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Author Topic: FT-857D or FT-897D  (Read 10115 times)
KF7LDW
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Posts: 33




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« on: August 11, 2010, 02:48:35 PM »

Looking to get into CW and only radios I have are a FT-8800 and VX-6 which don't really lend themselves to CW and HF well...

Anyway for someone starting out and will be upgrading to General soon which one of these radios would be a good choice?  Any real difference besides size?  The 897 is a rugged manly beast compared to the 857 but is there really any other features that stand out?  Price seems to be about $150 diff between the two.
Thanks
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2010, 03:58:12 PM »

No, they're the same rig except for the panel layout and that the 897 has space for an internal battery pack.

Is this for mobile/portable work?
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2010, 09:06:56 PM »

While either radio has audio DSP (with narrow bandwidths), if you _really_ get into CW, you'll want to buy a narrow-bandwidth IF filter.

What are your requirements?  Why just those two rigs?

               Charles
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KF7LDW
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 12:32:55 AM »

Those were just the two rigs that stood out to me, I'm open to other suggestions.  It would be nice to be somewhat portable, internal batteries not a requirement..  Just was looking for good affordable HF/CW rig I guess, not really sure where to start.  I just know the 857 has a pretty loyal following.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 03:24:55 PM »

The 857D has a loyal following because it's cheap and covers a lot of bands.

If you're interested primarily in HF-CW, I think it's a poor choice.

(And I do have one -- and have no problem at all knocking my own poor choice.) Tongue

It's not user friendly for serious CW operation, even with the optional narrow filter.  To change power output, keyer speed, QSK delay, or almost anything else that you'll likely change very often requires going back through menus to make alternate selections.  I'd rather have front panel knobs for this stuff.
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KF7LDW
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2010, 01:44:05 AM »

Ok please list better choices in similar price ranges! 

Thanks

I looked at the Icom's but it is considerably more.
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AE4RV
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2010, 06:56:56 AM »

Perhaps an FT-450?
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W7AIT
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2010, 11:10:35 AM »

I own both FT897D with CW filter and TS2000X.  Though the FT897 works on CW and can go as narrow as 240 (120 or 60) Hz on CW with the optional filter and DSP turned on, it doesn't compare to the TS2000X for CW.  I much prefer the TS2000X for CW.  Why?

The Split function on the FT897 - if you forget that its turned on, you'll be on wrong frequencies.  Display way too small, I like the large display on the TS2000X.  Brick wall filters, correlative Noise Reduction, and easy to use RIT missing from FT897.  Also keyer on FT897 doesn't have easy to use features that the keyer on the TS2000X has; easy to change messages on TS2000X.

As previously posted, the FT897 is a poor performer for CW use.  I much prefer to use the TS2000X for CW, much better performance and fun to operate.
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2010, 01:08:45 PM »

For HF-only, the FT-450 is a usable (not an optimum) CW rig.   As WB2WIK says, lots of stuff on physically compact, multi-purpose rigs is run through menus.

Keyer speed change on the FT-450:

. . . Long-press "KEYER";

. . . push "SEL";

. . . turn "SEL" to adjust keyer speed;

. . . long-press "Function" key to return to normal operation

The narrowest FT-450 CW filter is 600 Hz (IF DSP), can be tweaked to about 350 Hz with the IF Notch control.

OTOH:

. . . 100 watts is 100 watts, no matter which rig you're running.

If you could find an Elecraft K2 for a reasonable price, that might be a good choice.

                                  Charles
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2010, 03:08:49 PM »

I'd buy a used Ten Tec Jupiter in lieu of a new FT-897D.  Better rig in every single way, if you only need HF (it doesn't work VHF, so if that's a deal breaker, forget it!).

The Jupe can narrow down to 150 Hz for CW, or up to 3.9 kHz for ESSB, or 12 kHz for AM, or whatever you want it to do, via DSP IF subsystem controls -- no extra filters required.

Its keyer speed, QSK break in delay, power output, mike gain, tuning speed, band scope, and everything else is adjustable via a front panel control.

ONE menu, and extremely easy to understand since the functions are all written out in plain English without abbreviations.  You can toss the manual in a file and never look at it again.

Just my opinion.

I have a lot of HF rigs, and the Jupiter is not the "best" one, but it's the best compromise of features and performance vs. cost.  The better stuff all costs more. Tongue



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K9IUQ
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2010, 05:38:41 PM »

Since you are "starting out" the Ft-897D or  857D are a pretty good choice. Lots of bang for the buck. I owned the FT-897D for 3 years, it replaced a Icom 706 MKIIG. I liked the Yaseu better than the Icom for many reasons. These radios were backup/ vacation radios, not my main CW rig. I been a ham for a long time, "starting out" is no longer in my vocabulary...

The FT 897D and 857D are basically the same radio. different form factors. The 897D is bigger it is easier to operate and more suited for a desktop rig. I replaced the 897D a couple years ago with a Icom 7000 which costs more but is a better radio.

The Jupiter is a different radio altogether, not an all bander do everything radio like the 706mkIIg, 897d, 857D or Icom 7000.

If I was "starting out" again the FT-897D would be my choice if $$ was a factor, otherwise go for the Icom 7000....

Stan K9IUQ
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2010, 08:13:43 PM »

As this thread degenerates into the usual vendor specific posts, I will try to answer your original post.
I own two FT897D radios and have been using them for about 3 years as my main transceiver.
As others have said, they are essentially the same radio.
If I was in your position and assuming you will be using this primarily as a base station, the FT897D is the one
you should consider for the following reasons.

1. It is built like a tank and should last a long time
2. It runs cool even at 100W and will not boil your coffee it is put on top of the rig.
3. It covers from 160m to 70cm all modes.
4. It can be fitted with battery packs internally if you wish.
5. It can be fitted with an FP30 internal switchmode psu if you wish (but not batteries and PSU at the same time).
6. It is one tough momma.

Any rig will do for CW, lets face it, but if you are looking at an FT897D you are not in the contesting rig area, so
it will do the job well for the price.
For me reliability is most important, and mine have been good so far, as most vendors rigs will be.

As regards filters, forget the 2.3Khz ssb mechanical filter, it helps (I have one) but the 500hz filter is a great addition.
I would get the 500hz filter in preference to the 300hz mainly as this allows you to use it for digital modes, many of
which have a 500hz mode.

So in summary, the ft897d with a FP30 internal PSU (fits seamlessly) and a 500hz filter will give you a good package,
tough, versatile and neat.
This is not to say it is better than this rig or that rig, its like a swiss army knife, it does it all.
I use mainly digimodes and cw and I have never felt the need to buy any other rig.
In the end, your antenna is much more important than any other part of your station, so put the effort into that,
any modern rig will do fine.
73s es welcome to CW.
 
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2010, 04:56:57 PM »

Quote
In the end, your antenna is much more important than any other part of your station, so put the effort into that,
any modern rig will do fine.

Amen.
           Charles
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KF7LDW
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2010, 10:12:54 PM »

I'm leaning towards the 897D, the 857D is a little small and doesn't seem nearly as tough.  Although I was planning on placing in it my Tac-Com case if I picked it.  I think the 897D's controls lend itself to a better to a newbie as well since they actually face you instead of going around the edges.

I did look hard at the IC-7000 but it's a lot more money and seems like a lot more radio.  I couldn't even comprehend what most of those features do, I have to admit it's tempting for the display alone.  If I use the 897D for a few years and feel like upgrading when I'm more educated that's fine, but I think it's too much for a beginner. 

Thanks for the tips guys, now I have to figure out some antenna options and if I want to buy a tuner or not.  Plus got a have a CW key as well!  It's only money I guess.

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WD5ABC
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« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2010, 12:36:39 PM »

I got the 857D for my pickup back in January and I've really enjoyed it.  It's fine on SSB, and after I added and aftermarket CW filter it went from mediocre to a pretty good little CW rig  It's not like my FT-990 in the shack but it also costs about 1/2rd as much (as the 990 did in '92!).  Don't get it if you're intimidated by menus, but since you already have the little Yaesu talkie you should be used to menus (I also have a VX-2R).  Once you get used to them, they're not a problem.  Once you get it set up you don't change many things in the menus for most normal operations anyway unless you need to reduce power to use a tuner or something like that.

The 857 and 897 are the same radio on the inside, the 897 just has a place for a battery and the knobs are spread out a little more.  If you don't mind the smaller/closer knobs go for the 857, especially if you're thinking about going portable.  If you want something a little bigger or the internal batteries are important to you, do the 897.  I've got a few friends with them and they love them.  One friend uses his almost exclusively on digital modes and has never had any problem with it.

One thing about the DSP - don't expect it to let you hear anything you can't hear without the DSP.  That goes for most DSP rigs.  The DSP CAN make it much more comfortable to listen to somebody you can barely hear though.  The DSP bandwidth filter helps a lot but it's an audio filter so it doesn't keep the AGC from pumping on nearby signals.

We'll be looking for you in the CW bands!  Oh, and on the antennas, DON'T buy any kind of dipole, they're too easy to build yourself and it's a good learning experience.  Buy fancy aluminum yagis, but don't ever buy a wire antenna, unless you have some kind of physical handicap that prevents it you can build one yourself that's as good as any you'll buy.

73,
Kerry, WD5ABC
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