Yaesu FT-818

Despite a venerable design that hasn’t changed much since the early 200s, the Yaesu FT-818 still is one of the very best QRP (low power) radios on the market. With its full coverage of the VHF, UHF, and HF bands, as well as modern improvements like a more powerful battery and 6W of transmission power, up from 5 in earlier models, it’s an excellent choice for any ham operator interested in a portable, light, yet powerful QRP rig.

Good

  • Upgraded battery – The NiMH battery pack in this unit has been upgraded to 1950mAh of capacity, up from 1000/1400 mAh in the FT-817 models.
  • TCXO-9 oscillator – This enhanced oscillator provides frequency stability of ±0.5ppm, improving overall performance.
  • Plenty of memory channels/groups – You get a total of 208 memory channels across 10 groups, which makes it easy to save your favorite and most frequently-used HF, UHV, and VHF frequencies.
  • Comes with tons of accessories – You get a hand microphone, battery, battery case, whip antenna, DC cable, shoulder strap, and a battery charger with this unit, so you’ll have everything you need to get started right away.
  • Lightweight and portable – The bare unit (without mic, battery, and antenna) weighs in at just 1.98lbs, so this unit definitely continues the Yaesu FT-817s legacy of being one of the smallest triband QRP mobile transceivers.

Bad

  • Still uses an NiMH battery pack – Despite an upgraded battery pack, the Yaesu FT-818 still uses older NiMH technology. This is a bit of a surprise, since most HTs and mobile transceivers now use Li-Ion or LiFePO batteries, due to their superior power-to-weight ratios and longer overall lifespans.
  • Cluttered interface – With such a small screen and overall size, many menus and features are buried under multiple button presses and menus. This means the unit has a bit of a learning curve.

Bottom line

Whether you’re looking for a replacement for the FT-817 or you’re completely new to the world of QRP radios, the Yaesu FT-818 won’t let you down. It’s not that different from that previous model – but that’s a good thing. It packs all the features, performance, and expandability you’d expect into a small – and relatively affordable – package.

Product Specs

Frequency RangeReceive: 100 kHz-56 MHz
76 MHz-154 MHz
420 MHz-470 MHz
Transmit: 160-6 Meters
2 Meters
70 Centimeters (Amateur bands only)
5.1675 MHz Alaska Emergency Frequency (USA only)
Emission ModesA1A (CW), A3E (AM), J3E (LSB/USB), F3E (FM),
F1D (9600 bps packet), F2D (1200 bps packet)
Synthesizer Steps (Min.):10 Hz (CW/SSB), 100 Hz (AM/FM)
Antenna Impedance50 Ohms, Unbalanced (Front: Type BNC, Rear: Type M)
Operating Temp. Range–10 °C to +60 °C (+14 °F to +140 °F)
Frequency Stability±0.5 ppm (CW/SSB/AM), ±1 kHz ±0.5 ppm (FM)
(–10 °C to +60 °C (+14 °F to +140 °F)
Supply VoltageNominal: 13.8 VDC ± 15 %, Negative Ground
Operating: 8.0 – 16.0 V, Negative Ground FBA-28 (w/8 “AA” Alkaline Cells): 12.0 V SBR-32MH (Ni-MH Battery Pack): 9.6 V
Current ConsumptionSquelched: 300 mA (Approx.)
Receive: 450 mA
Transmit: 2.4 A (HF/50 MHz/144 MHz), 2.7 A (430 MHz)
Case Size (W x H x D):135 x 38 x 165 mm (5.31” x 1.5” x 6.50”)
Weight (Approx.):900 g (1.98 lbs) w/o battery, antenna, and Microphone
RF Power Output:6 W (SSB/CW/FM), 2 W (AM Carrier) @13.8 V
Modulation TypesSSB: Balanced Modulator
AM: Early Stage (Low Level) FM: Variable Reactance
FM Maximum Deviation±5 kHz (FM-N: ±2.5 kHz)
Spurious Radiation–50 dB (1.8-29.7 MHz)
–60 dB (50/144/430 MHz)
Carrier Suppression>40 dB
Opp. Sideband Supp>50 dB
SSB Frequency Response400 Hz-2600 Hz (–6 dB)
Microphone Impedance200-10k Ohms (Nominal: 600 Ohms)
Circuit TypeDouble-Conversion Superheterodyne (SSB/CW/AM/FM)
Single-Conversion Superheterodyne (WFM)
Intermediate Frequencies1st: 68.33 MHz (SSB/CW/AM/FM); 10.7 MHz (WFM)
2nd: 455 kHz
Sensitivity100 kHz – 500 kHz – – –
500 kHz – 1.8 MHz – 32 µV –
1.8 MHz – 28 MHz 0.25 µV 2 µV –
28 MHz – 30 MHz 0.25 µV 2 µV 0.5 µV
50 MHz – 54 MHz 0.2 µV 2 µV 0.32 µV
144/430 MHz 0.125 µV – 0.2 µV
Squelch Sensitivity1.8 MHz – 28 MHz 2.5 µV –
28 MHz – 30 MHz
50 MHz – 54 MHz
144/430 MHz (IPO, ATT off) HF/50 MHz: 70 dB
144/430 MHz: 60 dB
60 dB 2.5 µV 1 µV
0.5 µV 0.32 µV
0.2 µV
0.16 µV
(IPO, ATT off)
Image RejectionHF/50 MHz: 70 dB
144/430 MHz: 60 dB
IF Rejection60 dB
Selectivity (–6/–60 dB)SSB/CW: 2.2 kHz/4.5 kHz
AM: 6 kHz/20 kHz FM: 15 kHz/30 kHz FM-N: 9 kHz/25 kHz
SSB (optional YF-122S installed): 2.3 kHz/4.7 kHz (–66 dB) CW (optional YF-122C installed): 500 Hz/2.0 kHz
CW (optional YF-122CN installed): 300 Hz/1.0 kHz
AF Output1.0 W (8 Ohms, 10% THD or less)
AF Output Impedance4 – 16 Ohms
Conducted Radiationless than 4 nW

Expert reviews

  • In a critical review of the Yaesu FT-818, YouTuber Rate My Radio gave the radio a review of 3 out of 5 stars, and only 1 out of 5 stars for those upgrading from the FT-817. He believed that it was simply not worth upgrading, as the biggest changes are simply a bigger battery and 1 watt of extra transmission power compared to the FT-817. He was particularly critical of the inclusion of an NiMH battery instead of a LiPo battery, and the lack of C4FM support.
  • In his review of the Yaesu FT-818, YouTuber Ham Radio Soul by DH7LM also compared the unit to the FT-817. However, he had a much more positive impression. He called the radio “great” for the price. He did note that the power drain was high and it takes some tweaking of the RF gain settings to get the best results when receiving transmissions. Overall, though, he liked the radio, and said it was a particularly good choice due to the huge variety of mods and accessories available for the unit.
  • In a written review posted on RadioAficion.com, Whisky Kadman had good things to say about this QRP radio, calling it “exceptionally portable and flexible” and saying that the FT-818 “demonstrates the enduring quality of the original” FT-817 radio from Yaesu. Overall, they called it the “perfect traveling companion for the radio amateur with interests across the spectrum.

User reviews

  • The FT-818 from Yaesu has an average score of 3.6 stars across 8 reviews on eHam.net. On the positive side, users called it a “time-proven design” and praised it as one of the “best QRP radios out there.” However, a few users had criticism about the overall outdated design, which hasn’t changed much since the introduction of the FT-817, its predecessor, nearly 20 years ago.
  • Only 2 users have reviewed the FT-818 on GigaParts, and it has an average review of 4 stars out of 5. One user called the radio “perfect” except for an issue with the band down button, which forced them to return the unit. Another user noted that this radio is ideal for mobile use.
  • On DXEngineering, the Yaesu FT-818 mobile transceiver has a rating of 4.61 out of 5 stars across 18 reviews. Users who reviewed the unit positively called it a “fantastic little rig,” and “very versatile,” as well as “a lot of fun in a small package.” However, those who critiqued this radio had some negative feedback about the user interface and lack of changes compared to the FT-817, with one user calling it the “FT-817.6,” and saying it “has no real upgrade” from that unit.

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