Firstly I would like to make clear that in no way am I tied up with Yaesu New Zealand the following review is of my own findings.
Towards the end of May 1998 New Zealand had its shipment come though after lengthy delays with Yaesu Japan I had my FT847 on order since December 1997 ( don't you hate waiting for something that you have ordered! )
The FT847 is very well packed comes with DC lead, spare fuses hand microphone and instruction manual I would have to give the writer 20 out of 10 for a superb manual very easy to read and well illustrated and is also catered for the newcomer to Amateur radio best manual I have ever read!.
The first impressions I had when unpacking the radio was its size, a bit bigger than I thought but still very small for what it does a very nice looking radio.The LCD display is blue very nice appearance with 'S' meter and power meter being part of the LCD display, you can also adjust the brightness via the MENU ( 1 ) it has a 7 level adjustment.
Now lets get down to the nitty gritty, how well does the radio perform? I will start with the Receiver but will split the performance up in frequency coverage.
Firstly the RX frequency coverage is:
The Selectivity of the FT847 is
I compared the FT847 receive performance with the following:
TS680 with broadcast band mods done to it.
Lets start from the bottom
100Khz to 500Khz The FT847 is a bit deaf compared to the 5000 and the 3030 but the 847 is better than the TS680.
500Khz to 1.8Mhz Very impressive little or no intermod or crossmod from strong broadcast signals the AR5000 and AR3030 are slightly better but the 847 is far better than the TS680.
1.8Mhz to 30Mhz What a HOT radio very impressive runs rings around the TS680 and is Equal if not better than the AR5000 and 3030 is a pleasure to us on HF !!!
30Mhz to 50Mhz superb is all I can say one of the best receivers I have played with ( good for us MUF watchers ) bows the ICR7000 and TS680 out of the water and better than the AR5000.
50Mhz to 54Mhz Being a 6m operator since 1981 this would be the best radio I have used selectivity and sensitivity is superb, handles strong signals with no problems there is no comparison with the TS680, ICR7000 and the IC551D the 847 is far superior.
54Mhz to 76Mhz Still a HOT radio although I did notice from approx 68Mhz to 76Mhz the gain was dropping off a wee bit the AR5000 was better at these frequencies but the 847 is still better than the ICR7000. also another plus was the 847 behaved its self with VERY strong signals ( we have a 100KW TV station on 62.240Mhz a good test for receivers!! ).
108Mhz to 144Mhz superb found not intermod from the 20 local FM broadcast stations ( most are running 10KW plus and 6 stations running more the 50KW!!) this is a good start, allot of receivers get clobbered by the broadcast stations, the 847 is equal to the AR5000 and is allot better than the ICR7000..
144Mhz to 148Mhz Best 2m radio I have ever played with , the antenna's being used on 2m are two ten element yagis with masthead preamp and masthead power amplifier, sat the 847 up against the AR5000, FT736R, ICR7000 and IC251 other than the AR5000 the 847 was far better than the others and was in parr with the AR5000 ( this is saying allot for the AR5000!! )
410Mhz to 430Mhz Very good is in parr to the AR5000 and is considerably better than the ICR7000.
430Mhz to 450Mhz Like the 2m band most impressive best receiver I have ever played with better than the FT736R and equal if not better than the AR5000, blows the ICR7000 away!
450Mhz to 512Mhz Still very good I did notice above 470Mhz the gain was falling of a bit but still no problems ( we here in ZL have utility stations and Police up on 480Mhz the 847 pulls then in with no problems at all )
The above tests are not overly technical but will give you an idea of the performance.Also the above tests where carried out with and without the internal preamp ( 144Mhz and 430Mhz preamp ) was quiet surprised with the out of band performance with the preamp turned on!
DIGITAL FILTER/DIGITAL NOTCH AND DIGITAL NOISE REDUCTION.
These are a great feature with the FT847 starting with the Digital filter, there are two knobs low cut and high cut this can be tailored to your needs this function does take some getting used to but once you have used it a few times it becomes quiet impressive
Also on CW the digital filter is adjustable through the Menu 10 you can select the CW band pass filter available values are 25/100/200 and 400Hz this function is amazing and works very well..
Digital notch: best I have seen this function is fully automatic, press the D.NOTCH button and offending tone within a spit second is gone! great for computer birdies on 6m etc!
Digital noise reduction: this can also be adjusted via menu 11 this sets the degree of DSP noise reduction, the scale is 0 to 15 the higher setting provides more noise reduction but gives a slight loss of fidelity on the incoming signal this function is also very impressive.
The FT847 also has a noise blanker that works very well.
Other receiver features are RF gain control, RF amp on/off ( 144 and 430Mhz only ) ATT switch for all bands, AGC fast/slow switch ( you can not turn the AGC off on the 847 ) IF shift control, Clarifier control and fast slow button for tuning speed.
Shuttle jog this takes some getting used to, the idea is for quick frequency changing, if you only move it slightly the frequency only changes slowly the more you rotate the knob the faster the frequency moves a superb idea for quick band hopping and frequency changing.
Internal preamp can be switched to a external premamp ( turns the internal preamp off and puts 12VDC @ 300ma to the 144Mhz and 430Mhz antenna port when the RF AMP switch is pressed ) this can be adjusted separately for VHF/UHF, both internal and external preamps cannot be used at the same time unless you have a separate supply rail to your preamp.
The transmitter of the FT847 is 100w HF/6m and 50w 2m/70cm. there are 2 fans cooling the transmit stage ( one fan is on all the time and when the ptt is pressed the other fan starts up for better circulation )
Some of the great features of the 847 are:
Out of band transmit mods for the FT847
WARNING! Any modification made is performed at your own risk. Modifications made could void your warranty.The author assume no responsibility for damage caused to your radio .
Please check and obey your local regulations before transmitting out side the licensed spectrum.
Note: There are different versions to the FT847 some may NOT modify.
The Frequency coverage of the 847 TX once modified is:
1.8Mhz to 76Mhz ( no gaps ) WARNING DO NOT TRANSMIT IN THE RANGE 32MHZ TO 37MHZ AS YOU ARE TRANSMITTING INTO A LOW PASS FILTER AND COULD DO DAMAGE TO THE POWER AMPLIFIER.
137Mhz to 174 Mhz and 410Mhz to 470Mhz
The modifications are quiet simple:
Remove bottom cover you will see the backup battery, on the left hand side their are 6 solder pads numbered 1 to 6 pad one already has a 0 ohm chip resistor across it, short pads 2 and 3 with 0 ohm chip resistors or just use solder ( not as neat ).
Check pad 6 if it has a chip resistor on it remove it ( if it is not removed the radio will not go out of band on HF and 6M )
Replace cover , reconnect radio press the fast and lock buttons together at the same time and turn the radio on this will reset the micro ( you will loose all your memories ).
Testing this mod on a dummy load and watt meter found 1.8Mhz to 30Mhz getting a good 100W right though, from 37Mhz to 50Mhz was also very close to a 100W!!
From 54Mhz to 76Mhz the power did drop off the higher the frequency at 70Mhz getting approx 20W.
137Mhz to 174Mhz was pretty good with output of 50W!! found the same on 410Mhz to 470Mhz !!
OTHER FUNCTIONS OF THE FT847
The FT847 has allot of additional features I will not go into all of them but will try and go though some of them.
SCANNING The FT847's Memory system provides a wide variety of facilities which enhance operating efficiency and convenience. The Memory system stores frequency, operation mode, bandwidth, repeater offset and tone data, and clarifier information.
The same thing applies to 6M ( 37 to 76Mhz ) I have 50.110 as my HOME channel on this band.
ON 2M ( 108 to 174 Mhz ) I have 144.1Mhz on HOME channel and on 70CM ( 410 to 512Mhz ) have 433.1Mhz on HOME channel.
SCANNING OPERATION The FT847 can scan the memories, what memories you don't want scanned you can "pass" the memory. The scan will operate with SQ open it will sit at each frequency this can be user adjustable via menu 26.
PROGRAMMABLE MEMORY SCAN The FT847 has one programmable memory scan It is very easy to operate and works well, like the scan mode you can scan you lower to upper limit with the SQ open.
MENU SYSTEM The FT847 has a superb MENU system allows customization of many aspects of transceiver performance by the user. the parameters adjusted via the MENU system are performance characteristics which do not require adjustment in "real time" by the user but rather are "set and forget" parameters which optimise the transceivers setup configuration for the way you like to operate.
The MENU system is easy to activate all you do is press MENU and rotate the SUB-TUNE control to select the item to be adjusted. Then rotate the MEM/VFO CH control to adjust or select the parameter to be changed on the MENU item selected.
The FT847 also has a SERVICE MENU for alignment of the radio, I would not recommend using this function without the service manual and proper test gear.
to access the ALIGNMENT MENU turn radio off press the UP, DWN and FAST keys on the microphone together while turning the radio on again, the alignment parameter is selected by rotating the SUB-TUNE dial and the alignment is performed by pressing the MCK/W key.
DOWN SIDES OF THE FT847
Like all radios there are down sides ( you can't please everyone! ) the following are some of the functions and faults I do not like.
VOLUME CONTROL The problem here is at low volume lets say scale 0 to 10 ( 10 being the loudest ) between 2 and 3 there is a sudden jump, the volume goes from a low volume setting to a much higher setting with little or no adjustment ( goes from a 2 to a 5 ) .there has been allot of talk on the internet regarding this problem, one of the fixes is to remove bottom cover, on the right hand side at the back there is the audio ic , pin 1 of the ic ( closest to the back ) is cut and a 47k 1/4W resistor is put in series with pin 1. I have tried this modification and have found all this is doing is hiding the fault not fixing it ( all the mod is doing is cutting the audio down so the volume has to be turned up a bit more for the same affect ).
CROSS BAND REPEAT Yaesu missed the boat a bit here, the FT847 does have cross band repeat but one way only, this is a big down fall this means if you say have 50.150Mhz in one VFO and say 438.840Mhz in the other VFO, when the SQ opens the 847 will transmit on 438.840 but you can not then transmit on 438.840 remotely so the FT847 transmits on 50.150Mhz!
The other downside of the cross band repeat is you cannot scan the RX while in this mode, this would have been a good feature eg TX on 438.840 and RX scanning say 28.885, 50.100, 50.110, 50.125, 50.200, 144.100, and 144.200Mhz etc.
MEMORY SCAN On memory scan the 847 will not scan in banks, Yaesu could have had say the 100 memories split up into 10 lots of 10 memories you could then join them all together to have the 100 memories but you can have the choice of spitting them up.
If you want to only scan certain memories only you have to "pass" all the others this makes memory scanning not user friendly.
PROGRAMMABLE MEMORY SCAN ( LIMIT SCAN ) The FT847 only has one limit scan
I do not think this is enough, Yaesu could have had say a limit scan for each band ( one for HF only, one for 6m, one for 2m, and one for 70cm etc ).
FAN Allot of the FT847 owners have complained about the noisy fan ( one fan runs all the time and when you transmit the second fan starts up ) I personally do not have a problem with this lets face it most powersupplies have fans and what about computers they have fans running all the time too!
DUAL RECEIVE The 847 does not have dual receive function but the priority function does work very well
VOX There is no VOX function on the 847
DTMF ON TRANSCEIVER The FT847 does not have DTMF unless you purchase the DTMF microphone.
If you are looking around for a multimode multiband transceiver with superb receive performance and compact enough to be used for mobile applications look no further the FT847 has it all, I think Yaesu has pulled one out of the bag!. It would be by far the best transceiver I have ever owned, anyone purchasing this radio I am sure would not look back on there investment.
The FT847 would also be a great choice for the newcomer to Amateur radio everything you would want all in one well worth considering.
73's Mike Foubister ZL3TIC
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