Having two radios, two SignaLinks and multiple computers I figured why not spread a little… so here’s 4m FT8 from the FT450D and transverter plus 2m FT8 from the FT817. Well, it would be rude not to use both together…
Mind you, the poor old i7 MacBook Pro does seem to have a whinge if I dare do something else at the same time – it seems to temporarily forget the USB and gives a rig control error. On the other hand it is quite convenient to have the Mac set up as now because it is always on and I can very quickly get onto 2m FT8 (or indeed 70cm FT8 but my best QSO so far has been all of 7km!)
In preparation for me receiving a full callsign (having just passed the full licence exam – yay!) I wanted to get the FT450D ready for 60m. Out of the box it comes with several pre-set frequencies that do not cover the available band slots and so the only recourse is to perform the MARS modification to the radio (aka ‘widebanding’). I uploaded the latest firmware first (v 244). Note that the firmware upload resets all the various settings so in my case I had to wind the power back down, set the CAT baud rate, and set the data type (‘D Type’) to USB.
I found two different sets of instructions on the Web, one referring to jumper JP4002 but another had a different number. However, one page had photos as well which tied in with what I could see. The instructions there are clear and are what I followed, the URL is https://radioamateur.us/ft-450d-mars-mod/
Following those instructions I took photos of each stage and have added a few notes below. Note that you do any modifications at your own risk and very probably voiding any warranty – I believe Yaesu will carry this modification out for you but this is just from what I ave read on the Web which may well be fake news!
The top and bottom cover need to be removed because you need to remove the front panel and this is held by the case screws. Each has 8 screws, 4 at the sides and 4 on top (or bottom). Note that the speaker is on the top cover and attached by a lead and plug to the front panel.
It was at this point that I got rid of the fluff which was everywhere!
The front panel is removed by easing off the 4 tabs that clip to the screw holes that can be seen at the bottom of each photo above. However, there is a ribbon cable that needs to be carefully removed – I found that it pulls out of the socket relatively easily (and went back similarly so). The socket can be seen on the right of the photo below.
There is a screen that needs to be removed in order to access the control board – this is in the radio and accessible after the front panel is removed. 6 screws hold it in place and I used a magnetised screwdriver here so as not to lose the things.
The photo above shows the control board. The front panel ribbon cable is to the left. The jumpers of interest are to the right of the largest chip. In my case the jumpers are all 0 ohm SMD resistors.
The instructions are to remove jumper JP4002. However, the labels do not actually seem to be next to the jumpers but given the photo on the other website I removed the same one, as seen above. https://radioamateur.us/ft-450d-mars-mod/ has a very helpful photo with tweezers pointing at the right one.
It was then just a matter of putting it all back together, remembering to carefully push the ribbon cable back into the front panel, and carefully easing the tab back into place to hold the panel to the body. Oh yes and not forgetting the speaker lead!
The next step requires some dexterity. One needs to press the IPO/ATT, NB and AGC buttons together and keep them pressed while turning the radio on. My method was rather crude, holding the radio with my left hand thumb above the power button, pressing each of the three buttons above making sure each clicked, then turning on with my thumb. The radio powered up and displayed SMADJO. Note that the photos below are each what happened in my case and I have no way to know if other radios show something different.
Next, you rotate the DSP/SEL knob counterclockwise until TYPE appears. No need to press the knob in first. I have no idea what ’38’ indicates.
Now press the F key briefly, just a quick click. This will be indicated by the usual F being displayed. The instructions do not show what the ‘c’ indicates, but see below as this changes.
Then, press NB – again just a click. The upper left segment of the currently illuminated frequency digit lights, changing it from a ‘c’ to a ‘t’.
The final step is to press and hold the F key for at least 3 seconds after which there will be a long bleep and the radio will reboot. This is, at least how it worked for me.
One final note. The websites I found list the modification as 1.8 to 30MHz and I was worried that it may somehow knock out 50MHz – but it still works, in my case anyway! In fact, the radio now seems to tune from 0 right up to 56MHz but not cleanly. I found that tuning from 29.999 took it back to 29 unless the MHz step is set (by pressing Dsp/Sel and rotating to select MHz) one can get to 32.999. Pressing Band to get to 50MHz permits tuning, again via the MHz selection, from 33 to 56MHz. YMMV!