The Best way to improve the FT817ND performance?

So. What do people think the best bang for buck 817 upgrade is?? With the dollar heading north again (if you believe the financial review 🙂 it might be time to order some bits from OS again.

My current thinking is a Collins Mechanical filter of some Type/Style/Manufacturer.

On my Sota activations. The most common observed issue (as such) is wide adjacent frequency signals causing noise especially when 7085KHz has a chat group going and we are on 7090KHz. On occasion the wide local ops have made hearing weak stations a little hard.A narrower filter should also provide a more punchy TX signal as well.

I have only once had rf noise. This was my fault. Setting up too near a fire watch tower (empty when I arrived) but when opened up. Aircon/computers made some local noise. So I’m not sure a bhi dsp is best $$ for result.

image image

Young ears have not had a problem on RX. Though I am investing in a mylar speaker swap as we speak $4.50 from Altronics!!

My current thinking is either

The inrad 2Khz single SSB filter board


Or the w4rt dual SSB/CW (500hz version) board.


The Yaesu version at $240ish locally has priced itself out of contention, reviews and comparison of the w4rt/inrad options claim they perform better..

Have people before me gone down this road and care to comment on options and what worked

Other ways to spend my money would include the bhi dsp or a mic compressor/option. Such as the RF Clipper or One Big Punch.



And of course the 10MHz GPS reference/locking improved oscillator XREF from VK3HZ.

pcbbot1-1 pcbtop1

Too many options that all provide a different benefit. :$

14 thoughts on “The Best way to improve the FT817ND performance?

  1. Andrew, rather than entertain the folks on SOTA Yahoo and start an long drawn out post I will make a recommendation here. I own both the 817 and 857D both clean skins out of the box. If you are after versatility, extra power and a better front end, all in one package then sell the 817 and replace it with the 857D. On the majority of summits, noting a few exceptions, QRM or adjacent channel activity is not an issue. Don’t waste your money on filters and gadgets for the 817, the FT-857D makes an excellent SOTA rig.

    Andrew VK1NAM

    • HI Andrew.
      I have both the 817 and 857.
      857 draws a lot more current on RX as well as TX .
      5 amps for 5 W out. Not what I call portable .
      Already lugged the big 7 Ahr gel cell in a back pack to the beach. with the 857.
      Next time I took the 817 and enjoyed it more.
      I did get a $150 external amp for the 817 from ebay. 45 W .
      Needs more batteries but at least I can pick and choose this way.
      Not saying 857 is worse. Just saying the 817 gives you more options. Nice to have when running portable.

      73 Pete ve3hoh/w3

  2. thanks Andrew, I have an icom 706G, and tried to use this a couple of times and didnt enjoy the bulk., but wanted something with the smaller footprint,. i suspect Id be shot if I changed devices AGAIN!.. the 706 is always still an option for that ” special” activation..

  3. Pingback: FT-817ND Speaker Upgrade | VK3BQ

  4. Hi Andrew, can recommend each the Inrad 2.0 kHz filter and the RF clipper from DF4ZS. These are great improvements for this little radio.

    Andy, DC3AFA

    • Thanks Andy, I ended up with a speech booster from, but have not yet fitted it, and as for the filter, still no decision. 😀

  5. Pingback: FT817 – W4RT 500Hz CW Filter! | VK3BQ

    • i came across a cheap yaesu 300Khz CW filter and popped that in, (at the moment) it works a treat, very nice sound and makes a difference., i do more ssb than cw (with sota) and a voice filter would be handy, but i haven’t made the jump on the combined filter board.. YET..

  6. I have the Collins SSB filter. It does make a difference, but ever so slightly. Rather than go with the combo board route, I plan to swap a 300 KHz CW filter in there…once I improve my CW skill set.

  7. Thanks for showing these options, Andrew. I mainly operate C.W. and was considering either the 300Hz mechanical filter or a digital audio SOTAbeam filter. The SOTAbeam has to be soldered in and takes 300mA, not good for portable use in my opinion, it’s another 300mA drawn, so I’m going to order the W4RT using a Collins mechanical filter, slightly cheaper than the Inrad one here in the U.K.
    I guess if you do both CW and SSB the dual filter would be better, however I like the SSB audio on the standard 817.
    I once had a 250Hz xtal filter in an FT101E, that was sharp, so I expect a mechanical filter to be less sharp and why I’m going for 300Hz.
    Bill, G4GHB.

    • I never did get the W4RT filter but opted for a cheaper alternative, a 455 kHz xtal I had. I soldered it to the pins and tucked it in. It kind of works but nothing like a proper filter although signals do come out of noise. Cheap though.
      Bill, G4GHB.

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