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Author Topic: IC 703 or FT 817?  (Read 6543 times)

Posts: 3

« on: November 13, 2008, 06:05:11 PM »

Wondering which one is the better radio/value.

Posts: 1421


« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2008, 07:17:36 PM »

Their relative value depends what you need or want.  If you need 2 m or 70 cm, then the 703 is a non-starter.  If you need an internal tuner, the 817 won't cut it.

I've used both, and own an 817.  I bought it because I wanted a small multi-mode radio that covered 2 m.

If all I needed were HF, I would buy neither.  I'd go for either an Argonaut V or a K2.  I own both an Argo V and a K2, and I prefer them over my 817 for HF work.   BTW, I bought my K2 used for about the same cost as a new 703 with a CW filter.

Both the 703 and the 817 are power hogs compared to most QRP rigs.  The K2 draws less current on receive that either.

Posts: 75

« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2008, 02:43:50 PM »

These are both good radios.  I just comes down to whether you want the 2m/70cm bands or not.  I've had a lot of fun with 2m SSB with my FT-817 during the six years I've owned it.  But, really, you can't go wrong either way.


Posts: 41

« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2008, 04:38:15 PM »

I own both as well. Both are excellent radios in there areas.

The 817 is more versatile in that you can use to for general satellite, repeater, and HF work. It is also small enough to double as a HT or mobile in the car.

The only issue is the internal battery, it dose not last when you run the radio at 5w.

The 703 is a very good HF radio. The SSB quality is quite good, but ware it really shines, is in digital modes. With a EE PC/ or notebook and a usb interface like SignaLink, you can have allot of fun.

Also, nether of my radios have filters in them for CW. The only complaints I have gotten, is that my CW is slow and which it is the operator and not the radios...heh.

So to get started, you can really for go the filters, but down the road you may consider adding a CW one to aether radio, it really dose make a difference.


Posts: 120

« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2008, 06:48:47 PM »

I've owned both and liked both. Both are excellent for what they are. Only reason I only have the 703 now is that my 64 y.o. eyes don't like the small display on the 817 much. The 703 also has a good internal autotuner which is nice operating portable. In a couple of years when sunspots come back up either will make a lot of DX contacts.

Posts: 1

« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2008, 02:17:33 AM »

3jjh the 703 is not a power hog
funny how you bring it up
but not say a word
about how the Argonaut V is a big time power hog

check the specs
Icom worked to make the radio a low draw radio
receive the 703 will run on 9.6 volts
try running a K-2 at 9.6 volts

the 703, Argo V, K-2, 817 are not good field radios
817 comes close but its still too big and heavy

hear goes which is better qrp rig
depends on what you want to do

is the radio going to stay at home
are you only going to use it for hf work
do you want 2 meters
are you intrested in general coverage receive
do you want to run or listen to  am
do you want to buld it
do you want cast iron front end receive

ive owned tons of qrp radios
from hb to PM-2's 703's to NorCal kits,
used K-1's and K-2's
owned more than one Argonaut

K-2 wonderfull radio
cast iron receiever that can not be beat
but it's expensive everything costs extra

160 meters $49
SSB $99    ( the K-2's horrid on fone )
noise blanker $39
atu ect ect ect
heck they even want 6 bucks
for the finger dimple

if you want general coverage receive
sry om ham band only
want to listen to the am boys on 3885
sry no am receive or transmit
want to stop drifting no tcxo

after putting more than $1,000 in to a radio
im not about to haul it around in the field

but if your in to qrp contesting
and want a receiver that can handle strong qrm
this is the one

Argo V has all these things for less money
receiver is good but not great
she is a power hog but it does not matter if it lives
in  your ham shack

IC-703 plus hf and 6 meters
general coverage receive
is not a power hog
runs AM
noise blanker is not extra

sure the cw filter is extra but there is more than one
aftermarket supplier

817 of all of these
i like this radio the least

but if i had to carry one around
would pick this one

sure it does everything
but its kinda like a do everything tool
that does not one thing well

hard to use menu
super small knobs and read out
receiver sucks

so which is the best

there is no such thing

everything is a trade off

which do i prefer
thats subjective

what i like is not the same as what somebody else would like

but here goes

kick around take places rig the IC-703 plus

own/have just one rig
that stays in the shack for all around use
the TenTec Argonaut V

not my only rig
have others for general coverage receive and am work
for cw ( NOT FONE ) contesting and draging a dx signal out of the crud
the Elecraft K-2

of all rice boxes
own more Yaseu's than any other brand
so have a soft spot for Yaseu

simply did not take a shine to this radio
hated the radio
was a pain to use
always needed to manual to do any little thing
receiver sucked

yours truly
dit dit

Posts: 1

« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2008, 02:21:43 AM »

to make a long winded old buzzard
posting short

if i could  only own one radio
and i had to pick
between the FT-817 and the IC-703 Plus

the IC-703 Plus would be the winner

dit dit

Posts: 164

« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2008, 05:28:42 PM »

When I was shopping for a rig, my final two choices were the IC 703 and the FT 817.

The IC 703 had DSP and a few other neat features built in, like an SWR analyzer.

The FT 871ND had 2m and 70cm.

I needed 2m, and 70cm was a plus. I got the FT-817ND. If I hadn't needed 2m, I would have no problem with the IC 703.

Since the possibility exists that I will use the 817 outdoors, I sprung for the TXCO. Since I really want to learn and use CW (I'm only doing 5 watts, and phone would probably require better conditions), I also got the CW filter.

The radio is better than I am. I'm still learning its features. One thing that is a little inconvenient: Unless I've missed something, you can't program a different tone with each channel, so I would have to change the CTCSS tone with each repeater I would like to access, and change it back for a different repeater. I have no idea if the IC 703 is any different.

-- Tom

Posts: 646

« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2008, 01:12:16 AM »

Both great rigs, and as long as you know what your getting with the low power and what this means in terms of using efficient antennas then you cant go wrong with both of them.

I run qrp and /p and i don't know which one i would go for if i had to make a choice.

my thoughts on my site if your interested in my views . billy.

Posts: 121

« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2008, 06:17:53 AM »

I seldom get into these kind of discussions, it's kind of a Ford / Chevy thing.  No right or wrong answer.  But I agree that both are good radios, and it comes down to which one suits you best.  I own currently 6 six HF radios, some incl 6M and vhf/uhf as well.  If I only could have one radio I would choose the FT-817ND.  I love it still, after owning it for 4 years.  I would choose it over my 1 year old IC-706MKIIG.  I find the Yaesu menu a "intuitive breeze".  I don't care for the menu system in the Icom radios.  There is a lot of after market support specifically for the 817, such as THP's new 5 watts in 45 watts out linear amplifier (HL-45B) and LDG qrp auto tuner (Z-817).  Good luck on your decision.  

Posts: 143

« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2008, 01:45:39 PM »

I am now on my second FT-817, and I am very happy with this little rig. I refer to it as a 'Swiss Army Knife' because it will do everything, and I use it as a tool as much as a toy. It gets used as a substitute for an HT quite often, but also does a good job on PSK31 on the lower bands. If you're going to do CW, get an after-market CW filter.

Posts: 567


« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2008, 07:49:12 PM »

i love mine 817nd i've use my when weahter are nice ! i had friend had 703 but either rig are good as long you know what you want !

Tullahoma Tenn

Posts: 90

« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2008, 09:26:45 AM »

Despite some warts, I have a real soft spot for the FT-817 because of it's versatility. For example, in addition HF and AM broadcast, it's nice to have multi-mode VHF/UHF mountain toping capability, repeater access, FM broadcast, and airband. Add a decent extension speaker, a wider SSB filter plus the Collins CW filter, and the radio is actually very pleasant to listen to.

I presently have one on my computer desk teamed up with a modified ALS-600 sitting on the floor and find I do 95% of my operating here rather than on the "big rig" down in the shop. It takes up virtually no desk space and, when I go on vacation, I unplug it and toss it in the bag. This is my fourth 817. Every time I sell one I end up buying another.


Posts: 8

« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2008, 02:29:52 PM »

I have owned both rigs for some time now, and I use the ic 703 most of the time.

I am a PTP operator, (picnic table portable) and the 703 has a built in tuner, the 817 does not. The receiver in the 703 is better too.

The 703 has a built in memory keyer, great for CW ops. The 817 does not have a memory keyer.

The 703 is a Caddilac and the 817 is a Ford Ranger pick up truck. Both will get you there, just depends on how you want to travel.

From what I read on the yahoo groups, (I belong to both 703 and 817) the FT 817 has almost a cult like following. My guess is that it appeals to no coders more so than the 703.

The 703 is my main qrp rig, and the 817 is a back up, not that I have ever needed one, but just in case I have a senior moment, and break the 703, well, you know!

The 703 is a good portable rig, and can be separated from the panel face, not so with the 817.

Now if your back packing, you must decide what is important to you. If you PTP like me, then you don't have to take special care in packing it up.

I keep each rig in its own Home Depot tool case, $20.

The rigs are different!

You never see a golfer with one club do you?

QRP rigs are the same way. Gotta have more n' one!

BTW, I use a 7Ah battery and have never exhausted it in one sitting. After 2 hours I used up .2 volts of  potential.

The 703 also puts out 10 watts if needed for SSB, a feature that is nice to have.

So, there you have it, my friend!

73 de AA1IK/QRP

Ernest Gregoire

Geezer in charge on the Suwannee River

Posts: 5

« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2008, 06:59:59 PM »

Have (had) both, after the 703 broke down, for the 4th time, sold it, as is, to get it out of my sight.  The 817 is fine little radio.
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