I just sold my old FT-726R (50/144/432) at Dayton and bought a new
FT-847. My objective was to get a more modern VHF radio, more power, with
possibly some satellite work. The HF capability was not really a concern -
the radio's primary use was for 432 MHz in our VHF contest efforts.
Since I've only had the radio a week, my only operation with it has been on
75M with the MRRC club net, and about four hours operation in WPX CW on
80-10. I've not had the opportunity to use it on VHF/UHF yet.
My reference points are the FT1000D/MP radios here at K8CC. Perhaps this
is not a fair comparison considering the $$$ difference.
For ragchewing on SSB, the FT-847 sounds great to my ear, and received
reports on the TX signal are good. Perhaps this is due to the relatively
wide ceramic filters which are standard equipment - a narrower 2.5 KHz
Collins mechanical filter is available, or better yet the high quality
INRAD crystal filter. One interesting point is that there are separate SSB
filters for TX and RX to support full-duplex satellite operation. Yaesu
says that replacing the SSB filter results in flatter, more natural
transmit audio, however both RX and TX filters would get expensive.
For CW operation (at least on HF) the radio is a disappointment. First of
all, the headphone audio level clips before reaching a comfortable level
when driving a Heil ProSet. Patching the headphones into the speaker jack
on the back was much better. Second, the sidetone is not a pure tone but
sounds like its DSP-generated with white noise superimposed on the
waveform. Its the worst-sounding sidetone I've heard since an unmuted R4C :-(
I forgot to get the CW filter when I bought the radio, but since my WPX
operation was casual I figured I could get by with the DSP audio
filtering. WRONG! AGC pumping from adjacent signals (the bands WERE
crowded with strong signals) made it difficult to work anything but the
louder stations. I got so frustrated I popped open my FT-1000MP and stole
the sub-receiver filter (same P/N) and stuffed it into the FT-847. With
the filter things were a LOT better. The FT-847 only has one stage of
narrow filtering, but using the internal DSP for the second filtering stage
pretty good, but you'll never mistake it for a FT-1000MP.
I'm really sorry to say such negative things about the receiver because the
radio overall is pretty cool. Like the MP, the FT-847 has a comprehensive
menu of items to personalize the radio to your tastes. Its small in size,
yet I've found the controls to be laid out pretty well. Still, I think the
Yaesu engineers should be taken to task for not including a CLEAR button
for the RIT (oops, I mean "clarifier").
I've used K8MR's IC-746 (regular model, not a PRO) a good amount on VHF
during the past three MRRC Field Day efforts with no complaints. 100W on
144 is nice, cascaded CW filters are a plus, and according to the W2SZ web
site, they use two IC-746s for their main stations on 144 from the mountain
which says something.
The ARRL Members Only web site had the QST FT-847 review from 1998 which I
found pretty accurate. One thing to keep in mind is that early FT-847s had
a crippled CATS system computer interface which could not report anything
useful back to our logging programs. Since then, Yaesu had added the
capability to read operating frequency and mode, but you still can't do
certain useful things like set the split VFO (at least its not documented
in the manual).
In my case, 50W on 432 plus the satellite capability means I'm still glad I
bought the FT-847. We'll see how I feel about it after the June contest...
At 10:50 PM 5/29/02 +0000, David Robbins wrote:
>I am considering a combo hf/vhf/uhf radio to replace the rather lame
>ts-680 and ft290r vhf stuff here. In a quick scan through a handy
>catalog I see at least 3 options:
>Ft-847 $1250(+$120 cw filter, any others??) hf+6+2+70
>Ic-746 $1300(+$190+$120+++ cw and ssb filters, which does it really
>Ts-2000 $1760! Hf+6+2+70 more expensive, but does it need extra filters?
>Does anyone have experience using these or any other similar radios in
>contest conditions? Note, I can see w2sz/1 once I get above the trees
>here. Anything to stay away from?
>David Robbins K1TTT
>AR-Cluster node: 145.69MHz or telnet://dxc.k1ttt.net
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