A-Z Archive: Y Challenge

From My Archive I Choose…

Y is for Yaesu…

Ok – Apologies… these are not ‘Archive’ photos – I’ve stuck with that definition up till now, but for this I thought I’d bend the rules as I didn’t want to replicate a recent photo and I had something new to share…

So – What is / Who are Yaesu?

Yaesu are one of the major manufacturers of Amateur Radio transceivers.   They also make similar radio kit for maritime, police and military applications.   Yaesu are not the sole manufacturer of Amateur Radio rigs – other major manufacturers are Icom, Kenwood, Alinco and Elekraft.   There are a number of others too.   One of the choices that each newly licensed Radio Ham has to make is their choice of HF Rig – a Transceiver for the shortwave bands.   That choice often defines the future purchases as well.   After a lot of thought in the early days, I went down the Yaesu road and I have been very happy with their products.  Others will have chosen Icom or Kenwood or someone else.   It’s very rare afterwards for someone to change allegiances although it can happen.

My first rig was a Yaesu FT-840 –  a good beginners rig as you can’t change many of its settings and it has a great receiver.  Being able to hear people is much more important than being able to call them!   This rig is fully servicable and has been used at the DeHavilland Aircraft Museum to operate GB2DHH.

I upgraded to the Yaesu FT-2000 in 2007.   At the time the rig was under a bit of a cloud as a number of very serious operators were critiscising its performance on the output audio and on receive and I got it at a very good price 🙂   I have to say that I’ve not had any issues with the rig and that half the issues seem to have been user caused – 5 years down the road and it remains my main rig and draws good audio reports on a regular basis.   I know I’m doing something right when I’m complimented on my signal and the quality of my modulation by an Italian station – Many of Italian operators take great pride in their audio.

So now, I’m going to introduce you to my latest rig – the Yaesu FT-817.   How to describe it… It can do everything on every band!   But only at 5watts.   That’s not a lot of power – the local BBC antenna pumps out 750KW and that’s low power by transmission broadcast standards!   But, on the Amateur Radio frequencies you can work the world on very low power – usually referred to as QRP.

The rig arrives in a brown box – very imaginative…

Yaesu FT-817 Box…You hope that when you open the box, everything is there…

There is an instruction manual… and the Yaesu sticker that they hope you will use to advertise their products…

Yaesu manual and StickerAnd there’s a map – Yaesu love to give you a map of the Radio Amateur’s world.   I’ll show you it opened out sometime 🙂

Yaesu MapAnd then….  there’s a rather nice strap for the rig – I’m sure that’s better than my Canon one (Canon please take note!)

Yaesu StrapAnd, finally – here’s the rig…

FT-817You can get an idea of its size by comparing it with the A4 notebook and the FT-2000 hiding behind. This rig is a real ‘Mighty Mouse’!


Why am I buying a 5w rig when I have the main station behind?    Time to lose some weight and that equates to time to do some SOTA… ie, walking up and down hills in the countryside 🙂



    1. LoL Patti – 1st operation will probably be Dunstable downs 🙂 Doesn’t count for SOTA but I know it well so a good place to start!

  1. in our next A-Z turn we do not need photos – only a topic / theme / story tagged with the letter; next Tuesday we’ll start with A again …

  2. Hello Martin. Well I just swapped my FT817 for a Kenwood TS590. It has a lot of buttons and i’m still trying to learn it!! But it was a nice rig, and gave me a lot of fun. Up mountains I reckon it is the best. I built an Elecraft T1 tuner to go with it, and that was the best little ATU

    1. Hi John – That TS-590 looks like it’s going to be a very popular rig. Don, our station manager at GB2DHH recently replaced his FT-920 with one 🙂 Lol about the buttons – I certainly noticed the huge number of knobs and buttons when I upgraded to the FT-2000 from the FT-840. I think there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve with the FT-817 too 😉 My first ‘dxpedition’ with it will probably be to the Dunstable Downs as they’re relatively nearby and I know them quite well. That will give me the chance to practice portable operation before I try activating a SOTA summit.

      1. What a pity you didn’t talk to me before you bought, Martin. I just traded in a 817 in a little blue suitcase with headphones and a miniature ATU to MLS against this new rig.
        It was a complete portable station. Never mind – but MLS might re-sell the Elecraft T1.

      2. Hi John – I normally buy new if at all possible. The only second-hand items in the shack are a Sommerkamp FT-902DM which I’m hoping to restore to full working order (it receives ok but has a number of transmitter issues) and a Standard C5800 which I picked up at a club junk sale for £14!

        I thought you had retired from active operating, so I didn’t know if you had any kit for sale anyway. A new TS-590 tells me you’re active again and I shall keep an ear out for G3NCN on the bands 🙂

  3. Sounds (and looks) very cool, Martin! While I know virtually nothing about this sort of thing, it still seems like what you’ve described is particularly impressive in such a compact device! As an aside I do kinda like the halftone on the packaging… it has a… high-tech grunge feel to it.
    Over and out!
    (Do people really ‘sign out’ like that, or are you just laughing hysterically right now?!)

    1. Hi Bob – I guess the reference to the box was a comment as much about how Amateur Radio is sold as anything else. Firstly, it’s a ‘captive’ market – People who have a transmitting license will buy something to exercise their privilege, so the product will sell. Secondly, there are only a limited number of manufacturers to choose from and most of them provide products at each price band. Ham’s meet and talk about the virtues of the various rigs on offer which helps the newcomer to make a decision on what to buy. So you could say that the product is already sold before the buyer has even entered the store! The rigs are always sold by speciallist dealers who have to be licensed themselves in order to demonstrate the products. Compare that with the normal radio / hi-fi market and you find a plethora of manufacturers, products and sellers. So the packaging for a new DAB radio tends to be somewhat more eye-catching!

      I tested the rig out briefly on my normal antenna and it receives really well. As it only puts out 5 watts maximum I didn’t expect to get anyone to hear me easily and the few stations that I called initially didn’t pick me out of the noise – there are lots of possible reasons why which I won’t go into here. Then, around 17:00 I found a guy working from the coast of France near Dieppe with lots of callers (referrred to as a pile-up). I decided to give him a shout and he picked me out of the noise on the 5th attempt – a distance of just over 200km from my home. Not exactly long distance but good enough for a first contact 🙂

      As for Over and Out… I think I might need to write a full post on that one! 😉

  4. One more post & you’re at the end of the alphabet. Wonder if I should do a a-z comic challenge??? Could prove interesting to see what I can come up with.
    Michelle is in York at the moment & said it is warm & beautiful. Here is cold & wet at the moment & I am about to leave for work. We work a 1 in 3 roster for saturday mornings, I hate when it’s my turn, rather still be in bed as it really sucks getting up at 6am on a weekend day. OK I’m rambling, have a great weekend Martin. 🙂

    1. Hi Tony – yes – got to do my Z. Frizztext says that the new A-Z will be topics rather than photos so I’m sure you could fit in with that by doing individual comics fro each letter once a week. It all comes down to time doesn’t it!

      Michelle must have been lucky – the whole of the north-east was flooded on Thursday with very extreme weather. I hope it stays fine for the rest of her visit. have a great weekend and don’t get up to any mischief 😉 🙂

      1. Got an SMS from Michelle today & she said they are having some typical English weather & hope they get to see the sun again before they come home. She is absolutely adoring the countryside & all the beautiful cottages she’s seen.

      2. It brightened up a bit this afternoon Tony and it’s a muggy evening over here. Expecting sunshine and showers tomorrow. Hope she’s having fun and taking lots of photos for you 🙂

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