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Posted: 7/25/2013 7:34:23 PM EDT
OK...  I've seen similar threads before, but I wanted to ask for myself.   I've had my ham license (Tech and then General) for about 2 years.  I'll probably go ahead and get my extra eventually...as soon as I disturb some long sleeping neurons from my engineering degree many years ago.   I was on the GOTA station on the field day last year, and this year I camped out with the crew and made a few dozen contacts for the local club on 10 and 80 meters.  I think I'm ready to take the plunge.   I know how to turn a dial and call CQ.

I'm tired of the local 2 meter scene, so it's time to step up to an HF radio.  Here are my parameters:

We have a cabin in the mountains about 3 hours away, and I need a transportable rig that I can carry back and forth between there and home.  I'll operate at home, and at the cabin.  However, I probably won't operate from the car.   Think portable, not mobile.  (My XYL rolls her eyes if I even mention ham radio in the car.)    My Elmer suggested a unit like the Yaesu FT-897D.   He also suggested starting with a wire antenna in the trees at home and at the cabin (probably a GPRV), as well as a power supply at each location so I don't have to lug that back and forth.   I'll also need an antenna tuner.  

I want a basic radio with a simple learning curve because I don't have time to mess with it.  Instead of learning to use the radio, I want to spend my time writing a Python program on my Raspberry Pi to help me learn code.  (I've been reading up on Farnsworth, etc. and I just finished a Coursera class on Python.  It shouldn't be too difficult.)

Finally, I'm leaning toward a new radio that won't be obsolete soon, but I want to keep costs to a minimum.  

Any thoughts?  Anything else I should consider?    
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 8:07:31 PM EDT
Hard to go wrong with an FT857/897.

If you don't plan on being "battery portable" the FT857 would be my choice. (The 897 has provisions for very expensive internal batteries)

FC-40 remote tuner and you're on the air.
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 8:08:33 PM EDT
Quoted:
OK...  I've seen similar threads before, but I wanted to ask for myself.   I've had my ham license (Tech and then General) for about 2 years.  I'll probably go ahead and get my extra eventually...as soon as I disturb some long sleeping neurons from my engineering degree many years ago.   I was on the GOTA station on the field day last year, and this year I camped out with the crew and made a few dozen contacts for the local club on 10 and 80 meters.  I think I'm ready to take the plunge.   I know how to turn a dial and call CQ.

I'm tired of the local 2 meter scene, so it's time to step up to an HF radio.  Here are my parameters:

We have a cabin in the mountains about 3 hours away, and I need a transportable rig that I can carry back and forth between there and home.  I'll operate at home, and at the cabin.  However, I probably won't operate from the car.   Think portable, not mobile.  (My XYL rolls her eyes if I even mention ham radio in the car.)    My Elmer suggested a unit like the Yaesu FT-897D.   He also suggested starting with a wire antenna in the trees at home and at the cabin (probably a GPRV), as well as a power supply at each location so I don't have to lug that back and forth.   I'll also need an antenna tuner.  

I want a basic radio with a simple learning curve because I don't have time to mess with it.  Instead of learning to use the radio, I want to spend my time writing a Python program on my Raspberry Pi to help me learn code.  (I've been reading up on Farnsworth, etc. and I just finished a Coursera class on Python.  It shouldn't be too difficult.)

Finally, I'm leaning toward a new radio that won't be obsolete soon, but I want to keep costs to a minimum.  

Any thoughts?  Anything else I should consider?    
View Quote


What's your budget like?
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 8:15:09 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Hard to go wrong with an FT857/897.

If you don't plan on being "battery portable" the FT857 would be my choice. (The 897 has provisions for very expensive internal batteries)

FC-40 remote tuner and you're on the air.
View Quote


The FT-897D (D denotes it is newer, has the 60 m freq programmed in), when operated via the internal batteries will limit to 20 watts maximum due to the small AH capacity of those batteries.

If you want to operate at full 100 w SSB you must use external batteries.

I'm not excited about the 857 and 897.  There are easier radios to operate that sound just  as good on the air.
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 8:20:55 PM EDT
I'm a Yaesu fan but the Icom 718 is hard to beat for a first HF radio.  
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 8:25:36 PM EDT
I made a similar decision recently. I went with the iCom 7200 and the LDG IT-100 tuner to go with. It will be here tomorrow. For PS; I have an Astron linear PS already. I may buy a more portable and efficient switcher to run remote with on alternative power.
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 4:08:57 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I'm a Yaesu Kenwood fan but the Icom 718 is hard to beat for a first HF radio.  
View Quote

Link Posted: 7/26/2013 4:22:40 AM EDT
I just got my General a few months ago and did a lot of research about this and ended up with a FT-897D. Rugged? check! Portable? check! It's made to do exactly what you describe. People say it's "hard to use" but I haven't found that to be the case actually just the opposite. I picked up the AT-897plus tuner but haven't permanently attached it yet. I also got the built in power supply for a true grab and go radio.

I've really enjoyed the radio and now understand why it's been around so long and why so many clubs use at least one for field day. For a portable, on-the-go radio, it's top notch.

Link Posted: 7/26/2013 5:06:08 AM EDT
You make no mention of budget other than costs to a mimimum, and all is relative.

I have been down this road before and I ended up selling off all my gear to buy what I should have for vehicle portable operation as you are desiring to.  The ICOM 7000 or the ICOM 7100 would both be excellent choices.  If I had to do it all over again I would have bought my antenna analyzer first and build 1/4 wave vertical antennas with PVC out of wire for whatever I need.  You can set these up anywhere in about 20 minutes and cost me less than $50 in parts from home depot.  Only downside is you must adjust the elevated radials as you change bands, but performance is hard to argue with.

My suggestion, save your money.  Buy once, cry once.
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 7:36:57 AM EDT
FWIW I hated my 857D, traded it on a kenwood that is less menu driven,has a better display, better audio, and an internal tuner... Ive had around 10 HF rigs in the last couple years and the 857D was by far my least favorite...  I would recommend checking into some kenwoods and icoms, the TS-50 would be a good choice for what you want
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 7:48:07 AM EDT
Kenwood TS-590s is a great rig also. Used they can be had for under a kilo buck.
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 8:58:46 AM EDT
Having just gone to an IC 7200, it isn't much different than an IC 718.

With a power supply at either end and a tuner you should be GTG and as you grow there's room to grow.

Looking back on things this is probably what I should have bought in the first place.
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 12:10:55 PM EDT

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


I'm a Yaesu fan but the Icom 718 is hard to beat for a first HF radio.  

View Quote




 
This.
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 12:32:31 PM EDT
I started out with the Elecraft K3.

Modern and updatable (firmware).........Yep
Portable.................................................Yep.  Many, if not most, major  DXpeditions use them.  Only weighs 8 lbs.
Reasonable budget................................Nope.  Kind of expensive.  


Two out of three ain't bad.
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 3:25:13 PM EDT
Yaesu 897D with internal power supply and the matching (attaches to radio body) LDG antenna tuner would be an option to consider. With the internal PS you could operate anywhere with power, not just two locations with power supplies. The LDG tuner gets good reviews, too.

They pop up regularly on QRZ/eham/etc.

http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?399637-Yaesu-FT-897-AT-897-Tuner-FP-30-Internal-Power-Supply
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 4:02:20 PM EDT
The 897D is a mobile radio that is priced just over $900. The 718 is a true base radio priced just under $700. I've got a fair amount of time in front of my little brother's IC718. It's a great little radio. Simple... But it gets the job done. If you want a little bit more advanced rig for a nominal increase in funds (just under $1000), check out the IC7200. The DSP technology is more recent and it has a few nicer features than the 718. Both are great radios. And they are true base station rigs.
Just my 2ยข.

Good luck. -bru
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