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.

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

15 Responses to “Yaesu, where is the FT-817’s successor?”

  • Dave H, WD8CIV:

    Yaesu, Joy of Hams’ Desiring. (grin)

    I’m very surprised other manufacturers haven’t gotten into the portable self-contained radio market. The FT-817 seems to have been very popular – popular enough to keep in production in one form or another for 15 years. (I’ve had two myself, both purchased new.) I’d think someone else wold want a piece of that.

  • Paul Ross, W3FIS:

    Well, the Xiegu Electronics X1M and an external battery pack comes fairly close. Not quite the quality of the FT-817ND, and no VHF/UHF, but does the trick if the FT-817ND dies and is no longer available. The Elcraft rigs are nice, but rather pricey.

  • jerry w5kaw:

    well I own one new 817nd I bought it last year at hamcomm in irving texas and I like this radio but I do want to buy one more of these little gems as I feel this radio is excellent and why change it infact I bet the one that replaces this one will come with less but will be much higher in costs! but for me i’ll stay with this rig and hope to buy one more for just in case!!

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    ICOM dropped the IC-703 and never replaced it. Yaesu has been dragging their feet to improve the FT-817 maybe thinking, like ICOM that the QRP market is not big enough. The void has been replaced mostly by KX3’s, as mentioned the X1M, also LNR LD-5 and few others. The market is there. It is bigger then most believe and growing. I hope Yaesu does finally come out with a FT-817 replacement. I just hope the get a QA department first ans stop acting like MFJ…I am basing that statement on the fact the FT-991, which replaced the FT-897/D has had a tone of issues ranging from blown finals, ALC issue, a crap intrenal ATU and as of last night the display going all white for at least one poor ham. Assuming that Yaesu does come out with a FT-817, and I do believe the will someday (maybe this year)…I would hold back and see how stable the design is. If it is like the FT-991, you might want to wait… Just my 2 cents worth and a little heads up on the FT-991.

  • David VE7DVJ ex G4JZN:

    I own the later ND version of the FT817, which I use only for CW with the 500Hz Collins filter. I cannot really see what there is to update. Certainly if a replacement were made in China (even if designed in Japan) I would not buy it at any price.

  • Larry KG4ZAR:

    Alas,the powers that dictate what we humble hams will purchase have once again turned a deaf ear to our fevrernt pleas for reasonably priced,useable equipment. As a tech for 13 years and a faithful folower of 6m and 2m SSB I’ve pleaded for some one to produce a simple 10-25 watt radio in the vein of the Ten-Tec 6n2. I don’t want 440 or microwave and I don’t really need 10-160m. Just a simple QRP plus a little, 6m and 2m radio that can be used at home or in the field and not pay as much for it as a FT1200 or Icom 7700. I wish you guys luck! Maybe you will see a replacement for the FT817 before I see my dream radio!

  • W4RAA:

    Add 222Mhz to the FT817 Successor.

  • Kevin KB1QDC:

    Listen Icom did the same basically…my first HF potable rig was the iconic IC 706 Mark IIG GREAT all mode rig with 100 watts HF adjustable and you could run it QRP!!! ALL mode with 6, 2m and 70 cm. Mine was on loan from a generous local hgam when I got my General ticket.I have purchased a Yaeu

  • Kevin KB1QDC:

    I have purchased an FT 857d as a close second..i know many who have a 817nd both great portable rigs both are getting dated they may discontinue them both and never mfg a better replacement..This happened with Icom and it is a shame.

  • Goody K3NG:

    I wouldn’t hold your breath for an 817 replacement. Yaesu hasn’t released one yet, so either they don’t “get it” or product line management doesn’t think there’s a market for it. I asked a Yaesu rep at Dayton last year why they didn’t have an 817 replacement and he basically shrugged his shoulders and said they sell what Japan sends them.

    You’ll never see 222 Mhz in a big three radio. They don’t have 222 Mhz allocations in Japan.

    I wouldn’t worry about Yaesu going bankrupt. (If anything bad is going to happen, the rudderless ship known as Kenwood is going to sink. This is coming from a Kenwood fan.) I would spend less time thinking and worrying about an FT-817 replacement from Yaesu and would direct efforts towards convincing Elecraft to make something in this space. The K1, KX1, and KX3 aren’t in that space. As much as I avoid drinking the Elecraft Kool Aid (I own three of their radios:-) ) they’re much more responsive to the needs and wants of radio amateurs than the big three are, and there’s more innovation coming from Elecraft.

  • Chuck K7SQD:

    I started out with an 817ND, love the heck out of it! Works great on battery or power supply, very portable, and reliable. In reality, outside of cosmetic changes, and keep filters available (since Collins no longer makes them), I don’t see any significant change to make. If they want to boost the output power to 20 watts, that would be even better, but don’t know how much that would effect the overall size of the unit.

  • Goody K3NG:

    I think there are several improvements they could make. The most talked about issue is the power consumption in receive mode. This limits portable operation or at least requires you to carry a bigger battery. DSP would be a nice addition to the receiver. The case, although very rugged, is heavy. I would lighten this up a bit. Last, I would ditch the 817/857/897 style menu system and way the softkeys are navigated for something more intuitive.

  • frank ON6UU:

    I own the 817ND, an IC703+ and Elecraft KX3, difference is huge !! Price too ! A no nonsense radio would be the best Yaesu could make, for portable use one does not need large menu’s but knobs to turn. The 817 is a nice rig, but it is a rig which is hard to use compared with an IC703+ or the KX3.

    Ohh, keep it analogue pse. I don’t need DMR, D-star, Fusion or other crap in a portable device when i’m on a hilltop or on WWFF activation. CW and SSB will do.

  • Tom Kb3hg:

    I’m turned off by kenwood’s lack of support. I have a pair of FT-707s again lack of relays has put a halt to their use. I’m ready for something new.

  • Willie N5EIT:

    I’ve almost pulled the trigger and bought an FT-817ND a few times lately, but I just know there’s going to be an updated version as soon as I do. I would love to see it. Maybe make it a bit more energy efficient and add an internal ATU option… I’d pay the price for one if they did it. Those things are HELL on batteries in comparison to Elecraft rigs, etc… If Elecraft can do it, so can the so called Big Boys!!!

    I have had an LNR LD-5 and some Elecraft rigs and kits. I haven’t tried the Kx2, but I love my K1, Kx1, and T1 tuner. Elecraft is great, American, and sturdy, but they need some serious competition. LNR CW rigs are nice rigs, but not comparable to the FT-817ND… The LD-5 and LD-11 are pretty neat but I’m mostly a CW and digital guy and I just couldn’t get it to play nice!!! On phone it was great. The killer was that the LD-5 was not built solid enough for my type of portable ops – not even close…haha I gave up on it after a few trips.

    The Chinese radios are crap!!! Flat out Spurious… I ain’t down with that.

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