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Author Topic: Help me choose - FT8900 or FT 857D  (Read 2064 times)
KD8HMB
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Posts: 138




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« on: January 10, 2008, 06:37:33 AM »

I have an Icom 2200H currently installed in my car, but cant really find a good mounting spot due to the interior layout. I intend to replace it with at least a dual band 144/440 unit, but see that there is always something a bit more to be had for more cash. So - the dual band FT8800R plus remote is $370, but for a bit more the FT8900R plus remote is "only" $412.
Of courese, for just a few hundred more I can get the "all-purpose" FT857D with remote for $870.
I have to admit I dont really have a clear purpose to the upgrade since I'm new to all of this, but I would hate to buy a rig and them later find out that I should have gotten the other one for just a bit more.
On the one hand, I like the idea of the simplicity of the FT 8800R, yet I know that one day I will upgrade to the general class and want HF, too.
Your advice , please.  Thanks

Wally
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KO1D
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Posts: 387




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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2008, 06:47:43 AM »

I have an FT8900 as my back up radio. I love it. It is very durable and has a very good front end (meaning stupid pagers do not get in as easily on that rig as others.

I have owned an FT857d and had no luck with the thing at all. I understand I am the exception to the rule but still no joy for me.

The 8800 is a good radio (a couple friends have them) but you only have 2/440. If you have a thought that mobile HF or all mode V/UHF is for you then by all means go with the 857. If you just want to do V/UHF FM and someday get on 6M FM or 10m FM (if you have a General or Higher) then et the 8900. As the cycle improves 10m FM repeaters can get fun. Depending where you live there may be some 6m FM simplex or repeater activity worth looking into.

Regardless of rig another serious issue is the antenna. If you do go with the 8900 you will want either 3 antennas (2/440, 6, 10) or a tri-band and a 10m stick. I do not really like the quad band antennas people offer. I do not think the quad antennas will do you justice in the long run.

Good luck with your choice.

Dan S
KO1D
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N8EMR
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Posts: 235




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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2008, 06:54:42 AM »

Lets see.
FT-8800R 2M/440 Mobile
FT-8900R 10M/6M/2M/440 Mobile
or
FT-857D 160M-70CM Transceiver

With the 8800 you get a dual bander, the value of the 8900 would depend on where you live. It adds 6m but if there is no 6m FM local activity then the band is wasted.
10fm is fun but your only getting a hand full of channels that for a few years will be unusable. The 857 gives you the 8900 plus adds SSB to UHF/VHF and adds the entire HF spectrum.

SO do what you need? What do you want and what can you afford?

Gary
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WW5AA
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Posts: 2086




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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2008, 07:08:54 AM »

Go for the FT-857D, I have had mine for two years and love it. With cycle 24 starting up you will be able to get on 10/6 plus 144/440 right now. Even HF CW. When you upgrade, get a good screwdriver antenna and work the world. Have fun!

73, de Lindy
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WW5AA
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Posts: 2086




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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2008, 07:12:27 AM »

And by the way, I worked South America and Africa Tuesday afternoon on that dead 10 meter band with 200 watt home brew amp in the mobile.

73, de Lindy
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K0BG
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Posts: 9868


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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2008, 07:27:48 AM »

If you ask a dozen amateurs this question, you'll get that many answers; you just might be sorry you listened to any of them.

It is important (as you alluded to) to look forward, not just at the present.

The best way to buy any radio is play with it at your dealer. Compare not only features, but ease of operation. Remember too, the radio is just part of the equation. You have antennas to worry about, wiring, mounting position, and a few other things to boot.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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K3GM
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Posts: 1804




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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2008, 07:30:06 AM »

Well, you're comparing 2 different types of radios.  One is essentially HF and the other essentially VHF.  I have a similar situation in my Tahoe.  I recently got an IC-7000 and was going to remove the existing FT-8900.  But I realized that there are a few things about the '8900 that makes sense to leave it in there.  First, with the '8900 you have 2 VFO's.  You can talk on the local 2 meter repeater on the right VFO, and have the left VFO scanning the memories or doing a band scan. For instance 10FM was open to the mid-west yesterday afternoon and I was able to make a few contacts.  I had been yaking on a local 440 repeater and would have never known it was open if I was on the '7000.  But the '8900 was scanning across my memories, and stopped on 29.600 where the activity was.

So I think you have to decide what you're going to be doing most of the time, and select your radio based on that.

As far as antennas for the '8900.  I have a dedicated 10 meter antenna (Larsen NMO), and one for 6,2,70cm (some Diamond junk).  A diplexer splits the bands.  Both antennas are short enough to mount on the roof of my Tahoe and work very well up there.  Ideally, I'd like Larsen's for all bands. But I already had the equipment from my old vehicle, and besides, I had punched 2 holes in my brand new vehicle, and figured that was anough for a while!

Another thing to consider is the ancillary equipment necessary for good mobile HF operation.  You could easily lay out much more in an antenna, mount, controller, etc. than the price of the '857.

Hope this gives you some food for though.
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KD8HMB
Member

Posts: 138




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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2008, 10:26:59 AM »

Thanks for the help so far. I wish I could see and play with several units as one poster suggested, but there aren't any ham stores in my area - I think the closest one is in Milwaukee (I'm near South Bend, IN)

Money is always a factor, so naturally one wants to go as inexpensively as possible, but if I buy a lower cost unit now, and later get someting else anyway, I will have incurred extra expense.
I know the manufacturer's marketing staff have done a good job in determining the price points, since there is always something available a little better for just a bit more cost.
I am leaning more towards the HF FT 857D at this time, even though I cant use most of the HF band as yet, but then my question would be - is the 120A antenna as good (or as bad) as the reviews here would make me believe?
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N0FPE
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Posts: 366




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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2008, 02:02:39 PM »

There is no way to compare these radios as the have different capabilities. One is a 4 band FM only radio and the other is a all mode HF/VHF/UHF radio. Apples and oranges.......

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W4KVW
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Posts: 491




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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2008, 04:01:07 PM »

NEVER owned or operated an 8900 but had an 857D which was a piece of "CRAP"! DSP was VERY poor & it just did NOT make me happy on ANY band or ANY mode.Was tickled I was able to sell it & buy another ICOM!
That's just MY opinion so take it for what it's worth for your choice! }:>)

W4KVW
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W4KVW
Member

Posts: 491




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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2008, 04:08:54 PM »

As for your last question about the ATAS-120A antenna.Mine worked pretty good on 17,20,& 6 meters for me but NOT close to the DK-3 screwdriver I had before I went to the smaller antenna(Atas-120).I never used the Atas-120A on 2 or 440 bands so NOT any feedback on those bands.

W4KVW
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N3OX
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Posts: 8847


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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2008, 04:48:11 PM »

"had an 857D which was a piece of "CRAP"! DSP was VERY poor & it just did NOT make me happy on ANY band or ANY mode"

Hasn't been my experience with mine, so your mileage may vary.

I actually find mine to be a pretty useful radio on HF and VHF, though I've never used it mobile, only at home/portable.

73,
Dan
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
NA0AA
Member

Posts: 1042




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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2008, 05:07:53 PM »

I have an FT-8900 in my mobile.

First off, with the current sunspot cycle, 6 and 10 FM are of fairly low utility where I live - but your area might be different - that's worth checking.

8900 only has one antenna output so a diplexer is needed if you want to use multiple antenna.

Most of my travel is local so dual VFO's are very useful as I often chat simplex while listening to a repeater.

Would I like HF?  Yes, but I don't drive long distances where I'd feel safe really operating it so far.

If FM operation is your main goal, then either the 88 or 8900 are great rigs - I chose mine because I also have a VERY small slot for a radio and had to remote the head.

BTW, the CR8900 Diamond antenna for the FT-8900 is a challenge to use - it was specifically designed to be mounted on the rear deck of a sedan - either trunk-lid or lip mounted on the trunk.  Other locations can create tuning issues on 6 and 10.  I had to install counterpoises for both bands attached to my roof rack to get a workable match.  No big deal, but not very attractive.
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KA1OS
Member

Posts: 44




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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2008, 06:46:46 AM »

The FT-8900 is about as 'simple' as the FT-8800. As others have said, the FT-857D/FT-8900 comparison is a bit 'apples-to-oranges'. For mobile and emergency communications (FM local) use, I like having the dual-VFO receive capabilities of the 8800 & 8900 radios. Your priorities will probably be different.

Bear in mind that you don't have to keep any radio forever. It may help if you approach the purchase as a deposit with a user fee. You buy a radio: That's the deposit. If you don't like it or want to move to something else, sell the radio. The small loss is the 'fee' you pay for trying the radio. Fortunately, the used radio market is reasonably active and so you can generally find what you want and unload what you don't. If you are patient, you can find used FT-8900s for a good price -- I did. Try some of the major ham dealers if one doesn't appear at your local hamfest. Used FT-857Ds are fairly common.

Be sure to visit Alan's web site for mobile installations. If you think there is a possibility you will swap the radio during the life of the car, make the install 'generic', perhaps with an easily replaced mounting plate, and choose locations that can accommodate the largest rig you're likely to use.
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1124




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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2008, 08:44:09 AM »

I think there is room for both.  In my truck I have the Yaesu FT-7800R along with my Icom 706 MkIIG.  I primarily operate HF and lately that has been primarily mobile CW on 40 and 20.

However, when I travel I like to monitor 146.52 -- every now and then I pick up someone who is usually also traveling.  Once, while operating HF (SSB that time) I  heard a guy come over 146.52 asking for others traveling on I-5 south of Olympia (Washington state).  He was stuck in non-moving traffic.  I got on and asked where and discovered he was southbound and I was northbound and he said the traffic was at a standstill both directions.  So, the moral to the story is that I got off the freeway, took a side route, and avoided the traffic.  OK, that would be a good story but, no, I was soon stuck too.

So, two rigs are great.  HF for those mobile CW contacts or SSB too and a separate VHF/UHF rig for simultaneous monitoring.

Buy  both though I would recommend picking up the new Icom 7000 instead of the FT 857D.  That way, you get the added advantage of spending more of your hard earned money.   I have noticed that if you keep money too long, it loses its value -- therefore, spend it when you get it.
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