Purchased a Yaesu FT-857D....now for an antenna

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by KD0PEZ, Sep 30, 2013.

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  1. KD0PEZ

    KD0PEZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I recently picked up a Yaesu FT-857D. For those that don't know, this is an all mode mobile radio. It has 2 antenna jacks, one for VHF/UHF and the other for HF and 6 meters.

    Now I need an antenna. I see there's an antenna made specifically for this radio, called the ATAS-120A. I am not 100% sure but I believe it' does all the bands of the FT-857D all on one antenna.

    However I also see there's an auto tuner made for this radio, an LDG YT-100.

    Now I am torn on which one I should get. I do have a 10/11 meter steel whip that is 108 inches long. The YT-100 is $199.....and the ATAS-120A is over $300.

    I am wondering if I would be better off trying to use the YT-100 in conjunction with the 108 whip I already have, and save a little bit of $ for something else?

    What should i do?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. N7WR

    N7WR Subscriber QRZ Page

    First of all use separate antennas for VHF/UHF and HF. I strongly recommend the Larson 2/70 NMO mount for the former. As for using a 108 inch whip on all HF bands I doubt it will work on all bands even with the LDG tuner. They will only tune if the SWR is low enough and a 108 inch whip won't be close to resonant on many bands. As for the YAESU ATAS 120 I strongly recommend against it. I had one, and its predecessor the ATAS 100, years ago. They tend to fail for a variety of reasons.

    Unless you like the convenience of rapid band changes without having to change resonators there is nothing wrong at all with hamsticks. That is what I currently use though you have to have one for each HF band you intend to operate. They take some tuning but once you get them right they do a respectable job. If you can afford it, the Tarheel Junior Screwdriver antenna is a good 80-6 meter antenna.

    No matter what you choose good grounding and good bonding of vehicle parts is a must for antenna efficiency (and mobile antennas are not efficient to begin with) and for noise reduction. A visit to K0BG's website and really studying his tips on mobile installations is worth its weight in gold.

    Setting up a good working mobile HF station is a lot more time consuming and requires a lot more work than setting up a typical fixed location HF hamshack. Good luck.
     
  3. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have heard nothing but bad things to say about the ATAS antenna. You are best to get a Little Tarheel with the long whip which will VASTLY outperform the ATAS. But you will need a different control circuit for it. I use an Ameritron Controller with presets for each band, and then use a LDG for fine tuning. It you want to be serious about Mobile, stay away from the ATAS.
     
    XE1ZUI likes this.
  4. KD0PEZ

    KD0PEZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the responses. FWIW I do have a Tram 1180 dual band antenna for VHF/UHF. I'll take a look at the Tarheel Junior Screwdriver antenna. I've heard of hamsticks but never seen one or know much about them....anything special about them?

    What's the different control circuit you're referring to?

    Also my idea is I can change bands in the vehicle and have and not have to change the antenna.....unless I have to.
     
  5. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have the Ameritron SDC-102 controller. Costs about $120 but well worth it. Presets for all the bands.

    [​IMG]

    I adjust it for lowest SWR on a MFJ Antenna Analyzer and then set it as a Preset for that band. Then, to change bands, U just press the appropriate button. I labeled the buttons for each band.
     
  6. NN4E

    NN4E XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I ran the 857d with the ATAS-120a this summer and had great results on 20, 17and 15. I had it mounted to the top rear edge of the rear door om my 4d pickup. I used the comet duplexer and have to say you are better off with a separate antenna for 2m and 70cm. I was leary about this after reading all the bad reports but mine was fine, except for 40 where it worked but too much noise and it doesn't work on 80.

    I'll probably go the hamstick or hustler route next time I do any mobile operation though. The tarheels are supposed to work well too if you want a screwdriver, for a one button tune single cable to antenna setup I was very pleased wih the 857d ATAS-120a combo.
     
  7. KA7RRA

    KA7RRA Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have the 857D and a ATAS 120 antenna,and never had a problem with it my friend has had one for about 3yrs,or longer and it works great.
    DX on it and people with 10-10 numbers it works just has good has a tar-heel or screw driver antenna. I also used fiire sticks for awhile but you have to get out and change the Antenna to change bands

    You can also go to www.eham.net and look at the reviews
     
  8. K0BG

    K0BG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Anyone who owns an ATAS and uses it regularly, yet hasn't had a problem with it, is very lucky indeed! They're prone to common mode due mainly to the typical mounting style (clip mount). The issue is so pervasive, it is mentioned in the manual. If you just have to select a non obtrusive HF mobile antenna, then buy the Lil Tarheel HP, and mount it correctly.

    By the way, reviews are opinions, and everyone has one. They're not necessarily indicative of the truth.
     
  9. N2ZNC

    N2ZNC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, Im in my 3rd year of using the ft 857D and the ATAS 120a antenna on my truck, and I have the contacts to prove it. It works excellent, easy to use and if you mount it properly and ground it properly you shouldnt have a problem. I never have. I have helped quite a few hams who didnt install it properly and got the wrong mounts for it.
    1. You must mount this antenna properly with the right mount. The only mount for this antenna is the K400 mount.
    2. You must mount the K400 mount properly and it must be grounded properly. The instructions tell you step by step on how to do this. Contrary to popular belief you do not need to run 7 grounding straps the only vehicle that needs to have grounding straps as far as I know is the Jeep Wrangler. Cause the doors arent bonded directly to the vehicle.
    If you use anything other than the K400 mount you will have problems and therefore goes the rumors of poor performance and so forth.

    The antenna performs really well on all bands (2m thru 40M). However it has its limits. If you want the performance of a beam or a 32ft vertical than you will be disappointed. If you want one of the easiest to use mobile HF antennas "specifically" designed for the 857D and 897D in a small package than this is it. NO additional control boxes or wiring and no you do not need a separate 2m, 440 if you use this antenna with a comet duplexer.

    Many of the local hams that have purchased either of these radios have bought the ATAS 120a after seeing how well it performs in real life. And I have helped them mount it. I put photos of the mounting I used and the way I did it on my truck in the yahoo user group ft 857.

    So either Im very very lucky or I just simply followed the manufacturer directions and the suggestions of other hams and mounted it correctly.

    George
    N2ZNC
     
  10. K0BG

    K0BG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    George, anything will work to some degree. If you're not picky about where your contacts are or when you work them, perhaps an ATAS, and K400 mount is your best bet. It is not my choice, because I do 99% of my operating mobile. Nuff said!
     
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