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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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AE7LC Rating: 5/5 Nov 28, 2013 11:57 Send this review to a friend
After three years very rough use in 4x4  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm hitting the three year anniversary since I purchased this radio new. I've been using it *a lot*. It gets beat to heck in my 4x4 that is 95% used for off-road trips. The other 5% that's in-town use always has the radio going. After a year or so I got tired of moving it from truck to house and back even though it only takes five minutes and got a nice base station for the house. So it pretty much stays permanently in a non-garaged 4x4 that is in the Arizona heat and cold.

It gets a lot of punishment. Extreme heat, aggressive pounding, tons of dust, storage *and* operation well below freezing. It's doing great. No display problems or anything else. It's hard to imagine a much better rig for the 4x4 and the price was right. The display is super easy to read day or night and I'm completely comfortable navigating the unit. Just in case there's a copy of the manual in the glove box but it rarely needs referring to.

It doesn't have the brilliant receiver and capability of my home rig. I don't expect it to. It costs a fraction of that rig and is great for mounting and using in a mobile application.

We use it for rig-to-rig while off-road. Fantastic for that and extremely useful. 2m FM simplex at 50W does great even when the other guy is behind a hill or in a canyon. We usually follow with up to half a mile between each vehicle since there's usually a lot of dust. Without radios we have to wait at every ambiguous turn-off in the road for the guy behind us. With the radios it's too easy to say "I'm bearing left by the windmill" instead. And if someone gets confused they can just shout out. It allows us to move at a much better pace.

When hanging out in the backcountry out here I'll do a lot of playing around on HF. Phone with a hamstick for quick sessions and digital with a solid element vertical when parked for a while. On mountain tops it's fun to work some 2m "DX". I've gotten 250+mi simplex contacts! I was overnighting in the far away remote desert with some friends a couple of weeks ago and they all felt lost without cellular coverage. It took me a minute to find and work a repeater. I threw on a 20m hamstick and in about a minute got Anchorage. Then the Caribbean. And so on...

Anyway, I really like this radio for the 4x4. I don't think there's much of a better way to go especially considering how much punishment I expect to dole out to it. I still carry a good HT too.

---Original Aug 5, 2011 review (owned ~1yr):

I bought a 4x4 pickup for backcountry use (I live in AZ) about a year ago. I'm very seasoned at backcountry exploration and have always carried a HT for use in case of problems. I've since seen some medical challenges that limit my ability to hike out of the rough country more than a couple of miles so having a "real radio" for the truck was very important to me.

I purchased the FT-857D about eight months ago and ripped out the upholstery from one of the [useless] little jump seats in the back of the extended cab and mounted the radio to the seat frame. The remote head was very easily mounted into the empty radio bay below the AM/FM in the dash.

Beautiful install and with a good 2m/440 antenna on the roof of the truck I've yet to find anywhere in the state of AZ I can't hit a repeater. At this point the emergency use has been addressed. Very clean and it works superbly for this.

I installed another UHF mount with a UHF-3/8 adapter. Since I only held technician's class license (for more than a decade) and don't have and CW proficiency I purchased a 6m and 10m fiberglass antennas. But then I had to promptly go out and earn my HF privileges!

Presently I have enough vertical radiator adapted to 3/8" to cover 20m and up with no loading and can be setup once parked in seconds. I run wire radial(s) that attach very quickly to the UHF-3/8 adapter and really improve performance. I've got my cookbook almost complete that allows me to immediately tune with wide bandwidth to whichever band I choose.

This HF setup works as a portable station extremely well. I have enough cables to run everything including the remote head, a SignalLink USB and remote speaker outside the cab, but I only do this if I'm set somewhere overnight. I've gotten contacts all over the US and Latin America and several in Europe, Asia and one to New Zealand.

At home I got a power supply, a multiband vertical that covers 80m-10m nicely and created a four element 2m yagi with both vertical and horizontal elements and have a seven element 440 on a simple 1-3/4" fiberglass mast. Future plans are to include a 6m 4-element horizontal yagi to this. The radio moves from truck to house in about two minutes.

I have made gobs of contacts and have a really nice and clean setup. The cost of the things I use is probably ~$2000 and I probably spent another $500 experimentation pieces. I don't mind the cost of experimentation since I get a lot of enjoyment from that.

I find the menu system on it very usable. As I learned new task I learned how to navigate the menus for those tasks.

I have been a dual-sport moto rider for many years and this radio really reminds me of those machines. They aren't really great at any one thing but do so many things very well and can generally be upgraded with a wealth of aftermarket or homebrewed things to make them even more capable. What they are really great at is enabling you to do so much because of the wide capabilities. The FT-857D is that dual-sport of the radio world. Instead of street and dirt it does HF and VHF/UHF. It does mobile, portable and base station.
GI0ZGB Rating: 4/5 Oct 31, 2013 10:49 Send this review to a friend
Bid Surprise Small Package  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was offered a little used FT-857D at good price, and despite never liking the look of the rig I decided it was too good an offer to refuse. The MH-31 had succumbed to the China mic element disease where the impedance had so drastically changed there was no TX audio. This is a good time to convert the MH-31 into an electret mic which blows the factory offering away. However, I bought an MH-59A8J Remote Control Mic which, being built in Japan was a different class of build quality compared to China!
But, unless the rig is well grounded in both mobile and shack use, it suffers badly from RF feedback. Once grounded I could set the mic gain at 100% with no feedback whatsoever. There are internal mic mods using a toroid core on the mic lead which clean things up and well worth doing.
Anyway, TX audio reports were were good and sounded excellent on my receiver being crisp and clear. It takes a while getting the menu system into your head, after that operating is easy, but not a few people seem to have problems that are related to not being familiar with the menu items, where taking time to have an RTFM session would have solved many of the issues. Like all multi band rigs the front end performance is, not surprisingly, lacking compared to dedicated HF rigs, but gives a pretty good account of itself overall. Received audio via the built in speaker is not bad, better into and external unit. The DSP worked better than I expected, reducing unwanted noise without sounding like a fish tank. In conclusion, I was well pleased with the performance and the bells and whistles, it's a little rig that puts a big smile on your face!
KD8MJR Rating: 1/5 Oct 30, 2013 16:19 Send this review to a friend
Devolpes Lines Expensive to Fix  Time owned: more than 12 months
Worked great for a few years but then the display suddeny started to get a faint line. That got worst over time and more lines developed until a few months later it was unusable.

What was the shocker was Yaesu saying it's $300-$400 to repair/replace the lCD, are they kidding!
I might as well replace the unit at that price.

The 857D was great in that it's like the swiss army knife of radios but unfortunetly like a Swiss Army knife it really does not do anything really well. The HF Receiver was pretty Deaf compared to my full sized rigs and the menu system was frustrating. If your 857d developes lines sell it fast, if you buy one that has lines I can assure you the problem will most likely gets worst and worst by the month and no one has yet been able to fix the problem DIY style because the LCD itself is failing at its own internal solder points. So I now have a $800 brick that I can either fix for 50% of it's value or I can unload it on ebay.
KJ4DKT Rating: 2/5 Sep 17, 2013 21:17 Send this review to a friend
PROBLEMS  Time owned: more than 12 months
Both of my late model 857d radios suddenly developed squelch and lines in the display problems. My 897d so far, is ok. When they work they are good. When they dont, Im pissed. I believe Yaesu is having QC problems. My 450d and 950 are working fine.
N2WSC Rating: 5/5 Aug 8, 2013 02:21 Send this review to a friend
great little radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I really can't add more comments when it comes to the positive remarks, it's just a great little radio. the floor noise is very low and I sometimes
have to switch off the nb cause it's too quiet when there's no activity . when it comes to customer service in California , you can not beat them ! they stand behind their products with very fair pricing.
KP4MLF Rating: 5/5 Jul 21, 2013 15:42 Send this review to a friend
The Best Mobile HF ever!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This radio is the best HF for the money, maybe the menu's are a littlebit hidden but the performance of the radio and all toys that come for him make it special
VK4FLYS Rating: 5/5 Jul 15, 2013 07:21 Send this review to a friend
Super Size Me  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Its a Swiss knife that talks.

It does it all with power to boot.

Can't wait to upgrade my licence.

Worth every penny.

Ps- get the ATAS-120A to match it.

DL4NO Rating: 5/5 Jul 10, 2013 06:46 Send this review to a friend
First Choice For A Mobile Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had this amazing rig in my car for some 150.000 km. Still works great and never let me down. OK, at -20C the display does not show anything. Just wait a few minutes until the heating comes up.

One important point I not found mentioned here: Output power will certainly suffer from low supply voltages. But the RX is OK till below 10.0 V. Good to know if you wish to operate this rig from a battery.

This does not apply if you attach an ATAS 120: To tune in one direction this antenna needs at least 12 V. At 8 V the ATAS tunes in the other direction.

May be that a few rigs are more sensitive on 2m and 70cm.

What should Yaesu add to the successor? I would like RX antenna diversity for 2m/70cm FM. And a separate RX antenna connector for HF.

HF mobile antennas are terribly narrow. An active radio antenna could give you (and the noise blanker!) a wide-band signal: To jump from band to band before you switch your TX antenna - or to just listen to some broadcast station. For the latter Yaesu could also improve the RX fidelity.
G4SGX Rating: 4/5 Jul 3, 2013 13:30 Send this review to a friend
Feature Packed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just bought one for mobile HF and VHF.
I own a K3 at home so unfair to compare performance wise but I was struck by the higher noise floor, though it seemed quite sensitive.
Will be buying a cw filter as the front end seems easily overloaded, or at least there is some AGC pumping but as I say bit of an unfair comparison.
Overall I'm very happy with its performance and think its excellent value for money, (especially if bought second hand)
VK2FSTU Rating: 5/5 Jun 22, 2013 08:48 Send this review to a friend
A little beauty!  Time owned: more than 12 months
What a great little radio. Once used to the settings, it has performed in my 4x4 with excellent results. Worked the world and local on HF and a small change from my usual 2m frequency to what ever is around works great. Matched with the Tarheel II for HF and another for VHF/UHF and it's been an absolute beauty. On it's gooseneck, it's unobtrusive and fits alongside without any room taken away from driving safely.
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