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AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897

from Don Taylor, DJ0KM / K9SFN on February 14, 2010
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AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897

On page 37 of the FT-897 and on page 39 of the FT-897D Operation Manual the connections to and from the computer and the radio are well described. However the two most impotent steps are not mentioned.

But first a bit of General information. PSK is an AFSK mode and is done in SSB. That mean the information from the radio to the input of the computer sound card is an audio signal. The information from the sound card to the radio is also and audio signal. These signals are of course encoded for the transfer of letters rather then speech. The same is true for RTTY, SSTV, MFSK and all the other AFSK modes.

YAESU has included a special connection to and from the radio via the DATA connector which is a 6 pin MiniDin which supplies the RX output, the TX input and although not needed the PTT signal(s) for all modes of AFSK operation. YAESU placed the RX output of the radio to the sound card on pin 5 and made it a constant level signal that is not changed or affected by the volume control. You can copy PSK or RTTY, SSTV, MFSK and other signals with the volume set to Zero. The Input to the radio from the sound card is on pin 1and is the signal that will modulate the transmitter similar to the Mic input.

YAESU added a feature that is not well documented for the FT-857 and FT-897 called DIGITAL VOX (DIG VOX). The radio already has a VOX Function built in and all YAESU had to do was make it available to the DATA Connector input. This eliminated the need for a PTT control signal from the computer. Menu step 40 is the DIG VOX Sensitivity control and its default is set to Zero. Just enter the Menu and set the value to about 50. The radio will now switch to transmit every time the software goes to transmit.

Now the only thing left to do is to set the level of the TX modulation which is done in Menu step 37 called DIG GAIN. The DIG GAIN default value is 50 which is way to high for PSK operation. Remember you can QSO the world with 10 to 20 Watts of transmit power so set the value to around 5 and check the power out. Adjust it until you have about 20 watts. This was very good planning on the part of YAESU as the DIG GAIN has no affect on the setting of the MIC Gain so you don't have to do any readjustments to go from one mode to the other.

There is only one more thing to do to get to the first QSO. You must to go to the Sound Card control panel and see that everything is set up and working. Because no two computers and sound cards are the same I can't tell you what to do here but you received a little booklet about the sound card when you bought it which will tell you how to get signals in and out of the thing.

One last point. It is good engineering to isolate the sound card and computer from the radio. The best way to do this is via two small and inexpensive audio transformers that have a transformation radio of 1:1.

If anyone still needs help getting FT-857 or 897 or any other YAESU or KENWOOD radios connected and running you can contact me directly at

dj0km / k9sfn

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AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897  
by N4CQR on February 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Good info! Also, to access menu item 40, you must enable menu item, 001 (set to ON). I know this may be obvious but a extended menu set question comes up weekly in the 897 Yahoo group


AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897  
by K9ZF on February 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article Don!

I'm sure this will help many PSK new guys get up and running!

Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Clark County Indiana. EM78el
K9ZF /R no budget Rover ***QRP-l #1269 Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
<> List Administrator for: InHam+grid-loc+ham-books
Ask me how to join the Indiana Ham Mailing list!
RE: AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897  
by AD6KA on February 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for this Don.

Wow! A ham that actually READS THE MANUAL!
What a concept!

73, Ken AD6KA / 5R8GQ
AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897  
by G0GQK on February 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Perhaps one of these days manufacturers of all electronic equipment will use good writers when producing their manuals. It doesn't matter what you buy, a tranceiver, TV, a digital radio,digital recorders etc. operating manuals are never ever complete. There is always some important operating instruction not included, which always irritates the new user.

Interface, PTT, RE: AFSK (PSK) Yaesu FT-897  
by KQ6XA on February 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The use of "Digital Vox" should be considered somewhat temporary, because it is not reliable. Digital Vox is not as controllable. Digital Vox has time delay in Receive-Transmit and Trasmit-Receive switching, that causes the first characters of some digital modes to not be transmitted or received.

The use of CAT PTT is available in most digital mode programs, and it is much more dependable. Hardware PTT via the RTS of the virtual serial port is best.

More information about interface between computer and radio, as well as homebrew interface plans, are available on the web at
RE: AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897  
by WS4E on February 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Using CAT PTT is much better if your using something like HRD or any other common computer control / digital mode program.

Otherwise, you might find yourself accidentally being one of those guys you hear on the bands, sending their Windows BEEPS, Windows Shutdown Sounds, "You Got Mail" etc. :)

We have ALL heard those spurious Windows sounds appear in our waterfall.

Try to avoid that.
AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897  
by KB9VLR on February 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Using Digital Vox is a bit sketchy. Setting it too low will not accurately trigger. Setting it too high will give you ALC action.

The Audio in/out from the FT897 is a bit unusual. I operate remote base, and found the following quirks.

1. Keying the radio from the Digital port will put audio from the digital port, regardless of mode (Even if USB, FM, AM is selected). When audio is desired from the MIC jack, the radio must be keyed from the MIC.

2. When keying the radio using CAT commands, the audio WILL be pulled from the appropriate jack. DIG & PKT will pull audio from the data jack. USB, FM, and AM will pull audio from the MIC jack.

3. The audio output from the Data jack is somewhat low for remote base purposes. This usually requires turning the RX audio gain on a outside interface (Signalink or Microham USB III all the way up. FM Broadcast is usually low audio level, while FM and USB is a little louder from the data port.
RE: AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897  
by EX_AA5JG on February 17, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I have used the digital VOX on a Yaesu FT857D (same basic rig as a FT897D) for quite a while with no problems or reliability problems. Ran several RTTY contests with it and never had dropped characters or anything like that. Yaesu is to be commended for this feature that makes getting on the digital modes so much easier and cheaper. Don't need to worry about having a serial port or tying up a USB port. Wish other companies would follow suit.

73s John AA5JG
Now have RTTY DXCC!
RE: AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897  
by K5TED on February 18, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The data port can also be used in the following manner to feed processed audio to the radio...

If you have two or three sound cards, for example, one for digital modes that you have hooked to the radio DATA port, and one or two onboard your PC or even an external sound card like Soundblaster, Edirol, M-Audio, etc., you may plug a headset type condenser boom mic into one of the sound card mic inputs, use a program such as Voice Shaper to process the audio, with EQ and noise gate/comp/limit, point the Voice Shaper output to the sound card output that feeds the DATA port and voila! Mind you, with the radio MODE set to DATA, the hand mic will still key the radio but the DATA port audio is what goes out. You can also use VOX or HRD/other CAT program to key the radio.

Also, you can run something like Spectran or other real-time DSP to process the DATA port receive audio and point it to one of the headphone outputs, plug your headset plug in there and double voila!

DSP processing and filtering on transmit and receive audio. (requires a reasonably fast computer)

I haven't yet tried to incorporate a Signalink USB into this configuration, but I presume it would work as well as any other sound card.

I've used this type of configuration to feed a Samson USB studio mic output through Voice Shaper and out to a Soundblaster Audigy USB feeding a FT-817ND DATA port with great success as well.
AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897  
by K9CTB on March 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
"We have ALL heard those spurious Windows sounds appear in our waterfall."

Well for one thing, most of that garbage is "music" and if we had the same fears of enforcment we had in the 1970s, people would actually *try* to avoid that.

If we could keep good gear, autotuners and wire out of the hands of freebanders, we'd have a lot less crap on the SSTV calling, MM net and other important frequencies, while we're at it. The license actually "means" something. Oughtta require one to buy radio transmitting gear. We used to.

Thanks for a great article ... I don't own an '897 even though I admire those DC to daylight rigs from afar. Those menus are exactly what scares me away. I'm too dumb to figure that stuff out without a very committed mentor. They're few and far between :)

Neil K9CTB
AFSK (PSK) with the Yaesu FT-897  
by K2JX on March 8, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I've just purchased a new FT-897D to replace an FT-847.
After reading the owners manual and then down loading the tech manual I decided to wire up the radio to a Signa-Link USB interface. I went to the Signa-Link USB web page first for the latest information. It was a simple matter to configure the internal jumpers as needed for the 897D.

I made up cable with a six pin mini plug (from an old PS-2 mouse) crimped an RJ45 on the other end and plugged it in ! Fired up Digipan, set up the sound card choice for Digipan and I was on the air running PSK-RTTY. I am using the PTT function to key the rig and again there's no problem.
I'm also using MIX-W multimode software in addition to Digipan there's no problem with any digital sound card mode in Mix-W's software! PSK-RTTY-MFSK, all work well.

I'm really liking this rig for the money it's hard to beat !

73/de K2JX
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