LASERBEAM-817 Audio Filter Module (also works in the FT-818)
"This Laserbeam digital audio filter has turned my FT-817 into the CW transceiver I was hoping for when I bought the rig" Peter - W2BEW. June 2016
- RAZOR-SHARP SKIRTS CUT OUT QRM
- SUPERB SSB AND CW PERFORMANCE
- IMPROVES PERFORMANCE WITH OR WITHOUT THE OPTIONAL MECHANICAL FILTERS
- TWO GREAT FILTERS FOR LESS THAN HALF THE COST OF A SINGLE MECHANICAL FILTER
Building on the success of our range of LASERBEAM Filter Modules, the LASERBEAM-817 digital audio filter module is the perfect addition to your FT-817/818. Unlike analogue filters, digital filters provide near-perfect characteristics. Because of the way that the filters are implemented, they are better than analogue filters in almost every way!
The LASERBEAM-817 Module has been designed to specifically compliment the FT-817. It has a new filter line-up, optimised gain for this application, revised switching and a filter select LED. The LASERBEAM-817 greatly improves on the performance of the stock ceramic SSB filter and has a far superior shape-factor when compared to the aftermarket Collins Mechanical Filters. The LASERBEAM-817 module is an amazing value upgrade whether you have extra filters installed or not.
The LASERBEAM-817 Module has two superb digital filters: a 300-2700Hz SSB filter and a 450-950Hz (500Hz) CW filter. These filters have been specifically optimised for the FT-817. The filter switching is fully automatic - no external switches required.
Note that these are bandpass filters only, so will not do anything about noise inside the passband. However, they should be very effective at eliminating noise and signals outside the passband.
Each LASERBEAM-817 Module is supplied with a special integration kit which includes the main parts that you will need to complete your installation.
Customer Tony said "This is a great addition to this little rig and I highly recommend it to any serious FT817 user." E-mail 17-May-16
Customer Adriano wrote "The CW works like a charm, it's very VERY sharp  I'm more than happy !!". E-mail 22-May-16
Customer Charlie said "the audio is very sharp and clear in fact it is a nice little filter and makes the radio a much better radio to use portable" from Facebook 14-May-16.
Installing your LASERBEAM-817 module
The LASERBEAM-817 module does require some work to fit, but should be no harder than installing an after-market noise reduction unit. We provide detailed instructions that can be downloaded by clicking here. We recommend reading the instructions before purchase.
Also available from our international agent(s):
Frequently Asked Questions
Can someone fit a LASERBEAM-817 for me?
Yes - if you are in the UK! Stephen will install your Laserbeam-817 filter on a commercial basis. Please contact him direct using the link below. SOTABEAMS do not warrant his work.
Stephen Cordner, M0HET: for details click here. Note: this link currently goes to an archived copy of his website - at the time of writing (July 2023) his website is not currently working, but we have checked with him and he is still offering this service. If you contact Stephen by email, we recommend including your phone number in your message, in case of any problems with emails.
- "The whole experience was very good. Stephen was very professional and answered all my questions. So all in all very good service."
- "Stephen was a delight to deal with and did an excellent job."
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a LASERBEAM-817 module compared to fitting a normal CW filter?
The LASERBEAM-817 modules provide near perfect filter characteristics - far better than a crystal/mechanical filter. They also work on both CW and SSB. They are far cheaper than crystal/mechanical filters.
LASERBEAM-817 filters are more complex to install than plug-in filters. They do not sit within the IF AGC loop of the radio, so in some circumstances you may need to use your FT-817's RF gain control to get the best results. All DSP filtering introduces a low level of white noise. This is typically more than 60dB down on the wanted audio and is generally unnoticeable.
What models of the FT-817 can the module be used in?
The LASERBEAM-817 works with all known models of the FT-817.
Can the module be used in the FT-818?
The FT-818 is virtually identical to the FT-817, so yes the module should be compatible and the installation procedure should be very similar.
I have the optional narrow SSB filter in my FT-817. Can I use a LASERBEAM-817 to add a narrow CW filter?
Yes you can do this. The LASERBEAM-817 is a sharper filter than the Yaesu YF-122S filter so we recommend setting Menu #38 (OP FILTER) to "CW" which will mean you have the benefit of better SSB filtering all the time with the added bonus that you now have a CW filter too.
I have the optional CW filter in my FT-817. Will a LASERBEAM-817 make any difference?
Yes: a LASERBEAM-817 will make a big difference. The optional filters for the FT-817 have very poor skirt selectivity. The LASERBEAM-817 will improve both CW and SSB performance. The difference has to be heard to be believed!
Is the LASERBEAM-817 filter the same as a noise reduction module?
After-market noise reduction systems reduce noise in the passband of the radio and are primarily effective on phone modes only (SSB/FM). The LASERBEAM-817 is effective on both phone and CW modes and removes unwanted signal that are outside the passband of the filters. Both systems have value - but they are different.
I have an aftermarket noise reduction unit installed in my FT-817. Can I also install a LASERBEAM-817 Filter?
It is unlikely that you can install a LASERBEAM-817 if you have a noise-reduction unit installed.
Can I save some money and install your General Purpose Filter Module in my FT-817?
The software on the LASERBEAM-817 has been designed specifically to complement the FT-817 and make the installation simple with automatic switching. Our General Purpose Module has different filters and different switching.
Does the LASERBEAM-817 Module have any other effect on the FT-817?
The LASERBEAM-817 filter is always in circuit - on all bands and in all modes. For example, on the broadcast VHF FM band (WFM) the audio frequency range will be limited by the module, the same will apply to the "DIG" mode or FM.
Will you be producing other versions of the LASERBEAM-817 with different filters?
We have no current plans to produce additional versions for the FT-817. This could change is there is sufficient demand for another combination of filters (wide and narrow SSB for example). Let us know!
Can I use a LASERBEAM-817 Module in my FT-857D/FT-897D?
The FT-857D/FT-897D radios already have DSP filtering so there is unlikely to be much to be gained by installing a LASERBEAM-817 Module. Please refer to the user manual for your radio for details. The module may be suitable for fitting in older "non-DSP" versions of this radio but we do not directly support this type of installation. If you do it successfully, let us know!
What is the purpose of the button on the module?
In older versions of the firmware, if the button is pressed while powering up the module, then it will show the software version by flashing the LED. It has no other purpose in the FT-817 module, so can be removed if you wish.
It should not be held down at power on, as otherwise the module may just keep flashing the LED instead of processing any audio. In later versions of the FT-817 module firmware, button presses are ignored in order to avoid this problem.
LASERBEAM Module Specification
Typical supply current: 25 mA @ 12 Volts as of Dec 2020, 30 mA for older modules
Filter type: Multi-tap FIR
Module size: 36 x 36 mm (approx 1.4 x 1.4 inches) Fits inside your FT-817
Weight: 5.5 grams
Ultimate rejection: better than 60 dB
Passband ripple: <0.15 dB
Processing delay: less than 19 mS
Installing a LASERBEAM-817 Filter may invalidate the warranty of your radio.
Experience and skill in working with with surface mount components (SMDs) is desirable.
Installed at owners' risk! This is not a "plug in" unit and requires similar skills to installing the various after-market Noise Reduction systems that are available for the FT-817.
23 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews
HAD IT FITTED TO MY FT818 AND IT IS BETTER THAN I EXPECTED GIVEN IT A GOOD TRY ON THE BANDS THAT I USE. AND IT IS DEFINITELY A LOT BETTER GOT AN FT817 WITH THE BHI DSP INSTALED BUT THIS SOTA BEAMS MODUEL ON MY FT818 IS A LOT BETER PLUS THERES NO PRESSING BUTTONS ITS AUTOMATIC.
The Laserbeam works as described and is better than the mechanical filters based on dynamic use cases as compared to one drop in filter for either sideband or cw. You really can't operate CW these days without a filter on the 818 or 817 unless you have an old school trained ear to pick up your qso tone out of the mess. This is by far the cheapest and most elegant solution to date. I'm on install 3 and just ordered 2 more boards incase i pick up another yaesu!
Although not complex, this is not a modification for a beginner ! I found the instructions very clear. Adding a table with all reference voltages at pt. 21 would be my suggestion. I my case Off: 6,6V; SSB 60mV and CW 6,6V. In operation CW signals are enhanced the most. I find the SSB filter too narrow, it certainly works, but is a bit uncomfy to listen to for long periods.
My ssb and cw reception has now improved dramatically, fitting was straight forward although you need to use a fine tipped iron and fine solder . Just remember to enable the narrow filter in both menus.
I installed one of these filters in a FT-817ND that I have had for a few years and it has, quite simply, transformed the receiver. The SSB performance has become exactly what the radio should have been from the beginning! Installing the kit was pretty straightforward but I can see that someone without enough experience of working with modern small electronics could find it daunting and possibly difficult. Basically, this is a superb unit for any 817 and transforms the performance of the receiver.
Be kind with yourself, drop that thing in your FT-817. It's cheap, easily installed and work like a charm. You will be wondering why you didn't installed it earlier. 73's François
Assembly into the FT-817 was easy, most complicated for me was the refitting of the speaker. The most easy way is to lay the speaker on the main board, close to the Laserbeam, fitting it into the lowest spot. Then take measures of the center of the speaker from front of 817 and from side. Use the measurements to mark a cross on the inside of the lid. Place the speaker and fix it either with tape. Now it should fit snugly. The two screws which held the loudspeaker bracket before can be secured with hot glue from underneath the lid. So they stay in place without bracket and cover the holes as before. The supplied red wire was about 2cm short, but I still had a longer one in the shack. The kit works like a charm. I measured a bandwith for Cw ~ 600 Hertz, SSB ~ 2,3kHz. vy 73, Matthias DF2OF
What an excellent filter very impressed it has turned my 817 into the radio it should have been in the first place, it's a shame it's not in the AGC line. The instructions are clear and took my about an hour to complete. Looking on my spectrum analyser the bandwidths are spot on and very sharp. It's the best digital band pass filter I've heard there is none of the ' water dripping ' or distortion and for its price it can't be beat. The only drawback for me is the data output line isn't going through the filter, so the AFSK modes will have to go out of the headphone socket, but it's handy to see the comparison of the filter for testing. Thank you Sotabeam for an excellent product..73 Chris Cherry 2E0BUJ
Well, the Laserbeam 817 is a real good upgrade for the FT-817, I had no CW filter installed so I wonder how this kit would do the job and I was very impressed from the result in CW, it´s like you have an CW filter installed, even in SSB, the signals are sharper than before. I can recommend this Laserbeam unit for FT-817.
I don't own a KX3; but a friend came round and we made a comparison test with his KX3 and my filter fitted old FT-817ND. Not much between them - apart from the fact that the old Yaesu really, really did sound better on its internal speaker - (I've done the Mylar/Massoth mod) than the KX3! And costs so much less; and is so dented; and still works! Steve, M0HET was a real wonder at fitting the filter; a turnabout of hours!!!! He is to be commended - first class! This is a real winner - I'm not a CW fan out on SOTA; so this is one mod I would heartily recommend to all FT-817 owners! 73.