Posts Tagged ‘ft817’
FT817 and FT817ND
These little rigs from Yaesu have basically remained unchanged since 2000. They cover all bands from 160m-70cm (not 4m or 1.25m), all modes, 5W. With transverters, mine have been used from VLF upwards on all available bands. They work well, but I was surprised Yaesu did not do an upgrade in time for the last sunspot peak. Also, I was surprised they had no real competitors. These days there are a few SDR radios around, but the FT817 reigns supreme.
With mine I have worked the world including some great handheld DX. For base station use I recommend the Z817 auto-ATU.
I tried the Elecraft auto ATU but prefer the Z817. I am very happy with the FT817, although the early ones had PA failures with low voltage. This was fixed (I think) in the FT817ND.
KX3 and FT817
Further to my earlier comments in a blog post yesterday, I have received several comments about both rigs. The general view remains that the performance of the KX3 exceeds that of the FT817ND although it is in many ways less suited to field use than the FT817.
I have never owned owned a KX3 as these are very expensive in the UK. I own both a very old FT817 and a recent FT817ND. For the modes I use mostly, the FT817s do a great job. I just wish Elecraft radios were not so expensive and looked, and were, more robust. I for one would think twice about using an expensive KX3 as a field radio. I am sure they work really well, but they look flimsy. A fully loaded KX3 is currently more than twice the cost of the FT817, which is a fine radio. My FT817 gets used from MF (with my homebrew transverter) all the way to 70cms. The FT817 has worked all over the world, including indoor handheld SSB QSOs with the USA.
For the avoidance of any doubt I love the FT817 radios and would like a KX3 for home use, if the latter was less expensive. My views, others may not agree.
FT817 – a great radio
Because of my poor voice still, I tend to severely restrict the time I spend on speech modes. I can manage about 1 hour or less on SSB or FM as long as don’t say too much. Modes like WSPR , JT65 and JT9-1 suit me better currently.
As you know, I much prefer QRP (2-2.5W) and for this the FT817 is ideal. So much so that my Lincoln President Mk II (mint) has virtually been unused. It has not been used for a QSO for almost a year! I may pack the Lincoln away.
QRP commercial rigs
The FT817 successor may be announced at Dayton next year. If correct, this is about 3-4 years too late.
The ICOM IC703 is not being replaced by the 10W version of the IC7300 outside of Japan. Personally, I do not understand the major Japanese manufacturers. Surely there is a worldwide demand for a 5-10W SDR based, radio?
It seems the huge world-wide QRP market is not being well addressed by the Japanese. It is their loss. I think they are all nuts!
Ten-Tec seem to be struggling with their latest Argonaut judging by recent price cuts. See http://www.rkrdesignsllc.com/products/transceivers-receivers/ten-tec-model-539-argonaut-vi-qrp-1-10-watt-transceiver/ .
No, personally I think we are seeing QRPers getting a rough deal of late.
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.
UK price drop – FT817ND
I see that Martin Lynch is now selling the FT817ND for £449.95 (including VAT) which I guess is reflecting the exchange rate against the yen? Years ago it sold for less than £350 with VAT. I think the dealers are still making healthy profits? Why is this like fuel? When prices go up we soon hear about it. When price or exchange rates massively improve the suppliers are generally slow to respond.
Supply and demand? People are prepared to buy at silly prices and dealers are happy to make good profits whilst they can. At one time a few years ago £1 would get you about 125 Yen. Today £1 gets you more like 175 Yen. Have prices followed? Of course not! Don’t be silly – just a bit cheaper!
It would be nice if they were clearing stock ready for a newer model. Sadly, I doubt this is the case.
I have mentioned this before, but I am truly amazed that Yaesu has not updated the FT817. OK, I have heard the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” argument but on simple commercial arguments I think they must be stupid. There is a worldwide market (500000?) ready to upgrade yet I think they have now missed the window of opportunity as sunspot numbers are falling.
I wonder if any sharp eyed, sharp eared readers have heard any rumours of an imminent replacement?