Yaesu FT-857D Review [Amateur Radio Transceiver]

To know about the Yaesu FT857D is not that hard. It is one of the easiest. This Yaesu FT-857D review will give you insights some noticeable features that make you want to look at it at least twice.

And in fact, it is common among new ham operators. Considering its simplicity, affordability, and compatibility. One might even think it is the best ham radio, but that’s arguable.

The Review: Yaesu FT857D

Appearance

The Yaesu 857D was boasted to be the world’s smallest HF/VHF/UHF radio. Measuring just 6.1 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 9.2 inches thick (Not including the size of the attached microphone).

The FT-857 has an almost 5 Ib weight to its compatibility. One may not even believe it would be that heavy considering its size. But that shouldn’t be too surprising; transceivers are always massive in general.

The front panel of the radio is intentionally separated from the primary device. And not without a couple of advantages.

The foremost is that having it separate makes its installation easy and flexible. You could have your radio and front panel installed separately.

If the radio is mounted in your car, you could decide to detach and take it away with you. That makes it easy for you always to keep your eyes on your radio and making it less likely to be stolen or damaged carelessly by intruders.

The front panel, or preferably the face, comes with a lot of ports and connectors at the back. This homes the LCD screen and all the buttons and knobs you would use in operating the radio.

Example of these is the volume knob, SQL/RF, Select button, Dial knobs as well as buttons to access the menus and sub-menus.

To keep your radio on a desk or table, if perhaps you decided to unmount it from your car, the receiver has under it a stand, right on the back to make it inclined.

Installation

If you bought the Yaesu FT857D new, here are what you would get on unboxing it in addition to the radio

  • The radio’s front panel
  • The separation kit with the screws
  • Hand mic and power cable
  • Mounting bracket and screws
  • A pair of 25 amp fuses
  • Power cables with 6-point plugs
  • Rj45 connector for data connection
  • Warranty card and Operating manual.

Mounting the radio isn’t a hard task, even if this was your first time installing one. The mounting screws and brackets are there for you.

All you need to do is just grab a screwdriver and set it up. Though if you feel you still can’t, you can only refer to the manual.

Now, you might find the manual not so easy to understand; maybe it has too much radio jargon for you to understand, you can just download the online version. That won’t give you any problem in understanding it.

Features Of The Yaesu FT-857D

Here are some essential functions of the small wee radio that have made it progress towards the journey of perfection.

Wide frequency coverage: The 857D is the latest version of the Yaesu model, and with the ‘D’ version, they have included what used to be an optional feature, the DSP unit. And 60 meters has also been added to its frequency range.

The Yeasu Provides a transmitter coverage of the HF, 50 MHz, 144 MHz, and 430 MHz Amateur bands. The FT-857D also receives coverage on 100 kHz to 56 MHz, 76 to 108 MHz, 118-164 MHz, and 420-470 MHz.

Menu Access: The Yaesu FT857D gives you access to changing settings, adjusting your tones, scanning, searching, setting priority channels or frequencies, and so on.

You simply press the function button to get the menus and sub-menu and also use the Select Know to scroll through them.

Noise Reduction: This feature is an added option. It used to be optional but now has been included. It gives you a beneficial DSP noise reduction, adjustable DSP filtering.

This allows you to customize the radio’s audio to eliminate unwanted noise and interference permanently. It is an added advantage for people living around areas with much radio frequency activity.

Versatile Memory System: The Yaesu FT-857D provides up to 200 “Main” memory channels. You can then decide to name them with an Alpha-Numeric label of up to eight characters.

And these 200 Memories may be separated into as many as 10 Memory Groups of 20 Memories each.

Another additional thing about the Yaesu FT857D is the battery power level. It has an output of 100 Watts on 6-160M, 50W VHF & 20W UHF, FM-AM-SSB-CW (25W AM HF carrier).

This means you can change its TX power from 5W to 6W, 9W, or any Watts between 5 and 100.

Specifications And Capability Of The Yaesu FT857D

  • Detachable front panel.
  • It has 200 memories.
  • RX: 0.1-56MHz, 76-108MHz, 118-164MHz, 420-470MHz.
  • Bright LCD with a multi-color display.
  • Output is 100W 6-160M on FM-SSB-CW (25W AM carrier), & 50W VHF 2 meter, 20W UHF 70cm bands.
  • Receives all shortwave, AM/FM broadcast, & VHF-UHF frequencies.
  • Has 2 SO-239 Antenna outputs, one for 0-54Mhz, the other for VHF/UHF.

Optional Features Of The YAESU FT857D

Things You Would Definitely Like

Yaesu FT857D gives access to different external accessories to improve your operation. Some are necessary, while some are based on individual interests.

These include optional CW SSB filters, high-stability oscillators if you need to operate in the digital mode, DTMF hand mic that allows you to use auto-patch capability.

In contrast, the keypads on the mic will ease frequency entry and aid tuning within bands with convenience.

You may necessarily need to get an antenna. You need it. It is compulsory. Though the radio already has 2 SO-239 Antenna outputs (One for 0-54Mhz, the other for VHF/UHF)

For best result in transmission, you will still need to get some high-quality compatible antennas for the Yaesu FT857D, and it would work because the antenna system has this screwdriver style on it for ease of access.

Things You Might Not Like

But, there are some things to consider. You might not like them, and you may not regard them as issues, but you just need to know about them so you can see if you’ll need accessories to correct those that can be.

First and foremost, The controls look cramped, and the menu seems complicated with sub-menus. A lot of people have given up on the usage of the device regarding it as ‘too complicated.’

Secondly, The Yaesu FT857D requires new antenna. To make the best out of your ham radio, you’ll need to get an antenna. And this is enhanced by its screwdriver-style antenna system.

You will also find the buttons and dials of the radio challenging to use in the dark or under low light conditions.

The positions of the radio dials don’t show much under low light because some of these are not written with colored marks. The only way to solve this is to get a glowing paint to paint over the indentation and relevant ridge.

That would make the inscriptions and marks glow when it’s dark and show clearly when it’s the day.

Pros

  • Wide frequency coverage
  • Added DSP function
  • Affordable and compact.
  • Extended memory.
  • Dual menu access.

Cons

  • Poor internal speakers.
  • Too complicated menu.

Final Thoughts

The Yaesu is not short of excellent features. It shows that size doesn’t matter in quality in its functions, like the 100 watts output, LCD, ability to save 200 memories, and ARTS function.

These features make the unit compatible with almost any device and to virtually any type of signal for easier communication.

Despite having some imperfections, the product also boasts of its exceptional compatibility and flexibility that makes it easier to use for many clients and future patrons.

Other exceptional features that make the product worth purchasing is its noise elimination and Detachable front panel.

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