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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Yaesu FT-857 - all flavors Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-857 - all flavors
Yaesu FT-857 - all flavors Reviews: 465 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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KJ4DKT Rating: 2/5 Jun 29, 2014 10:44 Send this review to a friend
TROUBLE  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have three ft857d. Two developed squelch problems and lines in the display. One, the newest, developed a full display outage. I cant decide whether to junk them or send them out for possible repair. I am very disappointed with these transvievers.
WI0H Rating: 5/5 Jun 13, 2014 16:05 Send this review to a friend
Still going strong after four years in the mobile  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mobile operation is never kind to any radio, but it is especially cruel here in the Midwest. For those who don't know about the weather here in Flyover Country, we can experience summer highs of 102 and winter lows of -20. In spite of that bake/freeze cycle we have going here, that radio has operated through all of it, and it's never failed to answer the call. No 'zebra stripe' displays, no audio issues, in fact no problems at all. Just a good, solid performing radio that seems up to the challenge of living in my truck. I couldn't ask for more.
W4KQB Rating: 5/5 May 30, 2014 12:24 Send this review to a friend
Well-had to get one!!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Finally have went for it and picked up the FT-857D. As a proud owner of the big brother FT-897D, I wanted something to work mobile as the FT-897D I have is too big for the truck.
This radio is fantastic-I like everything about it and have worked DX quite often with 100 W or less-good audio reports. The detachable head works and fits perfect in the Lido cup holder mount(see my Qrz page for pics)!! I have the FT-897D (overkill) just for the dual band repeaters in the shack next to the FT-2000D. If you pick a FT-857D up,you will not be dissapointed (I know they have been around awhile). I am using the ATAS-120A Yaesu screw driver antenna with excellent performance on the mobile.
N5WJ Rating: 5/5 Apr 18, 2014 14:44 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Love this Radio .. Put it under the Seat of my Mazda B-3000 Pickup with the Control head secured by one of those Cup Holder Deals on Ebay and it works like a Champ.. Great audio small footprint radio but 100 big watts.. Using an ATAS 120A which regardless of the reviews here on eham works flawlessly, installed it in a few hours mounting the Antenna on my Tool Box.. Radio tunes the antenna and off you go.. Great radio and setup..

Frank.. N5WJ
K7BPA Rating: 5/5 Apr 12, 2014 22:19 Send this review to a friend
Great HF/VHF/UHF  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Outstanding radio. Great starter/mobile/portable radio.

I've had mine for 6 months mounted in a 2014 Toyota Tacoma truck. It met my expectations to do what it's supposed to do, make contacts. I'm the no frills type of guy and this radio has more than I need. It's compact size is indisputable as it still is a 100W capable radio. I've made numerous contacts from AZ and it has not let me down.

The only issues I've had was when I 1st had it in my 2006 Jeep Wrangler LJ. The radio suffered terrible QRM from the ignition system. I tried it all and nothing. When it went into the Tacoma a night and day difference. I only get a slight noise on 20M but far from what I experienced when it was in the Jeep. Jeeps are notorious for noise generator. So I'm not dinging the radio for that.

KI6ADA Rating: 5/5 Mar 13, 2014 21:36 Send this review to a friend
A little surprise  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well I made my 45 minute drive to my HRO. Decisions? My intentions were the FT-817ND. But I am currently staying near the home and a family with one car. I could not pass up the great deal with my trade in value.
My favorite part of the radio? The head unit. Yaesu is sending everyone home with YSK kit. I can hold the Head unit and watch TV or surf the net. I am finding the menus pretty simple. I am currently not using digital modes and have not hooked up my VHF/UHF antenna. The buttons are easy to use and well thought. The DSP feature is adjustable for each DSP setting.
I have allot to learn about this radio. If you live in a small house and share space with family? Check out the FT_857D. Just remember all of the mobile HF rigs are heavy in menus. Pick one with your favorite features.
N1GMV Rating: 5/5 Mar 8, 2014 17:27 Send this review to a friend
Better than I expected :-)  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am a long time FT-100/ATAS-100 owner that had got hit with the VHF/UHF finals no longer available issue so Yaesu was not on my good side.

Since I still had my ATAS-100 my best option was to go with this rig. A lot of hams said the 847d was solid so I thought I would give it a shot.

I sold my old rigs in ONE DAY HERE ON EHAM, called HRO and had my 857d the following day! I ordered it with the MH 59A8J microphone and a 2 year extended warranty in case I get any display problems.

Connected it up and have been running it in the shack, testing the ATAS100 with it, learning how many functions I can do with the microphone. This microphone is a MUST with this radio, see reviews on it, it is extremely hot so dont wind up the mic gain above 40!

I compared receive on it against my IC7600. This radio held its own when heavy dsp filtering was not needed (like a typical mobile environment) I then got several radio checks and was told it the audio was clear and crisp, exactly what I want.

So, will be moving it to the car tomorrow. Can't wait to get back on HF in the mobile!

KJ4WNA Rating: 5/5 Feb 26, 2014 11:43 Send this review to a friend
I'm convinced!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I decided to go ahead and get a new radio that I could use for next to everything I want to do, rather than my previous setup of various rigs for this and that.

I had a less-than-ideal balcony setup of a 10 meter double bazooka in an inverted v, up about 20 feet. I decided, before I could set up my (also new) buddipole, that I'd get things set up on 10 and see what was out there.

I was hearing stuff I never would have with my old rigs. The DSP is great, since I live in a REALLY noisy environment, and as the sun went down, 10 showed no signs of settling down. I just kept listening as I went through all the menus, learning as much as I could. Then, I heard a signal coming in really well with a strange call.

Turns out it was a station in French Polynesia, on 10 meters, hours after dark, and when I called him using 50 watts, I got a good report back the first time. I'm happy with this radio and will be looking forward to putting it into portable action this summer.
N5UXI Rating: 5/5 Feb 9, 2014 10:08 Send this review to a friend
Great little radio!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this radio for the last 4 years and it has been a great radio it has a good receiver
on it. Does just what I need it to do.
haven't had a minutes problem with it.
KA3RCS Rating: 5/5 Jan 5, 2014 02:34 Send this review to a friend
Best HF/VHF/UHF mobile ever made  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got an FT-817 in 2001, and absolutely love it. I thought about running it mobile with an amplifier, but ended up getting a new FT-857D in 2005 as a dedicated mobile rig instead (subsequently referred to simply as FT-857, as it's effectively the same radio). I really could not be happier with this radio. I'm particularly pleased by the fact that the operation, menu system, accessories, and performance are all very similar between the FT-817 and FT-857. Each is, by far, the best and smallest (if not only) option in its class.

I recently moved this radio to a different vehicle. It is still being used with an SGC SG-237 automatic tuner feeding a whip which is approximately 6 feet long. The install is still a work in progress; I have not yet reconnected the switch to allow the VHF/UHF antenna to be switched to the FT-857 instead of the IC-2720H. That configuration is quite handy, as it allows this radio to serve as a backup VHF/UHF radio, and also allows SSB operation. The only reason I usually use the ICOM is its dual receive capability. The Yaesu also has a vastly superior front end, making it much more usable in a high RF environment. I may just install a second dual-band antenna instead.

The FT-857 has one of the best receivers I have ever used. It picks up very weak signals with a small antenna, yet also handles high signal levels from large antennas with ease. Its DSP works well, and its noise blanker is extremely effective. The vehicle in which mine is currently installed has a very noisy ignition system, often generating S9 or higher static, which the NB knocks down to virtually zero. Also, I have yet to find any other full power HF radio with better receive audio for less than twice the price, and in a much larger package which also lacks VHF/UHF capability. It has much better frequency response than the FT-450. This really is like a 100 watt big brother to the superb FT-817.

The transmitter in the FT-857 puts it in a totally different league than many popular 'competing' models. Another member of our club keeps his FT-857 at our club site, and I often use my FT-450 there as well. The DC power system at the site (a large switching supply and several banks of batteries, which also feeds a variety of repeaters and other radios and accessories) maxes out at about 13.2 volts with minimal loading, and can drop to around 12.0 volts at the operating position when heavily loaded. We just take it for granted that these radios have no problem and put out full power in this environment. Imagine our surprise when another member tested his IC-7000 on the same power system, and found that it only put out about 60 watts. Hooking it directly to a 13.8 volt supply brought it to full power. Later research turned up the fact that the IC-706 and IC-7000, among other models, are incapable of generating full power at anything much below 13.8 volts. Worse yet, they draw considerably more current than the FT-857 (or FT-450, etc.), even at much lower transmit power levels, and even on receive. Ironically, the IC-706 and IC-7000 are not really suitable for operation from a battery supply unless a 13.8 volt charging system is active. No wonder there is apparently a market for a 12 volt to 13.8 volt DC-DC converter...a bizarre product to work around a hideous design flaw. My FT-857 has been used for many hours from a vehicle battery without the engine running, with no problem at all even when it drops below 12.0 volts.

I really like the display on the FT-857. Some people complain about it being too small. Interestingly, I've heard exactly the same complaint about some of the best radios ever made over the years (the Standard C558A, FT-817, and VX-7R come to mind). The small displays on all of these models contribute to them being among the smallest and most refined examples of each respective type of radio. A large display (or tuning knob, or whatever else someone arbitrarily declares to be too small) would make the entire radio larger, which would detract from the overall package. There are plenty of big boxes with big displays if that is what one really wants; the fact that the FT-857 is the smallest 100 watt HF/VHF/UHF radio available was one of the primary reasons why I bought one.

Another high point about the display is that it can be set to any of 32 different colors, as well as multiple brightness settings. I love being able to set it to a nice subtle blue. It would be nice if it would be reversed (light characters on a dark background, similar to the FT-450), but it is definitely not bad.

I've noticed a few vertical lines in the LCD matrix occasionally fade out, particularly in hot weather, but so far they have not been permanent (and have not shown up at all this winter). I have always made a point of protecting the control head from direct sunlight, as I know that such is obviously not good for electronics in general (and LCDs in particular). I do hope that this does not become a more serious problem as some have reported (and which I have unfortunately experienced on several of my VR-500s). I have noticed it on at least one FT-897 as well, where it does appear to be permanent.

The menu system on the FT-8x7 series is extremely logical and easy to use, with all entries having meaningful names which are listed in alphabetical order. Unlike some other radios, there is no need to turn the radio off to enter a separate menu just to configure some functions. It is also extremely handy to have an SWR meter which functions on all bands, unlike some models which either have no SWR meter or one which only works on some bands. Additionally, the ability to monitor the DC power supply voltage at all times is a huge advantage over many other radios.

I finally got around to putting the TCXO-9 into my FT-857; I don't ever plan to go back to a radio without a TCXO. It really does make a big difference in stability. I zero beat it to WWV, resulting in the same tone pitch on USB and LSB as well as AM, and now it has virtually no detectable frequency error.

One very cool feature which is apparently not too common or well known is the carrier insertion point adjustment. My assumption would be that any given radio should generate virtually identical receiver noise on USB or LSB. My experience is that my FT-857, my friend's FT-857, and all three of my FT-817s (as well as others) have all been somewhat off at the default of 0 Hz. Having these adjustments available is great, as it allows the two sidebands to be independently lined up properly. They also have a surprisingly significant effect on transmit audio. I forgot to mention this in my FT-817 review; these adjustments are equally applicable to that model. I have the OEM SSB and CW filters in my FT-857, and noticed that these adjustments had a somewhat different effect on the SSB filter compared to the stock ceramic filter. I found a good set of compromise adjustments which is better than the 0 Hz default on both filters, and of course the IF shift can always be used to tweak it if desired.

I found one thing early on which bothered me a bit on this radio: the cooling fan did not run enough to satisfy me. Any radio which has a menu option to make the fan run continuously (such as my IC-2720H) gets that option turned on immediately and permanently. Unfortunately, I could find no such option on the FT-857, so I looked at the schematic and found two points which I could jumper together to make the fans run at full speed all the time when the radio is on. I did the same mod to my friend's radio, which has run virtually 24/7 for 6 or 7 years, and the fans still work perfectly on both radios. They don't even rattle like the fan in my ICOM. ;)

For those who desire a larger radio with a larger display and big knobs, the FT-897 uses exactly the same electronics as the FT-857. I've used the FT-897 a number of times, and it bothers me tremendously because all of the controls are in totally the wrong places. Having already used the FT-817 for years, going back and forth between it and the FT-857 is a totally natural transition for me. However, for someone who is not already accustomed to using either, and who does not mind a more bulky package, the FT-897 may be a suitable option.

One item which mystifies me to this day is the piece of detritus known as the MH-31A8J microphone. This is the dynamic stock hand mic provided with every FT-857 (as well as various other models). A stock 1970s CB mic would probably have less muffled audio. Any FT-8x7 radio sounds vastly better with a proper condenser mic. I bought the MH-59A8J remote control mic for mine, and it sounds quite good. Unfortunately, it exhibits significant RFI susceptibility. I've improved it with the addition of numerous ferrite cores to my installation, but it is still far from optimum. The same is true of the MH-36E8J DTMF mic, of which I have several for the FT-817s. I need to look into it further to see if a real fix is possible. If one does not require remote control or DTMF capability, the MH-67A8J (the stock mic for the FT-450 as well as a number of Vertex commercial radios) is very solid, provides excellent audio, and does not appear to have any RFI problems. There are DTMF versions of this mic for the commercial radios which may prove to be a good match for the FT-857; I need to research this further. For additional details, note that I have written separate reviews for each of the mic models mentioned herein.

In summary, the FT-857 is simply the best 100 watt HF/VHF/UHF all-mode mobile transceiver ever made, and can hold its own quite nicely in a fixed station as well.
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