IC7300, FT991 or wait for the FT817 replacement?

At the moment I am looking for a new rig, but I am prepared to wait some time. I have never been keen on running high power and 5-10W would serve me well. I like that the new IC7300 is SDR based, but I like that the FT991 includes 2m and 70cm.

At the moment I think I’ll just wait for the FT817 replacement. I hope this includes 4m, but it sounds like it uses the same IF as the FT991, so I guess 4m is unlikely. Ideally I think the IC7300s (10W version) would be a good bet, especially if this comes out with 4m too.

I dislike fans, so I assume the IC7300S and FT817 replacement will not have these? Lets hope ICOM market the IC7300S as a QRP radio in Europe. 10W pep is a decent power. Certainly enough power for most occasions.

UPDATE 0934z:   It would not surprise me if the FT817 replacement stayed at 5W but they also had a companion booster amplifier, maybe 20-50W. As we will be on the way down in the solar cycle next year (2016) this may be a reasonable compromise. What would they do about the auto ATU? I guess any bolt-on amp would have to have its own. I still think Yaesu seriously misjudged the market for this rig and the timing. There are so many FT817s out there and people have been gagging for a replacement/enhanced version for years. Now Yaesu is playing catch-up rather than leading. As I said yesterday, this new radio will need some seriously good features if it is to sell as well as the FT817 has done. Oh, expect some very good deals on the FT817ND early next year. The dealers will want to clear shelves in readiness of the new one.

Roger Lapthorn, G3XBM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cambridge, England.

12 Responses to “IC7300, FT991 or wait for the FT817 replacement?”

  • Guido LU8EQ:

    Hi, The FT991 for what I’ve read on the yahoo group has a lot of software flaws and Yaesu is veeeeeeryyyyyyy slow to come out with firmware fixes. The Icom 7300 looks promising. What do you really know about a Yaesu ft817 replacement??? Good post. 73 Guido LU8EQ

  • Jeff, KE9V:

    Folks have been waiting on a replacement for the FT-817 since Moses was in the bulrushes… I wouldn’t hold your breath!

    73 de Jeff KE9V

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    The 7300 looks interesting.. The 50 watt one especially. But Yaesu does not have market on being slow. I have a IC-7100 and it is a outstanding radio in many ways, but has a low TX issue which deals with the DSP.. I expect it will take another 2 years before they fix it… As far as the 991 maybe the same. Wait and see how the 7300 plays for 6 months then decide. I have had a total of nice FT-817 since they came out. Fun radio with limits an great for tradeing… That said if it did not have so many nice things going for it I would probably not have had so many. My last one I gave to my 13 yr old grandson a a gift after he passed his tech license. I am not a KX3 man. With the new beta tested firmware I can now do 10 watts all the way down to 10 volts… Elecraft is fast with firmware fixes and new goodies, but a bit expensive and with you VAT even more so… Stick with the FT-817 and give the 7300 a serious look. It maybe be in the KX3 class and a lot less for less..

  • David WB4ONA:

    The QRP-only FT-817ND is on sale at $690 (in the U.S. anyway). The 100W FT-857D is down to $850, If you’re QRP obsessed (or just plain scared) simply turn the 857D’s power down. But where you DIE with these older (but good) radios is in the Accessories, which are really Necessities (e.g., Filter$$$ & Tuner$$$). Then there is the FT-450D, which is reasonably priced yet doesn’t need a slew of expensive accessories (but the built-in ATU is a joke). The IC7300 looks interesting, but I agree with other commenters: Many of us may expire before we see FPGA bug-fix bitstreams from ICOM for the 7300. And by then, Icom will figure out a way to make you pay for it. Then there is the Alinco DX-SR9T at $720. But no ATU, a 70MHz 1st IF (I think) and no strong CW filtering (but it does have 100W, and an IQ output). Don’t get me started on Kenwood. For me Kenwood is a “Trigger Word”. Sigh – life is short – just buy them all…Best 73’s

  • peter kg5wy:

    Buy all 3 and compare. Then post the results.
    Or have ARRL review them. 🙂

  • Eric - N7ZZT:

    “If” Yaesu brings out a radio that’s supposed to directly replace the FT-817ND, what in the world makes you think it will automatically be at or below pricing levels on the existing new FT-817ND units?

    Yaesu could easily add a few neat features and slap a much higher price tag on it and there will still be folks lining up to purchase it. Don’t kid yourself, Yaesu is in the business to make money, not to encourage flea market sales level pricing on their HF rigs – QRP or otherwise.

    Quit whining about the cost. If it’s too high for your budget, buy a used one. If that’s still too high, stop drinking at the pub or bike to work. In no time at all, you’ll have the money saved.

  • ON6UU Frank:

    I would wait or buy an Elecraft KX3. I did buy the KX3, surprises all over, what a jewel.
    Now I understand why everyone is talking about Elecraft !!!

    Yes it will cost a bit more and you’ll have to stay out of the pub and ride that bike a bit longer 🙂 but you will not regret it !!

    73

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    THE only radio I have ever owned and still own that matches the KX3 in performance is the K3 I have. Even then the KX3 will hold it’s own in 98% of the cases. The 2% the K3 comes out a bit better do to the filtering. My KX3 makes my IC-756PROII and even the IC-7100 I have now look like beginner radios even though both are good. The 7100 especially. My interest in the IC-7300 is mostly being curious and see if ICOM really has figured out SDR and the radio stacks up to the KX3+PX3 since it has a a panadaptor built in and the Flex 1500. The KX3 and Flex 1500 are true SDR radios… Save your money and get a KX3 and you will not regret it and wait until enough 7300’s hit the market to see how it stacks up. I suspect the KX3 will win. If not Wayne and Eric will make the KX3 better.

  • Goody K3NG:

    I own both an 817 and a KX3. This is going to shock some people, but I’ll say it. In some regards the 817 is better than the KX3, and the KX3 is overpriced. The 817 is like a four wheeler (all terrain vehicle). The KX3 is like a Land Rover. Both can go off road. If you like getting dirty, the 817 is fun. You have fun with KX3 also, it’s just not nearly as fun running it through the mud and you want to wash it right away. You can buy three 817s for a “properly equipped” KX3. Stack two 817s and you have a nice little satellite station. The 817 is more versatile, and if I had to sell all my rigs but keep one, it would be the 817. But don’t hold your breath waiting for an 817 replacement from Yaesu.

    (Don’t get me started on Kenwood, either. 🙂 They are so far out in left field with product development. I was a Kenwood fan…but I digress.)

  • ON6UU Frank:

    I also own an 817 and the KX3, furthermore I also have a Youkits HB-1B and a IC703+. If there is one radio I did not go in the field with it is the 817…the IC703 has seen all kind of mud, Belgian, German, Hungarian and Austrian, plus some mud in the Netherlands. The KX3 does all the 817 does except 2mtr and 70cm but that is my choice. It also does everything so much better in my opinion and with ease. No constant going in menu’s to alter a setting, everything you instantly need is on the frontpanel. Answering a slow or a fast CW CQ is just a twist on the frontpanel, same with the filters which is not only a 1 setting like on the 817.
    I normally use antennas which are cut for the frequency I want to use, if for whatever reason they are not so good(opening angle) I can hit tune on both the IC703 and the KX3. The 817 needs an extra tuner, which is also extra weight. if you want to go through mud it all counts. With the KX3 I can go for a small gel battery as the KX3 is no high current consumer, a 7AH gives me hours of fun, where with the 817 and IC703 I need to take a larger and heavier battery, a step climb of an hour in the Balaton area will soon tell you you want to take the KX3 and not the IC703 or 817 with the heavy battery.
    tip for people who own a IC703 and want to put in a filter for CW (the Icom filter I way too high in price), buy a Yeasu 8×7 filter, take of the printboard and solder it where the filter needs to go, it works like a charm.
    The HB-1B is a good radio but only CW, no tuner, only 4 bands but a good filter. I think it is a bit too high in price. As the KX3 it will run from internal batteries too. It also suffers a bit from BCI in the evenings on 30Mtrs.

    Don’t get me wrong, i’m a Yaesu fan, but…since the KX3 is under my roof and in the mud I also understand people speaking about Elecraft. You need to have one to understand it I think. 🙂 It is not only a hype. 🙂 🙂

  • Markus:

    FT 817 replacement, I am sure, a new feature will be C4FM.

  • Boots VK3DZ:

    The FT-817ND (inc. NiMH pack) can be bought in Australia for AUD$700, with a 5-year warranty, from a long-established, “bricks & mortar” retailer. This price has been constant for around a year at least. As of March 2016 it is equivalent to US$510 & £370. Very good value even for a > 15yo design. Earlier this year it equivalent to US$480 – get 2 FT817 for cost of a KX3!

    Sadly the optional extras are ludicrously expensive. AUD$170 for the TXCO, AUD$229 for the 2.3kHz filter and – wait for it – $19 for the dc lead! (0.5m of 1-pair with a 2.1mm plug).

    These AUD prices include our 10% GST (=VAT)

    I never bothered with the txco or optnl filters in my FT817.

    My biggest beef withthese portable radios is the battery drain on receive. I guess that’s only going to get worse as we go down the DSP path. My 12V 7Ah SLA is twice the weight of the radio . . .

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