Remote FT-991a series
This series is for HAMs and nerds.
I’ll go over how I made my Stockcorner JC3-s tuner remotely tunable and turned the Yaesu FT-991a into a remote rig. Prior, the latter hasn’t been achieved any solution known to me. The big plus point of my tinker solution: It’s completely open source, until the very last bit when transmitting voice on macOS.
The other big plus: Concepts and elements presented are not only useful for Yaesu rigs or macOS, but could be great for other transceivers and operating systems.
The Yaesu FT-991a is a great shack-in-a-box offer at a fair price, for ham radio gear. It beats the ICOM offerings in value by combining all modes and all bands with up to 100W. However that is just my opinion, and ICOM fans will already have foam around their lips. Hear me out.
Yaesu also has downsides: They are not as modern as ICOM when it comes to UI and UX. The menu structure of the FT-991a is clunky, while the integrated USB ports gives both CAT control and sound card access in one cable, remote controlling an FT-991a is way more involving than remote controlling an ICOM transceiver. Plus, Yaesu changes rear ports with every rig.
The rear ports and their proprietary use is a motivation for this series: Unless you buy a specifically designed Autotuner to communicate with the unique ports of the FT-991a, you cannot control a remote tuner. The ports, pin-outs and usage of connectors differ among Yaesu radios. Bad UX, bad marketing strategy.
To use a true auto tuner with an FT-991a, one must either buy a dedicated device or cable. Or DIY. As we do in this series.
Over the course of designing the remote tuning routines and hardware, I moved to enable full remote operation. Currently, my rig sits in our bedroom, so late night sessions, when bands are open and the air is clean, are incompatible with my YL. This is one reason. The other reason is I’d love to move my transceiver to a remote location. With the solution presented here, I can do both.
Chapters of this series can apply to other radios, other tuners.
I tried to design and combine elements with universal potential. If you don’t own a JC-3s or an FT-991a, chances are that procedures presented here might still be of value to your shack – and home.