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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Yaesu FT-897 & 897D Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-897 & 897D
Yaesu FT-897 & 897D Reviews: 370 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.
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<— Page 30 of 37 —>

K6SBA Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2004 16:12 Send this review to a friend
A Great Rig but make sure it is right for you  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This review is of the "D" version. This radio is really a "4" for me, but I think if it is the right radio for you, it is worth a "5".

I was looking for a more powerful replacement for my great '817, but I'm not sure the 897 fits the bill. It is a relatively large and heavy radio, especially with the NiMH batteries installed. Do not think you are going to backpack with this rig, unless you take a pack animal along! This radio would be better seen as a vacation radio that you might take in a vehicle with you. It would also be perfect for the RV'er who could run it off vehicle batteries, but would like to take it outside on a picnic table once in awhile.

You will also need a tuner, unless you are using resonant antennas, which is not always the cause for portable operations. I use an LDG Z-100 with mine and it tunes great, but it is yet another external accessory that adds to the bulk and weight.

If you have used any recent menu-driven Yaesu radio, the 897D is a snap to use. The DSP and bandpass filtering are excellent. I get great audio reports with the standard MH-31 hand mic.

One little menu trick I just realized: All of the 70+ menu items are in alphabetical order. This makes it much easier move around and quickly find the menu item you wish to change.

So all in all, I am pleased with this radio, but I wish Yaesu would offer a 20-40 watt version with an internal tuner in a smaller package. Hmmm...sounds like my Elecraft K2 (OK only 15 watts) but you've got to build that one!

73 de K6SBA
David in Santa Barbara, CA
KC4IUP Rating: 5/5 Jul 17, 2004 10:38 Send this review to a friend
Great radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
What can I say about the Yaesu FT-897D? This radio is great! I wanted a radio that is fairly small and portable (but not too small), rugged, dependable, has a lot of features that I can really use, and doesn't cost too much. I must say this radio meets all my requirements. It reminds me of my old FT-757GXII, one of Yaesu's other very portable workhorses from years past although the FT-897D adds a lot by comparison. The FT-897D case is metal, feels very rugged, and has a very nice spring-loaded carry handle (which says "take me with you!"). The front panel gives you access to the settings you change most often with the ability to program the hot keys with other settings of your choice. The audio is well balanced from a tonal perspective (not tinny like some radios), and can get quite loud using the internal speaker. The display is a good size, and is very sharp and easy to read.

I also purchased the FC-30 antenna tuner. The FC-30 works well with antennas that are not too far off for the band on which you're operating. And it is fast. Other tuners may be more lenient on the antennas they tune for various bands, but you cannot beat the FC-30 for its increadibly small size, ability to bolt onto the radio (portability!), and its matching the radio in appearance (much nicer looking than the LDG tuner built for this radio).

I also purchased the FP-30 power supply. It works well, and prevents me from having to transport a separate power supply or requiring another section of real estate on the desk.

I used the above configuration -- except with a battery -- at this year's Field Day. My brother and I hoisted a G5RV antenna into the trees and went to work. The radio and tuner performed quite well. Using the clarifier and DSP filters, I was able to pull contacts out of the pileups and background noise, and work everyone I could hear! I worked many contacts on 80m, 40m, 20m, and 10m.

There were some very narrow spots on some of the bands that the FC-30 would not tune using the G5RV. This may have been due to the fact that we could not get the G5RV up as high in the air as it is required to be installed. In the event this were to happen, I had brought along another tuner, the new MFJ-993, which I set up as an alternate and used when the FC-30 had troubles. This much larger tuner worked quickly and flawlessly everywhere on each band.

Lastly, I want to say that I considered purchasing the Icom-706 instead of the FT-897D. Both radios are excellent. But what tipped the scales for me in favor of the FT-897D was Yaesu's overall greater record of build quality, I had owned a Yaesu before that only had a meter light bulb go out in it after years of service, I preferred the look and feel of the Yaesu's rugged exterior and larger knobs (especially the heavily-weighted tuning dial), and the radio could contain/attach its own power supply/batteries/tuner. I also briefly considered the FT-857D as it is the same as the FT-897D but in a mobile version. However, I could not get used to the FT-857D's panel layout and buttons being placed around the tuning knob.

In summary, I highly recommend the FT-897D and FP-30 power supply (which I use at home). I also recommend the FC-30 antenna tuner for portability to fine tune antennas made for the bands on which you have chosen to operate. I also highly recommend the MFJ-993 tuner if you want an overall, great, automatic antenna tuner. The MFJ-993 is about the size of the FT-897D and looks good with the FT-897D sitting on top of it.
AE7Q Rating: 5/5 Jul 6, 2004 17:33 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this radio two months ago because it's the only non-QRP rig that can be powered by internal batteries. After reading the reviews here, I waited to write a review to see if there were any surprises. I've now used most of the modes, and am VERY pleased with the radio. It has all the features most amateurs would ever need (but see below on documentation and usability). The DSP bandpass filter (DBF) is EXCELLENT, and obviates the need for a separate SSB or CW mechanical filter (which I tried briefly), in my opinion.


1. The manual assumes that you are an experienced HF operator who is also experienced with modern HF radio features. If you are not, you will have find other sources of information about HOW to effectively use the radio's features to best advantage. Yaesu should create a "User's Guide" (a PDF file would be fine) that explains how to use the features of their radios for effective operation. I think such a guide could be used to enhance sales.

2. The "Clarifier/IF shift" knob does NOTHING by default; you have to enable (with a separate button) the clarifier or IF shift mode(s) to use the knob. The problem with this is that the "MEM/VFO" knob can be programmed to perform alternate tasks when you press it in; these tasks (like setting the power level) would be better performed by the default mode of the "Clarifier/IF shift" knob. And the separate button could have been eliminated by allowing the "Clarifier/IF shift" knob to be pressed, like you can with the "MEM/VFO" knob.

3. Further, when you program the alternate function of the "MEM/VFO" knob to control (say) the power level, when you then press the kob to control the power level, there is NO indication that anything is happening, let alone a display of the power level Instead, I programmed the "PG B" menu button to put the menu directly into the power level adjustment mode.

4. The band and mode up/down button pairs would have been better implemented as small knobs, in my opinion.

5. Many of the radio's functions use the two "menu" systems. Entering and exiting the second "menu" mode requires holding a "F" (function) key for one second. After you get used to frequently using the second menu mode, that one second delay is annoying; a separate button would have been better.

6. Tuning across a band is slow if you've set the main and VFO dials for fine resolution, so I bought the optional remote microphone (MH-59), which can be used to key in a frequency directly and quickly, and the microphone caon control virtually all of the radio's main panel settings (including audio volume and power on/off).

7. I connect the radio in my house to a Alpha-Delta DX-EE (40/20/15/10m) antenna in the attic, and with an external tuner (MFJ-902) am able to tune 60-10m to a 1:1 SWR. For portable operation, I also bought the Yaesu ATAS-120. While a good antenna, the radio's user control of the ATAS-120 could be better: pushing either of the up/down buttons withOUT keying the transmitter should drive the antenna up or down (eg, to retract the antenna to minimum length for transportation or to clear a garage door). Also, if the radio doesn't know the length of the antenna, it drives the antenna down for 60 seconds to guarantee it is fully down, before commencing tuning. It would be nice if pressing the up or down buttons in this and similar cases, would tell the radio to start tuning in that direction.

8. With two batteries installed, and both batteries fully charged, and operating off of external power, the battery that is selected shows an orange LED (implying a charge is needed) rather than green (which means fully charged). Further, there is no direct indication that you are running off of external power (other than the displayed voltage).

9. The radio allows you to set the color of the display so that the color changes with mode (or band, or ARTS, etc) changes. Nice, except that the selections of color-to-mode are limited. There should be an easy way of making the colors fully selectable per mode.

10. You can attach a label to each memory frequency, but you can't display both the label and frequency at the same time (Yaesu should copy what this feature from its VX-5R).

11. The grounding screw should be wingnut-based. Replacing the screw with a wingnut can't be done without drilling a new hole, because the grounding screw hole is too close to the CAT port connection.

12. I mounted the microphone clip under the front carrying handle mount. While this works reasonably well, a slight manufacturing change to the handle mount would be would enable the microphone clip to be held more securely (you can see I'm getting very nitpicky at this point!).

13. Although the radio supports 60m operation, the only way I could find to tune my antenna for this band was to use PSK31 software to generate an SSB tone, since the radio doesn't support any other way of generating a carrier for that band!!!

My suggestions:

1. Get the ATAS-120 if you want portable/mobile operation.

2. Get the MH-59 microphone.

3. Don't get the FP-30 AC power supply; an external power supply is cheaper and more flexible (can be used to power the CD-24 charger without getting the PA-26).

4. Don't get the FC-30 tuner (among other reasons, it consumes the CAT/tuner connector).

5. Get the free "Ham Radio Deluxe" software package, which gives you very nice PC control of the radio. This package also includes "PSK31 Deluxe", the best PSK31 package out there, in my opinion.

6. For PSK31 work, get Yaesu's CT-39A packet cable ($10) and wire it up to interface to West Mountain Radio's "RigBlaster" (the "NoMic" version - $59), as described on West Mountain Radio's web pages.

Presently there is no PC software available for saving/restoring the radio's memories, but software for this is presently in beta test from RT Systems, and should be available soon.

K4TOR Rating: 5/5 Jun 26, 2004 12:33 Send this review to a friend
Versatile Transceiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Haven't had mine too long, but so far I like the features on this transceiver. I just wished I didn't have to use the menu that much to change basic settings. However, you can program 3 menu buttons for functions of your choice, and the limited space on the front panel for additional buttons dictates use of menu's. The receiver is good, but does not come close to my TS-950SDX receiver, and I don't expect it to come close. The display could have had a little better constrast without leaving a shade around the entire display, but still very readable. Very pleased with the frq. coverage. You can even listen to FM stations in the 88-102 Mhz band WX Band / Aircraft Band. I don't like the way the squelch works in FM 2m. It works more or less like an autosquelch than a variable. Good DSP functions, specially on receive. I don't think the MIC EQ is going to do much for you. I have kept mine in OFF, and seems to work best this way. IF shift is very effective on SSB, and easy to adjust. You don't have to get into the menu to adjust. Overall a very capable backup base / main mobile / field transceiver.
WPZU357 Rating: 5/5 Jun 13, 2004 00:32 Send this review to a friend
IF I HEAR THEM I CAN WORK THEM!!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I got my general ticket and put a 24ft tri-band trap dipole in my attic. I just finished working US4IXQ, RZ4FA, and ER4FA all in a row on 20M. These stations are all over 4800 miles away and I worked them with a barefoot rig into an admittedly compromise antenna. I am convinced the rig makes a difference as a friend 2.5 miles away running the same power into an outdoor dipole often cannot work the same stations. Works great on PSK31 too. WHAT REALLY COUNTS IS THAT I HAVE YET TO HEAR A STATION AND NOT BE ABLE TO WORK IT. I like the ergonomics too, yes you have to use a menu system, but it is an intuitive system and there are far too many functions to provide a button or knob for each one anyway. Add the SSB filter and good mic and you will have Mark V performance in a portable package.

73 hope to hear you on HF!
KA0OZE Rating: 5/5 Jun 9, 2004 23:33 Send this review to a friend
awesome radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
While not the Mark V it is very portable and covers alot of frequencies. I have had good contacts and have not expereinced any problems others have had. This radio has a fan, no noice have i heard. I have no faults with the radio, it is very good.

K7JA Rating: 5/5 May 27, 2004 15:36 Send this review to a friend
60M Correct Info  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
We regret that W4CNG (and others) posted inaccurate information on many Internet boards.

Your attention is directed to ARRL's FAQ regarding 60-meter operation:

NTIA specifies channels in terms of "channel center" frequencies, while amateur transceivers, in tuning a commercial channel, typically must be tuned 1.5 kHz lower than the specified "channel center" frequency. For example, for a "channel center" frequency of 5332 kHz, you tune a "traditional" transceiver to 5330.5 kHz.

So go ahead and try it. Set up an FT-817ND/857D/897D to the "5332" channel, and tune your FT-1000MP to 5330.5 kHz. Now transmit from the 817ND/857D/897D; you will find that you are precisely on frequency as you monitor on the other transceiver.

Note: If you program 5330.5 kHz into a "regular" memory from the VFO, it will be on the same frequency as the "5332 kHz" channel in the special 5 MHz memory bank, as the 60-meter bank (only) displays according to the "channel center" format.

Sincerely yours,

Chip Margelli, K7JA
Vertex Standard USA, Inc.
NE0P Rating: 2/5 May 26, 2004 02:32 Send this review to a friend
I prefer the FT100D  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I thought the concept of this radio was great. A HF/VHF/UHF rig that would do 20 watts off of batteries, or 100 with an internal supply. I finally got a chance to play with one, and after a few days decided I liked the FT100D better, so traded for one. Here are the PROS and CONS of the FT897 as I see it:

1. 3 keyer memories. The 100 only has 1

2. Headphones jack on front of radio

3. DSP probably a little better than on FT100

4. You can change the display color. A novelty, but still kind of neat.

5. SSB filter option. However, the optional SSB filter is 2.3KHZ. In the FT100, the standard SSB filter is 2.4khz. Not sure that 100 HZ will make much of a difference on SSB.

1. The receiver is not as good as on the FT100D. Had to turn the preamp off if the band got crowded at all, or it overloaded. Also, the receiver just seemed noisier in general. The QST numbers support that this is a pretty poor receiver.

2. The NB is not as good as on the FT100D.

3. The SWR/Power meter is hard to understand, and you can see either SWR or power, but not both at the same time. On the FT100D the meter was much easier to understand, and you could see both SWR and power at the same time.

4. The menu changing scheme is really stupid. This was the biggest drawback. To change the A B C key menus, you have to push the F button, and then turn the MULTI knob. However, if you dont turn the MULTI knob within a couple of seconds, the F disappears, and the MULTI knob reverts to changing frequency. So if you push the F button and get distracted for a second, you then turn the MULTI knob and you have just changed frequency. On the FT100D, the A B C D menus were changed by repeatedly pushing the menu button. This is much better.

This rig had potential, but the ergonomics are terrible, and the receiver performance is nothing to write home about. If you must have a new rig, or one that runs on batteries, get it. Otherwise, get a used FT100D instead. You won't regret it.
WI0T Rating: 4/5 May 25, 2004 08:36 Send this review to a friend
Good Radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've had the FT-897 (not the D model) since December 2003.

1) The DSP works very well (I've not had any sort of noise the NB would work on, so I can't tell if it works good or not.)

2) It plays well with the digital modes.

3) Tunable memories.

4) Better receiver than my old FT-757 GxII

1) Tuning up requires changing the keyer to manual (unless someone else has a better idea).

2) It really needs a filter for CW (500 hz W4RT works very well), otherwise nearby signals will thump the passband.

3) Full break-in causes the relays to chatter quite a bit.

4) Rf-Gain/Squelch combination control requiring a menu change is not very user-friendly.

Things to watch out for:
1) Must use AGC or turn the RF Gain back. Otherwise there will crackles in the audio output.

2) Get used to playing with the DSP/NB/AGC/filters to get the best receive.

3) CW Keyer is much more touchy than my old 757.

4) For the non-D models, using softjump or widebander to open up the transmit causes loss of ARS on all bands. Yes you can set it, but as soon as you move the VFO, it goes away. so tuning from 146.67 to 146.73 will necessitate you resetting the ARS to - offset. This was such a pain I undid the mod...

5) I'm not sure I'm thrilled with their band stacking concept. Especially when 1 of the bands is 60 mhz (but can't transmit there, so why ?). Could be just me, but it seems to be more of a pain than I find it worth. I've adapted though...

1) The 2.0 Khz Inrad filter helps quite a bit on SSB, but (as one can guess), but the effect is not as dramatic as the 500 hz cw filter has (2.3 khz to 500 hz vs 2.3 Khz to 2.0 Khz...)

2) I noticed the radio was somwhate quieter with the TXCO-9. Jury is still out on that option.

Overall I'd buy this radio again. It just takes some getting used to.

I would also recommend FT-Basic to load the radio's memories and Donner's digital Interfaces to control the radio for the digital modes.

73, Rod WI0T

KG6KGP Rating: 2/5 May 25, 2004 05:21 Send this review to a friend
feature rich radio with problems  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the ft-897 a few days ago and I am somewhat dissapointed with the radio. Overall, it is feature rich and you can tune many of the operating parameters either with the menu system or the easy to access service menu. I didn't like the SSB sound of both transmit and receive and with some tweaking of the carrier points, it is now very pleasant to listen to.

Now the bad news, when tuning across a CW station or carrier, the audio crackles. The crackles start at about 450hz and continue to about 650hz of received audio. This makes tuning a CW station very hard. Switching to the appropriate sideband makes the problem go away. Switching to CW or CW reverse depending on the band cures the problem. It happens in CW reverse below 10mhz and CW normal above. I contacted Yaesu and they told me to work with the radio a little and see if it gets better.

Frustrated, I called AES and they had another. While describing the problem to the manager, he was able to make another FT-897D fail the same way. I then drove over to HRO and found the same problem on a FT-857.

The problem seems to be related to another poster that mentioned audio distortion while running full open RF gain. You can set the RF gain by band in the service menu but this didn't solve my problem. In my case, it sounds like the injection into the audio stage is too high depending on the side of the filter you are on.

Anyway, Yaesu was supposed to call me back today and didn't.

If they can fix the problem without returning the radio I will keep it. Otherwise, it is out the door.
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