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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars probably the best small mobile/portable all band/mode for car use, April 16, 2013
This review is from: Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W (Electronics)
The 857D has almost all the features and performance of a standard size HF base rig, except tucked into a tiny form factor.
The small display is hard to read for us old guys, but it can be remoted which is good.

Very useable in a one-radio car or truck as a most-of-the-time mobile 144/440 FM repeater/simplex and still having decent access to HF when you are stopped or field. Full tone and duplex support for repeater access. Will do VHF/UHF FM satellite with some setup. I've had several QSO's comment that the audio sounds very clean. Full digital data support for rtty/packet/psk.

DSP noise/filter functions seem (to me) less effective than on newer, costlier base rigs, but hey, this guy is mobile. DSP filtering/gain of mike input for SSB/FM optimization seems fine.

It's really made to use with a powered screwdriver antenna like the Yaesu ATAS and will automatically run the extend/retract motor to tune this antenna. However it does NOT have a conventional antenna impedance matching antenna tuner and responds to higher SWR by cranking back on the power to protect the PA. Something to remember for field days.

And, unlike the big rigs, all those dials and buttons you want are buried in menus.
YOU WILL NEED A CHEATSHEET or manual with you, there's just too much in those menus to remember and everything on screen is abbreviated too.

I would recommend getting the direct frequency input keypad mike Yaesu mh-59a8j to go with it. Extra knobs and buttons are a good thing and it adds DTMF.

Also, this radio can be used remotely with a PC/laptop via a USB/serial cable (remotable LONG distances via a USB/10baseT extender) and free software (I use Commander). This is a handy way of getting away from those pesky menus and small screen. You can build a custom user interface on the PC and avoid the 857D menus.

While my ICOM 746 will put out 100 watts HF with 20 amps DC, the 857D runs 23 amps full power HF, which means you can't run full power on a 20 amp Astron PS, so you got to get the 30 amp, or lose some watts and keep an eye on the meter. Power limits are settable (in menus) by band, so it's not so hard to do.

Only thing to watch out for is premature partial failures of the LCD screen, particularly when used mobile and exposed to vibration/temp swings.
The LCD is mounted with simple conductive rubber pressure contacts and it seems prone to losing lines. My 857, several years old, has maybe 4 vertical blank lines on the display, still useable, but annoying. If you are capable, you can fix yourself by opening, cleaning and re-aligning the display on the pads. This often works. Factory repair is pricey, a few hundred to fix the LCD and get you a another few years of all pixels.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reputation, But Depends On Your Needs, April 21, 2013
This review is from: Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W (Electronics)
The FT-857D is a proven workhorse. The design is rather old when compared to newer radios. However, for a mobile/base, it is much cheaper than comparable brands. Some things to consider are that it does not have a roofing filter, which would allow adjacent signals to overwhelm it. The display is difficult to see in some instances, and there are different levels to get to certain filters.

If it were to be used for strictly a base station, or take car-camping, I would recommend the FT-450 over it 100%. It is much easier to use, and has a display with all the filters and their settings showing.

However, the benefits of the 857 are its design, e.g. rear fans, nice looking radio with front controls, etc. The large knob is very handy. The all mode design allows one to use VHF/UHF without the need for a second ratio. With an external battery, such as a gel cell SLAB, it would be easy to go field portable or work satellites. Given the price when compared to an FT-817, it is a better deal. The 817 is a cute little radio, but limited in function. The 857 packs a punch, which for the price, makes other radios tremble with fear... It goes down to 5 watts, which for QRP and CW enthusiasts might be disappointing. But for SSB use, 5 watts is difficult a whole lot of the time. By going up to 100 watts, it gives you the ability to get the signal out there.

I don't know if Amazon will delete this next part or not, but the price is considerably cheaper at Ham Radio Outlet and other retailers. They sell it and ship for free. Of course, as I buy with a card from Amazon, I have nothing but praise for their line of credit. It has served me well, and I plan to use it for a long time to purchase from Amazon...

In any event, you will be getting a quality radio from a leader in the field, which will give you rugged service for many years. Rugged is a good word to use. If the first time your radio gets a bump, you don't want the display cracking, or something electronic coming apart.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Do-Everything Radio, April 22, 2013
This review is from: Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W (Electronics)
This radio is a fantastic product, and is simply the most do-everything radio I've ever encountered. It does have a few drawbacks, which I'll get to later.

Not only does the radio do what it says it will, but it does VERY EXACTLY what it says it will. That is, if it says "TX power: 5-100w", that means you can set it to 5w, 6w, 7w, 8w....98w, 99w, 100w - you can even set those values while transmitting, and your buddy can hear the change in power levels live. It has all the settings a modern software-controlled (*not software-defined) radio ought to have, like automatic repeater shifts, digital filtering, memories, computer interface capability, etc. I'm a general-class ham and like to use all the standard bands (160m---70cm), and I've been almost completely satisfied with this radio.

OK, so it's not perfect, and although I'm not about to return it, there were a few features (or lack thereof) that were really disappointing to me. I use this radio primarily as a mobile radio. I love ham radio, but I like music, too, and I don't want to listen to static all the time when I'm not DXing, etc. I used to use a $90 VHF/UHF handheld (Quansheng - a Chinese make) to listen to the FM broadcast band while driving around, and it would dual-watch the local 2m repeater, giving me music until somebody talked or until I talked, and automatically returning to the music after the repeater tail (plus ~2 secs). The audio ran over my car's sound system, and it was just the neatest little setup. That's now all out the window, because the FT-857d is missing some features necessary for that specific setup. Its 88-108mhz FM broadcast band receive sensitivity is very high, but cannot be attenuated (i.e. the radio has an "attenuator" feature but you can't turn it on in FM broadcast band mode), so in town it actually has a very hard time picking up FM broadcast because of all the interference between stations. Half of the local radio stations picket-fence like the dickens when I'm in town with line-of-sight to their towers, although they're just great once I get 20+ miles out of town. Even if FM broadcast receive were fine, it wouldn't be useful: the Dual Watch functionality... well, it just isn't Dual Watch. DW is supposed to mean that it listens to the VFOa frequency until a signal on VFOb breaks the squelch (or vice versa), at which point it switches over to the other VFO, listens until squelch kicks in + 2 seconds or so, then flips back over to the main VFO. That's what my $90 handheld does; that is not at all what the Yaesu does. The 857 just flips over to the other frequency for about 1/4 second once every 5 seconds (interrupting what you're hearing), and then switches back. If it finds something on the other frequency, it hangs there for 3 secs instead of 1/4 sec. Then back to the first frequency, even if the other frequency has a signal on it. That's not DW, Yaesu - that's just annoying interruptions every 5 secs.

The FT-817d allows you to switch which port the 6m comes out of - that would be tremendously handy on this radio.

Finally, with such a fancy radio, why no cross-band repeat? There are <$150 handhelds out there now that do cross-band repeat, but the 857 doesn't.

So, I've spent a lot of time complaining about some disappointing features on a truly fantastic radio. I was just hoping for those metaphorical "creature comforts" on this high-end rig. However, unless you're looking for the very specific capabilities I was looking for, you're going to love this radio and I would definitely recommend it.

Some final tips: The power output setting matches exactly to my power meter on all modes, all bands. The radio's SWR meter matches exactly to my SWR meter (half way up the scale is about 2.0:1 I've found). The digital filters are extremely effective on CW, and still fairly helpful on phone modes. I've worked with contacts on 40m SSB to identify ideal audio settings, and for my voice and mic use style (very close and loud), Mic gain @ 60 and processor @ 65-70 (and turned on) seems ideal. The (function) menu is fairly accessible, but note that the menu items are alphabetized.

That's it. You're really going to enjoy this quality radio (unless you want it to replace your car stereo). If somebody from Yaesu comes along and reads this and wants to satisfy me, they'll allow attenuation on FM broadcast RX (can't be all that hard if people make $5 FM radios); offer an actually useful DW function (even if it has to DW across bands to make it work), or at least give me an aux audio passthrough so I can play an iPod on an aux audio "band" or something; and finally, look into adding cross-band repeat capacity to this rig like the <$150 Wouxun KG-UV8d.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Radio with Varying Capabilities, April 21, 2013
By 
This review is from: Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W (Electronics)
The FT-857D is a proven workhorse. The design is rather old when compared to newer radios. It isn't a bad design. It's just that newer radios have imprived filters, which is very nice with bad band conditions. However, for a mobile/base, it is much cheaper than comparable brands. Some things to consider are that it does not have a roofing filter, which would allow adjacent signals to overwhelm it. The display is difficult to see in some instances, and there are different levels to get to certain filters.

If it were to be used for strictly a base station, or take car-camping, I would recommend the FT-450 over it 100%. It is much easier to use, and has a display with all the filters and their settings showing. If weight and size were a factor, the FT-817ND is the reigning Yaesu design. With additional filters, it costs almost as much as the 857, which offers a whole lot more. Other radios like Elecraft, Icom and other brand offer small footprint base/mobile/portable radios that are excellent, but cost a whole lot more.

However, the benefits of the 857 are simple things, like its design, e.g. rear fan, detachable front panel, nice looking radio with front controls, etc. The large knob is very handy. The all mode design allows one to use VHF/UHF without the need for a second ratio. With an external battery, such as a gel cell SLAB, it would be easy to go field portable or work satellites. Given the price when compared to an FT-817, it is a better deal. The 817 is a cute little radio, but limited in function. The 857 packs a punch, which for the price, makes other radios tremble with fear... It goes down to 5 watts, which for QRP and CW enthusiasts might be disappointing. But for SSB use, 5 watts is difficult a whole lot of the time. By going up to 100 watts, it gives you the ability to get the signal out there.

I don't know if Amazon will delete this next part or not, but the price is considerably cheaper at Ham Radio Outlet and other retailers. They sell it and ship for free, and usually include the optional YSK separation kit, which comes with the cable. (Of course, as I buy with a card from Amazon, I have nothing but praise for their line of credit. It has served me well, and I plan to use it for a long time to purchase from Amazon...)

In any event, you will be getting a quality radio from a leader in the field, which will give you rugged service for many years. Rugged is a good word to use. If the first time your radio gets a bump, you don't want the display cracking, or something electronic coming apart.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A whole ham shack in a radio with advanced features found in expensive units, September 13, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W (Electronics)
Loved it! I use it in my ham shack and take it and a 40M dipole with me when I visit relatives. The advanced features gives you a real taste of the more expensive units. I couldn't be happier for $1K.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great rig, February 25, 2014
By 
This review is from: Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W (Electronics)
I bought my 857D a few months before securing my General ticket and it is a winner. Full UHF/VHF/HF coverage with 100 watts. Very menu driven but once you get used to that it's easy to operate. I use my 857D at home with a stealth rain gutter antenna and have made contacts into Europe and the Middle East from Florida. A bit heavy for backpack radio fun, especially with an external battery so I bought the smaller, QRP FT817 for outdoor radio adventures.
All in all, a good radio. Three years and still going strong. Highly recommended.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yaesu FT -857D, February 16, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W (Electronics)
Always wanted this particular transceiver, and I couldn't be happier with it. The quality is remarkable and the price was well worth it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I HAVE HAD VERY GOOD LUCK WITH THIS SET-UP, September 7, 2014
This review is from: Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W (Electronics)
I HAVE HAD A YAESU FT-857D FOR 8 YEARS AND I USE A YAESU FC-40 TUNER WITH IT AND A 102" WHIP ANTENNA. I HAVE HAD VERY GOOD LUCK WITH THIS SET-UP. I CAN TUNE 6 -60 METERS WITH NO PROBLEM. WALT ( W1WLJ )
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Nice Radio, November 28, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W (Electronics)
The # of features to this radio are mind boggling.

It is intended to be a mobile radio so a lot of the features are found in menus.

Very high quality radio, receptions has been outstanding!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 29, 2014
This review is from: Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W (Electronics)
smooth purchase, no problems at all
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