Looking for an all mode all band radio....Suggestions

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by N0MIO, Apr 27, 2010.

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  1. M0GVZ

    M0GVZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    DO NOT GET A YAESU FT857 UNLESS YOU'RE WANTING MOBILE. In the same price bracket is the Kenwood TS-480 SAT (no VHF/UHFwhich has a built in tuner, no having to navigate several menu layers to get to settings you'll use a lot, has far better noise fighting tools and doesn't suffer from the selection/volume knob wobbling and falling to bits. Also there's the Icom 706 MK2G but I've no experience of them.

    Homebase there's TS-570's, TS850SAT etc all second hand.
  2. N0IU

    N0IU Ham Member QRZ Page

    The guy has been licensed for a little over 4 months so in all likelihood, (and with all due respect to the OP), he probably doesn't have a clue what aspect (specfically!) he is interested in.

    IMHO, something along the lines of an IC-718 is a very respecable entry level rig. At $599, you can't hardly beat that for a brand new rig!
  3. K7UNP

    K7UNP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Right on Scott! My suggestion was intended to nudge him to think ahead a little bit. I'm aware it is a stretch at this point for him to start thinking about any "specific aspect of the hobby. This is one of the reasons I relayed the IC-718 story to him. An outboard AF (modest cost) filter unit between that rig and an external speaker as well as an an RF ammeter etc. will not only save him $ but will also put him in the position to have the info to experiment with antenna systems.

    I am also firmly against auto-tuners in the beginning. They, in my experience are fairly inconsistent and are a hinderance to learning and exploring some of the basics of the hobby.

    Again, as I titled my previous post, ... only a suggestion.

  4. KC2PCF

    KC2PCF Ham Member QRZ Page

    And if you buy a used one you’re not going lose much money if and when you upgrade or find your niche. Or you could just keep it, makes for a nice back-up/loaner/field day rig…

    Also, don’t be in such a hurry to upgrade….
    You will learn, and retain, more from your experiences than you will from reading a book or memorizing questions.
  5. KC8AHN

    KC8AHN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think you need to go to the candy store and play around with rigs if it is at all possible. I was in the same postion as you and wanted the 857 due to mobility (removeable face with included mounting kit) but ended up getting the FT450 because it has better filters and fewer menus. I can do pretty much anything on that rig in the dark and I have only had it for 3 or so weeks.

    What ever you do, do not get tempted by the QRP rigs. I really wanted the FT817 and bought that before everything else. I had it less than 12 hours and took it back. Many people on this site and others told me not to get it and I did not listen, it almost became a costly mistake because the dealer charges re-stocking fees, the only reason they did not charge them to be was because I was giving them an extra $200 with the cost of a different rig and power supply.
  6. KB1LID

    KB1LID Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why would this be a mistake? I am interested in upgrading to general primarily for QRP work while hiking so this radio has a huge appeal to me. I like the idea of tinkering around with dipoles and seeing what works best. I understand I won’t be able to break through pile-ups and what not but it does seem like a fun side of the hobby to get into. Am I just asking for trouble? BTW, it’s either the 817 or the 857 due to my mobility needs.

    What was your experience with the little rig? Pros and cons?
  7. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    What was your issue on the 817? Was it just that it's QRP?

    I'm on my second one now, and I love it for what it does. But yes, 5 watts can be very frustrating for a newcomer, or even an experienced ham. I would not want an 817 as my only radio unless I was happy working VHF/UHF and occasional Eskip. I enjoy using it portable when I can, and it works fine for me in that role.

    For the gentleman considering the 817 for backpacking, there aren't too many other choices that will so SSB. But, the 817 is rather heavy for backpacking, and it will eat it's batteries pretty quickly. If you know the code, any of the little CW rigs will be much more suitable for the back country. The 817 is fine for sissyfied camping like I enjoy. I gave up sleeping on rocks decades ago.
  8. KI6DKC

    KI6DKC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I owned the 817nd before I sold it and purchased an 857d. I loved the little 817nd but the lack of DSP and only five watts made making contacts tough. If I did get into a QSO it didn't last long because the other guy got tired of trying to pull me out of the noise. The nice thing about it though was that it had it's own internal battery and it was nice and small. But after a couple years I finally admitted to myself that QRP wasn't for me, at least not as for normal day to day operation. On occassion it is fine. I wish I still had that little radio though because I had a lot of fun with it when and made some contacts. But it was more often than not fustrating for me. If my QTH was in a different location and I had more money for antennas then maybe it would have been a different story.

    The 857d is very similar but it has 100 watts cabability and DSP. The DSP is a really nice feature. When there is a lot of noise it really makes a difference. The extra power allows me to make the contacts I wasn't even close to making before. Sometimes when the band conditions have an S8 or higher noise level the only way I get heard is by having the power to get throught that noise.

    The Yaesu menu functions on the FT857d are extremely complicated. I had a head start because I was used to the 817nd menu which was similar. It took me an hour to find in the manual how to change the RF power on the radio. I know a couple guys that have the 857, the 897, or the 817 so they were able to help also. If you have an elmer or some guys in your area or the local club that you look to for advice on ham radio you may want to see what they are using. If they are mostly Icom guys then getting a Yaesu might mean they won't be able to help you as much. But if they are mostly Yaesu then getting an Icom might make it hard to get help. I would rather call up one of my friends then have to post a bunch of questions here on the zed. I may get the answer eventually on the zed but I may also get conflicting answers or answers I don't understand sprinkled with the occassional nonesense remark.

    I used both radio for base stations, not mobile, so on the 857d I had to either purchased a switching power supply or use a battery. Since I do some portable I use a big deep cycle battery which is a pain to move around but it works. I can use smaller external batteries, which I did use back with the 817nd, but I have to turn the power way down.

    I purchased my 857d used and saved some money. I don't have the money to go out and buy expensive rigs so this saved me quite a bit. I also looked at some of the used Icoms but they were either sold before I could make a purchase or showed more wear than I wanted in a close to new rig. The 857d was available and the ham that sold it to me gave me some good pictures and descriptions of the item.

    I like the 857d and use it all the time. It's a good, compact radio that does a lot. Whatever radio you get there will always be something lacking or you wish was different. It's impossible to get a radio that does everything you could possibly want, perfectly, all the time, in a compact package, and for a reasonable price. Check out the reviews on eham too as they can tell you what people like about a particular radio and what they don't like. But a friend or club member can be even better at helping you decide if they have the radio you are interested in. Then you could possibly try it before purchasing it. Nothing is worse than spending a bunch of money and not being happy with your purchase.
  9. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    I think, if there are budget constraints, the 857 would be a fine choice. I use one as a mobile/backup rig. I have had the IC7000 while still sailing and it would be my choice if money wasnt a concern. It doews have IF DSP and I felt it to be a bit more user friendly. I did have to rig an external fan for it as there wasnt enough ventilation to keep up with my long rag chews.

  10. AD6KA

    AD6KA Ham Member QRZ Page

    The FT-817 also has a huge receive current drain, (around 450ma vs. 60ma for the K1) which is especially relevant when you are hiking and considering power sources.

    If you are serious about backpack QRP, you will be operating with marginal antennas so CW is the only really practical mode to go with. QRP SSB is a tough pull under most any conditions. Not saying it can't be done, but it can be disappointing to hike in 20 miles, setup all your stuff and not be able to contact anyone if SSB is your only mode choice.

    Suggest you consider the Elecraft K1, which has many add-on features you can incorporate as your interest & buget allows, i.e. auto antenna tuner, 4 band module, etc. If you don't want to make that investment, or are not really sure backpack QRP CW is what you want, buy and build one of the inexpensive monoband QRP CW transceivers like the SWL SW+, or Rock Mite Series. There are other monoband QRP CW or SSB rigs around too.
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