Trish's FT-817 Page
817 Short Comings
Overall Yaesu's FT-817 is a great little radio and comes
highly recommended by my partner and I however we have found out a few
things the hard way and/or found some weak points any perspective buyer by
should be aware of.
1) The Yaesu FT-817 series as of "ND" has a
maximum VHF receive range of 154Mhz programmed into the unit's CPU.
This has been a problem for us as the 817 is unable to receive the
American weather radio frequencies in the 162Mhz range. This seems
a very strange design limit in a radio being sold for portable/backpack
use where reliable weather information can be of life or death
importance. (The wide band TX mods do not effect the RX band
2) The "rubber duck" antenna Yaesu ships with the
817 is notoriously poor as reported by many owners. It seems that
the antenna does not match inside the U.S. amateur range but rather
outside. SWR is the worst on the 70cm band being over 3:1 on mine
and as high as 5:1 as reported by others. SWR on 2m & 6m is better
though not great. These facts have been reproduced by many other
hams around the world using anything from the 817's built in meters to
high end antenna analyzers.
3) The built in charging circuit leaves a great deal to be
desired. The circuit is based on a fixed timer (with two or three
settings depending on the version) rather than a charge sensing circuit
that would sense when the battery has reached full charge. Also at
issue is the existing charging circuit is painfully slow requiring an
8hr charge cycle for the ND's stock 1400Mah 9.6v battery and a whopping
16 hours for a battery such as W4RT's 2500Mah 9.6v option. (Thankfully
W4RT's battery has an external quick charge option with a self resetting
fuse and a disconnect from the radio while it is in quick charge mode.)
Another work around is to either use an external battery/power source or
the "AA" battery tray with high capacity NiMH cells and remove them to
external charger when they need charging.