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Author Topic: FT-817 recommendation?  (Read 1564 times)
KD7RQH
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Posts: 24




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« on: March 18, 2003, 07:21:22 AM »

For the past 2 months I have been seriously contemplating the purchase of a Yaesu FT-817 qrp rig.  My requirements were for an all mode HF rig which had to be extremely portable (i.e, I won't be carrying around car batteries, so forget the 706 or 100D...).  While perusing Ebay, I have seen quite a few up for auction, and many of them with expensive accessories selling for a great deal less than what it would require to purchase them new.  Am I missing something here?  It would seem that quite a few folks were less than happy with their purchase.  The reviews I have found on this site seem to be very positive for this rig and I love the concept.  What are your thoughts on this and is there something I need to know before spending $800.00+ for a setup?  Thanks for your input.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2003, 03:12:10 PM »

The FT-817 works well and is a very good fit for experienced QRP operators who have thousands of contacts under their belts.  I wouldn't recommend it for a newbie, at all.

Having used many FT-817s, I also wouldn't recommend any expensive accessories.  It doesn't need any.  One thing it can really use is a speech processor for SSB work, since it seriously lacks "punch" without one (and doesn't have one built in), so this accessory is a good one.  Most of the others are mostly wallet lighteners.

I've known a lot of hams who have bought FT-817s and then sold them only because they were disheartened by QRP operation, which takes skill, experience and effective antennas to be any fun at all.  For a newbie with a wire tossed out the window -- or, God forbid, a "Miracle Whip," which is about 20 dB worse than the wire tossed out the window -- it's very, very challenging and more work than many want to expend to cut their teeth in amateur radio.

WB2WIK/6
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KD7RQH
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2003, 05:31:34 PM »

I am still not discouraged, I would primarily be operating psk31 on the hf bands, and would finally like to get around to trying cw.  Furthermore, I have a full setup at home and would like try something new, 2m ssb, etc. as I burned out on repeaters last year (don't even touch the ht lately...).
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N9PUZ
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2003, 10:54:51 PM »

I've had my FT-817 for about a year and am very happy with it for a QRP and portable radio.

PSK-31 operation is very good. I've been quite pleased with what 5 Watts PSK can work. For an interface I bought one of the kits from BuxComm.

I agree with the other suggestion about a Speach processor. I use the One Big Punch from W4RT and it makes a big difference for SSB operation.

If you do a lot of CW operating getting the extra 500 Hz filter is a good addition but you certainly don't need it to get started.

Tim, N9PUZ
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K8AG
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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2003, 09:29:49 AM »

I agree with the others.  A lot of people get the 817 as their first rig.  Maybe even their primary rig.  It is a QRP radio and if you are aware of what that means it is really a tremendous QRP radio.  If, however, you are not an experienced ham, I would suggest avoiding QRP for the immediate and get some QSOs under your belt before venturing into QRP.  QRP takes some extra skill and patience and it is my guess that some ops don't realize this when they buy the unit.

I like the IC718, FT840 or the FT747GX for beginners.  Not many controls and great receivers.
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W9DZ
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2003, 12:17:16 PM »

I've had my '817 for more than a year and have been pleased with it.  I would not suggest the '817 as your only rig unless you are a hardcore QRP operator.  I would agree with WB2WIK regarding the need for high priced accessories.  The one exception would be a CW filter if you intend to do anything other than casual operation on that mode. A speech compressor is also helpful.  The DYC-817 is sold in kit form.  It uses the same IC as the W4RT OBP and sells for $29.  The DYC installs in-line so you don't need to modify the mic.  I got mine direct from their webpage at <wwww.box73.com>.
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AG4XH
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2003, 06:27:20 PM »

I bought the 817 as my first rig and added the CW filter and tcxo9 as well.  It was very frustrating with a less than ideal antenna setup.  I still have the rig and use it, but, also picked up an 857 with more power(I will be putting the 857 in my truck).  The only contacts I have made on the HF bands is using CW.  It works like a champ on 2 meters in phone mode and I am capable of hitting repeaters up to 20 miles away with a less than ideal antenna setup.

I plan on using it for pedestrian/bicycle mobile ops with my Z11 tuner and Buddipole antenna.  I also plan on getting a Tokyo Hi-Power amplifier as well.  Needless to say it will require an additional battery pack in this configuration.

If I had to do it over again I would have bought an FT-897 with the large internal batteries.  With this I would not need the external amp, although I would be limited to 20 watts using internal battery power.

My .02 cents.

Marty - AG4XH
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KA7QOR
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2003, 07:35:03 PM »

I bought a FT817 last Dec, I guess Im a hardcore qrp'er. Im about 90% happy with mine and I sent some suggestions to Yaesu for making improvements. Before you buy one you should consider the power supply and or batteries, no one else has posted a reply yet about the batteries. The FT817 is an AA battery eating machine. If you make a few mods, disconnect RX LED, turn off the display light and use headphones, then you can listen with a set of Duracells for 2-3 hours. I have external batteries: a ni-mh pack of 24 AAs, and a sealed wet cell 12v/2.6mah. TX with the FT817 can drain them pretty fast, about an hour at 5 watts.
I live in southern China, my XYL BG7JBA has worked Japan 10m FM on a 4 el quad, Taiwan and Australia 6m CW on a collinear wire dipole. She is a new ham and maybe her advantage is having me to mentor her. But we are pleased and amazed at what the FT817 can do with a good power source.
One more comparison: FT817 set at 500mW 70cm FM, internal batteries good for about 3 hours/ VX1R 500mW 70cm FM internal Li-ion battery good for 2 days.
Im working on designing a Li-ion pack for the FT817 and included my idea in my suggestions to Yaseu.
73!
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K8AG
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Posts: 352




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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2003, 09:34:12 AM »

I agree with KA7QOR.  The battery situation is probably going to be the weak point in any QRP operation.  Be sure that you don't mind missing a few pileups and things as 5 watts is definitely less than 100 watts.  That is probably why people sell the 817s.

Next to power, the antenna is also a significant consideration.  Tradeoffs galore.  I find that the most fun part.

I am so far impressed with my 817.

John Pawlicki, K8AG
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K1MKF
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2003, 07:39:07 AM »

I have a FT-817, as a second, portable, QRP rig.  I would never recommend it as a first or primary rig.  I had the FT-840 and it is the perfect first rig.  (The Icom IC-718 or other discontinued models are also good)  If you are looking for a QRP only rig and don't care about VHF/UHF or weight then the new Icom IC-703 offers a little more power, dsp and an auto antenna tuner.  Nice radio!  A good choice as a primary radio if you want a QRP radio.

Mark F
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