Month: January 2015

Batteries for QRP radio

Batteries for QRP radio

Batteries and Power for Yaesu FT 817 and Other QRP radio

Internal Battery
If you have Yaesu FT 817 – You will have inside a standard 1400mAh NiMH battery pack.
I recommend you this nice accessory.

In this container 8x AA batteries could be fitted in (Not-rechargeable) – (but you can always do the mod to allow this).
I found this accessory crucial and very easy to carry with you. On the net you can buy 8x Eneloop 2750 mAh and your battery pack is ready! (less than 30$).

You can also buy the W4RT’s “One-Plug Power” 9.6v 2700mAh NiMH battery pack :  thermal and over current protection, external charging option.

Rechargeable Lead-Acid Battery
These batteries for QRP are great and cheap! They are the best you can have when you go portable but.. you will need at least a 12v @ 7Amp lead-acid battery.  They are definitely not the lightest of the options.  It will be around 4 kg. Not for a backpacker. It’s only if you go by car somewhere… Not for a bike,  or if you climb somewhere ! oh no!

Solar Panel?
First of all remember you must limit the output of the solar panel(s) for our QRP Radios: no more than 16 Volts ! Ideally 13.8 V otherwise you can damage your radio.  You may buy a charge controller on eBay (max 20 $).

The best solar panel is made by PowerFilmFlexible, rollable, water proof, and very light.  I did some test on their model “powerfilm 20 Watt” Foldable Solar Charger (F15 – 1200) is the middle ground of the Foldable Solar chargers and weighs just under 1 lb. It produces 1.4 Amps at 15.4 Volts and folds up into a 10.5 in. x 6.5 in. rectangle.See photo below.  Perfect I would say. Problem? Its cost! 🙂 190 euro! (240$).

$_57

Lipo batteries 

Finally we talk about my favorite battery : a simply LI-PO (Lithium polymer) battery. I am a RC model fan with many different helicopter / planes and I every day use / charge / discharge several lip battery. You can have a 3000 mAh or 3200 mAh 13.2 Volts for just 20$ delivered at yours. Check on the best site hobby king.com

You may just do a nice connector for your QRP radio (Yaesu FT 817 – ICOM 703 or Elecraft KX3) and let’s game started!
It’s definitely cheapest, easiest, and lightest solution!

It’s the WINNER!!!

Some of us (QRPer) did this. If you find the same LIPO (Vtec 2200 mAh) buy it!! It fits directly into your Yaesu!

Amplifier for Yaesu FT 817 QRP

Amplifier for Yaesu FT 817 QRP

Amplifier for Yaesu FT 817 QRP

Hi everybody!
Because of some ham radio operators are getting bored of the yaesu ft 817 output power of “only” 5 watts… there are several kit to buy to assure 50 watts or 100 watts. Maybe, when the propagation isn’t so great, having of this tool could be interesting. Here we are doing a quick review on which is the best amplifier / linear for Yaesu FT 817

I know there are some nice HAM linears available but they either are to big, to expensive or both! The Tokyo HighPower HL-45B is one of those and I do also like the RM HLA 150 linear from Italy.

There is also a chinese one. Click down here Here to have more on this product. 

Schermata 2015-01-24 alle 21.12.52120 euro, spedition cost included from China.

I have used this chinese amplifier for 1 week and to be fair with you it works very well. Reliable and quite efficient. Inside it seems a perfect tcopy of the RM HLA. Cloned maybe? It has all the band filters built in and give a pretty clean signal for this type of amplifier.
RF input:  1 – 2 – 5 watts
RF Output: 45 watts
Weight is about 510 grams and it is very tiny.  Cooling is passive.
I think it sounds as perfect match for our yeasu ft 817 ND.

KL300 P (by RM italy)

KL300P (by RM Italy) is my favorite product.  It’s very stable, solid as rock and seems indestructible. Little bit expensive:
Its cost is 110 euro plus spedition.
IN : 1 – 2 – 5 watts (SSB / CW)
OUT : 300 watts.
Weight: 610 grams.

Please note that this linear is not allowed in the USA but in most other countries it is. In europe you’re allowed to use any equipment if you have a HAM license as long as you keep to the rules of your license. I have a full HAREC license (comparable to the Extra license in the USA) so I’m allowed to use any and all HAM radio equipment.

Tokyo High Power (THP) HL 50b

The Tokyo HighPower (THP) linear in comparison costs 630 euro (925 USD) and will give you 45 watts.
Weight: 1.6 kg
Current drain:
8.5 Amp.

QRP radio: For every linear / amplifier you select, please think about is that the linear works with a SWR of maximum 1:1.5.  This means you should have a good antenna and / or a good tuner to get the SWR as low as possible. Click down here to see a nice video on these QRP AMPLIFIER kits

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Best QRP antenna – Our survey

Best QRP antenna – Our survey

Hello every body.

Few weeks ago we asked in our forumWhich is the best QRP antenna for our rig such as Yaesu Ft 817?

Schermata 2015-01-17 alle 19.30.09

It seems that the END FED antenna is definitely the best antenna you can have on the market.
It is easy to deploy, in any configuration, easy to transport (less than 10 cm of space and less than 50 gr). No need of Auto Tuner. Click down here on the arrow to have see our review on end fed antenna (LNR precision – trail friendly 40/20/10 meters band)

It’s the end fed antenna Ultimax vs End fed antenna Trail Friendly by LNR precision?
What about G5RV filare antenna, or the MP1 superantenna for our QRP ?
Do you know also the Buddystick or Buddipole antenna? Yes! They are great …but also expensive.
Why spend more if you can have have better results with cheaper hand made antenna?

Which is the best ANTENNA for QRP? this is a great survey!

Wanna say yours? Please partecipate at the topic.

If you would like indeed to see a review on END FED ANTENNA Trail friendly 10/20/40 mt LNR precision please click down on the arrow!

73 de IZ0JOJ.

Yaesu FT 817 vs Yaesu FT 857 in portable operation

Yaesu FT 817 vs Yaesu FT 857 in portable operation

Yaesu Ft 817 vs Yaesu FT 857 in portable operation

Let’s start saying that FT-817 is a true QRP rig while the 857D has up to 100 watts out.

Yaesu FT 817 vs Yaesu FT 857 in portable operation

Yaesu Ft 817 vs Yaesu FT 857 in portable operation – which one needs more power?

The real advantage of the FT-817 is it’s very low current draw when it’s not transmitting. The FT-817ND draws 0.25 amp squelched and 0.45 amp when receiving. Compare that to the FT-857D, which draws 0.5 amp squelched and 1 amp when receiving. That means that the QRP rig will last twice as long on the same battery. That’s a pretty significant increase when depending on a battery for operation.

Yaesu Ft 817 vs Yaesu FT 857 in portable operation – What about the digital processing?

The FT 817 ND does not have DSP. Many times happens with my FT 817 ND that I could not get through the noise to make a contact.  The FT 857 has a DSP. Click down here on the arrow to watch video that compare FT 817 and FT 857.

Transmission: The yaesu FT 857 has obviously more RF power than the 817.  But you can easily hold the transmit down to 5 watts (yes, the power is fully variable) and use headphones and it is a good QRP rig with many more features than the 817, but of course it is heavier, not unreasonably so since you can push it to 100 watts if needed to make a contact.

In conclusion
Yaesu FT 817 vs Yaesu FT 857 in portable operation are both winners. Both rigs will work well from a sealed lead-acid battery (SLAB) and a 7 ampere-hour slab will give you about 90 minutes operation at full power SSB. This is plenty for a typical Summits On The Air (SOTA) operation. A 12 Ah SLAB will give you about 2.5 hours but it weighs twice as much. Click down here on the arrow to watch video that compare FT 817 and FT 857.

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Yaesu FT 817 Modifications – Tips and hints

Yaesu FT 817 Modifications – Tips and hints

There are many ham radio modifications for our Yaesu FT 817 ND available on internet.

BATTERY life
One of the problems with the Ft 817 is the  poor battery life, particularly using the normal NiMH pack with 1,400mAH capacity that YAESU provide. One solution is offered by VK3YY. He proposed to use a Lithium Polymer battery . Hobbyking have this lipo battery that is a good fit inside the FT-817.  The pack is a bit narrower than the original NiMh pack and about 50 grams lighter at 150 grams.  The capacity at 2500mAh is significantly more than the original pack.  The price is around 20 $ plus postage. (See photo – perfectly fit inside!)

FT817 PA Failure

It seems that I am not the only radio amateur to have the PA on my FT817R fail without warning or provocation. It seems that the older FT817R’s were prone to sudden PA failure and that this may be linked to a problem with self-oscillation of the power amplifier stage resulting in its destruction. The PA is driven hard on 2 metres and 70cm as the gain of the devices is lower. This might not help much either, in terms of PA life. Click down here for the video-link.

When the PA is replaced, there is apparently a Yeasu factory modification that is done to the final stage PA circuitry to improve reliability.

cropped-ft818-e1407095442414.jpg

RN3AUQ write us another modification about
” How to improve FT 817 receiver “

The source of receiver noise is 2nd IF amp which is placed after the 455kHz IF filters. So, you can replace R1339 10k by 1k resistor and this will reduce total 2nd IF gain. To restore transceivers sensitivity you should boost 2nd IF local 455kHz oscillator. It can be done after replacing R1195 220k by 100k resistor and R1196 2k2 by 1k resistor. After the mod check your receiver sensitivity with RF generator and fine tune it in service menu (press A, B, C and switch power ON) items HF1RX, HF2RX, HF3RX e.t.c

” How to get 10 watts output from Yaesu ft 817 nd “

This procedure here will increase power to 10 watts on HF bands only, but ensures that the DC Over-current protection will reduce power into abnormal loads that the SWR detector cannot detect. SWR bridges are a only a compromise at detecting reflected power — that’s why Yaesu went to the effort of building in DC Over-current protection as well as high-SWR protection.  Here is the recommended procedure, you will need a Dummy Load and a Wattmeter or RF Voltmeter. Make a note of your original calibration settings so you can go back to the standard setting later — the easiest way to do this is to use FT817 Commander freeware. It is also easy to accidentally change a value by bumping the Dial knob, and you need to be able to get back to the original setting.  If you have a Key connected, set the VFO to CW on 1.8, 7 and 21 MHz bands — if you don’t have a Key, then set them to PKT and you will be able to get full carrier using Mic PTT but with no modulation going out.

Turn the radio off. Press and hold the three A, B, C buttons and press the PWR button. To change to a different Menu item turn the small SEL knob. To change the value of the item, turn the large Dial knob. Be careful not to bump the Dial knob so you don’t accidentally change settings..

1. Increase HF1-IC to 150.
2. Increase HF1-HI for an output of 14 watts – you will need at least 12 volts input.
3. Decrease HF1-IC until you get 12 watts output
4. Now set HF1-HI for 10 watts output.
5. Repeat for HF2 and HF3
You could also change HF1-L3 to 5 watts to save battery drain when 10 watts isn’t needed.
If you are using an RF Voltmeter the readings are 0.5W=5v 1W=7v 2.5W=11v 5W=16v 10W=22v 12W=24v 14=26v.
To avoid de-calibrating the Voltmeter, set your supply to 13.8 volts — otherwise if you just flick over the DC volts position (Item 17 – VCC) you will recalibrate it. To save these changed settings, hold the F button for two seconds when finished.
Click below on the arrow to go to the best link we can suggest: All the mods, modifications for our QRP radio world are here…

mods.dk website!

VU3SXN QRP vertical buddy stick

VU3SXN QRP vertical buddy stick

VU3SXN presented on our forum his antenna:

Home mande QRP vertical buddy stick type foldable antenna capable up to 80 watts

I always wanted an antenna for my qrp ft-817nd ,which can be used anywhere in any situation, and which can be carried with us anywhere, i present a small wonder whip foldable antenna made up of 5to 7 elements which can be removed when the antenna is not in use and when required can be connected to one another for the erected vertical element , the vertical element is approx 4.5m in length or approx 14 feet.

The antenna can be tuned for minimum vswr by choosing the multiple inductive tapping in the end of the antenna, they are approx 20 turns tapped at every 2 turns, 10 taps in total, connect the patch cord at the tap which gives the maximum noise and that’s it,you are tuned for the minimum swr on that hf band.

The vertical element is recycled from an old army antenna allmost 35 years old but still rock solid, you can find a lot of these on ebay.com,

I got it from a local market recycle shop for 2$, then the pvc pipe is used for making the vertical stand , it also costed approx 3$, the bill of materials never never raised up from 10 american dollars.

Its definately a great bang for the buck.

A good vertical tuner can also be used in this antenna.”

 

I Built it here in Italy. I spent 23 euros. Great deal.
It is a decent portable QRP antenna. I recommend all of you to build one.

73 de IZ0JOJ