Tag Archives: Yaesu

Yaesu FT-DX3000 has been discontinued

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John (VA1JG), who notes:

As per the following exchange on the Yaesu Facebook group, the FTDX3000 is the latest Yaesu HF model to be discontinued:

John Kruk is the national sales manager for Yaesu USA, so this is real news. This was posted on Tuesday.

Many thanks for the tip, John! I’ve noticed a number of retailers have listed it as discontinued. If memory serves, I believe this FT-DX3000 was first introduced at the 2012 Hamvention, so it has had a decent market run. No doubt, the new FT-DX10 will be Yaesu’s focus in this price bracket.

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Rob Sherwood tests the new Yaesu FTDX10

Many thanks to Rob Sherwood (NC0B) who shares his recent assessment of the new Yaesu FTDX10.

In short: the FTDX10 is now number 3 (at time of posting) on Rob’s receiver test data table— a table sorted by third-order dynamic range narrow spaced. Most impressive!

Click here to download Rob’s full HF test results and his review notes as a PDF.

FYI: I plan to review the FTDX10 this year.

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Upgrading my Yaesu FT-817 transceiver with the G7UHN rev2 Buddy board

Last August, SWLing Post contributor, Andy (G7UHN), shared his homebrew project with us: a genius companion control display for the venerable Yaesu FT-817 general coverage QRP transceiver.

Andy’s article caused me (yes, I blame him) to wax nostalgic about the popular FT-817 transceiver. You see, I owned one of the first production models of the FT-817 in 2001 when I lived in the UK.

At the time, there was nothing like it on the market: a very portable and efficient HF, VHF, UHF, multi-mode general coverage QRP transceiver…all for $670 US.

In 2001? Yeah, Yaesu knocked it out of the ballpark!

In fact, they knocked it out of the ballpark so hard, the radio is still in production two decades later and in demand under the model FT-818.

I sold my FT-817 in 2008 to raise funds for the purchase of an Elecraft KX1, if memory serves. My reasoning? The one thing I disliked about my FT-817 was its tiny front-facing display. When combined with the embedded menus and lack of controls, it could get frustrating at home and in the field.

I mentioned in a previous post that I purchased a used FT-817ND from my buddy, Don, in October, 2020. I do blame Andy for this purchase. Indeed, I hereby declare him an FT-817 enabler!

FT-817 Buddy board

When I told Andy about my ‘817ND purchase, he asked if I’d like to help him test the FT-817 Buddy board versions. How could I refuse?

Andy sent me a prototype of his Version 2 Buddy board which arrived in late November. I had to source out a few bits (an Arduino board, Nokia display, and multi-conductor CAT cable). Andy kindly pre-populated all of the SMD components so I only needed to solder the Arduino board and configure/solder the cable. I did take a lot of care preparing and soldering the cable, making sure there was no unintentional short between the voltage and ground conductors.

Overall, I found the construction and programming pretty straight-forward. It helped that Andy did a remote session with me during the programming process (thanks, OM!). Andy is doing an amazing job with the documentation.

I do love how the board makes it easier to read the frequency and have direct access to important functions without digging through embedded menus. While there’s nothing stopping you from changing the program to suit you, Andy’s done a brilliant job with this since he’s an experienced FT-817 user.

The Nokia display is very well backlit, high contrast, and easy very to read.

“Resistance is futile”

I mentioned on Twitter that, with the backlight on, the FT-817 Buddy makes my ‘817ND look like it was recently assimilated by The Borg.

Don’t tell any Star Trek captains, but I’m good with that.

Andy has a rev3 board in the works and it sports something that will be a game-changer for me in the field: K1EL’s keyer chip!

For more information about the FT-817 Buddy, check out Andy’s website. At time of posting, it’s not available yet, but as Andy says, “it’s nearly there!”

Of course, we’ll keep you updated here as well. Many thanks to Andy for taking this project to the next level. No doubt a lot of FT-817 users will benefit from this brilliant project!

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Using the new Xiegu GSOC and G90 transceiver combo for shortwave broadcast listening–?

Listening to Radio Prague via WRMI with the Xiegu GSOC

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tim R, who writes:

Dear Thomas,

First of all thank you so much for the all of the energy you put into the SWLing Post. When crazy things are happening in the world it’s a very welcome sanctuary! Sending you some coffee money.

I plan to become a ham radio operator next year. Bought the book last week and once I finish a large project for work, I’m on it. Of course, the Tech license will only give me limited exposure to HF, but I’m already plotting an HF radio purchase because I can’t WAIT do do some SWLing with it. Up to this point, I’ve only owned portable radios and never really have used external antennas other than some cheap wire.

My question…

I’ve been considering grabbing a Xiegu G90 because it seems to be a nice comprehensive beginner’s HF rig and is very affordable. I read your review and understand your caveat that there’s no way to completely disengage the transmit so that it can’t be accidently hit if connected to an RX only antenna. I’m not worried about that because I’m going to hang a G5RV wire antenna and use it both for TX and RX. No problem if RF is accidently sent through it.

Of course, there’s a lot of buzz in the Xiegu community about the new GSOC controller. I had not planned to exceed $600 for my radio purchase, but I love the idea of the controller. But when I add $550 for the controller and $450 for the radio, all the sudden I’m at $1,000.

After some deep soul-searching (and let’s be frank here, a blessing from my wife and CFO) I’ve decided to raise my budget to $1,000.

All of this to ask, if you had $1,000, would you buy the G90 and GSOC controller, or would you get something else keeping in mind I want to use this as much for shortwave listening as for future ham radio work?

Any advice would be appreciated.

-Tim

Thanks for your question, Tim! And thanks for giving me a complete picture of your budget/radio requirements and the antenna you plan to use.

I’ll try to answer your question here, but understand this is more what I would do if I were in your shoes. This is a pretty simple question, but not simple to answer because there are so many options on the market.

Xiegu GSOC and G90 combo option

Keeping in mind, I feel like the GSOC is a work in progress at the moment and not fully developed–check out my initial review. Once the next firmware update is available it could certainly solve a number of small issues I found with the unit. It works, but it’s not a refined product yet.

It’s ironic, actually. When I received your message this morning, Tim, I was SWLing with the GSOC and G90–listening to Radio Prague on WRMI. In the end, though, the GSOC is primarily an enhanced interface for the G90. While it does add some extra functionality (and should, over time, add much more) it doesn’t really change the performance characteristics of the G90. I’d check out my G90 review for more info about performance.

Would I purchase the G90/GSOC combo if I were in your shoes? Again, it’s early days, so I don’t feel comfortable making a recommendation call yet. The G90 is, without question, a great value at $450 (often even less) investment. I like it primarily as a field radio, though, and once you add the GSOC to the mix, it’s a little less portable because it’s two units with quite a few interconnect cables. Of course, you can swap the GSOC unit for the G90 control head at any time, but that involves attaching and re-attaching the control head each time (there’s no accessible serial port on the back of the G90, for example)

If you’re a huge fan of the G90, the GSOC should eventually be a worthy addition. At present, for your use as a new ham and for SWLing, I’d perhaps consider other options too.

The Icom IC-7300

The Icom IC-7300 SDR transceiver

Since you’ve raised your budget to $1,000, I’d consider adding the Icom IC-7300 to your list. At present, via Universal Radio you can buy a new IC-7300 for a net price of $1039.95 after rebates. Sometimes, the price will go even lower although during the C-19 pandemic, I think that’s less likely to happen since supplies are lower than normal for many items.

The IC-7300 has better performance specs than the G90 and can output a full 100 watts if you like. The display is touch sensitive rather than capacitive like the GSOC. The display is also much smaller than that of the GSOC. The IC-7300 has a lower noise floor than the G90.

I think the IC-7300 is a great radio for SWLing, but the audio for broadcasts is sort of “flat.” You might check out this post where we did some audio comparisons. It does have native broadcast recording to an SD card, which I love. The GSOC should be adding this soon, too.

I would include the new Icom IC-705 as a recommendation here, too, but it’s $300 over your budget.

A PC-connected SDR and separate transceiver

 

This might be the option I’d take if I were in your shoes.

Get the 20 watt Xiegu G90 ($450) as planned or consider a radio like the 100 watt  Yaesu FT-891 ($640), Both of these radios are general coverage and would serve you well for SWLing and ham radio activities. I’d personally invest the bit extra and get the FT-891 since it would also give you 100 watts output and even has advanced features like memory keying.

We actually mentioned both radios in a similar post this year.

If you buy the pricier Yaesu FT-891, you’d still have $360 to invest in your shack!

I’d then buy an Airspy HF+ Discovery ($170–my review here) or SDRplay RSPdx ($200–my review here) and get all of the benefits of a PC-connected SDR.

These SDRs would take your SWLing to the next level. They have uncompromised performance for the price.

Both companies continuously improve their products/applications based on customer feedback. Indeed, check out some of our recent posts about SDR# free upgrades. Mind blowing stuff–!!!

You could even use the SDR as a panadapter for your transceiver which would give you the ability to have a full-screen spectrum display on an external monitor at home.

More options?

Of course, these answers only scratch the surface. I haven’t even included used, late model gear in these recommendations.

I’d like to give you a firm recommendation about the GSOC and G90 combo, but I’m waiting to see how this next firmware upgrade goes–early days still.

Post readers: Please comment if you have even more options/suggestions for Tim. What works for you within a $1,000 budget.

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Shortwave listening with the Yaesu FT-817, FT-817ND, or FT-818–?

I recently re-acquired a Yaesu FT-817ND general coverage QRP transceiver. I wrote a post with some info about this radio and how it came into my possession over at QRPer.com, if you’re interested.

My question here: Have any folks in the SWLing Post community ever used the FT-817 or FT-818 series transceivers for serious shortwave broadcast listening?

I originally owned a first production run FT-817 back in 2000 when I lived in the UK. I did quite a bit of SWLing with it then, but I never compared it with other radios. I do recall feeling it was a very capable general coverage transceiver, though, and remember logging a number of broadcasters (although I can’t seem to find those logs these days). Of course, propagation was quite a bit better back then, too!

Please comment if you use or have used the FT-817/818 for shortwave listening!

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The new Yaesu FTDX10: Yaesu’s latest hybrid SDR HF transceiver

I’ll admit it: I like what I see here.

Yaesu has announced their latest compact 160-6 M transceiver: the FTDX10. Based on the specifications, it looks like it borrows heavily from the FTDX101 series, which is a very good thing.

At 5″, the color TFT display is larger than that of the IC-7300 & IC-705. The specifications appear to be benchmark with excellent dynamic range (3rd IMDR quoted at “109 dB or more”).

We’ll post more details as updates become available. Wimo has listed a pre-order price of €1,550.00 w/out shipping or VAT.

Here’s the full press release via WIMO:


We are pleased to introduce the FTDX10, a new long-waiting compact HF/50MHz 100W SDR Transceiver!

Hybrid SDR Configuration
Like the FTDX101 series, the new FTDX10 utilizes the Yaesu Hybrid SDR configuration – Narrow Band SDR and Direct Sampling SDR. The Narrow band SDR receiver emphasizes excellent receiver performance, while the Direct Sampling SDR provides a Digital Processing Real-Time Spectrum Scope.

Narrow Band SDR with 3 types of Roofing Filters and Phenomenal Multi-signal receiving Characteristics
Like the FTDX101 series, the Down Conversion type receiver configuration with the first IF at 9MHz has been adopted. It makes it possible to incorporate excellent narrow bandwidth crystal roofing filters that have the desired sharp “cliff edge” shape factor. Thanks to the Narrow Band SDR with the latest circuit configuration including 500Hz, 3kHz and 12kHz roofing filters and lownoise oscillator, the RMDR (Reciprocal Mixing Dynamic Range) reaches 116dB or more, the close-in BDR (Blocking Dynamic Range) reaches 141dB or more, and 3rd IMDR (third-order Intermodulation Dynamic Range) reaches 109dB or more, in the
14MHz band at 2kHz separation.

250MHz HRDDS (High Resolution Direct Digital Synthesizer) affords Quiet and Clear Reception
The local circuit of the new FTDX10 uses 250MHz HRDDS method same as the FTDX101 series. Thanks to its characteristics that improve the C/N (carrier to noise) ratio and the careful selection of components in the design, the phase noise characteristic of the local signal achieves an excellent value of -145dB or less in 14MHz at 2kHz separation.

3DSS (3-Dimensional Spectrum Stream) on the 5-inch Full-Color TFT Display with Touch-Panel Functionality
The 5-inch Full-Color panel shows the 3DSS display. By touching the frequency display, the numeric keypad is displayed, and the active band and frequency adjustment can be set by direct input. Frequency setting and adjustment can also be performed by turning the MAIN dial or touching the scope display. Similar to the FTDX101 series, the MULTI display, RX operation status display, Center, FIX and Cursor modes are available at WiMo.

Front Panel Designed for Superior Operating Efficiency
MPVD (Multi-Purpose VFO Outer Dial), is a large multi-purpose ring around the outside of the VFO dial that enables control of
Clarifier, C/S (custom selection function) and recall of memory channels.

Remote Operation with optional LAN unit (SCU-LAN10, see WiMo Website)
Remote operation of the transceiver is possible with the optional SCU-LAN10 and SCU-LAN10 Network Remote Control Software. In addition to controlling the transceiver basic operations, the versatile scope displays enable sophisticated operation such as monitoring the band conditions on a large display at a location away from the ham shack by connection to a home LAN network.

The features of the new FTDX10 include:
– 15 separate band pass filters
– Effective QRM rejection with the IF DSP (IF SHIFT/WIDTH, IF NOTCH DNF, DNR, COUNTOUR)
– High-quality and super stable final amplifier utilizing the new push-pull MOSFET RD70HUP2
– Aluminum Heat Sink with 80mm low-noise axial flow cooling fan
– High Speed Automatic Antenna Tuner with a large capacity 100-channel memory – RF & AF Transmit Monitor
– Microphone Amplifier with Three-stage parametric Equalizer (SSB/ AM mode)
– QMB (Quick Memory Bank)
– Band Stack Function
– Optional speaker – SP-30 designed for the new FTDX10
– Optional roofing filter (300Hz) – XF-130CN available

The new FTDX10 will be available in early December 2020 at WiMo.

Radio Features:

– HF/50MHz band 100W Transceiver
– Hybrid SDR configuration utilizing a Narrow Bandwidth SDR, and a Direct Sampling SDR
– Narrow Band SDR enables Phenomenal Multi-signal Receiving characteristics (2kHz RMDR 116dB+, 2kHz BDR 141dB+, 2kHz 3rd IMDR 109dB+) – Down conversion,
9MHz IF Roofing Filters produce Excellent Shape Factor
– 250 MHz HRDDS (High Resolution Direct Digital Synthesizer) Ultra Low-Noise Local-Oscillator System
– 15 Separate Powerful Band Pass Filters (BPF)
– Effective QRM Rejection with IF DSP (IF SHIFT/WIDTH, IF NOTCH/DNF,CONTOUR,DNR, APF)
– High-quality and Super-Stable Final Amplifier utilizing the new push-pull MOSFET RD70HUP2
– 5-inch Full Color Touch Panel and 3DSS (3-Dimensional Spectrum Stream) Display
– MPVD (Multi-Purpose VFO Outer Dial) enables Outstanding Operating Performance
– Quick Memory Bank (QMB)
– Supports CW operation with multiple functions such as: CW zero-in, CW Auto zero-in, CW Reverse, CW decode, CW keying Signal form Shaping by FPGA and others
– RTTY (FSK)/ PSK Encode/Decode Function
– Other practical features such as Optional RF Gain Selection by IPO. Automatic Gain Control, Quick Split Function – SD Card Slot
– Remote Operation via Internet with optional LAN-Unit (SCU-LAN10 see WiMo website)

Supplied Accessories:

Microphone SSM-75E
DC Power Cable w/Fuse
Spare Fuse
6.3mm 3-contact Plug
Operating Manual

Specifications:

Frequency Ranges:

RX

  • 30kHz – 75MHz (Operating)
  • 1.8MHz – 29.699999MHz (Specified performance, Amateur bands only)*
  • *5.1675/5.332/5.348/5.3585/5.373/5.405MHz (US only), 5.351500-5.366500MHz (EU only)/ 5.25000-5.406500 (UK
    only)
  • 50MHz – 53.999999MHz (Specified performance, Amateur bands only)
  • 70MHz – 70.499999MHz (Specifed performance, UK Amateur bands version only)

TX

  • 1.8 – 54MHz (Amateur bands only)

Modulation Type: A1A(CW), A3E(AM), J3E(LSB,USB), F3E(FM),F1B(RTTY),G1B(PSK)
Frequency Stability: ±0.5ppm (32°F to +122°F/0? to +50?, after 1min)
Supply Voltage: DC 13.8V ±15%
Circuit Type: Double-Conversion Superheterodyne
Intermediate Frequencies 1st IF 9.005MHz; 2nd IF 24kHz
RF Power Output: 5W – 100W (CW, LSB, USB, FM, RTTY, PKT); 5W -25W (AM)
Case Size(W x H x D): 10.47 x 3.58 x 10.35(inch) / 266 x 91 x 263 (mm) *Protruding parts not included at WIMo
Weight (Approx.): 13lbs/ 5.9kg

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Andy builds a genius companion control display for the Yaesu FT-817 transceiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andy Webster (G7UHN), who kindly shares the following guest post:


Yaesu FT-817 companion display

by Andy Webster (G7UHN)

 

Like so many I love getting out portable with my FT-817 but I do seem to spend so much of my operating time fiddling through the soft-keys because my most used functions (CW narrow filter, power and keyer settings to tune an ATU, A/B, A=B, etc.) are spread across different “pages” of the A,B,C assignments. Compared to the sublime experience of using my Elecraft K2 the FT-817 can be a little frustrating!

Last month, inspiration struck and I thought I could cobble together a small microcontroller and a little OLED display with some buttons to provide some extra soft-keys for the radio using the CAT serial port. Nothing particularly original here (I’ve seen articles of people using PICs for this purpose) but it seemed like a nice sized project for me to play with and build some experience doing PCBs (I’ve only done this once before at home). A little bit of discussion with Michael G0POT (FT-817 and SOTA guru), some Google searching and we were looking over KA7OEI’s excellent reference page (http://www.ka7oei.com/ft817_meow.html) and thinking about our favourite FT-817 commands…

 

As it happened I was lucky to have the right bits (Arduino Nano, small OLED display, buttons, prototype board and an 8-pin mini DIN cable) lying around the house to see “first light” from my FT-817’s serial port that evening. The Arduino Nano is a good place to start because it works at 5V so can work directly with the FT-817 levels on the ACC port. What followed next was some late nights of hacking on Arduino code to send and receive the data for my favourite commands and more experimentation on prototype board.

I tried a couple of cheap OLED displays and they look great indoors but weren’t quite up to the job in full sunlight which is fairly typical in my portable operations.

Daytime readability issues with an OLED display

By this point I had also realised the utility of having an auxiliary display on top of the radio as a much easier thing to view than the 817’s own display on the front panel. I’d also experienced some interference from the unshielded prototype board coming through as clicking sounds on the radio’s receiver so it looked as though some isolation between radio and my circuit might be necessary. Guided by many Internet tutorials, I switched to using a Nokia 5110-style LCD for better daylight readability and lower power consumption. Adding an ADUM1201 digital isolator and a B0505S-1W isolated DC-DC converter to the prototype board (modules acquired very quickly from eBay suppliers) gave me some isolation and lowered the interference which I guessed would disappear when I made the design on PCB with good ground planes around the signal lines.

Screen capture showing the schematic (click to enlarge)

With a (mostly) working prototype it was time to hammer the Internet tutorials again, this time to learn how to use KiCad, a free open-source PCB design tool available on Linux, Windows and Mac. I’ve done one PCB for home projects before using Autodesk EAGLE and I found learning Eagle pretty hard going, it seems like it carries 20 years worth of baggage and dogma in the user interface. In fact I started using EAGLE on this project but spent 3 hours on the first evening just trying to change the labels on the ADUM1201 chip that I couldn’t find in an EAGLE library… so I gave up and thought I’d try KiCad which I’d seen some recent good reports on. I’m happy to say after finding an excellent tutorial on KiCad I had drawn the schematic and my PCB layout in about 15 hours working time spread over a few evenings.

I should add that the 15 hours of KiCad time did include several hours of agonising over the choice of slide switch so a PCB can be done much quicker than that once you’ve got your favourite parts sorted!

That’s pretty impressive for my first go with KiCad as a near-beginner to PCBs, I heartily recommend it, it was so much easier than EAGLE and quite an enjoyable tool. Right, PCB design done and uploaded to JLCPCB for manufacture. 5 PCBs with DHL shipping cost me less than £20 and arrived from China within 5 calendar days. Other PCB fabs are available… 🙂

Click to enlarge

So that brings us to today, pretty much. The PCB was assembled very quickly (!) and there is no sign of noise from the serial data lines creeping into the 817’s receiver now it’s on PCB. Some lessons have been learned through the construction (e.g. brown 6mm push buttons are less “clicky” than the black ones and that’s a good thing!) and I now have my companion FT-817 display/buttons in field trials. I’ve no plans to sell this, it’s a trivially simple design, but it does make a great home project to polish your skills in microcontrollers, PCBs and construction. I’ll post a write-up on my website in due course.

In use, the device works just as I’d hoped, I can do everything I want to on my FT-817 without having to fiddle through the awkward button presses. The frequency display is also in a much better position for me now (as most FT-817 owners will know as they jealously eye the KX2, KX3, etc…!) and I think I used it for the whole session when I took it to the field on Saturday. If only my CW had been so slick!

Next steps are to work on the Arduino code. My code is pretty rubbish (my coding style involves a lot of Stack Overflow and copy/paste!) and not safe for public consumption. There are also some health warnings to be noted in manipulating the FT-817’s EEPROM (required for some of the functions I wanted), explained on KA7OEI’s page but there have been a few volunteers on Twitter to help with the software which is great. Also I may do a “Rev 2” board with an Arduino Pro Mini to lower the drain on the FT-817 battery before sharing the PCB files. Other than that it’s now time to get back outdoors and enjoy the new improved interface to my smallest radio! 😀

73
Andy G7UHN


Andy, I absolutely love this project! A wonderful addition to the FT-817/818 and I’d hardly call it a “trivial” design–!

I purchased the original FT-817 shortly after it was introduced. At the time, I was living in the UK and travelled extensively throughout Europe. I loved the ability to simply throw this little rig into my carryon and play radio pretty much anywhere my work travels took me. In the end, I did less ham radio work with the FT-817 and more SWLing.

Still, I eventually sold my FT-817 for the very same reason that motivated you to build a companion display: the front panel is too small and my most used functions require too much menu digging. 

Your companion board is an elegant homebrew solution. I love the Nokia LCD screen–superb readability in the field. 

Thank you again and once you do a write-up on for your website, we’ll be sure to link to it on the SWLing Post!


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