Ft817 or ft818

Hello all , im undecided which one to go for a good used 817 or a new 818 , will mainly be using on vhf with occasional use on hf but i will use a external battery . Whats the advantage of the 818 ?

73 Matt 2E0FGX

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What? You’ve not been seduced by the extra 0.8dB of output power ?

To be fair the improved frequency stability from the 818’s temperature controlled master oscillator might just be useful in some esoteric applications I suppose…

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Immediately available off the shelf, with full warranty.
Fun of having a new rig - though by day two, it won’t be a new rig!

Top price.

Used FT817
Cost saving. They hold their price well, but even if you only save £100, that’s, well, £100.
(probably more than that compared to the price of a new FT818)
You won’t be so worried about taking it out portable.

You may need to spend time finding a good one.
There may not be a warranty.
If it has had a very gentle life, the internal battery might be duff eg not regularly charged… But then, they’re not great at best, and you say you will be using an external battery anyway.

You’ve probably thought these thoughts already, but you did ask :wink: If it were me, I’d go for Used…


Its laughable that they’ve used a new designation for the new rig, as it doesn’t really offer anything different to the old one.

An FT817 can be increased beyond 5w also - its just a bit of tinkering in the hidden menus.

I love my first edition FT817, it turned 18 years old last month. A very useful bit of gear.

Agreed that the internal battery is a bit pointless, I use a 3S lipo externally for my rig.


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No advantage other than “new.”
The upgraded battery is still less capacity than non OEM that would be likely needed for a used 817.
1 watt of power is not going to make much if any difference in making contacts.
The 818 does have the TCXO, which can be purchased from Yaesu at less than the cost difference between used 817 and new 818. Also, there are TCXO’s on e-Bay for under $50.

In short, unless you want a new radio - used will save you money for same performance.

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I agree - BUT!

The external power socket can get intermittent, so you need to check this before handing over your ackers - plug in the charger and see if the rig starts charging, wobble the plug a little…if the socket needs replacing it is a pain in the derrier!

Check that the “select” knob cycles through the channels without jumping or failing to move frequency on the occasional click. Its easy to replace, I’m told, but you don’t want the hassle.

Also ask if it has been “opened”, if not then the earlier models won’t cover 7100 to 7200 or the 60 metre band, although you can’t transmit on 60 it can be fun to listen to, and an inducement to upgrade the final step!:grinning: This isn’t a deal breaker, the mod is so easy even I can do it!


It is generally understood that component supply (crucial components becoming unavailable, no longer made) was the main motivator for the upgrade.

As i understand it, the type approval process in Japan requires a new model designator when significant changes are made to components.

The power change is a minor and insignificant improvement as many thousands of people have already said many times.

One of my 817s has the more stable reference oscillator and I suggest that is a worthwhile upgrade esp if using frequently on vhf or uhf as frequency drift multiplies in proportion to the operating freq. I don’t know whether the after market boards are good.

The tx output power amplifier in the ND version is more robust than the original non ND amp. If buying a used rig the ND is probably going to be a better risk.

The implementation of the 5 mhz band in the ND may not match everyone’s needs, depending on the band allocated in each country. I have no problem with my rigs as vk has no 5 mhz allocation.

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Thanks all .

Im thinking best to go new unless i can find one close to me so can go look at it . But if i buy new i will most likley go for a 817ND while the stocks are still about . Been thinking what radio to buy which covers me for vhf fm and ssb which ticks the boxes and having hf also . I think a 857D would be a tad overkill and then needing a bigger battery too .

Cheers all , 73 Matt 2E0FGX


How did that quote used to go: ‘Noone every got fired for buying IBM’? Similar applies here, you won’t regret buying any of the FT-817/-817ND/-818 variants.

The FT-857 is a much more capable beast but you are then into carrying separate batteries. Those extra watts often come in handy, but if you are happy with QRP then you will be happy.

Regards, Mark.

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My solution is to own both the 817 and the 857, if it is a short carry-in then I take the 857, longer hikes I take the 817, but the 817 gets used more often.

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I sold my FT-817 to fund future purchases ‘upgrades’ so to speak, but I have to say that even with an FT-857 it is highly likely I will end up with another FT-817/ND/818 at some point when I have some spare cash and the price is right.

This photo really sums that versatility for me (I was doing HF on it soon after this VHF activation of Helvellyn):


I think there is a gap in the market . If made a ft818 but with 30w that be ideal . Only thing puts me off tge ft857D is the price and the weight and bigger battery . I know you could run at 20w but its the cost of around £700

Matt 2E0FGX

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My friend Karl has an 817 and I have done most of the upgrades for him. I have also used it with him on quite a few activations. My feeling is that a used 817 plus a few aftermarket add-ons is going to be way better value than a new 818. You can also get a small linear to go with the 817, giving you 50w output; more than enough for SOTA:


I hope this doesn’t become another KX2 vs 817/818 thread, we seem to have one every 2 weeks these days.

      73 de OE6FEG

I know this has been said before, wrt weight and performance, but the FT-817 and a Chinese 40/50 watt amplifier is about 1 kg lighter than the FT-857. You can leave the amp and batteries at home if you want. You can’t leave half the FT-857 or batteries at home.

It’s a very flexible setup, at the cost of some extra wires and connectivity. I recently had a S2S QSO with Andrew @VK1AD and he was using exactly this setup. If you shop around you can get a 40 watt amp for around £110.

Regards, Mark.


It is a bit pricey, I notice that the FT891 is only a fiver more than the 818, but of course it has no V/UHF other than 6m. As for weight, well a decent rucsac is a great help but it is surprising just how much weight you can carry up a mountain, my winter climbing kit used to weigh a lot more than my 857 plus a 7ah battery! Of course, if you are going to do a Mike (sorry Mike!:grinning:), you need a lot more than 7ah, but it does for an average activation at 30 watts with some in reserve for difficult contacts!

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The main advantage of using an 817 or 818 plus amplifier instead of a 100w radio running at 40w output, is that the 817/8 receiver current at 400ma is somewhat less than the 857 (800ma?), and tx current for the 817/amp is less than the 857 wants. Then when you press PTT, before you even say anything, the bias current on the 857 is greater than the 817/amp combo, and remains constant whether you set the power level to 5 watts or 100. So the 857 is nowhere near as efficient a combination for a 40w output as the 817/8 plus amplifier. The 857 is no problem if you lug a big battery up the hill, but if you want the most at the least cost in battery mass and AH consumption, use the separates setup.
And same applies to the IC706 series. all 100w fancy radios draw more on rx and more on tx than the 817/amp combo.

The kx3 at 220 ma plus the external amp is an ideal combination. Low rx current and no more current on tx than required for 40w.

disclaimer: this is for SSB. Dedicated CW rigs have much more frugal performers.




Think that was me… I don’t think Andrew has one of those amps

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At Mt Ginini VK1/AC-008 for the VK - EU S2S QSO Party, I was using a Yaesu FT-857D @ 40 watts.

I don’t have an afterburner for my 817ND.

Andrew VK1AD

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I have a yaesu ft891 , fantasic radio but bigger battery heavier radio . Is there a small vhf amplifier you can get ?

Matt 2E0FGX

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