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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Yaesu FT-897 & 897D Help


Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-897 & 897D
Yaesu FT-897 & 897D Reviews: 364 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $1049.95
Description: It is the world's first multi-mode high-power base/mobile transceiver designed to fitted with internal batteries (optional) for portable use. The coverage is HF 160 to 10 meters plus 50/144/430 MHz VHF/UHF. Receive is 0.1-56, 76-108, 118-164 and 420-470 MHz. 7.9x3.2x10.3 inches (200x80x263 mm).
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.yaesu.com/amateur/ft897.html
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K9ZTV Rating: 5/5 Dec 9, 2013 13:56 Send this review to a friend
Undocumented Dual-Watch Capability  Time owned: more than 12 months
While the FT-897D manual (page 50 in the 2012 Yaesu website edition) accurately describes how to set-up DUAL WATCH between VFO-A and VFO-B, it does not discuss an undocumented feature whereby DUAL WATCH can be used between a Memory Channel and either of the two VFOs. The set-up, however, requires a step that is opposite from the way instinct would lead.

The purpose of DUAL WATCH is to allow operation on one band while monitoring a squelched frequency on another band every five seconds. At work I use an FT-897D to occasionally listen to classical music from a local FM station (programmed into a Memory Channel), while also monitoring our local repeater frequency (programmed into a VFO register).

One would assume that activating DW (menu row G) would permit listening on the Memory Channel (e.g. classical music) while monitoring the VFO register into which the repeater frequency had been entered and in which register the radio would presumably be resting. But not so.

The radio has to be resting in the OPPOSITE VFO register.

Therefore, while I may have put our repeater data in VFO-A, the radio has to be resting in the VFO-B register (regardless of what frequency and mode is displayed there) in order for DUAL WATCH to function between a Memory Channel and VFO-A.



 
ON4VP Rating: 5/5 Nov 13, 2013 21:08 Send this review to a friend
After 10 years still my "do it all" rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
First I like to make a quick comment on a few late reviews:

1/ Power output.

As many other radios around, also my FT-897 lacks a few watts on the calibrated Power Master II. I check ed all bands from 160 to 6 and I got between 87 and 92 watts out on a dummy load with swr being 1.02/1.

Seems pretty fair to me. Even my expensive TS-990 gives me 192 watts instead of the full 200 according the manual. Who cares? People that believe the last few watts make a difference should invest time in their antennas and not in looking for mods on youtube on how to increase the power. I'm sorry but frankly that's citizen band talk.

2/ CW memory keyer.

The manual states, and I set it up just like that, when you set the beacon time to 0 (zero) the 3 memories act as normal playback memories each capable to hold 256 characters. I set up mine to send my callsign and another for the report. This came very handy in participating contests while operation portable.

3/ Receiver.

I still praise the FT-897 for its performance on VHF and 6 meters. It does a very good job. On HF I fully understand there are better receivers out there. But with some clever approach I'm rather happy with its performance. For example I always use the 300Hz Inrad filter for CW and digital modes. On top of that I set the DSP CW bandwidth to 120 or even 60Hz when its a little croudy. Does the job for me. In SSB I don't think the standard Yaesu filter add a lot to the performance so I left it out. Better is to use antennas that are not broad banded resulting in overloading the front end's first stage of the receiver.

Another point is to carefully read the manual. when IPO is off, that means you are using the preamp. So do set it to ON as a standard. For 12, 10 and 6 meters it's okay to put it off when bands are quiet to improve signals. And I do use the ATT mostly on 80 and 160. It all adds to the receiver performance.

4/ Antennas.

Important is what kind of antennas you are using on this radio. Broad band aerials bring in more unwanted signals. But properly tuned antennas to a particular band help a lot in receiver performance. They suppress a lot of other band noise thanks to the high impedance on unwanted bands.

I had some other smaller radios. For some reason I always came back the my FT-897. I've owned the non-D version to. Lately I've been having a lot of fun working portable with only 25 watts and a end fed 1/2 wave vertical. Participated some EU CW contests and worked many stations on 40/20/15/10 meters. Knowing that you can take this relative small radio with you almost everywhere and have a built in power supply or batteries, does add to the portability and versatility of this fine all band performer.

Another big plus to me after so many years is the fact the FT-897 is very fine to work digital modes . It can also be a good radio to use a transverter and can be set up properly with correct frequency display.

I did some minor modifications. Temperature controlled fan, rear connection for 12VDC optional kits or stuff.

I also introduced the UP4DAR to the FT-897 using its 9K6 packet connection. That way I have a very good performing Dstar radio, even on HF.

This radio is on the marked for over 10 years. It offers a lot for the price you pay. And a lot of FT-897's can be found for a good deal second hand.

While I'm still very happy with mine, I hope Yaesu is working on a replacement. It's about time to introduce new stuff to the FT-897. A small wish list (Yaesu, are you reading this?):

- IF DSP
- Selection of roofing filters
- Voice keyer (recording/playback)
- USB connection to computer (soundcard + CAT)
- 4 meter band

73 ON4PV/Phil
 
W1ZE Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2013 04:19 Send this review to a friend
Ham shack in a box  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my 897D for almost 5 years now and it has been well worth the bucks I paid for it. It is my bi-coastal all-band xcvr. In the winter it is my complete do everything radio in W6-land and the rest of the year it is my 2nd rig (digital modes)at my QTH in Maine. Great radio for the ham on the go or folks with limited shack space.
 
W8ARR Rating: 5/5 Aug 22, 2013 15:58 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned this radio for about 13 months. I did have one problem with the radio. It would not tune properly. I sent to to Yaesu repair and they replace the tuning assy. It works fine after that. Once you become familiar with the menus it is a feature rich radio. I have used the radio sending SSB, FM & PSK31. This is an excellent radio, my first Yaesu. I would buy another and I recommend this radio to anyone who asks.
 
KA4KOE Rating: 5/5 Aug 22, 2013 08:01 Send this review to a friend
Neat Piece of Radio Kit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Received my radio yesterday used from a friend. Initial impressions:

1. You must read the manual to appreciate what this radio can do.

2. Despite the front, uncluttered panel, the radio is very feature rich.

3. It's smaller and lighter than I had imagined. I don't understand all the fuss about weight.

4. On air reports of transmit audio were positive.

I purchased this radio to replace a Plessey Clansman UK/RT320 manpack. I've been using manpacks for portable ops since 2005. However, frequency changes were always a hassle, no matter what type of manpack you were using.

I have a Kelty Falcon 2500 pack on the way. I think we need to also purchase a 10 or 12AH LiFeO4 battery. Only 50% of the weight of comparable Pb AGM batteries.

Thanks Donald!!

Philip Neidlinger, PE, KA4KOE
 
VE7BGP Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2013 20:36 Send this review to a friend
Great Jack of All Trades  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After operating the FT-897D at the VE7NA Club Station for the past few years. When my IC-706G quit working it was a no brainer to go for the FT-897D to replace that failed IC-706. The 706 series radios were the Jack of all Trades Master of None scenario! These FT-897D are the Jack of All Trades Expert of many in comparison. I really like the Receiver on the 857 and 897 radios. I have added a Collins 500 Hz Filter and really like the old school filters and DSP features of that 897. I really like using the FT-897D on CW and had a lot of fun operating it on the NAQP and WAE Contests on CW on recent weekends. I love that CW Auto Mode calling a local 80 Meter net that calls Checkins in both CW & SSB modes. I also like how the 500 HZ filter can be switched on operating Digital & RTTY. Once you get used to the Yaesu Menu system it is less convoluted than the Icom 706 menu system. I think you can't go wrong with the FT-897D I feel they are the best $1k radios out there. Grab one before Yaesu decides to discontinue these fine Radios. 73 Gerry VE7BGP
 
AD0DQ Rating: 4/5 Jul 17, 2013 11:49 Send this review to a friend
Solid Radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had my Yaesu 897D for about a year. In that period of time I've worked every band except 160 meters, and I've worked PSK and RTTY with the Signalink. I started with a 60 meter dipole and an LDG AT-897 tuner, and moved to a Comet Vertical. The radio has an excellent signal, is a workhorse on VHF and UHF, and is competent and workmanlike on the HF bands. When I added HRD software to the mix, I started to enjoy the Yaesu a lot more. Being able to dynamically change the DSP and use the sliders on HRD made a significant improvement in the operation of the radio.
Being built for both mobile and base station use, as well as being a "shack in a box" it does have some compromises. The receiver is not as good as the receiver in my Kenwood TS-590S. Using the same antenna I was able to hear distant stations on the Kenwood that were not audible on the Yaesu. But this is a minor problem in my view because even though I could hear more stations on the Kenwood, given my antenna and feed line problem, I could not get back to them.
Overall a really solid radio!
 
CR7000 Rating: 5/5 Jul 6, 2013 12:57 Send this review to a friend
You will not get better in this price range  Time owned: more than 12 months
My Ft-897D gets the great rating, and i am rating it when compared to similar radios in similar price range.

I use this radio, all bands, and on most modes, it does everything it is supposed to.

We all know it is never going to be a contest radio, but i am not a contester, so for my needs it is superb.

I have owned many radios over the years, FT-450D, IC-7000, PRO 3, IC-7600 etc.

I went for this radio which is now my only shack radio, due to myself being a casual user, and i had many thousands of pounds worth of radios in my shack, not being used.

This radio now serves my needs and still gets me as many contacts as any other radio i have owned.

I use mine with the SSB filter, FC-30 tuner, and a combination of the MH-59 and MD-200 microphones, i also listen to it through the MLS-100 speaker.

All the products above work very well together and i could not ask for more.

I achieve the same results with this setup, and still make the same amount of contacts, and the same distance all over the world, and i also have a nice amount of money put aside from selling all my other kit.

Remember i am rating this on my personal needs, and not those of a big gun contest station

A sure 5 for me as this is the best in its bracket by far.
 
K7BWH Rating: 5/5 Jun 23, 2013 19:04 Send this review to a friend
Versatile portable radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned the FT-897D for two years now, and used it both at home and portable, and both HF and VHF. With a matching LDG tuner it's handled every antenna I tried.

Strong points:
* Sensitive receiver works great on all bands.
* On VHF, I've activated all 18 grid squares in our big state and it always gets across the mountains.
* I've taken it to state parks and done very well in HF contests.
* The DSP handily deals with most kinds of noise. * The RIT is quick and easy.
* With practice I can run it mobile-in-motion on the passenger seat in the dark in a VHF contest.
* Rugged, reliable, portable, never had a problem.
* It has lots of modes and scanning features; it helped me map all the repeaters around. It helped identify a malfunctioning repeater.
* CW sounds good, keyer works fine.
* Measured output power meets specs.

Weak points:
* Not a great HF contest rig. The sensitive receiver works best on quiet bands and falls down in crowded contest conditions among lots of strong signals.
* I sure wish it had 220 Mhz capability.
* Tuning is easily bumped, of course it can be locked, but it's also too easy to bump the tuning again while locking the freq.
* Adjusting keyer speed requires going into the menu system. I wish it had a few simple keyer memories.
* Audio quality is okay but tiring, even with a Heil Traveler headset.
* Local radio reception is fine on AM band but FM band is low audio quality, almost as if it's being limited to SSB bandwidth.

This rig has been an outstanding performer for me. I take it everywhere in my 4WD, and then put it on the desk at home, plug in CAT control, and use it some more.

Barry K7BWH
PNW VHF Society
 
N4WGY Rating: 5/5 Jun 23, 2013 12:56 Send this review to a friend
Jack of All Trades  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am an extra licensed ham with a moderate experience level with equipment. The FT-897D is a jack of all trades, master of none. Though it comes close in a few areas. I love it for its versatility, reliability and ease of use. For such a capable rig it is also affordable, and if well maintained and unmodified will hold its value well too. Hard to beat for a beginner or seasoned operator that wants to buy a new radio and be able to experiment with a TON of different operating modes on a TON of different Amateur bands at home, on the road OR in the field and at a reasonable price, with good overall performance.
 
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