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

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-817ND
Yaesu FT-817ND Reviews: 68 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $589.00
Description: The world’s first self-contained, battery-powered, Multi-mode Portable Transceiver covering the HF, VHF, and UHF bands! Despite its incredibly small size (5.3" x 1.5" x 6.5"), the FT-817 delivers big performance! Its next-generagion PA puts out five watts on all HF bands, plus the 50 MHz, 144 MHz, and 430 MHz bands, on all popular operating modes: USB/LSB/CW/AM/FM/Packet/PSK-31/RTTY. Now the 817 legacy is even better with the introduction of the FT-817ND, which includes coverage of the U.S. 60-meter (5 MHz) band, and it also includes a 1400 mAh NiMH Battery pack (FNB-85) and NC-72B Charger!
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WZ4I Rating: 5/5 Nov 13, 2014 02:23 Send this review to a friend
Great for portable operation  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned the FT-817ND for a couple years now. Excellent back-packing rig. Compact, lightweight, with multi-band coverage makes this a winner for Yaesu. Ditch the internal battery pack and go with a 20C 2200mAh 11V 3 Cell LiPo battery pack, and add a ZM-2 Transmatch and you have a great back-packing rig.
PU1RYM Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2014 16:22 Send this review to a friend
Perfect One, Small, Mobile and totally functional  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Perfect for moutain tops, works great with a good antenna and just very low power. I'm surprised.
K7SZ Rating: 5/5 Oct 22, 2014 19:26 Send this review to a friend
Out Bloody Standing!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I just bought my 3rd 817. This time it was the "ND" model. My first two were the original models. The 2nd one had to go back to Yaesu for replacement of the driver transistor, but that was the only glitch ever encountered. I used these first two rigs in just about every situation imaginable. From base station to portable DX station, to ARES/RACES primary go-bag radio.

During the K5D DXpedition to Desecheo in 2009 I was house sitting at my daughter's place in Tampa in a housing estate that did not approve external antennas of any sort. I ended up putting up a couple of dipoles in a palm tree about 15 ft off the ground and worked K5D on three bands using about 3-4 watts from the 817!!! Great rig!!

Personally I love this rig. I am keeping my latest 817ND as I truly believe that this rig is one of the most flexible radio sets ever made. Don't misunderstand, the 817 is NOT a GREAT is an ADEQUATE radio that does an amazing number of things WELL. Not great, but well. You can't get outstanding performance without sacrificing in some areas. The 817 is no exception. However, the overall impact of this radio on the ham radio hobby is nothing short of amazing.

The FT-817ND has a tremendous number of non-Yaesu accessories. It also has a cult following who absolutely love this rig. More than a few of which will undoubtedly take exception to some of my comments in this review.

If I could have only one rig from now until I die it would be the FT-817ND. Period. It does just about everything I want and, through the judicious use of HF and V/UHF linear amplifiers you can DX with the big-boys on the bottom end of 20m and provide emergency comms for ARES. Buy one. You won't regret it!!!

KM4DYX Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2014 16:12 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm a new ham, so take this for what its worth.

I did my homework before purchasing my 817ND. Its small size, internal battery, and overall suitability as a portable rig really appealed to me. I didn't envision myself as a rag chewer or contester; I was enamored with the notion of being able to (without any supporting infrastructure such as cell towers or satellites) communicate hundreds and even thousands of miles with a rig I could carry in a day pack.

The FT-817ND has exceeded all of my expectations. In the two weeks that I've been on the air I've made contacts all over the South East (and once into Canada) on 40 meters (I'm in NC.) I've also made contacts as far away as California and Italy on 17 meters. Sometimes my signal report is a little low, sometimes its a solid 59, but either way I'm getting through.

I run my rig with an external Energizer XP8000 battery, which boosts the output somewhat above the default 2.5 watts. My antennas are simple wire dipoles; my 40 meter dipole is at about 8 ft above the ground and my 17 meter dipole is at about 16 ft. Neither antenna is in an optimal location.

I've read more than once that the Ft-817ND shouldn't be a ham's first radio. I cannot agree with that. I think it makes a great economical first radio. It is versatile and capable and it will force you to learn about propagation and antenna construction in a way that a big base station rig would not.
K6TTD Rating: 4/5 Jul 17, 2014 00:20 Send this review to a friend
A Great Compact QRP Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had my 817nd for about two weeks now. I have had a chance to run it through some of its "paces," doing on-air tests with my 2-element STEPPIR @ 30'.

Clearly, this isn't typical of real-world portable use, but it gives me a chance to get a feel for the rig and some of its capabilities. I've also had a lot of fun while testing the rig.

I've participated in a VK/ZL sideband roundtable on 20 Meters and made a number of stateside contacts, and DX CW qso's into Europe, the South Pacific and Asia, mostly on 20.

I am using it stock, without the accessory roofing filters or the bhi DSP unit - all of which I purchased but have yet to install.

First things first, this is NOT my Elecraft K3, or my K2, especially in terms of the receivers in these rigs. Anybody who tries to compare the 817 to any top-tier QRP or fixed station rig, as some some have, is being unrealistic. It just isn't a fair comparison.

The 817nd is fine for what it is: A very small, versatile and reasonably simple rig that is designed primarily for "back pack" portable use, that can also serve as a decent "go kit" radio for emergencies. The receiver off-the-shelf stands up well against my old stock FT-100, though it seems a little more sensitive and prone to noise. In fact, one thing I noticed is that QRN made working weaker stations more fatiguing at times. I expect the installation of crystal filters and the Bhi audio DSP unit will make a major difference here.

The transmitter performs quite well, even given the maximum output of 5 watts. On SSB, the signal and audio reports were always solid - though I am using the "One Big Punch" modified mic with audio speech processor and Heil mic elements, which make a substantial difference compared to the stock mic.

(1) Extremely small size and light weight. It is little bigger than a typical paperback mystery novel.
(2) Very versatile, covering all bands from 160M to 440MHz.

The only "cons" I've found with this rig are:

(1) the small display and control knobs (bad eyes and fat fingers),

(2) the myriad layers of menu selections to adjust the rig,

(3) the tuning resolution in cw is a small problem. The 817 won't let you tune to the nearest Hz - the smallest tuning step is .1 Hz.
But these are trade-offs you will find with any versatile rig that has been designed for versatility, portability and light weight -

(4) The stock un-filtered receiver, while fairly sensitive, tends to be more prone to QRN and QRM noise levels than either my FT-100 or my Elecraft K2

Note: I haven't operated this rig running on battery power, or under "contest" (crowded) conditions, so I cannot evaluate the FT-817 from those angles.

Over-all, the FT-817 is a great rig for QRP portable or EMCOMM "go bag" use. I've had a blast operating it so far, and look forward to putting it through its paces once it is fully built-out.

SV1JRF Rating: 5/5 May 22, 2014 12:25 Send this review to a friend
Excellent qrp transceiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I will never sell it. I think that says it all.

N8HM Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2014 14:15 Send this review to a friend
Great, versatile rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great rig! I've made over 1,000 QSOs in 106 DXCCs with the FT-817 and an AlexLoop antenna. Now I have two FT-817s and use them as a full-duplex all-mode satellite station (see my QRZ profile).
KC2UGV Rating: 4/5 Apr 26, 2014 17:25 Send this review to a friend
Nice compact QRP rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This rig is a very capable wide-band receiver, and a very good qrp transmitter.

While it is a "menu" rig, if you've ever owned a Yaesu product before, you'll get what their little acronyms for things are, and you'll quickly find your way though the one-deep menu (Yes, it's only one option deep).

The oddest UI thing is the ABC buttons, and they take a bit of getting used to.

A couple of faults: There's no kickstand for the radio. Sheesh Yaesu, you didn't really think people would use this while strapped to their shoulder, did you? Come on...

Next thing: The included ducky antenna is straight out in front. Great if you are carrying it with the strap, not so much for 90% of the time you'll be using it. Buy a right-angle BNC adapter.

And lastly, the charging method. You have to put it in "charge mode" to charge it. This is right out silly. Nothing else in the world works like that. If it's on ext power, charge the batter pack, if there's power to do so. Shut it off when the pack is charged. Easy peasy.

Those three items knocked it from a 5 to a 4. Operationally, it's a fantastic rig for the money.
KF7ZQM Rating: 5/5 Feb 11, 2014 21:18 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Ft-817ND is a great rig. I've made lots of CW, FSK31, and SSB contacts all around the country, and a few other countries, with good reports. I use a LDG Z-817 Tuner, an OCF dipole antenna with a 4:1 QRP balun from Balun Designs, a Tigertronics SignaLink USB, an old Dell laptop computer, a small 20W solar panel, and a salvaged deep cycle battery to complete my station. While the whole set up cost some money, it didn't break the bank. It is also portable. The only complaint I have about this great radio is that it is a little too small. I have big fingers!
K7LZR Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2013 12:29 Send this review to a friend
7 years later.....  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well, its been 7 years since I bought my first FT-817. These rigs have been everywhere with me over the years and and have been used in almost every conceivable configuration from base station to mobile to backpack/picnic table portable and even bicycle & pedestrian mobile.

To date, there are still no other portable radios on the market which compete with the FT-817nd in terms of versatility. I considered the Elecraft KX-3 for my uses as well but ended up staying with the FT-817nd because of its 2m, 70cm, airband, and FM broadcast capabilities. I do use all of these bands and modes. For example, I'm somewhat active on 2m SSB & CW with an 11-ele. beam antenna. Couldn't get there with a KX-3.

Some folks say that the 5-watt transmitter output is a serious limitation. I personally haven't found it to be a problem and am usually able to contact the stations which I try for. In base radio configuration I use an external 100w HF amplifier and it works well.

I installed the Windcamp LiPo battery in my FT-817nd several months ago and it works great and lasts for a long time between charges.

All in all, I just don't think that as of yet you will find a more adaptable & versatile radio.

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