FT8 on the FT817

I did a bit of experimenting today with WSJT-X on the Mac and using the FT817. So far, so good. Ok, no surprises there, lots of people are doing the same thing! This is part of my master plan (I’m up to Plan G so far I think) which involves using the FT817 for VHF / UHF instead of the FT450D and transverters and switches, and being able to take the kit elsewhere, either in the UK or abroad.

The only laptop I have is the rather old now 2013 MacBook Pro. Still my workhorse for just about everything, I tend to run it plugged into power and with an external monitor. But the battery still holds up for a good while. I wanted to get a Mac Mini because I always use the laptop with the screen closed, using a wireless keyboard, trackpad and mouse, and wired Ethernet. Mostly it works fine, just sometimes it manages to jumble the size and position of all the windows when logging into the thing. No biggie. But used 2018 Mac Minis cost a bunch, so I’ll stick with this for now.

WSJT-X went on just fine – again, no surprise there. On 2m FT8 and connected to the big wheel in the loft I could see my CQ on the Linux box but nothing on pskreporter. Ok, it was on the lowest power setting. Turned that up. Nothing… read the manual, turned the power up to 2.5W (which is where I thought I had it!) and pskreporter showed two contacts, the furthest at 177km. Ok, it works, and it appears to be pretty stable, unlike the transverters I have.

So, back to Plan G, I will now have a 2m and a 70cm transverter for sale and I can tidy up a bit of wiring. I’ll keep the 4m transverter as the FT817 doesn’t have that band.



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