Digital audio noise on receive when using WIRES-X

Back in February, I bought myself a Yaesu FTM-100DE with the intent to use it connected to a PC for WIRES-X. In the meantime, I’ve been using it to talk to friends via a YSFReflector and I wrote about how to build a Yaesu System Fusion reflector on this site here.

When I finally got around to using it with WIRES-X, connected to a PC in direct mode, I discovered a big problem with the received audio. Every single station I received had what I can only describe as a digital noise in the background. This wasn’t present during normal FM, wasn’t there when using C4FM to talk via a reflector and wasn’t there if I used C4FM simplex on either 2m or 70cms. It was present on both internal and external speakers and I tried numerous things to get rid of it, including wrapping every cable in and out of the radio around multiple ferrite cores. With hindsight, this was unlikely to resolve the problem because the radio wasn’t actually transmitting at the time, it wasn’t an RF issue.

You can hear what it sounds like by clicking the play button below or if that doesn’t work, click here.

To me this was unacceptable. Yaesu are very proud of the audio quality of WIRES-X and don’t like their rooms being bridged to other networks because it can potentially reduce the audio quality. In my previous post, I commented that I thought the quality of C4FM is better than D-STAR and DMR and so this digital noise was quite a shock to me.

My first point of call was to post in the WIRES-X group on Facebook where I had a lot of replies from people with the same issue but nobody could offer a definitive cure. I was advised to ask Yaesu in their official Facebook group. I joined that group and asked the same question as I hoped that out of the ten thousand members, someone might be able to offer some advice.
My post wasn’t even approved, instead I was advised to contact Yaesu support directly.

I emailed Yaesu in the UK who referred me to the retailer I’d bought the radio from originally so I contacted them and within a day they had an answer for me.

It appears that there’s a mod for the radio which eliminates this digital audio noise and it consists of just three surface mount components.

I asked whether I could do it myself but was told that it’s their job and I’d just have to return my wireless for them to fix it so I dutifully boxed the radio up and shipped it back.

A week later, my FTM-100DE has been returned to me and I’m very happy to report that the digital noise I experienced has completely gone. There’s no trace of it whatsoever, the audio is perfectly clear.

If you have this problem on any of your Yaesu radios, contact your retailer who should be able to easily and quickly fix it for you and be aware that if it’s under warranty, they shouldn’t charge for the repair. It seems that many radios suffer from this, it’s a common issue but it’s not normal and it’s not something you should live with.

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