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WA2IAC: Yaesu FT-817

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I love my Yaesu FT-817 Serial # 0M050285 - it's so small it's been able to follow me though some really tough times that followed its purchase in ~2000, which was just in time for when the poop hit the fan for me. I haven't written much about it up until now, because it's really done what I wanted it to - be a tiny DC-to-daylight radio I could take anywhere and do anything with. It DOES have flaws, drawbacks, and limitations. With the arrival of another sunspot cycle, it will be more useful than it has been since the sunspot cycle in which it was born. Until I write more, here are some useful links:

Jan 2011 FT-817 Setup

FT-817 shown in a portale setup with an MP-1 antenna, keyer, power supply, antenna tuner, speaker, and netbook: Jan 2011

Complete Field Kit Jan 2011

A complete field kit with the FT-817

The image above depicts what you need for a complete field kit with the FT-817:

  1. power supply (5a Switching power supply at right)
  2. antenna tuner (an ATU is nice, the one shown is inexpensive and works fine)
  3. antenna analyzer (an alternative and/or adjunct to the antenna tuner)
  4. netbook for logging
  5. vhf/uhf HT for even more portable operation

The FT-817 can be further improved with:

  • CW IF filter (there's a 500Hz filter inside mine)
  • SSB IF filter (needs W4RT mod to co-reside with CW filter)
  • DSP add-on board (for YLs that can't tolerate the noise)
  • Audio Processor for more SSB average energy

Computer software for the FT-817 can be nice, either as an easy way of setting and backing up memories, or as a way of controlling the rig without using the cramped front panel controls. For example, typing in a frequency beats dialing in one that's far away from where you are on the front panel dials. However, the last time I used the computer interface was around 2003, and I no longer have a PC with a serial interface, so next time I attempt it, I'll have to add a Serial-USB adaptor to the mix.

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