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. KB1LID

    KB1LID Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info guys. I am not so much into backpacking as I am hiking. I want to have a small portable rig that I can take out in the woods when I am camping or just want to get out. For the next two years or so, I will be unable to get a base radio so the 817 seems to fit the bill over the 857. When I move, I plan on getting a FT 897 for the base and don't like the idea of having two radios that do the same thing. By the way this is my backpack,

  2. KJ4CMG

    KJ4CMG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I went with an FT-897D as my first HF rig. I don't have a lot of space so the fact that I can have a HF/VHF/UHF radio in one package was the main appeal to me. The menus can get tedious, but after awhile, it gets easier.

    I seriously considered the FT-450 or the IC-718 for my first HF rig, but I am still active on VHF and just don't have the room for a lot of radios.
  3. K7UNP

    K7UNP Ham Member QRZ Page

    QRP and more....

    I've bought and sold a lot of rigs but the 817 has gone everywhere with me. In retrospect I should have gone for a lighter 1 or 2 band rig. There will never be a day where I won't own an 817. Once you challenge its limitations you will become a better op. That being said, look up "Idiom Press" and check out their SCAF filter. Listen to the sample WAV files. If you go for a basic rig, consider getting one of these. It will make your life a whole lot easier.

  4. KC8AHN

    KC8AHN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Let me clarify myself a bit. For MY PURPOSE, the 817 was a mistake. At my location, I am near power lines, and right next to a major highway with lots of lights, all of which cause noise here. I could not hear anything really with the 817, and if I cant hear them, I cant talk to them. My main mode of op is SSB and some PSK31. With the conditions and my antenna set up, I sometimes have trouble making contacts on 20 watts so I would never have made them on 5. I wanted something portable, but again, I could not hear anything, at least now I can turn on DSP and hear signals, I could not hear them before, unless you count the 2m repeater, and I was not paying $600 to talk on the repeater.
  5. K7UNP

    K7UNP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Everyone has a different operating environment as well as different opinions on gear. I have two setups at home. One is a rig that practically operates itself and is chock full of features.

    The other is "just a rig". I have learned more by messing with the basic rig than I would have ever learned on an advanced one. It causes you to research filters and associated schematics. The same is true of amps. if you have a QRP rig. You also wind up experimenting with antennas ammeters (RF), Field strength meters etc., etc. If you want portable, you wind up cobbling together a battery/meter/charger (solar) thing-a-ma-jig.

    This is part of how we learn in this hobby. If operating is the only concern, that's OK also. There are lots of good rigs out there for that.

    What it boils down to is simply what do you want to do???

  6. KB1LID

    KB1LID Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks KC8AHN, that is what I was hoping you would say. The only shack I am going to have for the next two years is out in the woods on the weekends. I have the capability to get pretty far away from most if not all bits of noise. I still think the 817 just might be my Huckleberry, saving the 897 for future purchase after me and the misses are into a house and out of the condo. I have been checking out plenty of YouTube videos on the 817 and QRP work from mountain tops and beaches and it looks like too much fun not to give it a try.
  7. WD5ABC

    WD5ABC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I got an FT-857 to use in my pickup back in January and have really enjoyed it. In the shack I have a Yaesu FT-990 from about 1992, it's got a MUCH quieter receiver than the 857 but it's a whole different class of radio. I'm very happy with the 857, I had it in the shack last week and it made me wish my 990 had 6m. They are apples and oranges, even in '92 the 990 cost twice as much as the 857 did. It's a good deal for what you're getting. If the menus don't scare you off, go for it.

    As for the 817, it's a good little rig too but I wouldn't suggest QRP for a new ham. I have a couple of QRP rigs and enjoy doing QRP but it can be frustrating for a newcomer. I'd suggest the 857 or something like the Icom 718. I'd also echo somebody earlier who recommended a manual tuner - you'll learn to use it and they're much more flexible than an automatic tuner.

    Whichever way you go, welcome to the hobby and enjoy getting on HF!

    Kerry, WD5ABC
  8. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are some areas where the 817 really shines.

    It's a great 'HT' substitute. For not much more than the cost of a top notch HT, you get an HT for 10, 6, 2, and UHF plus everything else.

    I like it for portable PSK31 digital modes. 5 watts goes farther on CW and PSK31 than it does on voice. If you could pair the 817 with a small netbook PC or a dedicated PSK terminal like the NUEPSK http://www.nue-psk.com/ and a decent antenna hung up in a tree, you'd have lots of fun on the HF bands. You can buy a plastic keyboard that will roll up to complete your NuePSK station. They're supposed to be adding CW capability to that modem soon, too.

    As for power, consider using a small solar panel to charge a gellcell battery. A small 12 V gellcell will run the 817 most of a weekend. If you can recharge it when the rig's not in use, you should have not trouble getting a full weekend out of it. There's a design for a solar charge controller in the ARRL's Emergency Communications book.

    In regard to not wanting more than one radio that does the same thing - remember that he who has the most toys wins! It's always a great idea to have a backup, and the 817 is my #3 radio for everything. The portability makes it really handy for a variety of tasks, like tuning antennas, hunting down noise sources, monitor receiver, and many more. I do often use it as an HT.
  9. W9IUF

    W9IUF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have been using these batteries with my 817 (and Elecraft KX1 & K2):


    I bought the 4 cell battery (because it is 12V) but a 3 cell battery would work with the 817. They are extremely light so very easy to carry. Much lighter than a gell cell would be. The only downside is that you must use their charger with the battery because each individual cell needs to be charged separately.

    Just another option.
  10. KB1LID

    KB1LID Ham Member QRZ Page

    I do kinda subscribe to the most toys philosophy but the trouble is, radio isn't my only game. I can't stay focussed on anything long enough to accumulate a lot of toys in one given hobby. I will always dabble in something that interest me but it won't be the center of my life for longer than a couple of months. That's just the cut of my jib. Now if you will excuse me, I have a kite to go fly.
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