5 watt SDR versus FT817

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by KA4VNM, Sep 28, 2017.

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  1. KA4VNM

    KA4VNM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the heads up but I think because I am traveling by air all the time and want to carry the radio with me, the less stuff I have the better off I'll be. I have a nice Pelican case that can fit the radio, antenna and tuner all in one box which can be checked if absolutely necessary. Last year when I went to Vegas for the NAB show I went up on Mt. Charleston (7K') and used an MFJ travel radio on 40 only. It was fun but being analog and finicky with antennas I decided the best way for me is one consolidated rig. That way I can op from the room or outside. The only thing I wish they had for the 817 is an expansion battery pack like they have for the 891 (I think).

    Thanks again,

  2. KD8ZM

    KD8ZM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Pat, actually I meant that you could buy a 100w ft891 for $580 and a youkits HB1-B for $270 and have both an ultra-compact 5W rig and a fairly compact 100w rig to choose from for each trip, for almost the same money. Not suggesting you'd take both along, necessarily. I have both and love both! 73.
  3. KG5RBF

    KG5RBF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have the 817nd and love it. It's just a cool rig. I was weary about my first HF rig being QRP because everyone says not to go QRP for the first HF, but I'm glad I did. Super rugged and super portable. I've had a blast with mine and the menus really aren't that bad to figure out.

    I don't have any experience with The SDR you were inquiring about but I can tell you I have zero regrets with the 817nd. I was super lucky but my first contact with the radio was Hawaii from Texas on 5 watts and my dipole. I am now forever in love with the radio.
  4. KA4VNM

    KA4VNM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I bought the 817 and am amazed at how good the RX is. Haven't actually transmitted yet still working on the last few pieces, LDG tuner and possibly a portable loop. You were right the menus are not that bad, if my memory was as good as the radio I would be home free. So I have the cheat sheet, extra battery, charging door on the way, the bigger FNB charger, lithium AA's for the tray, case, and as usual the list goes on. Will be parting with 2 of the MFJ travel radios and the tuner and power supply, and then the Ten Tec Scout. I should be able to afford a good loop after that stuff is gone. At that point the high power mobile will be the TS-50. I think I will be ready for my Vegas mountain trip in April and have exercised the radio and be familiar enough to not screw up. Thanks for the advice!

  5. KF9VV

    KF9VV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm familiar with the NAB slog. The only thing I miss about going is hitting the Peppermill.

    Out of curiosity, what were your drivers to go 817 instead of a SDR?
  6. KA4VNM

    KA4VNM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think two things for me, one was the portability of the 817 and the fact I didn't need a computer of any type if I wasn't doing Digital. Self contained batteries was the other and that most SDR's consume more power that the 817. That all being said if I had a chance to get a Flex 1500 to try for grins I might still buy one. There are two things about the 817 I wish I could fix, one is the battery door screws are not self retaining, and I wish it had a video output I could send to my phone or an IPad. Some guy in NZ is making a setup to do that to a remote display. Neither of these were killers but I need to get some spare screws in case I fumble and drop them in the sand or on the ground. It sort of suprised me they didn't think of that.

    I work for a comms company and this year will be number 29 for me. And, possibly my last on thier dime. I want to go just one time on my own, I never get to see much of the show because I am so beat and I am always the first one in and the last one out of the booth. Last year I went up Saturday morning to Mt. Charleston (the park) and operated next to the resturant up there, the park gates were locked. Had fun but made no contacts but heard some stuff. The MFJ gear just wasn't cutting it. Its funny because it worked fine in the shack but had issues with heat and power. A learning experience nonetheless, and it was still fun to setup my end fed Zepp in a tree and get to hear some signals. With the 817 and the LDG matching tuner I expect less hassle and more fun. Ah yes, the Peppermill, I no longer can finish a meal there. Its just so good but so much!

  7. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't have my 817 at hand but I'm sure that you can access the battery compartment without unscrewing the little screws each time.

  8. KA4VNM

    KA4VNM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe I am intuitvly doing it wrong, open to advice!

  9. KA4VNM

    KA4VNM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was doing it wrong, it just takes a wee bit more force that I was giving it to pop open. New radio didn't want to break anything.
  10. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I did the same thing. Took me quite a while to figure that one out...harder than navigating the menus. I've really enjoyed my 817. Most hams will recommend against QRP for a first rig, but I'm of a different mind on that. Imagine if a QRP rig was required as a first rig. Determining propagation conditions and constructing efficient and effective antennas would be second nature. Anyway, have fun and report back.

    K5ITM likes this.

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