Did Yaesu miss the boat?

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Dayton Hamvention this year.  It was on my list of things to try to accomplish for 2012, but since I’m heading out west to Pacificon in October, I needed to save my pennies for that adventure.  The Dayton Hamvention will be moved to my “things to accomplish list” for 2013.

As you may know from my recent blogging, I do own the brand new Elecraft KX3.  I described this little rig in a recent podcast as “ultra-lite, ultra-portable, ultra-awesome” and the KX3 certainly lives up to all of these fine attributes.  While I’ve owned my Yaesu FT-817 for about 4 years, I really love the larger display of the KX3 and of course all the updated features certainly don’t hurt either.

File:Yaesu FT-817.jpg

The Yaesu FT-817 was first released in 2001 and an updated FT-817ND model was made available in 2004.  The 817 is based on the main circuit board design of its bigger and more powerful brothers, the FT-857 and FT-897. 

As I stated, I purchased my 817 back in the 2008 timeframe and used it for portable operations and carried it along with me on hiking and backpacking trips.  I became hooked on SOTA or Summits On The Air in the fall of 2011 and this became my main radio for that purpose.

While I’m perfectly happy with my KX3 and have already used it on one SOTA adventure, I was (like many) thinking, hoping, expecting, anticipating Yaesu to unveil it’s new QRP portable offering at the 2012 Dayton Hamvention.  However, the Dayton Hamvention is over and there was no announcement or news of any kind from Yaesu regarding their future QRP/Portable offering.  I’m wondering if the boat has sailed and left Yaesu high and dry? 

With Elecraft announcing the KX3 at the 2011 Dayton Hamvention and opening the KX3 up for orders in late December 2011 and beginning to ship orders in the Spring of 2012, the 2012 Dayton Hamvention would be the perfect place to announce a new QRP offering from Yaesu.  Well…that is if a new offering was planned.

Of course, Yaesu is big enough and perhaps powerful enough not to necessarily need to leverage an event like the Dayton Hamvention to announce a new QRP rig.  Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the FT-817.  While it may be over 10 years old, the old dinosaur is still kicking and screaming and loved in the QRP community.  As I stated I do own one and I plan to keep it….for now!  

So why do I even bring this up?  Well I do have an interest in QRP operations and an updated offering from Yaesu would be great news for the hobby.  However, I don’t view this as doom and gloom.  I figure Yaesu will update their aging line of 817’s, 857’s and 897’s when they feel the time is right.  However, I just wonder if that time is NOW!

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK   

Category(s): Amateur Radio, Technology
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5 Responses to Did Yaesu miss the boat?

  1. I understand that there may be a problem in the future with supply of the LCD for the 817 and supposedly there is recognition at Yaesu of the need for a re-working of this great little rig. Apparently, no R&D has begun yet.

    If Yaesu were to bring out an 817 replacement in a couple of years, it would certainly give them time to assess the competition (in particular the KX3) and know where to position their rig in the marketplace. Would it have a traditional receiver architecture, or be SDR-based? I sold mine last year and used the proceeds to help finance a K2, but from time to time, I do miss that little rig. The sturdy sub-chassis and professional finish made it a rugged little QRP do-it-all workhorse.

    Sure, it doesn’t have the best front-end and the RX current is a bit high for a portable rig, but it crams all modes from 160 up to 70cm into that little package, which is still pretty amazing, even in 2012. I’m almost wishing I hadn’t sold mine now Jerry!

  2. Well, as long as the FT-817ND still sells well, Yaesu has no commercial reason to upgrade the little bugger…. the costs for engineering and marketing are high, and unless Yaesu can find a compelling reason to drop a very popular radio, we won’t get anything new ! (so…. hey guys… stop buying them ! Smilie: :-) )

    de KK8ZZ

  3. Good point Bob. It may just be that KX3 sales will cause a drop in FT-817 sales, giving Yaesu the nudge they need Smilie: :-)

  4. Hi All, I have just purchased my FT817 after looking at the KX3.
    The FT817 is a great rig with really nothing to buy, where as it seems i have to keep putting my hand in my pocket to get a workable rig with kx3.
    happy QRPing folks


  5. No, Yaesu didn’t miss the boat. Elecraft did.

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