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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Yaesu FT-817 Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-817
Yaesu FT-817 Reviews: 285 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $769
Description: All band 160m thru 10m plus 6m, 2m and 70cm, all mode QRP rig with internal batteries. PL259 on rear, BNC on front.
Product is in production.
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KE8BSR Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2016 06:12 Send this review to a friend
Incredible Rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
(Now NQ8RP) Got this rig @ Dayton this year. What an incredible little rig. Got the CW 500Hz filter a few months ago and it really takes it to the next level.

The radio is super sensitive (even more so with a decent antenna), and I've made contacts as far as Norway from my campsite in the Daniel Boone National Forest (Kentucky). To maximize the rig's performance, I use resonant antennas (simple dipoles) - generally working 20 meters.

With a 12V/12AH battery, I can work the weekend with battery life to spare.

There's a ton of YouTube videos on tips regarding getting the best performance out of this rig. It has certainly helped me.

73... Roger / NQ8RP
AF7RV Rating: 5/5 Oct 16, 2016 18:40 Send this review to a friend
Versatile! Awesome Range!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought a used FT-817 (not ND) from an estate. It had blown final amps so I sent it back to Yaesu for rework. Great rig! About the size and weight of a hardback book and really belts out the signal on a well engineered antenna. From NW Washington I've hit Colorado and Texas 59's on 20 and 17M for both sender and receiver. I bought it with known issues but the repair was not expensive. For $100 purchase price and $150 repair I now have a $600 rig that fits in a backpack and can keep up with the big boys!
N0TES Rating: 5/5 Sep 17, 2016 18:42 Send this review to a friend
The last rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
This old rig has seen hundreds of thousands of miles as a mobile and back pack rig. One of my favorite things about this rig is the speaker is loud enough that you can hear it, even over the road noise. The next thing is that the screen has survived extreme heat, without developing lines. This isn't a review about my other rigs, which are fine and serve a purpose, but this one serves every purpose that I've been able to throw at it. The perfect size; when other rigs are still trying to be smaller, this one already is. I call it the last rig, because it's been the only rig that I've not sold. Some rigs I've sold, then bought new again, but this one will never be sold.
KK4WEY Rating: 5/5 Sep 9, 2016 09:51 Send this review to a friend
Small and Effective  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this radio for portable/mobile use. I'm impressed by its build and receive quality. I've had great results paired with band specific hamsticks. As for power, a 12v 9ah rechargeable battery has worked as planned. This radio has already become my favorite.
KB1GMX Rating: 5/5 Sep 29, 2015 04:13 Send this review to a friend
Very good  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I got mine used, knew the prior owners so I knew its history. No question its a durable radio.

First the nits.
Its high current drain on receive.
Menus out the ears.
why two connectors?

Small and very portable.
Works far better than I'd expect on 432.
decent receiver,
flexible all mode operation.

It took me a long time to decide to buy one.
The menus and small display were not my cup of tea. However looking for a 432 radio and a price
left few choices and many were quite old or large.
I finally bit the bullet and was somewhat relieved that the menus were not a major annoyance and I manage to operate the radio well with a little time nose to manual and a bit of internet.

Its not perfect. The high battery drain was annoying in receive. The only solutions were either go to high capacity NiMh or aftermarket Lithium type. I put Nimh internal and its much better. For extended runs an external rechargeable Lipo pack gives the run time I need without the weight.

I use it when not grid hunting on uhf for HF mobile and it does a fine job. On a full size antenna like a dipole at height I'm heard and sometimes not believed about QRP.

Over all a good experience and one of the few solutions of its type that covers a lot of modes and bands.

Not a real 5 but I can't give 4.5 so, we round up. The bigger statement is I'd suggest it to anyone that is looking at low power radios that can do more than CW. There are few other choice out there that can over the range of bands.
DL1AIW Rating: 5/5 Nov 18, 2014 02:27 Send this review to a friend
great for portable use  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
As always I have to mention at the beginning that it is useless to compare this rig with others or more recent ones several times the price!

It is my no.1 portable rig since I bought one via eBay. It does everything you expect with qrp-power at remote places or SOTA summits, which was the reason for me to buy it. First pro is the overall-coverage of all amateur radio bands from 160 m to 70 cm. Every mode I know can be used, but I prefer CW in the field and occasionally also SSB. For CW the use of a 500 Hz or even 300 Hz filter is highly recommended, otherwise your brain has to do a lot of work in "filtering" adjacent signals (it can be done, fits your brain but is not really convenient...). I also use it at home from time to time as a qrp-station in JT65 mode on shortwave.

As always the case with small rigs the operation might be a little bit difficult due to limited place on the front side. But nevertheless after a short time of "training" this isn't a problem anymore. Same has to be said with the menu-driven items. Reading the manual maybe more than one time isn't the last thing to be done here.

If you are abled to use big antennas in the field the use of the IPO-button is a must while the ATT ins't used so often. One can also use the RF-regulator for best results.

Mechanically the rig is extreme stable compared to others. The price for this is its higher weight compared to some other rigs, but I personally like to pay this price. I've used other qrp-rigs in the field and experienced the value of a stable construction very quick...

Internal battery is ok, but if higher capacity (extended activities with 5W) is wanted an external battery would be of use. 12V isn't a must here, the rig works with 9,6 V and above. So I constructed a small device changing 12 V of the external battery to 10 V used by the FT 817. This reduces the power consumption of the rig quite a bit and extends the battery life in the field.

After all I would buy it again!
M3RTX Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2014 09:58 Send this review to a friend
Great fun radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I'm on my second one and what a great fun radio!
I have had several different radios and find this to be lots of fun.
Keeping this with dtmf mic and my TS50, TS850 . the rest must go. 73
W5RHR Rating: 4/5 Feb 10, 2014 08:56 Send this review to a friend
band stack vfo issue  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Only had the rig a few weeks, but I am having issues with the band stack VFO system.
VFO A is remembered for every different band I switch to, but VFO B remembers the last frequency setting and will not follow the band change
Other than that its nice for what it does.
KA3RCS Rating: 5/5 Jan 2, 2014 00:25 Send this review to a friend
Vastly more than just a QRP radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I first saw the FT-817 advertised, I knew that my dream radio had become a reality. Here was almost everything I ever could have imagined, all packed into a tiny, rugged, portable package. I already had experience with various earlier rigs with a similar form factor, such as the FT-690R and FT-290R, but each of those only covered a single band. Here was the equivalent of those, as well as my FT-101ZD and HR2510 (no FM or usable AM on the 'ZD), a general coverage receiver, and even more (such as an all-mode UHF rig and SWR meter), all in one package, and far smaller than any one of them! The only exception was that some of them offered higher transmit power; more on that later. It was like putting my entire shack, and then some, in a device which could fit in a large coat pocket!

I purchased my first FT-817 new in 2001. It shares a very special status with only one other model: it, as well as the VX-7R, are absolutely my two favorite radios ever made, bar none. I have dozens of radios, and have probably had hundreds over the years, and have used even more...these are simply the best of the best.

To lump the FT-817 into the category of merely a QRP radio is to do it a serious disservice. It is an extremely versatile, high performance, all-mode HF/VHF/UHF transceiver and communications receiver, with no competition; it is truly in a class of its own. It is quite competent in a high RF environment, and is on a par with all but much more expensive and larger radios (and actually quite superior even to a lot of those). It sounds every bit as good as the FT-857 (another excellent rig which I shall review as well), and actually much better than some rigs, such as the FT-450 (all on the same external speaker for a fair comparison). Its front end far outperforms those of various HF and VHF/UHF radios such as the IC-2720H and IC-706. Some other models may outperform it on a specific mode or band subset, and some with much more limited frequency coverage may draw less current on receive, but there is simply nothing else available with so much capability in such a superb form factor.

Those who downplay it as a QRP rig are likely the same ones who complain that the VX-3R only puts out 1.5 watts. It happens that 5 watts is only about 2 S units below 100 watts. Not only have I worked other states on 6 meter SSB with a telescopic whip and other countries with a wire antenna on the higher HF bands, I have even worked Europe on 75 meter SSB with 5 watts from an FT-817 into a horizontal loop at about 20 feet. A good antenna is far more important than lots of power. A proper low power radio is also vastly more efficient running from a battery supply than a 100 watt radio turned down to 5 watts. Of course, for those situations where more power is desired, various amplifier options exist as well.

I like this radio so much that I bought several more used ones at hamfests. One has a few scratches, while the other one is almost mint, but both are functionally perfect. I have never had a hint of final amplifier trouble (or any other real issues, actually) with any of them. I wonder how much of the final 'problem' is caused by followers of the golden screwdriver school who go into the service menu and crank it up to 10 or 15 watts...

I have heard complaints about the small display and tuning knob. They are perfectly sized for the form factor of the radio. Making them any larger would mandate a larger radio, and would therefore detract from one of its greatest advantages over anything else even remotely comparable. There are plenty of larger radios available for those who find such things necessary.

It would have been nice to have a tilt bail included, but Peg Legs (which I only discovered when I found them already fitted to my most recent used radio) solve that issue quite elegantly. I've since obtained them for the other radios as well.

I installed the TCXO-9 in my original radio long ago, and recently did the same with the others. That makes a tremendous improvement in frequency stability, particularly after zero-beating them to WWV so that the tones sound identical on AM, USB, and LSB. It was interesting to note that most if not all of the TCXOs which I have obtained over the years came from the factory slightly off frequency (much like those in several FT-897s I know of, as well as my FT-450). I realize that some people don't care, but I really find it pleasant to dial in even frequencies regularly and notice that high profile stations very often sound exactly right. Of course, there are those people who simply cannot tune an SSB signal; they probably wouldn't benefit much from a TCXO. ;)

If one wants more power and/or a larger knob and display, all of these are available in the form of the FT-857, which uses many of the same accessories and a similar menu system (and which is exactly what I got for a dedicated mobile rig).

In summary, the FT-817 is a superb radio which still blows away anything else ever made, over a decade later. It is so versatile that I have even used it as a piece of test equipment already. It's just so much fun to use, does so much, and works so well...I would give it a rating of 10 if I could!
KD6HUC Rating: 4/5 Jul 23, 2013 17:30 Send this review to a friend
Nice,but kinda limited  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've had this rig for about four months now and overall quite happy with my purchase. I ALMOST gave it a three because of the really Lame-O internal battery life. Honestly,it's a waste of time! Other than that,I really like mine. I use it mostly for backpacking and mountaintopping,so it makes my bag infinitely lighter. I really can't wait to get more competent at CW so I can really make this rig shine.
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