Archive for the ‘yaesu’ Category

Yaesu, where is the FT-817’s successor?

As a proud owner of Yaesu gear going right back to an FT7 in 1979, I wish them well.  In  recent times, life has been very hard for them, and they seemed to lose their way. Today, they still face a threat from China and many of their radios are struggling to compete on price. I was totally amazed at their stupidity at not bringing an FT817 successor to market as we approached the solar peak.

It is rumoured that an FT817 successor will be announced at Dayton in May this year. Like many around the world, I hope they do. There is (was?) a vast market for this product as the original FT817 is now very very old. To do a successor would be so easy.  Yaesu – get real and release this product before you lose the market. To not put too fine a point on this, I think if you do not, then you risk bankruptcy within 5 years.

My recommendations to Yaesu are:

1. Design in Japan but make in China (but with excellent quality control in place from the start).
2. Launch a successor to the FT817 soon.
3. Look at your product range and rationalise it.

You must survive. This is the real world.

FT991 issues?

It looks like Yaesu have had some quality control issues with some FT991 transceivers, although I am unsure what percentage of units sold are effected. It does not look good though. It is always wise to wait a while so these initial issues are ironed out. In Yaesu’s defence, I have had an FT817 (original version with the old PA) for about 15 years and it still works as well as ever. I love it.


FT991 price dropping

Yaesu FT991

MLS are advertising a time limited offer of the FT991 and a bundled SMPSU at £1149.95. Now there will soon be an ICOM competitor albeit with no 2m/70cm but with 4m in the European version (and arguably a better radio?) at less than £1000 in the form of the IC7300.

No, I confidently predict the FT991 will sell for less than £1000 before the year is ended.  If you are in the market for a 100W radio it is a toss-up between the IC7300 (SDR based) and the FT991. At the moment, the IC7300 looks better value.

Yaesu may announce a (long awaited) FT817 replacement at Dayton next spring but don’t expect to see units in Europe before autumn 2016 or later, is my bet.  The Yen exchange rate has vastly improved (making Japanese goods less expensive to buy) and now the FT991 has a serious rival – result is Yaesu has to drop its price for the FT991 or they lose out. My advise is wait a few months.

Yaesu FT991

As I have said several times before, there is only one commercial rig that I fancy currently and that is the Yaesu FT991 that covers all of HF plus 6m, 2m and 70cm. However the UK price is still too high so I can wait and wait until the price drops. At £999 it will get serious consideration, but not at any higher price. The only other rig I fancy is an FT817 replacement, which may come later this year. Most of my operating is QRP and a 5-10W rig would suit my needs well.

Yaesu rebate (UK/ Europe)

I see MLS is offering rebates on Yaesu gear for the next few weeks. The rebate on the FT817 is £36, making the effective retail price around £413. As  far as I can see this is just a marketing ploy. A few years ago you could buy the FT817 for £349.

With the very good exchange rate currently I am surprised they don’t just slash the price and clear the shelves ready for the replacement. All development costs for the FT817 were recovered years ago, so the true retail price should be below £400. Yet again we are being taken for a ride I think.

The prices are as they are because we, Joe Public, is prepared to buy at these prices. My heart bleeds for all the poor dealers.

User Hostile! Radios that you love to hate!

Three band HT Radio, 2 Meters, 70 CM and 6 Meters

Three band HT Radio, 2 Meters, 70 CM and 6 Meters

“I hate this radio”

Have you ever said this?

I certainly have. Some radios are a joy to use. They are intuitive, easy to use and you don’t ‘NEED THE MANUAL’ every time you want to change something!

HT’s seem to be the most ‘user hostile’ radios available to hams. I know! All HT radios should have certain things, VFO, on off knob/button, volume control and keypad, and in my opinion, they should not be so difficult to use that you need to read the manual every time you want to do, what should be a simple task; change CTCSS tone of a repeater, for example!

When HT’s were reduced in size, they became more complicated to use. Menu systems were instituted. They were further reduced in size and menus were multi-layered! How many times have I yelled at my HT after holding button a for 1 second, then within 4 seconds, tried to press button 2, for 1 second but no more than 2.5 seconds, while doing 3 pirouette turns on my left foot, only then, can I use my radio. That same button has 3 functions now a days. Press it once for one thing, press it again within a specified number of seconds and you get another function. Press and hold it and you get yet another option.

Enter the English Translation, manual! Poorly translated from Japanese, but at least its in English!  (With many pertinent things omitted!)

Why do manuals go to great lengths to tell you in great detail everything that you ‘don’t want to know’ and will most likely never use or use very seldom?

But tell you want you NEED TO KNOW, naw!  Tell you how to ‘undo’ something? That would make it too easy!

Actually, I really like this VX5-R HT from Yaesu. It’s a love/hate relationship, however! So very handy, it fits in the palm of my hand, has lots of memories, and many many nice features. Accessing those features is not always easy, especially without the manual right in front of you. If you ever push the wrong button, and send it into ‘never-never-land’, its hard to un-do what you just did! One thing that was left out of the VX 5 is a memory clear feature!  That omission makes life with this radio difficult at best!

You cannot return a designated memory channel to its ‘no data’ state. The only thing you can do from the radio itself is to overwrite that particular memory with another frequency!


2 Meter IC V8000

2 Meter IC V8000

I’m not picking only on Yaesu!

This Icom V 8000 is the most ‘User Hostile’ radio that I have ever owned.

Not only is it difficult to use, but it has problems as well. The mic is notorious for a mechanical problem with the PTT button, and the external speaker jack does not work well. Unfortunately, the external speaker jack is where you have to plug the programming cable in to program the radio. The Icom program for doing this is also ‘user hostile’ BTW!

Editing and Cloning Software RT Systems I bought software and cable from RT systems to program and manage the Icom T 70-A. The HT and its programming software arrived yesterday.


IC T 70 programming software and cable

IC T 70 programming software and cable

Icom T70 A with spare battery, left, drop in charger, and speaker mic

Icom T70 A with spare battery, left, drop in charger, and speaker mic

 The Icom T-70-A, is the replacement radio for the Yaesu VX 5

It will replace the VX5 as my ‘go to’ HT. Just last night, I picked up the Yaesu VX5 the wrong way, mashed some buttons on its face and sent it into never-never-land!  Try as I may, I could not undo it with normal button press. Since the radio has an RT Systems program and cable on its way, I went nuclear, and reset the processor. Finally, the radio was operational once more. It needs programming of course but the display is no longer stuck!

It programmed the Icom T 70-A radio to my specifications with only a cursory reading of the manual. The radio is intuitive, easy to use and has some great features. RT Systems Programming Software and Cable


IC 7100 and Touch Paddles

IC 7100 with Touch Paddles

Funny, I just installed an Icom 7100 mobile HF/VHF/UHF/MF radio in my truck. That radio was ‘done right’ by the manufacturer! Its easy to program and use, so there is no need to keep the manual handy for simple tasks. I run mobile CW/SSB and VHF repeaters with it. If there were any UHF in the area, I’d have that programmed in there too. Its a joy to use!

This photo shows the IC 7100 on a modified clip board held in place with bungee cords. So far, I have not seen the need for programming software. That said, there is an SD card on board this radio. It can save the settings to the SD card. I have not explored this avenue yet. It would be nice to keep a copy of the settings on an SD card and on my laptop for future use. Something unexpected can happen. Spare radio data would come in very handy then. Replacing all the settings would be very easy with the programming/clone software. RT systems sells that one too.

Do you have a radio that you love to hate? 

Yaesu FT7 HF transceiver

Yaesu FT7 – a true classic

Way back in about 1979 I owned a Yaesu FT7. This was a 10W HF rig using a modular construction.  It was a beautiful radio with a lovely, quiet receiver.  It is probably the best radio I have ever owned and used. It predates WARC bands and only covered one 500kHz part of the 10m band and the non-WARC bands from 80m-10m. Today, it looks large. It was an analogue radio – no memories, no synthesisers – just a very good HF radio transceiver.  I worked all over the world with mine using QRP SSB and simple, low, wire antennas and no beams, mainly on 10m. In those days, most (all?) USA SSB was above 28.5MHz. Canadians were mainly below 28.5MHz.

My little FT817 has more bands and modes and is about 1/10th of the size.

I can thoroughly recommend the FT7, but they are very hard to find.  A later version was 50W pep and had full 10m coverage in 4 x 500kHz sections. The FT7 was a “real” radio – no gimmicks, just a truly amazing rig. Many who owned them and sold them (like me) later regretted selling them. As they say, these rigs are “keepers”.  If you find one you are unlikely to be disappointed.  Also, the handbook was complete so you could service it and not an SMA component in sight!

See .

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