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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF+UHF models) | Yaesu FT-857 - all flavors Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-857 - all flavors
Yaesu FT-857 - all flavors Reviews: 462 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $769
Description: Yaesu HF/VHF/UHF Mobile Transceiver
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Yaesu FT-857 - all flavors.

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M0VEY Rating: 1/5 Jul 29, 2008 04:31 Send this review to a friend
Jack of all trades, Master of None:  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I gave this radio 6 months before I decided to part with it due to its many issues. Compared to some of the competition this radio is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

If you want a small shack in a box, the Icom IC-706 MK11G takes some beating.
If you want a really good HF/6m mobile/portable/base radio, then Kenwoods TS480SAT/HX is the obvious choice & the radio I now use for mobile.

This radio scores 1 for its small size. Apart from that, I found the TX & RX audio had issues. On RX, if travelling at 60mph, the internal speaker was at best useless.

On Tx, reports were always less favourable than other equipment I have used. Even a Heil mike could not make things better. I've since noticed, most 857's have this same nasally sound.

Another real bad thing is always having to go in & out the menu system to adjust power, compression & everything. Why could there not be more buttons on the front of the radio?

The S-meter is no good either. The ability to give an accurate report is not possible for the 857.

I was at a loss to find that there was no screw to attach an earth to the chassis. Perhaps that's why so many people sound to have RF issues when using this radio. All in all a big dissapointment.

I'll be sticking with Kenwood & Icom in future. The latest range of Yaesus, such as the FT450, 950 etc are tacky offerings thbat are complex to set up & seem to often re-sell very quickly from new on the secondhand market. Discounts aplenty & no wonder why.

The 857D was not for me.
AE5EH Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2008 14:14 Send this review to a friend
Talking straight.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Sans corny colloquialisms. Not talking about, bells, whistles, apples, (or any other kind of fruit). Not boiling anything down. Talking about radio transceivers made for use on the amateur radio frequencies.

That is all.

Lots of good ones out there. The FT897, and FT857 are among those. I have had both of these and have nothing bad to say about them.

Fact-All mfrs have produced a crappy radio or two.

Fact-Nothing is perfect. Notice the number system when you do a eham review. Notice that "5 - Great!" It does not read "perfect". Is that too obvious?

Fact-It is impossible for anyone to produce anything over and over and over that is 100 percent free of defects 100 percent of the time.

Fact-At least some (some, not all) of the bad reviews made by people were the result of a single experience. The whole world does not revolve around any one person, or special interest group. Just because you got a lemon (haven't we all) does not provide a realistic basis to condemn all previous and subsequently produced models of your lemon. Take some responsibility for your decision. Don't be a cry baby. Learn from the mistake and move on. If it hurts when you poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick, don't do it.

Sorry, maybe I'm trying to be too pragmatic.

I'm down to only one Yaesu radio. I've got a bunch of those "other radios". We won't talk about those here. I'll stick to the FT857.

Great display. Too small? Get some glasses, or another radio with A LARGE DISPLAY WITH LARGE CHARACTERS. 1 inch maybe. Mine was great in bright sunlight. Unlike those "other radios".

I have those "other radios" with IF level DSP. Yeah, its cool. But so are the mechanical filters. Last couple of FD's I went to, there were 857's and 897's in force. The ops were happy campers, and making the contacts. Plenty of folks that have those "other radios" with IF level DSP, don't have a clue how to use them or what they do. I know some of those folks personally, and had to show them how to use them. Imagine that?

Too many people go looking for radios, but they don't define to themselves what they want to begin with. Or, much less how radios work to begin with.

The 857 is a decent radio for the price. I miss mine from time to time.

Don't believe everything you read in these reviews. Do your own research, and try to find one of whatever it is you are thinking about buying to try out, before you buy.

If you can.

Good luck!

KI5SO Rating: 5/5 Jun 18, 2008 19:15 Send this review to a friend
Best buy!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Looking for a good all around all band all mode radio? Your search stops here. The Yaesu FT-857D has a wonderful loud modulation and great receive, even better than my FT-897D I use in the house. In fact, if I had it to do over, I'd would have bought the 897D to use in the house instead of the 897D! The add on analog meters and tuners make this a big radio for those who like big needle meters. I've heard these radios used as bases and they sound just like the big boys. Don't let the little size fool you. It is a big performer. I got mine for $689 shipping included. That's all bands, folks. It is rugged. It is small. It even comes with the detachable face and separation kit. The radio is so small it will fit in just about any place anyway, so I just stored the separation kit. Go ahead and spend twice as much on an Icom IC-7000. You won't be getting twice the radio. You will be out a pretty penny if it is stolen. Besides, the Yaesu-FT-857D is easy to program. I can add frequencies to memory while driving, but I don't recommend this. It is a pretty radio, all lite up, at night. Go to a friend or store and try one and see what I mean when I say, it's a best buy.

Mike Baggett
WV4R Rating: 5/5 May 28, 2008 08:03 Send this review to a friend
Yaesu FT-857D "Replacement Radio"  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Yaesu FT-857D

My “Replacement Radio”.

After years of faithful service, my ole FT-100D bit the dust a while back after a beeg thunderstorm hit TheFarm. I opened her up and saw a clean hole thru the main board about the size of a .32caliber round… NOT worth fixing!


I replaced it with another Yaesu… FT-857D and never looked back.

It looks gud and works great as an All-In-One radio. I even rigged a low current closed-frame relay to key my new Tokyo Hi-Power HL-1.2Kfx amp… After finding the correct plug for the rear jack… getting even better reports. Emboldened with gud reports, I got a W2IHY interface cable and hooked it up to the W2IHY 8-band EQ & EQ-Plus using the Heil Sound PR-40 microphone getting even better reports!

Recently I purchased the “FTB857” software from G4HFQ in England and the “TTLUSB2” interface to make programming even easier. The gud news with G4HFQ software you can CLONE all your Yaesu radios to the same “memory channels” if you like… thus you can have all the VHF/UHF channels you have in your Hi-Band radios in your FT-857D! Gud FM reports received on VHF/UHF using verticals, however, no antenna for 6m yet.

Oh… yes… I even dabbled in slow scan TV & RTTY & keyboard CW with the new SignaLink USB interface. Is there no end to the fun of hammy radio?

Oops… I digress… You can even open up your transmitter a bit with MENU configurations so you do not get the dreaded “you have no lows” report… and your receiver a bit also… bearing in mind the “2.4” filter in the radio is the limiting factor.

As with any small footprint radio there are multi-function buttons requiring initial Menu set-up made easy with the good manual from Yaesu, which is available online from Yaesu in full-page, easy to read format for shack use IF you have trouble with those pesky half-page ones.

The microphone Input is that strange “telephone jack” type. If you want to use some of your old microphones, you can purchase interface cables with the correct jacks online & from W2IHY and Heil Sound among others.

So… for cosmetic design, functionality, flexibility in configurations, solid feel & bang for the bucks, it rightfully earns the WV4R “Five-Star” rating.

73 es God bless, murf/WV4R
HB9ECV Rating: 4/5 May 18, 2008 04:05 Send this review to a friend
Can be a good or bad choice  Time owned: more than 12 months
KF4KQI's review is excellent. I just want to add the following points: I would only recommend the FT-857D if you can't afford a better transceiver for HF or if you are primarily looking for a VHF/UHF all-mode transceiver. Without the expensive IF filters the HF performance is modest and the AF DSP doesn't help in this regard. Also this transceiver is very small - a pro if you want to actually use it mobile but a con for normal operation since it has only a few buttons. At home I use it only with HamRadioDeluxe/CAT otherwise you have to struggle with the FT-857D's menus all the time. The Icom IC-706MkIIG is bigger, but its HF receiver is slightly better (see ARRL QST reviews) and it is a pleasure to operate compared with the FT-857D. The IC-706 series provides an additional tuner socket that can be used to key a low power CW signal for some time (see, perfect if you use a manual coupler. For these reasons, I would not buy the FT-857D again but a IC-706MkIIG. Back to the FT-857: if you can't operate the FT-857D via CAT/Computer then the use of the memory channels is mandatory. Unfortunately Yaesu (or a third party vendor) doesn't provide a software to program them by computer. Doing this by hand is tedious work. And never forget to take the manual with you, you will need it often, because so many features are hidden somewhere in the extensive menu and operation isn't very intuitive. If the FT-857D is a good or bad choice depends on the purpose you plan to use it for. But in any case compare it with the IC-706MkIIG before.
ROBBYG Rating: 5/5 Apr 17, 2008 14:05 Send this review to a friend
Best Bang For The Buck.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Couple a FT-857D with Ham Radio Deluxe and you have a system that can do just about everything that a $3000+ radio can do. For the $700 price tag the 857D is one of the best radios you can buy.

The previous reviewer stated he had hiss problems, I have had NO Hiss problems with my radio.
SV1DEH Rating: 4/5 Apr 3, 2008 02:24 Send this review to a friend
Good for a compact Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Excessive, tiring "hiss" on HF (compared to Elecraft K2).
N5XTR Rating: 5/5 Mar 24, 2008 22:46 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Primary radio for 2+ years. Never failed me when my buds 7000 has crapped out twice. Has been mobile, portable and primary base rig I would buy another. Just would rather have a larger display.
EB3BRJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2008 05:05 Send this review to a friend
Freat little radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned the FT-857D for about three years now.
It's been my main radio for a long time. I used it for SSB, CW and PSK31 with very good results.
I eventually installed 2.3KHz and 300 Hz IF filters, the last one I strongly recommend for digital modes operation.
While the radio is not my main one anymore (FT-2000 is now), I left it for 2m and 70 cm all-mode operation where it does a wonderful work. I found no reason to replace it by an FM only rig.
KF4KQI Rating: 5/5 Mar 15, 2008 23:04 Send this review to a friend
A great do everything jack of all trades rig.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I am giving this rig a 5, but, of course it does not compare to more expensive rigs sold today.. but when you compare it to a Icom 706 or IC-718 I think the 5 rating is justified.

I have owned and used a FT-857D for about a year now and decided it was finally time to write a review after I learned how to use it to its full potential.
I have used the little rig mobile, in the house, and portable. When I first purchased it from HRO for $680 it went immediately into my work vehicle and I used it for HF mobile work with a set of ham sticks. Learning to use the rig while mobile was probably not the best choice and I spent a lot more time in my truck than I normally would at a quiet and high elevation spot up the street learning how to use the rig.
Let’s see, for mobile use the D.S.P. should be considered. It is a audio D.S.P. so signals still swamp the AGC even if you cannot hear them. The DNR works well, the DNF is about useless, however, it can sort of work if you use it in conjunction with the rf gain. The high and low cut work just fine on signals that are not that strong, so using the attenuator comes in handy. On 40 and 80 meters I always used the attenuator, and on days that 20meters very strong I did the same.
I ended up bringing the rig into the shack to use when I got a new vehicle that exhibits a lot of RFI that I have not bothered to cure and have been running it that way for 6 months or so. I mostly use the rig on the digital modes, such as PSK31, RTTY and Olivia. I purchased a W4RT 500hz filter to deal with the overbearing nearby signals in crowed band positions and it was money well spent. Used with a Signalink USB sound card interface and a USB cat cable off of eBay from Bulgaria made working and logging contacts a breeze. The rig can do around 70 watts out in a pinch with no ALC action but you need to keep it around 20-30 watts for long rag chews due to the size of the heat sink. There were times that it really heated up, but the onboard fan cooled it back down quickly.
On SSB the receive audio is greatly improved with a external speaker. In the truck I jacked the audio into the cars stereo system, and at home I used a set of computer speakers. Transmit audio with the stock mic leaves something to be desired. I ended up trying out a noise canceling electret element mic… a computer headset basically that I acquired from Walmart that was head over heals better than the stock mic. I also put in a Inrad 2.6khz filter and used it on transmit and it delivered much better audio quality while still being plenty narrow. They do offer a 2.9khz filter which is pushing it, but is still under 3khz of tx bandwidth. The rig lets you adjust your TX IF shift so if you sound too high or low you can use it to cut off or enhance either end of the audio spectrum you have to play with. Just the other night I heard one of these rigs with the wide Inrad filter being used with a cheap Marshell MXL 990 studio mic and it sounded amazing! Having a wider filter on receive on the lower bands helps to deal with the static crashes by making them not sound a bit softer and not as harsh.
I used the 857D a lot over the summer doing 6meter SSB and that was a blast, having a rig that will do UHF and VHF all mode is a wonderful thing and it is truly amazing at what you get for the price. The menu system is extensive, but most settings are a set once and forget it type of thing. Getting into the menu is quick and easy. Having the 32 different colors on the meter is nice, I have them change from green to red depending on signal strength. It seems to have a pretty hot receiver on 10 meters. The S meter is about useless, but you can switch it to different functions on the TX side… but again you really don’t have a clue as to what it is saying most of the time, such as when in the SWR mode. Halfway up seems to be a 2.1 SWR when I checked it externally. You can of course acquire the LDG external meter for the rig, I have not done so, but probably will in the future.
I think the 857 is a great rig for the money, and is a good way for a new ham to start out, as you get UHF, VHF and ten meters as a tech with all modes, and of course when you upgrade it will be waiting for you to get on the other bands. It is hampered by its stock constrictive microphone, but that can be modified with a new element and opened up a bit to sound much better. The rig is greatly improved by Inrad Collins filters, but of course this adds to the price. It is a breeze to use in the digital modes, and small enough to use about anywhere. For the price it is hard to complain. I hope Yaesu comes up with another one that has I.F. D.S.P.!
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