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
Installed the kit in an 817ND without extra filters, SSB audio greatly improved. Much less hiss which used to be very wearing on the ears. Voice sounds richer and has improved clarity. CW filter is sharp and clean. Instructions are clear and the modifications are easy as long as you have some surface mount experience. If you are not sure, ask someone to fit it for you, it is worth the expense and effort. Very good value for money and works as described on the SOTABEAMS web site. The FT 817 has needed a low cost SSB filter for a long time and this one does CW too, thanks SOTABEAMS.