Tips for new FT-817 owner

2021 update

Yahoo groups are a thing of the past. Look for a group or a FaceBook group.

Also, we’ve gone from the 817, to the 817ND, and now the 818.


W4RT has long since gone out of business and the filters and compressors are no longer available.

Crystal filters are pretty much impossible to obtain for CW.

SOTABeams sells a digital filter that someone with advanced building/soldering skills can add into the rig. They also have an external version.

SOTABeams also sells an external speach compressor that is plugged inline with the microphone.


The 817 series has finals that are sensitive to high SWR and leaving batteries in them on the shelf. I recall reading something about how the finals stage was still getting power to it even when turned off (soft switch).

Check your output. Odds are that you will at some point in time join the blown finals club. Luckily, the 818 finals board works throughout the 817 series and is available from Yaesu. Fortunately, it is not an overly expensive part.

Internal Battery

Just skip on the internal batteries. If you insist, know that not all AA NiMh are the same. Look for those with a capacity over 2400mAh. The 817 series is a power pig and won’t last very long on 1500mAh batteries.

Check the 3D printing sites. There are some options for getting a 3S 18650 internal battery set up. WindCamp also sells some options on eBay

External Battery

Print, make, or buy a Yaesu DC connector to Anderson Power Pole adapter that secures to the back of the radio.

I personally acquired a Bioenno 3Ah battery and charger.


Visit PortableZero products. They have battery cases that include a nice one for the 3Ah Bioenno. It also mates well with the 817 series. PortableZero also makes a bracket/bail combo that protects the front of the 817 series. The bail feature nicely positions the display and controls for field ops.


I typically used this with a wire antenna and tuner. Otherwise, a commercial buddistick.


I built and use an Elecraft T1 with the 817. Add the control cable for some automated band switching. Not an inexpensive setup, but compact and very functional.

Linear Amplifier

Check out PCBHobby and their HardRock 50 for a kit to build a 160m-6m 50-60w amplifier. There are options for an internal tuner and QSK operation. The 817 can be interfaced to the HR50 for band switching.

OLD and mostly obsolete information

You should join and research in the ft817 yahoo group.
(NOT to be confused with the ft-817 group.) READ THE FAQ!

Also, check out

A CW filter is a must. You may want to consider the dual filter from w4rt. The w4rt is the only one giving you both a narrow ssb and narrow cw filter.

Do a google search on w3ff and buddipole for both commercial and home brew versions of this portable multi-band dipole.

DON’T buy an ATX antenna. Probably better off to avoid the maldol whips as well. The miracle whip sucks. If buying a commercial dummy load, check out the super antennas MP-1. Any of the HF antennas will need a good counterpoise. Elevating the wire is better too.

Consider a 7aH gel cell and some fused power-pole leads for when want to work more than an hour or so.

If you want a linear check out the Tokyo Hy-Power HL50 80M-6M. Order from the factory, they’ll adjust for 5w drive, 50-60W out.

For auto-tuner consider LDG Z11. For manual tuner ZM-2 or other.

FT-817 Commander is good free software for programming/control/digital modes.

Drop me a line with any questions.

72 de Bryan - k0emt