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Suggest a rig to replace Yaesu FT-857D for EMCOMM

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If you were selecting a new radio for use in a transportable station focused on EMCOMM which one would you choose. My personal favorite to date has been the Yaesu FT-857D because it is "DC to Daylight:" that is that it  will work any amateur band between 160 Meters and 70 Centimeters with the exception of the 1.25 Meter band. Even though I always used a dual band VHF and UHF mobile rig with it the redundancy seemed valuable to me and I did end up using it for that a couple of times. I found the separable control head useful to reduce operating table clutter. My choice for a transportable table has been a 30" by 30" plastic table with folding legs so I didn't want to have to fit every thing on the desk top. I suppose if I use a rack case instead of the well padded shipping case that might not be an issue.

One new consideration is that I would like to be able to do near continuous duty digital modes, such as VERA & PACTOR at 100 watts. I think that will require some sort of medium power amplifier to combine with the radio so that both would be running at ~1/3rd of their nominal maximum output power but don't get too hung up on that.

There no longer seems to be any "All Band" transceiver rated 100 watts at near the weight and size of the Yaesu FT-857D. The ICOM 7100 is a little larger and heavier. It cannot be configures as a single unit. The controller cannot be mounted flat on a transportable stations front panel. But so far it is the only comparable I have identified. I have used the  ICOM 7100 for hospital nets because it is what the commercial radio installers chose for the hospital's radio station. I'm not allergic to it in any sense so don't  think I'm ruling it out.

The Yaesu FT-897 has a very similar form factor to the FT-857D but it has no VHF UHF capability and the operating controls do not separate from the RF unit. If I used the FT-897 for the transportable station's HF capability I think I would need to add an amplifier/s for the dual band portable so that it could function as a VHF & UHF base station or mobile radio. I include the possibility of 2 separate amplifiers because if I needed to do a lot of digital with the combination the only dual band amplifier I've found, the Mirage BD-35, cannot produce a mobile unit's full output and certainly not at 100% duty cycle. If I would have to carry 2 amplifiers for the mobile VHF UHF radio and 2 for the VHF UHF portable, in order to have the desirable redundancy, things begin getting a bit too heavy bulky and complex. If I separate the HF radio into one rack case and the Mobile VHF - UHF radio into another it might make it more manageable but it would raise the price of a commercial air ticket by another $50. The combined radio and power kits would already cost $100 per ticket.

I think I have a pretty good grasp of the accessory and antenna issues so please confine suggestions to the radio itself.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.


Tom Horne W3TDH

Edited by W3TDH
Separate questions

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Unfortunately, except for the form factor, which I do not like, I know several people, and have worked with them, who swear by the 7100. What's also nice about it is its front end; unlike the 7300 it handles the overload nicely, so it's also a good NCS rig. Of course the question always comes back, with or without vehicle...I'm loving my RM Italy amplifier with my Yaesu 891. But now that the IC-705 has come out I am considering getting it to replace my 891 _ Icom 5100 combo in the car. It's a QRP and QRPp rig so it draws little power. I can see myself running it into my two amps (I have two RM Italy, one HF and one VHF). I'm waiting to get more real-world analyses of the 705 before pulling the trigger.

But cost wise, for now, few options beat the 7100 for an all-band, 100-Watt rig.

BTW, the 857D was a nice rig. Had one. But it needs a reboot. Considering the 705 launch, one can only guess that the other manufacturers, if the 705 does well, will enter the space with new all-band radios.

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