Beginner rig TS480SAT or FT897D?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by KA8KBU, Nov 18, 2009.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sorry for the very long delayed reply, I just came back to see this!

    You'd have to use them side by side. The difference is rather astounding.

    The 850SAT can accomdate eight crystal filters, and came with five (three are options); four in each of two IFs. It has IF slope tuning in two directions, so if you use those controls properly, you can narrow the IF passband down to "nothing." It also has a real (manual) IF notch filter, the ability to turn the RX AGC completely "off" (which opens a whole new world of weak signal listening that's virtually impossible if you can't), and CW REVerse mode which allows you to select either SSB injection (high or low) to tune in CW signals from top down or bottom up.

    It also has true RF speech processing, full QSK, a MONItor function that actually demodulates the SSB signal, quick band switching by pushing a BAND button; an internal CW memory keyer and internal DVR (digital voice recorder) to prerecord and play back CQs and such (handy for contesting, etc).

    The 480SAT is a nice rig but at the "low end" for Kenwood. The 850SAT is the second best "high end" rig they ever designed, bettered only by the TS-950SDX which actually had a few more features. Then, if you compare "prices," the 480's a very good deal at under $1K. My 850SAT with its optional filters and so forth was about $2K back in 1990...equivalent to probably $3K today, adjusting for dollar shrinkage.

    Anybody who's a Kenwood fan fervently wishes they would "bring back" the leading edge technology employed in rigs like the 850S and 950SDX. Hopefully, that will happen!
  2. W5LDA

    W5LDA Ham Member QRZ Page


    You heard my mobile. A Kenwood ts480sat, KJ7U screwdriver and als500 amp
  3. KB3MMX

    KB3MMX Ham Member QRZ Page

    For a beginner, the TS480 is Waaaaay easier to operate!
    Another nice feature is the buttons are clearly labeled and the screen is much larger and easier to read than the Yaesu.
  4. NL7W

    NL7W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Right on, Steve.

    This Steve also wishes Kenwood would bring back a TS-850 / TS-950SDX same quality rig once again.

    We can only hope...

  5. KA9MOT

    KA9MOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are rumors of a new Kenwood HF Rig coming. It is supposed to be a competitor to the FT-2000, IC-756 Pro III.

    We'll have to wait and see.

    If it is good as I have been hearing I might have to sell my shack, my pick-up and my first born so I can get one.

    Hmmm....I wonder how much I can get for the kid.......Naw, I have to keep him. He helps me put my antennas up.
  6. K5BDH

    K5BDH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Didnt see it posted yet...but hamcity has the ts480sat refurbs with 1yr warranty for 744$...tough to beat. Should help make the decision on which radio a little easier.

  7. MM0XXW

    MM0XXW Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    TS480SAT any day of the week ;)
  8. N0JEF

    N0JEF Ham Member QRZ Page

    menues spenues - use the free Kenwood software and the 480 is SOOOOOOOO easy to use:


    Try this with that yaesu::


    And your filter graphic is AWESOME!!

  9. KA9MOT

    KA9MOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Since I last posted, back in Dec, I traded my TS-940SAT for TS-480SAT. Before that, I traded my FT-857D for the TS-940SAT.

    The FT-857D was a good rig, and I liked it allot. The TS-940SAT was better. The TS-480 does everything the other 2 couldn't do and I love it. I don't think I'll be doing any more swapping.

    This one is a keeper.
  10. KA9MOT

    KA9MOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    See, this is what happens when you comment and you really don't know what you are talking about.

    I had the Kenwood TS-850SAT and sold it. :( No radio I have ever owned was as good as that rig. It was a high serial number and was loaded with Filters and really performed.

    That said, it was an old radio that had it's quirks. Many other TS-850 had "issues" that mine did not display.....but that was always in the back of my mind. I was always asking myself, "What if?". It was my only HF rig and I am a poor boy. If it failed and I could not fix it, it would be a very long time before I could get on HF again.

    So, I sold it and bought a newer rig for the "peace of mind". I got a used FT-857D and paid my car insurance bill with the remainder of the proceeds of the sale. The FT-857D served my needs very well, but could not compare to the TS-850.

    My "new for me" TS-480 compares very favorably to the old TS-850 and has many, more modern features. The TS-480SAT has the best tuner I have ever used. The receiver is very close to the TS-850. It has a very good DSP, good filtering and it works very well with the Kenwood Software as well as HRD.
    You can also update the firmware.

    As an added bonus, I don't sit here and think, "What if?".
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