g8wwd's shack

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Nov 18, 2009
 

My reviews & stories

Great little rig.

Yaesu FT-897D, Mobile HF/VHF/UHF Transceiver

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.

Written by g8wwd on Nov 19, 2009

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 2009
GBP 599.00

Solidly built, reliable and does what it says on the tin!

Kenwood TR-9000, Mobile VHF Transceiver

I had one of these when they were new in the 1980's and now have another picked up recently from a rally for £25. The Trio/Kenwood is a great little rig. Legendary Trio build quality is superb and this is not a lightweight beast. I'm sure it would survive use by the army in a war zone without faltering!

By today's standards the 5 memories (which lose their contents when the power is removed from the rig) are old hat. However, they are so user friendly and easily set, which is more than I can say for today's overly complex rigs! All you do is dial in the frequency, switch to the memory channel with the dedicated knob and press save!

The rig puts out a healthy 16 watts or so and is a joy to use even after all these years. Of course this is a multimode rig and it does both upper and lower sideband, plus cw. You have 2 FM modes with different tuning steps, which give you either 25, 12.5 or 0.1kHz steps.

The one I bought recently was suffering from low output with only about half a watt on low power and about 6 watts on high. This proved only to be caused by the tx board needing a tune up of the various coils and caps in the output stage and the service manual describes this process very clearly, so in less than 40 mins it was back to full working power out.

Of course this is an old rig and doesn't have the CTCSS or DCS coding now needed for accessing repeaters, but there are add on boards that can of course be fitted if you are going to use the rig mobile.

If you see one of these going cheap, then grab yourself a bargain. Radioworld in Walsall are currently advertising a secondhand TR-9000 for £220!!!!! They do make me laugh sometimes with their prices!

Written by g8wwd on Nov 18, 2009

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 1983
GBP 299.00

A box of dry joints. Buyer beware!

FDK Multi-750E, Mobile VHF Transceiver

Well, if there are still any of these out there still working, it must be a miracle, or the owner has the patience of a saint!

Back in the 80's I foolishly bought one of these but after a year I traded it in for a Trio 9500, a solidly built rig that was reliable. What a mistake buying the Multi 750E was! It was always developing faults, intermittent faults that when you opened it, you could never find. The usual trick was to tap around the boards until the fault came and went, then you looked for the dry joint to resolder. It was usually on a terminal post or connector as they were never heated up enough during the flow solder processes used in those days by FDK, so they developed dry joints quickly and often.

I remember many other ham's complaining bitterly about the 700E, 725X, 750E, etc as they were suffering the same frustrations, going back to the emporium they bought them from and getting frustrated when they would not take the rig back because it had been used! These days, with consumer protection laws, you'd be returning it to the shop for a refund, because it was not fit for the purpose for which it was sold! I also still have a Multi 725X, picked up cheaply at a rally in a moment of madness and nostalgia, which suffers the same problems, so it reminded me to put this write up on here to warn others!!!

Written by g8wwd on Nov 18, 2009

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 1982

A box of dry joints!

FDK Multi-725X, VHF Transceiver

Well, if there are still any of these out there still working, it must be a miracle, or the owner has the patience of a saint!

Back in the 80's I foolishly bought one of these but after a year I traded it in for a Trio 9500, a solidly built rig that was reliable. What a mistake buying the Multi 750E was! It was always developing faults, intermittent faults that when you opened it, you could never find. The usual trick was to tap around the boards until the fault came and went, then you looked for the dry joint to resolder. It was usually on a terminal post or connector as they were never heated up enough during the flow solder processes used in those days by FDK, so they developed dry joints quickly and often.

I remember many other ham's complaining bitterly about the 700E, 725X, 750E, etc as they were suffering the same frustrations, going back to the emporium they bought them from and getting frustrated when they would not take the rig back because it had been used! These days, with consumer protection laws, you'd be returning it to the shop for a refund, because it was not fit for the purpose for which it was sold! I also still have a Multi 725X, picked up cheaply at a rally in a moment of madness and nostalgia, which suffers the same problems, so it reminded me to put this write up on here to warn others!!!

Written by g8wwd on Nov 18, 2009

Overall
 
Performance
Build quality
Features
User friendlyness
Value for money
Aquired
Good condition in 1982