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How to Set up the Yaesu FT-891 for CAT Control and Digimodes

FT-891.JPG

One of the questions I get asked a lot from customers who buy our interfaces is "how do I set up my FT-891 for CAT CAT control and Digital mode working?"

The FT-891 is quite a modern transceiver and unlike earlier Yaesu radios, it does NOT use the 8 pin Mini-Din port for connecting a CAT interface. In fact the CAT control serial data signals are simply not wired to the 8 pin mini-din socket. Therefore you do not need to purchase an interface which has a CAT control feature built-in or a separate CAT cable.

On the rear panel of the FT-891 is a USB type B socket as shown below. This is is for the dedicated built-in CAT control port and all the hardware for CAT control is built into the radio. All you need to do is grab yourself a USB Type-A to USB Type-B Patch cable (The sort that was generally shipped with printers) and load the Yaesu USB drivers.

FT-891 rear.JPG
USB A to B.JPG

The next step is to load the Yaesu USB COMM port drivers from the FT-891 Files section from the Yaesu Website

The FT-891 page on Yaesu's website is here:
Yaesu Website FT-891 Page
Yaesu seem to publish two USB Comm Port Drivers. One for just the FT-891 and the other for both the FT-891 and SCU-17. The Latter seems to have better support for Win10/Win 11 and so I suggest you go for that one. You can directly access that particular USB Comm port driver download here: COMM Port Driver

The COMM port is based around the well used Silicon Labs CP201x USB to TTL UART chip.
 the driver pack will download as a .zip file. Just choose the installation folder that matches your PCs specification. Read the included release notes file.

 

Once the driver is installed and you have connected the radio to your PC via a suitable Patch Cable. you will see the radio appear as a USB COMM port in Windows Device Manager (if you use Windows). Make a note of this new COMM port number as you will need this for when you set up your Digimode/CAT software.

 

Please Note: I have had a report that the Comm port driver "may" produce two comm port numbers. If this is the case, the lower number of the two new Comm ports seems to be the one to use.

At this point there are some Menu settings on the FT-891 you need to check

First check Menu 05-06 CAT Rate. The default is 4800 Baud. You must ensure your Digimode or CAT software is also set to the same baud rate. You can choose a different (higher) rate if you prefer but make sure BOTH radio and software match.

 

Next you need to change Menu 05-08 CAT RTS. It defaults to "ENABLE". You need to set it to "DISABLE". Many Digimode applications use the RTS signal for other purposes and so we don't want this setting clashing with other functions.
 

FT-891 CAT settings.JPG

Once you have set the CAT setting up in the radio, we can move onto the audio settings for Digital Modes.
 

Now at this point, I am going to do a shameless plug of our Digimode-3 interface. It is available for Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood and Xiegu transceivers from our shopping pages. This interface is suitable for just about any AFSK mode and you can read about its feature set in the PDF manual here. The Digimode-3 interface will work alongside the radios built-in CAT control.

OK, next lets look at the audio set up.  The FT-891 can take its audio in/out and PTT signalling via the front panel MIC socket or the 6 pin Mini-DIn data port on the rear panel. Most AFSK interfaces and modems like our Digimode-3 plug into the 6 pin Mini-Din DATA port on the radios rear panel. There are other menu settings we need to check/alter depending on the mode in use.
 

Menu 08-01 DATA MODE. The default is PSK. This setting needs to be OTHER

Menu 08-03 OTHER DISP.  Set this to 1500Hz to get an optimal waterfall display offset in your Digimode software
Menu 08-04 OTHER SHIFT  Set this to
1500Hz to get an optimal waterfall display offset in your Digimode software

Menu 08-05 DATA LCUT FREQ. Set this to OFF to get full DATA Receive Bandwidth

Menu 08-07 DATA HCUT FREQ. Set this to OFF to get full DATA Receive Bandwidth

Menu 08-09 DATA IN SELECT. The default is REAR via the 6 pin Mini-Din DATA port. Most interfaces connect here.

Menu 08-10 PTT SELECT. The default is DAKY for PTT via the 6 pin Mini-Din DATA port. This is OK for most interfaces

Menu 08-11 DATA OUT LEVEL. The default is 50. This can be optimised for Tx power and the interface in use.

Menu 08-12 DATA BFO. Set this to USB for most Digital modes (FT8, PSK, JT65 etc)

FT-891 DATA settings.JPG

With the above settings enabled on your FT-891, you will be able to connect a modem or one of our Digimode interfaces to the radio and get active on modes such as FT8.

Now you have your FT-891 set up for Digital modes, you will need to set up your Digimode software. Take a look at our WSJT-X setup guide here.

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