Trish's FT-817 QRP Page

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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 limits.)

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.