After a ton of thought, I purchased a used Yeasu FT-817 radio on 2/2/2016 from another Ham and good friend. It required a minor repair as the power receptacle was damaged, but I was able to get the replacement part from Yeasu parts and service – then solder in the new receptacle to the circuit board and get it into operation.
The radio came with a LDG Z-817 Auto-tuner, new microphone, manuals and Nifty guide – connector cables and several handy peripheral connectors. Missing were the wall wart charger, rubber ducky antenna and it would need new internal batteries plus an external battery for extended field operations, but everything I needed was available from Amazon, Ham Radio Outlet and eBay to have a broad band, “do most everything” QRP radio for field operations of most any kind. Yeasu has introduced a few upgrades to this venerable radio – and many consider them the “Ultimate” survival/preparedness/field radio. Shoot – I just wanted it to have fun with! 😀
I’m probably never going to be a “contest fanatic” – shoot, that is more like work and I want to simply enjoy talking to folks in far away places in a bit more comfortable way than any kind of competition. I do, however, dearly enjoy a challenge – and believe operating at low-power, (QRP operation), is going to be my “niche” for HF radio – particularly via CW, (Morse Code) – and that is where I’ll eventually be able to find the greatest satisfaction out of this fun hobby. That doesn’t mean I won’t eventually buy a “full gallon” linear and operate at high power with a huge antenna array like I did back in my days as Chief MARS Operator on a few ships – but the thought of taking this little radio up in the mountains with some kind of ultra-light wire antenna and using it to talk to folks in other states/countries on just 5 watts, and battery power, just appeals to my personal sense of “right”. For now, and as long as my health holds up, pretty sure I’ll continue to work toward that end. Have already taken a few steps in that direction. 😉
Heidi and I love the mountains and the forest regardless. Put me there, or somewhere on a lake doing some fishing and I feel closer to my maker every time. We don’t have to have a radio to go up there, but it sure seems a great excuse to get up and go – we will take our Shepherd with us of course. Will see if I can’t incorporate some phase of outdoor cooking with each run. Life is good and the future is bright!
Some time after writing the above, I ordered a FTDI USB Programming Cable Yaesu CAT FT-100 FT-100D FT-817 FT-817ND CT-62, (that link is to another Ham operator’s eBay Store – BlueMax49ers – one whom I’ve had excellent results with in the past, solely as a customer/consumer). Since the subject radio also covers the 2m and 70cm bands, I used the free, open-source, CHIRP software from DanPlanet.com to program its memories with all of the local UHF and VHF repeater settings, plus the simplex calling frequencies, etc., for each band. That FTDI USB cable worked like a charm.