FT-857D SSB and CW. ALC clipping/cutting power back on 40m, low power on 40m. Service-menu fix

•June 3, 2017 • 2 Comments

Problem 1: ALC cutting back on 40m.  Initial tests seemed OK after reset. ALC aggressive on 40M with intermittent power clipping / foldback.   ALC display showed sharp spikes. When not clipping – good power reported at distant end of the AM net.  Status:  Fixed ( reset menu 51 and 52)-
Problem 2:  Limited power – but only on 40m.  (Status: fixed with menu 28 set to 155)

To fix the problems, three service menu values resets were needed.  I used trial and error  while making notes to ensure I could return to a baseline state.     It is to be expected that the values I worked out for my radio may not necessarily work on another FT-857D.

Service Menu
To get to the service menu, hold down three buttons [A][B][C] and power on. To save changes, press  the [FUNCTION] key.  Power off to abandon changes.


July 2017 Baseline Setting
Revised Feb 2018

Mic Gain (menu 81) 50-100 
Power 100 w
Menu 28 155 170 (fixes symptom of 4+bar ALC and reduced power)
Menu 51 203
Menu 52 85

7/17 0938 – Correct Operation  Indications

7.195 cw transmit is 100W (alc 4 bars). Same test on 20m with identical power/alc readings key down.  Below – correct indication for ALC and PWR with the key down.




Below raw notes

Log  3 jun – 17 july 2017
Problems started 3 June17.  The FT-857D reset and lost menu settings including the service menu settings.  Probably occurred during mobile operation on HF and circumstance point to RF feeding back to the radio .  The standard menu was restored with Chirp, and Service Menu settings 51 and 52 were restored to known good values from previous experience.

The July 2017 baseline setting is working and stable  on 20m, 40m and 80m and produces good power without ALC clipping on SSB and CW.  CW was also affected by apparent ALC clipping .  CW also produces full power key down and so can be used for power / ALC testing.

(Unrelated side issue: I noticed at some point the radio would not power up to the service menu — if this happens try to put the radio into a normal or standard operating state for SSB and then follow the standard procedure to enter the service menu.  Sorry don’t remember what caused this.)

A month later two problems occurred during portable operations in Waimea on the Big Island 7/3/17:

Portable Working Conditions  
Waimea,  Island of Hawaii.
Yaesu FT857-D
Antenna: 120 foot doublet up 12′-28′-12′ (N-S)
450R ladder line
4:1 current balun
RG8 to LDG YT-100 tuner
MFJ 4125-P power supply
RTSystems USB to serial converter
Sabrent USB to spkr/mic converter.

3 jun17 – In the last couple of days, the ft-857 mobile lost its programmed memories.  I also checked the ALC, key down, no modulation and get 3 bars of ALC.  From past experience, the drill now is to restore user memory with Chirp from backup, and reset ALC parameters in the Service Menu.

Operating Conditions: Mobile Operating: Yaesu FT-857D, LDG YT-100, vertical center loaded antennas,  direct DC connect to battery + and chassis negative


4 June 17

  • Reflashed the user memories with Chirp from a backup  “.img” file.
  • Accessed the service menu ([power off].  hold  [A] [B] [C]  [power-on] )  . Reset menu items 51 and 52 to correct values for this radio:
    • 51  193
    • 52   85
    • press [FUNC] to save
  • tested on 40m with kh6fhi

Note 1: win10 desktop and macbook are able to run Chirp, and both computers/os have the RT-systems driver for the RT-systems USB-62 programming/cat cable.

Note 2: This procedure can be done in place with the macbook in the future.

Note 3: Don’t know why this happens, or how often but suspect transmitting activity

Note 4: The transmitter power on SSB at 40M seemeds low.  Service Menu change.

  • Changed Service Menu parameter 28 (7mhz)  to 200 from default 168.  Test with dummy load. Used LSB mode instead of CW and a harmonica note for modulation to get 70W (200 new val)  reading on the Bird external power meter.  The default setting of 168 produced 50W on 40M.
  • Power is very difficult thing to asses subjectively since 3dB is only 1/2 S unit and this adjustment is something on that order.   A remote signal strength meter is probably a better way to go.  And maybe it doesn’t matter that much!

6 Jun 2017  (Aiea):  Aloha Net 7.188  — apparently getting out OK at 100W to the usual stations and no comments about distortion. Apparently good to go on 40m sideband at least.


12 July (Waimea, Big Island) – Intermittent problem with power limiting at 3 bars.

13 July 17 – [40m  ssb and cw.  NOT 20m and 80m] Portable ops in Waimea and the problem is back – so far ONLY on 40 m.  With menus 51 and 52 set at 193 85 the problem is most pronounced at 100W power, and less so at 50W.   The power pegs at 3 bars.  Different settings of 51 and 52 do not help.

Menu 28 160
Menu 51 193
Menu 52 85

Explored menu 28 (H2-PO-MAX) was to 200 – poor result apparently (notes sketchy).
Menu 28 to 160Power 100.  Mic Gain 100.   MIC GAIN affects power – the fact that it has to be so hot needs to be looked into but previous forays did not turn up an appropriate parameter.   The ALC no longer is spiking and making better power.  CW also does not spike ALC.


14jul 0900 –40m  SSB- makes power, no ALC spikes, no fold back.
20m OK full cw power
20M normal operation for SSB voice and JT65
CW ALC shows four bars.
CW Power on 40m :  5 bars  << this is indicative of degraded power.


Menu 28 155  <<  test 14jul 0900 — much better on 40m – make power no fold back
Menu 51 203
Menu 52 85
Mike Gain 50
Power 100

JT65 – power max at about 4 bars with 1 bar ALC.  Made contacts – so reliable transmission. uncertain if audio input to power out is normal.  Radio was set to DIG mode

Discussion experiments –

The mike gain is still 100.  Try change menu 51 to 203 – a default setting. The idea is to restore linearity to the mike gain and modulation situation, instead of it being pegged at 100.  The previous issue was inadequate modulation and power with the mike gain lower.  At 1700 these settings are working for both SSB and CW

Menu 28 160  << ALC still spikes / folds back
Menu 28 156  <<  test 14jul 0900 — much better on 40m – make power no fold back
Menu 51 203  (change)
Menu 52 85

7/16 – With bad band conditions, steve wh7tw could hear me but I couldn’t hear him well.  40m CW sounded “strange”. We could easily communicate on 20M SSB

7/17 0830 Mon Problem: still not making full power on 40m.   Apprently full power on 20M.  Testing with menu 28 settings shows little change when setting is moved incrementally from 155 to 165.  Restore to 155 and return to 14jul baseline.
7/17 0845 – chatting FHI sent me S8/S9 —
In spite of impaired power, we had comms on 40m 7/17 until the band went dead at 1911z. Later discovered mic gain at 100 – so we leave it there.
CW power on 40 – surprised to see 100W 9 bars ( 2 bars over the line)

7/17 testing did not seem to fix an issue with 40m power but later testing shows restoration of 40m power.  Confusion.
Suspect instability may play a role in a temporary apparent fix which would lead to recurrence.

wsjt-x 1.7.0

•April 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment


WSJT-XSettings (configured 29nov16)

  1. select Rig (Kenwood ts-590sg)
  2. CAT: COM3, 9600, 8 bits, One Stop, Handshake: Hardware, Force DTR HIGH
  3. PTT: CAT
  4. Transmit Audio: REAR/DATA
  5. MODE : USB
  6. SPLIT RIG : nothing

See C:\Users\Peter\Documents\2Projects\0.11 Ham Radio Projects\WSJT-X WSPR


Use com3,  not usb.

Version 10 is a significant update.  It does not have a Rig select and the port configuration is a bit more cryptic than the earlier version.

TS590SG DSP and TX Eq settings

•March 28, 2017 • Leave a Comment

28mar17 : just for record keeping purposes:

TX FILTER SSB LOW CUT at 400 hz.  All other DSP settings are at default.
TX Eq (menu 36) at setting C(Conventional) which is described in the manual as a 3dB emphasis at frequencies > 600hz.

60m swl possibilities

•March 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

3/18/17 SAT 1940Z
{on a very bad 40m NVIS day – qso with warren kh6bb}

5.3715 USB – could actually copy most stations on a very bad nvis day  – including kh6fhi and pascal

mfj1026- pre in, frq high, phase normal,  aux gain, phase, main gain:  .9 / 8.5 / 3.0
Tuner 901B    tweak antenna for loudest  sig

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•March 9, 2017 • Enter your password to view comments.

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wire on the ground

•February 3, 2017 • 2 Comments

2/3/17 I just layed out  65 feet or so of antenna wire on the ground under the doublet as an experiment.  It’s not a counterpoise, just a conductor of about the same length as the antenna.  Just curious if I will notice anything.

I don’t see any change in daylight receive, but the only signal is 5 mhz wwv.

2/14/17 after a few days…  if anything the wire may have actually reduced my transmit signal by a few dB according to some – e.g. kh6hi.  From a receive standpoint, there is no improvement.

2/14 : removed the wire

Whether some kind of artificial ground may help the station is another question.  A long wire on the ground did not do anything for the existing 40m doublet.

Extra Class Study to kh6dk/AE

•February 3, 2017 • Leave a Comment

2/5/14 +-  Notes on the extra class  study. Decided to do the extra class exam now and take the exam at the next EARC meeting.

Started study for the Extra Class license.

  1. minimize the work factor for passing the exam by focusing on what I don’t know.
  2. exam based study to focus on the exam produces the list of questions I don’t know out of the total 713.
  3. study the correct answers only.  occasionally other questions might actually provide mnemonic hints and confidence builders to strengthen the correct answer
  4. Identify the study material and sources:  I got most of my source material from the arrl web site.  I will make these available to anybody who wants them – this stuff is in the public domain – there is no copywrite or ownership.
  5. Take notes to burn in the information:  I’m a Unix programmer so I created a very simple note-taking and review “system”.  files:
    1. extrapool.txt  — the text of the entire pool that is amenable to grep and search
    2. missed — a text file of list of exam questions that I update after a test or review. this is a list of questions I’ve missed – just a text file question numbers like e5a09
    3. mkpractice – this is a bash script that reads a list of missed questions, ususally taken from “missed”  and creates a short quiz file “practice.txt” from extrapool text with only those questions.  This allows focus where I’m weak.  mkpractice also creates “key.txt” … which is the answer key of the practice test.
  6. Bring a calculator to get the EASY math / power factor/ cos /  gain /

Online Practice Exams Sources:

  1. ARRL traditional test test  http://arrlexamreview.appspot.com/exam  
  2. traditional test format: http://aa9pw.com
  3. QRZ practice exams 1 q at a time, immediate feedback:  https://www.qrz.com/hamtest/

QRZ in particular complements  the ARRL exams and provides instant feedback (why not) for each question.  Stores exam history so you can monitor progress.  Do 40 or 50 and you will progress.

Other Sources : various, but we’re using the Third Public Release March 5, 2016. Number of questions that I’ve counted : N = 710.

I have Jack Tiley AD7F0’s syllabus based on the Third Release March 2016.  It’s available on the ARRL site and on his club site. This is a great resource because it has only the right answers.  The other questions are  called “distractors” and it’s a good idea to study the questions without them.  Sometimes though the distractors can be used to help memory in terms of what the wrong answer is.


Here is a great document  – Extra Class Pool – 2016 to 2020 Final-Tracking-for web- 26 Feb 2016.xls  that I obtained on the ARRL website.   It’s an excel spreadsheet with every question, and best of all, a straightforward discussion of the question which is truly helpful and authoritative and provides a column called “Explanation Text” which provides information and more important,  context that explains why the question is relevant to Ham Radio.   I’ve seen a few study guides but I’ve never seen this.  It also provides a question by question cross reference to the 2016 test.

Some of the questions in the Extra Class Pool are actually brilliant and you go – hey – that’s the best definition I’ve heard yet…”   what were they – ha I forget!

I put together an extrapool text file from the 2016 ExtraClassPool2ndErrata.doc on an rPi so I can use the shell for text manipulation, greps, etc.

At starting time T = 0,  I would pass about 50% of the time without studying which are not great odds but it also means that I’d have to study to have a reasonable chance of passing on the first try.

There are crazy questions that require memorization of  equations to be able to solve.    For these, the last thing I do is going to try the math approach… meaning that once we nail down the 80% of the questions we need to pass, then we’ll work on the really hard ones if necessary or if we feel motivated.

Here are major memorization clues and keywords.

  1. Q:  parallel -> resistance ÷  cap or ind reactance    get parallel you get serial
    1. serial is opposite parallel .. ie.  reactance  ÷ resistance 
  2. susceptance symbol  B   — the first letter you come to is the symbol
  3. 1/2 λ transmission line open  is HIGH   impedance
    1. 1/4 λ  is opposite of
    2. 1/8 λ   open is capacitive  short inductive (short loop)
  4. BW =  shift freq + baud rate  (actually 1.2 * shift, but 1 is close enough)
  5. Half Power Bandwidth  —  divide  freq/Q
    E5A11  What is the half-power bandwidth of a parallel resonant circuit that has a resonant frequency of 7.1 MHz and a Q of 150?  47.3 kH       calculator! (7100/150)
  6. gain computation is  R / R
  7. S diagram  —  ONLY  S11 and S21  apply:   S11 (eleven)  -> SWR
  8. S diagram  — S21 -> forward gain (21 is more forward than 11 )
  9. E7-4      RF/R1  == gain    use the calc to confirm  the gain directly
  10. E5-2     R ohms selects the X axis.    capacitance is negative    inductors are positive
    1. micro   .65  is > micro   .000000640  making net reactance inductive
    2. 85 pico                      .000000085-
  11. FET  P arrow point out // N arrow points in   (opposite of transistors)
  12. two 1/4λ  verticals  – lobe orientation
    1. 180°   figure 8 along axis
    2. 0°    broadside to axis
    3. 90°  cardioid
  13. 7.12 MHZ  not KHZ
  14. 14°  in all voltage LAGS current with one exception
    1. voltage LAGS current in the other examples  e.g. E5B07
    2. except for the:  25Ω/50Ω (where volt leads current)
  15. rectangular coordinates : ohms puts you in position on X axis, then
    1. capacitance is negative
    2. inductance is positive
    3. mili is greater than micro for net inductance
  16. 220 microfarad 220 seconds    — 
  17. power factor is cos angle
  18. ELI the ICE man
    1. in an inductor L  e (voltage) leads I (current)
    2. in a capacitor C  I (current) leads e (voltage)



E5B07 (C) What is the phase angle between the voltage across and the current through a series RLC circuit if XC is 500 ohms, R is 1 kilohm, and XL is 250 ohms? 14.0 degrees with the voltage lagging the current


E5A   tells
09 Q parallel resistance
10 Q series reactance
14 22 50 40   3.56 mhz
      16    7.12 MHZ     not KHZ!     <<use the other questions
E5B  — you can afford to give this one away
04     220 microfarad   caps  and answer   220 seconds
07   -14 voltage lagging current
08   -14 deg voltalge lagging current
11     +14 deg voltaeg

E5C  rectangular coordinates  (see #9)

Major hint:  The fixed resistance tells you your X value.  Now you need to guess the Y value.

 E5C09 When using rectangular coordinates to graph the impedance of a circuit, what does the horizontal axis represent?  Resistive component

The majority though, are like this one… vaguely familiar, unnecessary unless you’re really getting dirty, which I do on occasion, but really  …  read these fifty times in a context where the brain is really locking in concepts and we’ll retain long enough to pass the exam, and then we’ll never see the question again.

E5D06 (D) In what direction is the magnetic field oriented about a conductor in relation to the direction of electron flow?      In a direction determined by the left-hand rule

E5D12 (B) How many watts are consumed in a circuit having a power factor of 0.2 if the input is 100-VAC at 4 amperes?  80 watts

The power factor questions are easy once you realize you can multiply nominal power times the power factor to get the answer.

E5D13 (B)  How much power is consumed in a circuit consisting of a 100 ohm resistor in series with a 100 ohm inductive reactance drawing 1 ampere?   100 W  

This one has an unusual 100W to 100Ω hint in it.  The calculation is unproductive work factor.

2/5/17 — after test #8 or so we’re passing above 80% – we may not be getting enough randomization so the sampling may not be an accurate predictor of the real thing yet.  I’ll feel more confident when we get up to 20 tests and I pass them all.  We’re just memorizing the right answers by routine and repetition.

2/14/17 — I’ve now done about 50 practices and seen all 713 questions.  I can get 100% on a random test and test consistently in the 80’s and 90’s.  Now we’re in a position to go for the  the crazy ones.   It’s important not to remember the easy ones – so a review is in order.  Take more practice tests.  The ARRL system seems to reduce the pool over time to the ones you have trouble with, but what about the ones you got lucky on in the beginning?  I want a reality check on what I assume I don’t need to study. So the last week of study focusses on this.  I’m in a pretty strong position now, so we are now aiming to ace the test, realizing that we’ll still have to get lucky

2/21/17 KH6DK/AE   or “interim AE”.   Took the test 50 for 50 — I aced the exam.  From the crazy list: #1,#12,#16, #17.   I used the calculator once to get the cosine of 45°.  I had found mnemonics / memory tricks on all the crazy questions – and this only to avoid the aggravation of giving away a question. This is a sign of o.c.d. I understand that, but part of life is to accept who you are, no?

I guess until the license appears in QRZ or on the FCC page, if I exercise extra class privilege we’re supposed to sign with KH6DK/AE

See 47 CFR 97.119 Station Identification.
(f) When the control operator is a person who is exercising the rights and privileges authorized by §97.9(b) of this part, an indicator must be included after the call sign as follows:

(1) For a control operator who has requested a license modification from Novice Class to Technical Class: KT;

(2) For a control operator who has requested a license modification from Novice, Technician, or Technician Plus Class to General Class: AG;

(3) For a control operator who has requested a license modification from Novice, Technician, Technician Plus, General, or Advanced Class or Amateur Extra Class: AE.

And § 97.9   Operator license grant.
b) The person named in an operator license grant of Novice, Technician, Technician Plus, General or Advanced Class, who has properly submitted to the administering VEs a FCC Form 605 document requesting examination for an operator license grant of a higher class, and who holds a CSCE indicating that the person has completed the necessary examinations within the previous 365 days, is authorized to exercise the rights and privileges of the higher operator class until final disposition of the application or until 365 days following the passing of the examination, whichever comes first.

// ————————————–
mkpractice bash program
// ————————————–
# uses a text file containing a  list of missed questions which you create
# from this file, lookup the questions from the extrapool.txt file
# and make a practice exam file “pracitce.txt”
# and while we’re at it, make a “key.txt” file
# 6 Feb 2017
# P.Matsunaga kh6dk

# pass in the name of the file with the question list on the argv


# the other files products

# make list of missed questions
# get the question ids from missed file, sort, then make UC

cat $missed | grep ^e | cut -d ‘ ‘ -f 1 | sort | tr ‘[a-z]’ ‘[A-Z]’ > $qlist

#get the questions by lookup from extrapool.txt file so you have a practice exam
# get rid of the answer (A)(B)(C)(D)

# delete the contents of practice file and answer key with the current date
date > $practice_file
date > $answer_key
# read the question list qlist, lookup the question, and write out the Q to the practice_file
# make a key while we’re at it
while read -r q
printf “\n” >> $practice_file
grep -A 5 $q $pool | sed s/\(.\)// >> $practice_file
grep $q $pool >> $answer_key
done < $qlist