The Famed Yaesu FT-857D

Yaesu FT-857D Installed in carFor mobile use, I have now exchanged the FT-7900 2M FM radio for a Yaesu FT-857D radio along with an ATAS 120A antenna.

The reason for installing the Yaesu FT-857D into the car is my main interest being the HF bands.

Yaesu markets this radio by saying “The Yaesu FT-857D, the world’s smallest HF/VHF/UHF mobile transceiver, provides base station-type performance from an ultra-compact package that’s ideal for mobile or external battery portable work.

Wide frequency coverage, outstanding receiver performance, and the convenience of optional remote-head operation make the FT-857D the expert’s choice for high-performance mobile operation!”

Well, does it live up to it’s reputation?
I think it does. Although the 857 has now been discontinued and superseded by a new model, it’s had quite a long production lifetime, which surely says a lot about it. This radio shares the same internals as it’s larger brother, the 897D.

Thus both radios have the same set of features with only a slight front panel layout difference, and the addition of a battery tray in the 897 making it ideal for portable use.

The main selling point of the Yaesu FT-857D is is small size which contains a full “shack in a box” covering all the amateur bands from 1.8MHz through to 440MHz, not to mention full general coverage receive including broadcast FM and airbands.

The downside of being compact means that a lot of the functions are accessed through the menu system. Until you get used to using the menus, it can appear a bit daunting. On a positive note, it is possible to program your favourite functions into a set of three buttons making access to those functions instant.

The radio is ideal for mobile use due to the option of being able to mount the front panel (head) remotely from the main unit. In the picture above, you can see I have the head mounted below the car radio using the remote mounting kit.

At the bottom of the photo, can be seen an extension speaker for the radio, although if I really wanted, I could use the audio out jack in the head to feed the 857’s audio into the aux in jack on my car stereo.

Yaesu FT-857D body installed in car bootThe main body of the radio is out of the way in the boot of the car.

The power cables are taken directly to the battery, being discretely hidden behind the interior trim.

For more information on how to install a mobile amateur radio such as the Yaesu FT-857D into a vehicle, why not read my guide?