“But Thomas, don’t you already have two FT-817NDs–?!”
Why yes, I do!
Before you label me as a hopeless radio addict (I am, but let’s shelve that for a moment), let me explain myself…
First off, why two FT-817s?
If you’ve been a reader for very long, you’ll already know that I’m a huge fan of the FT-817/818.
I won’t go into the reasons here because I published a very long-format article on this topic last year.
Suffice it to say: I believe the FT-817/818 an effective, durable, versatile, and frequency agile multimode radio.
I purchased my second FT-817ND because:
- I wanted it for full-duplex satellite work (funny: many satellite enthusiasts call a pair of 817s the “Yaesu FT-1634”)
- The unit I purchased was like-new with all original accessories and side rails for $350 shipped.
Although my first FT-817ND has a Collins narrow CW filter installed, I decided to build one for this second unit as well. That way, I could grab either radio on the way out the door to activate a park or summit.
So why the new FT-818ND?
It was always my plan to eventually replace out one of my FT-817NDs with an FT-818ND. Here are the reasons:
- I was having difficulty finding a TXCO. The FT-818ND has a TCXO-9 high-stability oscillator built-in.
- I wanted one of my two radios to be a late model.
I had planned to buy a Yaesu FT-818ND sometime in 2023. Possibly at the 2023 Hamvention.
When Gavin (GM0WDD) informed me that Yaesu was discontinuing the FT-818ND on December 28, 2022–only moments after the announcement was made–I immediately hopped over to DX Engineering and purchased one. I realized that the remaining inventory of new radios would be depleted in short order and I was right. By the following day, all major US retailers were out of stock.
Are FT-818ND prices going to soar?
The FT-817 and FT-818 have been on the market since 2001. In that time, Yaesu has sold bazillions of them. Seriously. These pop up in the classifieds and at hamfests all the time because there are so many floating around out there in the wild.
The FT-818/817 is sort of the opposite of a rare, limited-production-run radio. If you’re looking for a used ‘818, I think you’ll find that the prices are relatively stable.
I would discourage you from paying a premium for an FT-818ND.
Next steps with my ‘818ND
I’ll remove the Portable Zero side rails from one of my other 817s and attach them to the FT-818.
I initially planned to yank the narrow CW filter out of my 2nd Yaesu FT-817, but that just seemed cruel. If/when I sell that radio, I would like to give the buyer a narrow CW filter option.
I also purchased RT System’s programming software and cable for the FT-817/818. I’ve adopted RT systems for all of my other VHF/UHF radios, so it’ll be easy to load, change, and clone all of the frequency memories. I’ll be nice having both SOTA calling frequencies and repeaters pre-loaded on my radios.
I’ve thought about actually making a no-edit video of building/installing the CW filter and side rails.
Speaking of videos about building a narrow CW filter, though, check out this one Jonathan (KM4CFT) published only recently.
Zero buyer’s remorse
The only challenge I’m going to face down the road is trying to sell the “extra” FT-817ND.
Then again, I’ve thought about keeping the third one decked out in the TPA-817 pack frame (see photo above) and lending it out to local POTA/SOTA newbies who want to test out the healing waters of QRP.