The MT would like to remind UK chasers and activators to ensure they do not operate out of band when using 60m. This is a matter of some concern since not only is this breaking the terms of the UK licence but is also breaking several SOTA rules.
The gaps between the UK segments are frequencies that Ofcom withheld from us because they are assigned to other users. Incursions onto those frequencies could lead to repercussions, even the possiblity of losing our access to the band. We only got an allocation in this prized part of the spectrum in the first place because it was expected that we would operate in a responsible manner. We must live up to that expectation.
Any activation that is out of band will be removed from the database, and that applies to the chasers as well as the activators. Repeat out of band operation by UK stations will lead to sanctions limiting the stations’ participation in the SOTA program. This is to preserve the reputation of SOTA and ham radio by showing that out of band operation will not be tolerated by the community.
The MT would like all activators and chasers in the UK who have logged QSOs on 60m since the start of 2017 to consider whether they may have logged any out of band QSOs by mistake and if so, to delete them from the database. The DB only logs the QSO as 5MHz and not the frequency so consult your own logs. We would suggest you adopt the following maxim: if in doubt, cut it out.
Footnote: There are plenty of memories available in rigs like the FT-817. To guard against errors, in my rigs I have programmed into the memory all the valid UK 60 metre frequencies at 1 kHz intervals plus the original spot frequencies finishing with 0.5 kHz - FE, FM etc for the old hands on the band. As long as you tune the band with the memory select knob and remember with SSB to stay clear of the HF end of the segments you cannot operate out of band by accident.
Not to do with out of band directly, but knowing this thread is followed by those on 60m …
I have operated 60m using my FT-817, but only on the programmed memory channels that I put in to make sure I don’t operate out of band. I cannot “vfo” from these frequencies when in Memory mode - i.e. they are, as they should be “set channels”.
Yesterday from DL/AM-180, I heard a station just off one of my programmed chanels, so I switched to VFO and tuned him in - booming signal mobile somewhere in Germany. When I went to TX the FT-817 said TX-Error and refused to transmit. My FT-817ND is an Australian model (the same as the US version). I think what is happening is that the rigs logic is saying on VFO mode this frequency isn’t an amateur band.
This being the case, is the only way to allow the FT-817 to transmit on 60 metres to apply the MARS mod, so that the whole frequency range from top band to 6 metres allows TX?
It appears the mod is very straight forward and simply entails removing one cable and a jumper and pressing two buttons while powering on, rather than any soldering work - has anyone on this list done this mod or are you all using memory channels on your FT-817s?
I’m not familiar with the MARS mod, but I assume it is a version of the mod where you open a couple of jumpers and close a couple, as described here: https://sites.google.com/site/k6bezprojects/ft-817 or on www.mods.dk and when you switch on for the first time you hold in the F and V/M buttons. This completely opens the rig so you have to be careful not to operate out of band but it also converts the 817 to a handy signal generator! This mod is necessary because without it the rig will only operate on the USA channels and in some versions the Alaska emergency channel. This mod is also appropriate for the FT857 and 897.
Yes my FT-817ND is the American version (sold in Australia) so whatever memories I set in the 60m band work on RX and TX, only when I switch to the VFO do I get the TX Error on the same 60m frequencies (RX is fine of course).
Thanks for confirming you did this change to an ND model.
I will recheck that I didn’t have lock set but I think that is the opposite of what I found (without the mod). At present if I switch to one of my memory channels on 60m I cannot then simply tune with the VFO knob - it simply doesn’t do anything. If after the mod this does work, it’ll be a good safety net. I can select one of my 5 programmed channels where I would like to transmit and then use the VFO to hear/work other stations on frequencies “between” my memory channels.
In the case of my rig, it returns to VFO control if I touch the main knob or if I change the mode setting and the memory has to be re-activated by pressing the V/M button. Of course, there may be differences between different batches of rig.
The only real difference is the ND models always read the option links when the rig is powered on. The original models read the option links on reset and this let you change the options in software and it would stay that way till you reset the rig. It enabled easy “widebanding” (*). The ND models read the links so a software option change lasts to the next power cycle.
The fix is to program the rig to TX from DC to daylight. Job done, enjoy new features!
(*) Widebanding is the term used but is obviously technically incorrect. The B/W of the RX and TX circuits is the same still. The tuning ranges have been changed, not the circuit bandwidths.
Ah that makes sense Brian,
Moving the VFO knob switches back to VFO mode - on a frequency that the rig says one shouldn’t transmit on and it gives a TX error, unless the MARS (aka wide-band) mod has been done.
Given that memory channels are allowed to Tx on frequencies that are not in the normal “bands” I wonder if that is restricted to 60m or whether the FT-817 always lets you transmit from a memory channel when it is out of band? Hopefully not. Hopefully it’s only around 5MHz that memory channels are automatically Tx and Rx enabled in the US/Aussie version of the 817ND.