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Author Topic: FT897D or TS570DG or TS480SAT...??  (Read 2801 times)

Posts: 50

« on: February 26, 2007, 07:40:06 PM »

Hello Team:

Please can someone share some opinions and advice..??

I have a budget of $1000 tops. Can not go higher than that. What to get...Huh

All the radios mentioned in the subject line fit my budget

FT897D + Aut. Ant. Tunner is around $1000
TS570DG (integrated tuner), around $900
TS480SAT (integrated tuner), around $1000 (the cheaper I found it is $960)

95% of the time as a base setup at home. (SSB & Digital modes)
1% Emergency communication drills (SSB & PK-31)
4% deployed in the field (no mobile operation) for emergency comunications (ARES/RACES) and MARS under bad weather scenario and using SSB and PK31

I do not think I'll use this radio for deployment because we already have and old Kenwood TS (do not remember model) and IC-718 from another member of my unit, but the possibilty is there.

My fav. for deployment is the FT897D but my only issues are:
1) screen is too small and I already need to start using bi-focals.
2) The tunner will be external.

What you guys/gals think...Huh


Posts: 21837

« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 07:46:33 PM »

I wouldn't make this decision without knowing what antenna(s) will be used with the rig.

That information would steer the decision.


Posts: 50

« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2007, 08:11:03 PM »

Antennas to use will be:

-- Mostly Dipoles (standard lenght for the freqs. to be used and a Buddipole™ antenna)

-- Few verticals (Outbacker & Ham Sticks®)

Posts: 21837

« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2007, 09:00:28 AM »

>RE: FT897D or TS570DG or TS480SAT...??       Reply
by KE5BRE on February 26, 2007    Mail this to a friend!
Antennas to use will be:

-- Mostly Dipoles (standard lenght for the freqs. to be used and a Buddipole� antenna)

-- Few verticals (Outbacker & Ham Sticks�)<

::Your first post stated the rig would be used "95% of the time as a base setup at home."  If that's the case, the Outbacker and Ham Sticks don't make much sense as they're mobile whips.   The Buddipole, for a home station, doesn't make much sense either since that is a short, loaded, portable and very expensive setup for a dipole -- its only real application is portable work.

The "mostly dipoles" of course makes good sense!

The TS570DG and TS480SAT both have internal automatic antenna tuners; the FT897D does not.  That is a HUGE factor, when it comes to making solid state rigs "usable" with a variety of antennas, and is a major consideration.  You can add a tuner to the FT897D, but it doesn't fit "inside" the radio, and will add $200 in cost, while it's already rolled in and internal in the other two rigs.

Also, the TS570DG and TS480SAT both have much better transmitted audio (modulation) quality than the FT897D -- period.  There isn't one in a hundred stations who are active on the bands and listening to all these rigs who would disagree with that.  So, the two Kenwoods, while larger physically, have two features lacking in the FT897D.

However, the FT897D is much smaller and lighter, and a more appropriate mobile rig for many.  While the TS480SAT does have a separate front panel, which makes it a good mobile rig for a permanent mobile installation, it's not nearly as easy to "grab & go" as the FT897D, which has everything built into one very small package.   That's the rig's major benefit, and it's a good one if you'll be doing a lot of mobile and portable operating.

If the operation will truly be "95% home station" stuff, I'd go for a larger rig with an internal tuner.

In fact, if I were making the decision myself, I'd take the $1000 or so that a new rig costs and spend $500 of it on better antennas, leaving $500 for a rig.  Then, I'd buy a used rig for $500, to use with my $500 of "more" antennas.  For $500, I can buy a good used beam and rotator and get it up in the air.


Posts: 50

« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2007, 03:26:08 PM »


The verticals will be used for Field operation and they are not mine, (belong to our Radio Club). Rigs will not be used in a mobile setup, only at home base or deployed on the field. Still working on what kind of dipoles I'm going to install at the QTH.

Another question that comes to my mind is....

How those Kenwood internal tuners in the TS-570 and TS-480 compare against the external tuners...Huh Specifically the MFJ-993B.

I used to have an old MFJ manual tuner connected to a TS-430 but never like it how it worked (the tuner)

Thanks again for all your patience.

Posts: 175

« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2007, 09:42:53 PM »

I've had 2 kenwood rigs with built-in antenna tuner.  Most recent was a TS-2000.  The tuner was basically useless unless your antenna was pre-tuned and < 3:1 swr.  The 480sat has a really nice receiver.  I had a chance to check one out vs the Icom ProIII and Yaesu FT-2000.  The 480 receiver holds up against these higher priced rigs.  I'm sure it's not as good, but it's good enough that it's a bargain at the current price.  

I own an 897D with the LDG matching tuner.  It will tune pretty much anything.  I have both cw and ssb filters and internal batteries.  Filtered - the receiver is quite good.  Unfiltered it's not considered great, but I also have had an FT-857 for 4 years or so and when you really get used to all the menu configurations - you can make the receiver perform very well.  You will get many contrary opinions vs mine concerning the receiver of the 857/897.  

Given that the 897 offers 144/440, is quite portable and built like a tank - I would not trade my 897 and tuner for a ts-480 of either type.  

If you are going to do mostly HF with well matched antennas - i'd probably get the kenwood.  It's receiver is surprisingly good.  If you want the best all-round portable/base rig with a really good tuner option - get the 897.  I really like my little yaesus.
They have taken a pounding and have proven themselves beyond question.
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