Winlink via VARA HF with Yaesu FT-891 and Signalink Working Settings

I recently acquired a Yaesu FT-891, a Signalink and a VARA HF license in the hopes that I could get Winlink working over HF radio.  I’m no stranger to Winlink, but HF radio in general is fairly new to me.  In my efforts, I reached out to the ham community to ask others about their equipment and settings.

My first attempt at a connection was a failure.  I watched a few videos on doing Winlink over HF radio, but pretty much all the settings in my radio were factory default.  My second attempt was successful.  I managed to connect to a station 700 miles north of me and another 800 miles south of me, both on 20 Meter at about mid-day in the Arcadia, California area.   I recorded a video (below) of the first successful transmission and then later put together a spreadsheet (below) of the radio settings for future reference.  While I cannot guarantee this will work for you, I can say that my consults with several HF experts influenced these settings. 

In case you’re wondering about the antenna, I was using a Chameleon EMCOMM II mounted in a sloper configuration with the balun in a tree about 8 feet off the ground and the other end of the wire suspended from an MFJ pole about 31 feet in the air.   The antenna was connected to an LDG Z-11 Pro Tuner.  The radio, the tuner and the antenna were connected to a ground rod pushed down about a foot into the ground.  The tuner got the SWR down to about 1.5-1.75 SWR on 20 meters.

 

Below is a list of the menu settings that worked for me in my Yaesu FT-891

MENU # DESCRIPTION Available values Defaut Setting Current Setting
01-01 AGC FAST DELAY 20-4000 (msec) 300 300
01-02 AGC MID DELAY 20-4000 (msec) 700 700
01-03 AGC SLOW DELAY 20-4000 (msec) 3000 3000
         
02-01 LCD CONTRAST 1-15 8 8
02-02 DIMMER BACKLIT 1-15 8 1
02-03 DIMMER LCD 1-15 8 8
02-04 DIMMER TX/BUSY 1-15 8 7
02-05 PEAK HOLD off/0.5/1.0/2.0 (sec) OFF OFF
02-06 ZIN LED ENABLE/DISABLE DISABLE DISABLE
02-07 POP-UP MENU UPPER/LOWER LOWER LOWER
         
03-01 DVS RX OUT LVL 1-100 50 50
03-02 DVSTX OUT LVL 1-100 50 50
         
04-01 KEYER TYPE OFF/BUG/ELEKEY-A/ELEKEY-B/ELEKEY-Y/ACS EKEJ=KEY-B EKEJ=KEY-B
04-02 KEYER DOT/DASH  NOR/REV NOR NOR
04-03 CW WEIGHT 2.5-4.5 3.0 3.0
04-04 BEACON INTERVAL OFF/1-240 (sec) 1 sec/step) 270-690 (sec) (30 sec/step) 0FF 0FF
04-05 NUMBER STYLE 1290/AUNO/AUNT/A2NO/A2NT/12NO/12NT 1290 1290
04-06 CONTEST NUMBER 0-9999 1 1
04-07 CW MEMORY 1 TEXT/MESSAGE TEXT TEXT
04-08 CW MEMORY 2 TEXT/MESSAGE TEXT TEXT
04-09 CW MEMORY 3 TEXT/MESSAGE TEXT TEXT
04-10 CW MEMORY 4 TEXT/MESSAGE TEXT TEXT
04-11 CW MEMORY 5 TEXT/MESSAGE TEXT TEXT
         
05-01 NB WIDTH 1/3/10 (msec) 3 msec 3 msec
05-02 NB REJECTION 10/30/50 dB 30dB 30dB
05-03 NB LEVEL 0-10 5 2
05-04 BEEP LEVEL 0-100 30 20
05-05 RF/SQL VR RF/SQL RF RF
05-06 CAT RATE 4800/9600/19200/38400 4800 4800
05-07 CAT TOT 10/100/1000/3000 (msec) 10msec 100msec
05-08 CAT RTS ENABLE/DISABLE ENABLE DISABLE
05-09 MEM GROUP ENABLE/DISABLE DISABLE DISABLE
05-10 FM SETTINGS ENABLE/DISABLE DISABLE DISABLE
05-11 REC SETTING ENABLE/DISABLE DISABLE DISABLE
05-12 ATAS SETTING ENABLE/DISABLE DISABLE DISABLE
05-13 QUICK SPL FREQ -20(kHz) – 0 – 20 (kHz) 5 kHz 5 kHz
05-14 TX T0T OFF/1-30 (min) OFF 5
05-15 MIC SCAN ENABLE/DISABLE ENABLE ENABLE
05-16 MIC SCAN RESUME PAUSE/TIME TIME TIME
05-17 REF FREQ ADJ -25 – 0 – 25 0 0
05-18 CLAR SELECT RX/TX/TRX RX RX
05-19 APO OFF/1/2/4/6/8/10/12 (h) OFF 4h
05-20 FAN CONTROL NORMAL/CONTEST NORMAL NORMAL
         
06-01 AM LCUT FREQ OFF/100 – 1000 (Hz) OFF OFF
06-02 AM LCUT SLOPE 6/18 (dB/oct) 6db/oct 6db/oct
06-03 AM HCUT FREQ 700 – 4000 (Hz)/ OFF OFF OFF
06-04 AM HCUT SLOPE 6/18 (dB/oct) 6db/oct 6db/oct
06-05 AM MIC SELECT MIC/REAR MIC MIC
06-06 AM OUT LEVEL 0-100 50 50
06-07 AM PTT SELECT DAKY/RTS/DTR DAKY DAKY
         
07-01 CW LCUT FREQ OFF/100 – 1000 (Hz) OFF OFF
07-02  CW LCUT SLOPE 6/18 (dB/oct) 6db/oct 6db/oct
07-03 CW HCUT FREQ 700 – 4000 9Hz)/OFF OFF OFF
07-04 CW HCUT SLOPE 6/18 (dB/oct) 6db/oct 6db/oct
07-05 CW OUT LEVEL 0 – 100 50 50
07-06 CW AUTO MODE OFF/50M/ON OFF OFF
07-07 CW BFO USB/LSB/AUTO USB USB
07-08 CW BK-IN TYPE SEMI/FULL SEMI SEMI
07-09 CW BK-IN DELAY 30 – 3000 (msec) 200 msec 200 msec
07-10 CW WAVE SHAPE 2/4 (msec) 4 msec 4 msec
07-11 FREQ DISPLAY PITCH FREQ/PITCH PITCH PITCH
07-12 PC KEYING OFF/DAKY/RTS/DTR OFF OFF
07-13 QSK DELAY TIME 15/20/25/30 (msec) 15 mec 15 mec
         
08-01 DATA MODE PSK/OTHER PSK OTHERS
08-02 PSK TONE 1000/1500/2000 (Hz) 1000Hz 1000Hz
08-03 OTHER DISP -3000 – 0 – 3000 (Hz) 0Hz 1500Hz
08-04 OTHER SHIFT -3000 – 0 – 3000 (Hz) 0Hz 1500Hz
08-05 DATA LCUT FREQ OFF/100 – 1000(Hz) 300Hz OFF
08-06 DATA LCUT SLOPE 6/18 (dB/oct) 18dB/oct 18dB/oct
08-07 DATA HCUT FREQ 700 – 4000 HzOFF 3000 Hz 2300 Hz
08-08 DATA HCUT SLOPE 6/18 (dB/oct) 18dB/oct 18dB/oct
08-09 DATA IN SELECT MIC/REAR REAR REAR
08-10 DATA PTT SELECT  DAKY/RTS/DTR DAKY DAKY
08-11 DATA OUT LEVEL 0 – 100 50 10
08-12 DATA BFO USB/LSB LSB USB
         
09-01 FM MIC SELECT MIC/REAR MIC MIC
09-02 FM OUT LEVEL 0 – 100 50 50
09-03 PKT PTT SELECT DAKY/RTS/DTR DAKY DAKY
09-04 RPT SHIFT 28 MHz 0 – 1000 (kHz) 100 kHz 100 kHz
09-05 RPT SHIFT 50 MHz 0 – 4000 (kHz) 1000 kHz 1000 kHz
09-06 DCS POLARITY Tn-Rn/Tn-Riv/Tiv-Rn/Tiv-Riv Tn-Rn Tn-Rn
         
10-01 RTTY LCUT FREQ OFF/100 – 1000 (Hz) 300Hz 300Hz
10-02 RTTY LCUT SLOPE 6/18 (dB/oct) 18dB/oct 18dB/oct
10-03 RTTY HCUT FREQ 700 – 4000 (Hz)/ OFF 3000Hz 3000Hz
10-04 RTTY HCUT SLOPE 6/18 (dB/oct) 18dB/oct 18dB/oct
10-05 RTTY SHIFT PORT SHIFT/DTR/RTS SHIFT SHIFT
10-06 RTTY POLARITY-R NOR/REV NOR NOR
10-07 RTTY POLARITY-T NOR/REV NOR NOR
10-08 RTTY OUT LEVEL 0 – 100 50 50
10-09 RTTY SHIFT FREQ 0/425/850 Hz 170 Hz 170 Hz
10-10 RTTY MARK FREQ 1275/2125 Hz 2125 Hz 2125 Hz
10-11 RTTY BFO USB/LSB LSB USB
         
11-01 SSB LCUT FREQ OFF/100 – 1000 (Hz) 300 Hz 100 Hz
11-02 SSB LCUT SLOPE 6/18 (dB/oct) 6dB/oct 6dB/oct
11-03 SSB HCUT FREQ 700 – 4000 (Hz)/ OFF 3000 Hz 2300 Hz
11-04 SSB HCUT SLOPE 6/18 (dB/oct) 6dB/oct 6dB/oct
11-05 SSB MIC SELECT MIC/REAR MIC MIC
11-06 SSB OUT LEVEL 0 – 100 50 50
11-07 SSB BFO USB/LSB/AUTO AUTO AUTO
11-08 SSB PTT SELECT DAKY/RTS/DTR DAKY DAKY
11-09 SSB TX BPF 100-3000/100-2900/200-2800/300-2700/400-2600 300-2700 200-2800
         
12-01 APF WIDTH NARROW/MEDIUM/WIDE MEDIUM WIDE
12-02 CONTOUR LEVEL -40 – 0- 20 -15 -15
12-03 CONTOUR WIDTH 10-011 10 10
12-04 IF NOTCH WIDTH NARROW/WIDE WIDE WIDE
         
13-01 SCP START CYCLE OFF/3/5/10 (SEC) OFF OFF
13-02 SCP SPAN FREQ 37.5/75/150/375/750 (kHz) 750 kHz 750 kHz
         
14-01 QUICK DIAL 50/100/500 (kHz) 500 kHz 500 kHz
14-02 SSB DIAL STEP 2/5/10 (Hz) 10 Hz 10 Hz
14-03 AM DIAL STEP 10/100 (Hz) 10Hz 10Hz
14-04 FM DIAL STEP 10/100 (Hz) 10Hz 10Hz
14-05 DIAL STEP 2/5/10 (Hz) 5Hz 5Hz
14-06 AM CH STEP 2.5/5/9/10/12.5/25 (kHz) 5kHz 5kHz
14-07 FM CH STOP 5/6.25/10/12.5/15/20/25 (kHz) 5kHz 5kHz
         
15-01 EQ1 FREQ OFF/100-700 OFF OFF
15-02 EQ1 LEVEL -20 – 0 – 10 5 5
15-03 EQ1 BWTH 1 – 10 10 10
15-04 EQ2 FREQ OFF/700 – 1500 OFF OFF
15-05 EQ2 LEVEL -20 – 0 – 10 5 5
15-06 EQ2 BWTH 1 – 10 10 10
15-07 EQ3 FREQ OFF/1500 – 3200 OFF OFF
15-08 EQ3 LEVEL -20 – 0 – 10 5 5
15-09 EQ3 BWTH 1 – 10 10 10
15-10 P-EQ1 FREQ off/100 – 700 200 200
15-11 P-EQ1 LEVEL -20 – 0 – 10 0 0
15-12 P-EQ1 BWTH 1 – 10 2 2
15-13 P-EQ2 FREQ OFF/700 – 1500 800 800
15-14 P-EQ2 LEVEL -20 – 0 – 10 0 0
15-15 P-EQ2 BWTH 1 – 10 1 1
15-16 P-EQ3 FREQ OFF/1500 – 3200 2100 2100
15+17 P-EQ3 LEVEL -20 – 0 – 10 0 0
15-18 P-EQ3 BWTH 1 – 10 1 1
         
16-01 HF SSB PWR 5 – 100 100 100
16-02 HF AM PWR 5 – 40 25 40
16-03 HF PWR 5 – 100 100 100
16-04 50M SSB PWR 5 – 100 100 100
16-05 50M AM PWR 5 – 40 25 40
16-06 50M PWR 5 – 100 100 100
16-07 SSB MIC GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-08 AM MIC GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-09 FM MIC GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-10 DATA MIC GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-11 SSB DATA GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-12 AM DATA GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-13 FM DATA GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-14 DATA DATA GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-15 TUNER SELECT OFF/EXTERNAL/ATAS/LAMP OFF LAMP
16-16 VOX SELECT MIC/DATA MIC MIC
16-17 VOX GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-18 VOX DELAY 30 – 3000 (msec) 500msec 500msec
16-19 ANTI VOX GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-20 DATA VOX GAIN 0 – 100 50 50
16-21 DATA VOX DELAY 30 – 3000 (msec) 100msec 30msec
16-22 ANTI DVOX GAIN 0 – 100 0 0
16-23 EMERGENCY FREQ ENABLE/DISABLE DISABLE DISABLE
         
17-01 RESET ALL/DATA/FUNC    
         
18-01 MAIN VERSION  V01-09   V01-09
18-02 DSP VERSION  V02-04   V02-04
18-03 LCD VERSION V01-01   V01-01