- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

FT-817 Speech Compressor

Phil Salas (AD5X) on October 19, 2001
View comments about this article!

Audio Speech Compressor for the FT-817 (and other rigs)

>(To download a printable ms-word format file of this article, click here )

By Phil Salas - AD5X

This audio speech compressor is designed around the Analog Devices SSM2165 device. This IC gives a 40 dB compression range and interfaces nicely with typical electret microphone elements. I decided to build this up because the FT-817 doesn't have any type of speech processing built-in, and any extra oomph helps when you are QRP.

The circuit is small enough that it can be built into the microphone. However, I decided to go external until my FT-817 is out of warranty. I've built up a unit using the SMD version of the SSM2165 for this.

I purchased the SSM2165 from Newark Electronics ($4.25). You'll need a pc-mount RJ45 jack and some perf-board. For the cable to connect to your radio, I just bought an RJ45 cable and cut off one end and wired it to the board. The connectors, cable, and other parts were purchased from All Electronics and Hosfelt Electronics. When everything was finished, I covered the entire assembly with heat-shrink tubing to make it a little more rugged.

So how does it work? According to my Diamond SX-1000 peak/average power meter, the peaks stay the same (as they should), but the average power increases about 6 dB. On the air reports are that the compressor makes my signal sound louder, and I should leave it in all the time.

While I built this compressor for my FT-817, it should work fine with any rig using an electret microphone element. With the component values shown, the unit has unity gain along with 40 dB compression.


Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
FT-817 Speech Compressor  
by WB2WIK on October 19, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Nice job, Phil!

I note you didn't add any shielding or intensive RF decoupling. Shouldn't be required for 5 Watts, anyway. However for "others" who may want to add something similar to a higher-powered rig, I'd suggest using a shielded box with ground wires attached to the box, maybe ferrite beads on the audio lines, etc.

73 de Steve WB2WIK/6
FT-817 Speech Compressor  
by WD8MGO on October 19, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Nice technical article of something I could use on my
Yaesu FT-7 low power transceiver.
FT-817 Speech Compressor  
by KB2GCC on October 19, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Great article! Analog Devices audio I.C.'s sound really good and this project will work as suggested. I built an outboard speech processor using the deluxe version of the same I.C., called the SSM2166. It adds a variable noise gate, a wider VCA gain range (18 dB) and an adjustable rotation or "knee" point. I recommend the SSM2165 for those looking for a simple compressor; the SSM2166 provides performance similar (or equal to) outboard "audio-chain" type compressor units used by the "Hi-Fi" crowd -- but for a lot less $$. Analog Devices' website says both I.C's are currently available in a SOIC (surface-mount) package -- so if Newark Electronics has the standard plastic/epoxy dip versions available they are selling old stock (get 'em while you can). My only complaint building the compressor was the time it took for me to wire-up the surface-mount I.C. Other than that it works fantastic. The noise gate is very smooth in operation -- people won't notice it's there until you turn it off. Manufacturers should build these little gems into their rigs (hint-hint to Scott at Ten-Tec!) For a schematic of the deluxe SSM2166 version, check this website: For the Analog Devices website: 73's, Carl
FT-817 Speech Compressor  
by KB8ASO on October 20, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Someone should kit this with a PCB and surface mount components. It would fit very nicely in the mike and is a needed mod for the 817. The only drawback is the battery life may be greatly reduced since you would be running a higher average power than before.

Randy KB8ASO
FT-817 Speech Compressor  
by KQ6XA on October 23, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I've noticed some FT-817 rigs having RF-Audio feedback problems when operated on HF /PM (pedestrian mobile) with whip antennas. A speech compressor mounted externally at the mic connector may increase the probability of RF-Audio feedback. Sheilding, suppression, and choke techniques would be beneficial in the design of an in-line mic device. Mounting the compressor inside the microphone case would probably be beneficial as well (shield it in a small can if possible). The stock SSB audio of the FT-817 needs all the help it can get, so BRAVO! on your project.

Bonnie KQ6XA
FT-817 Speech Compressor  
by KJ6ETL on October 24, 2001 Mail this to a friend!

I am lookin since a long time for a design of a speech compressor. Does any one have any other (more sophisticated) designs?


RE: FT-817 Speech Compressor  
by N7WS on October 30, 2001 Mail this to a friend!


You might take a look at:

and follow the link to "A Split-Band Speech Processor".

Note that the Plessey SL1626 is long obsolete, but the clipper portion of the circuit is still very viable.

In fact, my Kenwood TS-870 uses split band clipping.


Wes N7WS
RE: FT-817 Speech Compressor  
by N4HY on January 7, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with Bonnie's comment and would like to
point out that if mounted inside the Microphone
case, the foot print and complexity decrease since
you no longer need the connectors and the shielding
can be made to form fit.

By the way, I am a regular user of the Minibac and
its variations. Thanks Bonnie!

FT-817 Speech Compressor  
by G7RZU on March 1, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

I want to build one! However, i see in the article it mentions that it should work fine with any electret mic, I want to use this for my FT-7 with an Astatic low-z dynamic mic, does anyone see any problems with this? What modifications would you recommend for this?

73 de G7RZU (Simon)
RE: FT-817 Speech Compressor  
by OK1CDJ on July 29, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Hello all, i have PCB and SSM2165-S1 for sale.
Look here
If u are intrested in, please contact me at ok1cdj at moravany dot com

73 Ondra OK1CDJ
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to discussions on this article.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

Other How To Articles
Simple RF Radiation Detector
A Solar Powered Ham Radio Station