Yaesu has been putting out high quality products for a very long time. The FT-897R is no exception. This is the HF radio I purchased and I am extremely glad I did. It meets or exceeds every expectation I have for a quality HF rig, then it throws in an added bonus – UHF/VHF.
I will go through my standard outline of reviewing this radio based on its designated mission and requirements. But before I move on I want to tell you the best feature of this HF rig – it also handles my
Provide reliable clear communications over the HF Ham frequency band for both disaster and ”grid-down” situations in the field or function as a base station.
Requirements & Limitations –
- Must be able to access all HF (High Frequency) band frequencies.
- Must be a sturdy radio fully capable of hard field use.
- Must be 12vDC compatible.
- Must be easy to computer program.
- Must have headset jack.
- Should have internal batteries
The Good & Less Good
- Absolutely great to have the added bonus of 6m, 2m, and 70cm bands in the 897!! This unit is the ultimate “grid-down” radio.
- You can hook up two antennas to this unit. One for the UHF/VHF bands, the other is for HF & 6m bands. Really a sweet option if you are going for an “all-in-one” radio.
- Mic is a mini-remote control unit for the radio. It can step through the menus on the mic just like using the front panel.
- Very solid and reliable.
- Easy to program via the RT Systems programming software.
- Read the manual and use on-line resources to understand the full capability and operation of this radio.
- Use an automatic tuner and this radio rocks!
There are some minor, very minor, drawbacks:
- I have heard of, but not experienced, some minor RF interference on the mic from being too close to an antenna. My antenna is nowhere near my mic so I have not had this problem.
- The manual doesn’t cover everything this radio is capable of. Use on-line resources for additional information.
- If HF is crowded and busy, the radio is not the best out there. But it doesn’t cost $5000 either.
- The internal speaker is adequate but not the best quality. Use an external speaker or headset for high-quality listening.
The FT-897D is a rugged, innovative, multi-band, multi-mode portable transceiver for the amateur radio MF/HF/VHF/UHF bands. Providing coverage of the 160-10 meter bands plus the 6m, 2m, and 70cm bands, the FT-897 includes operation on the SSB, CW, AM, FM, and Digital modes. And it’s capable of 20-Watt portable operation using internal batteries, or up to 100 Watts when using an external 13.8-volt DC power source (standard 12vDC operation).
The new FT-897 ″D” version includes coverage of the U.S. 60-meter (5 MHz) band, along with the 0.5 ppm TCXO Unit, at no additional charge. The coverage is HF 160 to 10 meters (including 60 meters) plus 50/144/430 MHz VHF/UHF. Receive coverage is: 0.1-56, 76-108, 118-164 and 420-470 MHz.
- TX Frequency Coverage: 160-10 Meters, 50 MHz, 144 MHz, 430-450 MHz, plus Alaska Emergency Chan. (5167.5 kHz).
- RX Frequency Coverage: 100 kHz-56 MHz; 76-154 MHz; 420 – 470 MHz. (Exact frequency range may be slightly different)
- Power Output: 100 watts HF-6M, 50 watts 2 M, 20 watts 70 cm. (20 watts on battery)
- Operating Modes: USB, LSB, CW, AM, FM, W-FM, Digital (AFSK), Packet (1200/9600 FM).
- Digital Modes: RTTY, PSK31-U, PSK31-L, and User defined USB/LSB (SSTV, Pactor, etc.).
- S. Weather Band reception.
- Built-in 3-Message Memory Keyer.
- Multi-Color LCD Multi-function Display.
- Bar-Graph Metering of Power Output, ALC, SWR, Modulation.
- Optional Narrow CW and SSB Filters.
- AGC Fast-Slow-Auto-Off Selection.
- RF Gain/Squelch Control/IF Control.
- Built-in Noise Blanker.
- AM and FM broadcast reception.
- Dual VFOs, Split Capability, IF Shift, and R.I.T. (“Clarifier”).
- Wide/Narrow FM Selection.
- AM Aircraft Reception.
- Dedicated SSB-based Digital Mode for PSK31 on USB/LSB, AFSK RTTY, etc.
- Built-in CW Electronic Keyer and Semi-Break-In.
- Transverter Interface Jack.
- Built-in VOX.
- Carry Handle.
- Built-in CTCSS and DCS.
- ARTS™ (Auto-Range Transponder System).
- Smart Search™ Automatic Memory Loading System.
- Spectrum Scope.
- 200 Regular Memories, plus Home Channels and Band-Limit (PMS) Memories.
- Alpha-Numeric Labeling of Memory Channels.
- Automatic Power-Off (APO) and Tx Time-Out Timer (TOT) Features.
- CAT System Computer Control Capability Cloning Capability.
- Battery-Powered Field Operation
- Base Station Operation
- Rugged, High-Output Power Amplifier
- Built-in Digital Signal Processing
- Outstanding Features for the CW Expert
Battery-Powered Field Operation
The bottom side of the FT-897 contains a “power source tray” which can accommodate up to two of the optional 13.2 Volt, 4500 mAh FNB-78 Ni-MH Battery Packs. This gives it completely portable operation without any external power source. Maximum power output is 20 Watts (all bands) during battery operation, and with two FNB-78s you may expect up to eight hours of operating time (TX 5%, RX 5%, standby 90%). What’s more, you can charge one of the FNB-78 Battery Packs while operating the FT-897 off the other pack—ideal for situations where solar or other power sources are available.
The optional CD-24 Charge Adapter provides the necessary voltage for charging, and it may be used in conjunction with an external 13.8 Volt source, or the optional PA-26 AC Adapter may be used to power the CD-24.
DC 13.8V Mobile Operation
Using the FT-897D in mobile operations is pure joy! The combination of the FT-897 and the ATAS-120 Auto-Tune Antenna System provides automated operation from HF through the UHF spectrum!
Using an external 13.8 Volt power source, you get a full 100 Watts of power output on HF and six meters (144 MHz: 50 W, 430 MHz: 20 W).
Base Station Operation
The FT-897’s outstanding fundamental performance invites expansion into a full-featured base station. The optional FP-30 Internal Power Supply provides operation from AC sources, and the clamp-on FC-30 Automatic Antenna Tuner option expands the impedance range of the transceiver. Round out your station with the MD-200A8X Deluxe Desk Microphone and the VL-1000 Quadra System Linear Amplifier for world-class performance at home!
The power source tray of the FT-897 is designed to accommodate the optional FP-30 Internal Power Supply, allowing full-power operation from 100-120 V or 200-240 V AC power sources. The quiet switching-regulator design of the FP-30 is tolerant of AC input voltage variations, making it ideal for DX-pedition use! And to extend the impedance bandwidth of your antenna system, the innovative FC-30 Automatic Antenna Tuner option clamps onto the left side of the FT-897 in seconds!
Rugged, High-Output Power Amplifier
Achieving 100 Watts of power output from such a compact package is a difficult mechanical and electrical engineering task. On HF, push-pull 2SC5125 Bipolar transistors driven by push-pull 2SK2975s provide the 100-Watt power capability, while on VHF maximum efficiency during battery operation is yielded by 2SC3102 bipolar PA transistors. The rugged aluminum die-cast chassis provides a solid foundation for the heat sink for the power amplifier, with a total of almost 40 cubic inches of heat sink surface area available. With its thermostatically-controlled twin cooling fans, the FT-897 will stand up to the rigors of DX-pedition or home contest use, with dissipation capability to spare!
Built-in Digital Signal Processing
The FT-897 includes a wide array of analog and DSP filters to help you dig out those weak DX signals on a crowded band! One-touch activation of the DSP filters, plus a convenient “DSP” LED on the front panel, enhance the ease of using the DSP. DSP Bandpass Filters, Noise Reduction, and Auto-Notch Filter circuits are included.
Look for Part #2 in this review of the 897 tomorrow for information on antenna, accessories, etc.
This is a “BUY!”
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