Differences in the Yaesu FT-817 & 817ND

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Differences in the Yaesu FT-817 & 817ND
The Yaesu FT-817 plus microphone will fit easily in a backpack. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Portable and versatile, the Yaesu FT-817 transceiver covers most of the amateur radio short wave bands and several higher-frequency VHF and UHF bands. After a number of years on the market, Yaesu has released a new version, the FT-817ND. The new model adds an additional amateur band that is growing in popularity, as well as increased battery capacity. Amateurs have noted that in addition to the changes officially noted on Yaesu's website, other improvements have been made.

Added U.S. 60 Meter Frequency Band

Countries are now making the 60-meter (5 megahertz) frequency band available to radio amateurs. The way signals travel at this frequency is useful for medium range and emergency communications. In many countries, amateurs are conducting experiments to better understand this band, which is similar in frequency to that used by time standard broadcasts, weather information and radio program broadcasts.

Upgraded 1400mAh NiMH FNB-85 Battery Pack

A 1000mAh nickel cadmium battery pack option is now a 1400mAh nickel metal hydride standard item. It provides more portable time, addressing a shortcoming of the unit. Receive time is extended to a few hours, but transmitter power consumption, limited to 2.5 watts by default when on battery power, places a significant drain on the battery. External power allows 5-watt transmit.

Added NC-72B Charger

The NC-72B charger, now included standard along with the battery, provides enough power to operate on receive and to charge the internal battery pack overnight, which takes approximately eight hours. The NC-72B cannot be used to transmit. Other recent Yaesu models, such as the VX series handhelds use the same charger, so amateurs who own several units will be able to share the charger among their radios.

Additional Changes Hams Have Noted

Amateur radio operators, or "hams," are qualified to build and repair their own equipment, so detailed analysis of the new FT-817ND is available on the Internet. Hams have noted that an additional display colour, violet, is now available. The power amplifier circuitry, which was the subject of much discussion in the original model because of its vulnerability to failure under certain conditions, has been made more robust, according to radio amateurs posting reviews.

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