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Author Topic: IC-7100 VS FT857D for portable operations  (Read 3160 times)
KK6RPX
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« on: October 14, 2017, 11:21:50 AM »

Hi All,

Just bought an awesome tear drop trailer with the plan being getting out in the boondocks more often. I'm debating between the IC-7100 and FT-857D. One primary requirement is a detachable control head so as to be able to use the radio both inside and out of the trailer.

Taking a look on the reviews on this site is seems that the FT-857D is a better radio. The IC-7100 seems to have a lot of complaints about full power out, especially when on batteries. But the IC-7100 has a really nice control head that looks like it would be easier to use remotely from different places in/on the trailer.

So, any words of wisdom from those that have used these rigs portable/mobile with the control head detached? I'm itching to pull the trigger on one or the other this weekend...

Thanks!

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K0UA
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2017, 01:20:28 PM »

Hi All,

Just bought an awesome tear drop trailer with the plan being getting out in the boondocks more often. I'm debating between the IC-7100 and FT-857D. One primary requirement is a detachable control head so as to be able to use the radio both inside and out of the trailer.

Taking a look on the reviews on this site is seems that the FT-857D is a better radio. The IC-7100 seems to have a lot of complaints about full power out, especially when on batteries. But the IC-7100 has a really nice control head that looks like it would be easier to use remotely from different places in/on the trailer.

So, any words of wisdom from those that have used these rigs portable/mobile with the control head detached? I'm itching to pull the trigger on one or the other this weekend...

Thanks!



Have you considered the FT891?  some improvements over the older designed ft857.  or do you need the 2 meter and 432?
The 891 is about $579 now from a couple of vendors.  I have one and its DSP functions are pretty good, but 160 thru 6 only, no 2meters or 70 cm.  But I have a rig already for that.
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KK6RPX
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2017, 01:36:00 PM »

Well, I want the all mode UHF/VHF. The tow vehicle has a FT-2900R, great radio for boondocking with 75 watts out but FM/VHF only. I'd like the all mode UHF/VHF for some SSB dxing.
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G8YMW
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2017, 05:20:11 PM »

Personally I would have the Icom.
The Icom has IF DSP while the Yaesu is AF DSP.
I have an 817 which is basically a cut down 857 and on VHF contesting I find that if there is a strong signal, that's +/- 10 khz wiped out.
My xyl has the 7100 and the noise reduction is good, the adjacent channel rejection is good and for ssb and cw you can cycle through 3 filter bandwiths.
You can alter the bandwidths but in the main, just leave them.
Not tried FM bandwidths.
As for power out, I wouldn't worry too much. The other end will not see any difference

However if pennies are tight, get the Yaesu
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73 de Tony
Windows 10:  Making me profane since March 2017
KK6RPX
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2017, 07:43:00 AM »

I would have thought there would have been more opinionated opinions! I am leaning towards the 7100 simply because I like the form factor of the control head. A buddy is going to lend me one this week and I am going to test it on lower voltages and see what the output is.
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WB4M
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2017, 03:04:40 PM »

I am curious as to your portable battery power setup with either of these 2 100w radios. But to answer your question, I'd go with the Icom 7100, just more modern with new features, nice big display. 
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KK6RPX
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2017, 05:40:35 PM »

Wow. Have my friends 7100 here in the shack. It is only putting out 40 or so watts average on SSB, screaming into the mic. It puts out about 28 watts AM. For some reason CW mode puts out nothing. I'm testing with a Bird 611. My usual inline shack meter agrees also and if I kick in the amp I get what I would expect from that input level. That is with RF power at 100% and mic gain at 100%. So I guess the talk about these units being weak on TX is true. Not sure what year this one is or what its firmware version is.

OK, the difference between 50 and 100 watts is one dB. Not that big a difference. Still, it doesn't sit well. Wish I could lay my hands on the Yaesu to try it side by side. My FT-991 puts out its rated power.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 05:43:43 PM by KK6RPX » Logged
K5LXP
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2017, 07:15:59 PM »

Quote from:  link=topic=117168.msg1027530#msg1027530 date=1508373635
It is only putting out 40 or so watts average on SSB, screaming into the mic.

What were you expecting for a non-PEP meter?

Quote
It puts out about 28 watts AM.

Sounds right.

Quote
For some reason CW mode puts out nothing.

Did you try keying it?  Make sure break in is enabled.

Quote
My FT-991 puts out its rated power.

So you're saying you get 100W on an non PEP meter with voice/SSB? 


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KK6RPX
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2017, 07:40:14 PM »

1) Well, I see around 80+ watts on the meter with the 991 if I howl into the mic. I see 100 watts in CW mode. So I expected something about the same.

2) Yep, that's what the manual says.

3) Only keyed it with the mic. I will look into enabling "break in".

4) See #1.

I also was playing around with a web SDR located a couple hundred miles or so away. My findings with the meter were backed up by what I saw on the waterfall and what  heard. The 991 had a stronger signal than the Icom. Running them both into the amp showed the same thing. Both signals were stronger with the amp but the 991 was stronger. If I backed off the 991 to about 60 watts it seemed as if the signal strengths were about the same. Tough to be sure on that part though. I will say the Icom signal seemed to be a little cleaner.

So, I have to conclude that 7100 isn't putting out its rated power.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2017, 08:02:17 PM »

So, I have to conclude that 7100 isn't putting out its rated power.

Ensure you have 13.8V to the transceiver, as it is spec'd for 100W at 13.8V and not 13.8V +/- 15%.  What does it show on your wattmeter in FM mode?  That should be the same as CW.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KK6RPX
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2017, 08:57:57 PM »

Interesting. Voltage is 13.8V, 13.6 under load. On FM it does show about 103 watts. For some reason it never occurred to me that the radio would transmit FM in the HF bands. So it seems to be only in SSB mode. This is along the lines of what it I have read on the reviews on this site. I forgot to mention earlier that I did see and hear a slight improvement when I cranked the compression a little but it still was weaker.

I see there is a firmware update that is supposed to address this issue although it seems there is some disagreement over whether it does or if it needs it in the first place. I also see a mod that is supposed to help but it seems that it works by defeating the ALC, which doesn't seem like a good idea.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 09:07:25 PM by KK6RPX » Logged
KK6RPX
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2017, 09:02:22 PM »

WB4M, I forgot: The trailer has a deep cycle FLA on it right now. Not sure of amp hours, haven't pulled it out to find out what it is yet. Something average in terms of aH judging by size. If it has some life I'll run that until it dies. After that I'll probably get an AGM. I don't plan to use the radio a whole lot when out and about, just a couple net check ins and a scheduled chat with friends in the evening.

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K5LXP
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2017, 07:59:02 AM »

A couple of observations:

Quote
This is along the lines of what it I have read on the reviews on this site.

I would treat anything you read here as anecdotal information.  Just as you have come to a presumed conclusion using a test setup that is inherently incapable, I wouldn't put much stock in the observations of others unless I could independently verify them.

Without knowing your actual peak power nor your spurious emission levels, you can't correlate the readings you're seeing between 2 different radios.  Linearity and purity should be primary factors, not all-knobs-to-the-right, tune for max smoke.

From an operational point of view, I wouldn't pick an 857 for anything unless there was a specific and compelling reason.  Compared to contemporary radios the menus are goofy and cumbersome, and the display sucks.  And anymore the lack of a useful DSP is a non-starter.  I'm having a hard time warming up to the 7100 control head but given the choice between these 2 models my decision process would be very quick.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

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KK6RPX
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2017, 08:17:55 AM »

Mark, while I agree that my in shack tests with meters is not a lab test, the side by side test using the web SDRs is a fair enough real world test. Same antenna, same tuner, same receiving station, switching back and forth many times in a short period of time. This morning I was testing with some friends on a net and all said my signal went down with the 7100. Another pretty fair real world test. I have cranked all rf output related settings up and even Icom issued a firmware patch to address this issue and I assume they have inherently capable test set up.

So, I wouldn't say that I have "come to a presumed conclusion using a test set up that is inherently incapable". You'll notice that I am not stating how many watts either rig is putting out or any other hard numbers, just a side by side comparison. I've used multiple tests in different arrangements and they all point in the same direction. If we all had to have lab grade equipment to form a conclusion most of us would have to give up and never try to figure anything out. Did all of our ham predecessors who got the art to where it is have lab grade test equipment? Were all of their conclusions the result of having come to a presumed conclusion using a test set up that is inherently incapable". One does have to be wary of jumping to conclusions but by no means is it impossible to figure some stuff out, especially simple equipment comparison.

All that said, I still like the 7100. I'll try to update the firmware and do some more testing.
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KK6RPX
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2017, 11:53:23 AM »

Just updated the firmware on the 7100. It's hard to be sure but it seems that the received signal strength through the web SDR is closer. Band conditions are not the greatest so I'll have to wait for that to improve. Should have a chance to test with a buddy over in 7 land today. Meter readings still look about the same.
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