Whether you call it a bug, a
or an undocumented feature, pretty much everything computer-operated
some aspect of it that is either not intuitive, not as the manual says
it is (if the manual says it at all...) or just plain goofy. The
'817 is no exception.
Here is a growing list of things about the '817 that you may have
known. Some of these are readily obvious (if you read the manual,
that is) and other are so obscure, you wonder who had so much time on
hands that they were able to figure it out.
These come from a variety of different sources and where possible,
They are in no particular order: Consider that to be another
Front and Rear Antenna selection. This is selected
item #7 and different antenna selections may be made for HF, 6 meters,
FM Broadcast, Aircraft band, 2 Meters, and UHF. By default, HF
the rear connector and all others use the front.
CTCSS, DCS, NAR (for CW and FM), IPO, ATT, RPT (and offset)
and dial step size (AM, FM, SSB). These are stored on a
basis (i.e. 160 M, 75 M, 40 M, 30 M, 20 M, 17 M, 15 M, 12 M, 10 M, 6 M,
FM-BCB, Air, 2 M, and UHF.)
There is an extra "band" on HF that wasn't there before...
Actually, this is a feature common to most (if not all) recent Yaesu
radios and it is used to facilitate listening on the shortwave or AM
broadcast bands and it really was there all along - but you may
have not noticed it.
The way it works is this:
If you tune to a frequency that is outside one of the
existing ham bands, the "floating" band will remember it when you
switch bands using the up/down buttons. What this means is that
if you were listening to WWV on 15 MHz, you would then find that "band"
between 20 and 17 meters again. If you were to tune to WWV on 2.5
MHz, that "band" would then be found between 160 and 80 meters.
You cannot disable that "extra" band, but if it bothers you because it
is between two bands that you often use, simply tune in a frequency
(possibly on the AM broadcast band) that is not between
the two bands of interest and this extra "band" will move there
instead. Remember: Both VFO-A and VFO-B have their own
The "Auto" setting for the dial backlight only functions
battery is used. Apparently Yaesu assumes that if you have
power coming in to the radio via the external power connector, you can
afford to waste the extra 30 milliamps or so that the backlight
Contrary to what the manual might say, the TX power setting
for all bands. Different power levels are not stored
The Blinking L3 power level icon. When, according
the supply voltage is less than 11.5 volts, the "power level" icon will
blink if you set high power. The radio will still attempt to put
out a full 5 watts despite the blinking, but at low voltages there may
be insufficient drive for full power.
Holding down the Home key. When in FM,
holding down the HOME key will cause the radio to transmit a
Hz tone - often used for "whistle up" on European repeaters. On
this will overlay the receive audio with the precise frequency that the
TX CW carrier is offset from zero beat on receive. On SSB/AM a TX
Error will result with the '817 assuming that you are a doofus for
trying to "whistle up" a repeater on these modes.
FM versus FM-N. This isn't really a "quirk", but
it is worth explanation: FM (on amateur bands) is standard
deviation - used on most FM repeaters on the VHF/UHF bands
world. This mode occupies about 15 KHz of spectrum and requiring a 20
channel spacing for geographically-adjacent operations. The FM-N
is used on HF (10 Meters and lower frequencies) and it uses +- 2.5 KHz
deviation - the same as many newer FM business channels and the
FRS ("Family Radio") radios. This mode uses about 12.5 Khz of
requiring about 15 KHz channel spacing for geographically-adjacent
Note that, on the '817, different filters are actually
on the receiver - with the narrower one being selected for FM-N.
In theory, it is possible to achieve slightly better weak-signal
performance on FM-N than "normal" FM owing to the narrower bandwidth -
which may also reduce multipath as well - but only if everyone
on that frequency is set up with radios that can do FM-N as well!
The power supplied by the ACC jack is not power-switched.
an accessory that gets its power from the ACC jack
the '817, keep in mind that it will continue to supply power to the
jack even when the '817 is off! For example, if
the CT-62 CAT interface cable plugged into the '817, this will
20-30 milliamps from the radio's power source - even if you are using
batteries! Needless to say, this amount of power will
kill your batteries if given enough time!
Don't use the "PSK-U" or "PSK-L" mode for digital modes.For
some reason, there is a slight frequency shift (10 Hz) between
and transmit when those modes are selected for the "DIG" mode.
The workaround:Use USER-L or USER-U
instead. This frequency
is (ironically) important on a mode like PSK31. For modes like
and RTTY, 10 Hz is unimportant, but to avoid possible confusion, ALWAYS
use the USER-U mode. Why? Aside from not
the 10 Hz shift problem, digital modes are generally used on upper
on all bands these days - particularly when audio-sourced modulation
(such as a sound card) are used. Using upper sideband also allow
the actual carrier frequency to be determined easily simply by adding
dial frequency to the audio modulation frequency.
There is some CPU noise audible on some frequencies if you
duck antenna on the front panel. One of the most obvious of
is around 35.814 MHz. These are probably the result of timing
to the CPU's program. These change and can become more obvious
for example, a program heavily uses the CAT interface. The change
in CPU useage, coupled with the fact that another cable is
to the radio that might radiate CPU noise is likely to be at least
responsible for the "chugging" sound that some people report. The
this is to not use the front panel antenna - that is, one
that is only inches away from the CPU.
The "It won't power up with certain subaudible tone
Tom, N2YTF brought to my attention the following bug - and my thanks to
go him. It may be duplicated as follows:
Put a working battery inside the FT-817 and
power from the rear terminal. Both must be present
Select FM on a 2 meter frequency. (Actually, any ham band
- but it must be FM.)
Using the "TON" menu item, turn on both
the tone and
the tone squelch. The display will show "TSQ"
Go into the sub-menu and, from menu item #48, select a tone
of 250.3 Hz or higher. (I think that there is only
higher...) Press and hold the "F" key again to return
to the main display.
Turn the FT-817 OFF.
Try to turn the FT-817 back on. If you
this bug, the FT-817 will not power up again unless
rear-panel power is removed - that is, with the FT-817 running only
on the internal battery. (Note: I haven't tried just
the batteries and powering the radio only from the rear panel.
the tone frequency is changed and/or the Tone+Tone Squelch is disabled,
then it will work normally.)
This "bug" has been verified on Tom's radio (SN: 1K44xxxx) and
Restored "Default" menu settings are not saved.
G1BAX, of Cornwall, England observed the following:
Bring up the Main Menu (press and hold the "F" key.)
Restore the default by pressing the HOME key.
Exit the menu by pressing and holding the "F" key again.
Turn the radio off - and back on again. The "original"
back! (This is easiest to demonstrate if one sets the background
from orange to its blue default color.)
New settings may not be saved if the power is
interrupted. Because the FT-817 - and many other radios of
recent manufacture - use EEPROMs to store user data and configurations,
there is some attempt to reduce the number of write cycles to this
memory. Although this type of memory typically has a duration of
well over 100,000 write cycles (the specs state well over a million) a
bit of quick math will tell you that if, say, the frequency was stored
in memory every time you adjusted the tuning knob, you could
well wear it out within a few years! For this reason, a few
things - most notably the currently-displayed frequency - is not
saved in EEPROM memory unless:
The band is changed. When you change bands, the frequency
and mode of the band you were just on is written to EEPROM memory.
The power is turned off in a proper manner. If you turn
the radio off with the power button, these settings are saved in EEPROM
The above may be demonstrated in the following way:
Note the frequency of the radio: We'll call this
Adjust the tuning knob to a new frequency within the same ham
band. We'll call this "Frequency B".
Remove the power to the radio without using the power
Restore the power to the radio and turn it back on.
It will be on "Frequency A" again.
Thanks to all that have contributed!
Do you have a quirk to add? If so, email
it to me and I might put it on the list. (I'm quirky
Work continues -
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