Opening the rig is easy and straight forward, just look at PA1CA's description and follow them till the point that you have to remove the flatcable. So, how to disconnect the flatcable of the FT-817?. Search for it in Google and you find little about it. The description says: "Next unclip the flatcable from the main body of the radio". Sounds easy, but it isn't unless you're familiar with these things. The best way is to use your nail and pull the brown sleeve up on the side the flatcable enters the connector, it's that easy. But I just cut my nails of course :-(. It took me at least 10 minutes to carefully lift the clip, it came loose, I don't know if this is normal. You would expect a hinged sleeve. Anyway, I was glad I made it till this point.
Next thing was to solder the jumpers. Not easy as they are very very small and in a narrow part of the front panel. To stabilize the front I took the batterypack so it could partly hang on it.
I managed that as well. But just when I was at the last soldering task my iron came too close to the flatcable and damaged the isolation. A stupid fault but it can happen. I was thinking it all over and came to the conclusion that this would not happen when you completely remove the flatcable which is easy. Just click the brown sleeve up and remove the flatcable, this sleeve is hinged and stays at the connector.
Now, what to do with the damaged flatcable? What would happen if the conductors are not isolated from each other? I don't want to think about that...so I carefully measured all the conductors which were going trough the damaged part of the cable. Luckily there was no break and they were not electrically connected with each other. I isolated the conductors again with tape. Not a nice sight, but luckely it's all inside the radio. Everything was mounted again and the factory reset was done. Bleep bleep did the radio and it switched on. Glad everything worked as advertised. A quick test on 60m confirmed the TX was working now on bands outside the normal amateurradio bands.
|The damaged flatcable|
I quickly started HRD - logbook - WSJT-X and JT-Alert-X to find my luck on 60m JT65A. A45XR was booming in and I made my QRP 75th DXCC for the challenge. Mission completed.
Tips from my experience with this modification:
- If you're not experienced with soldering small parts, don't do it.
- Don't do it at the end of a stressful day (I did it, a big DON'T).
- Prefer daylight you got better sight on the project. I had double LED ilumination and a magnifying lens but still had problems to see things.
- Use a soldering iron wit a very small tip
- Disconnect the flatcable completely and move it far from the soldering iron
- Don't cut your nails before this project. They are most useful.
- If something goes wrong. Walk away and think it over (I did). Don't panic!
- Don't think it is a 15 minute project like me. Take your time, don't hurry!
Well, I hope my experience will add something useful to those that want to do the modification themself. Especially the flatcable issue that I could not find on the internet yet.