Author Topic: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view  (Read 14434 times)

Offline 23skido

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New ham with general class. I would like to get started with some HF equipment. I am looking at the Yaesu 857d and the much more mobile( back pack mobile) Elecraft KX3. I do not necessarily want to get away from VHF and UHF but more correctly stated want to add HF to my 2m and 70cent. I know comparing these two units is apples and oranges to some extent. The Yaesu gets the 2m amd 70 cent where the KX3 does not. The Yaesu get 100 watts in theory and the kx3 10 watts. Keep in mind there are add- ons that can be added to the kx3 that will bring it nearly to the level of the Yaesu. They offer a 100 watt amp and a 2m accessory. Neither of which is cheap mind you. What I really like about the kx3 is that it runs on 8AA batteries and weighs only 1.5Lb ! Where as the Yaesu is 4.5 Lb plus you will need  a 12v battery that will weigh about the same. That is a big difference if you are on the go! The kx3 has some strong reviews in the ham world too.
Here is where you experienced preppers/hams out there can help me. On a practical down to earth level. What are the pros and cons of each of these systems. I really like the idea of having only one radio ( except maybe a hand held). I really do not want to amass radios for different purposes. Keep in mind I be interested in some volunteer search and rescue with my radio in the near future. What about grid down and political/social unrest scenarios. Will the 2m repeaters even be allowed to function in these conditions? What frequencies are best suited for local and long range comms during such scenarios?How might such examples guide the radio one chooses?

Offline Canadian Prepper

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2013, 01:43:33 AM »
As I have only used my 2m handheld and hope to get an HF rig in the coming weeks I'd hesitate pretending to be able to give advice on the relative merits of both radios. I'm seriously looking at the 897 for my first radio, but with the price of the batteries made to operate with it, I can appreciate the extra weight posed by having to carry a 12V battery.

For all of the handy aspects of the K3, I still wonder about what kind of antenna set up would best be able to take advantage of such a portable transceiver. Aside from a few wire dipoles that can be put up in a tree, or perhaps a few relatively mobile vertical antennas, that might be a bigger limiting factor than the relative weight of both radios. How the 10W transmission would work with the antennas I can only guess at. If anyone could figure out a way to set up an easy to carry transceiver with a whip antenna that allows them to keep walking, I'm truly interested.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2013, 09:18:07 AM »
23S, first, congratulations on the new General ticket.  That opens a lot of doors.

There's been a lot of discussion centering on the question "which HF go rig?", a bunch of them right here on this site.  Over at the Prepared Ham site, here's a recent discussion: http://www.preparedham.com/forums/general-discussion/choice-on-a-emergency-go-kit-using-a-yaesu-ft-817nd/
The main take-away from it is that you need 100 watts for reliable emergency comms.  QRP might work on a good day, but it's more a hobby than anything.

Now, look at the Elecraft's weight PLUS the weight of its amplifier: 1.5 + 7 lbs for the amp = 8.5 lbs.  That's a lot more than the Yaesu.

If you're running 100 watts with either rig, you're going to need serious batteries.  Here's a recent post about using LiPo4 cells.  I don't have any experience with them, but they do look like the way to go.  http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=46880.msg530853#msg530853  I'll be looking into these in the very near future.

BTW, Yaesu offers a very similar radio, the 897, which uses an internal battery pack or an external battery.  But it's limited to 20 watts on the internal batt, and it's married to a proprietary battery pack that uses aging technology.  Personally I'd pass, but YMMV.

Local comms will depend on your locals.  My answer locally is CB, since it's so unused around here and most of the people I want to stay in touch with can't or won't get their ham tickets.  Again, YMMV.

Long-range comms can mean a lot of things, from two-towns-over to intercontinental.  For me, 80/40 NVIS plus a 20 meter inverted V is a good mix.  It gives good two-states-over coverage plus the ability to long-throw outside the SE region.  The associated wire antennas were affordable, and they can be stowed easily before a hurricane.  If you want to get an idea of the problems with long-range emcomms, check these two threads over at Prepared Ham: http://www.preparedham.com/forums/announcements/on-air-roundtable/  and http://www.preparedham.com/forums/propagation/propagation-modeling-for-weekly-roundtable/  BTW, one of the guys over at that forum thinks very highly of Chameleon HF antennas for backpack rigs.  He uses it for in-state work frequently, but it won't go much farther.

Word is that the local repeaters didn't stay up after Katrina.  Gas for their backup generators wasn't a priority.  But I wasn't a ham then and have no direct knowledge here.

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Offline 23skido

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Allan, thanks for the in depth answer to my question. I am so busy I just finally read the replies. I did end up with the Yeasu857. I will certainly check out all of your links( when I find time!).

Offline Pukwudji

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  I recently picked up the 857d also.  As to weight and portability, other than the hobby aspect, I'm not sure I really see the usefulness in most situations.  If you are walking, say home from the office during SHTF, you'd get more help from a 2m handheld to be able to talk to locals.  In that situation what possible need would you have to talk to someone 5000 miles away?  If its just to get information from outside an affected area you'd probably be better off with a portable SW radio.
  As was mentioned, being able to power a radio to transmit uses pretty much the same amount of power so if you were trying to pump the power on the kx3 you'd drain those 8 AA batteries in just a couple of minutes if you were trying to power the amplifier with them. 

  I think you made the right choice.  I finally got my 857d after a couple years of procrastinating and saving up.  I now need to save up for a decent antenna and a tuner (I'm going for the LDG YT-100) so I can put it in the truck where I want it.  I'm thinking either going with the Little Tarheel or just going with hamsticks and swapping them out when I want to change band.

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Offline armymars

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 10:28:45 AM »
  The Yeasu 857 is not a bad choice. You get more utility from it as the sunspots start to dip. The KX3 has one of the best receivers out there. As far as 10 watts verses 100 watts 10 db is a lot. The National Guard and Army have been getting by with 20 watts for years. You can dial down the Yeasu power to 10 watts if need be, but the receiver will pull more current then the KX3. In my club the KX3 is the next great thing. Many members have one or more. Yes some have two of them. They also have the K3 with all the goodies. When the band is good anything will work, when it's bad nothing will work. 73

Offline Ken325

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I am currently having this same debate.  Here are my issues.  I am a new ham, technician, who is studying for general.  I am in a townhome with really horrible antenna restrictions, in a dense urban area.  I like to keep my gear very portable as I will probably want to bug out in SHTF so I want a very portable HF setup.  The people who maintain the property are not real alert so I can probably get away with some kind of covert antenna.  I have access to the attic.  The attic is free of metal interference and it is 3 stories high.  I put a 70’ long wire  SW antenna up in the attic (bent 3 times to fit) and the performance was a lot worse than a 40 foot wire outside antenna, but I have to take the outside antenna down when not in use.   So I am a little worried about the performance of an attic antenna.  I also have no way of running a RF ground.  My townhome is 2 floors and the first floor is basically a one room kitchen- living room with no room for a radio.  I would have to route the RF ground up into the attic from the second floor then down the outside of the house.  This would increase the possibility of getting into trouble with the HOA and I have heard that a long RF ground can end up acting like an antenna and can cause problems.  I am strongly considering a magnetic loop antenna or a covert end fed antenna to fool the HOA.  A fan dipole in the attic is also an option.  So here is what I am looking for. 
A very portable, simple for beginner HF radio that can be used in a covert manner.  I would like general coverage so I can receive SW broadcast.  A low power requirement would allow a reasonably sized solar power setup for field use.  I understand 100 W is recommended for beginners, but 100W means big power requirements.   I anticipate listening more than transmitting in a bug out situation.  I need to consider the portable antenna and probably antenna tuner as well.  I am very interested in using digital modes like PSK31.  Here is what I am considering. 

Icom 7200 in a mobile case with power supply, automatic antenna tuner, endfed antenna or MFJ magnetic loop.  Homemade diapole for portable use.  Estimated total cost about $1700.  My thoughts: Would require computer or tablet for digital modes and a large powerful solar system with 12V battery.  Largest and heaviest option.  Not portable without vehicle.  100Watts for transmission.  Need power supply as I will be looking for AC power.

Yaesu FT-817ND ($600), alex loop ($400), antenna tuner (LDG Z 817).  Estimated cost $1170.  My thoughts:  Very portable (back packable), seems like older technology,  good for receiving, menu intensive, also has UHF, VHF bands, least expensive, works with small solar unit, Very low power QRP unit.  Operating QRP could be frustrating but it decreases possibility of RFI in HOA restricted townhome.  Need computer or tablet for digital modes.  Lots of online support.

Elecraft KX3 with built in tuner, battery charger, and optional filter for general coverage SW reception ($1600), Alex loop antenna ($400).  Total cost $2000 My thoughts:  High quality modern receiver, software defined radio so easily updated, modular system is easily upgraded, built in PSK31 and RTTY, very mobile, very low power requirements, can be upgraded with module for VHF bands. Is a 10W QRP radio but double power of Yaesu FT817. External 100W amplifier is available but expensive (600$).  Amplifier is still less than buying 2 systems (portable and home). American made radio.

Final thoughts:  I think Elecraft KX3 is best option for my needs, but the price makes me pause.  I want long distance communication capabilities but $2000 is a big commitment for something that may get me in trouble with the HOA.  The Yaesu FT 817 is a lot less expensive, would probably be a lot of fun for portable use, but would probably be frustrating due to low power.  Would almost have to learn CW or use digital modes.  It would still give me basic long distance communications and it would be good for listening to other transmissions.   The ICOM 7200 rig would probably be simplest to learn on but it would almost be as expensive as the KX3.  It is the only 100W option i considered but It barely meets my portable requirement.  I can afford the KX3 but that is money I could spend on other preps.

 So any opinions or comments on the issues I described?

Offline Carl

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A low power ,battery powered radio is 'cute ' but offers little to you as the AA power in an 817 lasts about 3 hours and the KX# actually less...YOU NEED POWER and those two flea farts are FUN ,but not up to the task of being heard in an EMERGENCY ,especially with mobile or portable antennas..YOU NEED 100 WATTS and you can always turn the power down when you don't and as far as ine radio for ALL BANDS....HF and VHF/UHF are for two different needs..

VHF /UHF for local comms and HF for distance ,the two separate radios make better sense...or maybe the FT 897 would be both mobile/stationary and portable...but you NEED POWER to get performance...PLEASE get a full power HF and separate VHF/UHF radio
so they are up to performance levels .

I have used and owned all four of the radios mentioned and though the KX3 receiver is better that the rest...without a major size antenna ,you will not notice the subtle difference,and with LOW power of the battery radios you have little chance of being heard over the noise..I have covered this in many posts , I LOVE QRP (low power) but it is far better to lower the radio to that level than to max out the battery operated radios ...The FT 897 runs 20 watts with internal cells and 100 with external power (13.8 volts) but don't expect a full 100 watts from any radio on battery power as batteries don't produce the voltage without the auto alternator in use.

QRP can ,and does ,do amazing things at long distance....but not all of the time,not consistently...many times even 100 watts does not assure you being heard.I tell you this to aide you and help keep you from being under served...mistakes are expensive and costly.
Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

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Radios are pointless without someone trained to use them.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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While I'm not ready myself for extended HF operation after bugging out, I am gradually developing opinions on the topic as I gain experience.

Power source:

It is hardly feasible to carry enough portable power on your back to operate for any significant amount of time.

Let's work backwards and define the use case for your portable HF station.

Are you wanting to phone home and let mom know you are safe, or will you be relaYing message traffic as part of a team?

My main point is, if you have nontrivial operating needs you either have a serious battery bank, solAR array or generator.  All of which are heavy.  So having a 2 lbs. Ultra light radio isn't an advantage if your kit contains a 75ah SLA battery

Online FreeLancer

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As someone who got an FT-817, for all the reasons Ken325 puts forward, I would recommend not getting it as a first HF, for all the reasons Carl and Smurf lay out. I know exactly where your coming from, but it's not a great first, or only, radio.  For me, if I could do it all over, I should have just started with the FT-450 and FT-2900 I eventually got because I couldn't get out on the 817. 
23:57:30

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2015, 09:56:38 AM »
As someone who got an FT-817, for all the reasons Ken325 puts forward, I would recommend not getting it as a first HF, for all the reasons Carl and Smurf lay out. I know exactly where your coming from, but it's not a great first, or only, radio.  For me, if I could do it all over, I should have just started with the FT-450 and FT-2900 I eventually got because I couldn't get out on the 817.

Yup.  Similarly:

Pistol + Rifle > a single pistol caliber carbine.

Offline Carl

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2015, 10:23:15 AM »
I just started a new thread as it deviates from the subject

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=55817.new#new
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 Ken325

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2015, 08:04:35 PM »
OK, so less than 100 W is very bad.  I have heard that before but I have been looking at websites where people talk about covert antennas and operation in a restrictive HOA.  A lot of these people operate QRP.  I also have the RF grounding issue.  Any recommendations?  Is it important or can I skip it?  I am also committed to making whatever radio I choose portable.  I could put it in a box rack system.  Something like the tactical communication rack from iportable.com.  Any thoughts on the antenna for my situation?  Any experience with the magnetic loop antennas?  Auto tuner or manual?  Please keep in mind that I have a strict prohibition on antennas in my HOA. One of the reasons I want to be portable is I may have to take it out in the woods to use my radio.

On portable power.  It looks like a small 12V battery, charge controller, and a 20 W Solar panel would be sufficient for all day operation of a QRP radio.  I think I could make something up that would fit in a plastic ammo box.  I think an 85 amp hr battery and 100-150W of solar panels would be needed for a 100W radio.  It could be done but you’re looking at a much larger and heavier package.   

As to the use case.  I have to admit that I still have a bit of microphone fright so I mostly listen.  I have two prepper groups that I communicate with.  One is about 60 miles away and the other is about 180 miles away.  We currently communicate with phone, text and email but want to use Ham.  I also want to find a more covert method of communicating if phones and email become risky.   I started following the AMRRON webpage and listening to Partisan Radio (on Podbean).  That is one of the reasons that I got excited about HAM radio.  I would like to be able to listen to their HF nets.  I am interested in using digital modes like PSK31.  I have a Yaesu VX-6R, 3 Baofung UV5Rs, a Kenwood 281A in my car, and a Kenwood TM-D710G set up as a base station.  Yes, I have been spending money lately, but I got a great deal on the 710 and 281.  I also have a Uniden home patrol 2 scanner and a Tecsun PL 660 shortwave radio.  I am really enjoying the VX-6R as it has a very wide range receiver. I like being able to listen to AM/FM broadcast, SW radio, Air frequencies, and VHF-UHF ham bands.  I would probably plan on using that with a roll up slim jim antenna for 2M and 440 (2 radios) but it would be nice to have the capability in the HF radio I get (2 is one, one is none).  I am also interested in HF as there is not a lot of activity on the VHF UHF bands except during rush hour.  I t sounds like everyone is doing HF radio. 
Back to the radios.  In 100W radios I have researched the Yaesu FT 450D, Icom 7200, and Icom 7100.  I did not really research the 857D as it seems like it is more of a car radio.   Any opinions?  It seems like people online like the 450D at first then they start to have issues.  The icom 7200 seems like a solid no issues radio with a USB port.  The 7100 seems like a great radio but the detachable head makes it more of a base station.  Also the cost is higher.  I would appreciate any recommendations or advice. Keep HOA restrictions and portability in mind.   

Offline Sailor

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2015, 08:42:55 PM »
Guys are running the 857d 100w SSB with 5000mAh 3S lipos and getting about an hour of use out of them. 350 grams of weight or so.    I tend to use digital modes though when man portable and not much ssb so that time would be increased when I try these lipos out. 

Oops lipos already mentioned. 

I run the 857d and like it.  It stays a base unit in my basement with coax running up three stories to antennas in the attic and roof.  Wire in the attic for HF a backup dual band uhf vhf antenna in attic and a big dual band on the roof.  All low pro for the HOA. 

The tac-comm carriers for the 857 are fantastic, I have one for the radio and tuner, battery and power supply.  Grab and go.  I am the comms guy for our group, so I am tasked with setting up a comms base in whatever area we are training in, the field, empty wharehouse, hotel room you name.  This radio, and a tablet fit that need well. 
« Last Edit: August 27, 2015, 08:52:06 PM by Sailor »

Offline Carl

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2015, 08:51:11 PM »
****So many questions...mod ,move this to  http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=55817.new#new  if you need to****

OK, so less than 100 W is very bad.  ****Less than 100 watts is often not enough,but a 100 watt radio will turn down to about 5 watts when it is enough****
I have heard that before but I have been looking at websites where people talk about covert antennas and operation in a restrictive HOA.  A lot of these people operate QRP.  I also have the RF grounding issue. ****Describe the ground problem...a counterpoise as in a 1/4 wave piece of wire for each band in use will act as an artificial ground**** Any recommendations? 

Is it important or can I skip it? ****With good antenna selection often a ground is not needed,I do not use one at all[ ****/color] I am also committed to making whatever radio I choose portable.  I could put it in a box rack system.  Something like the tactical communication rack from iportable.com.  Any thoughts on the antenna for my situation? ****Depends on what bands you want to operate on and where you want to place the antenna...I have an antenna BURIED UNDER GROUND at my BOL**** Any experience with the magnetic loop antennas?  Auto tuner or manual? ****I like the auto tuners from LDG and often at nearly the same cost as a manual tuner**** Please keep in mind that I have a strict prohibition on antennas in my HOA.****I directed SMURF HUNTER in building his HF antenna in his attic**** One of the reasons I want to be portable is I may have to take it out in the woods to use my radio.****I would use a different antenna for field use rather than disturb the 'home' antenna, WIRE makes the job easy****

On portable power.  It looks like a small 12V battery, charge controller, and a 20 W Solar panel would be sufficient for all day operation of a QRP radio.  I think I could make something up that would fit in a plastic ammo box.  I think an 85 amp hr battery and 100-150W of solar panels would be needed for a 100W radio.  It could be done but you’re looking at a much larger and heavier package.   ****Your idea is correct as solar panels do not deliver rated power to a battery...you want a battery that is rated 10X the power drawn by the radio and licky you, a 100 watt HF actually averages 7 to 8 amps during transmit due to the nature of human voice and SSB transmissionBut ,if you use an inverter and are an extension cord away from your vehicle  then you load to carry can be lessened****

As to the use case.  I have to admit that I still have a bit of microphone fright so I mostly listen.  I have two prepper groups that I communicate with.  One is about 60 miles away and the other is about 180 miles away. ****This distance is too far for VHF and too close for 'normal HF , so an NVIS antenna may do for use on 80 or 40 meters ...but this is close for even NVIS**** We currently communicate with phone, text and email but want to use Ham.  I also want to find a more covert method of communicating if phones and email become risky.   I started following the AMRRON webpage and listening to Partisan Radio (on Podbean).  That is one of the reasons that I got excited about HAM radio.  I would like to be able to listen to their HF nets.  I am interested in using digital modes like PSK31.  I have a Yaesu VX-6R, 3 Baofung UV5Rs, a Kenwood 281A in my car, and a Kenwood TM-D710G set up as a base station.  Yes, I have been spending money lately, but I got a great deal on the 710 and 281.  I also have a Uniden home patrol 2 scanner and a Tecsun PL 660 shortwave radio.  ****Nice gear dude****I am really enjoying the VX-6R as it has a very wide range receiver. I like being able to listen to AM/FM broadcast, SW radio, Air frequencies, and VHF-UHF ham bands.  I would probably plan on using that with a roll up slim jim antenna for 2M and 440 (2 radios) but it would be nice to have the capability in the HF radio I get (2 is one, one is none). ****An HF radio with VHF/UHF is not a bad choice due to you redundancy,it makes a slightly more portable station in a box**** I am also interested in HF as there is not a lot of activity on the VHF UHF bands except during rush hour.  I t sounds like everyone is doing HF radio. 
Back to the radios.  In 100W radios I have researched the Yaesu FT 450D, Icom 7200, and Icom 7100. ****ALL GREAT RADIOS and I would select the one you like the looks of or has the best price and a 100 watt radio is a 100 watt radio and no one but you sees the knobs and buttons...buy the one that does what you want as far as accessories**** I did not really research the 857D as it seems like it is more of a car radio. ****It is ,an my opinion is that it is not op to heavy or digital use due to heat buildup in the small radio,but that is my opinion****  Any opinions?  It seems like people online like the 450D at first then they start to have issues. ****I own and use a 450D with an ATAS 120 antenna that the radio tunes  as it is a little 'screw driver' antenna...I like mine...it has internal tuner also...besides the ATAS controler *** The icom 7200 seems like a solid no issues radio with a USB port.  The 7100 seems like a great radio but the detachable head makes it more of a base station.  Also the cost is higher.  I would appreciate any recommendations or advice. Keep HOA restrictions and portability in mind. ***We can narrow the selection after we get a few more details and see if the mods move this post to another thread ***
« Last Edit: August 27, 2015, 08:58:53 PM 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 Sailor

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2015, 09:04:58 PM »
857 with tuner in the  carrier par end fedz trail friendly antenna 10-20-40. 

with a droid phone connected with wolfie link, running psk. 


Offline Ken325

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2015, 10:01:57 PM »
I like that set up sailor.  I'm not crazy about the 857, but that looks like a really functional and portable rig. Who makes the box your using?

Offline Ken325

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2015, 11:01:57 PM »
Thanks for answers Carl. 
I described the RF ground problem in earlier post.  Basically, the only location for my radios is my office in the middle of the house, on the 2nd floor.  I am in a 1000 Sq ft, 2 floor town home with no extra room in other parts of the house.  I can run cables up into the attic easily.  So if I ran a ground out of office to attic, across attic, punch hole in outer wall, then run the ground down 2 floors to ground level I am looking at over 100 feet of ground wire or braid.  No metal pipes on second floor.  I have heard that long ground wires cause problems and the HOA could throw a fit about the wire..  I don't want to drop 2000$ then find out performance sucks because I cannot do a Rf ground.

So I'm looking more at the Yaesu FT 450D.  The built in tuner could save me some upfront money, but I have heard it will only tune if your antenna is pretty close to resonant.  If not then you still need a tuner. I have heard 3 sort of negative reviews.  One person on Fo time podcast said not for mobile use.  Anouter said " oddball microphone gain control, and quirky RIT adjustment".  Anouter podcast was a person replacing a FT 450D with a Icom 7100.  Not sure why but it seems he was not happy with the 450D.  It is hard to read the reviews online as most deal with filters and things I don't know a lot about.  I want simple, rugged, reliable, and with computer conections so I can do digital. 

On the mag loop antenna.  I was looking at the MFJ-1788. Expensive, but it solves a lot of problems if it works as advertised (no ground, limited space, limited RFI).  Not real sure how they work.  It sounds like it is most efficient on some of the bands and that you have to adjust it every time you change frequencies.  I don't know if you need a antenna tuner with it.  Like I said I could also do an end fed antenna or a homemade fan dipole in the attic.  A regular dipole is not an option.  The HOA maintains the exterior of the building and the lawn so they may see anything exterior.  On the other hand the workers are probably illegal and are not going to say anything unless the wires are in the way.  I would have to pull it down if they were painting or something.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2015, 11:22:32 PM »
Currently my hf station is in an upstairs bedroom where I run rg8x coax for both vhf/uhf and hf radios into my attic.

I did attach a ground wire between my hf radio and the power supply, but no literal ground connection.  I have a counter poise wire for 20 meters that helps that band, but am currently dealing with RFI from 80m and 40m that affects household appliances at higher power.

Station behaves indistinguishable when run from a deep cycle battery. 

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Offline Carl

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2015, 05:56:33 AM »
Thanks for answers Carl. 
I described the RF ground problem in earlier post.  Basically, the only location for my radios is my office in the middle of the house, on the 2nd floor.  I am in a 1000 Sq ft, 2 floor town home with no extra room in other parts of the house.  I can run cables up into the attic easily.  So if I ran a ground out of office to attic, across attic, punch hole in outer wall, then run the ground down 2 floors to ground level I am looking at over 100 feet of ground wire or braid.  No metal pipes on second floor.  I have heard that long ground wires cause problems and the HOA could throw a fit about the wire..  I don't want to drop 2000$ then find out performance sucks because I cannot do a Rf ground.

So I'm looking more at the Yaesu FT 450D.  The built in tuner could save me some upfront money, but I have heard it will only tune if your antenna is pretty close to resonant.  If not then you still need a tuner. I have heard 3 sort of negative reviews.  One person on Fo time podcast said not for mobile use.  Anouter said " oddball microphone gain control, and quirky RIT adjustment".  Anouter podcast was a person replacing a FT 450D with a Icom 7100.  Not sure why but it seems he was not happy with the 450D.  It is hard to read the reviews online as most deal with filters and things I don't know a lot about.  I want simple, rugged, reliable, and with computer conections so I can do digital. 

On the mag loop antenna.  I was looking at the MFJ-1788. Expensive, but it solves a lot of problems if it works as advertised (no ground, limited space, limited RFI).  Not real sure how they work.  It sounds like it is most efficient on some of the bands and that you have to adjust it every time you change frequencies.  I don't know if you need a antenna tuner with it.  Like I said I could also do an end fed antenna or a homemade fan dipole in the attic.  A regular dipole is not an option.  The HOA maintains the exterior of the building and the lawn so they may see anything exterior.  On the other hand the workers are probably illegal and are not going to say anything unless the wires are in the way.  I would have to pull it down if they were painting or something.

  First I address the GROUND situation...Many mobile HF stations and aircraft are heard on HF without an actual GROUND and it is done with a balanced antenna system like the dipoles that SMURF HUNTER has in hid attic and though a bit of effort to BALENCE the system is needed...it is NOT hard to get the setup working...see his posts

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=55804.0;topicseen

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=54421.msg634675#msg634675


Also look at the all band W3EDP antenna for a simple portable antenna for use away from home ,or at lower power...or on the inside of the wood fence in your back yard.

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=54421.msg634675#msg634675

Antenna performance is going to have to be a compromise ,and most often is,but still can be very effective...I again refer to mobile Hams being heard all over the world with 'compromised' antennas and NO GROUND systems.

You are correct about INTERNAL TUNERS being narrow in their ability to match the antenna,so more thought will be put into the BALANCED ANTENNA design and I suggest a fan dipole with a wire for each band in use...say 80-40-20 10 and with the auto tuner match should be tunable for the other bands except for 160 meters. If you have a wood fence ,the ZEP or W3EDP with wire alond the inside of the fence will run HF multi-bands AND DO NVIS for the close in stations on your 'want list'.

"COMPUTER CONNECTIONS" really are not needed to do digital modes,AUDIO connections are needed...like the MICROPHONE and SPEAKER...so the USB connectors (also used for some radios) are not actually required to run digital modes on the radios. In putting your station together,it is good to study and look ahead,PLAN....but plan to be flexible as you meet GREMLINS that pop up during your building and operating a station as requirements can even change with the weather.While the radio and antenna are important...the OPERATOR IS MOST IMPORTANT.

The old saying about 'the bigger,the better' is almost a rule with Ham radio as cute and tiny antennas,mag loops have the effect of cutting your 100 watts down to a pitiful (under 10) few watts ,though I remind you that most MOBILE antennas put out an effective 3 to 5 watts and  they can OFTEN be heard all over...but are more at the mercy of propagation than a larger ,more effective ,antenna.

You will want to think about how much you want to get out of your radio system and more ,how much you want to work to make it the best for your situation...YOU are the biggest variable in your Ham station..

Remember,I only tell you what I have done in such situations,and what works...mine is likely not the only way to make your situation operable...and I invite others to suggest ...you desreve to make the decision of what to do as your labor will be what makes it work.
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 Carl

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2015, 05:58:24 AM »
http://www.tac-comm.com/  Carrier.

They have good products,thanks SAILOR.
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 Ken325

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2015, 09:35:50 PM »
The counter-poise wire  is a great idea.  I am totally bookmarking that, but I think that may be plan B.  I was thinking about it and I may have an idea for a proper way to do the ground.  Like I said, I can get out of the office to the attic. I punched a hole in the drywall under the desk in my office that lets me pull wires and cables up to the attic. If I go straight down through the wall at that point I end up in a garage wall.  So what if I cut a big hole (2' X space between two studs) in the drywall at ground level below that point in the garage.  Then I drill a hole for a ground wire through the 1st floor header, pull the ground wire to the big hole in drywall at ground level, and then I take a big hammer drill and punch a hole through the slab where I made a hole in the drywall.  Hammer in a copper ground rod and run extra ground wires to attic for future antennas, and then the dry wall.  Now the HOA can see nothing and I have a proper ground that is less than 15 feet long.  I could also use this to ground my antennas in the attic.

I'm looking at the links and I may do the fan dipole in the attic.  I don't understand baluns.  I would need to buy one or something. Any suggestions on buying this?


Offline Carl

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2015, 10:08:52 PM »
The counter-poise wire  is a great idea.  I am totally bookmarking that, but I think that may be plan B.  I was thinking about it and I may have an idea for a proper way to do the ground.  Like I said, I can get out of the office to the attic. I punched a hole in the drywall under the desk in my office that lets me pull wires and cables up to the attic. If I go straight down through the wall at that point I end up in a garage wall.  So what if I cut a big hole (2' X space between two studs) in the drywall at ground level below that point in the garage.  Then I drill a hole for a ground wire through the 1st floor header, pull the ground wire to the big hole in drywall at ground level, and then I take a big hammer drill and punch a hole through the slab where I made a hole in the drywall.  Hammer in a copper ground rod and run extra ground wires to attic for future antennas, and then the dry wall.  Now the HOA can see nothing and I have a proper ground that is less than 15 feet long.  I could also use this to ground my antennas in the attic.

I'm looking at the links and I may do the fan dipole in the attic.  I don't understand baluns.  I would need to buy one or something. Any suggestions on buying this?

About all you need to know about BALUNs is that they are transformers
and a 4 to 1 will allow your antenna tuner to deal with a larger antenna mismatch
PLUS it helps keep RF from running back down your coax and staining  the carpet
or causing interference on other electronics,can openers,or yes...even the kitchen faucet.
The balun is at the point where coax and antenna wires connect (the feed point)

Here is a 4 to 1 balun for $30 ...plenty good and plenty tough...many styles are available...and many PRICES.

http://www.randl.com/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=72257&osCsid=hlveh8l0fv1q4h1df24r4bdft3

WIRE ,for antennas,does NOT have to have 'antenna wire' on the label and most any 14 gauge stranded and even thinner wire
will do fine...even solid wire for house electrical wireing...bare or insulated works...my antenna was found on the curb
on garbage day as it was an extension cord before it became an antenna and PVC 1/2 "  plastic pipe can be cut and drilled as insulators and do great .

Also ,about your best deal for low loss coax is RG8X as it is flexible ,almost as low loss as thicker/stiffer RG8 and much easier
to route and work with ,I have some that has been exposed to sun and wx for 25 years with no measurable degradation.

http://www.randl.com/shop/catalog/index.php?cPath=11030

Available other places ,this is just where I get mine...I use the JETSTREAM though other brands are likely the same.

Also ,about GROUND...you ground your RADIO,TUNER and POWER SUPPLY as the antenna id grounded through the feed line just fine.
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 armymars

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2015, 01:31:09 PM »
  You can buy a special tuner for your counter poise. Ten-Tec made a kit for one and MFJ sells one to. At home I use a shunt ground. An old piece of coax with .01 mfd caps at each end between the center conductor and the shield.  It was in a copy of 73 Magazine. 

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2015, 04:20:00 PM »
That's taking things rather extreme.  I mean a counter poise wire is to compensate for lack of ground, and now they have a tuner to compensate for the compensation?

I think investing in a better initial antenna system would be a better use of resources.

Offline Carl

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Re: Help comparing Yaesu 857d and Elecraft KX3 from a preppers point of view
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2015, 06:10:43 PM »
That's taking things rather extreme.  I mean a counter poise wire is to compensate for lack of ground, and now they have a tuner to compensate for the compensation?

I think investing in a better initial antenna system would be a better use of resources.

Then Hams would not buy half the JUNK equipment that gets sold as technology.
Kind of like throwing money at a fire to put it out..
we transmit powerful signals and the panic when something hears them.
Why just use a piece of wire when we can add knobs and buttons to Fiddle with skillfully adjust.
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 Carl

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This should float to the surface again asit answers many questions for new Ham operators.
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.