Author Topic: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D  (Read 5110 times)

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Quiet1

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mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« on: December 08, 2015, 06:54:50 PM »
All, I'm thinking about picking up a second HF rig because... well, I don't have to explain to this bunch why having a backup is a good idea.  There's a hamfest nearby this weekend, maybe I'll find something used that I like that suits my wallet.  But really I'm thinking about an FT-857D, even if that means eventually buying new, for all of its shack-in-a-box abilities.

Here are my questions: I keep seeing stuff about add-on filters and TXCOs.  How necessary are these?  I'd be using it mostly for SSB with some hold-the-microphone-to-the-smartphone PSK31 (which works surprisingly well, BTW).  And of course VHF, but that's beside the point for these add-ons.  Would I need the aftermarket TXCO to hold the frequency stable enough for PSK31?  Is an SSB filter really needed, or does the built-in DSP do a good enough job?

Mostly I'd be using this rig as a back-up unit, and while camping, or equivalently, bugging out from a hurricane.  Won't be installing it in a vehicle, but using it with various wire antennas at the camp site.  Not in a big hurry, I definitely have time to wait until the right deal comes along.  Thanks for any input, especially about the add-on filters and TXCO.
North of the salt, south of I-10.

AD

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2015, 07:52:28 PM »
Great radio. It is my HF rig. 

I have no filters installed

The DSP is OK/GOOD but not great. That said its a great radio.

I use tue Signalikn USB and the West Mountain Radio CAT cable, running Ham Radio Deluxe(the free version) and have no priblem running PKS31.

If you are not going to put it in a vehicle, check out the 450 which was coming in at about $100 less
$649 on gigaparts with $100 mfg rebate and has the filters and tunner.

http://www.gigaparts.com/Product-Lines/HF-6M-Radios/Yaesu-FT-450D.html?gclid=Cj0KEQiAnJqzBRCW0rGWnKnckOIBEiQA6qDBam5Z-l85pPsjo8xkJp2RAgzP-Fvxd1BPtwgQKeLDem0aAsYa8P8HAQ

857D $769
http://www.gigaparts.com/Product-Lines/HF-6M-VHF-UHF/Yaesu-FT-857D.html

100 more at Maine Trading Co. But it does not show the rebate.  If it snows 1 inch or more on christmas or new years(cant remember) your purchase is free. 
http://www.mtcradio.com/snow
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 08:06:23 PM by AD »
The only dumb question is the one that did not get asked!!

Quiet1

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2015, 08:57:51 PM »
Thanks AD, good to get the word from the real world.

I love my 450D, it's my main shack radio, and at $650 it is a smokin' bargain.  Comes with a pretty fair tuner, TXCO, etc., it is hard to beat.  Main Trading Co. had them down at $640 for a few days, but now they're back up to $650 again.  I tend to throw them my business, since they're a sponsor of the Fo Time podcast and all that.  Plus, when there was a snafu with an order last spring they called and sorted it all out before I even realized there was a problem.  Anyway, I'm in the mood to try another radio, but at that price it has me interested in a 2nd one for a backup.  At least, it is in the running.  I know that it works, and know how to work it, but... variety.

MTC's also got Alnico SR8T's for $490, and that's under consideration too.  But I'm going to see what I can find used at the hamfest.  Like I said, no hurry.  It is good to hear that the TXCO and SSB filter aren't really needed on the 857D; thanks for the word.  That helps the budget a bit.
North of the salt, south of I-10.

Tevin

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2015, 09:38:52 PM »
For most modern radios, the extra filters and such are not needed unless A) you are really, really into CW or SSB or whatever mode the filter is for; or B) you need a filter to solve a known problem, such as local interference or to gain an edge for contesting.

Filters were popular back in the day when radios still had tubes and were not as stable and controlled. Today, the only analog parts in a radio are  the microphone and the finals. Everything in between is digital and has been refined to the point that filters usually have no real purpose.

These filters can add a lot to the cost of the radio. I suggest you run the radio stock for a while and see how it goes. If after a few months you're not getting what you want out of it, then go filter shopping.

Don't buy a big-buck filter to solve a problem you may not even have, or worse, invent problems to justify the cost of a filter.

Quiet1

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2015, 10:01:57 PM »
Don't buy a big-buck filter to solve a problem you may not even have, or worse, invent problems to justify the cost of a filter.
Yeah, that's the word I'm hearing.  Especially on the back-up radio, no need to go burning $$$ when it's better spent on a good tuner, or just left stashed under the mattress.  Thanks Tevin.

Another thought: Pick up a decent used higher-end rig for the same money and relegate the 450D to backup status.  We'll see what the hamfest brings.  Or maybe even see what Santa or the new year brings.
North of the salt, south of I-10.

spacecase0

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2015, 12:46:19 PM »
with some hold-the-microphone-to-the-smartphone PSK31 (which works surprisingly well, BTW). 
so that is why I here bits of USB audio showing up on the data section of 40M...

you will need no filters for the PSK31 to work well, and I think when put it in digital mode it should drop the audio filters it does have and turn off the DSP, but I know it does not turn off the DSP...
you would be better off to go through the factory service alignment with it than get the filters (specifically the idle current on the RF stages).

it is a great radio with pretty good filters, the receive current is not high enough to make it a huge problem to power up off grid.
I bet you will be happy with it,
and if you are tempted by the ft991, just look at the over 2A receive current

Flight-ER-Doc

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2015, 09:12:33 AM »
I'd suggest getting the radio, and seeing if it performs well enough without the filters and TCXO.

Personally, I have the W4RT dual filters on a board in my FT857 and don't notice much difference with it in or out.... Don't have them in my -817

There is an analysis floating around the net that explains that most modern rigs are sufficiently stable without a TCXO, and the TCXO at the very least increases the noise floor of the receiver...which is a bad thing.  It's easy to test:  with a cold radio tuned to a stable source (WWV works) turn it on and see if the frequency drifts over the next hour or so as it gets warm.  If it doesn't you really don't get any benefit from one.


unseenone

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2015, 10:04:04 AM »
I haven't noticed much of a distinction using the filters either. The radios are great though. I think the best DX distance for me has been a little over 8000 miles.

spacecase0

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2015, 10:38:33 AM »
the one place where the radios with great filters show themselves is when you go to a high density apartment complex with lots of radio interference form CFL lights, plasma TVs, light dimmers, and who knows what else.
but if you are in a regular tract home, or far form everyone, mobile, or portable out camping, you are likely not going to see any difference.


by the way, I have 3 HF radios,
you should really have at least 2, even if one of them is less than ideal.
when even the local power fails, your filters will not matter much at all as most all the radio noise vanishes.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 10:45:07 AM by spacecase0 »

Lamewolf

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2015, 10:11:03 AM »
If you are into CW, then I would highly recommend a good CW filter !

BTPost

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2015, 01:44:14 PM »
I have TCXOs in ALL my HF Radios.... and there is only ONE Reason, that I demand that Frequency Stability.....  All my Radios are Opened UP with MARS/CAP Mods, and they backup my MF/HF Commercial Marine/Aircraft Transceiver.... In order to do that I need the TCXO Stability, and am willing to spend the extra FRNs to be sure of MY Frequency. filters are a nice extra, if you can afford them, but for just General Use, not Required.... The Kenwood TS-590 does NOT have any extra Filter Options, as it is an IF DSP Receiver, and it is ALL done in Firmware....
Bruce in alaska AL7AQ

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Quiet1

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Re: mulling over a 2nd rig, maybe an FT-857D
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2015, 09:14:22 PM »
Thanks Flight-ER-Doc.  The main quote from the link:
Quote
How stable is stable enough?  I guess that's up to you, but for the duration of a QSO, even using a very quirky digital mode, most all modern rigs are stable enough.
Pretty well answers my question.  Now to just find the right deal.  This may slide into the new year.

so that is why I here bits of USB audio showing up on the data section of 40M...
;D  No, really, I keep it down in the shack when I'm doing this.
North of the salt, south of I-10.