A Classic In The Making
You will find the Yaesu FT-897D shown here featured throughout this portable ops gallery, as the FT-897D with its internal batteries is as good as it gets for portable operations where you want to operate with more that 5 watts out as most QRP rigs are rated,
Yaesu recently discontinued offering the FT-897D for sale, and I predict this will make the 897 a classic commanding top dollar in the used marketplace, as there is no other manufacturer (including Yaesu) today offering the equivalent of the FT-897D.
My reasons for saying this is the fact that the FT-897D has a rugged build, is a innovative multiband multimode portable transceiver built for the amateur radio MF/HF/VHF/UHF bands.
The 897 provides coverage of the 160-10 meter bands plus the 6 m, 2 m, and 70 cm bands, and includes operation on the SSB, CW, AM, FM, and Digital modes.
One of its most desirable features, is the fact that it has a option for using two 4500 mAh batteries that mount in the battery tray located in the bottom of the radio. When operating on the internal batteries, the 897 outputs 20 watts, or up to 100 Watts when using an external 13.8-volt DC power source like my 30 caliber 12 volt power-can.
With two FNB-78 NI-MH batteries installed, you may expect up to eight hours of operating time (TX 5%, RX 5%, standby 90%). What’s more, you can charge one of the FNB-78 battery packs while operating the FT-897D off the other pack, which is ideal for those situations where solar or other power sources are available (I operate portable with the FT-897D and use solar for charging purposes regularly).
The optional CD-24 charge adapter provides the necessary voltage for charging the internal batteries, and the charger may be used in conjunction with an external 13.8 Volt source, or the optional PA-26 AC adapter may be used to power the CD-24 on house current, giving you multiple ways of charging the batteries.
Find me another modern transceiver that comes close to offering what the FT-897D offers.
The Yaesu FT-817D looks similar on paper, but its a QRP rig, and doesn't come close to being the well rounded rig that the 897 is, other than the fact it is more compact, but a QRP rig.
I mostly operate the 897 on internal batteries, and therefore at 20 watts out. I find that this is optimal for being easily heard when calling CQ or making calls.
Just about every Milspec HF backpack radio has 20 to 30 watts of output power which enables effective long distance communications.
What is the most effective communications lower power limit that enables reliable portable HF communications. The answer to this question is 20 to 30 watts, Try adjusting your 100 watt radio during a QSO down to 25 watts and see who comments! Try the same and adjust it down to 10 watts or less and watch the complaints about band conditions disappearing. Then adjust it backup to 25 watts. I have done it enough times to know that 25 is the threshold difference that no difference would be reported from 100watts of output power.
The option of internal batteries and the rugged build of this transceiver places it in a league of its own, as there is no other all mode rig that comes close to offering the features the 897 does.
Yaesu recently replaced the 897 in its lineup, and the replacement does not have the rugged build, nor the option of internal batteries.
I suspect the 897 being the only transceiver of its type will prove to be popular in the used market, commanding top dollar for nice examples of the FT-897D.
I know it will be a long time before I consider parting with this very fine transceiver, that goes with me everywhere.
In the field with the 897 and solar.....
Click on the photo for a closer look.....