At some point in the near future, I need to buy a transceiver and an antenna for it. At the moment, three radios are my top contenders, for fairly obvious reasons: Icom IC-7300 Yaesu FT-991A Yaesu FT-891 I've never had the opportunity to lay hands upon or see any of the above radios in person (mostly, thanks to Covid), which definitely complicates matters... and the current discounted prices on all three are going away at the end of the month, so I have to make up my mind within the next few days. Going entirely by what I've read online, it sounds like the 7300 has a nicer UI than Yaesu's radios. I've seen people gush enthusiastic praise for the 7300's UI, while it seems like people with the 991A say things like, "its UI isn't as bad as it's made out to be". Unfortunately, the remaining points seem to overwhelmingly favor the two Yaesu radios... It sounds like the 891 and 991A have fully-automatic tuning when connected to an ATAS-120A. As in, you don't even have to remember to hit the 'tune' button when changing bands/frequencies... it just automatically and effortlessly tunes for you. I remember at LEAST 2 or 3 occasions when using WSJT-X when I changed between FT4, FT8, or WSPR, and it seemed like it insidiously changed bands on me & I didn't notice until it started to transmit and the radio threw "HiSWR" warnings at me. Automatic continuous background tuning could potentially save me from accidentally frying the transceiver someday, so I view it as a hugely desirable feature. From what I've read, at least one third-party company makes an interface that can make a non-ATAS120A "look" like an ATAS-120A to Yaesu radios... but I'm pretty sure it costs at least $150-250, which throws a huge monkey wrench into the alternative's economics. AFAIK, the IC-7300 has no such automatic tuning feature with any screwdriver antenna. The closest it seems to have is the AH-740... whose $2,400+ price is so absurdly and outrageously expensive, I literally thought it was an April Fool's joke when I first heard about it ~2 months ago. That said... I've kind of gotten the impression that third-party screwdriver controllers interface with the 7300 the same way an ATU does, and official support from Icom or not, it ultimately ends up being as automatic as an ATAS-120A with a Yaesu radio anyway. The 891 doesn't have a built-in ATU, which would normally disqualify it on the spot. By the time you add $150-250 to the 891's price to add a non-QRP ATU that can handle 100w with digimodes, you might as well just get a 7300 with built-in ATU for a little more. HOWEVER... when you consider that the price-difference between the FT-891 and IC-7300 is almost enough to PAY for an ATAS-120A... and that an 891 with an ATAS-120A doesn't need an ATU anyway (because a screwdriver antenna basically is an ATU)... well, that changes the equation a bit. The 991A's killer feature is 70cm. I have fantasies about someday (2-5 years from now) developing a new digimode that combines OFDM and code-division with a WSPR-like "pilot light" to identify the sender & mode, communicate the spreading code, and assist with synchronization. At the moment, 70cm is the only mainstream band I could use to develop it on. It appears that radios capable of 70cm SSB aren't nearly as common or cheap as I originally thought they were... and even at eBay prices, they're substantially more expensive than the $129 difference between a FT-991A and IC-7300. After going through all the above, it looks like Yaesu has mostly made my decision for me simply by virtue of the ATAS120A not needing a separate controller... either a FT-891 with ATAS-120A from day one, or a FT-991A with assorted Hustler and hamstick-type mobile antennas for now (using its built-in ATU), and an ATAS-120A for Christmas or sometime next year. But... I'm still not quite sure. ATAS-120A can't do 80m... and from what I've read, there's really nothing you can do to make it 80m-capable. The whip apparently has a nonstandard threading, and I've found nothing to suggest anyone has ever successfully hacked an ATAS-120 to do 80m, even poorly. I've read quite a few horror stories that say the ATAS-120A is mechanically junk, and will probably die from mechanical breakdown or corrosion within 3-5 years. But I've read others that corrosion was only a problem with the first-gen model. I've read plenty of reviews that describe the ATAS-120A's performance as "piss poor" (to put it nicely)... but I have to question the relevance of most of them, because the people who put it down the hardest are rarely comparing it to other screwdriver antennas, and are usually people who'd accuse almost anything that wouldn't require 5 acres and a crane of being a "glorified dummy load". If anybody has ever done an objective round-up comparing antennas like the ATAS-120A, SD330, and Little Tarheel side-by-side on objectively-equal terms... I haven't found it yet. The biggest complaints I've read seem to be that the ATAS-120A's 2m performance is poor, and its 70cm performance is downright awful. That's OK... to use the ATAS-120A for 70cm, I'd have to buy Yaesu's expensive ATAS-compatible diplexer. Unlike HF antennas, 2m/70cm antennas are small and discreet enough that I could just give those two bands their own antenna up on the roof with minimal risk of upsetting the HOA for less than what I'd probably have to pay for Yaesu's diplexer anyway. The Diamond SD330 can do 80m, use extra-long whips for better performance on 20m and below, and basically costs the same amount as an ATAS-120A... but I'd need a $150-250 controller on top to make it usable. 80m isn't a band I want to write off entirely, but I'd seriously have to question my own sanity if I spent $150-250+ extra on a solution that's still going to suck and work poorly anyway just to technically gain 80m capabilities. Little Tarheel has all the drawbacks of the SD330, plus it costs more. A lot more. As in, by the time I bought a Little Tarheel PLUS the controller I'd need, it would be almost double the cost of an ATAS-120. I have no doubt that it's better than an ATAS-120A... but I'm not convinced it's "better enough" to justify spending that much extra money for one. I've contemplated trying to build a screwdriver antenna... then the cold reality that I utterly and completely suck at building anything that requires mechanical dexterity or skill sinks in, and I know that my odds of successfully building anything capable of not only working the day I put it outside up on the roof, but 2-5 years later, are depressingly low. I'm good at prototyping "things that mostly work", but terrible at implementing things permanently that can keep working when I'm not personally there to babysit and fix them. If ATAS-120A could use a longer whip to get 80m and better performance on lower bands, I'd get one of the Yaesu radios, no contest (not even a fair fight), just due to sheer economics, and my only quandary would be between an 891+ATAS now, or a 991A with kludgy antennas for 6-30 months and an ATAS later. Likewise, if a thirdparty controller to make a SD330 or Little Tarheel work like an ATAS+Yaesu with either the Yaesu radios or a 7300 was fairly cheap (or something I could make myself with an Arduino, and still get fully automatic transparent integration with the radio instead of being permanently-kludgy), I'd have to think long and hard about the other alternatives. I don't value 80m enough to spend $250+ extra to get it, but $100 is within my "window of sanity", especially if I had a chance to try both the 7300 and 991A in person & ended up overwhelmingly preferring the 7300. At this point, I'd either love some affirmation that a 891+ATAS or 991A + eventual-ATAS is the obvious smart option, or compelling arguments that the ATAS-120A is so overwhelmingly flawed compared to alternatives like the SD330 or Little Tarheel, I'd probably end up preferring to just wait instead of pulling the trigger and ending up with something I'd deeply regret for years to come. --- Note: the purpose of this thread is to discern whether a Yaesu radio with ATAS-120A is really the clear slam-dunk winner it appears to be, or whether there are additional considerations I ought to be aware of before pulling the trigger. To be honest, this kind of feels like one of those times when I've gone to a restaurant & ended up being almost forced to buy something besides what I really wanted, just because their "value menu" pricing warped the value equation so badly, it was almost impossible to justify getting anything else. Before suggesting a non-screwdriver antenna, please view my past thread history. That topic has already been debated into the ground. My best viable antenna option is literally a screwdriver antenna on a tilt mount up on my roof. The only remaining question is which one to choose... and as noted above, it seems like Yaesu's pricing has mostly made the decision for me, unless the ATAS-120A has fundamental flaws that comparable alternatives don't.