Link Communications

RLC-Club Controller

Sample Programming

This is from Jeff Brown and questions, thank you' and comments should be directed to Jeff.

The Yaesu FT-847/817 CAT Command Structure General Overview & Link Communications Repeater Controller's Remote Base Control


Over the past few months I have tried to find a way to interface my Ft-847 and now the Ft-817  to my Link Communications Repeater controller for remote base operation. The repeater controller has built in firmware to control quite a few HF radios including "some" Yaesu models. Not knowing much about rs-232 serial ports and Hex vs. ASCII I was determined to make this combination work. Along the way I have gained some good knowledge, after all isn't that what Ham radio is all about experimentation and the furthering of technical knowledge? Not being able to find anyone that actually has played with this stuff or if they had they weren't willing to divulge any helpful hints. I decided that maybe there were more people like me trying to obtain this knowledge, or that this may even spark some knew ideas for people to kick around. I hope this information helps. If there is something I have over looked or miss-represented here (Techies), please make me aware of it so we can all benefit. My e mail is <>
                                                                                                                                     Jeff Brown N3OYQ

The First bit (little pun there) is understanding the Hex and Decimal conversion process. All commands sent out the CAT port to and from the radio are in HEX. The manual for the radios shows an example of setting the frequency to 439.0000 by sending
Set Frequency to VFO   43 90 00 00 01
 As you can see there are 5 numbers here not 10 numbers. What you ask? Yes, there are 10 numbers but each set meaning two is considered one "Byte" of information and is looked at as 1 number in Hex. In theory 439.000Mhz is what you want, however if you send that data out the serial port the radio it will stare back at you, laugh and do nothing. In the manual there is a chart showing the Byte format that looks like this.












The Start bit tells the device information is to follow and the 10 remaining blocks represent your input data 439.000 and your "OP Code" or what to do with this information. This information tells the radio to set a frequency of 439.000 to main VFO. Keeping in mind that is the DECIMAL input and we need HEXADECIMAL. So where dose the HEX come in you may ask?
 There are 255 HEX codes to my knowledge that represent equally as many Decimals. These codes represent everything from symbols to letters and numbers in computer language. For example 43 in hex would translate to C in ASCII and 067 in Decimal. It is way to cumbersome to list them on this page but here is a good page that I found that has all these numbers, letters etc. and their conversion broken down for you, this page prints very well I might add. Another way to do this Brought up by my friend KB8WLW is to use the calculator in windows accessories, change it to sinentific enter the command you are looking for in the HEX mode then switch to DEC mode for the conversion number. Or vise versa. Thanks Mike!
HEX Conversion Chart
Now that we have the "Code Key" we now can see that our first bite 43 is decimal 067, 90 is 144, and 00 is 000.
Hopefully by now you understand how the manual is lacking in explaining in detail what you'll need to be sending out your comm. port. Not everyone is a computer programmer, and I'm sure there is some miss representation here but this is how I understand it. I hope you do to.

Repeater Remote Base Control of the Yaesu

If you are reading all this in hopes of controlling your Yaesu with a Link Communications Repeater controller go to the section of your manual that deals with the serial port. There should be a command for manually sending of ASCII out the serial port. That page will reference another page in the back of your manual dealing with ASCII codes. That page will match up number for number with the chart available above. Keep in mind that Link requires a 3 digit code or "word" for each character so if its hex 1A your after you'll need to enter 026 for it to work properly. I own a "Club" controller and uses command 169 followed by the 3-digit words.
The Yaesu 847 and 817 are not directly supported as of the making of this web page but not all hope is lost! Thinking of writing and using all your macros to design control of your rig? Hold on there, in the section that deals with HF radio support there is one radio witch had a similar command structure to the current radios. It was the Ft-736, the 736 used the 0000000000 CAT enable command like the 847 as well as the frequency, mode, VFO set, and scan. The commands that DO NOT WORK are the offset, CTCSS/DCS enable and tone set. If you work simplex or strictly on HF then you are set! One quirk that is in your favor if you have not modified your radio for out of band is that you can enable the auto repeater offset in your radio menu. With this enabled when you enter in say 146.760 and select FM your radio will automatically set your repeater offset. Then if you want to use simplex on that frequency, you write a macro telling the radio to turn shift off. Now all you have to worry about is your sub audible tone if necessary.
One way to get around the not being able to set sub-audible tone is to set your VFO manually with tone enabled. You could set VFO A to CTCSS and VFO B to DCS, then write your macro to set tone. This is just one idea, or if you only link to 70cm and 2m on FM then set VFO A with your areas 2m tone data and VFO B with your areas tone data for 70cm. With the tone enabled on the VFO you could write macro's to change the tone data since the tone is already enabled.
If you don't have the Ft-736 listed try setting your remote base radio information to Yaesu and 30.
If that doesn't work.... You will become very fluent in macro writhing. I have worn out my keypad more than once.
There are some slight variation of commands between the two radios CAT Structure, however most are very similar. If you are using the Ft-817 the command sent at the beginning of the HF control protocol will enable your frequency lock since the 817 dose not require you to enable the CAT before sending any more data it's on all the time. The Ft-847 requires you to send a CAT enable command in order to do anything remotely. The Freq. lock on the 817 will do nothing to hinder you since you are going to be entering things from the CAT. All this dose is lock the front panel of the radio, which may not be such a bad idea anyway.
The 817 offers one command that the 847 doesn't since the 847 uses a mechanical switch and the 817 uses an electronic power switch. The ability to turn off the radio remotely. I can think of one specific use to this and it's a good idea if your not listening to the repeater all the time...especially since the 817 will tune the broadcast fm band. It's a great way to keep the BOZO'S out of your remote. Last thing I would want is to get fined for re-broadcasting Howard Stern! Write a macro enabling and disable the radio. Just make sure you use a code witch is useable from the auto patch side!
The 847 says you need a null modem cable to control form rs-232, my advice to that is try it both ways! In my configuration I use a straight cable from my controller to the 847 because it didn't work with the null modem cable.
The 817 on the other hand the manual says nothing about a null modem cable but I ended up using it to communicate with the radio because it didn't work without it! When using remote control software on the 847 from my PC it IS necessary to use the null modem. I just use the same cable I program the controller with and went to Radio Shack and bought a null modem adapter and a couple of gender changers, all works fine.
Few things' I failed to mention for what its worth is that if you enable your remote base it disables your ability to communicate with the controller for programming. You must disable the remote base totally. My command for the "Club controller" is 195 0.
Also if you wrote a macro for say PL set and you have the remote base enabled you can still send that data out the serial port.
So if your in the HF mode and your op code is set to 1 you would enter
1, 4, (command number) according to my layout of the keypad while in HF mode.
I wrote separate Macro's so when I set up my remote base stuff I'd turn off the HF control and link the ports together so that my courtesy tones and such would function properly.

Problems so far.....

I have had no luck sending the info to the 847 and 817 for repeater offset and sub audible tone encode, encode/decode on and off. The radios do noting when sent the information. I'm working on this glitch, although sending the correct HEX data they are unresponsive to the command's being sent.
As of right now there is no way of using the IF SHIFT remotely on either of the two radios. That just plain SUCKS because it makes HF sound so much better. I don't know if there will be a way in the future for the 817 to do it since it's a digital control not a suido analog control like the 847.
 NEW! There is a MAJOR BUG in the Link Communications Controller in regards to the PTT circuit while NOT in the HF mode. If you exit the HF mode and try and link your ports manually the radio will NOT transmit! The only way the PTT works is while in the HF mode. In order to make the PTT circuit work again is to change your HF radio to something different like an Icom-706. This is a flaw that needs to be corrected in the firmware of the controller. Thanks again to Mike KB8WLW for pointing that out.


Repeater interface to radio from Link Comm. repeater controller

This info should work on other controllers as well. Try at your own risk. See radios manual for pin-out of plugs.
COR- Take from the DATA (817) or PKT (847) plug where you would connect a TNC for Packet this is a standard PS-2 Plug Bay the way, available from Radio Shack. DO NOT CONNECT THE COR TO THE PL INPUT OF THE REPEATER CONTROLLER, FOR SOME REASON IT MUTES THE AUDIO FROM THE RADIO. This output is active High going to around 5 volts when squelch is opened.
RX Audio- (Ft817) there is a fixed level from the 1200bps output on the DATA plug Used for packet. This output follows the mode changes on the radio unlike the 847.
RX Audio- (Ft847) Use the Fixed Level out on the DATA IN/OUT plug use the second ring on the STEREO plug for + and the rear contact for -. DO NOT USE A MONO PLUG IT WOULD CAUSE THE DATA IN/OUT  TO SHORT CAUSING DAMMAGE TO THE 847!!!!!!!!!!
TX/PTT- again use the plug from your DATA or PKT plug to key the radio
TX Audio- I have found that using the MIC jack is the best place to inject audio to the radio. This is because you can then make fine adjustments to the sound of the audio using the radio's mica gain and audio contouring (on the 847) pin 8 is mica high, pin 7 is mica ground. On the 817 I used a CAT5 LAN data cable because it had twisted wires helping better shield the mica input from RF. I used an Ohmmeter to find the correct pins on the RJ-11 end.
TX Inhibit 847 only...kinda- on the TUNER plug pin 8 is a transmitter inhibit not allowing the transmitter to key no matter what. You could use an output from your controller to simulate the radio on off explained earlier in the 817-command section. The 817 have this feature too but if you are using the CAT cable you don't have access to this plug.

Disclaimers and stuff

Information contained on this page is from my personal experiences with these radios. The information contained here has been collected from numerous web pages and BUNCH of trial and error. All images on this page are the property of Yaesu Vertex/Standard Inc.and I am in no way affiliated with them. Connection to your radio to any devise is at your own risk there are no guaranties in life. Don't blame me if you accidentally plug your mica circuit into the 5-volt regulator circuit of something and nuke your PTT line ECT.
Questions, Comments?  I'll see what I can do.     E mail me
Thanks to those who support Ham Radio, your local independent repeater owners and Local Clubs, if you use it help pay the bill. Even small donations help! This stuff costs a LOT of money to build and maintain.
Thanks to all my friends and family for supporting my interests and me. Last but not least, Thank You for actually reading this stuff.
73's N3OYQ


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Thanks and 73


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 Last update 12/27/2000