Full Features for the Yaesu VL-1000 Quadra Amplifier with any transceiver

By Jerry Flanders, W4UK

Introduction: Your Quadra can automatically change bands, change antenna ports, preset the antenna tuner, and power up/down following your ICOM/Kenwood/Whatever transceiver.

FL-7000 Amplifier users: See last paragraph.

Caution: I have developed this information and hardware for my own use. I was extremely careful during development to insure that I did not damage my equipment. The information I present here worked for me. It may not work for you. Before you interconnect your equipment as I describe here, please satisfy yourself that it is safe to do so.

My Quadra now comes on whenever I turn on my ICOM IC-756PRO, follows it from band to band from 160 meters to 6 meters (all WARC bands included), and selects the appropriate antenna port just as if it was connected to a Yaesu transceiver. Your Quadra can do this with your transceiver also, provided that the transceiver’s operating frequency can be read by a computer and the transceiver has a +13.8VDC output.

The conventional interface recommended by Yaesu to use the Quadra with non-Yaesu transceivers is detailed in the Quadra manual, and an ICOM implementation of it is described on Adam VA7OJ/AB4OJ’s web page. This method does not include any provision for automatically changing bands/antennas/antenna tuning on the Quadra to follow the transceiver, or of automatically turning the Quadra On/Off with the transceiver.

The additional features require the following 2 items:

  1. To turn the Quadra on/off from the transceiver, you need to supply +13V (or thereabouts) from the transceiver to the +13.8V pin on one of the Quadra’s “BAND DATA” sockets and set the Quadra’s rear-panel “REMOTE” switch to ON. Note: The +13.8V line is a signal input line, not a power supply output line. It turns the Quadra on when it senses around 8V or more on this line.

  2. To get full band/antenna switching, the Quadra needs TTL-level band-data signals emulating the Yaesu standard (a 4-bit binary code per table below, with 0001 = 160m, 0010 = 80m, …. 1010 = 6m). The signals can be fed to the Quadra at either the Quadra’s Band Data 1 (8 pin “semi” DIN socket) or Band Data 2 (15 pin D-SUB socket). These signals can be supplied by the logging software, and are intended to automate antenna relay selection.

If you have already interfaced your transceiver to a computer so that your logging program knows what frequency the transceiver is on, the “Antenna-Relay” control signals may be asserted on the LPT port simply by telling the software to enable them and which port to use. In this case, you just need to make up two cables and connect it all together. Sound easy? It is. See “Software Notes” later if you are not yet running a logging program like this.

I use the Band Data 1 socket to connect to the LPT port, and use the Band Data 2 socket to connect the +13V on/off signal and FSET lines.

Additional cables are needed to connect the ALC (mandatory!) and PTT lines per the Quadra manual. I use a stereo cable with RCA jacks on each end.

NOTE: Pictorials in some of the Yaesu manuals may incorrectly show pin positions for the 8-pin DIN band-data socket, and may also show a non-standard pin numbering configuration. This caused me some confusion until I discovered this. For this reason, you should perhaps just follow the pictures of my cables.

Here are the new cables:

LPT to Quadra Band Data 1 cable, viewed from pin end
LPT to Quadra Band Data 1 cable, viewed from pin end

The colored lines show the connections. You can verify your connections by continuity between the indicated pins (only) while looking at this pin end view. I converted the band data cable that came with my Quadra, and these were the actual colors of the wires I needed. Isolate and tape off the remainder of the wires if you do as I did. Note: the 8 pin DIN from Radio Shack will not fit the Yaesu socket. You need the genuine Yaesu plug.

The second cable provides the on/off control and FSET lines. Refer to the Quadra documentation and your transceiver’s manual for the proper interconnections. For the ICOM line, the following works for the IC-756PRO and probably all other recent ICOM radios as well (verify yours before plugging it up):

ACC2 to Quadra Band Data 2 cable, viewed from pin end
Icom ACC2 to Quadra Band Data 2 cable, viewed from pin end

Again, the view is from the pin end, and you should verify continuity between the indicated pins. Make sure all other pins have no connection. This cable plugs into the Quadra’s Band Data 2 15-pin socket and the ICOM’s ACC2 socket (the rear panel 7-pin DIN socket). NOTE: If you are willing to give up the automatic power on/off feature, you can simply use the standard FSET cable per Yaesu’s manual. If your radio is a late model ICOM, check Adam’s page mentioned earlier for the proper connections if you have to make it up. 

Caution: Make sure the chassis of your computer, Quadra, and transceiver are all connected to a common ground before powering up with these cables in place.

Software notes:

You will have to enable the antenna relay controls in your program to generate the LPT signals. This is generally covered in the log program’s help files. Many of the logging programs have dedicated email reflectors, where knowledgeable people are available to answer questions if you need help.

Some programs reported to provide the antenna relay output data needed are CT, NA, TRLog, TRX-Manager, LogEQF, DX4WIN, N1MM Free Logger, and Writelog. The relay signals are called “top-ten device support” in DX4WIN. Some of these programs are primarily used on HF and may not output the correct LPT signals on 6 meters. If yours does not, contact the program author. 

I tested DX4WIN and WriteLog, both of which worked on all bands. DX4WIN strangely took several seconds to bandswitch the Quadra. I also tested the free N1MM logger (V 2.0.43), which initially only worked on 160 – 10 meters. I contacted the N1MM author and he agreed to add 6 meter support. Expect it to be implemented by the time you read this. N1MM logger is available, free, here.

I use WIN98SE here on the ham computer. WIN98SE provides access to the LPT port by Windows programs, but newer operating systems such as Windows NT, 2000, XP, or XP PRO may not. There are utility programs which will allow LPT access on those OS's. I don’t have direct experience with it, but one of the beta testers who implemented this interface at his station reports success on his XP PRO machine with freeware DLPORTIO.ZIP (800kb). Download it, and follow the instructions in the PDF instruction file from that same page. There are other LPT enabling programs that may work better with your program – use whatever your logging program author recommends

Note: If you aren’t currently using a logging program and don’t want to start, it is not really necessary to actually use the logging program – it is only necessary that it be running on the PC. Any old junker DOS PC that has at least one serial and one parallel port should work with one of the DOS logging programs that has the antenna relay outputs. The evaluation version of Log-EQF for DOS is a candidate, but I could not verify it because there was no rig control file for my IC-756PRO. Please let me know if you get a DOS program to work, and I will pass on what you learn.

You could use a special-purpose program, but you will have to develop your own software in that case. Remember good old GWBASIC? It is still alive, and is definitely capable of reading the usual rig’s frequency and outputting the proper code on the LPT port. If you are lucky enough to find an old DOS machine whose BIOS will let you disable the keyboard power-on test, you could make a dedicated box with it that boots only this function from a floppy with DOS and needs no peripherals.

For reference, the LPT pins used are: 9 (MSB), 8, 7, and 2 (LSB). For the bands 160 through 6 meters, the codes are: 160m (0001), 80m (0010), 40m (0011), 30m (0100), 20m (0101), 17m (0110), 15m (0111), 12m (1000), 10m (1001). and 6m (1010).

The Transceiver / Computer connection: 

Refer to your transceiver manual if you need help in implementing the transceiver/computer interface to allow the computer to read the transceiver’s operating frequency. ICOM transceivers require a level translator (CT-17 emulation) costing as little as $30 to connect to the computer’s serial port to allow it to read the frequency. Other transceivers may require only a cable.  

Other Yaesu Amplifiers: 

The FL-7000 uses the same band-change mode and the same signal levels. This method will therefore work with it also, but the connector is physically different. A few minutes spent with the Yaesu manual should reveal which pins have the 4 data lines and the common. If you have a FL-7000, please e-mail me if you wire it up, and I will add your wiring instructions on this page.

Band Data Codes
Band Code
160m 0001
80m 0010
40m 0011
30m 0100
20m 0101
17m 0110
15m 0111
12m 1000
10m 1001
6m 1010
Contents copyright © 2003-2008 by Jerry Flanders, W4UK (including images). All rights reserved. 
Page created by A. Farson VA7OJ/AB4OJ. Last updated: 11/27/2015