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x5105 or ft818

Hi Casey,
I think you have just made your decision - if you want VHF & UHF multimode (i.e. SSB and CW as well as FM (and AM)) then the Yaesu FT-817ND/818 comes with all of that. You would have the option of adding a 2m transverter into the Elecraft KX3 and I’m sure that overall the receive performance of the Elecraft over the Yaesu would be better on HF & VHF - but for a price. Do you really want an expensive rig thrown into a back-pack and carried in all weather up hills?
Remember that once you get away from metro noise, all rigs perform a whole lot better than from your home QTH.

The second hand FT-817ND at $300 sounds like the best option (IMHO). If you bought it now, you could use it on 2m & 70cm before you get your general licence and listen around on HF as well.

73 Ed.

As long as it is fully working, it’s a gift at that price. You’ll have no trouble punting it on for what you paid in 12-24months from now. By then you will have more money and know more what you want to do.

I think you missed a bargain with the FT-817 at $300. With the right after-market enhancements you would have had a better radio than the FT-818 with change left over for an auto ATU. The ‘which radio is better’ debate keeps cropping up every few months, but a bargain is a bargain and the FT-817 is a tried and tested rig with a huge range of compatible accessories and software.
73 de OE6FEG

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I’ve lost count of the 817’s I’ve owned at one time or another.

Buying an FT-817 is a bit like buying a Porche. After a couple of weeks, you’ll wish you had put yourself into even more debt and purchased a Ferrari…

Take a look at this one coming out soon. Built in sound card. Looks interesting…

Covers 4M for you guys on the other side of the pond :wink:

Not sure of price, didn’t see it listed on the webpage. Maybe one of you guys know how much?

73, Todd KH2TJ

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Come on Mike. You’re being very hard on the 817. It packs one hell of a lot into a small package. When it comes down to it, it’s horses for courses. I would far prefer to have my 817 in my backpack on a long hike than your preferred rig, the 857, which is just too heavy for long days out on the hills. I should know, I have dragged my 857 up such hills as Rogan’s Seat G/NP-014 with its long walk in. However IMHO, for those of use that can’t afford a KX3, there is little to beat the 857 for short haul summits where a bit of power is required.

As for Yaesu or A N Other manufacturer, for me it’s a no brainer. All my portable kit is Yaesu because if I have an issue with the kit out in the field, I know I can get it serviced… indeed my 817 has been repaired twice, both times on account of issues created by myself.

73, Gerald

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Eh, don’t over-prioritize that one. Out here in the PNW (you’re less than 20 miles away from my QTH), you’ll use 2m SSB perhaps 5 times a year, and that’s only if you participate in 4 VHF contests. The exception would be linear transponder satellite work, but doing that generally requires 2 rigs or a much fancier satellite rig, so let’s leave that for the farther future.

Depending on how you choose to deploy, you’re likely to get more use out of 6m SSB, either voice or digital. A home station even with only 5w can be surprisingly fun during the sporadic-e season.

For SOTA around Oregon though, the workhorses are 2m FM and 20/40m. Either the 817 or an HT, plus a 2m antenna upgrade (Arrow, Elk, Long Ranger, etc) will net you plenty of local peaks to get your feet wet and inspire you to upgrade your license. I’ve chased lots of activators on Baofengs; don’t let that stop you from getting out and having fun.

I think I am going to go with the x5105 and use an HT for 2m. The KX3 looks awesome, but it is double the cost.

I have a couple of questions for anyone who has used the X5105. I understand it can decode psk31, but is any additional hardware needed to transmit psk31? Also when using CW, does it decode receiving cw like the kx3? I also have read that you can practice cw on the x5105, how does that work?

Yes, the X5105 decodes PSK31, but you will need a computer to transmit. As long as you have a computer interfaced to the radio, might as well use FT8 :slight_smile: .

Current firmware version doesn’t decode CW,. However a few people in the group are already beta-testing the upcoming firmware release which is major and will include a CW decoder, as well as an improved display arrangement with even more information. Preview:


The display update looks nice, compared to what I have seen on youtube. Any estimated date on the update release? Have you had any success connecting an iphone or tablet to the x5105 for digital transmitting?

No ETA yet on the firmware update, but it should be a matter of days now, couple of weeks max.

I’ve used it with a Windows tablet running FT8 on a couple of occasions, by the means of a homebrew digimodes interface. Something like the Signalink should work as well.

I own both and both are great

X5 has no user rf gain, this may or may not be a problem, and it ain’t a shack in a box, like the 817
X5105 no alc adjust, 817 would be better for digital modes, my x5 needs cables doctored for CW use and digital modes, as the holes are recessed, certain amount of faffing about to operate digital with x5, last free hrd works ok
X5 needs frequent updating, and calibrating for signal strength, tinny sounding hot receiver, can be upsetting, can be tamed with farting about with settings and or an amplified speaker
When volume fully down u still get a loud hiss, forget using it with normal headlines, think it needs 32 ohms for some reason

The picture the other op has posted of the x5 screen is what I call vapour ware until it’s made available

As of now the screen looks nothing like the screen posted

X5 is solid and good in sunlight, mine has never let me down
My 817 let me down after a week on a 10 pointer, mic capsule chucked it, however I had my x5 with me and obtained the activation

817 used to be my go to radio, it ain’t now

If I were buying one it would still be 817, I also use resonant antennas as inwant full 5w or near as I can get to it, I don’t use the built in antenna matcher on x5

And it doesn’t tune 3-1 swr, it’s does double that and more
Full bells and whistles trail friendly brick, and u will know you are carrying it

I ended up getting a kx3 :slight_smile:


Well done and its a great radio.

I’ve used mine extensively for SOTA and its traveled widely on planes to foreign locales. Bottom line a very rugged radio, when as stated earlier, married to SideKX end plates and cover.

Not sure what age your one is but the only downside I have read about and has happened on mine is the rotary encoders wear out and hence makes changing settings a little bit of a pain. However these can be replaced.


Having had a very quick look at the Xiegu G90 at Friedrichshafen for a 450 Euro HF SDR rig, it looks good. The main thing is that the display is a TFT one not the cruddy OLED fitted to the later X108Gs. It also has a morse decoder an ATU and the antenna analyser SWR scan feature from the X108G in it. The case appears solid and “trail ready”.

At 20 watts rather than 5 watts from the FT817 / X5105 - than can make a difference (the KX3 at 15w is good too on this point).

73 Ed.

To echo a post above: the Alt 512 looks more interesting to me than the x5105.

 73 Matt

I have really enjoyed this thread - its looking at a lot of smaller / portable radios that I either own or like (or would like to own).

Personally, for me, the pairing of an 817 with the 40w Chinese amp (which was used during our recent VK<>UK contacts @2E0YYY @M0NOM) draws less juice and is a balance between power and weight on the days you need a few extra W going up the pipe.

I like some redundancy on top of my HT for UHF VHF and now using a transverter for 1296, it is fed by the 817.

I am very interested in the X5150 and its bigger siblings. I am now watching with interest the Discovery TX500 (if no tuner is a no go for me - which is weird that my brain is flagging that because I only use resonant antennas…).

My 857 is my home station connected permanently to a raspberry pi for digital modes - never cracks 30w.

And thanks to @YO9IRF for your detailed and feature oriented reviews here.

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