QRP field radio, Yaesu FT-817 vs mcHF RS918

Mars 2019

There is tons of test and vs of these radios, here is mine, a small one. This is the first part of it, later on (to the spring/summer) I will continue this article with a loot more.

First of, these radios are two different radios. The waterfall on the mcHF is really nice to have, but the reliable of the Yaesu is also nice to have.

The Yaesu just work, every time! I have never had any problem with it, and it’s rugged and when you use it you feel that it will not break. The mcHF in the other hand.. it more or less a toy with a bunch of features that you can’t compare with the Yeasu, and you can adjust almost everything on it! And here is the point, it is nice that you can adjust things, but it’s not reliable and settings don’t always store, you can’t change settings because some software error and so on. The Yaesu.. you can’t mess with it! It just work.. but, it’s an old radio with old technology and jada jada... The Yaesu is a little boring to use today with all this SDR-radios, color screens, waterfall and so on... The Yaesu is old, and you can’t do anything about it.

The mcHF have build in CI-V and audio output via USB, with is really nice! So it’s only one small USB cable to you computer or tablet and you can use it for digital modes, and it work’s actually quiet good! (More test in the summer). Now... the Yaesu, did I said it was old? Here you need a Signalink with you (you can take the audio out from it.. but..), and that’s another box and one extra cable (that cost more). On the other hand, it’s much easier to adjust the audio levels, you just turn the nobs. Done! On the mcHF, you have to adjust in output and input level on the computer and in the menu on the radio because you can’t always adjust it right. And in some programs, like Winlink, it’s not always you can get it right. With the Yeasu and Signalink, you are on the spot every time.

Did I mention that the mcHF is a software radio and the program hang and don’t always work? Example, I adjusted the output power there you can tell the radio that 5W is 5W and so on.. But, as this is a toy, it work like a toy. The Yeasu have 5W on 5W, the mcHF, it’s all over the place. And yes, you can adjust it, but not exactly 5W. And the to adjust the 10W, it’s the same. There is a 2, 1 and 0.5W as well, but you can’t change this. So on mine, the 30m band on 0.5W the radio put out almost 20W! That is not good. Every band have one settings on both 5 and 10W, and there you have more power settings.. After some work I could get i around 5-6W on 5W, the 10W it’s from 7-13W depending on the band. And.. if you are on 40m and spin the VFO to say 80m, the radio and the power settings will not work. If you adjust the power now, the radio will be confuse. And sometime you can’t adjust it. So you have to check that you are on 80m and are on the right frequency, and it’s not only the power settings, it’s al of them. And yehea... I went out in the field and wolla, the power settings was all over the place. Did I mention that the mcHF is a software radio and a toy?

Now.. you are outside with your mcHF and everything working.. oops! Low battery, the radio went off. If you are unlucky (witch I have encountered).. you software crashed! Factory reset.. Thank you very much!

This will never happen the Yaesu!

Did I mention that the Yaesu is old? It have a tiny boring screen. The mcHF have a little bigger color touchscreen there you will have a loot of fingerprint and junk on it.

The mcHF will be hot after some work, and I mean it! It will be... The power consumption is lower on the mcHF than the Yaesu on every step. On RX with sound 0.45 vs 0.41A, TX 5W, 2A on the Yaesu and 1.66 on the mcHF, on 10W 3.9A on the Yaesu (with amplifier) and 2.95 on the mcHF. See my measurements at my article The fight, FT817 or FT857 or FT897 or FT450 or RS-918?

If you ask me:
You want a reliable radio = The Yaesu!
You want a radio with waterfall, SDR, USB modem and a loot of features (and problem on that!) = mcHF

P.S. I will update the software and the firmware in the mcHF later. Maybe some of the problem will go away?