Consistent low reports ft817

Just had a short qso with Ed DD5LP and he said my audio is ok, considering conditions at moment and using 817

My ssb mic is set at 75 at moment so I try again portable tomorrow and see what’s what

Many thanx all and thanx again to Ed for taking the time to pick me from the noise floor

I will monitor 7.183.50 now


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Ed the swr is fine, I am using an end fed half wave though and I think they are “really noisy in a home station I’ve s9 noise with iPo on
The 49-1 is an ft240-43 choke is between 8-10 turns rg58cu on another ft240-43 , the choke is 2 metres from auto transformer

Swr with mfj269, is fine
Also with Watson vector analyser

Dear Iain:
A few cents from me as a happy FT 817 owner:

  1. 5W SSB is not really much, and there are many factors that will make it unlikely to find your CQ calls answered, namely
  • accidentally setting the power to 2.5 W instead of 5W (as someone has said, the default power is always 2.5W when running from the internal battery; you have to manually set it to 5 W);
  • suboptimal antenna (e.g. short whips, high ground losses, main radiation angle covered by buildings etc.)
  • suboptimal modulation settings

When I was a complete hamradio freshman, I was pretty disappointed that an FT817 with a ATX-1080 in my backyard would not yield a single contact, despite trying for hours.

And a little bit later, I thought I had fried my finals because CQ in CW would suddenly no longer get me any spots on RBN. I even sent the FT817 for repair then, but the only one at fault was I myself.

Also, weak SSB CQ calls from “easy” countries are often ignored for long; calling CQ for an hour might still not produce a single contact, until you find a great ham radio veteran who remembers his own beginnings and answers your call.

  1. I agree with all that has been said in here, but I suggest a more systematic, scientific approach in this and similar situations:
  • Try to measure the RF output, e.g. by running it into a simple dummy load (2 x 100 R metal film resistors rated for 2 W will do) and attaching an oscilloscope. Even cheap modern ones can compute the RMS voltage from the signal. Depending on the frequency used, the input capacitance of the oscilloscope can be a problem (because the reactance can be in the order of magnitude of the dummy load and thus cause a mismatch and measurement error). Best use a 1:10 or 1:100 probe. Ballpark measurements are sufficient

  • If you do not have access to an oscilloscope, you can use a few resistors and a diode so that cheap digital multimeter can give approximate readings.

Here is a good overview: Power Measurement with Simple Techniques

  1. You can also use a few of the many SDR (software-defined radio) stations accessible via your Web browser to monitor the quality of your signal. A list is here: (seems currently down, but will likely get back to normal operation soon).

Hope this helps!

73 de Martin, DK3IT

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One more thing: When operating wire antennas with the FT817, it is good practice to put ferrite cores as snap-ons over all cabling attached (mike, power, earphone, digital …). Some of the inputs of the FT817 have rather weak protection against stray RF and you can kill the MCU and other components, I was told. This is why you should also not have antennas attached to both the front and rear connector at the same time; rather cover the unused one with a metal cover or dummy load.

73 de Martin, DK3IT

I really didn’t think that 5watts would need any ferrite however

I did get a ferrite clamp with my 817 new, but never used it

Is the supplied ferrite sufficient but for a choke, i bought all my portable ops coax from sotabeams with BNC attached I think it’s rg174, so could probably get 2 turns through it

Thanx for your replies,



Thanx for the links for websdr, I didn’t know about this and I can now check my modulation and signal

I’m being heard all over the place😁

I could even use this when having a qso with someone who I struggle to copy,

Thanx again

Indeed you can. There nothing against that in the SOTA rules so far, although you’ll find detractors and supporters regarding such procedure for chasing SOTAs if you search among the threads in this Reflector.


Cool thanx for info, it’s great being able to hear yourself and know your getting out
Many thanx

Hi Ian,

With the poor propagation you need to think about which band and at what time you call. 5 W isn’t going to make a big impression especially in suburban reception areas due to their noise.

So having alerted and then spotted, hopefully on a band with some chasers, but you get no replies after calling for say 5 minutes, what next? Check to see if the band is open. I tune to the FT8 frequency in each band in sequence. If I can’t hear any tones after 60 seconds then that band is closed except maybe for some very local people.

Once a band is found that is open then it’s a matter of re-spotting and calling patiently until you get replies.


When you apply a moderate amount of speech compression, “the increase in SNR is equivalent to that obtained by increasing the power output of an unprocessed 5W transmitter by as much as 10dB to 50W”


I believe Sotabeams sells a good one for the FT-817, $50 for the kit. Much lighter weight and cheaper than an amplifier.

Barry N1EU


This compressor for 40 EUR works very well and, if I remember correctly, increased my success rate when calling CQ in SSB remarkably:

I now do mostly CW, so I rarely use it anymore.

73 de Martin, DK3IT

I’m going to test my audio and listen to websdr see how I sound.
What I heard on them last night I was perfectly readable, after adjusting the ALC, So I will leave yaesu on alc meter and keep a constant couple of bars, on screen while modulating, so no need for an audio add on at moment

I’ve got the x5105 rig with a built in speech compressor I can use
I just like to use the yaesu occasionally as it’s got vhf

All the replies and help are appreciated and I will experiment tonight with websdr and update the thread


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It’s easy to get licensed nowadays, but if you don’t have an electronics or comms background, a lot of what actually happens and how radio works (or doesn’t) can be confusing and daunting. Pass the licence and then you are on your own despite there being on-air training as part of the curriculum. So maybe you need to join your local club where you can seek out face to face advice, help and support? There are lots of very experienced people on here who can give you advice etc. but actually being sat down with someone along with your kit can make the process of getting the issues you are having fixed a lot easier.

My $0.02 worth.


Hi Ian

I think you stay near Inverness? Why not come along to the local radio club IDARS (Inverness and District Amateur Radio Society). We meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month at DMH Blacksmiths, 7 Carsegate Road, Inverness IV3 8EX.Check out our facebook page.
I have done a lot of Sota activating. I have an FT817. We are a small club with several knowledgeable amateurs who are always happy to help.



I didn’t find the foundation easy, though I passed with only a couple wrong answers
But I had no radio experience at all apart from a ham Concorde and a rotel 240 with an es880 and sitting in the car park in the sky in paisley in the 70s and 80s
But now I know a substantial amount more and learning all the time
I’ve thought about the Inverness club, but that’s as far as I’ve got, but I’m not ruling it out
I’m only interested in portable operating, analogue and digital “now” I’m even a regular on vhf with a couple of locals
I get loads of help on here from a very knowledgeable member through pm and I’m happy the way things are going

This is my club Andy, with most threads about what I’m into

Thanx I may just do that, I talk to a couple guys on vhf who are in the club
I’m in Dalneigh.:+1:

Hi Iain,
I think that you will also be more successful operating when you continue to develop an understanding of the underlying physics and electrical engineering challenges. Btw, there are tons of excellent tutorials on Youtube.

If you have limited time or interest, I think what really helps are the following topics

  • ohms law and multiple resistors in parallel / serial circuits
  • understanding how capacitors and inductances behave with AC of different frequency
  • this will naturally lead you to LC circuits, namely filters etc.
  • impedance, reactance, reflections, SWR
  • impedance matching circuits
  • basics of antenna theory and practice

If you do not want to design or build your own gear, I think you can focus on the problems from the antenna output of your commercial gear to the end of the antenna. You will probably not need to understand how a superhet works or the various oscillator circuits.

But I bet ham radio and SOTA will be more successful and thus more rewarding if you understand why certain things will work and others don’t. This might take some time, but it is a very rewarding route. The only thing you need to avoid are the not-so-rare pieces of misinformation on the Internet. Stick with what can be traced back to high-school physics, and you will be on an excellent route.

73 de Martin, DK3IT

Martin I’d like to understand from the back of the rig to the tip of the antenna
I have the rsgb handbook and the arrl antenna book
But their too complex
Also have spectrum communications books on electronics 1 and 2, too complex Anthony nailer I think
And I have a electronics for dummies book which I have read
Have also read the intermediate book
But all way above my station

I’ve built loads of stuff, but nothing has worked correctly

HI Ian,

What you are experiencing is equivalent to learning on the job. Joining a club will help enormously, both with learning and with dealing with problems that will inevitably come along.

I started in amateur radio and got licensed with virtually no experience while I was still at school. I can appreciate how you feel as I was licensed for 144MHz and higher frequencies and I had never listened on bands higher than 28MHz. VHF was a whole new ball game. Building my own equipment was a huge challenge and I would never have achieved it without the help of others. That was almost 50 years ago and I can honestly say that I still regularly learn something new.

73, Gerald G4OIG / G8CXK

Hi Ian

I would recommend that you find an Intermediate course and take the inter exam.
Then sign up to the Bath Distance learning course for the full licence.
This is a superb learning program which lasts 6 months and i guarantee you will understand all the basics after completing this course. It does take a lot of time though !

Just Google Bath distance learning for more info.

I would also recommend the following electronics book


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