Author Topic: Back again with a radio question  (Read 934 times)

Offline kid_couteau

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Back again with a radio question
« on: November 20, 2017, 08:57:30 AM »
Hi All

I am thinking of buying another radio  :P

I have a Yaesu 450D for HF but want a radio to act both as a back up to this as well as be smaller and backpack portable.

Option A: Yaesu 817-ND

Option B: Yaesu 891

I am open to other radios but am new to the whole game. Got my Tech and General in April of 2017 so I am pretty new to the radio game.

I am also part of the ARES team and thus portability is a concern. I already have 2 Meter covered with a Yaesu 2900 and 2980.

Please advise and thank you for the help.
Kid Couteau

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2017, 09:28:29 AM »
I've only got a few more years experience both as a licensed amateur and ARES work.

I will tell you that of over a dozen exercises, I've used HF twice.  Once to send winlink traffic over winmor, the other was an SSB voice call to the state EOC at a regional military base.  Both were made from my local city EOC.  That all said, it's much more likely you'll need self-sufficient VHF/UHF gear.  Portable power, the knowledge/ability to field program repeaters into memory, and a backup dual band antenna solution.

I would prioritize hardware for ARES as follows:

1) HT you can rely on and program manually
2) mobile dual band that is portable, including basic battery power and field antenna
3) accessories for 1 & 2 (TNC/signalink, speak mics for HT, coax adapters, jumpers, etc.)

If I came across an FT-817 at a fair price, I'd be very tempted to buy it for recreational use.  I enjoy getting outside and the form factor and low power needs of a QRP rig are desirable.
However I would not plan on QRP for ARES use.  In an emergency you'll want your full 100 watts and the best antenna you can find.

If my experience indicates anything, you're more likely to use someone else's station in many circumstances.  There's also a good chance there's some emergency power like a generator running the entire incident command post.  Remember radio is actually a small part of the overall FEMA/ICS protocol. There will be logistics analysts and accountants with laptops, public service radios, fire, police, etc.

Also on the 2 meter, I also own the FT-2900.  It's ready to serve for ARES duty, but there are a couple things lacking:
1) it's not dual band
2) does not have a DIN/Data jack for packet usage.  I *could* craft up an interface using the mic and rear speaker jack, but I have other radios that do this already.

I would not rush out and buy a second HF rig, unless you are getting enamored with SOTA or some specific activity that your FT-450 is no ideal for.
Get some more experience, develop opinions, etc.


Offline Carl

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2017, 09:55:15 AM »
  The Yaesu FT891 is a small radio but remember that small radios are small because something was left out...Antenna Tuners are a must have iten for HF radio these days .or at least a tunable antenna and most antenna matchers are about as big as this radio. The HF radio,even with manufactured antennas,will really need a tuner for protection and optimum output on manufactured or makeshift antennas . You can still have a small radio ,if you call the antenna tuner part of your antenna.

  My antenna coupler in in an ammo box with plenty of wire for antennas and counterpoises that I call my antenna box.The antenna box has a 3/8 x 24 mount to use for a mobile whip and counterpoise wire or it can feed a wire antenna through a 4 to 1 balun and is powered from a pack of AA ENELOOP cells that get charged every 6 months ,even if they don't need it.

  SMURF is right though,most emergency work you might need to communicate during is going to be LOCAL and VHF/UHF will be a key player for such ,maybe a good tall position or portable pole....OR NVIS on 40-60-80- meters if pre arranged for local to medium distance communications and don't forget digital comms and the technology of satellite borne repeaters and transponders as they can do good comms even when HF is marginal.
 
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 10:00:24 AM by Carl »
Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

If you had only one year,one month,or one day...Would you live your life differently?

Radios are pointless without someone trained to use them.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2017, 05:13:13 PM »
It really comes down to the old question "What are you planning on doing?"

If you're planning on working CW or digital modes from the field, the 817 is viable, just because the narrower bandwidth makes 2.5 watts viable.  (What?  It's a 5 watt radio!  Yes, but you can't burn the finals at full power on digital modes.)  It is light, that is one thing going for it.  But for SSB you need 100 watts.

Carl is right about the tuners.  For little field radios, they're almost as big as the radios.  At least they're generally a lot lighter, maybe a third the weight.

Have you looked at the Yaesu 857D?

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Offline kid_couteau

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2017, 06:36:07 PM »
It really comes down to the old question "What are you planning on doing?"

If you're planning on working CW or digital modes from the field, the 817 is viable, just because the narrower bandwidth makes 2.5 watts viable.  (What?  It's a 5 watt radio!  Yes, but you can't burn the finals at full power on digital modes.)  It is light, that is one thing going for it.  But for SSB you need 100 watts.

Carl is right about the tuners.  For little field radios, they're almost as big as the radios.  At least they're generally a lot lighter, maybe a third the weight.

Have you looked at the Yaesu 857D?

Hi
I did look at the 857D but it is 200 bucks more and I already have 2 meter covered.

Really just looking for a backup to my 450D that is compact and portable.

Thanks for the help All

Offline Carl

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2017, 03:49:12 AM »
  I think a USED FT857D or FT450D might make for you best economical move in this case .

ALSO you can get an ALINCO SR8 for this price range also....


http://www.randl.com/shop/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=350&products_id=67773
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 04:07:24 AM by Carl »
Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

If you had only one year,one month,or one day...Would you live your life differently?

Radios are pointless without someone trained to use them.

Offline kid_couteau

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2017, 07:26:56 AM »
Curious
Why the Yaesu 857 over the Yaesu 891?

All you get that I can see is 2 Meter and 70CM which I already have covered.


Offline Carl

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2017, 11:16:19 AM »
Curious
Why the Yaesu 857 over the Yaesu 891?

All you get that I can see is 2 Meter and 70CM which I already have covered.

The FT857 has been in production for over 15 years and has the buggs worked out,It is my habit to NOT be an early adopter (otherwise know as BETA TESTER) of new radios as the manufacturers often find problems in early production units as the real world puts them to the test.I would prefer to wait 5 to 10 years and not be one of the many who find problems that get remedied in later production.

research FT 891 problem and see what comes up
Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

If you had only one year,one month,or one day...Would you live your life differently?

Radios are pointless without someone trained to use them.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2017, 11:37:59 AM »
The FT857 has been in production for over 15 years and has the buggs worked out,It is my habit to NOT be an early adopter (otherwise know as BETA TESTER) of new radios as the manufacturers often find problems in early production units as the real world puts them to the test.I would prefer to wait 5 to 10 years and not be one of the many who find problems that get remedied in later production.

research FT 891 problem and see what comes up

Carl,

I'm going to make a minor addition here.

While that methodology is sound, design and construction of modern radios has changed rather dramatically.  As more and more functions are based in software, such modifications are faster and cheaper for manufacturers to make. No longer are circuit design changes needed, or discrete electrical components burned in for long test cycle for most bug fixes.

That's not to say any problems can be fixed with a consumer applied software patch at home, but even if Yaesu/Icom/Kenwood need to "flash" firmware, that's considerably easier for them compared to desolder/solder components onto a PCB.

This has some downsides of course.
1) Manufacturers may get a bit careless during product development.  Knowing you can apply software changes post product release can be a crutch for lazy/incompetent engineers
2) Modern radios are not as serviceable or modifiable by operators. There are fewer and fewer pieces you and I can replace at home.  This parallels automobiles in many ways.


Offline SCWolverine

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2017, 03:05:33 PM »
I'm going against the grain here and say FT891.  For $550+/- you get a brand new 100w HF rig with a 3 year warranty (current production and all)

BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With that said I must follow it with this.  The 891 'really' isn't intended to replace the 817 or the 857 or the 897.  It was created for the MOBILE Ham Radio OP (mobile as in In Your Car).  It wasn't 'made' for backpacking. 

2 Hamventions ago we spoke to the Yaesu rep and he gave us the run down.  It's not a power-sipper like the previous models, and it'll need a tuner (the matching Yaesu costs over $350) so bear all that in mind.
http://hamradio360.com/index.php/2016/05/22/hamvention-day-2-whirlwind-weekend/

it's also a little hungrier!

891 Current Consumption:
Rx: 2.0 A
Tx: 23 A

FT 857 Current Consumption:
At 14.1 MHz:
RX volume down = 1A
TX 5W = 4A
TX 10W = 5A
TX 25W = 8A
TX 50W = 14A
TX 100W = 21A

Even at 100w the 857 and it's 15+ year old tech still sips less power!   But it's a 15 y/o design. Apples and Oranges.

I just sold my big HF radio, coulda bought anything I wanted under $1K....I bought an IC7100 for $725 after rebates :)
I have no plans to backpack anything so that made it a little easier to decide. 
the 7200 is a nice rig as well and it's down on Black Friday Special Pricing too.

CDN/SCW
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Radios are pointless without someone trained to use them." WMY

Offline Carl

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2017, 03:24:16 PM »
  I own an FT857 and an IC7100 and you will love the more 'refined' audio and DSP of the 7100 and the voice recorder/voise caller and the ability to save all of your adjustments to a memory chip in case someone alters your programming of the little radio.The intuitive touch screen and programable alternate controls allow you to tailor the radio better to your ideal radio parameters and most needed parameters are on the surface and not burried in the tombs of you sub menus.

  On a side note ,most 100 watt radios will run from much less power if you add a large capacitor close in the line to the radio as I can run my IC7100 from a 7 amp hour battery with a 1 Farad capacitor and the cap handles the peaks of voice and CW just fine while a 12 amp hour will power my radio for about 5 to 6 hours on typical SSB use at 50 to 100 watts and not have audio problems with the TX until the battery sags below 11.4 volts or so .
Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

If you had only one year,one month,or one day...Would you live your life differently?

Radios are pointless without someone trained to use them.

Offline kid_couteau

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2017, 04:17:59 PM »
891 Current Consumption:
Rx: 2.0 A
Tx: 23 A

Does the 891 only have one power setting of 100 watts?
I figured it was adjustable like my 450d is.

Kid

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: Back again with a radio question
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2017, 06:12:07 PM »
891 Current Consumption:
Rx: 2.0 A
Tx: 23 A

Does the 891 only have one power setting of 100 watts?
I figured it was adjustable like my 450d is.

Kid

Well, one would think so...but I can't find it here
https://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=102&encProdID=DF4DB262968932E999EAF928B5B6A1A7&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0

or here
https://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/0891.html

or here
https://www.mtcradio.com/yaesu-ft-891-hf-6m-100w-all-mode-transceiver/

Quote
• Transmitter

Output Power

    SSB/CW/FM: 100 W (AM: 25 W)


100W no matter what it seems.............?
good catch


ETA:
Found on HRO Website:

Quote
Stable 100 Watt Output (Adjustable 5-100 Watts)

    The FT-891 provides stable 100 Watts (Adjustable 5-100 Watts) & (25W AM Adjustable 5-25 Watts) of high power output. High reliability is assured by the transmitters careful circuit design with efficient thermostatically-controlled Dual internal fans and the die cast heat transferring chassis.

and thanks for the thumbs up Carl on the 7100!
Interested in Comms? Ham Radio? Try Ham Radio 360
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"Emergencies ,by their very nature are organizational nightmares.
Radios are pointless without someone trained to use them." WMY