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FT8 on Two Radios
Works a treat on the Yaesu 450D
My head is surely bruised. I’ve been beating it against the wall for a couple of weeks, trying to get digital modes (and specifically, FT8) working on my Yaesu FT-891 radio. My Yaesu FT-450D handles two different external soundcard appliances well. The FT-891 just doesn’t, at least for me.
This is important to me because of Parks On The Air (POTA). I’d much rather take the FT-891 when activating a park compared to the FT-450D. But for digital work, it looks like the 450D is going to be my go-to radio.
FT8 on the 450D
These images are screenshots of WSJT-X running on my laptop computer. They show QSOs (my call sign is KJ7T) and the waterfall for FT8 running on the 450D. As you can see, exchanges are happening and the waterfall shows quite a bit of activity.
I had been using a Signalink USB device but switched to a Yaesu SCU-17 unit, thinking that perhaps a Yaesu-branded product would simply play better with the 891. Alas, that appears not to be for the 891 but the SCU-17 did connect more easily to the 450D.
FT8 on the 891
One problem I’m having with the 891 is the receiving decibel level. That is shown in the lower-left corner of the WSJT-X QSO image above. With the 450D, I can easily overload the system. With the 891, I can’t get enough sound from the radio to WSJT-X for signals to be decoded. With the 450D, the audio signal from the laptop to WSJT-X is so high I have to turn it down. This is very confusing. The same laptop that doesn’t send enough audio to the USB audio device to operate digital modes with the 891 works just fine with the 450D.
I’ve been through countless blogs and YouTube videos that present how people have configured their 891 and WSJT-X to work well together, but it isn’t happening for me. I did check the firmware on the radio and it is up to date. Then I switched from the Signalink USB device to the Yaesu SCU-17 unit, but again, no joy. Computer sound settings? Check. I’m at the point where I’m considering just resetting the 891 to factory settings and starting over!
By the way, good introductory tips on running FT8 are available at: https://www.onallbands.com/%EF%BB%BFtop-10-tips-for-succeeding-in-ft8-mode/
QSOs and the antenna
Oh, and those FT8 QSOs shown in the image above? After I got my new 25-foot telescoping fiberglass mast up the day before yesterday with a 20-meter hamstick dipole at the top, I had good success on FT8:
8/5/22 - 5 QSOs
8/6/22 - 24 QSOs
8/7/22 - 15 QSOs (this morning)