KX3 vs FT-817 Receive Comparison

Now that I have your attention let me tell you what this post does NOT say!

This isn’t a technical comparison between the two radios. Nor is it meant to infer one radio is better or worse than the other. You have to look at all the features/benefits and figure out what works best for you. And, unfortunately, it points out my amateur video capabilities ๐Ÿ™


Here’s a little background to help fill in the blanks. Both radios are (or more accurately were) owned by me. The FT-817 was purchased new around 2003, the KX3 was received in August 2012. The RX comparison came about from a 75m conversation with Ken/KF7IYQ. I mentioned I would like to do an A/B comparison between the two radios and he asked if I could shoot a video of the test.

Test conditions

The video was shot in my shack on a typical Monday evening. The antenna used is a 3 element SteppIR at 50′, aimed west for the test. Both radios were powered from the same source, a 6.6 Ah LiFe battery and the antenna switched between the two with a Daiwa two position switch. I attempted to find a very weak station with one radio, then switch to the other to see what it sounded like on that rig.

The KX3 has far more features than the FT-817. The only option in the Yaesu is a 400 Hz Collins IF filter for CW. The CW filter was selected for the tests. On the KX3 noise reduction (NR) was off and the CW bandwidth was set at 400 Hz to match up with the Yaesu. 20 meters was quiet and both radios had their preamps on (IPO off on the Yaesu).


There aren’t any! The videos show what the typical operator would hear when they come home from work on a Monday evening and get on 20 meter CW. It’s up to you to decide which rig, if either, has a leg up on the other.

Full disclosure. Just hours after this test the Yaesu was packed up and sent to its new owner. As much as I like both radios the KX3 offers many features beyond the FT-817’s. I simply didn’t envision the Yaesu getting much air time in the future. That being said I’ll still miss the little 817, it really offers a lot in a small package.

Here’s the videos. Try not to doze off while they’re playing ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for watching and reading – 73!