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
***Fitter for hire in the UK!***
- 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 is easy to fit - 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. Last update 11-May-16.
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.
- "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."
Other countries : Business opportunity: Contact us if interested in being a fitter in your country.
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 unnoticable.
What models of the FT-817 can the module be used in?
The LASERBEAM-817 works with all known models of the FT-817.
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 better 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 some 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 revisions 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.
21 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews
This audio filter for the FT-817 works much better than I expected. I've tried digital filters in the past and never cared for the hash they created in the audio, but this one makes nothing more than a gentle hiss. I don't even notice it now. When I first fired up the radio after installing the filter I thought I had damaged it, because other than a light hiss there was no sound from the speaker. But when I connected a wire to the correct antenna input the sound popped right up. In SSB mode sound in the passband is pretty much the same as in an unfiltered FT-817, but noise above the passband is way down. I find it much less tiring to listen to. In CW the wide mode sounds like the same filter as the SSB filter, which is fine. In narrow mode stuff outside the passband (which looks to span 400 to 900 Hz on my spectrum analyzer - a 500Hz filter) drops away and the tuned signals pop right out. I think it sounds better than the DSP filter in my FT-857 because the noise floor is much lower. The installation instructions are clear, easy to follow, and well illustrated, but this radio is built with surface mount components so plan accordingly. I used hot glue to secure the audio leads that are soldered to surface mount pads on the main board, because I've had pads pull free on other projects. Considering that this board costs less than half the price of a third party mechanical filter (even less than a Yaesu filter) it's a heck of an investment, especially if you want to use the radio for CW.
This has transformed my Ft817ND. Had the filter fitted by Stephen Cordner as no sm experience. Posted Thusday back with me following Tuesday. Worth every penny.
This is a great product, less then one hour of work. What a great product.
This filter is a very useful addition to the versatile Yaesu FT-817. I would recommend it to any operator who takes QRP seriously.
I inserted the filter pcb in about one hour. The instructions are perfect. You need just two or three times a smooth hand with the soldering iron and the tiny smd parts. The most time I needed was to find the right place for the speaker. The first time I tested the 817 i thought I made a mistake because there was so much silence. But this is it! The filter makes life easier with this QRP rig. It is so sharp at the edges of the filter curve. Don't wait too long and purchase it!
All in all I am pretty good with a soldering iron so the install was pretty easy. There are some small surface mount components to remove(1) and solder to(1). If you've done a kit you could do this. I did have some issues trying to figure out how it operated. I thought you picked the mode from menu 38. When in fact you choose CW and it automatically selects the mode for you. Thank you to Richard who helped me out while he was on holiday. You just don't get support better than that. Great product and a great company. Did I mention, have you tried their antennas? They're pretty amazing too!
Very impressive! The installation is very "easy" for electronics engineer, no problem. The FT 817 is just a little too tight with the speaker :( And now I have a new FT817 with sharp CW filter :) I made some change to the installation tutorial. http://f4egx.blogspot.fr/2016/06/ft817-laserbeamfilter-from-sotabeams.html
I put in the headline a question." Is this a DSP Filter ? ". The answer is although it is a DSP filter, in real life it is equal or better than a more expensive "mechanical" filter. People, if you own a FT-817 and use it for SSB or CW this is a MUST HAVE....!!!! Thanks Richard,Good Job.!!! 73´s de CU2FH
Hello, please let me say something about this "bit of kit" . The performances on CW raise at top and i really doubt You will get anything better. Not with the "common" mechanical filter nor with "the other brand", from US. The SSB also IS greatly improved and I just can't believe to my ears, honest. Please keep in mind that i don't have any businnes with Sotabeams so if i had to say "bad things" ...but this NOT the case. The installation gone fine even if i never had to put my hands on that tiny SMD technology. Just follow the CLEAR instructons, get relaxed and you won't fail. Last but not least i"had" to ask something and Richard answered even if Sat evening - Sun morning. Two GREAT filters at HALF cost of just one. A GREAT PRODUCT , for (very) little money. '73 de Adriano iz3svi
Fitting this module is not for the faint hearted as mentioned in the instructions if you are not comfortable with Surface Mount components then get it fitted by someone who is. It took me about an hour or so to fit with the aid of a very fine tipped soldering iron and a pair of magnifying specs. The removal of one Surface Mount capacitor is probably the most difficult task but I had a suitable de-soldering bit for my iron which made its removal simple. If you follow the instructions to the letter you won't encounter any problems though great care is needed refitting the PCB to the unit so as to not damage the inter connecting pins on the main unit. I did replace the speaker with an RS unit Part Number 719-1964 which enables you to refit everything using original fittings. This speaker is only 7mm thick and poses no interference to the new module and sound as good as the original. The filter does exactly what it should and is really terrific especially on CW very sharp indeed. I am really delighted with the performance and am so pleased I didn't spend a lot more on a mechanical filter. Well Done SotaBeams. Tony EI6DT