Bluetooth CAT dongle for Yaesu FT-8x7

Almost three weeks ago I ordered a Bluetooth CAT dongle. Those are currently being sold by Chinese retailers on eBay for about 10-12 €. Finally, I had it in my postbox today.

The small device measures 50 x 22 x 13 mm and only weighs a couple of grams. The cable length is just over 70 mm and there is a blue status LED as well. Getting this thing to work is really not a big deal: Make sure that the FT-8×7 transceiver is set to 9600 CAT baud rate, plug the device in and switch on the transceiver. The blue status LED will begin to flash and it can be connected to from either PC’s or smartphones/tablets/laptops. Simply scan for new devices and choose the dongle (password: “1234”).

Once the connection is established the transceiver can be remotely controlled with basically any software package or app. I haven’t had much time for testing so far but tried it out using Ham Radio Deluxe. It works flawlessly!

I also tried to use this bluetooth CAT dongle for programming repeater frequencies into the FT-857D using the latest daily Chirp build. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work as I supposed beforehand: While it is possible to read out memory channels, I always got error messages when trying to write a repeater list to the 857D. Exactly the same problem had been reported to the Chirp developers but hasn’t been resolved since October. Hopefully, it will be sorted out soon.

While those bluetooth CAT dongles used to be available w/ one baud rate only (9600) there are several versions on sale now. Make sure you buy the proper version otherwise you might get into trouble trying to run an antenna tuner and a bluetooth dongle at the same CAT port (eg. Yaesu FT-857D w/ LDG YT-100)

  1. Hello, just found your page searching for a solution to my bleutooth CAT module. I ordered the same CAT module as you did (I think). I got a FT-817 set on 9600bd CAT. Red LED flashes on the CAT module. It pairs niceley with my bluetooth on my PC with W10, password 1234 as you described. It says connected. But I can’t find it with HRD? It shows up as 2 COM ports in the settings, assigned them to COM2 and 3 but still HRD does not find them. Any ideas? 73, Bas

    • Hi Bas!
      Please excuse my delayed reply. Just came back home from work. I gave that dongle to a friend of mine quite a while ago but will ask him how it works for him. From what I can remember there’s some kind of “auto discovery” function in HRD that brought the dongle alive. What I tested back then was solely the synchronization of the frequencies between the TRX and HRD. That worked just fine. I’ll give him a call and will reply back asap.
      73s, Alex

      Edit: One thing that is a bit disturbing about those Chinese BT dongles is that they all look the same but might come with very different electronics. Much like eg. storage cards there might be dongles that work very well with a certain setup but others that just won’t do the job.

    • Hi again, Bas!
      So, we played around with that dongle during CQWW contest 🙂
      After pairing, we selected auto-detect function for “COM Port” and “Baud rate” in HRD. That worked just fine. Same works with UcxLog. However – as expected – we ran into trouble when using the dongle from the tuner’s CAT port (since we got the 9600 baud dongle but the tuner operates at 4800 baud). In that case, the pairing works but it’s not possible to establish a connection from any software package. Also, the dongle won’t show up in HRD if a connection is already established from a different software package (eg. UcxLog).
      Hope, you can catch a bullet from that and finally make the dongle work 😉
      73’s de Alex, OE6FTE

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