Author Topic: Looking for Recommendation  (Read 1208 times)

Offline NorCal Wild

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Looking for Recommendation
« on: November 30, 2012, 08:46:51 PM »
Hi - First let me say I am a complete novice. I have been researching for a mobile rig that is wide band and somewhat portable - going easily from truck to shack.
Found Yeasu 857d fits the bill and is highly rated. I have also found Yeasu 817ND which is very similar with the exception of the output which is max at 5 watts. Reviews say it is a good QRP rig. Didn't know what QRP was so looked it up and still not sure if it will be a detriment or not. If it matters, am moving to a rather rural area in the spring so cannot count on repeaters. Any thoughts / inputs are appreciated.

Thankyou

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 09:31:05 PM »
Found Yeasu 857d fits the bill and is highly rated.
Likewise, I'm looking at these and am extremely interested in opinions.  Any opinions on the FT-897D also appreciated.
Build it or buy it, start it up and try it, maybe even fry it.  Otherwise you'll never know if it works.

I swear, there are times it seems like "Baofeng" is Cantonese for "hot mess."

Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2012, 09:49:38 PM »
Unless you have reason you WANT to restrict yourself to the 5W output, you'll be better off with the 857 or 897 IMHO.  50 or 100W is common power output for a home station and also a mobile.  If you want to be able to make reliable long range contacts, you'll have better luck with that extra power.  Of course antenna and other factors will play a huge role, but I think you'll be better served with one of the more versatile rigs.

Offline Texas Sawduster

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 11:20:26 AM »
I agee with ID_Joker.

Go with the 50 or 100 watts.

You can always reduce power to QRP if you want.

LOCK N LOAD !!!!

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 09:45:49 PM »
OK, so 857 or 897?

I've looked at spec sheets, feature descriptions, and downloaded pdf manuals until I've turned square-eyed, and the main difference seems to be that the 897 has a battery bay and costs about $130 more.  Anything else of significance I've missed, or any real differences in usability?
Build it or buy it, start it up and try it, maybe even fry it.  Otherwise you'll never know if it works.

I swear, there are times it seems like "Baofeng" is Cantonese for "hot mess."

Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 10:03:27 PM »
The battery seems to be the most glaring difference from what I'm seeing.  (I don't own either. Just looking at them for this thread.)  Both receive solid reviews on eHam.  I've heard good things about both, although I've also heard people complain about Yaesu menus.  (My guess would be that you'd get used to the menus if you used it regularly and also that you're bound to have multi-tiered menus anytime you get into the smaller package radios.)   

Depending on what you want to do, internal battery could be helpful or no big deal.  If semi-permanently mounted in car or shack, may not be worth the money.  If you want it to be more protable, might be nice.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 10:16:43 PM »
I posted about my struggles with a first radio a year ago.

I'd recommend you get your Tech license and a 2m mobile or HT radio first (I'd go with the FT-2900) and see how you like it before you lay out all the money on an HF rig.  I've still to get on the air with my FT-450D, mostly because of the antenna hassles, but also because the glow's wearing off of my ham aspirations.

In hindsight, I definitely would have saved money just purchasing the FT-897D and calling it a day.  But I never seem to be able to learn the easy way....
In times of change learners inherit the earth and the learned find themselves equipped for a world that no longer exists.   Eric Hoffer

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Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2012, 10:47:18 PM »
I posted about my struggles with a first radio a year ago.

I'd recommend you get your Tech license and a 2m mobile or HT radio first (I'd go with the FT-2900) and see how you like it before you lay out all the money on an HF rig.  I've still to get on the air with my FT-450D, mostly because of the antenna hassles, but also because the glow's wearing off of my ham aspirations.

Oh, I've followed that thread closely.  The General license was a done deal a month ago, wouldn't bother asking the forum for recommendations without that in hand.  Here's the thing: after Katrina repeaters were iffy, so some HF capability is a must-have for me.

Quote
In hindsight, I definitely would have saved money just purchasing the FT-897D and calling it a day.  But I never seem to be able to learn the easy way....
Bingo.

So... 897D or 857D?  I crimp a mean PowerPole connector, so having an internal battery isn't that big a plus to me, and having a proprietary internal battery might turn into a minus.  Any other real differences?
Build it or buy it, start it up and try it, maybe even fry it.  Otherwise you'll never know if it works.

I swear, there are times it seems like "Baofeng" is Cantonese for "hot mess."

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2012, 12:15:34 AM »
From over at Radio Reference forums:
Quote
I had an 897 with internal batteries and an LDG-897 tuner on the side. Then I happened across a cheap used FT-857 and never ever used the 897 again.

The 857 and 897 are the same radio inside and an 857 mobile with an external LDG tuner and batteries will be smaller and lighter and cheaper than an equivalent 897. I used to carry this setup around in a small backpack with a Buddipole 4S2P battery pack which ran the radio at 100w instead of being limited to 20w like the internal 897 batts.
prcguy

OK, I'm done.  Two local friends to check in with over the weekend on this, and unless they scream "nooo!", it's time to jump.  Woo!

Thanks for answers, and for bearing with me while I mulled this one over.  And apologies to NorCal Wild, for sort of hijacking this thread.
Build it or buy it, start it up and try it, maybe even fry it.  Otherwise you'll never know if it works.

I swear, there are times it seems like "Baofeng" is Cantonese for "hot mess."

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2012, 12:18:25 AM »
Well Alan, since I remember your impressive posts awhile back on CB radio range, I know you're way ahead of me when it comes to radio/electronics aptitude, so it's your call on which one to get and I'd probably lean towards the 857 in your case. 

I remember the HRO salesman telling me that the 817, 857, and 897 were all essentially the same radio, with the 817 minimized for the backpacker who could live with QRP, while the 857 is virtually identical in performance to the 897, minus the on-board battery.  I believe the 897 has an available power supply that can plugged into the battery space, which would make for a compact foot print and less cable clutter (although, I'm learning that clutter seems to be unavoidable with this hobby).

I came close to getting the 897, but went with the FT-450 to learn HF on after I realized how cumbersome the menu system on the 8x7 radios is, especially for a noob like me, and wanted to minimize the frustration quotient.  Once I get the hang of things, I'd like to start packing the 817 and try it out on the 10,000' peaks in my area, but I need to know what I'm doing first.

I'm in the process of building a compact, transportable shack using an 8u rack mount case, with the 450 and 2900 permanently mounted inside with power supply, rig runner, power gate, antenna switches, and some AGM batteries.  With this setup I'm hoping that it will allow me to use the radios with less clutter, while still allowing me to store it totally out of sight so it's one less thing for my wife to complain about. 

There's so much extra crap that goes along with getting on the air, it's not just the radio.  You've got dc power supplies, batteries and cables, antennas, feedlines, tuners, switches, meters, etc..  Things get a bit more complicated in going from VHF to HF.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 12:46:42 AM by FreeLancer »
In times of change learners inherit the earth and the learned find themselves equipped for a world that no longer exists.   Eric Hoffer

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.  Winston Churchill

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.  Voltaire

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2012, 08:16:17 AM »
I remember the HRO salesman telling me that the 817, 857, and 897 were all essentially the same radio, with the 817 minimized for the backpacker who could live with QRP, while the 857 is virtually identical in performance to the 897, minus the on-board battery.  I believe the 897 has an available power supply that can plugged into the battery space, which would make for a compact foot print and less cable clutter (although, I'm learning that clutter seems to be unavoidable with this hobby).

I came close to getting the 897, but went with the FT-450 to learn HF on after I realized how cumbersome the menu system on the 8x7 radios is, especially for a noob like me, and wanted to minimize the frustration quotient.

Thanks FreeLancer, for the straight word on 817/857/897 differences, and for highlighting the menu problem.  The frustration quotient is definitely something to consider.  The 450 looks like a darned nice rig.  With an internal tuner, that helps with the cost and really cuts down on the external crap factor.
Build it or buy it, start it up and try it, maybe even fry it.  Otherwise you'll never know if it works.

I swear, there are times it seems like "Baofeng" is Cantonese for "hot mess."

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2012, 04:40:47 PM »
OP-are you wanting a shack in a box rig (HF/VHF/UHF) or just a near portable HF rig?

There is a similar discussion going on in the ar15.com ham forum....

Offline WWalker

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2012, 05:14:50 PM »
Same radios different boxes.

I've never tried to work HF QRP.  Most people do it because it is challenging.
Depending on how far you will be from the nearest repeater and the terrain between you and the repeater,5 watts on 2m can make a pretty long line of site trip, especially into a good directional antenna.    But more power can be a nice "insurance policy" if you think you may need to rely on your radio for more than entertainment.
   
I personally have the 897 and like it very much.  My choice had a lot to do with aesthetics, I think the 857 is an ugly radio, but that's just my opinion.  (I am the same way with firearms.  I don't buy guns that I find aesthetically unappealing.)
Plus I never intended to use it as a mobile.  It is to big for most mobile applications.  The 857 would be a much better choice if you intend to use it as a mobile. 
 
My 897 is primarily my base rig.  I use it portable for field day, camping and such.  I power it off of deep cycle batteries and a solar panel in the shack.  The batteries and panel are also portable.  I don't have and see no need (for me) for the internal batteries, but it is a neat option, (that limits power to 20w).

The menus in my opinion are not that difficult to navigate.  The functions are arranged in alphabetical order.  Once you get used to it, it's not that bad.
I the shack, interfacing the radio with a computer and running Ham Radio Deluxe puts the menu items all right on you computer screen. 
Then, software for programming the memory is always a big plus, and allows adjustment of menu items also.

One last thing. 
If you want to work HF and monitor VHF or UHF repeaters / frequencies at the same time you can't do this with these radios.  You will still need two radios to do this.

Choices, choices, choices.....................

Offline exSun

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2012, 09:33:52 PM »
I've still to get on the air with my FT-450D, mostly because of the antenna hassles, but also because the glow's wearing off of my ham aspirations.

I can understand your frustration. I started the easy way - I was a member of a club with a lot of older, experienced hams to help me start. What you need now is an elmer - a local ham who has done what you want to try, and can help you put it together. Try the FCC database (at ARRL.org) and do a zip code or town/state search, and see if you can find someone who will help. 73 and Good Luck!

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2012, 09:55:15 PM »
I can understand your frustration. I started the easy way - I was a member of a club with a lot of older, experienced hams to help me start. What you need now is an elmer - a local ham who has done what you want to try, and can help you put it together. Try the FCC database (at ARRL.org) and do a zip code or town/state search, and see if you can find someone who will help. 73 and Good Luck!

Thanks.  You're right, an elmer is what I need.  I've got to be honest, though, the older hams aren't always the most friendly and often look down on the noobs like me who got their tickets without CW.  But, I'll keep looking.  73
In times of change learners inherit the earth and the learned find themselves equipped for a world that no longer exists.   Eric Hoffer

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.  Winston Churchill

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.  Voltaire

Offline austinrob

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2012, 01:27:58 PM »
Thanks.  You're right, an elmer is what I need.  I've got to be honest, though, the older hams aren't always the most friendly and often look down on the noobs like me who got their tickets without CW.  But, I'll keep looking.  73
any large club has sub groups.  Find out where different groups meet for breakfast, or maybe some are members of smaller clubs as well.  There are 4 registered groups in my area.  As well, there are at least 3 breakfast meetings every month consisting of subsets of each of the groups.  One of the clubs meets at the same place (restaurant back room) every wednesday night for topics other than the main meeting on the other weeks.

You'll find someone.

Offline exSun

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Re: Looking for Recommendation
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2012, 04:38:36 PM »
I've got to be honest, though, the older hams aren't always the most friendly and often look down on the noobs like me who got their tickets without CW.  But, I'll keep looking.  73

Of course, when I was a Novice, the older hams were a lot younger then!  ;D