Yaesu FMT500 - New User 1st Error Code

Does anyone have a step by step guide for a Yeasu FTM500. I am a total new user to ham and trying to use Va

raFM. My error code at this point is "failure connecting to "…see image.

I do not have a step-by-step guide, but there is Troubleshooting Digital Modes – digirig.

When you get a failure to connect, sometimes your configuration is the problem and sometimes even a correctly configured system can not connect because of distance or propagation conditions. 36 miles can be difficult unless you have a direct line-of-sight path to the other station.

You can use Vara FM modem’s Ping Test and monitor the response audio to see if you have any chance at all.

73 Constrainted

Adding to what Constrainted referenced, the goal of the Digirig related troubleshooting will be to make sure that:

  1. you get audio from the radio to PC e.g. you can hear the static and the traffic on the frequency. If you never hear any traffic while monitoring the frequency, then you may be out of range

  2. the radio keys up when it is time to transmit

  3. the signal from your radio can be heard on the air e.g. on the other local radio tuned to the same frequency

Everything else is the subject of your station’s RF performance, distance to the remote station and band conditions.

Thanks for the suggestions. The Ping Test failed.

To KOTX…so just try listening to the channel for traffic? Pretty sure I didn’t hear anything. Thanks

You maybe outside of the coverage for the repeater or there may be just no traffic on it.
If you know the location of the digipeater, you can drive there and try connecting from your station there or at least monitoring with your HT to see if there is any traffic.

Thanks Denis,

What the easiest way to find a digipeater? Is there a website?

The RMS stations are registered with Winlink.org. The digipeaters need not be registered.

With Winlink Packet, you can look up RMS stations from the Winlink Session Channel Selection tab. Once you select the frequency of an RMS station, you can watch the traffic on soundmodem to determine if there are digipeaters available on those frequencies. If traffic is sparse, you can let soundmodem run overnight and go back over the logs to see what has happened. The digipeaters are frequently CALLSIGN-7, CALLSIGN-10, etc.

You can also use the RMS stations listed in the Winlink Vara FM Session window Channel Selection tab. As I mentioned, those are RMS stations, not necessarily digipeaters. The traffic can be monitored, but I have had no luck there discovering Vara FM digipeaters. I have only learned of them by word of mouth.

Once you have the RMS or digipeater callsign, you can frequently look them up on QRZ.com or Repeaterbook.com to get the exact co-ordinates. I have driven to digipeaters and RMS nodes for troubleshooting with a magmount 1/4 wave antenna.

In my case, I had to do this before I understood how important it is to have AGC unset in mmsys.cpl!

73 Constrainted

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Wow…I thought this was going to be straightforward? I guess not.

Is it any easier for someone with an HF transceiver i.e. can reach further distances to an RMS station than with an FM transciever ??

Here are the Winlink Packet stations near your grid square:

and here are the Winlink Vara FM stations near your grid square:

The higher your FM antenna, the better.

73 Constrainted

I went through this realization a few times with Digital modes! These were fun challenges for me and I managed to make progress without spending too much money, one of my Constraints! I improved antenna height with a PVC pipe from Home Depot and some zip ties.

Do you belong to a local club? If not, find one and ask the members for advice for your location and about the tradeoffs for 2m/70cm FM vs HF.

73 Constrainted

Hi Denis,

Here is another issue. I don’t seem to be able to adjust the VU meter? Do I need to have a connection to the RMS gateway to be able to adjust the level of VU? I also haven’t did the paid version of Vara FM yey but to try a digipeater, I need the upgrade. Another question…So there is no list for digipeaters? Seems like starting with Vara FM was not the best first step…probably should have tried something easier?? I appreciate your feedback.

I belong to a club but they have a lot of other priorities and being able to Winlink seems far down the list. I have not found anyone there yet with experience with Vara FM and a digirig.

I probably doing something fairly simple wrong , so just have to stick with it.

APRS on 2m 144.390 is the easiest digital FM mode to start.

You adjust the Vara FM VU level with the audio microphone gain or the volume knob on the radio depending on the radio.

73 Constrainted

Hello Constrained…I haven’t had much time to verify feedback but one thing I tried is that if I tune the transceiver to 145.63, I don’t hear anything. So if I can’t hear anything…then WinLink isn’t going to connect either. Is that correct???



In simplex mode, with squelch off or 0, you should be able to hear background noise in my experience. The VU meter on the Vara FM modem will also indicate a background noise level. If there is Winlink Vara FM traffic, you will also hear that. You have to ask yourself:

  1. is squelch and tone squelch off?
  2. is the radio in simplex?
  3. have I set the audio input device to the Digirig USB microphone?

There is a getting started and a troubleshooting guide

If you want to hear signal traffic, listening for APRS packets on 144.390 is the better way. Some people do not live within reception distance of a Vara FM node.

73 Constrainted