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Posted: 7/17/2008 9:20:32 AM EST
Alright guys I got a question. Would the Yaesu FT-817ND be a good first radio. I do alot of 4x4ing and camping. I also want to get involved with EMCOMM. I will also be buying a HT but i want something else that i can use back and forth between home and in the field. my other option is to buy 2 cheaper radios (VHF/UHF and HF) and build a comm box. I dont know what to do. HELP!!!
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 9:38:15 AM EST
I don't think an 817 would be a good choice for a 1st radio. I use a Yaesu VX-6R for my HT and I use a Yaesu 7800 for mobile operations. It's not dual receive like the 8800 but the buttons on the face are backlit unlike the 8800.

What class license do you have? I'm guessing General at least since you are thinking of an 817? Let us know.
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 10:24:19 AM EST
Well this is an opinion question so every answer will be different, but from your description something like an icom 706 or 7000 or yaesu 857D or 897 seems to fit your needs; of course kenwood had an equivalent too 480 i think?
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 10:25:27 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/17/2008 10:29:01 AM EST by Stubs]
I have a tech class right now, but studying for the general. I figure if i get anything its going to have HF capability that way when i pass general i wont need to buy another radio. At least keep the wife a little happier with my hobbies. lol.

Id also like to keep the price of the radio around $600.00.
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 11:09:36 AM EST
around 600 will be tough, Probably looking at a used IC-718 for about 450 and a FT-2800 new for about 120, only leaves about 30 bucks for wire and coax and pl-259's ect.

An auto tuner would be nice to add like an LDG z-100 for 150 but not essential.
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 12:08:09 PM EST

Originally Posted By Stubs:
I have a tech class right now, but studying for the general. I figure if i get anything its going to have HF capability that way when i pass general i wont need to buy another radio. At least keep the wife a little happier with my hobbies. lol.

Id also like to keep the price of the radio around $600.00.


When I started I was thinking along the same lines as you.

the 817ND is a better QRP rig then general use rig. I would go with the 857D, or something along those lines. the 817 is a 5 watt low power rig.
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 12:22:22 PM EST
I have a second vote for the 857D. I had the 817 and found it to be a good rig, but 5watts is tough especially under emergency conditions.

Don't forget for the comms box to research power solutions and antenna tuners. Great gear to look at is LDG Z100, Power Poles, and PWRGate.

Other opinions may vary, but I've found building solutions with good gear to be significantly cheaper and easier to use in the long run. Other rigs to research would be the Icom 706MKIIG, Icom IC-7000, and the Yaesu FT-897. All are very good rigs and very durable.

I've also found in the field HF to be significantly more useful than uhf/vhf. Again others may have different opinions, but I like the feeling of knowing I can reach out cross country on my own and not be dependent on repeater systems.

Good luck and let us know what you buy...
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 1:28:05 PM EST
Well, FWIW my first ham radio was an Icom 718. My license is tech (still) so I can't really use it to talk to anyone -and I don't/won't until I make General - but I wanted to really enjoy the listening aspect of the radio and get used to the differences between the bands. I really like the 718 but don't have enough variable experience to compare it to other brands. Nevertheless, I think it's a great first radio.

I just recently bought my second radio, an FT-8800R. I can talk on that with Tech privileges and it's great. Very shortly I'll pass my General and I'll have a good setup that I can live with for a long time.

Good luck!
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 1:33:36 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/17/2008 1:34:41 PM EST by Bill_in_VA]

Originally Posted By 1982fxr:
Well, FWIW my first ham radio was an Icom 718. My license is tech (still) so I can't really use it to talk to anyone -and I don't/won't until I make General - but I wanted to really enjoy the listening aspect of the radio and get used to the differences between the bands. I really like the 718 but don't have enough variable experience to compare it to other brands. Nevertheless, I think it's a great first radio.

I just recently bought my second radio, an FT-8800R. I can talk on that with Tech privileges and it's great. Very shortly I'll pass my General and I'll have a good setup that I can live with for a long time.

Good luck!


You have privileges on 10m (28.300 to 28.500 SSB). Which has been really active this sporadic-e season. I heard Alaska while mobile-ing on my way home within the last week.
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 4:01:13 PM EST
Stubs;
You might want to look around for a used HF radio. www.qrz.com, www.eham.net, www.arrl.org all have sections for used equipment. I have bought a couple of radios off the arrl classifieds and the radios were almost like brand new for a good price.
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 5:50:51 PM EST

Originally Posted By 1982fxr:
Well, FWIW my first ham radio was an Icom 718.


a guy in my club has an Icom 718.
i used it while part of a table rotation on field day.

the 718 is everything you read about it. it is easy to operate, the receiver is quite good, and the whole package is quite compelling.

there is a reason this radio gets rave reviews -- at the price point Icom sells it at, it really is the HF radio deal of the century.

www.eham.net/reviews/detail/947

ar-jedi
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 11:06:01 AM EST
So why wouldnt you guys recommend the FT817ND. I have an HT on order now the
FT-60R. But its more for in my truck and around town. I do alot of back packing and alot of scouting trips. Whats wrong with this radio other than not having alot of power?
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 11:32:28 AM EST

Originally Posted By Stubs:
So why wouldnt you guys recommend the FT817ND. I have an HT on order now the
FT-60R. But its more for in my truck and around town. I do alot of back packing and alot of scouting trips. Whats wrong with this radio other than not having alot of power?


The 817 will be ok IF you're the patient type. QRP radios are really for the recreational user -- a good "second" rig. However in the spirit of this preparedness forum, you really want a 100 watt rig for when the chips are down.

The GOOD news is that the FT-857 is only a little bigger and can do all the things the 817 can plus full power, better display, built-in DSP among other things.

I have backpacked with my 857 and I tote it routinely when we travel to visit family. LilHitMan has done the same thing. I strap it with a piece of webbing to my LDG Z-11 pro and it makes a nice package. The only real downside with portable operating the 857 is power supply -- you have to provide your own battery. However whatever you provide will no doubt outperform the integrated battery that comes with the 817.

I've wanted an 817 before too. Had my finger on the trigger to buy it more than once. But my 857 is just too close to it to justify the additional purchase.

If you get the 817, you'll probably want to pick up a true base rig for the house (in which the IC-718 will do nicely as others noted).

I simply don't want my only HF capability to be limited to 5 watts. It's nice having 100 watts to be able to reach the other East Coast Arfcommers every night.

Oh and if you do go 817, by all means learn Morse and pick up a tiny key for your bag. I have the Whiterook MK-11 Spy Key. Morse is an ESSENTIAL skill for the QRP'er, regardless whether it's hobby or Emcomm use.
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 6:32:22 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/22/2008 9:22:11 AM EST by LilHitMan2986]
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 9:20:04 AM EST
height=8
Originally Posted By GlockTiger:
I have backpacked with my 857 and I tote it routinely when we travel to visit family. LilHitMan has done the same thing. I strap it with a piece of webbing to my LDG Z-11 pro and it makes a nice package. The only real downside with portable operating the 857 is power supply -- you have to provide your own battery. However whatever you provide will no doubt outperform the integrated battery that comes with the 817.



+1 to that.

I went to the ham store to get a ft-817 I came home with the ft-857d for 50 bucks more!!! And I have no buyer’s remorse. If you do get an 817 you will want more power from time to time. If you get the 857 you can turn down the power. I almost always keep my power down to 10 watts or lower. And I will tell you first hand with a tuned dipole and 5 watts a lot of times I find myself spiting into the wind. (Sometimes I don’t) however, for emcomm I am happy that I got the 857.

The battery in the 817 is good for an hour or two. But if you’re going backpacking to play radio your going to need to bring more battery anyway. So if your going backpacking to play radio the 857 is only 3 lbs heavier plus when you get home you can reliably make contacts with the same radio. Just my thought.

I really enjoy backpacking with the 857 and like I said if you’re bringing HF your probably not going to be hiking the AT from Georgia to Maine. When I go on a longer hike then a day or two I bring my ht with a roll up J-Pole.Look hereEveryone should have one.

Also you can get a cheap cb amp from ebay and use it for the 817 this will give you more output and you still get to use the 817. BUT!!! You have to build or buy a FILTER for it. If you don’t it will be transmitting 2nd harmonics and splattering all over the band that’s not good. Filters are not cheap. But they are easy to build.

All in all I would go with the ft 857 for a first hf rig

Link Posted: 7/22/2008 3:13:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/22/2008 4:13:59 PM EST by ar-jedi]

Originally Posted By LilHitMan2986:
If you get the 857 you can turn down the power. I almost always keep my power down to 10 watts or lower. ...

But if you’re going backpacking to play radio your going to need to bring more battery anyway. So if your going backpacking to play radio the 857 is only 3 lbs heavier


the primary difference between turning a QRO rig down to 10W and a true QRP rig is that the receive current is incredibly different. a true QRP radio, like the FT817 and Icom 703+, has by design extremely low receive current.

from Yaesu's numbers, the FT857D draws 1A on receive, and the FT817 draws 250mA on receive. so, what's a measly 750mA?

let's start with a 9lb 12AH battery and assume a 80% RX/20% TX duty cycle... we'll assume that the FT857 draws 2A on 5W transmit (i can't find any data on the web for this power level), and the FT817 draws 2A as well (from FT817 brochure).

FT857D:
1A on RX, 2A on TX:
0.8 x 1A = 0.8A
0.2 x 2A = 0.4A
summed, 1.2A per operating hour.
12AH/1.2A = 10 hours operating time.

FT817:
0.25A on RX, 2A on TX:
0.8 x 0.25A = 0.2A
0.2 x 2A = 0.4A
summed, 0.6A per operating hour.
12AH/0.4A = 20 hours operating time.

again, the purpose of a true QRP is to maximize the amount of operating time on a given battery, and by design one way to get there is to minimize the receive current.

moreover, an FT857 can not take anywhere near full advantage of a 12V battery -- it will cease to operate at a terminal voltage below about 11.8Vdc. i saw this firsthand at a recent camping trip. an FT817 will operate down to 8V, and a 703+ down to 9V. significant battery capacity is available below 11.8V, in fact the standard capacity calculation for SLA/AGM batteries ends at 10.5Vdc.

example datasheet, a 9 LB 12V 12AH AGM battery, e.g.,
www.bb-battery.com/productpages/BP/BP12-12.pdf

has the following capacities:
20 hour rate F.V.(1.75V/cell) (600mA to 10.50volts)  12.0 A.H.
10 hour rate F.V.(1.75V/cell) (1140mA to 10.50volts) 11.4 A.H.
5 hour rate F.V.(1.75V/cell) (2040mA to 10.50volts) 10.2 A.H.
1 hour rate F.V.(1.55V/cell) (7200mA to 9.30volts) 7.2 A.H.


in summary, on a given battery an FT817 can operate *at least* twice as long as the FT857D. and because of the aforementioned battery voltage issue, it is more likely that the FT817 will operate about four times longer.

btw, there are more specific, purpose built QRP rigs that have astonishingly low receive currents. google "elecraft".

ar-jedi

Link Posted: 7/22/2008 5:29:12 PM EST
With my 857 in normal op mode it draws 750 ma. with the brown wire grounded (battery mode) It draws 490 ma.

The test were done using head phones at a normal sound level, backlight off, and battery power level of 12.2 v

Its not much unless your using battery power then Thats a big savings in its self.
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 7:58:16 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/22/2008 8:03:26 PM EST by pcsutton]

Originally Posted By ar-jedi:

Originally Posted By 1982fxr:
Well, FWIW my first ham radio was an Icom 718.


a guy in my club has an Icom 718.
i used it while part of a table rotation on field day.

the 718 is everything you read about it. it is easy to operate, the receiver is quite good, and the whole package is quite compelling.

there is a reason this radio gets rave reviews -- at the price point Icom sells it at, it really is the HF radio deal of the century.

www.eham.net/reviews/detail/947

ar-jedi


+1000 for the IC-718. You can't beat it for the price. I've see them used on ebay for a song. There are two on ebay right now and neither are over $250.00

Some of the old TS-830s Kenwoods can be had for +/-$350. It's a boat anchor, (hybrid solid state tube type cross), but they are great rigs. It uses 110v so it doesn't even need a power supply. The tubes are cheap and available should you ever need a replacement.

Getting started in HF mobile is pretty pricey if you want to have any kind of a signal. I'd get a base station on the air and save up my duckets for the mobile/portable HF setup. YMMV.
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