FT-817 Lightweight Microphone / headset

Good morning everyone.

After an encouraging test on 60m with flea-power yesterday, I’m contemplating taking HF as well as VHF when I go “walkies” in a few weeks time. However I’ve got to save some weight somewhere in my pack to make up for the extra load.

At 170g, the standard Yaesu mic weighs as much as my HF antenna - and that’s just mad!

Does anyone use a lightweight headset with their FT-817 or FT-857 and if so, did you have any problems interfacing it to the radio please?


In reply to G4ERP:

I made myself a small adaptor a while ago using a 3.5mm plus, an RJ-45 connector, a non-locking push to make switch, a small plastic box from Maplin and about a meter of cat-5 cable.

The idea was to allow me to use a standard set of headphones + boom mic together with a PTT switch in my pocket while walking around with my hands in my pockets during winter activations.

I guess the short answer to your question is no. You suspect you’ll have have few problems with a Skype-style head-set. For added simplicity and reduced weight you could of course use the built-in VOX rather than a PTT switch. Personally I think I’d prefer to stay in control over what gets transmitted!

Don’t have the details of the circuit I used at hand, but it involves a couple of resistors and a capacitor. Most headsets I imagine use an electret mic. The headphones I use have an impedance of around 32 Ohms per channel. I have them both wired in series which doesn’t seem to cause any problems. Don’t forget to use the FT817’s SP/PH switch!

The following link may be useful


While I don’t use it much I have received nothing but favourable reports as to audio quality etc. I find headphones are less practical when you are in company since the other parties can’t hear what is going on and tend to talk over the critical bits!

If you do go the route of employing a box to house a PTT switch (and as I did 3.5mm sockets to allow an unmodified set of headphones to be used) then you could consider adding some sort of passive audio/CW filter. Of course to reduce the weight to a minimum and remove the reliability issues associated with having multiple connectors it might make sense to cut off the 3.5mm plugs and hard wire the headset.



PS If anyone can find a way to interface a bluetooth earpiece/mike to an FT817 I’d be interested to know.

In reply to M0RCP:

Hi, Rick.

Thanks for the comments. Your link is blocked here so I’ll check it out this evening at home.

73, Richard

In reply to G4ERP:
Hi Richard,
I built an adaptor for a PC headset and have received good reports when used with my 897. It is based on info found here: Aviation Headset Adapter – CatCow's Computer Dungeon.
Mine isn’t boxed and fit on a board about 3cm x 3cm. I have not weighed it. I’m happy to send pics of you desire.

In reply to G4ERP:
Hi Richard,
You could remove the metal weight from the stock mic and halve the weight. Yaesu build the weight in for ‘feel’. I removed mine and it ‘feels’ ok.
73, Frank

In reply to G3RMD:
Top tip Frank. Thanks.
Does anyone have a spare microphone for an 817 that I might borrow? Mine is defunct on its first anniversary and heading back for a replacement under warranty at Martin Lynch who’ve been very helpful].

I imagine I’ll do a 2m and 4m FM activation on Friday from Walbury Hill with 2 handhelds and the replacement mic will turn up next week.

73, David

In reply to G4ERP:

I use a similar setup to Rick, except mine uses PC headphones as available from Poundland’s finest outlets. I also use a toggle switch rather than a push switch, so I can be hands free while talking.

Dick, M0EIQ

In reply to M0RCP:

Google for Jabra A210. There’s a few vids on youtube showing how it’s done. I got mine on Ebay for a tenner.

Dick M0EIQ

In reply to G3RMD (and everyone else …):

Thanks for the suggestion, Frank. I’ve just followed your lead and removed the steel weights from the mic. Not so easy to do without damaging the plastic - I resorted to gentle heat from a heat gun on the steel to soften the adhesive. The result? An instant 20g saving.

If time allows, plan ‘B’ is to follow the separate headset route so thanks to everyone for the comments on what they have tried.

73, Richard

In reply to G4ERP:
I agree that the FT817 mic is rather heavy.
If I am out on my bike and want to save a few grams I leave the mic at home and just take my CW paddle that weighs less that 100gm.

73’s David.

In reply to M0EIQ:

I got mine on Ebay for a tenner.

Time was! There’s more rocking horse droppings advertised on eBay nowadays than A210’s, but I bet there’s a few lying disused in drawers around the country awaiting their trip to the tip.

I really fancy using the technology - headphone cables are an absolute pain while activating and the mic is never where I put it down!

73, Gerald

In reply to G3RDQ:

Hi, David.

Oh, didn’t I mention that the key’s probably coming on this trip as well? (Shocked gasps all round …) That’s another 100g to lose from somewhere else.

I suppose I could consider taking less food, but speaking as the original racing snake, I think that’s a poor long-term strategy.

73, Richard

In reply to G4OIG:

To be perfectly honest, mine doesn’t get used much…It seemed like a good idea, but in reality I prefer a wired headset. I trust the technology & I don’t have to worry about the charge state of another 2 batteries. Mind you, if I had a half decent bluetooth headset, I might change my mind.

Dick M0EIQ

Does anyone know if it’s possible to use aviation headsets such as the Airlite type 62 with the ft-817/857, i’ve seen these go for £15 on ebay.


In reply to G4ERP:

A neat idea I saw on some website or other in the dim and distant used a cheap 99p PC headset, but the neat thing was the way the PTT was fixed to a clipboard with the log pages on. He could hold the log in his left hand and with press of the thumb operate the rig while at the same time writing. From the clips on the site the sound quality on the the cheap headset was every bit as good as the existing mic.

73 Steve

In reply to G0PEB:

Does anyone know if it’s possible to use aviation headsets such as the
Airlite type 62 with the ft-817/857

I can’t see why not. I have seen them used with just about every type of rig. The problem is the quality of surplus stuff varies so much I would not be too happy buying this way. At least if you pick these up at a surplus sale or a rally you know you are getting something that looks okay. I would also suggest they might be a bit on the heavy side for lugging up hills, unless of course you intend to arrive by hang glider or something.

73 Steve

In reply to GW7AAV:

Hi, Steve.

That sounds like a good idea. My logbook and the mic cable have a fatal attraction for each other. The cable is always in the way and yours is a neat solution to the problem of finding the small inline PTT buttons with these devices. Even if you’re not wearing gloves, they are often elusive.

73, Richard

In reply to 2E0DAI:
Top thanks go to Martin Lynch & sons from me. We posted the defective mic to them special delivery on Tuesday and it came back repaired [with the weights removed too] today Thursday free of charge. Splendid service. Signal tests - modulated audio on SSB and a short QSO 5/9 with my mate on FM went well. I hope to open with 2m-SSB from G/SE-001 Walbury Hill tomorrow. I expect we’ll be late as usual!


In reply to G4ERP:

Right. One hastily cobbled-together headset ready to try on an unsuspecting 60m band tomorrow. If it’s okay, I’ll “productionise” it and probably end up with something weighing under 40g.

Details to follow if it all works.

73, Richard

In reply to G4ERP:

Not the most successful of tests on Sunday. I should have waited but as I was going out to test the new antenna - which did work - I couldn’t resist it.

Thanks, Ken G3LVP, for helping me set it up a bit better and I’ll try it again next time out. Total weight is 36g but having just tried out the VOX on the FT-817 for the first time I wonder if I need the PTT switch. Does anyone use VOX during activations?

73, Richard