I see why you like the FT-817

Had a bit of a result this week.
Medium story short, I was given a working FT-817 today!
Well it works on 20m so I assume it works all over.

It’s so teeny. No wonder you all love them for portable!

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Yes, it is a neat little package. Neatness does not come cheap though…

Best radio money can buy.

73 Chris M0RSF

It certainly is a little marvel. All those bands in such a wee package.

Last week I very nearly bought a new one. Either Nevada or ML&S have them at a price that with cashback comes to a tad over £400. That’s retty good in my book.

However, zero is much better still!! :smile:
No battery (i’m told-not checked inside) or box, but at the price, chuffed.
I don’t think it’s the ND version either.

For me if it went up to just say 25W then it could be the best radio money can buy.
However, I’m going to have some fun with it.

I would add it’s a bit odd some of the controls are reversed to my FT-897D when it would seem to be part of a nice daddy/mummy/baby family group of 897/857/817, and using the sel control to QRX right handed as I am, with rig on my right, I can’t see the display.

You can soon check - a long press on “F” then turn “SEL” to menu 15, if there are three colour options then it is the ND version. The earlier version has two colours.

A terrific little rig, you are lucky!



You won’t need 25W on an activation Steve. 5W is QRO when you’re a SOTA activator on a hilltop on a spotted frequency. You really need to get out there and do an activation. It will probably alter your perceptions.


Great tip, one I have not come across on my googling.
Out of interest how would I access the 5Mhz channels, assuming I have any?

this isvery true. Doing is best way. I am collecting bits like a magpie to knock up a station…
This 817 was an unexpected bonus.

If its the old version, I think it can be "widebanded" via software. Google ft817 wideband & you should find plenty of resources. I "widebanded" mine & it now txs on any frequency.

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I did own a FT-817 once. Great receiver !!
5 W is sufficient to activate when there is not to much QRM and conditions are favorable.
Try activating 40m on the day of the ARI International DX Contest (like I once did) and it’s a whole other ballgame.

So I ‘upgraded’ to an FT-857 and turn the TX-power down to like 20-30W to save the battery.
And I check the contest-calendar before heading out.

73 Peter


does this link describe the correct procedure and software to use?
and is the CAT cable mentioned the same one I am using with Log4OM, where Log4OM can set my frequency and mode, and tracks my tuning of the VFO dial etc?

Edit: seems the softjump link is dead now :frowning:

You have some great friends giving you an FT-817! They fetch between £300 and £375 used. When will you be activating and giving us Chasers some points?!

Great little and rugged radio succesfully used by so many of us…

73 Phil

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Widebander V4 will do the job on a non-ND 817.

The original 817 internal software read the options links on a reset and set up the software to behave accordingly. Software widebanders(*) simply overwrite some of these settings and as long as you don’t do a full reset on your 817 will effectively remain permanent.

The ND upgrade was changed (after pressure from the FCC in the US). Instead of reading the option links on a reset, the new software reads them every time the radio is powered. This means you can change the settings with software still but a power cycle will restore the option link values. The solution here is to remove one of the link jumpers. It took me longer to strip the 817 down to work on the front panel PCB than to desolder the link. It’s not difficult if you can still see the damn links. I had to dig out by high-gain reading glasses to see them, my normal reading glasses are not powerful enough.

The ideal solution is to remove the link whichever model you have. As INKy says you can do the software mod and it will be fine. You just need to remember never to reset the radio. In the 10 years I’ve had 2x 817 I’ve only ever needed to reset one of them once.

Widebander V4 can be found on the interwebs with a quick search.

(*) The term widebanding is so wrong. You are altering the RX and/or TX tuning range and not the bandwidth of the RF or IF stages. OK, pedant mode off now.

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The ND version has the USA channels tucked away in the memory. Of the original version, those produced earlier in its life could be opened up or changed to other regional variants by software, either Softjump or Widebander, but later in production they made this impossible after complaints by the FCC. Later models (after about 2005 IIRC) and the ND version can be widebanded by changing the links on a small set of contacts behind the front panel. Somewhere on the net is a photoguide to the job, it isn’t difficult because I managed it! If you can’t find the photoguide let me know, I think I still have it on an old laptop somewhere but I’d have to go burrowing for it!


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As soon as humanly possible! I have YL free weekend on the 8th and 9th of August which I am hoping to capitalise on. Next week’s evenings will be dipole building based, anderson powerpole soldering on, and various other such activities.
I was given the rig by my old boss, who is also a friend as a result. He’s clearing out the shack.

Thanks. All downloaded from here:

thanks. I’ll check exactly what version I have when back home, to see what is required.

Found it! www.pa1ca.nl/my-first-mod/ gives instructions and photos. You may just find this doubly useful because the earliest production runs as programmed for the UK only covered 7.000 to 7.100, so this mod gives the full 40 metre band and coverage of the 60 metre sub-bands that replaced our spot frequencies. As you will see from the article it gives the 11 metre band, too - but nothing is perfect!

If it isn’t already done, you may need the “green wire mod”. The battery box that comes with the rig is intended for ZnC dry cells and is wired so that you cannot try to recharge them. If you cut and insulate the green wire on the lead that plugs into the rig you can then put NiMH batteries in the box (a tight fit) and recharge them in the normal way whilst they are still in the rig. A set of eight 2400 mAh NiMH cells costs £12 from Maplin and can power the rig for a lengthy activation, the battery pack supplied with the rig is much more feeble, about 1000 mAh IIRC, and is only up to a short activation.


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Thanks for that Brian.
The green wire mod I will have to look into too.

I have bought 2x 8400mAh LifePO batteries for running the 857/897 portable, so I always have the option of those. I assume the 817 on full power should last a while on those?

Probably good for a week of daily activations. It’s current draw is 2 amps on speech peaks on SSB or continuous on 2m FM. Receive is about 600 mA.


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I love my Yaesu FT-817. It’s the best investment I made so far.

Erik WX4ET


Checked the rig tonight. Only two screen colours, blue and red.
So original.

I went to 7mhz and was able to tune down from 7 to 5mhz continuously. I didn’t try any tx as no antenna in.
Does that mean it’s already been widebanded as they say?

Hi Steve,

All versions will RX in that range, it is the TX range that is limited to “Amateur bands only” at the time of manufacture. Find a suitable dummy load & try transmitting on 7.150MHz. I predict you will hear a beep & see “TX Error” on the display if it has not already been modified.

In fact, you don;'t need a dummy load but I wouldn’t ask you to risk damaging your radio by transmitting without something suitable in the output as the beep & error message occur before any RF has even been generated. If your radio has not been modified, the procedure above should be safe on 12.495MHz with no dummy load or antenna. A non- modified / non current version will not transmit on that frequency. If no beep or error message occur instantaneously, it may have been modified so let go of the PTT!

Caveat: Any of the above procedures are carried out entirely at your own risk.,

73, Mark G0VOF