible) was to add two 6-12ft fiberglass poles mounted to the top sides of each fence line and run the antenna across it to obtain the best height yet maintain a low profile (especially with only two small trees in each back corner and the house next door for sale - I can't wait for the HOA notice when a realtor complains, but maybe they won't). Needless to say, I had to get it done and just ask for forgiveness later if needed as my training period was expiring and I needed to meet net requirements - which I thank all of you for being able to achieve today.

    As for Texans, we really aren't as much about clinging to handguns as we would rifles and shotguns. I have a VERY large creek and lake nearby with an Army Corps of Engineers greenbelt behind me; therefore I would like to address the entire variety of poisonous pit vipers that dwell in the edges of this area once known as Comancheria before they or the endless nuisance of hogs decide to become unfriendly (we have bears and bobcats too but at least they don't attempt to kill you). Either way absolute numbers - imperial or metric is fine by me. 0.355 inches to 9mm or .308 to 7.62mm works for me either which way. ;-)
    KD4KZZ likes this.

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