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Author Topic: FT817 Newbie (again)  (Read 5720 times)

Posts: 5

« on: February 03, 2012, 08:27:50 AM »

Hi all... I'll put the meat of my questions up front and the background below (so you can skip it if you prefer).

1) I'm interested in the latest thoughts on tuners for the FT817.  I'm eventually thinking of some backpack/p work, so the Elecraft and ZDG look promising.  Any strong reasons to pick one over the other?  Other solid options out there?

2) Until spring arrives, I'll likely need to run an indoor antenna (probably something around a 10m dipole).  With on 5w of output, any big things to worry about?  In the spring, will be looking for better outdoor and /p options.

I bought an FT817 back in the early 2000s with an LDG817 and MP1.  When it arrived, I ran into some - shall we say - 'political' problems with mounting the antenna at our QTH.  So, I had one cool weekend running the MP1 indoors where I worked a couple decent DX stations (hooray for contests) and then wound up selling the whole rig.

I'm finally at a place where I can get back into radio, and I managed to find a local ham willing to sell a gently-used 817.  The problem is that our new QTH is no better (and possibly worse) for antennas than where we used to live - albeit for different reasons.  In the near term, I can play on repeaters and maybe string up some in-house or in-attic dipole.  I know that's not going to work all that well, but I'm willing to take something over nothing.  I don't think that this level of RF should really cause any other issues, but I thought it would be worth checking before getting too far down the path.

I've thought about just hanging out an EFRW as an alternative... I could certainly fish one out a window, I think.  But, I'm not sure if that will be much of an improvement.

Once the weather gets nicer, I'm looking forward to being able to go out backpacking with the rig and just throwing up a better antenna out in the field.  So, I'd like to get a tuner that will allow me to play now, and work more seriously later. 

I'd love any helpful thoughts from you all...  I'm a rusty ham excited to get back in the saddle again.

Posts: 990


« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 09:18:14 AM »

Put an Alpha Delta DX EE in your attic. Covers 10, 15, 20 and 40 meters and is less than 40 feet long, and can be hung in a V shape for a smaller footprint.

Posts: 164

« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2012, 10:38:04 AM »

With regard to tuners, are you limiting yourself to auto-tuners for any particular reason?

My favorite tuner, my Emtech ZM-2, requires no power, and will tune just about anything (well, from 10-80m).
I currently have my 817/ZM-2 combination hooked to a LDG 4:1 Balun, which splits out into a random wire and
a counterpoise. The random wire runs out my 2nd story window, across the porch roof, and down a wooden
fence on the high side of the yard. My farthest contact (SSB, I'm still practicing CW) was to Moldova, 4862
miles from my QTH according to QRZ.


-- Tom

Posts: 5

« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2012, 12:53:56 PM »

KJ4FUU  No real reason other than that's the main ones I hear FT817 users talking about online.  I'll take a good, hard look at the ZM2 now, too.  I will admit a slight concern that I'll screw something up with a manual process and break something, but I suppose that's some of the adventure, eh?

AE4RV  Thank you!

Posts: 31

« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 04:47:00 PM »

Hello Brian, and welcome back to radio!  I have the Z817 tuner, and it works quite well.  I very seldom use the tuner.  The nice thing about the X817, it plugs right into the rig.  I use the Par EF10-20-40 antenna.  This is a great combonation with the FT817.  I usually run this portable while camping, but I am sure you could string it in your attic, or drop it out of a 2nd story window.  I have made many contacts with this set up.  The antenna requires no counterpoise, and is very solidly built.  It is no longer produced by Par, but it is currently produced by LNR.  You follow the instructions to trim and tune, and voila!  I am a cw op, so this is my experiences, and my opinion.  Others may vary!

73/72..Scott  N3JJT

Posts: 179

« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2012, 08:56:23 PM »

When I moved into my present home, it was early November and I'm in MN. Had no time at all to put a real antenna. The "book" say anything outdoors is a good idea so I ran a 33' length of wire out the window and into a nearby tree. All I had was my 817 at the time so I used a tuner and a 4:1 balun that came as a gift with the tuner. Actually made a lot of contacts and it kept me in radio and had fun. I also experimented with an indoor slinky, that was pretty much a dud but, ironically, the next summer I tuned it to 6 meters and made my first 50 mHz contacts during band openings.
Since then the wire has been retired. I've made quite a few contacts using a magnetic loop (mine happens to be the MFJ 1786 but there are other options), again using the 817, my SWR-20 and other qrp rigs. Between 14-30 mHz a 3' diameter loop is reasonably efficient and I've worked both coasts with as little as 3 watts.
Hang in there man. Experiment. You might be surprised at what you can do! Good luck.

Posts: 1

« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2012, 10:07:22 AM »

I have had really good success with the 817 and MP1 and no tuner. Almost neve fails to get a good match on any band even 80 with the optional coil. And it all fits in a small bag.

When I use a long wire, I use the LDG z100 tuner. It is really quick and I have made a cable that powers it from the 817 acc connection on the back of the radio,
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