FT-817 in Digital Modes

The FT-817 receiver is great in digital modes too. I find it, however, that normal operation the way I am used to do it, is rather difficult with the important functions hidden behind different menus.

I really like to have quick access to:

  • VFO A/B selection
  • CW narrow ON/OFF
  • Pre-amp, ATT and AGC
  • Keyer speed, PTT delay and VOX
  • TX meter display (PWR, SWR, ALC)

You can access some of these items by one keypress but not all of them.

It is rather difficult to obtain perfect frequency alignment in PSK31 because the frequency resolution in the FT-817 in 10Hz. It is also very difficult to make 10Hz steps with the tiny tuning knob. The AFC function of gMFSK is there to help you in these situations and it turns out to work rather good. I found, however, that once you are tned to the correct frequency, it is a good idea to disable the AFC, since noise or other interference may confuse it. By the way, I keep the FT-817 in USER-U mode when I do PSK31 and not in PSK31-U mode, since that mode seems to have a 10Hz offset built-in.

Xlog + gMFSK + grig seems to be a very good combination for digital modes. I use xlog for logging, gMFSK for the actual real-time work, while grig can be used to make small adjustmenst to the operating frequency. All three of them can share the same hamlib backend via the rpcrig daemon.

OZ9AEC Desktop


Author: Alexandru Csete

Embedded software engineer in the satcom industry during the day. Radio amateur and SDR hacker during the night.