Go Back   WorldwideDX Amateur Radio Forums > Amateur Radio Related > Product Reviews


Amateur Callsign Lookup
Enter Callsign:

Yaesu FT-897D Review

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-30-2009, 11:33 PM
iTrader: (11)
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 8,181
Moleculo has disabled reputation
Default Yaesu FT-897D Review


I've had this radio for a little over a year now and have enjoyed it quite a bit. Since I haven't come across a good review meant for us "average types", I figured I would start one up. I know there are a few people on the site who also have this radio or have had it in the past, so feel free to add to it.

At the time of this writing, this radio is selling for $769. When I bought it, I paid around $850 for it. The rig is advertised as the first multimode portable/base that is capable of 100 watts on 1.8-30/50Mhz, 50 watts on 144Mhz and 20 watts on 440Mhz. I was very surprised when I got it that it was really an all mode transceiver on 2 meters and 440! The rig comes with an AF DSP adjustable bandpass filter, auto DSP notch filter, and DSP noise reduction. It also has a built-in high stability TXCO. The high stability TXCO is critical if you're planning on using SSB on VHF/UHF.

I purchased the unit with the optional power supply and later also bought the LDG AT-897D autotuner. I elected to go with the LDG tuner mainly because of the poor comments about the Yaesu tuner on several other ham sites.

Here are a few pics that show the overall dimensions of the rig:

You can see here that the rig isn't much wider than a hand. BTW, both the Yaesu and LDG tuners attach in the same spot.



Notice how small the screen is. This has pluses and minuses. We'll get into that in subsequent sections.

Here is a shot from above that shows the depth of the unit. I feel like I'm measuring a horse



Here is a shot of the optional 20 amp power supply. It really is amazing how they managed to get it into such a small package:



And here is where the power supply attaches to, inside the base of the unit. This is also where the optional battery packs attach if you want to go that route:



And finally, here is how the bottom of the rig looks when the battery pack is put in place. It adds about 3/4 of an inch to the thickness of the rig:



If you decide to purchase the batteries, you need to know that power output is limited to 20 watts on the internal batteries. You can install one or two batteries. The yaesu batteries are a little pricey, but you can get some lesser expensive ones from W4RT.COM. I decided not to get the batteries since I usually have either AC for the power supply or can run the radio off of an external battery in my RV.

As you can tell, there is a lot of stuff packed into a small package and at a very reasonable price. More details about operating the rig coming soon...


Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-31-2009, 10:31 PM
iTrader: (11)
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 8,181
Moleculo has disabled reputation
Default

Cosmetics and Aesthestics

The dsiplay on the rig is very small. I measured it at 2 inch" wide by 1 inch tall. This is very small for a rig its size. One of the reasons for the small display is the very large VFO knob. The large VFO knob is nice, but I think they could have made it a bit smaller to allow for a larger screen size. I understand why they left the VFO knob the size it is; its' basically the same sized knob as is on most radios. Still, it seems like they could have been smarter about the layout of the front buttons and knobs in an attempt to produce a larger screen. In my opinion, Icom is a good example of effective compromise between functionality and size with the way they lay out the front panel of rigs like the 706MKIIG or IC-7000. However, even with the small display, it is easy to read the frequency, meter and other text on the menu. Here is a pic that shows the simple yet clearn display. For the size it really is easy for me to read:



One interesting feature of this rig is the ability to change the LCD display color. At first this seemed like a gimmic. However, I quickly found out that certain display colors were easier for my eyes to use than others. Then when I take the rig with me and change lighting conditions, I find that certain colors work better than others. So if this is truely supposed to be a "go anywhere" rig, I now understand why this feature is important.

Following is a sample of the base colors you can choose from. In addition, you can adjust the brightness and contrast on nay of these display colors:

Magenta


Green


Orange


Yellos


Blue

Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-01-2009, 07:30 PM
iTrader: (11)
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 8,181
Moleculo has disabled reputation
Default

Time for some operating specifics.

The one thing about a base rig that is this small is that you have to accept the fact that to change a lot of the settings, you're going to have to go through a lot of menus. I've never thought that Yaesu's menu navigation systems were all that intuitive and this rig is no different. One thing I like about my Icom 746 Pro, or even the 706MKIIG is that it's pretty easy to tell what the radio is set to do by glancing at the screen. On this rig it's not that easy.

Most of the knobs have multiple functions; some are intuitive; some are not. For example, the Power button turns the rig on and off if you hold it in. However, if you just tap it, it changes the VFO dial to fast mode. Although the manual covers this, it doesn't show this anywhere on the rig. There are two VFO dials: the big obvious one and the smaller one to the right. The smaller one to the right also changes stored memories while in memory mode. If you push in the small VFO, it activates the Mhz change funtion. If you push in the Function button, the small VFO now scrolls through menu settings.

There are also Band Up/Down and Mode Left/Right buttons on the face. The Band Up/Down buttons are fairly standard on rigs, but the Mode Left/Right is pretty strange to me. I can never remember which button would be quicker to get to the mode I want anyway, so why didn't they just have one Mode button that cycles through each one? That's what usually ends up happening anyway. Take a look at this pic of the face:



If they did away with the wierd mode buttons, made the clarifier knob a little smaller, eliminated the dual VFO knobs (which is pretty pointless), they could have rearranged the buttons, moved the knobs all to the right, and made the screen a couple of inches wider. That would make this rig a lot better, IMO.

I've pointed out a few things about the controls that could be thought out better, but it's not all that bad. Once you get accustomed to how the buttons works and how to the operate the radio, it's not that difficult to remember.

Next up, basic TX & RX review for the average person as well as DSP functionality.

Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-04-2009, 06:47 AM
2CO3026's Avatar
Senior Member
iTrader: (0)
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cornpach, IL
Posts: 112
2CO3026 is on a distinguished road
Default

Thank you for taking the time to write such a good review. Also, the pictures were excellent.

Very nice job.
__________________
73, Sparky CO3026 - Canadian Outlaws DX Group 26.420 MHz USB / aka Alpha Baker 1 (SSB); Sparky (AM) - CB'er since 1967

Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-04-2009, 03:18 PM
Senior Member
iTrader: (0)
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South of Canada, North of Mexico
Posts: 295
Qwazyone is on a distinguished road
Default

Does the same scan trick work with this as the 857 to scan all memory groups at once, with the 857 you momentarily press the function button and go to function group g(display shows MFg and scan is the option for button A) if you press the A button for approx. 1 second it will scan all memory groups instead of just the currently selected one. Another trick with the 857 is being able to turn power on/off by holding down the fast button on the mic

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-05-2009, 10:00 PM
iTrader: (11)
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 8,181
Moleculo has disabled reputation
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwazyone View Post
Does the same scan trick work with this as the 857 to scan all memory groups at once, with the 857 you momentarily press the function button and go to function group g(display shows MFg and scan is the option for button A) if you press the A button for approx. 1 second it will scan all memory groups instead of just the currently selected one. Another trick with the 857 is being able to turn power on/off by holding down the fast button on the mic

Yes, the functions on the 857D and 897D are almost identical (I've had both rigs). If you're in memory mode and scan the way you described, it will scan all the memories. If you're in VFO mode, it will just do an upward scan.

The mic power button trick works on this rig also.

Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-05-2009, 10:32 PM
iTrader: (11)
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 8,181
Moleculo has disabled reputation
Default

Transmitting -

The FIRST thing you need to know about transmitting with this rig is that the mic has a switch on the back that changes the frequency response on the mic. For most Western languages, you will want to put the switch in the "2" position. The "1" position supposedly emphasises tone qualities that are common with the Japanese language.

Like most rigs, to get it to sound good with your voice, you need to play around with the mic gain and speech processor a bit. This rig also uses "carrier point" adjustments to change the voice characteristics on SSB. It has different carrier point settings for USB and LSB. This is similar in concept to the Icom 706mkIIG. Unfortunately there is no monitor capability, so it's difficult to tell how you sound as you make adjustments. You really need to have a freind help you on the air or have another nearby rig. IMO, the lack of monitor function is something that is slightly annoying for a base rig.

The DSP also comes into play on the TX side of things as you can use the it to emphasise higher or lower, or both higher and lower voice frequencies. These settings are under the DSP MIC EQ menu. For TX, the settings that I'm using righ tnow are Carrier points of +/-200 for LSB/USB respectively, speech processor at 25, mic gain between 25-40 depending on the circumstances. I also have the DSP mic eq set to emphasise "both" high and low frequencies, which results in a little more midrange response. When I first got on the air with this rig, I was told tha my audio was "communications grade", meaning that I had some work cut out to make it sound good. With the settings I'm using now, I generally get pretty good reports.

This rig features the full compliment of other standard VHF/UHF functions, and the manual is pretty clear about how to use them. Setting this rig up to TX decent is the easy part. In the meantime, here's a pic I took today of the rig in the back yard with a slightly altered Superantenna MP-1 portable antenna on 20m.



Next up RX and more DSP settings.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_4376.JPG (159.1 KB, 98 views)

Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-06-2009, 07:59 AM
190 190 is offline
Senior Member
iTrader: (5)
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: n.w. oregon
Posts: 182
190 is on a distinguished road
Default

Mole, thanks for the great reveiw of this radio. nice set up you got there. even though i dont have a yaesu radio i enjoyed the reveiw. have you done the tx expansion on the radio.?? is this mod difficult.?? i got a new 706 mk2g and the tx mod was easy. i see they sell a bigger external meter made for this radio. anyway, nice rig.

Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
yaesu, yaesu ft-897d, yaesu ft-897d review
Worldwide Radio Forum


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


LinkBacks (?)
LinkBack to this Thread: http://www.worldwidedx.com/product-reviews/33250-yaesu-ft-897d-review.html
Posted By For Type Date Hits
Freguency modification expansion for yaesu 857d This thread Refback 01-20-2010 10:40 PM 13
360 lap top - Xbox 360 Discussion This thread Pingback 09-14-2009 04:29 PM 24
Google INTERIA.PL - szukaj: FT897D This thread Refback 08-05-2009 12:51 PM 1
Yaesu FT-897D This thread Refback 06-23-2009 02:05 AM 27
Yaesu ft-897d This thread Refback 06-20-2009 03:19 PM 5
Yaesu FT-897D review This thread Refback 04-16-2009 10:04 PM 243
FT-897D review This thread Refback 04-14-2009 09:15 PM 102


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Worldwide Radio Forum