Yaesu FT-818 -- The FT-817ND Replacement Available Soon

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W4LKO, Feb 23, 2018.

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  1. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yaesu makes some fine radios. I also have an FT-450AT and think it's superb. I've built the HW/SB-102s and -104s and had a Drake TR-4 so I have had and know what old-school radio people considered, for that time, the "Cadillac" style of ham radio. The 450 has good DSP controls but once set up, it is never touched...! However, with what I'm seeing from the reports of those who have the 817, I have come to wonder if the people at Yaesu who make the 450 and the 817/818 actually work in the same building or if they even talk to each other.

    It might be a good thought if Yaesu had the policy of moving their engineers and technicians around sometimes to other sections so some of the good features of their various radios/systems could be shared around with other parts of the company.

    Yaesu has some very good radios and this is why you can see some of their radios around for decades. Calling the 818 a "replacement" for the 817 seems a bit of a stretch and this may be why so many here are disappointed with the 818. One can assume that if the 818 is a replacement for the 817, that the 817 is on the way out and soon to be obsolete. Also, it was apparently assumed that such a "replacement" would incorporate significant improvement over the 817 but from comments here, such improvements are lacking in the 818.

    If Yaesu had wanted the 817 to be remembered as a good part of the Yaesu lineup history, much better would have been to call the 818 version the Yaesu FT-817 Mark II and not simply relegate the 817 to history. A lot of sales would have been made as a Mark II because of the good reputation of the original 817. Inciting controversy as we see here with the 818 has done Yaesu no good whatsoever.

    Merely calling a cow's tail a leg does not mean a cow has five legs — that tail is still just a tail.
    K7LZR likes this.
  2. NM7L

    NM7L Ham Member QRZ Page

    I considered a FT-817 as a 10-meter beacon radio as the assumption was that it had the same features as the 857/897 line. To my surprise ... no beacon mode for the 817. Am currently using a FT-450 for the job. I see the 818 doesn't have the beacon capability either. Schade!
  3. KJ4YQK

    KJ4YQK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was looking forward to the FT-818 having USB sound and USB cat control... I guess not or does it?
  4. K6AQ

    K6AQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not according to the manual linked earlier in the thread, unless I missed it.
  5. W9MT

    W9MT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I own an 817 from 2001 and an 817ND from about 4 years ago. I've equipped both of them with the optional CW filters and Chinese clone TCXO's. I like them both and intend to eventually use them for satellite work with an Arrow 144/440 "purple antenna" (hand held yagi). Up until now, I've rotated them from time to time as my "go to" QRP rigs.

    The old 817 I left unpowered for 2 weeks and the internal battery slowly dropped down in voltage low enough that the dreaded PA oscillation problem occurred. This happens as the battery voltage declines and damaged the PA module so the max it would output was half of the rated 5 W of RF output. I had to buy a replacement PA from Yaesu parts for $58 and do the repair myself to get the radio back up to full power out. I never put the internal battery pack back in the older radio.

    I don't know if the new PA module (which has the Mitusbishi updated PA transistors mentioned in another reply to this thread) would have the same issue. I don't know if my ND model even has this same problem. But I'm not chancing anything. (BTW, the ND has a Windcamp LiON battery pack that has a slide switch to take it out of the circuit to charge it. I leave it switched out that way all the time.)

    It's fixing design faux paus like these AND certain parts becoming "NLA" (no longer available) that likely had Yaesu "announce" a successor radio to a design that has roots almost 20 years old. This happens all over the electronics industry. This obsolescence issue is nothing new. (Just try to buy parts from Icom for earlier model 706's and you'll see what I mean. They're unobtainium.)

    The "boner" Yaesu pulled is giving the radio a new model number, and raising the price significantly, while not doing anything "special" in added features or things that "Joe Ham" couldn't upgrade himself for less money via parts from Amazon or eBay.

    New model number assignment "sets certain expectations" which tend to be lofty. (Right or wrong, this is the case.) When these lofty expectations are "dashed on the rocks" and become "unfulfilled", people get emotional and angry. This is exactly what is now happening.

    No. No one who owns any 817 model radio will likely buy an 818. Buyers will only be new customers for this type of radio who couldn't get the older model at a "fire sale" price. Plus, yes, it is true that the higher price for the 818 will put it closer to other "brands" that offer more "bang for the buck".

    The Edsel wasn't a bad Ford car of the late 1950's. It was just not what the market wanted at the time. The introduction of the Falcon in 1960 correctly filled the gap the Edsel missed badly by being over priced for what was desired and not having any "new, disruptive technology" or whiz-bang features. Hah...times changed significantly 6 or 7 years later.....The 1964 1/2 Mustang was simply new sheet metal and bucket seats sitting on a Falcon chassis...but it was marketed to a different demographic sector and was (and still is) wildly successful. The "pony car" was a new, "must have" creation.

    Ham Radio is different. The 818 will not "stir the hearts" of hams to "gotta have one". It costs more that its "perceived value" and IS NOT DIFFERENT ENOUGH. There are too many other good choices for comparable bucks. I fear its introduction will "lay an egg".

    (p.s.---I'm just extremely happy in a blog this long with so much emotion in the responses that Adolf Hitler didn't get invoked the way that jerk normally does when the emotional salvos are being exchanged !!!)
    KK5R and KB2QQM like this.
  6. N0KEW

    N0KEW Ham Member QRZ Page

    In all honesty, I will probably get one to play with up in the BWCA this summer.. I am glad they didn't just discontinue it.
  7. N5EQY

    N5EQY Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is why Xiegu made the 5105 qrp rig, so far its selling like hotcakes. It has all the stuff ya'll are wanting in the '818.
    KK5R and KB2QQM like this.
  8. N5EQY

    N5EQY Ham Member QRZ Page

    One thing you don't want in a outdoor qrp or other rig is a color display, my rig has one and it is a pain in the butt in outside lighting, it washes out, but inside in regular lighting is looks good.
    K0PIR and SM0XHJ like this.
  9. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    USB Cat control?

    I prefer to have wireless Bluetooth CAT control on my FT-817 but you have to purchase it as an add on.

    What I like about Bluetooth is it works with both PC's (Of the portable handheld variety :) ) and Android devices.



    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
    K0PIR likes this.
  10. KB2QQM

    KB2QQM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Why isn't this Radio AT LEAST 10-15 watts ??? 10 watts QRP SSB and 5 watts CW. That does work. I don't understand why they would put out the same radio with the same feeble power. I do love the form factor of the 817. I saw rumors of this radio and thought to myself, finally !! Yaesu gets it....an 817 with more power. nope :(
    That is it's only saving grace and it's build history. I wish more manufacturers of Field Radios would build their radios like this.. I also do like the SDR capabilities of the newer radios coming out.

    Even the Chinese get it...with the Xiegu radio. 15 watts, and everything self contained. Pretty slick, but I am not buying a $680 Chinese POS. I would rather stick with a known and reliable manufacturer.

    I just upgraded my station. I was looking for a modular radio. A radio that in the shack I could run with SDR software and possibly an outboard 50-100 watt amp, and then unplug and take out in the field for portable operation at up to 10-15 watts. A one radio jack of all trades radio. In the shack I could run it with the SDR software on Windows (um no), or with Mac Software, or Linux Mint 18.3 software, and get full capability from the receiver with sound card filters and such, and then when I chose to, take it out into the field with an End Fed wire or my homemade 36" diameter transmitting loop.
    I looked high and low. 5 or 6 watts in this solar cycle is a joke for SSB, unless you operate on a salt water beach on some DX island. I had eyes on the 817/818 for the proven form factor. I looked at the KX series by Elecraft, the Elad FDM-Duo (http://ecom.eladit.com/FDM-DUO/en#/Rad) and LNR Precison Radios (https://www.lnrprecision.com/store/Transceivers-c10468544). Even the TenTec Argonaut is nice. (https://www.tentec.com/?p=1467#/) Great Radios, but they lacked the rugged form factor of the Yaesu 817 Radio. I remember I had a TenTec Scout 23 years ago with the plug in band modules. It had a switch for 5 watts or 50 watts. If I could have found another TenTec Scout without the Band Modules thing going on, and a rugged form factor I would have purchased it. That Radio had a quiet receiver and it was a joy to use on phone and cw.

    After the 818 and it's 6 watts, I think many people will bypass it and just buy the FT891 100 watt radio and turn the power down. A brand new 100 watt radio is less than $700. Bring your battery, charge controller and 20 watt Solar blanket array, and an antenna of your choice and kill 2 birds with one stone. In the end I went from my 1983 TenTec Omni D, which is still 100% Functional and has full break-in capability compared to the Icom 7300 I purchased in which the relay sounds like you are playing ping-pong, but it's a nice radio otherwise. Upgrading from the TenTec to the Icom 7300 was like going from Caveman to 2018 Space Odyssey. Oh, and I am still looking for that portable radio as a back up. What used radio do I purchase to throw in a bag...

    Thoughts ?

    Greg :)
    KK5R and G3SEA like this.

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