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Old 02-24-2011, 02:30 PM
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Moccasin Moccasin is offline
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Default Yaesu FT-857d



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So. I'm considering this. All the reviews I've read say it is one of the best HAM radios available for the money, a HF/VHF/UHF transceiver that can be used for both mobile and base. Said reviews are pretty much glowing, the only downsides noted being a weak internal speaker, some minor and fixable soft- and hard-ware lacks, and a menu driven system that packs ten pounds of mud in a five pound bucket through concentration and complexity but once you get used to it is extremely usable. And that it's a Swiss Army knife of a radio: Very good at lots of things, but not outstanding in any one thing.

So what's the real poop? Anyone have one of these and swear by it or swear at it? Any quirks or hitches I should be aware of? Would buying it be a mistake or a good move?

Thanks for any input.
Old 02-25-2011, 06:25 AM
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I have one that I used as a fixed station at first, now it is mounted in my truck, I am quite happy with mine, it is a rock solid radio. You are right about the speaker, as a fixed station it is "ok" as a mobile it is terrible, I have installed a extension speaker in the truck for this issue. Aside from that it is a great radio, the only reason I moved it to the truck was because I purchase an FT-950 for my fixed station. The menus take a bit of getting used to, but really its not that big of a deal. Keep in mind though, any radio regardless of how good the radio is will only be as good as the antenna and the antenna installation will allow.
For my fixed station (I also used this with the FT-897d when it was fixed) I have a G5RV installed in the trees out back, 32ft high at the apex and 24ft high at the legs, it works great for me.
For the mobile, I have an ATAS-120 which functions with the onboard 857d tuning, while very handy it is not a very good performing antenna....I will be selling it soon and replacing it with a mini-tarheel. For VHF in the mobile I have a Comet SBB-25 which works fairly well and does fold down for putting the truck in the garage. The big key to mobile installations is "bonding" which is making sure everything is heavily grounded...body to frame, exhaust to frame, bed to frame, engine to frame, hood and trunk lid to body and battery to frame...very very important to run ground straps at all of these points.

Same thing with your fixed station, make sure you have rock solid grounding to the radio and the coax shield.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:44 AM
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Yup, that covered it well. The 857 is as good as it gets for all purpose radios
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:16 PM
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I have an 857D and I am not experienced enuff to have any complaints...LOL... meaning I can talk long distances with reasonable clarity... I'm sure some experts wll have some bad points, but to me, it's just fine...fullofit said it all... match it with a properly mounted and matched antenna and I see no down side... esp for a "first" radio... the menus are no big deal, unless you are trying to drive while fiddling with it... I use mine as a portable backpack base
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:25 PM
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While I don't have this particular radio, I will say that Yaesu's are awesome all the way around. I have a Yaesu dual band HT as one of my Ham radios, and I have had and currently have and use several portable and mobile radios made by Yaesu's Public Safety arm Vertex. Currently I am saving my pennys for a Yaesu mobile dual band 2m/70cm to put in my truck.

You are right about the menu set ups. Every person I know that has a Yaesu Ham radio has one of those little cards with the menu cheats on them including me. But as far as workmanship, value, and usability I personally think that Yaesu is at the top. The other impressive thing that I have found in reading specs on them is on the multiband Ham Radios they have very good performance considering they are stuffing so many bands into a little box which usually ends up being a problem.
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:46 PM
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I've got one great radio no problems yet got it in 2006 I think speaker sounds pretty good to be so small. Run alot of psk on it got my icom 718 hooked up now BUT 857 runs rings around it on digi modes.Get it an dont look back
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:01 PM
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You can find a lot of useful info here:

http://www.eham.net/reviews/

I wonder how it compares to an icom 7000 on digi modes?
I'd be interested to hear if anybody has done that comparison....
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:50 AM
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I finally got mine as well. I was tempted to get the 897 or 817. But the fact that it's so compact and yet 100 watt, made me go for the 857. When you get used to the menu driven features, it's nice and easy to use. Now i am looking for a solid bag that i can put it in. Something solid in olive green
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic View Post
I finally got mine as well. I was tempted to get the 897 or 817. But the fact that it's so compact and yet 100 watt, made me go for the 857. When you get used to the menu driven features, it's nice and easy to use. Now i am looking for a solid bag that i can put it in. Something solid in olive green
If your running it at home, download Ham Radio Deluxe and it "exposes" tons of the deep menu functions rigth on the screen where you can change them by moving sliders. Makes running and changing menus settings a breeze.

What antenna are you running?
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullofit View Post
I have one that I used as a fixed station at first, now it is mounted in my truck, I am quite happy with mine, it is a rock solid radio. You are right about the speaker, as a fixed station it is "ok" as a mobile it is terrible, I have installed a extension speaker in the truck for this issue. Aside from that it is a great radio, the only reason I moved it to the truck was because I purchase an FT-950 for my fixed station. The menus take a bit of getting used to, but really its not that big of a deal. Keep in mind though, any radio regardless of how good the radio is will only be as good as the antenna and the antenna installation will allow.
For my fixed station (I also used this with the FT-897d when it was fixed) I have a G5RV installed in the trees out back, 32ft high at the apex and 24ft high at the legs, it works great for me.
For the mobile, I have an ATAS-120 which functions with the onboard 857d tuning, while very handy it is not a very good performing antenna....I will be selling it soon and replacing it with a mini-tarheel. For VHF in the mobile I have a Comet SBB-25 which works fairly well and does fold down for putting the truck in the garage. The big key to mobile installations is "bonding" which is making sure everything is heavily grounded...body to frame, exhaust to frame, bed to frame, engine to frame, hood and trunk lid to body and battery to frame...very very important to run ground straps at all of these points.

Same thing with your fixed station, make sure you have rock solid grounding to the radio and the coax shield.
can a mini tarheel be set up horizontally or nearly so (NVIS)?
Would a regular tarheel work better with this radio in your opinion? I have an 09 JK Wrangler with large steel bumpers and I am trying to figure out the best antenna set-up.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:05 AM
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The best mobile setup for NVIS i have heard of is what the commo guys in the army did and that was a spring base 16' vertical on the rear bumper tied down horizontally in the opposite direction from the jeep body (trailing the vehicle). I have no direct experience with this, but it is the only thing I have been able to find out about mobile NVIS except that roof mounted loop that costs an arm and a leg. I'm interested in the responses on this.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:25 AM
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I've had mine for over a year. Very compact, powerful and capable. The only things to watch out for is the heat being generated into such a small case. It could fry the finals really fast. Also the menu system can be confusing at first but will get easier to use in time.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getn_reddy View Post
I've had mine for over a year. Very compact, powerful and capable. The only things to watch out for is the heat being generated into such a small case. It could fry the finals really fast. Also the menu system can be confusing at first but will get easier to use in time.
If your running it "in the shack" use Ham Radio Deluxe and most all of the burried menus are on your computer screen. http://www.preparedham.com/forums/index.php?topic=387.0
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:32 AM
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Honestly I have never tried to perform NVIS transmissions from my vehicle, while I think it would be possible, the issue would be more about getting the ground plane distance right to optimize the radiation. My old home setup (now G5RV is mounted at 60ft and much flatter) with my G5RV was operating NVIS on 80m because the antenna was low enough, but 20m on a truck mounted horizontal attitude tarheel I think would not radiate very well, I would think it would need to be up at least 20ft before it would radiate without huge losses...I am certainly no expert though, and have never tried it because my HF mount on my truck is fixed.

I would like to see some responses on this from some of the Elmers here....
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic View Post
I finally got mine as well. I was tempted to get the 897 or 817. But the fact that it's so compact and yet 100 watt, made me go for the 857. When you get used to the menu driven features, it's nice and easy to use. Now i am looking for a solid bag that i can put it in. Something solid in olive green
Maxpedition
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:40 PM
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I just bought the yaesu 857.... Does anyone know about mods for this unit? What is the difference in the 857 and 857d? The mods I've seen look straight forward, yet when I opened the radio, the posts 002 and 001 have jumpers the rest are empty... There is to be a jumper already at 006 and its blank, any body know what's going on? I'm Leary in moding this unit if the mod is wrong and messes up a $800 radio.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic View Post
I finally got mine as well. I was tempted to get the 897 or 817. But the fact that it's so compact and yet 100 watt, made me go for the 857. When you get used to the menu driven features, it's nice and easy to use. Now i am looking for a solid bag that i can put it in. Something solid in olive green
I'd be really curious as to some portable set-ups people might have set up with this radio. Has anyone here put together a radio, battery and accessories that could easily be carried into the field and deployed from there? While the 817D might be portable enough to do that with the built in battery, rubber duckie for the higher frequency bands and simple dipoles for HF, running HF with 5 Watts for QRP just doesn't sound right to me for circumstances where reliability means more than the ability to exercise such skills.

There's a small but real chance that I might be in a very distant country in a couple of months where I'd want a reliable radio that's easy enough for me to pack and bring with me. If anyone knows a good setup for that, I'd greatly appreciate it.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:29 PM
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The FT-857 was the first iteration of this model. It lacked the built in DSP and did not support the 60m band. The DSP board was available as an add-on.

The FT-857D replaced the FT-857 and included the DSP option from the factory. It also supported the 60m band.

Now for mods...
  • There are mods to increase the power above 100W. This is inadvisable.
  • There are mods to allow transmission on the MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System). This is unnecessary unless you need to transmit there. You can receive there without having to mod the radio.
  • There are mods to allow transmission on FRS or other bands. The mod itself is not illegal, but to transmit on those frequencies using a device that is not certified for those bands is illegal.

The inability of my radios to work out of band kept me out of trouble when I was first starting this hobby. It is my opinion that there are plenty of frequencies in the ham bands that I have no need to go out, even in "emergencies". Who would I talk to "out of band" anyway?

If your radio does not do what you desire it to do, I would recommend (personal opinion here) that you look into getting a device designed for that additional purpose.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poorboy1 View Post
I just bought the yaesu 857.... Does anyone know about mods for this unit? What is the difference in the 857 and 857d? The mods I've seen look straight forward, yet when I opened the radio, the posts 002 and 001 have jumpers the rest are empty... There is to be a jumper already at 006 and its blank, any body know what's going on? I'm Leary in moding this unit if the mod is wrong and messes up a $800 radio.
Mods to serve what purpose? The jumpers are set based on the region the to which radio was sent to comply with the specific frequency allocations for that country/region.


I have one that is now in its fourth truck, which puts it at about 10 years old. It is now mated to a Yaesu FC-40 tuner and 8 foot whip. No problems going as low as 40 meters. I have a 50 foot coil of wire with a 38-24 fitting for use on stops that will let me get on 160 with no problems.

The D added DSP and 60 meters.

No, it is not an FT9000, TS990, or IC7800, you don't have to fork over a years pay for one either.
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:12 PM
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Default Yaesu 857

I'm using my radios for many purposes, one is work, with mod I can talk on our business band radio freq. thus saving me money in the ability to multitask radios. I've got a VX-8DR with mod.... Great little radio, I've got a FTM-10R with mod.. Great to be mounted on motorcycle/atv ect. The biggest and best FT-857D yet to be mod. Will be my base/ emergence radio, the more options and the more communication one has the better one is.... With the combination of the 3 radios I feel and function pretty well.... I'm guessn that if you have a corvette that was running on 6 cyl. And you knew it could run 8 cyl, would you would let it open, doesn't mean you half to use it, but, you can or could if needed.
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