|FT817ND QRP transceiver|
I have owned an FT817 practically since it was first released in the UK back in 2000. The FT817ND was bought this spring as a second QRP rig along with a Z817 auto-ATU. The transceivers are mostly used at home. They are ideal for digital modes.
In my view, the FT817ND is the very best rig available. My FT817ND was just under 500 pounds for cash, brand new with 2 yrs warranty. The nearest rig (about 5 times larger!) was the FT7 10W radio which did not cover WARC bands, much of 10m , 6m, 2m or 70cm.
The FT817ND could be further improved in several ways but if 5W (or less) is all you need, then this is an excellent radio. The KX3 is no doubt a better radio but is far more expensive (here in the UK) and is less suited for home use in my view. For the price of one fully loaded KX3 you can buy two FT817ND’s in the UK.
If you have never owned an FT817ND you don’t know what you’ve been missing.
As a plug for QRP, going from 100W to 5W is about 2-3 S-points. So if 100W would have been 59 you’d still be 56 at least with 5W. What’s all the fuss about high power? I have worked THE WORLD on SSB with just 2.5W to simple wire antennas (no beams!).
My FT817’s have been used on VLF, LF and MF with home-brew transverters and on all HF and VHF bands working some impressive DX.
There is a myth that QRP is “hard”. Let me tell you that is rubbish. Sometimes power helps, but that is rare. Mostly QRP is just plain good fun – making the hobby all new again. The most I use these days is 5W, and more often far less. QRP is great fun.
Go for it!