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Author Topic: Yaesu FT-8900 Quad band...6m FM and 10m FM???? How useful ?????  (Read 6434 times)
KC3BCW
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Posts: 17




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« on: November 12, 2013, 11:13:22 AM »

I am a new Technician with just an HT, and am considering my next purchase. The Yaesu 8900 quad band mobile receiver caught my eye since it is currently priced around $385 w separation kit, after rebate, and therefore not that much more than a name brand dual band mobile.

In the last 3 months I have learned a bit about 2m and 44o, and even tried Echolink...but I am still a newbie.

I was wondering how Useful 6m and 10m FM are??? I currently live at the coast near Ocean City, MD which is FLAT country....I can routinely hit 2 m repeaters with my Baofeng HT at 20+ miles and occasionally at 30+ miles. Doing a search of 6m repeaters, it looks like the closest ones are about 100 miles to the north and west.
How much activity is there on 6m and 10 m FM and what is the expected distance that is reasonable under "normal" conditions as well as "good" conditions???
What is reasonable mobile to mobile distances???

I would plan on using the radio up in my car, as well as in the house where I could get an antenna up around 35ft ASL.
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M6GOM
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Posts: 888




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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 11:34:33 AM »

Not much activity on FM on 6 and 10m.
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KC3BCW
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 11:42:59 AM »

"what is the expected distance that is reasonable under "normal" conditions as well as "good" conditions???

What is reasonable mobile to mobile distances???"
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W4KYR
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Posts: 527




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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 05:11:36 PM »

 I wouldn't buy the FT-8900, it is an FM only rig. I would spend a little more money and get something with SSB. Sure there are sporadic E-Skip openings on 6 meters, most are in SSB....even less on FM. And on 10 meter FM, I thought you have to be at least a General Class to operate 10 meter FM.

So essentially you are spending nearly $400 on a band radio that you can only use on 3 bands and 1 of those bands (6 meters) are not open all the time except for ground wave. As for local ground wave, you will get out much further on SSB than FM. While you might hit repeaters 50 to 75 miles miles away on FM. You might be able to talk directly 100 miles away on SSB under dead conditions.

I knew a ham who lived on the East Coast in NJ, he was able to get Rhode Island and other parts of Southern New England daily. He put out 160 watts into a 10 element beam on 2 meter SSB.

Congratulations on getting your license, but get a rig that you can get the most usage out of it. I don't think the FT-8900 will give you the most value for your money. Get a Yaesu FT 897, or Icom 706 MKIIG or Icom 7000, or one of the Kenwood HF/VHF/UHF rigs. This way you can still work FM and repeaters as well as SSB, PSK31, CW and so on.

Normal conditions is ground wave. Good Conditions on VHF/UHF is tropo. Good Conditions on 6 meters also can mean sporadic E-Skip or F2 Skip. There is no hard and set rule as far as expected distances for ground wave on VHF/UHF.  It depends on height of the antenna, the type of antenna (beam or omni), and power. I gave the example of the ham from NJ having regular contact to Rhode Island on SSB. If he was running FM with the same set up, he might not have been heard.


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N4NYY
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Posts: 4747




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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 05:30:15 PM »

I work at HRO on Saturdays. The FT-8800 far outsells the 8900. Fact of the matter is that there is no action on 6M and 10M FM here where I am.

Just get the 8800
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W6EM
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2013, 10:34:04 AM »

I work at HRO on Saturdays. The FT-8800 far outsells the 8900. Fact of the matter is that there is no action on 6M and 10M FM here where I am.

Just get the 8800

I own the 8900 for the simple reason that I like to work 10FM DX.  Yes, it happens quite frequently.  There is a large US group of repeaters that are available when skip permits.  And, quite a bit of simplex activity on 29.6 when the band opens.  I live in AL, and can hear Europe, and the left coast regularly about mid-day.

It is a great mobile rig if you want to cover it all and don't have the space or want to have primarily an HF mobile presence. 
6M is infrequently open, and usually just in the US.  Repeaters are used in mainly larger cities.  Best way to evaluate 6M and even 10M is to buy an ARRL Repeater Directory.

If you attach a diplexer, you can use two antennas or buy one of the "all bands in one" antennas for mobile operation.
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KC3BCW
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 12:53:06 PM »

I wouldn't buy the FT-8900, it is an FM only rig. I would spend a little more money and get something with SSB.

So essentially you are spending nearly $400 on a band radio that you can only use on 3 bands and 1 of those bands (6 meters) are not open all the time except for ground wave.

I am not ready to spend the money needed to set up an HF station yet.....need to graduate from an HT to a mobile rig next.... and the 8900 has 4 bands that I will be able to use once I pass my General test by Xmas. ...
Some folks have recommended the 8800 which is a dual band, but its only $50 less right now, so that $50 difference wont buy me an HF.

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N4NYY
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 01:55:51 PM »


Quote
I am not ready to spend the money needed to set up an HF station yet.....need to graduate from an HT to a mobile rig next.... and the 8900 has 4 bands that I will be able to use once I pass my General test by Xmas. ...
Some folks have recommended the 8800 which is a dual band, but its only $50 less right now, so that $50 difference wont buy me an HF.

The only band you cannot use on the 8900 is the 10M, except for 28.300 thru 28.500. There is no FM there. There is no rule that says you have to get on HF. I know a ton of people that have Tech only privileges, and do E-comm, VHF-UHF, satellite, or just 2M rag chew.

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KJ4OBR
Member

Posts: 104




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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2013, 10:04:57 AM »

I have the 8900.. nice radio I like it a lot, but as others have said, FM only so as a Tech you are limited to 440, 2, and 6m. (tech part of 10m  is cw sideband only). BUT, if you upgrade to general and the band is open 10 fm is a blast. I have talked to Europe, South America, and Africa on 50w running down the road.

I have exactly 2 6m contacts (we have 2 6m repeaters in the area) in the 3 years I've had the rig. A fair amount of FM DX again when the band is open. Having said that, knowing what I know now, I would save a few more pennies and get a rig with SSB like the FT-857D.

As an aside, the quad band antennas out there tend to be costly and underwhelming performers, so the 8900 will require more thought in that department. I run a tri band for 2/440/6, and a duplexer that splits 10m off to a separate 10m whip. More complexity, more cost.

Good luck!
73

Dave


I am a new Technician with just an HT, and am considering my next purchase. The Yaesu 8900 quad band mobile receiver caught my eye since it is currently priced around $385 w separation kit, after rebate, and therefore not that much more than a name brand dual band mobile.

In the last 3 months I have learned a bit about 2m and 44o, and even tried Echolink...but I am still a newbie.

I was wondering how Useful 6m and 10m FM are??? I currently live at the coast near Ocean City, MD which is FLAT country....I can routinely hit 2 m repeaters with my Baofeng HT at 20+ miles and occasionally at 30+ miles. Doing a search of 6m repeaters, it looks like the closest ones are about 100 miles to the north and west.
How much activity is there on 6m and 10 m FM and what is the expected distance that is reasonable under "normal" conditions as well as "good" conditions???
What is reasonable mobile to mobile distances???

I would plan on using the radio up in my car, as well as in the house where I could get an antenna up around 35ft ASL.
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G8YMW
Member

Posts: 219




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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2013, 10:25:56 AM »

Deffo agree with Dave. Ten Metres needs all the help it can get (Certainly with the "ground wave" contacts(OK I know its not true ground wave))
Also you would be better off with a multi-mode
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73 details Tony
Sent by WW2 Royal Navy signal lamp
AG6WT
Member

Posts: 443




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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2013, 10:33:14 AM »

Skip the FT-8900 and get a FT-857 or similar.

As a tech you do have HF privledges: SSB on 10 meters, CW on 10,15,40,80 meters. Get on 10m SSB and you can work much more DX, easily from the West Coast to Europe.
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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2237




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« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2013, 11:52:28 AM »

I feeel your pain!

When you are starting out yet have enough money
for a decent new radio.....you want that one very badly. It can be
tough to think "Oh man, I really don't wanna save up for another
6 months to get an HF radio instead? I wanna radio NOW".
  Cheesy

Yeah, well.....it's well worth it.
VHF/UHF FM can get boring real quick if you aren't
involved with Emergency Response or a club, IMHO.
You will think so too afterwards, methinks.

Like the man said, the FT857 and the like will
do HF and VHF/UHF on ALL modes. So you can experiment
with SSB on the VHF/UHF bands, too. Make some spiffy
directional antennas with common tools and inexpensive materials.

Good Luck and Happy Hamming whichever way you decide to go.
73, Ken  AD6KA
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AF5CC
Member

Posts: 841




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« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2013, 09:58:48 PM »

If you look around much you should be able to find an Icom 706 or 706MKII, or maybe a FT100D for the price of a new FT8900. That will get you on HF, 6m and 2m.  Go for one of those.  I like the FT8900 but wouldn't want it as my only radio.

73 John AF5CC
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