FT-817 & Rigblaster

Ft-817, Rigblaster Advantage and Power Meter

UPDATE 2018-05-20:
So far the installation is NOT running completely. Decoding in FT8 is possible, but while transmit phases no signal is going over the antenna.
Additional tests has to be done, answers to mail requests from Rigblaster and WIMO are pending.

UPDATE 2018-06-01:
A support message from West Mountain Radio helped me to find the correct path for my special configuration.
After the reconfiguration I could manage my first QSO on 2m with OE1ENS, not a big distance but it worked with FT8 and WSJT-x running under Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on my old MacBook.
The following description will be adapted to my test results.

On this page I give you a short overview what is to do for a quick installation.
To be successfull it is necessary to have ordered the cat cable for the Ft-817 with the modem (RB-XCAT8 for the '817) or it is already self made.
Now only the radio and a computer (in my case a Linux device) is needed and we can start.

1) First place the provided appropriate ISC (Instant Setup Connector) which handles the different necessary jumpering for different radios. For the FT-817 the "YAESU RJ45 MODULAR" connector is needed.
insight view
Place the "Instant Setup Connector" ("YAESU RJ45 MODULAR")
as shown in the picture

2) To connect the Rigblaster Modem to the computer follow the description in the detailed manual. While under Windows a device driver has to be installed in advance under Linux since Kernel 3.8.4 the necessary drivers are already included in the kernel.

You can find the assigned serial device by opening a terminal and typing:
$ ls -l /dev/ttyUSB*
This should return a display similar to the one below:
crw-rw---- 1 root dialout 188, 0 Sep 30 13:49 /dev/ttyUSB0

DO NOT FORGET to add your user to the group DIALOUT:
$ sudo usermod -a -G dialout user
Then log off and log back on for the changes to take effect.

Some basic adjustements:
put the "xmit" and "rcv" levels to "12o'clock" and the TX switch in the "vox" position. We will need that later on.

Please read also the additional hints in the manual!

3) Connect your radio with the Rigblaster. Use the provided cables out of the box. Don't forget to connect the additional ordered CAT-cable (8 pin mini DIN) between the ACC connector on FT-817 and the CTL inout connector on Rigblasters back side.
Follow the description on page 15 (section "Transceiver Connections") in the Rigblaster Manual.
Consider position of the control dials for initial operation.

Rigblaster Advantage and FT-817 - back side.

4) Adjust your WSJT-X program configuration to be able to operate your radio and modem:

To configure CAT control and PTT on the same port (as we should do on Linux) is not possible, because RIGblaster does not let audio pass in this case. Under Windows there is a port splitter software which enables usage of two separate ports for CAT and PTT.
In my Linux installation of WSJT-X I use therefore CAT on the USB-port and VOX for PTT.
This setup works for me.

If "Test CAT" is marked green configuration is well done!

Choose the correct Rigblaster Audio modules

Don't forget to fill in your call sign and locator!

Most frequencies and bands have their entries in the frequency list, but for 2m band there is an entry missing:
I have choosen 144.360 MHz or 144.174 MHz and 432.500 MHz for 70cm band (see also this list for other frequencies).
Click into any table element of frequency list and create new entry with right mouse click.

If there are any problems with the wide graph (waterfall, scope) read also "WSJT-X Wide Graph Getting it Right".

4) Configure the FT-817*) for use with digital modes following both manuals (see menu on the right hand side).

Press the F key for one second and adjust:
Menu 07: Rear or Front (Antenna)
Menu 14: 38400 (Cat Rate)
Menu 26: USER-U
Menu 45: RF-GAIN

Press the F key only short:
Choose "PWR" menu and press "B" key as long as "MTRalc" is displayed.
Press the F key again to store the changes.
Please disable eventually installed filter (menu IPO).

Please be mindful to have configured same baud rate for serial interface in FT8-software and the Transceiver.

*) my individual setup of FT-817

Some additional videos :
Data mode communication on the Yaesu FT-817
WSJT-X Wide Graph Getting it Right
Data modes settings on the Yaesu FT-817
Data modes settings on the Yaesu FT-817 (German video)


OE1GPA Homepage

RIGblaster Advantage Manual
FT-817nd Operating Manual

WSJT-x Homepage
MSHV Homepage
JTDX Homepage