I am in the market for another radio. I currently have an IC-718 at home, and though a nice radiofor the price, it is definatly not the greatest either. My goal is to have a radio that will work as a base, mobile, and portable. Mobile/Portable will probably be limited to ocasional use when traveling with our travel trailer.
I am considering the following:
FT-480SAT or HX
The The first three do everything, but the two yeasus and the kenwood are older designs, and I believe they all do their DSP in the audio path. The 897D presents the largest footprint for mobile use with no ability to detach the faceplate/controls, but it has some nice options for portable use (i.e. builtin battery pack). The IC-7000 is the newest design with the DSP in the IF chain, but I have read mixed reviews on the durability of the unit with heat being a major issue with it. I would love to jump on an IC-7000, but the last thing I want is cooked finals, and with the potential for less than perfect VSWR in portable/mobile use from what I have read this could be a major factor.
I know everyone is going to have their opionions, but I am looking for some real world comments on any/all of these radios. Is the IF DSP worth the risk of a shorter time to repair?
I have not owned/used the two Yaesu radios but I have owned (and got rid of) the IC 7000. IMO its receiver is not that great and the heat issue is well known. I have owned (still do) both the 480 SAT and HX models. The AF DSP works just fine. My current mobile rig is a 480SAT. For the $$$ I think it is the best deal out there. Receiver is excellent.
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The IC-7000 heat issue may indeed be well known, but most of what you read about it is false.
I haven't owned a 897, but I have had the other three, and still use the 7000 mobile.
The 480 is a decent transceiver if you buy the optional filters. It is remote only, and for base station use that might be a drawback. I think too many make a mistake buying the SAT version over the Hx, but that's my opinion. I've never been fond of the Kenwood 2000, and the 480 isn't much better ergonomics wise. Again, my opinion.
The 875 is getting a bit long in tooth, and the display is the worst of the lot. I don't think I'd ever use one as a base radio. I suspect the 718 is just as good.
Thak you for the input guys. On the IC-7000 Alan, I understand the heat issue is probably blown out of proportion (it is hard to really get a feel for the issue with out having used the radio myself), are there specific situations where heat may be a problem? Is it during high duty cycle modes like RTTY? Or is it really just one of those situation where a minor percentage of users experience the problem and they of course are the ones to right compaints/poor reviews?
I agree the 857D would make a pretty poor base, but I have it on the list due to its size.
I own both the ICOM 7000 and the Kenwood TS-480SAT. Both radios are very good.
The 7000 does not get all that hot, and the case is part of the heatsink. I have never
used it in a high duty cycle mode like RTTY, but, I have ragchewed for long periods of
time and it never got unduly hot. It is much smaller than the 480 too. As Alan pointed
out the 480 is just about a remote-only radio. There is a mobile mount for it that mounts
the control head close to the radio. But, there is no direct attachment. It is a very nice
radio and has a huge display. Very easy to see even with direct sunlight on it.
The 7000's display is fairly easy to see (and is color to boot) and it has video out to allow
connecting to an external monitor. I use a 7" LCD TV that I bought at a hamfest for $20.
It works great. Both of those radios have good features. I would agree with Alan also on the
fact that the 480 does need the optional filters to make it better. But, the default filtering etc.
works quite well. The 7000 has no need of extra filters. And filtering is variable and works very
well. I have no plans to get rid of either radio.
Tough decision trying to choose one or the other. I would try to find someone nearby who has
those radios and try them out. That way, you can see what they are like and have a better idea
as to which you like.
I have over 6 years on the IC-7000 in my Honda Ridgeline, and it is used virtually every day. It gets hot down here in SE New Mexico, and with the radio mounted inside the trunk, along with an SC500 amplifier, you'd think if there was a problem it would have long since shown up. It hasn't.
Then there is the infamous IC-706 article, published on another amateur radio related web site. A version of it even found its way into QST! It is unfounded, undocumented, and unworthy of any consideration. Yet, its gotten way too much coverage, and still is, unfortunately.
I've heard horror stories about final failures too, but that issue is blown all out of proportion as well. Turns out, the majority of the issues with blow finals, is the use of RG58B (surplus copper plated, solid steel center conductor). Thankfully, the antenna company selling that junk is long since kaput!
I've used the 857D as a base, portable, and mobile and it works well. There's no need to poke around in the menus much so don't let that scare you off.
The IC7000 is a great radio. The engineers that designed the radio dealt with the heat issue well and appropriately. Most overheating of the radio is due to operator error. Allow appropriate ventilation and it will be fine. I use it as my base station and as a portable unit. It works great. Turn down your power to 40W or less with digital modes, and your finals will be fine.
I only have experience with the FT-857D. I agree that the menus are not needed much for the majority of operating (keep the manual handy if something does come up). The 857, a switching power supply, and an auto tuner can be fit into a brief case, or multi-gun pistol case (nice soft foam lining) and would present a nice compact travel package.
Heat issues are usually the result of equipment mounted with poor airflow. Laptop on the bed for instance, and are easy to cure.
I have a 857d with a ldg tuner.....I move it from the big rig to the pickup...and to the travel trailer. Great size with a lot of features...Lots of menus, takes some time to navigate. Yes the display is very small .
I have a 480 HX for my base rig, like it but I don't think it would be very handy to use like the 857d is being used.
Alan your right about the filters in the 480 I didn't get them at first but after I added the ssb and cw filters wow! what a difference
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