APRS on Yaesu FTM-400 not transmitting beacon

OK. I’ve been frustrated that for some reason my FTM-400 stopped transmitting the beacon. I would monkey with settings and test again and I would never show up  at APRS.FI. Dang. I had it working but for some reason it stopped.

Today I stumbled upon the solution. It was not necessarily the explicit settings but one that is usually missed in the instructions. At a later date I will give some more details of my APRS settings but for now I will just describe what I was doing wrong.

There are quite a number of web sites that describe the settings in pretty good detail. They walk you through the configurations in the APRS and the DATA menus and the frustration was that I followed them but had no luck. The one thing that was not described to me was the squelch.

Perhaps to some of you it is a no-brainer and now to me it is a Homer Simpson Doh! moment.

There is a setting under Data:

  • Press and hold the DISP/Setup button for one second to show the setup menu.
  • Select and touch the [DATA] button  and the menu list will be displayed
  • Number 4 is the [4 DATA SQUELCH] option.

There are two choices. RX BAND and TX/RX BAND. I set mine for TX/RX BAND.  I tried both but neither seemed to make a difference.

I neglected to check my squelch level on the band (Band B) I was using for APRS. If your radio detects activity on the band you are using it won’t interrupt that activity to send an APRS beacon. Band A and Band B squelch is set separately. I found that my squelch was turned all the way down on Band B so I was always hearing background noise on that Band. The Data Squelch Condition never detected an open frequency upon which to transmit. Once I turned up my squelch so that only a clear signal, would activate the Band, only then could my APRS find space to transmit.

  • From the main screen touch [SQL] from the bottom menu.
  • On the bottom of each Band the Squelch level will display in yellow.
  • Using the dial on the right of the Band you want to adjust, turn up the squelch until you no longer hear the background noise.

As soon as I corrected this my radio sent out a beacon and my position showed up on aprs.fi . Having fixed this now I can experiment with the other settings for APRS.

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