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Old 18-01-2019, 22:03   #1
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Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

I'm hoping someone will be able to help me with our new HF radio, a Yaesu FT-450. We are leaving Thailand for Cochin, India in 4 days, and have been unable to connect to any MBO's using Airmail and a Pactor II-pro modem since we bought the radio. I have been in touch with other cruisers as well as Jim Corenman, but none have been able to help. We can see weather patterns before we leave, but will have no weather once on passage.

Any advice would be welcome.

73,
Angie
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Old 19-01-2019, 00:25   #2
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

Angie,
Sorry to read of your troubles...
While I can show you how to get weather (wefax and Voice Weather) broadcasts while underway for your passage (see below), I cannot specifically help with your Airmail/PACTOR/FT-450 issue...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NP2LS View Post
I'm hoping someone will be able to help me with our new HF radio, a Yaesu FT-450. We are leaving Thailand for Cochin, India in 4 days, and have been unable to connect to any MBO's using Airmail and a Pactor II-pro modem since we bought the radio. I have been in touch with other cruisers as well as Jim Corenman, but none have been able to help. We can see weather patterns before we leave, but will have no weather once on passage.

Any advice would be welcome.

73,
Angie
So...

1) So, be sure to download the worldwide WeFax schedule here:
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf

And, you'll see that while VMC and VMW out of Australia have only a few charts each day covering your passage (but should be all that you need), HSW64 out of Bangkok has a dozen charts transmitted throughout the day for the Indian Ocean Region, covering your passage very well...


2) Tune into VMC and VMW, as well as HSW64, and you should get WeFax charts fairly well along your passage...
VMC & VMW Radio Fax Schedule
http://www.bom.gov.au/marine/radio-s...al-guide.shtml
http://www.bom.gov.au/marine/radio-s...al-guide.shtml

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf


3) Also, remember that VMW (and VMC) broadcast SSB Voice Weather forecasts from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology...the Western High Seas broadcasts (and possibly the Northern High Seas broadcasts) should be helpful to you as well...

Schedules and Frequencies for HF Marine Radio Voice Services
HF Marine Radio Services


4) Remember these WeFax charts and Voice Weather broadcasts are prepared by experienced human meteorologists, using multiple models, ship reports, decades of knowledge, etc....as opposed to the raw computer model data from GRIB files...
Oh, and these are all transmitted for free, worldwide!!


5) If you are interested in some video demonstration of Offshore Weather and WeFax reception, have a look here...
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY



6) {FYI, I hear VMC on 12365 (and usually 8176), and VMW on 12362, here in Florida, sitting right at the dock....so, I know they're still on-the-air, and strong....but, I haven't tuned in their WeFax transmissions in a while....nor have I listened for HSW64....so, please have a listen for them all, while at anchor in a quiet location, at the prescribed broadcast times....before you head out on passage...}



Hope this helps...

Fair winds and 73,

John
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Old 19-01-2019, 01:50   #3
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

Hi John:

Thank you so much for all the helpful information. We have been cruising for over 20 years now and our old Kenwood TS50 radio never failed us for weather or e-mail until just recently, hence the purchase of the new radio, which is great for voice transmission and reception.

We do have time to check out the information you have forwarded and will check the both the voice and fax transmissions.

Once again, our sincere thanks,

73,

Angie
s/v TAO 8
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Old 19-01-2019, 01:55   #4
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

First things first: Is the airmail program keying the FT-450? Are you set to the correct frequency and set to upper side band? Is there another ham nearby that can listen to your transmitted signal to determine if you are transmitting properly? Is there a difference in the appearance of the LED signal indicator if the radio is on or off? In other words is your cable set up correctly for the FT-450?

The Pactor II pro is a pretty old modem. Did you ever have it working with any radio or seen it working? The cable that connects the modem to the radio is very radio specific. All of the connections must be correct. Again I have to ask in you have the right interface cable?

After that you need to use the propagation prediction program to choose a station that you are likely to connect to. Unfortunately we are in a very bad part of the sun spot cycle and HF communications is very difficult. You may have to try a different time of day or a different band. If you are using the common back stay antenna do you have a good SWR? If you are in a marina surrounded by other sailboats your ability to communicate may be hampered by both the other masts near by and RFI from local sources.

So, tell us more about the symptoms of your problem and maybe someone here can help you.
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Old 19-01-2019, 02:10   #5
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

We have spent a couple of months checking the radio with other cruisers nearby and our signal is strong. The airmail program is keying correctly and the frequency is correct. Right up until we bought this radio, everything was working fine with the Kenwood TS50. We've also checked cable and the tuner. Everything seems to be in A1 working order. We also have the propagation program and have tried connecting when other boats in the anchorage were doing e-mail successfully.
I have discovered at least 2 other cruisers with the Yaesu FT-450 radio that also can't connect, so I am assuming it is something in the airmail programming specific to the Yaesu model.
Jim did set us up with a courtesy Sailmail account to see if that would make a difference but it didn't.
Thankyou for your replay and input.

We still have half the world to navigate before we are done and are thinking of a sat nav phone to replace the radio, as it's great to get weather from voice or through fax, but it doesn't give us communication with our families.

Again, our sincerest thanks,

73,
Angie
s/v TAO 8
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Old 19-01-2019, 02:45   #6
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

You say the signal is strong but does it sound like a pactor II or pactor III signal? Are you hearing pactor signals from other boats nearby through the radio and do you have monitoring turned on in airmail? If you can listen to other boats communicating with a winlink RMS the monitor function should be able to decode some of it - the header information should be readable. I am still questioning if the audio out and in of your interface cable are right. You could be keying the radio but not sending a signal. If you are sending a signal there should be some indication of that.
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Old 19-01-2019, 03:36   #7
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

Our voice signal is strong and we can communicate with other cruisers. Also, the SWR meter shows a strong signal when I try to connect with airmail. We have never heard nearby boats. I have also tried to download the weatherfax just now and it looks like it's working.
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Old 19-01-2019, 13:58   #8
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

When you got the new radio, I assume you also got new cables for the modem to radio connection correct? Since they would be different than the Kenwood.

What does the airmail console show when you are attempting to connect? Can you post the log?

Recommended Airmail settings for FT450...

Modem Connection Baud Rate: 57600
Radio Type: Yaesu-450
Radio Connection Baud Rate: 4800
Audio Tones Center Freq: 1500
Freq Mode: USB
FSK: 130
PSK: 170
Tools > Options > Radio Connection - "RS232" should be UNchecked

By comparison the TS50 has lower recommended FSK/PSK, but since it doesn't have a control port, and the Yaesu does, maybe check those specific settings, like the radio type, baud rate, and the RS232 setting.
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Old 19-01-2019, 19:57   #9
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

I wonder if the FT-450 works basically the same way the FT-857 works. I had issues getting my 857 to work on digital modes. I had to purchase an external soundcard because my pc's sound port was not working correctly. Now, I understand you have PacTor II modem. I know nothing about that but the theory of operation should be somewhat the same.

My external soundcard uses connections to the back of the radio. One of the AUX ports. The external soundcard needed to have jumpers installed to match the inputs on on the radio. Different jumper settings for Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood, etc. Once I got the jumpers set I was sure I was done. Nope.

Next I had to program the radio for CAT. I had it setup for TUNER. Can't have both. Crap! So I have RF do the tuning for me, meaning, I had to set the power to 10watts or so and key the radio. Once tuned then there is no issues. However, now I just start the transmission and the RF from the radio keys the tuner. I usually use 25 watts for my digital stuff.

After all that, I then had to monitor the output via the ALC. If that is too low you will key the radio but the audio will not be high enough. Conversely if the gain on the PACTOR is too high, the audio will be distorted. So, when keying, have the radio monitor set for ALC, not SWR or Power Out. Adujst the output of the PacTor for the correct ALC level according to the manual. If you see NO ALC, you are not sending audio to the radio.

OK, once I figured all that out it eventually worked. But the key is there are some settings in the radio that will make it all work.

Hopefully this will click something for you to check. The TS50 is a great radio. I too used one but it died on me. It was replaced with a Icom IC-707. Very basic ham radio.

Now, the above is what was required for me to work out of my house. I have the 707 on the boat and I just move the external sound card and PC to the boat for my WINLINK stuff. I use WINMOR, not PACTOR. The theory should be the same.


If I have repeated something from above, my apologies.


Good luck.
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Old 20-01-2019, 20:23   #10
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

I downloaded all the recommended settings for the Yaesu FT-450 for the airmail setup and unchecked the RS232 box. I have been in touch with Pactor people for other differences from the Kenwood TS50.

I have someone coming over this afternoon to check my setup against his and help troubleshoot the problem.

He has informed that he has not been able to connect to anyone with his winlink airmail system while in S.E. Asia. Maybe that is just the problem after all.
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Old 21-01-2019, 17:12   #11
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

I spent yesterday upgrading drivers, the modem firmware and installing Winlink Express. I can easily receive weather faxes with Getfax and am now confident that once we get closer to a PMBO station, we will be able to do email as well. Our passage to india starts tomorrow and I want to thank everyone for their input with this issue.

76,
Angie
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Old 21-01-2019, 17:19   #12
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

Angie,
You're very welcome!
Good luck and fair winds on your passage!

If you could please let me know, are you getting WeFax from HSW64 out of Bangkok, and/or VMC / VMW??
Quote:
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I can easily receive weather faxes with Getfax
Thanks!!


Thanks again...
Fair winds..

John
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Old 22-01-2019, 03:40   #13
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

Hi John:

We are getting the weather faxes from HSW64 out of Bangkok and they are amazingly clear.
I emailed the meteorological department in Mumbai to see if they do weather fax, but they are encripted and for government use only.
thanks for your good wishes.

73,
Angie,
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Old 22-01-2019, 04:49   #14
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Re: Yaesu FT-450 HF Radio

If, as you said in post 5, other nearby boats are successfully using winlink and you cannot, something is wrong. Your geographic location as not the reason if your neighbors can connect.

Perhaps it is the impedance of the audio or maybe an incorrect cable but something must be wrong.

Are you using the pactor modem to receive the analog wefax transmission or some other demodulator?

It is good that you can receive the wefax but that still leaves a big hole in your communications.

I hope you will still be able to solve this. Bon Voyage.
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