Last week I logged online to HUK Electronics, after searching online for a quick-tune device for my Yaesu FT-857. I was looking for a device to allow me to tune on all HF bands, often how some hams use a tuning key. To my suprise I located the Quick-Tune Dongle produced by HUK Electronics, and the specs looked great!
In short -this device allows an operator the ability to tune any Yaesu FT 817, 857 & 897, using an AM carrier on 1/4 power (25 watts), or on PSK at full power (100 watts).
For me, the AM carrier tuning ability works best. To give you some background on my radio station setup, I use a Yaesu FT-857, that is tuned by an MFJ Intellituner Automatic Antenna Tuner Model 993b. The antenna I have is a 230 foot Center Fed Zepp, strung close to sixty feet in the air, and fed by close to 100 feet of 50 ohm ladder line. Obviously this antenna is not resinant on any certain frequency. My problem I found was that while tuning, my radio could not produce a carrier at 25 watts, and properly tune the antenna, without me having to switch modes, and access the menu to lower the output power. See, the MFJ automatic tuner I use gets a little upset when I run full power, or 100 watts, into it, and will not allow me to tune.
This Quick-Tune Dongle is an 8 pin mini din connection, that plugs into the rear of the radio, in the CAT port. Yes an operator will have to sacrifice the CAT port’s ability to control the radio via computer, but to me the trade-off is acceptable. I do A LOT of DX’ing, and switching from band-to-band, and even moving up and down the spectrum of a single band makes tuning a hassle.
Last week I ordered this Quick-Tune Dongle from G4HUk, an amateur radio operator in England. The cost of the dongle and shipping totaled $36.18 USD, not that expensive. Surprisingly the device arrived within seven days, air mailed from England.
Once I set the device up for tuning on AM at 25 watts, I plugged the device into the radio’s CAT port. It was unable to produce an AM carrier above 3 watts, causing the radio the inability to tune properly. After some investigating I found the problem, which was on my end.
BIG NOTE TO SELF TO REMEMBER IF YOU CANNOT PRODUCE AN AM CARRIER ON A YAESU FT-817, 857 & 897: If you go into the radio’s hidden menu, and change the AM Carrier level, you can control the amount of power output the radio will produce. Mine was set at 96, producing roughly 3 watts of power. I set this level to 120, which is an even 25 watts on my radio. Each radio is different, but remember the origional setting, in case you need to default back to the origional setting.
Side Note: I only recommend this tip if you have a knowledge of this radio, and what you are doing. If you access the secret menu and incorrectly set all the settings, you can cause irreputable damage to your radio. Click on the picture below for more information.
Here is what the menu information looks like for the AM Carrier:
Menu No.: 69
Name: AM CAR
Memory Addres (HEX): 4B
Description: This sets the level of the AM carier. This is typically set for a lower carrier level of 6db below that of the peak output power. Lower value = Lower Power.
After fixing these minor issues, which is not a major occurance for users, I tested my new device out. When using this device to tune a radio, double key and hold the PTT button. Example: Press/Release PTT – instantly Press/hold PPT. Doing this task automatically placed my radio into AM mode, dropped the power down to 25 watts, and my automatic antenna tuner instantly tuned the radio to 1.0 SWR, on virtually every amateur radio band.
You may view the YouTube video HUK Electronics produced, for more information on how this device operates.
To end, I highly recommend the Quick-Tune Dongle to any serious ham radio operator. It works flawless for me, and I am certain it will for other operators as well. I also recommend remembering this AM carrier setting in the hidden menu, should you find yourself, or another operator, having problems transmitting on AM.
Please feel free to share this post with other operators, and as always, contact me if you have any questions, comments, or additions to this blog.
73 to you and your family. God bless.
Andrew | N4AWL