Posts Tagged ‘FT-817ND’

My Declaration – the Yaesu FT-817 / FT-817ND is the best ham transceiver ever made

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Mike M0SAZ FT-817ND endorsement reviewOK as many may have seen my videos on YouTube (search my callsign if you haven’t), you may know I have owned a lot of Transceivers. I have bought and sold some radios many times, just to satisfy my requirements and make me feel I have the radio for me.

The FT-817 / FT-817ND I think is the best ham radio rig ever produced. Think about it. It must be the most sold ham transceiver in history and there are tons of reviews on eHam and other sources that overall are excellent. Its a joy reading the eHam reviews – reading just how many people (like me) have an FT-817 as their only base rig and / or have sold a high end radio and are happier with the “lowly” FT-817 / FT-817ND.

The radio hasn’t the receiver of the FTDX-5000 or the K3 but you can’t fit those in your pocket. It hasn’t got the ergonomics of an FT-2000 or an IC-756 Pro III but you couldn’t get one new for under £500. It hasn’t got a 400w PA like the FTDX-9000MP but with 5 watts and the same antenna, you would only be down several s-points and don’t need to worry about the electricity bill or causing interference.

Using a TXCO, mechanical filter for your mode choice, headphones and / or external speaker, some bracket for raising the front of the rig up on the desk, a decent Mic, proper use of the carrier offset / IPO / ATT / RF gain, you have some cheap (and free) solutions to making this good radio, great.

The ‘817 isn’t the best on paper for pretty much anything but because I can use it as a single shack rig for HF thru 70cm ALL MODE!! Its cheap and small enough to be taken portable and mobile. It is long in the tooth so has plenty of options, mods and documentation – as such I am declaring it the best Amateur Radio Transceiver in the “overall” category.

Do I have some agreement?



M0SAZ goes QRP – 10 good reasons to go be a dedicated QRP station

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Yaesu FT-817ND QRPSince getting my ham ticket in 2008, I have bought and sold tens of thousands of pounds worth of radio equipment, mainly HF transceivers. I have owned a Yaesu FTDX-9000D, a couple of FTDX-5000MP’s, a Ten-Tec Eagle, a Elecraft KX3, a Yaesu FT-2000, an FT-991, a Kenwood TS-590S and a number of FT-857D, FT-897D, FT-817ND, FT-450D and FTDX-3000 radios. Perhaps I should have tried an Icom and then I would have stuck with the same radio – I don’t know why I haven’t had one, but hey.

In that time, I have been looking for the perfect radio/antenna/station for me. Of course, there’s no such thing as perfect, however, this rather expensive pursuit has lead me to consider what I have used and what sort of station I want to run going into the future. After all, these buying and selling cycles will eat into any savings and so it can’t be done forever, and I am not one to keep a dozen or more rigs in the shack gathering dust.

I have finally decided to stick with the FT-817ND and run a QRP setup. Well, two FT-817ND radios actually – one for the base / home QTH setup, the other for portable and as a backup. To explain this rationale, allow me to list the reasons for settling on a QRP station, specifically centred around the Yaesu FT-817ND.

1: I like the idea of doing more with less. Having a basic setup means the expectation isn’t so high and that adds to the excitement when decent QSOs take place.

2: Conversely, having an expensive radio and antenna system always leaves me feeling like it should work very well and when it doesn’t (like on sunspot minimums), then I feel almost cheated from the expense and level of gear to make a contact.

3: The expense is also another point. Pricey gear means that one can get too worked up about wear and tear or other potential damage the ultimately inhibits the joy of just switching on and going for it.

4: On HF, when operating QRP, I have seldom been able to make a contact after giving up with QRP and switching to 100 watts. If I haven’t been able to make the contact with 5 watts, 100 hasn’t seemed to always do the job either. 2 s-points is the difference between the two by all accounts. On VHF/UHF, my collinear is up quite high and I can work simplex and repeaters from an incredible distance 5 watts and less. Looking through my logbooks I seem to have a disproportionately high number of contacts at 5w – a good indicator that QRP is “all right”.

5: Regardless of QRP, I like a radio that can operate on batteries. Makes portable operations easier and in this age of energy uncertainty, gives the operator the option of running their station without mains power. QRP adds another dimension to this in so much as the batteries can be smaller and run for longer.

6: Correctly configured, with a few accessories such as CW filter and external speaker – a low priced radio like the FT-817ND can really punch above its weight.

7: Older, tried and tested radios like the FT-817 have had pretty much all their teething issues fixed, all mods and accessories are now very mature and known to users and the conversations and documentation is extensive vs a newer radio. Also, I feel more “at home” with the previous generation of radio such as the FT-857D or the TS-480, compared with the FT-991 or the IC-7300. These newer radios still have knobs and buttons but feel very computerised and quite distant from the operator to the RF circuits. If you are into modern radios or SDR, this feeling will be alien to you.

8: QRP radios are generally smaller and lighter – making it easier to run a compact base station or a easily transportable portable station.

9: TVI/QRM creation is not so much of a problem when running 5w and less. When running 200 watts, 400 watts or higher still – interference can be an issue unless special thought it given.

10: The equipment around the QRP transceiver – antennas, matchers, feeders, power supplies can be lighter duty which generally means smaller and cheaper.

So there you have it. Should someone interested in ham radio stop by or a fellow ham is talking to me over the air, the added dimension that the station is basic and low powered I hope creates added interest and excitement. And if I can’t work so many stations? I can just listen.

Yaesu FT-817 & FT-817ND owners resources

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

FT-817NDCalling all Yaesu FT-817(ND) owners! New resource has gone live – IRC channel ##ft817 on Freenode. Use it to talk about this great little radio, sort our problems or arrange QRP skeds! For those without IRC client software, you can use

Other established Resources:

FT-817 Yahoo Group

FT-817 Google+ Community

Yaesu FT-817ND Filter Mod

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Collins Mechanical Filter Mod FT-817I have modified my Yaesu FT-817, replacing the stock 2.2KHz Murata ceramic filter with a Collins 2.3KHz mechanical filter.I did this so I could use a better filter on SSB but still allowing me to use the Yaesu YF-122C CW filter in the optional filter slot.

The better noise shape and punchy selectivity is immediately noticeable when you turn the radio on after fitting the mechanical filter. According to the report I read on the W4RT site, the filter is also advantageous in transmit, effectively adding a few dB to the signal without touching the radio’s output power, although I haven’t proved that for myself.

I did all I could to ensure no internal interference was created when using fly leads to get from the 817’s main PCB to the Collins filter, such as keeping them as short as possible and creating some screening from copper wire strands and insulation tape, and it seems to have worked – with the antenna unplugged I am not picking up any unwanted noise caused by RF pick-up from within the chassis.

Care has to be taken to do this mod, as there are lots of tiny SMDs right next to where you need to remove/replace the filter. This mod is reversible simply by de-soldering the fly leads and refitting the Murata CFJ455K ceramic filter. For those who prefer something a little more polished, W4RT do a One Board Filter (OBF) solution which is a little daughter board that houses both the SSB and CW filters – although some delicate work is needed with this solution too. If you are not sure, ask your dealer if they fit – W4RT electronics themselves do offer a fitting service.

Photos of the modification.

Video showing the receive quality after modification.