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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: 287 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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K7TST Rating: 5/5 May 14, 2007 23:58 Send this review to a friend
I LOVE IT  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I LOVE my new FT817nd, but I feel sorry for my FT-840. I have not used the FT-840 since I have obtained the FT-817nd. With the FT-817 bearfoot 5 watts, I've worked some fantastic DX from my home QTH ! Date 4-13-07 N8S on Swains Island on 17 meters RST-5 8. Date 4-14-07 KH7DX in Hawaii on 17 meters RST-57 Date 4-20-07 5W0AA in Western Samoa on 17 meters RST-5 8. Date 4-22-07 NH8/K3LP in Samoa on 17 meters RST-5 9. Date 4-22-07 5W1SA in Western Samoa on 17 meters RST-5 9. Date 5-12-07 E51TUG on North COOK Island on 20 meters RST- 5 9. This was the FT-817nd into A LDG Z11pro antenna tuner and out to the antenna, 5 WATTS QRP ! I LOVE THIS RADIO !! THANK YOU YAESU !! 73's K7TST
W9DZ Rating: 5/5 May 9, 2007 10:02 Send this review to a friend
Great little radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had mine six years now and am very happy with the 817. Since I bought mine right after they became available I paid much more than they sell for today. In addition I added the W4RT dual filter board and a high capacity NIMH battery. It is a battery hog but I solved that problem by using either a small 4.5AH gell cell or an external 5AH NIMH pack I got from I also use one of the HFprojects PackerAmps when a little more power is needed.

I was amused by an earlier review here from a fellow that gave it a 2 out of 5 from his experience on 2M FM when using a rubber duck antenna! His HT did a better job on its rubber duck. Unless the two radios are compared with the SAME antenna in EXACTLY the same operating position the results are bogus. No two rubber duck antennas are alike and most are pure junk. Have you ever stuck one on an antenna analyzer? Most aren't even resonant in the 2M band!

The 817 is now a mature product and I'm waiting to see if Yaesu replaces it with something that has DSP and speech processing.
M0JHA Rating: 5/5 May 9, 2007 04:01 Send this review to a friend
fun,fun,fun  Time owned: more than 12 months
all i need say is iv just got hold of a second radio
AE5J Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2007 09:05 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have used the 817 several years now and thought I would offer my observations.

Being a long time QRP'er, I thought no one would ever eclipse the Ten Tec Argonaut. I was wrong. The 817 is superior in every area of comparison. But one thing should be kept in mind: This is a QRP rig - not a $10,000 piece of gear. If you want a multi thousand dollar rig - go for it. Don't buy an 817 and then grouse that it isn't something it was never intended to be.

Now, what can you do with an 817? Well, I have worked somewhere around 200 countries and every continent with mine using very minimal antennas -wires and verticals. With experience, if you can hear them, you can work them. You can't bust pile-ups on 20m with it. If you want to bust pile-ups spend mega-bucks on antennas - rigs won't do it.

What can you do with an 817? You can put the fun and challenge back in ham radio. I haven't always been antenna poor. But I did lose interest running 2KW into a TH7DXX at 100 ft because there was no challenge in working anybody. Just point and shoot.

The little 817 puts a sense of accomplishment back into ham radio and for that I will forever be grateful to the folks at Yaesu. When I worked N8S in a huge pile-up on 17m with a G5RV and 5 watts my XYL wanted to know what I'd been up to!

Is the 817 perfect - no. W4RT can bring it a lot closer if you like. But like the commercial says, the 817 gave me something priceless. The joy of ham radio back in my life.

Get one for that reason alone and you will be satisfied.

73 all,
Pete AE5J
W5DAJ Rating: 2/5 Apr 7, 2007 12:41 Send this review to a friend
Horrible out of the box setup experience  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Everything was great yesterday evening when I unpacked the radio and checked that everything was in the box that should have been and it was. The only item I didn't find was the AA battery tray and I presumed it was in the radio. After far too many minutes fighting the battery cover it finally opened when I used a tiny flat blade screwdriver to slip into the latch to slide it open. The design of the latch is pathetic. The latch doesn't slide back, it pivots up and presses against the door keeping it from opening. The "engineer" responsible for that should be assembling hamburgers somewhere rather than falsely claiming to be an engineer.

Once inside, I found the battery tray connected by a tiny little connector with tiny little flimsy looking wires. After quite a long time trying to pull the connector apart I slipped and accidentally pulled from far enough back to separate the two parts. I had been holding the two pieces too close to the center for fear of damaging or breaking them. The "engineer" responsible for this should have required contrasting colors for the two pieces so it would be totally obvious what to grasp. Apparently another burger assembler in the wrong job.

I used it this morning on 2m while volunteering at a local 5k run. It worked just fine and was satisfactory to use. Driving home afterward with it and a V82 I took as backup both on, the 817 reception degraded while the V82 stayed sharp and noise free. Both were on the supplied ducky antennas.

On the plus side it's pretty easy to use and with the manual the menus are understandable and manageable. I'm going to a VE session Tuesday evening to turn in my paperwork for my general upgrade and look forward to trying it out on HF soon as well as using it with a better antenna on v/u bands.

I wouldn't have written a review this soon but the incredible stupidity shown in the battery door and connector were just too much.
XE1VE3OQC Rating: 5/5 Mar 20, 2007 07:25 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Portable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have the 817ND and this little radio for the past few days has been great.I went back packing over the weekend in the Sierras north of my QTH in Mexico and found this radio works just fine without any problems.I brought the regular NiMh pack and a stack of regular batteries along with a small solar panel for the pack.At an altitude of more than 6´000 ft,and several whip antennas the radio worked quite well.I also have a military handset (Sonitronics) that I adapted for use on the radio and this made it even more handy.The audio is quite robust without distortion,half volume was quite sufficient.As all or most packers know you need a counterpoise with the system if using monoband antennas.I use Hustler coils with a 22¨length of braid inside a PVC tube with a 259 connector to the BNC on the radio.This makes up the lower half of the antenna and once it is tuned is a good combo for the 817.I found that with regular QSO´s, about 3 per hour @2.5 watts or less the battery pack lasted on average 3 hours,not disappointed at all by this.
Very nice Yaesu,keep up the good work.

PHINEAS Rating: 4/5 Dec 21, 2006 11:42 Send this review to a friend
If you have the will, you can work this radio.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have read all of these reviews about small displays, and buttons. Also about how the power of the tranceiver is not enough. First of all, I almost never used the knobs on this radio. Old laptops are cheap enough to use one as a radio controller. Hamradio Delux with a CT62 cable gives you full remote capabilty. Since a lot of features can be stored in memory channels, I only use the display access memory channels when a computer is not present.

Battery Life. If you are creative, you can find a place like Bateries plus and make a lightweight portable Lithium battery. I had one built the would give me 5000mah that weighs about 8 ounces. The internal battery I just use as a reserve. Also, with the low price and weight of switchable power supplies, this will not add much weight to your pack either.

Contacts. Antenna, location. Nuff said. If you can hear a person at S9 and they are running 100 watts, you should still hear them at S3-S5 with 5 watts. This myth about power is another thread.

Finals. I have always wondered with all of the hardware and software mods, how many people messed up their own radio. Or how many people accently switched from the front antenna to the rear antenna.(This is pretty easy to do and forget about it!)

WX Coverage. This was one of the dumbest things that Yaesu did IMHO! However, how many hardcore packers are not going to carry a scanner or an HT as a backup.

It is my opinion that the only REAL short comings on this radio is the lack of filtering, output power and the display. Otherwise, this radio is really great for what is is. It is the only radio out there that is like it. I have done everything from SWL, CW, PSK, SSB, FM, Satelite, SSTV, Echolink, etc... With this radio, a West Mountain PNP and a laptop, it will do almost anything, and runs on batteries!

This radio is not perfect. They could have at least included one narrow band filter with it. With the price of the FT857ND w/DSP coming down some, the price of the FT817 will wind up about the same price when you start adding just 1 filter!

I am about to buy another one of these for Xmas. I have the Japanese version, and need to get the US version now that I am back in the US. I already have an 857 that I can rip out of the van if I need a higher power portable.

Do not sweat the small stuff. IF your radio works, then just use the @#$% thang!

KK7SS Rating: 5/5 Dec 1, 2006 19:40 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Portable...  Time owned: more than 12 months
My comments about the FT-817 are based on having owned two 817's, one 857 and one 897 amongst other rigs. I have kept the 817.

KB3MMX wrote:-
-Complicated menu system for basic functions.
It has almost the same menu layout as the FT-857

-No agc,not that I could find
In the menu under the 'B'

-VERY POOR operators manual from Yaesu!
I find it acceptable.

-Filters are an "arm and leg"
Same filters as the FT-857

-How do you turn on auto repeater offset?!?!
In the menu under button 'A'

-no DSP
Optional on the 857D

-High stability TXCO is not standard
Optional on the 857D

Using R/C 9.6V battery packs I find that I'm not loaded down and I can operate for quite a reasonable time.
KB3MMX Rating: 1/5 Dec 1, 2006 10:00 Send this review to a friend
Overpriced-No DSP  Time owned: months

The best feature of this rig is portability with the internal battery, althought operating time is limited. The Reciever is "ok", I think it is on the noisy side personally, the 857D is more sensitive.

Here's some of the things that really turned me off:

-Very small and hard to read screen.
-Complicated menu system for basic functions.
-Poor battery life @5W
-No agc,not that I could find
-VERY POOR operators manual from Yaesu!
-Weak audio output(speaker)
-recieve very succeptable to interference
-no DSP
-Filters are an "arm and leg"
-How do you turn on auto repeater offset?!?!
-HF through UHF on same so239(back) requires a duplexer unless you want to unplug all the time to switch antennas or run another line on the front of the radio(in the way!)
-Overpriced, considering you could have bought a 857D for a little more and had a LOT more flexibility.
-High stability TXCO is not standard

Other than that, the DC-Daylight ability of the rig is a nice thing to have. Definetely would carry an external power source if you intend to actually operate any amount of time in the field.
WA2DTW Rating: 5/5 Nov 10, 2006 06:41 Send this review to a friend
Very good, very compact rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have owned this rig now for 5 years. It covers everything from 160M to 440 mHz (excluding 220), with a general coverage receiver. All modes imaginable. Very compact, can take it almost anywhere. A very good CW rig (if filter is added). Extremely versatile.
Draws a great deal of current, so that it is not possible to use AA batteries to transmit for more than a few minutes on medium power (unlike a HT). It does work well with a gel-cell. It is necessary to add an additional filter for CW, and perhaps for SSB also if you are a serious operator. The rig has no DSB, no speech processer. In order to tune an antenna, one must go into the AM mode in order to get a sustained carrier. W4RT has a good remedy for all of these issues. The menu is complicated, particularly if you own more than one rig (which have differing menus). The buttons and the lettering is tiny. I find that I have to consult the manual frequently, even now. It lacks the intuitive simplicity of a Ten-Tec Argonaut.
That being said, this rig has given me a great deal of enjoyment and I recommend it. It is a very good QRP rig. With W4RT accessories, it is a great rig.
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