Field day with FT-857D

Got a second hand FT-857 last week, you can’t tell from the printed label whether it is a FT-857 or the D or the ND version, and also there are options like a TCXO and various filters. This one seems to be the D version because it has 60m and it has DSP filtering, and the CW filter is clearly there although I probably won’t use it. The receiver performs like a charm, maybe it seems somewhat noisier than the FT-991 but, if you play around with the RF gain and the filters, and if you listen on the headset then it is a very acceptable transceiver. No ATU, so your antenna SWR needs to be under 3 (probably), but to be honest, it is not very difficult to tune the antenna with a separate analyzer. Already did this for the vertical whip for 20m so I took the FT-857 in the field and made some QSOs.

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FT-857 on the dashboard, it ran for 1,5 hour on a 3S lipo and I made a couple of QSOs. When the 3S lipo goes below 11.4 Volt I normally stop.
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The whip got some tie wraps to prevent collapse, as you can see the weather was somewhat chilly, as was the 20m propagation on the 14th of April.
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I modified the magnetic suction clamp from MFJ and added three radials, and a choke balun. For 20 m my car roof is not large enough to form a decent counterpoise, with the radials it works fine. The farmer did not care whether I was there with the car, we had a chat about his smart dog and antennas.

I like this set-up for in the car, it is easy to do, easier compared to getting the FT-991 in the field. The 857 fits on your dashboard, everything (cables headset, mike, ropes) fits in one suitcase, with the 991 I end up carrying at least a bag next to the suitcase. Getting my tuner to work with this set still needs some work, the LDG YT-1200 is designed for the CAT interface, and not a CAT-IV interface, so I need a conversion cable and some conversion electronics.

Last update: 15-4-2017

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