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Decision Time : 817 or 857?


#1

Looking for a bit of advice… no doubt it has been asked before, but here goes…
I like my FT-817 very much. It is light, has a pouch it lives in and a 4.5amp slab lasts me for what I need it to do.
However, on occasion I think that maybe a bit more power might help.
Just 20 or 25 Watts.
Or am I on a slippery slope of more power = bigger batteries, more weight etc. and in a years time you’ll find me struggling to take a Yaesu FT-2000 (the 200Watt version, naturally!) and 2 Land Rover batteries with me??
Your advice is welcome,
Thanks,
John
G1STQ


#2

In reply to G1STQ:

Looking for a bit of advice… no doubt it has been asked before

…lots of times. Both radios are popular and the choice depends on your own aspirations - which may be different from others who choose to reply.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#3

In reply to G1STQ:

I’ve used them both.

The 857 is a nice rig, and there is no doubt that the extra power that it offers can be very useful, particularly on 40 metres or from the more remote summits. With the present day problems of deliberate QRM the notch filter is very useful, and the noise reduction can be a help, too, whilst selecting a narrower audio passband can work miracles on adjacent channel interference. The DSP gives a nice sharp filter for CW and the flashing blue light that tells you when you are tuned in to a CW signal is fun but I don’t know how useful it is! It is a heavier rig than the 817, tipping the scales at 2.1 kg, and if you use higher power your batteries will not last as long, but if you run it at the low power end of its range (5 watts on the DC bands) and only increase the power when struggling this will not be a problem…and on receive its power consumption is about the same as the 817 and a third of the IC-706!

I got rid of my 817 when I bought my 857, this was a mistake and I am considering getting another 817. Both rigs have their place.

I hope that helps you make your mind up.

73

Brian G8ADD


#4

In reply to G1STQ:
I have two main radios, At home I have a IC-706 MKII and for portable or mobile the FT-817.

I have tried many things on summits, in fact most of my activations have revolved around experimenting with different bands, modes and antennas.

I have found with ssb on hf using 5w you have got to get the antenna doing its best for you. It works but not good enough for me, there is a limit to what you can do with antennas unless of course you want to lug a beam up a summit?

I decided to stay with my FT-817 for SOTA to keep the weight down, my last experiments were using low non resonant wires on a summit and self spotting on ssb. Once the workable stations dried up I did the same on cw, result was cw was the better mode for low power.

If you like ssb then go for the 857, if you like cw 5w works a treat and the 817 shouldnt let you down. Sean M0GIA


#5

In reply to G1STQ:

John I think that living on your side of the pond would mean that you could work 4 easily on HF and VHF with an 817, but I know for myself I like the assurance of having a 100w rig with me as my CW skills are still second rate and there aren’t many chasers on this side of the pond just yet.

That being said, you could pair an 857 with this lightweight 10ah battery:

which weighs only 1070 grams and should give you about 2 hours on SSB at 100w. My wattmeter shows about 8 amps drawn for 2 hours of 100w talking on HF with my 706MKIIG and a bit less time on the ic-7000 using the same chemistry cells in a different format. Also remember the 857 is really only a little bit bigger and heavier then the 817.

As a matter of fact I might consider replacing your slabs with this pack even with the 817…you would save a bunch of weight and gain some cold weather performance as well as overall capacity. This new LiFePO4 technology is much more stable then the LiION technology.

A friend and fellow activator has the 857 and although it is a bit more finicky about moisture then an 817 or K3, it served well on many a summit. At least twice however, very damp conditions caused his 857 to malfunction until it reached a dry location.

While I havent run PSK31 from a summit with the 857, with the 817 the AMQRP NUE-PSK struggles a bit on account of the 817’s poor selectivity, even with the really narrow CW filter. I would only imagine that the 857 is a bit more selective.

In W2/W1 we have many summits that are far enough away from population centers that 2m contacts can be few and far between, especially if you are on a summit during the day during the week. In those conditions, 50w on 2m and 100w on HF SSB can be a real help. I feel that a mobile like the 857 and a 3 element 2m beam and hf wire basically guarantee 4 contacts if you can run the rig at full power…although I was almost proved wrong on an isolated summit in W3 during bad HF conditions this past May.

Also consider that there is a mod for the 817 to put out something like 10w on HF SSB…so if you felt like pushing your luck, you could do the mod for the 817 and save a bunch of cash on a new 857 and put the cash instead into the lightweight battery. I don’t think there is much difference in performance on the chaser side between 10w (modified 817) and 20w (if you ran the 857 on lower power). 10 to 20w is 3db, or less then a single s unit on many rigs.

I don’t think I would bring a mobile rig with me if I was not able to run it at full output as I a not sure that for me the jump from 5 to 20 w would be worth the extra weight.

While it is a bit of a slippery slope to the heavy side, you can also slide the other way, winding up with a CW only rig powered by two lemons…but if you go that route your cross pond and cross pond S2S contacts will probably be harder to come by :wink:

73 & will try to work you where ever and how ever you show up,
Tom-N2YTF


#6

The answer is FT-817.

Tom M1EYP


#7

In reply to G1STQ:

As Richard says, it depends on what you want to do. I too came across the limits of about 5W SSB on a busy band or when propagation was poor and found it a struggle. I have got good enough at Morse to have contacts and have drastically improved my chances of qualifying a summit. I can just about handle 12wpm QSOs, just! If I’d practice more then I’d be better.

So in my case I spent about £55 on a Palm Paddle rather than a PA or an 857 and have found that the struggle to separate 4 or 5 callers on 30m intensely satisfying. If you don’t intend to use Morse then an 857 will probably be more useful.

Andy
MM0FMF


#8

In reply to MM0FMF:
Well I took the plunge and spent some money and bought a 857. Tried it out on a non SOTA hill last Thursday and with 10 watts on my di-pole managed to get a 5/8 from the Caribbean. Could not work him on 5 watts so am very happy with the new radio. Just got to sort out the batteries now! Thanks for all the advice, 73’s for now, John


#9

In reply to G1STQ:
ps…Have you seen the price of 10Amp Li-po’s? OMG!


#10

In reply to G1STQ:

ps…Have you seen the price of 10Amp Li-po’s? OMG!

Why do you need such a huge capacity? (OK I know it’s a loaded question)

5Ah 14.8v LiPO £30.69 inc p&p
5.2Ah 7.4v LiPO £11.58 inc p&p (or 2 for £23.16)

Doubling up 2x 2x 5.2Ah 7.4v for £46.32 does not sound like a bank breaker to me especially if you have the ackers to buy an 857 in the first place.

Andy
MM0FMF


#11

In reply to MM0FMF:
But Andy, it is a pre-loved radio!
Thought about buying new - the cost difference was not easy to justify, especially as I want to take it on the hills so the inevitable few scratches etc would make me cry if it was a brand new one.
Had it from Radioworld (again) so at least I have a 3 month warranty and after a bit of haggling, it worked out about the same cost as one I was watching on e-bay.
Got to make some sort of case for it though.
What is the name of the supplier for the lipo batteries you suggest?
Looked at a site in the USA, but after getting all excited, they told me they cannot export them as the plane will explode over the North Atlantic.

John
G1STQ


#12

In reply to G1STQ:

What is the name of the supplier for the lipo batteries you suggest?

eBay, look at the previous posts on the reflector.

Looked at a site in the USA, but after getting all excited, they told me they >cannot export them as the plane will explode over the North Atlantic.

Tish and piffle. Buy from one of the plentiful Chineese eBay traders and your goods appear in a Jiffy bag 14 days later. Sent via airmail of course complete with the little green customs sticker!

Andy
MM0FMF


#13

In reply to MM0FMF:
I’ll have a look on ebay and see if I can ‘win’ one!

John
G1STQ


#14

In reply to G1STQ:

They’re all ‘buy it now’ John.

Andy
MM0FMF


#15

In reply to MM0FMF:
Can I take it that 11.1 volts os fine for the FT857?


#16

In reply to G1STQ:
I run mine down to 9V without a problem. On code, that is.

73 Norby


#17

In reply to G1STQ:

What surprises me is how expensive they are second-hand. Take the one advertised by the emporium in Walsall, £475 and it isn’t even an 857D. There is no VAT on second-hand goods, so apply VAT to that and you arrive at £558, they advertise them new at £575 so in reality they are offering an old 857 at just £17 less than they would get for a new one. As the old saying goes, its nice work if you can get it!

Anyway, its a great rig, as long as you don’t feed it with too high or a reverse voltage you will have a lot of fun with it…you can amaze friends and family by rapidly scrolling through all the colours available for the display!

73

Brian G8ADD


#18

In reply to LX1NO:

I run mine down to 9V without a problem. On code, that is.

It is a problem on SSB - the audio starts getting rough when the volts drop below 11V. There are two options for the 857 - either 4S LiPOs with a diode dropper or piggy back a NiMH cell. I took the latter route as I already had 3S LiPOs for my 817. I find that 10AH NiMH’s piggy backed onto 4.4AH LiPOs works very well. It was a cautious approach having high capacity NiMHs. In practice they start around 1.38V and drop down to 1.25V, with the LiPos dropping from 12.6V down to 10.5V for a 90 minute activation running a nominal 25W output (mainly 2m SSB). The 14V to 11.75V voltage range is well within spec for the radio.

BTW John, you’ll be pleased to have the 857 in cold weather - so much easier to operate as the controls are larger.

73, Gerald