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Author Topic: FT857 vs. FT-897  (Read 8216 times)
W0TLP
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Posts: 83




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« on: November 20, 2011, 10:06:40 AM »

Fellow hams,

I'm getting close to buying a Yaesu 857d or 897d. I'm trying to decide which one to get and am hoping somebody else on here has experience with both. I plan to use this radio both at home and in the field, not mobile. It will be my primary HF rig, both home and away.

My understanding is that, in terms if the inner workings, software, etc. they are essentially the same radio. So I have a few questions:

Both are menu very driven, but is the 897 any less so? It appears to have a few more buttons on the face, so are those "shortcuts" compared to the 857? Is the 897 easier to use? specifically I'm inquiring about the basic operations, like changing bands, activating DSP or whatever other commonly used features there may be (I very new to HF).

Is the 897 more ruggedly built? If so, is it substantially more?

I like the mountable tuner for the 897 and the option of internal batteries, which would make field operations convenient although limited in power to 20. These options make it convenient for field work.

The 897 runs about $150 more, plus extra for the internal batteries, a battery charger, etc. In the end the 897 set up with the extras for the field (tuner, internal batteries, charger, etc.) could run about $1,600, where as I could get an 857 and tuner for about just under $1,000. I already have several 7Ah and 12Ah batteries for field ops, as well as a portable power supply.

If they are essentially the same radio(again, in function), there must be a reason the 897 is considerably more expensive.

Thanks to all.

Teak
KD0KVV
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W8JX
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2011, 11:57:15 AM »

They are basically same radio in different packaging and getting a bit dated today too. 897 would have better heat sinking due to bigger size as 857 can get pretty hot at times. As far as internal battery, it is so small it is not good for much more than listening and extremely limited transmitting. One thing I would do with 897 is get optional internal power supply instead as it would simplify powering it at home and one fly as it could use battery or generator directly. You might look at Kenwood TS480 SAT with internal tuner or TS480HX  with 200 watts and no tuner. You can get a optional MB-480 carry bracket for it that adds a handle and mount display on carry chassis in front of main body. It ships with overseas models but not in US. Wheil not having ability to mount control head directly on radio is seen as a problem for some, its design allow for more room for heat sinks and cooling on back of rig with data ports on front where control head would normally mount. One company make a remote kit for it that leaves body at home and lets you take control head and use rig ANYWHERE you have Wifi or cellular internet access and control head thinks and acts like it is attached to main body. You could be in Mc Donalds using free WiFi and talking to europe on a band opening.  Just a thought. BTW I have a 480 and really like it.
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W0TLP
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2011, 02:51:36 PM »

Well, you may have sold me on the 480SAT. Right now it's just a little less money than an 857 with a tuner. The mounting bracket you mentioned makes it all mount as one unit so that would add some versatility to portable configuration, although the face/body unit doesn't bother me. It's actually quite convenient.

I'll have to look into the remote operation stuff.

Thanks for the input.

Teak

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W8JX
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2011, 03:49:02 PM »

Well, you may have sold me on the 480SAT. Right now it's just a little less money than an 857 with a tuner. The mounting bracket you mentioned makes it all mount as one unit so that would add some versatility to portable configuration, although the face/body unit doesn't bother me. It's actually quite convenient.

I'll have to look into the remote operation stuff.

Thanks for the input.

Teak

Also 480 has a big display for size and a lot of items than Yaesu needs menu to change can be done with buttons on control head. One more thing MB 480 is about 45 bucks on line and it comes with a short control head cable too. I have my rig on a MB 480
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AC4RD
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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 04:15:58 AM »

One more opinion:  I have both a 480 and an 897, and W8JX is right--the 480 is a newer generation of transceiver and offers better filtering.  The 480 is easy to use, though I also think the 897 is.  (I actually LOVE the 897, it's a great little radio, and I use mine portable all the time.)

One thing to consider, though: the 480 is bigger and heavier than an 897, and a lot bigger and heavier than the 857.  So if field operations are going to be a lot of your operating, you might do well to look at other choices.  Lugging the 480 around on your back is going to be more work than carrying an 857.

Both are fine radios, especially if you get either one at a bargain price.   Let us know what you wind up getting, and how you like it!  --ken ac4rd
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W8JX
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2011, 05:48:40 AM »

I agree a 480 is bigger and heavier than a 857 but 8 lbs is not a lot to lug and you are "lugging" a built in tuner too that can handle SWR up to 3 or 4 to 1. And, the bigger display an control head and bigger heat sink is worth effort to carry vs small 857.
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WX7G
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2011, 09:05:01 AM »

I have an FT-857 and it's a nice radio and once you get used to the menu it's not difficult to operate.

As others have said it's a bit old and does not have sophisticated DSP. I run a 400 Hz CW crystal filter and that is good enough for the kind of operation I do.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 06:36:23 AM by WX7G » Logged
NA4IT
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2011, 03:19:38 PM »

FT-857D with LDG AT-100 ProII autotuner, in a portable rack case, with a Signalink USB for digital modes. Hook it to an external deep cycle battery for "portable use".

See www.qsl.net/na4it for pics of mine, Signalink USB info, and a good webpage on go kit ideas.

de NA4IT
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STAYVERTICAL
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Posts: 854




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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2011, 01:27:49 PM »


There are as many solutions to setting up a station as there are hams, and each will have their own preferences, but to answer your original question.

I have had both the 857 and 897 and it depends on how much mobile/backpacking you are going to actually do.
If you are going to do mostly mobile backpacking the 857 is the way to go.

If you are going to do mostly home station stuff, definitely go for the FT897D.

My base station (and only radio now) is the FT897D, and it is more radio than I will ever need.
My pre-requisite for a radio is that it must keep going, and not be a fussy thing to keep.
The FT897D is just such a beast.
The thing is built like a tank, hardly gets warm sending 100W all day and after five years has not had a single problem.

My entire ham station is now an FT897D and a Yaesu FC-40 remote random wire antenna tuner (runs from the FT897D rear port).
100W on 160-6m, 50W on 2m, 20W on 70cm, runs all modes, what else do you want.

Now some provisio's.

I have added the FP-30 integrated AC PSU which bolts where the internal batteries would go, so you can not tell it did not come from the factory that way, but then you can not run the FT897D on internal batteries.
If you use the FC-40 remote atu, then the serial port which could be used for computer radio control or linear control is now unavailable for those uses.

As usual in life, there is no one perfect solution, only one which is right for you.

I can however, share my experience with the FT897 and FT857 and say the FT897 is a better solution between these two in my situation.
As to which other radio's may be better, remember the parable about the man, the boy and the donkey.
(Just in case you don't know that one - the man listened to everyone's advice on his trip which eventually ended in the death of the donkey!)

Just make up your own mind, do online research, and go with it.

73s

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W0TLP
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2011, 08:17:11 AM »

Thanks to all.

Given my space in my shack -- shared family area -- and my desire to go portable often I am sure I'll end up with an 857. The price is good now, too.

Great input from everybody. Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving.

Teak
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K0JEG
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Posts: 622




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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2011, 05:29:01 PM »

I'll add my 2 cents. I have an FT-897d. I bought it for portable/backpack/bicycle tour use, including 2 of the internal batteries. I would not recommend the Yaesu batteries, they are NiMH and between the self-discharge and serious lack of run time you'll get very little actual use out of the radio on battery power. They also add a significant amount of weight to the radio. In hindsight I would have bought the internal PSU and stuck with gell cells, or the FT-857, although it looks like it is a much less finger friendly unit.

If I were starting again I would likely buy an Elecraft K2 with a transverter or two, and add accessories as time goes on. But then I like to spend time building things instead of operating  Wink
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