The KA7OEI FT-817 pages
Errata and omissions of the operating and service manuals and other FT-817 "quirks"

Front panel view of my FT-817
A Front-panel view of my FT-817. 
Important Notice - Please read this warning:

This document describes procedures that could result in voiding of the warranty of your radio.

It also describes procedures and modifications that, if not precisely and properly carried out, could result in a radio that does not work or is damaged.

Furthermore, while reasonable efforts have been made to assure the accuracy of this information, it is possible that there are some errors, or that your (or my) radio is of a slightly different version and thus, differences may exist.

It is assumed that anyone following suggestions made on this page is already thoroughly familiar with the technologies and techniques involved and possesses the necessary skill and knowledge to make their own judgment as to the appropriateness and validity of the the information.

If you choose to do any of the procedures outlined, you do so at your own risk.  You are solely responsible for any damage, voiding of warranty, or other harm that may come about by following these procedures.

Further information - The following technical information may be found at this site:

For reference, my FT-817 is the standard USA version with the first 4 serial number characters being 1D21.


Anyone who has taken a close look at the FT-817 operating or service manual has likely noticed that there are a number of errors.  This is particularly noticeable in the service manual where, if the printed instructions were followed to the letter, the result would likely be a radio that functioned poorly.

Also to be included are a few operational "issues" having to do with possible design and/or manufacturing defects, or just a few things that don't work as one might expect that they should.  These include:

Service Manual Errata:

Note:  This section will probably be expanded as more information is gathered.  This information is with respect to the manual printed in 2000 with the bar-code number (on the back cover) of E13779000.  The number "0011G-0K" also appears in the lower-left corner on this same cover.

Another note:  Yaesu has apparently revised their service manual.  I would appreciate knowing how some of the procedures in the revised manual have been changed.  Also, let me know if there are some new, improved errors in the revision.

Alignment Errata and comments:

Software Menu Alignment Errata and comments:
in dBu
in dbm
in uV

in dBu
in dbm
in uV






Conversion chart showing the relationship between dBu, dBm, and microvolts (at 50 ohms) for signal levels mentioned on this page.
Note that the dBu value used by Japanese manufacturers is not the same as dBuV in that the former is referenced from 0dBu being 0.5 microvolts into 50 ohms. Thanks to PA3FEY for spotting this error.

Birdies in the FT-817:

Like any radio in which multiple frequency sources are used, the FT-817 has its fair share of "birdies".  "Birdies" are (usually) weak signals that may appear in the receiver on various frequencies - generated within the receiver itself - and they usually take the form of a CW carrier.  This section isn't intended to provide an excuse for them, but rather to (somewhat) explain their existence and how to minimize them.

These birdies are a result of the (inevitable) interaction between various circuits within the radio.  While careful design and attention to shielding, bypassing, and layout can reduce these, it is nearly impossible to build a modern receiver that is completely devoid of them.  The small size of the '817 makes avoidance of birdies even more of a challenge than with "full-sized" rigs.

It should be noted that some later production runs (at least those serial numbers starting with 1D21 - maybe earlier) of the '817 include some minor component additions (usually chip capacitors) that reduce the intensity of many of the birdies.

Fortunately, very few truly strong birdies exist within amateur bands on the '817.  How you operate your '817 can greatly influence how many birdies you can hear and how strong they are.

Here are a few tips on maximizing your annoyance with birdies:

Some people have been disappointed with the '817 in terms of the number of birdies that it appears to have.  I would suspect that some of the worst effects are experience by those using an HF/6 Meter/VHF/UHF antennas that connects directly to the '817 on the front BNC connector.  As mentioned above, this is the worst case scenario for hearing birdies on this, or any radio.  I'll bet that if you were to take your "home" HF rig and slap an antenna right on it (with no ground plane to speak of...) you'd hear more birdies on that, too (not to mention "birdies" from your computer, your TV, your VCR, your...)

One thing to keep in mind about birdies on HF frequencies is that they are usually so weak that normal atmospheric noise will cover them enough that they won't cause difficulty with communications.  Let's take as an example the well-known birdie on 40 meters on approximately 7.238 MHz (how's that for a band with no undesired carriers?)  When tuning this in with no antenna connected, this birdie sounds quite strong.  But (on my '817, at least) it is under 1 microvolt in equivalent strength (less than S1.)  If I connect the radio to an antenna, this birdie is pretty much lost under atmospheric noise.

Now, were I using a mobile antenna or one of those collapsible whips that attach directly to the '817, the birdie would seem to be much stronger.  Why?  Two possible reasons:  The relatively poor antenna (face it, you aren't going to get a mobile or a collapsible BNC-mounted antenna that works anywhere near as well as a full-sized dipole) doesn't hear the signals on the band as well as a full-sized antenna - including atmospheric noise.  Also, an antenna that is mounted directly to the radio (besides being inefficient...) is more likely to pick up signals emanating directly from the radio.

Speaking of the '7238 birdie, where does it come from?  It would appear to emanate from the BFO synthesizer, Q1031.  The fact that adjusting the PBT causes this birdie to shift would tend to validate this theory.  Another theory proposes that this signal is somehow related to harmonic of the 22.625 MHz reference oscillator interacting with the LO/IF in some manner.

No significant birdies were noted in the 2 meter band.  Here are a few more of the stronger birdies and their possible sources.  Note:  These were noted using CW mode :

What do I think about the '817?

Despite what has been said on this page, I really do like my '817 - warts and all.  I might point out that like any complicated piece of equipment, it is unreasonable for anyone to "get it all right" the very first time - and I'm not overly concerned.  Also, one must keep in mind that this is not the top-of-the-line radio.  Cramming thus much "stuff" into such a small volume is likely to require a few compromises.  No if someone doesn't learn from feedback and/or their mistakes and improve their future products, then I start to worry...

Work continues on this page - please revisit soon!

Yet another notice:  The information contained on this and related pages is believed to be accurate, but no guarantees are expressed or implied.  The information on this and related pages should be considered to be "as-is" and the user is completely responsible for the way this information is used.  If you find information that you believe to be incorrect, please report it via email.

The KA7OEI FT-817 "Front Page" - This is, well, the "front" page of the '817 pages here...

Any comments or questions?  Send an email!

This page maintained by Clint Turner, KA7OEI and was last updated on 20200523.  (Copyright 2001-2020 by Clint Turner)

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