Tag Archives: Yaesu FT-817nd

Listening to ARISS contacts last week

I get just as excited as my kids when I receive any communications from the International Space Station. This past week, we fit an ARISS contact fit into our hectic schedule during lunch break. I gave both of my kids a handheld radio and we all listened together as the ISS passed overhead.

Right on schedule, we heard NA1SS, but it sounded like they were struggling to make contact with KD2IFR at the Central Islip Union Free School District in Central Islip, NY.

I made a short video about one minute into the scheduled contact. I believe both parties were forced to move to their backup channel because we never heard an exchange–only NA1SS calling KD2IFR:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Still…we heard an astronaut live, so mission accomplished!

SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, had much better luck last week monitoring an ARISS contact with King’s High School in Warwick, UK. Check out his excellent video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thanks for posting that video, Mark. By the way, I love your FT-817ND setup!

In fact, the King’s High School ARISS contact snagged some excellent publicity via the BBC.  Here’s an article via the Southgate ARC:

King’s High School ARISS contact on BBC TV

On April 19 student Eleanor Griffin led the live question and answer session between King’s High School (GB4KHS) and astronaut Ricky Arnold KE5DAU on the International Space Station (OR4ISS)

King’s High School strongly encourage their girls to develop their interests both inside and outside the classroom. This culture of empowerment led one of their girls to apply to ARISS Europe (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) for a highly prestigious link-up to the International Space Station.

Nicola Beckford reporting on the contact for the BBC – credit KHS

When Eleanor Griffin was selected to hold a space conversation with an astronaut, she was inspired to set up the Warwick Mars Project, for students across the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation, to further interest in Space Science. Eleanor says: “The moon landings belong to the generation of our grandparents, and the International Space Station to our parents. What will happen in our generation? Will Mankind travel to another planet?”

When asked what the incredible experience of the ISS contact had taught her Eleanor replied “Just do it! No one is going to stop you, if you just go and pursue your dreams, you really can do anything.”

Watch the BBC TV news item broadcast on Midlands Today @bbcmtd. Fast forward to 18:45 into the recording at
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09z9tw6/midlands-today-evening-news-19042018

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
http://ariss.org/
https://twitter.com/ARISS_status

King’s High School Warwick
https://twitter.com/KHSWarwick

If you missed these ARISS contacts, no worries! Check out the ARISS “Upcoming Contacts” page where future ARISS QSOs are listed. ARISS contacts are a great opportunity to show kids of all ages what you can hear with even a modest radio!

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Yaesu FT-818 details emerge (and beware of the fake “leaked” photo!)

I’ve been following news about the Yaesu FT-818: the next iteration of the venerable Yaesu FT-817ND QRP general coverage transceiver.

The FT-817 series has been on the market for nearly two decades. I remember purchasing one of the first production models when I lived in the UK in 2001.

It was a revolutionary radio at the time.

It was exceptionally suited for portable use, sporting an internal battery pack, on-board keyer, had all mode/all band capability and antenna ports on the front faceplate and rear. It was the most compact full-featured transceiver on the market. All this for about $670 US.

In 2004, Yaesu made upgrades and launched the model FT-817(N)D. In no small way, I’m sure this little radio has been a cash cow for Yaesu. It’s had an exceptionally long market run and has been the only QRP transceiver in the Yaesu product line for decades.

Recently, Yaesu released specifications and retail pricing of the FT-818.  But before we go any further…

Don’t believe the fake prototype photos

It seems like every time a new amateur radio transceiver is announced, someone quickly assembles a “leaked” prototype image and publishes it on the web. Here’s the one someone pieced together for the Yaesu FT-818:

Click to enlarge (and see obvious Photoshop chop job)

To be crystal clear: this is not a leaked photo of the Yaesu FT-818. It’s (frankly) a terrible Photoshop job–someone playing with cutting, pasting and resizing bits from other transceivers.

I fully suspect the new FT-818 will not be a dramatic departure from the FT-817 in terms of styling and design. Perhaps it’ll be nearly identical. In fact, radio retailers have been posting the following image on their FT-818 ordering page:

Image taken from GigaParts.

This may simply be a placeholder, or it may be that all of the upgrades are internal and the ‘818 form factor will be identical to the ‘817.

Enough said…

What we do know about the Yaesu FT-818

Rumors of an FT-818 have been floating around the ham radio community for years. No surprise given the extraordinarily long run of the ‘817 series!

We do have concrete details now since ham radio retailers have been given features, specifications and availability dates. It appears the upgrades are iterative–this is not a dramatically re-designed rig.

Here’s what Yaesu has released (I took this from GigaParts, but retailers are posting variations of the same announcement):

Yaesu FT-818 6W HF/VHF/UHF All-Mode Portable Transceiver

The new Yaesu FT-818 incorporates all of the basic and attractive features of the ever-popular FT-817ND while providing upgrades desired by many existing owners.

The FT-818 provides 6W of solid output power with an external DC power source. The supplied Ni-MH battery pack (SBR-32MH) has been upgraded to now provide larger battery capacity – 9.6v/ 1900mAh. The recent launch of several new satellites is a certain indicator that the large global community of satellite enthusiast are going to be very delighted to learn that the FT-818 includes a Built-in TCXO-9 oscillator that gives the FT-818 fantastic frequency stability (±0.5ppm).

The FT-818 includes all the useful functions that are included in the FT-817ND: Dual VFOs; Split-Frequency operation; IF Shift; Clarifier “R.I.T”; IF Noise Blanker; RF Gain and Squelch control; IPO (Intercept Point Optimization); AM Aircraft reception; AM and FM Broadcast reception; VOX; Built-in Electronic Keyer; Adjustable CW Pitch; Automatic Repeater Shift (ARS); Built-in CTCSS Encoder/ Decoders; 208 memory channels with 10 memory groups; two antenna connectors; Automatic Power-Off (APO) and Time-Out-Timer(TOT) functions; and so on.

Features

  • Increased power output 6W(SSB, CW, FM) 2.0W(AM Carrier) *NEW!
  • Improved frequency stability ±0.5 ppm : Built-in TCXO-9 *NEW!
  • Larger battery capacity : 9.6V/1,900mAh (SBR-32) *NEW!
  • 208 Memory Channels / 10 Memory Groups
  • Operates on 160-10m , HF, 6m, 2m and 70 cm Bands
  • Ultra Compact and Portable
  • Two Antenna Connectors
  • IF Shift, IF Noise Blanker, IPO, ATT
  • CW “Semi-Break-in”, CW Reverse, CW Pitch Control
  • Built-in Electronic Keyer
  • Multi-Color Easy to see LCD
  • Internal Battery Operation Capability
  • ARS Automatic Repeater Shift
  • APO Automatic Power Off
  • Front Panel Key Lock Mode

Specifications

Frequency Ranges:

RX:

  • 100 kHz – 33 MHz
  • 33 MHz – 56 MHz
  • 76 MHz – 108 MHz
  • 108 MHz – 154 MHz
  • 420 MHz – 470 MHz

TX:

  • 1.8 MHz – 29.7 MHz (5.3320 MHz/ 5.3480 MHz/ 5.3585 MHz/ 5.3730 MHz/ 5.4050MHz)
  • 50 MHz – 54 MHz
  • 144 MHz – 148 MHz
  • 430 MHz – 450 MHz (Amateur Bands only)

Circuit Type: Double-Conversion Superheterodyne (SSB/CW/AM/FM)
Single-Conversion Superheterodyne (WFM)
Modulation Type: A1A(CW), A3E(AM), J3E(LSB,USB), F3E(FM), F1D(PACKET), F2D(PACKET)
RF Power Output : 6 W (SSB/CW/FM), 2 W (AM Carrier) @13.8 V
Memory Channels: 208
Case Size(W x H x D): 135 x 38 x 165 mm (5.31″ x 1.5″ x 6.50″) w/o knob and connector
Weight: 900 g (1.98 lbs) (w/o Battery, Antenna and Microphone)

Includes

  • Yaesu FT-818 6W HF/VHF/UHF All-Mode Portable Transceiver
  • Hand Microphone(MH-31A8J)
  • Battery (SBR-32 9.6V 1900mAh Ni-MH )
  • Battery Case (FBA-28) (Requires 8 “AA: batteries)
  • Whip Antenna for 50/144/430 MHz (YHA-63)
  • DC Cable (E-DC-6)
  • Shoulder Strap, Ferrite Core, Rubber Foot
  • Operating Manual
  • Battery Charger (PA-48)

The retail price is roughly $819 US shipped via GigaParts and $849 via Ham Radio Outlet. I’m sure Universal Radio will post the FT-818 to their site soon as well. At time of posting, I haven’t noticed any retailers outside the US including the FT-818 in their catalog.

I will plan to review the Yaesu FT-818, so bookmark this tag to follow any updates: Yaesu FT-818

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Yaesu FT-817 as a travel receiver

SWLing Post reader, Anil, comments on Traveling light, SWLing right:

Yaesu-FT-817

The Yaesu FT-817nd general coverage QRP transceiver

“I would like to suggest another candidate that is really hard to beat and is fantastic value when you buy a used one – The Yaesu FT-817 Low Power Transceiver.

It has outrageously good General Coverage performance and a massive LF – UHF coverage receiver. It has the same paperback footprint as many of the travel radios you review and a built in battery pack albeit a fairly low capacity one.

When it comes to extracting weak signals out of noise and interference it is head and shoulders above the rest with a switchable pre-amp, variable RF gain and attenuator, pass-band tuning, narrow filters etc.”

Anil, you’re right. The FT-817 is a very compact, full-featured radio and certainly easy to pack.

Yaesu-FT-817ND

I was an early adopter of the ‘817, having purchased mine in 2000 or 2001. I was living in the UK at the time and traveled extensively throughout Europe for my employer. I looked to the FT-817 as a means to play ham radio on the go. It easily fit into my carry-on bag at the time.

Like you, I was very pleased with the receiver though I had nothing to compare it to at the time.

I kept the FT-817 for about five years, but eventually sold it. I started using the Elecraft KX1 as its replacement.  I found that, for me, the ‘817’s front face was a little too small and some of the multi-function knobs could be a little frustrating to use while on the air. Those were relatively minor criticisms, though–the ‘817 continues to have a large fan base and is enjoying very long product life.

Anil, many thanks for sharing your comment!

Click here to check out the Yaesu FT-817 at Universal Radio or click here to search eBay for a used one.

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