Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by KA8KBU, Nov 18, 2009.
I have a TS-480SAT, and I'm curious.
Having never used one, how does a TS-850 "blow away" a TS-480?
I think the TS-480 is a fine little rig. But the ergonomics aren't great on any compact rig.
I have an FT-100D sitting on top of the MK-V for 6m/2m/70cm SSB and CW. 95% of the time, it would work for communications on HF as well as the MK-V.
But the MK-V sounds better, and when I need to adjust the notch, PBT, NB, DSP, RF gain, preamp, keyer speed, and numerious other things, I don't have to pull out a manual, and go through sub-menus to do it.
If I'm trying to pull a signal out of the muck, I want the controls available without sub-menus in the mix.
A TS-850 has all the knobs and buttons where you need them, and has really nice audio. Maybe blow it away is a bit strong, but it has advantages.
One thing I consider is what my Ham friends I live around are using. If I get something they aren't familiar with, I won't be able to get much help from them. If I get something they have or even the more current model of what they have, they can show me some of the things they have learned about using the rig. Heck, they can even show me how it works before they buy. Most of the guys I know have Yaesu radios (817s, 857s, 897s) and all those radios have a lot in common as far as menus so I went with the Yaesu. When I had some questions I asked them and they showed me how to do different things. Plus I can see their set ups and learn better ways of operating simply because we are running similar radios. Nothing is worse than buying something like an antenna tuner and finding out it didn't come with a cable you needed for your radio. But if your buddy has that same radio and a similar tuner he can give you a heads up.
For first timers having Elmers who are familiar with your rig can be a huge benefit. Features are great but being able to actually figure out the ins and outs of using the unit is even better.
Different strokes, etc.
I've used both radios, but own a 480sat.
I know guys who own Yaesus and they use four-letter words to describe the menu system. I had an Icom 706 for many years--loved the radio, but hated the menus. For me, ease of use and minimal involvement of menus is a strong plus.
So, my vote would be for the Kenwood, especially if you don't have any elmers or know anyone who is familiar with the Yaesu menu system. I've owned 9 different rigs and consider the 480sat to be one of the best.
Both are fine rigs, so go "play" with both, if you can, and make your decision. Above all, welcome to this great hobby and have fun!
Thanks to everyone who responded with a lot of good advice! Have a little better idea of what to look for.
I admit, I'm a Yaesu guy...
You know, I have never figured out this complaint - the Yaesu menus on the 897/857 is detailed, but it's neither endless nor is it structurally complex - it's all on two levels of menus: the ABC string and the deep string - and in truth, you really don't need the deep string all that often once you set your radio up.
But I agree that like any good radio, you benefit from spending a couple of hours with the manual and the radio. If you primarily use the radio for SSB and CW, you really won't need the second level menus all that often.
When I was in the market for my first HF rig, I narrowed it down to the 480SAT and the 897D.
I ultimately chose the 897D because I wanted 2m and 70cm coverage along with HF. I have very limited space for my equipment, so one radio that could cover HF/VHF/UHF was attractive to me. The other reason was I didn't like the detached face of the 480SAT.
Besides what W0GI said, I believe the rx in the 850 is just about as good as the got. It was my favorite rig for a lolng long time. When they came out I would havce sold my kids (all of them) for one. Had no offers.
On the used market.. I recently bought a Yaesu FT767GX and Fl7000 for 1400 bux. The pqackage included the matching speaker, all the cabling, the remote coax switch and other neat stuff. They wanted 700 for each and I just bought the whole \package. Right now, I like this better than the kenwood 850.. Maybe that's because I oput up the cash for these adn dont want to admit to a bad call.
I think your best bet is to go to ham club meetins or hamfests and try to put your hands on as many rigs as you can before making your decision.
I like my "legacy" rig primarily because I dont have to navigate menues.
I had a FT-897. The menu system is abominable, the manual confusing.
I'm very happy with the Icom 718 I have now. Like it so much I have two of them.