I bought my FT-897D after having been dormant on the amateur radio scene for around 12 years. Oh how things have moved on!
The FT-897 is just a little bigger than you would expect a 1980's 10watt 2metre mobile rig to be, but it covers 160-10m plus 6m, 2m and 70cm too! What a great little package. It is well built and easy to use.
Initially, my thoughts were, OMG this is complicated to use with all the menus, etc. but after a little practice you soon get to know how to select and adjust everything you need to get to regularly, though the menu system, which is quite extensive. The rig is capable of picking out weak stations very well thanks to a good noise blanker and various IF digital signal processing (DSP) options. I have found at my QTH that turning the pre-amp off [IPO] menu option makes things considerably better in most situations simply due to the amount of background mush from broadband, computers, tv's etc. around in a typical urban environment. I can't complain really as the XYL and I have more than our fair share of consumer electronics! Surprisingly though the preamp somehow seems to amplify the QRM more than the signals at times!
When I first got the rig, I didn't have an HF antenna up and simply slung a half size G5RV up between the side gate and the rear fence which meant it was at about 5ft off the ground, went between two houses, was within 2 inches of the aluminium grenhouse as it passed it, and the 300ohm section which should be at right angles was draped across plant pots, bins, etc. I checked the SWR which surprisingly looked fine and then put a call out on 20m only to get a reply from a K1, 3150 miles away, then a W2 3280 miles away. I was impressed! My third QSO was with a YV1 in Venezuela, over 4600 miles distant. I could not believe this on what should have been an awfully sited antenna! All stations gave me reports of a great 5-9 signal!
Since then I have put the half size G5RV up high, but due to the size of our postage stamp garden it is wrapped around the end of the house just below the roof. Not ideal, but it is doing its job well.
As for the FT-897, it continues to amaze me with what it can pull in and how well I get out with such a modest antenna.
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