Trying to read up on the rigs available out there which is pretty overwhelming to say the least :hill:
I've read the past threads that I could fiind and it appears that 90%+ of the folks are using Yaesu rigs and the majority of those are the FT-7800. From what I have read the FT-7800 does just about everything a non-power HAM type user needs.
However, it appears that many of you would prefer to have the FT-8800 instead if it weren't for the fact that the face doesn't light up. Is that still the case with the new rigs? I looked up the specs on Hamcity for the 7800, 8800, and 8900 and it clearly states that the 7800 and 8900 feature:
"Yaesu’s renowned Omni-Glowä display illumination, with four illumination levels available for different environments. You’ll marvel at the crystal-clear frequency display and status indicators, whether you’re operating night or day."
So what is the deal with the 8800? Why did Yaesu skimp on it and not offer the "Omni-Glowä" display :confused:
Price wise the 7800 is ~$240 and then it is quite the jump up to the 8800 @ ~$350 but to move up to the 8900 it is only another $40 (~$390)? Seems to me that Yaesu is "encouraging" buyers to move up to the 8900 and to pay an additional $40 for the illumination + some additional features I don't know if I even need.
Seems to me that having the illuminated face is pretty important, especially at night. Heck, even during the day a LCD can be hard to read. Looks like they all have about the same backlit mics so no difference there....
Any other brands (Kenwood, ICOM, ??) that offer the features of the Yaesu 8800 but WITH an illuminated display?
The difference is the 8800 has a dual freq display and cross band repeat but no backlit buttons and the 7800 has single freq display and buttons that can be found at night. Both are awesome radios and if you don't have a HT or don't plan on getting one the cross band repeat feature would probably be a "rarely if ever used" expense. Even if you have an HT Cross band just isn't needed hardly ever. The 8800 and 8900 are basically two radios in one. (two freqs displayed, two sets of independent controls)
I happened into a 8800 by chance as it was a use with option to buy from a friend of mine. After reading everything I decided I would go for the 7800 because backlit buttons ARE a big deal! Nakman posted up about the differences and since I only had experience with the 8800 I did not know the 7800 only could do one freq at a time.(I had assumed by dual band meant dual display) I really like my 8800 and am glad I went with it but "DAYAM" I wish I could see the freaking buttons at night! :rolleyes:
Reread your post and for clairification all radios mentioned have a great illuminated display but neither the 8800 and 8900 have backlit buttons. The 8900 is a tri band I believe and has some other fancy features the 8800 doesn't have. No idea if those features are worth it....
Also Note: The club is Yaesu heavy but from what I have read the Icon and the Kenwods are both major players in the areana and each one has it's heavy following.
Not sure if I feel better, or worse about that then? I couldn't believe the screen wasn't backlit on the 8800 and the pictures sure made it look like it was so I figured they had updated the rig. But the buttons? Is it just me or does that seem pretty skimpy to not backlight those on the 8800 and 8900? Surely it couldn't cost that much more to backlight those buggers :rolleyes:
I'm hoping to buy the right radio from the get go so if the 8800 had backlit buttons it would be a no brainer...Now I'm just not sure :(
All of them have backlit displays. The FT-7800R has backlit buttons and the FT-8800R and FT-8900R do not. I had a 7800 and now a 8800. As far as a pure functional mobile radio, the 7800 is a better choice. Bigger buttons and knobs, bigger read-out on the display, all the knobs only do one thing (the 8800 has a few dual purpose controls, I often get my 8800 into Internet mode by mistake).
The 88/8900 have two tuners and so they can tune two different frequencies at the same time, scan on once side, listen on the other, scan two different range of frequencies and do some other neat features that the 7800 can't.
The 7800 can scan frequencies very quickly, you can set up some frequencies as important, so they get hit more often. You don't give up much if you know what frequencies you want to listen to, it's just that if you are trying to make contacts the dual VFO is handy for finding simplex stations, for example.
The 7800 has weather alert (this is very nice, if NOAA issues a weather alert, the 7800 goes to the WX band and tunes in a NOAA weather station).
I still say that if you are not a ham hobbyist, go with the 7800. It's got a more simple interface and does everything you'd ever want as a 4WD'er and costs significantly less than the dual VFO models. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the 7800 and as far as single tuner radios, I think it's probably one of the best out there. OTOH, the 8800 and 8900 are probably only average dual band radios compared to what ICOM and Kenwood offer.
The 7800 has the WX stuff built-in and on the 88/8900 you have to program in the NOAA stations. Having it more integrated into the radio allows that WX Alert, which I think is pretty neat.
Even if the buttons on the 8800 were lit, they are still smaller and some share two purposes. The volume and squelch are co-axial. On the 7800 there is a separate volume and squelch knob.
The row of functional buttons under the display on the 8800 have two configurations. In the regular symmetrical config, they do 'power level' / 'VFO/mem' / 'home' / 'scan' for each side. In Key Mode #2 the buttons on the right side don't do those, but rather 'step size' / 'reverse' / 'tone' / 'sub-band choice'. I once-in-a-while try to move a repeater contact to a simplex channel and so the reverse key is one I use a lot. This allows you to monitor the input frequency to a repeater and if you can hear the transmitting station on the input, then you probably can hold a simplex contact. So I have to use Key Mode #2, which means I have to do some more button gymnastics to work the right side tuner. It's all but impossible at night to do some things without stopping and pulling over.
One thing that actually irritates me about the 8800 is that the right side volume knob is also the power button. Every dang time I turn on the radio, the right side ends up at full volume. More than once I've just about spilled coffee in the morning when the radio jumps to life. Not to mention should one have a hang over when getting in the truck for work... Yowza!
One thing you will notice is that hams are usually never happy with their rigs and are tinkering. So getting the right radio first is almost 100% sure not to happen. I wouldn't worry about it. But like UB says, lots of people have both and so it makes sense to test drive them at a meeting or something. Also don't necessarily get locked into Yaesu, ICOM and Kenwood make nice radios, too. I like Yaesu radios but that's because I'm used to the way their menus works. I am worried about how this Motorola/Vertex Standard merger is going to affect Yaesu radios. I have this feeling that Motorola will cheapen them and move production to China (Yaesu makes radios in Japan and the mic is made in Thailand or something), two moves which will mean these are the last two Yaesu radios I ever buy.
Jeff, if you buy the 7800 and later decide that you really need the 8800, you can probably sell it and get most of your money back.
The 2-radios-in-one is the only reason I'd buy the 8800.
My 7800 does everything I need.
In 4WD mode, I can think of a couple of circumstances where CBR (w/ HT) would be useful:
1. Lined up at the trailhead, or stopped on the trail, when you get out to chat, you can still be in contact.
2. Sitting in a chair at Slickrock, mix'n Margaritas, and still being able to chat with others out on trail rides or coming into camp (for a short while, anyway).
I just went through the "which radio should I get to minimize upgrading" process.
I see the market as (in increasing price order):
1. Single band radios (2M would be recommended for our use, example: Yaesu FT-1802M)
2. Dual band radios, with a single tuner (example: Yaesu FT-7800)
3. Dual band radios, with dual tuners & CBR (example: FT-8800R)
4a. Dual band radios with CBR & other fancy technologies (APRS, Wireless Remote, Echolink, Packet, ARTS, D-STAR)
4b. Multi band, multi-mode radios (are you ready to be a "real" HAM?)
I made a worksheet to compare the various options side-by-side, including "price" from the same supplier. I reviewed the info on RS, Mud, and EE, and various Ham sites.
In the middle of all of this, I stopped by HRO to touch & see the rigs before I purchased. Turns out I got there at almost closing time, the manager sent the guy who was helping me home, and noone showed me anything (a fair bit of friendly chat, though).
Once I decided on what features I wanted (and what I was willing to afford), I made a separate table and started comparison shopping. Had HRO been more helpful, I would gladly have paid a little more for their (local) knowledge. As it was, I went with the supplier that had *all* of the stuff I needed (including critical accessories) and the best price. In my case, that turned out to be Hamcity.com.
I ended up purchasing a Kenwood TM-D710A mobile, and a Kenwood TH-F6A HT. Deciding factors for me were:
1. CBR that's fully legal (Remote Control via HT & auto-self identification for HT & Mobile on all frequencies)
2. APRS (safety, marital bliss, utility for when I get back into SAR, cool technology)
3. MARS mods available if I choose to in the future
4. Power & battery life (many HT's are low power, and/or use old technology batteries)
5. Highest gain on antena's at given lengths
I've attached the worksheet I used, in case anyone's interested.
A couple of caveats: I didn't get to touch/see/use *any* of the rigs before purchase. I also didn't include any of the less-spiffy rigs, as I knew I wanted CBR before I even started.
Thanks gents :D
Hants I'm with you on the CBR w/ HT thing. I chatted with UB and Romer about this at Monday's HAM class. Before I knew anything about HAM (and I don't know much now either), I remember on the BOWAGWR last year watching Nakman working his rig while we were stopped. He kept having to run back to his 40 like those of us with CBs have to and I thought "Boy it would be nice if you didn't have to do that" :) - At the time I was thinking of those little walky talking dealyos some of us have or had in the past.
How many times are we out of our rigs on a trail for one reason or the other when we find it would be nice to still be in communication with others without having to run back to our vehicles? I can think of a dozen plus cases and I've been on maybe 6 or so club runs.
But, maybe just having a HT in addition to a mobile rig would serve that purpose well enough on the trail to not warrant the CBR functionality. Cost wise getting a rig that has that seems to really escalate the cost. If you really need the extra power to DX (trying to use the terminology here :hill:) then back into the rig you go.
Judging by cost (from my quick glance at ICOM and Kenwood stuff) it appears I'll end up with something made by Yaesu. ICOM and Kenwood seem to average about double a comparable Yaesu rig :eek:
Thanks for the spreadsheet as well Hants :thumb:
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