First Bench Test of the Yaesu FT-817ND with Digital

I finally decided on a radio for my SOTA and ADK Fire Tower Challenge activations that will be starting soon.  Based off of many reviews, some consideration to budget, and a lot of consideration on simplicity and usability, I decided on the Yaesu FT-817ND.

Coming from a having owned all Kenwood’s, I am taking a very deliberate approach to learning how to operate my new 817.  With a little practice, I should be proficient on the rig and ready for the field within a few weeks.

However, I had one concern about the 817, that is, until I completed my first bench test today.  The Yaesu FT-817Nd has a maximum transmit power of 5 watts and if you are using the internal rechargeable battery pack, it defaults to 2.5 watts of output. So today, I decided to do a bench test to see how well it would perform with a TX power of 2.5 watts. My first test was to see how far I could log a report on PSK Automatic Propagation Reporter using JT65. So I hooked my radio up my Buckmaster OCF 7 band through a Z817 Antenna Tuner. Using my SignaLink, my linux laptop running WSJT-x and FLRIG I started the bench test of my radio.

I started on 20 meters with JT65 by calling CQ a few times and by answering a few CQ’s from various places around the US.  After about 15 minutes, I was not able to make a contact but I was quite happy to see the reports on PSK Reporter.  I got reports across the US and Canada into Western Europe and into the lower part of the South America!!  I conducted this test with only 2.5 Watts of power and with band conditions that were definitely sub optimal.  I also conducted the same test on 40 meters and got very similar results.  Unfortunately, I was not able to make a contact on that band either.

Overall I consider this a successful first test of my new radio.  As long as the weather is acceptable this weekend, I plan to take it out in the field, perhaps up to Thompson Park and do some additional tests on this radio along with my buddipole.

 

2 thoughts on “First Bench Test of the Yaesu FT-817ND with Digital

  1. I’m really surprised that you didn’t go with an Elecraft KX2. The FT-817 is pretty old tech by now, a design from 2000. I’ve been delighted with my KX3 in the shack and when I’ve been able to get out on a summit.

    • Hi Walter, it was definitely a tough decision but I wanted an “iPhone simple” radio for my SOTA activations. The KX3 has tremendous capability and the most modern technology, but it really seems too complex to use easily while in outdoor conditions. As I said in my blog post, usability was a primary driver in my decision to get the 817.
      Thanks again for visiting my blog!

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