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Old 05-06-2010, 03:58 PM
DaveInDenver's Avatar
DaveInDenver DaveInDenver is online now
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Larimer County
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Default Base/Portable HF

So if you were considering a base/portable radio, which of the following would be most interesting to you? What other would you consider?

FT-897D (new ~$900)
FT-450 (used ~$550, new ~$700)
IC-718 (new ~$650)
DX-70TH (used ~$400)

I have the FT-857D already, but the way its installed in the truck makes moving it to/from the house or using it any significant distance away from the truck in the field not really an option. So I am wanting to add something to the quiver to use in the evenings so that I don't have to sit in the truck all dorky like. Plus I am working on better antennas that running a cable from the street to the house is just not gonna work.

I am leaning towards the FT-450. The DX-70TH is on there because there is a used one on Craigslist right now. Good radio by all accounts, but is a generation older technology compared to the FT-450 and really $200 or $300 isn't much to spend for good DSP and a much better display. The Icom also seems like a nice radio but again it's a fairly older design and a toss-up price-wise with the FT-450. My thinking is that all of these radios are just fine rigs but even though I am not at the point that I will really appreciate the better FT-450, I can grow into using more of the features as I get more experience operating and learn Morse and so I am thinking of the ~$300 as investment towards not wanting (as badly) a new radio in a year or two.

I have the FT-897D on there because it's similar to the radio I have, same guts really. Same programming software, same menus, etc. The interface is a bit better due to the size but really for this application the main reason I'm even considering it is VHF and UHF all modes and to some extent the internal battery option. But honestly I can't see it being a backpacking radio ever. At least I can't see myself wanting to carry it much when the 817 is such a better choice for that. So one or two $125 internal batteries aren't really a cost effective solution over an Optima Blue Top and the optional handle for the FT-450 for black outs and field days. The saved money going with a modest HF+6m rig would also allow me wiggle room to watch for an old VHF all mode Kenwood or Yaesu to mess with 2m SSB.

For that matter, maybe a FT-817ND and look into a used amp for home. I think this would be a bit more compromise than I'm looking for, though I think the 817 is such a neat little radio.

So if it was your money, what way would you be thinking?
'91 Pickup - Imelda
'08 Tacoma TRD - Donna

"The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change." -- Heraclitus
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:16 PM
BryanF BryanF is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Patterson, MO
Posts: 18

I took my 857d to CM2010 and used it portable with a buddistick on 40m. Powered it with a walmart deep cycle battery The 897 does have a few more bells and whistles, but the internal batteries aren't worth the cost IMO. I don't know how strong they are but I can't see them lasting too long unless you run QRP then might as well get an 817.

I don't mess with the menus too much once I get my radio set so the menu driven system on the 857 doesn't bother me. You might want to look for and Icom 706 MKII G. The rig has been discontinued by Icom but they are solid. I think you could find a used one in your price range. Check out QTH.COM and the classifieds on eham.net and qrz.com. This was the rig I was hunting until I stumbled across a 746pro used. Good luck.
Bryan F, NBJF, TLCA #19606, '08 FJC
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