Tested the ft-817 finally

Well after managing to find time and my 7 year old begged to “go up a hill” we set off for the closest national park I’ve got to on my doorstep, the North Yorkshire Moors. I didn’t want to spend ages driving and I think I’ve done the 3 sota summits this year near me so decided to take my brand new ft-817 up Rosebery topping, I haven’t been up there in a while and decided to go up from gribdale carpark instead of Newton under Roseberry carpark.
Although not a SOTA summit or HuMP I thought it would do to take the initial outing of the ft-817 too.
Arriving at the busy carpark the weather for October was superb. The sun was out the sky was blue and the trees were in there autumnal greatest.
The view was good from the top and i only took my 1/2 wave telescopic antenna with me and the built-in battery as I’m still waiting on the battery connector to arrive from eBay to connect the ft-817 to my lifepo4 battery.
The radio is great, I was surprised at how small it was when it arrived. It fits great into the back little pouch my macpac rucksack has inside it, which enables me to use it on the rucksack.
I managed 2 contacts in around 20 minutes to Darlington and a mobile station near knobbly hill.
Overall I’m impressed with the ft-817 and can’t wait to test it out on HF.

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Some nice colors in your scenes. You will get a lot of enjoyment out of your 817. It’s not to soon to sort out your HF antenna for SOTA.


Hi Anthony,
HF is where the 817 really shines! You’ll enjoy operating it I’m sure. Sounds like it did a great job on 2 metres for its first outing in any case.

Rumours are that the FT-817ND is to be replaced by Yaesu with the FT-791 but quite honestly they’re going to have problems improving on the 817 and if, as runours have it, they will follow what they did with the FT-891 and drop 2m & 70cm, I can see second hand FT-817s being sold at higher prices than new FT-791s!

So I think your choice of rig was 100% correct and I am sure you will love using it - now of course you need the “right” lightweight antenna for HF portable and thats a whole different conversation. As always the best advice is use what you’ve got and then see what might be improved.

73 Ed.

I currently use a resonant end fed half wave antenna for 20m for my hf sota work with a 10m antenna but am thinking of making a linked dipole for 40,20,10+6 as the box the antenna connects to makes the antenna around 900g. Once I get my cw proficient enough to go on the air I will try the fabled 30m band.

In case you haven’t already found it - Linked dipole calclator is located here. http://www.sotamaps.org/extras.php (click on the “linked antenna designer” tab).

73 Ed.

Roseberry Topping - it deserves an award of its own on account of its visual appearance.

Good to hear that the 817 has been put to good use. As Ed says, it will be a real asset on HF. No wonder it has remained such a popular rig for so long. I think you need another outing. … to try out that antenna you need to do some tests on… .:wink:

I whole heartedly agree with you. I’m running out of close by summits (under 1.5hrs drive) in this 12 month period and am saving a few for when winter bonus time comes. I like crinkle moor actually. It’s probably similar to shining tor in the fact that it’s only 40minutes drive to car park and short easy route to top, also has plenty of space to test antennas out on. Although for initial trimming and tuning I think I’ll use my local rugby pitch, much closer to house and my car.

Now I’ve been back into sota for a couple years after years away I miss not having 40m available at my home qth. I have a 34ft window so only does 20,15,10 and 6 on an external tuner. I haven’t tried it on 17 or 12 with external tuner but the TS-480 internal at can’t match it.

By the way I haven’t played with any settings on the ft817 yet, all settings are still at default. I am pleasantly surprised at the internal battery. It was more than up to 20minutes or more of around 50/50 tx/rx at 5w then 2.5w just as I was on 2m and didn’t need high power lol.

Ahh - perhaps you mean Windom - I was just visualising a 34 foot Window …

Why not get out to a summit you have already activated to do the tests, that way you’re pretty sure of having chasers calling you. If you test in a local park, you’ll be the one searching for a contact and you’re only running QRP. By the way, the one change to the FT-817 settings, that I would make is the power one - so that even on the internal battery it will try to give you 5 watts out - by default if you are not powering the rig externally, it’ll only give 2.5 watts out.

I highly recommend the mod to add an internal 2500 maH 3 cell (11.5v) LIPO in place of the Yaesu Li-on rechargable or AA battery pack. Details on the web and in this reflector somewhere.

I’m probably telling you something that you already know, but is that 34 foot dipole only that length as you can only get that length out in a straight line? While not ideal, wire antennas do stil work with bends in them (as long as they don’t come back exactly on themselves) - perhaps you can fit in a 40m Off Centre Fed dipole of some design at home with some bends in it to give you 40m through 6m? As we go further into the solar cycle, it would be good to have some 40m capability.

73 Ed.

Lol yes windom damn auto correct, android is not ham radio savvy.
The antenna is 34ft because that’s how long is was when my parents bought me it one Christmas around 10-15 years ago. Could I just add wire to the antenna in the right ratio for each end to extend it to 7mhz or is the white sealed centre and vertical alignment isolator specifically designed for the original length?
Yes i would probably go to a local hill I have done a few times to test antenna but for just putting the antenna up and cut to correct swr I thought I’d take to local park. I don’t have space to put up half wave dipole for 40m in my garden and don’t want to put bends in it when cutting as the bends wouldn’t be there on a summit.

Hi Anthony - I don’t have a Windom, however if it works the same as an Off Cenre Fed dipole antenna, you could just add wire to each end to make the 20m Windom into a 40m version however as the total length would be almost the same as a simple 40m dipole and you say you don’t have room in your garden for that, I think the question is answered for the home antenna. The white box I presume is a BALUN. I’m not sure what a “vertical alignment isolator” is - If you are feeding with ladder-line, then that may also need to change if it is acting as part of the antenna. However it sounds like the overall length is then going to be too much in any case.
The other approach might be to install a 40m quarterwave vertical, if allowed. That way you would have one antenna for 40m and the other for 20m and up.

In any case, it’s more important to concentrate on the antenna for the summit and I think a linked dipole for that will work well.

If you prefer to buy rather than build SOTABeams have a variety of different linked dipole models.

73 Ed.

I don’t mind building. I built a cobweb antenna years ago, that went quite well. When I was younger I had no patience to build so my Christmas lists involved antennas and radio stuff lol.
I could probably fit a 40m vertical but yeah a lightweight like linked dipole is more important, especially as I checked the bands yesterday during the contest and all I heard was Europeans and 1 Kuwait station I worked. Not like a few years ago, I could hear and work much more exotic DX.

I wouldn’t judge conditions based on the last couple of days as the propagation is not good at the moment. Not just bad as we go down to the Solar minimum but especially bad with a low SFI and high K index over the last few days.