Update your FT-817, FT-857, or FT-897 with the new 60 meter channel

In the US starting in 2003, amateurs have had a secondary allocation of five specific channels in the 60 meter band. Unlike most other allocations, these are restricted to phone emissions in upper sideband, with a maximum of 50 watts PEP. Recent HF rigs have enabled use of these channels by taking steps to ensure than an unsuspecting operator does not accidentally transmit elsewhere in the band, or with anything other than upper sideband. Yaesu did this in their FT-8x7ND rigs by pre-programming special channels into the memory and restricting transmission on 60 meters except while on one of those memories. Recently, the FCC changed the grant to loosen the restrictions a bit and replaced one of the channels with a different one to avoid interference. These new rules become effective in March 2012, but they leave existing (unmodified) radios with an outdated channel set.

In February 2012, CHIRP gained support for programming the Yaesu FT-8×7 family of radios, thanks to efforts by Marco IZ3GME. In examining the memory image of the current 60-meter-capable FT-817ND radio, it’s apparent that the new channels (which the -ND models added over the originals) are simply tacked onto the end. This means that CHIRP can modify this region, allowing the user to update channel M-603 with the newly-granted frequency.

To do this to your radio, you first need a suitably recent build of CHIRP, equal to or later than build 02112012, which you can obtain from the daily build repository. The following instructions are for the FT-817ND, the procedure with CHIRP is the same for the other radios.

Place your radio into clone mode by holding down the two mode keys on top of the display while powering on. Next, download an image of the radio, by going to Radio -> Download from Radio. Choose Yaesu, FT-817ND (US Version), the appropriate serial port, and then click OK. Once the clone progress dialog box appears, initiate the clone from the radio by pressing the A button below the display.

After the image download completes, you should see CHIRP’s tabular display of your radios memories. At the top, select “Special Channels” to display the M-60x memories:

Memory M-603 needs to change from 5.368MHz to 5.3585MHz (note these are center frequencies, not the normal dial/carrier frequencies you may be used to). Click in the frequency field for memory M-603 and make the change:

Hit enter to finish editing the frequency. Now you can upload the image back to the radio. Do this by going to Radio -> Upload to Radio. The serial port you used before should be in the box and the other settings are implied. Before you click OK, press the C button on the radio to prepare it to receive the image (assuming you left it on and in clone mode while making the frequency change). After the upload is complete, restart the radio and verify that memory channel M-603 has been updated.

Yaesu has reportedly announced that they do not intend to provide an official update to the radios, although it is unclear if newly-manufactured devices will have the updated channel data. Regardless, for the time being CHIRP is (as far as I know) the only way to “fix” your radio!

Category(s): Hardware, Radio
Tags: , , , ,

52 Responses to Update your FT-817, FT-857, or FT-897 with the new 60 meter channel

One Response in another blog/article

  1. […] very cool thing you can do is update your FT-817 to use the new 60-meter freqs.  I also put some local repeaters in there along with all the common calling freqs and some […]