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Old 01-12-2013, 13:12   #1
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Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?

Hi,

I am currently using a Yaesu FT 897D, SGC-230 ATU and sloping alternate backstay antenna on my sailing boat.
The FT-897 is really very sturdy, a versatile little workhorse but its receiver is easily overloaded and noisy.
I can now pick up a used Icom ic7000 at a good price. It is reputed to have a good to very good receiver for its price, with IF-DSP, digital filters.

However I also read about persistent issues:
- running warm on RX and hot or failure on transmit...
- very sensitive to feed voltage it needs 13,6V....the 12,6V of my gel house bank will easily go down to 12V on full power transmit at 20 Amps.

Any experiences?
Should I go for the ic-7000 to replace the FT897D and install also a voltage booster to keep about 13,6V?

BTW I tested the FT897D on the bench with my Diamond GSV3000 PSU and dummy load.
PEP power remains about 90 watts from 13,8V down to 12,0V.....
The FT897 doesn't seems to suffer from "mobile" power conditions from batteries.

Jan
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Old 02-12-2013, 16:35   #2
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Re: Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?

Jan,
As you know, a ham's choice of radio is even more controversial than a sailor's choice of anchors!!
And, the specific application that you're using the radio for, will invariably play a large part in what radio would work best for you...
So, while I can give you a honest comparison of the two different radios' specs, and recommend one vs. the other, there might be others who will make an opposite recommendation for various applications (comparing the same specs..)

{I'm going to assume that your application is primarily HF ham voice/SSB communications...and yes, you can improve on your 897, with a modest investment ($1000 or less)...

But, if your application is primarily CW (especially CW contesting), then you will need to spend much more $$$$ to get acceptable CW-contesting performance...
The problem is the close-in spec of most modern radios just isn't up-to-the-task....
For some explanations of the above, have a look at Rob Sherwood's presentations / seminars / white papers...

Sherwood Engineering Inc. (SEI)
Enjoy...}



1) First off, if you are actually experiencing receiver overload (de-sense and/or cross-mod) from signals well outside your passband, say 20khz - 50khz (or more) away from your frequency, when on-board with a simple random-length vertical, then I have a few quick thoughts before we even get into what radio is better than another...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goudurix View Post
I am currently using a Yaesu FT 897D, SGC-230 ATU and sloping alternate backstay antenna on my sailing boat.
The FT-897 is really very sturdy, a versatile little workhorse but its receiver is easily overloaded and noisy.
I can now pick up a used Icom ic7000 at a good price. It is reputed to have a good to very good receiver for its price, with IF-DSP, digital filters.
a) Make sure that you have the "pre-amp" turned OFF....(or in Yaesu's terminology, turn ON / activate the "IPO").....there should be no need for the pre-amp on the HF bands...
b) Make sure you have the Noise Blanker (NB) turned OFF.....(I can count on my fingers of one hand, the number of radios whose noise blankers do not adversely effect their rec dynamic range, both blocking/overload DR and IMD DR)
Noise blankers usually are effectively used just for "impulse noise", of which there is none at sea, and little on-board, so use of noise blanker is typically not necessary on-board...
c) Adjust the RF Gain down when you can (and turn volume/AF up as needed)
d) Use the attenuator (ATT) when you can, as well...as this will drop all signals (and noise) by about 10db, and further reduce overloading issues...

If, after doing these things/adjustments, you still have "overloading", please give more specifics....as you may have a receiver issue...



2) If you're having receiver IMD issues, not actual "overload", but reciprocal-mixing IMD products and non-linearities, generated inside your receiver, caused by strong stations near your passband mixing with your receiver's internal oscillator's noise.....then the above 4 things/adjustments also should improve the situation (as would buying a radio with better overload and IMD specs..)

But, you may be finding your receiver effected by others transmitters poor spectral purity (transmitted noise, NOT "splatter")....
This is a getting to be a real big problem on the HF ham bands these days, as more and more hams are using poorer and poorer transmitters, from which the transmitted noise causes receiver problems in others receivers outside the receiver's passband....(the transmitted noise mixes with your receiver's noise and the signals you're receiving, and causes rapid rises in non-linear responses/products in your receiver...)
{You see why I'm such a forceful opponent of using ham radios on the marine bands!!!}

Please note that this is NOT "splatter" that you hear from other stations, who are using transmitters with poor IMD specs and/or running them in a non-linear region (overdriving the modulator circuits, using ALC-based speech processing, increasing RF Drive levels / bypassing PA ALC systems, overdriving external PA's, etc. etc. etc...)
(I assume if you were having issues with splatter, you'd have mentioned that...)




3) Now onto some FT-897 vs. IC-7000 receiver specifics....
a) The FT-897 doesn't have the best oscil phase noise and its noise-limited close-in receive IMD tests and transmitted IMD products show this.....
So, in general the IC-7000 has better overall oscillator phase noise and less issues with reciprocal mixing products....

b) Comparing the exact specs, show the 7000 has a slight advantage (3db) in Blocking DR at 20khz, and a disadvantage of 8db at close-in (5khz) receive IMD tests...although the FT-897's close-in tests were noise-limited (which is borne out by your mention of it being a "noisy" receiver...)

c) And, in IMD3 testing, the IC-7000 and FT-897 are about equal (withn one db) at 20khz spacing, but at narrower 5khz spacing the IC-7000 shows an advantage of 10db - 12db...


So, on the surface, the IC-7000's receiver does have an advantage over the FT-897....but, not overwhelmingly dramatic...




4) Not sure what price you were considering paying for a new-to-you radio...but, you could do better than the IC-7000, the above minor advantages notwithstanding....(BTW, "IF-DSP" is not a cure-all for poor radio design / poor oscillator design....and even though the 7000 is better than the 897, it isn't that much better...)
And, once you add in the other issues that you highlight...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goudurix View Post
However I also read about persistent issues:
- running warm on RX and hot or failure on transmit...
- very sensitive to feed voltage it needs 13,6V....the 12,6V of my gel house bank will easily go down to 12V on full power transmit at 20 Amps.

Any experiences?
Should I go for the ic-7000 to replace the FT897D and install also a voltage booster to keep about 13,6V?

BTW I tested the FT897D on the bench with my Diamond GSV3000 PSU and dummy load.
PEP power remains about 90 watts from 13,8V down to 12,0V.....
The FT897 doesn't seems to suffer from "mobile" power conditions from batteries.
You may be trading one or two current problems, for one or two NEW problems!!!

{And, Jan, please understand that while the 897 might still show 90 watts output on a meter, @ 12vdc, the transmit purity and transmit IMD at that lower voltage is truly horrible!!!

Heck, even at 13.8vdc, the 897's transmit IMD specs are pretty bad...
From the ARRL product review: "Spectral display of the FT-897 transmitter during two-tone intermodulation distortion (IMD) testing on HF. Third order product is approximately 23 dB below PEP output, and the worst-case fifth-order product is approximately 37 dB down. The transmitter was being operated at 100 W output."

And, higher-order products (7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th) all plateauing at - 48 to - 50db....

Sorry to say, but it is transmitters like the 897 that contribute to the problems of others on-the-air.... }




5) And further, to be blunt.....
Why not simply look for a used Icom M-700Pro???
I just saw one on e-bay, sell for $550 USD, with a 30-day warranty....
It has an excellent receiver, which is almost impossible to overload...and one of the best HF transmitters made in the past 40 years!!!
It has an easy-to-use VFO-mode and makes an excellent HF ham radio, and although does not have DSC, it is still a very good HF Marine radio!!




6) Finally, to sum-up....
-- The IC-7000's receiver IS better than the FT897's..and you would probably find it better overall than the 897....
[and, the IC-7000's transmit IMD is much better, with 3rd at -33db; 5th at - 50db; 7th at -57db; 9th at -58db, and plateauing....]
-- If you make the 4 changes / adjustments to your 897, that I highlighted above (#1, a thru d), and still find the 897 to be unacceptable for your application...
Then, yes you'd probably find the IC-7000 to work better for you...
(To be clear, I've used a 7000, and while it isn't a bad radio, it's not really what I'd recommend...)
-- The added issues (your mentioning of the 7000's warm/hot operating temps, and its low-voltage transmit cut-out) would be a problem for most....and here again, I'd recommend looking for a used M-700Pro....


FYI, you can see some radio reviews / specs here:
The page you're trying to view is for members only.
Receiver Test Data
https://comm.capnhq.gov/comm/equipme...ent.cfm?type=a
https://comm.capnhq.gov/comm/equipme...ent.cfm?type=c

And, have a look at this thread as well...
Icom 725, switch to SSB




Jan, I know I didn't give you a clear-cut, YES or NO....
But, I do hope this helps...


73,
John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 02-12-2013, 17:33   #3
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Re: Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?

Everything John wrote and.... YES!

I had a Yaesu 857D for a number of years, both on my boat (in addition to my ICOM M700PRO) and my home. It is a handy little radio. IIRC...the circuit board in the 897 is identical...they are basically the same radio's.

After moving ashore, I had terrible reception in my new home. It was not at all an ideal ham set up. At any rate, after a good bit of research, I decided it was time to upgrade and I bought the ICOM 7200. WOW...honestly, night and day difference...in the exact same set up. I just plugged in the new transceiver.

My amateur understanding is that in order to pack in all the bands and modes into a small set, such as the 857/897, you give up some performance. And, to be sure, the 897 is fairly old technology now.

I am very happy with the ICOM 7200. It is a dedicated HF rig....so...no compromises. The 7000, on the other hand, still covers HF/VHF/UHF. I am now a believer in having separate radio's for separate bands areas and so have a dedicated HF, dedicated VHF (Yaesu 1900R...great little rig) and UHF (an HT).

I think the ICOM 7000 IS a better rig than the 897, and you will notice the difference. If you want even better performance, I would get a dedicated HF rig such as the 7200, or if on your boat, get a used ICOM M700Pro, marine SSB. And get a dedicated VHF rig, such as the very inexpensive Yaesu 1900.

Just my 0.02, and everything John said.

73,
John
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Old 02-12-2013, 17:45   #4
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Re: Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?

ps - after reading a little more....yes, again. I think you have a voltage issue as well. I never liked Gel cell batts. I though they drained far too fast and were slow to equilibrate voltage. So...yes, I think something should be done about that.

What you could do is get a AGM or flooded starter batt, and wire your radio directly to the battery (with a circuit breaker as well). I never could go through my house wiring and get good performance or not have significant voltage drops. Or...bite the bullet and change out the gels for AGM's....and wire directly to one in the house bank. I know....expensive.

Need to wire direct. And need some other batt, than a gel.

Just my 0.02

All the best

John
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:45   #5
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If you are looking for a transceiver with outstanding receive performace, and one that works well at 12 volts, take a look at the Elecraft K3. It is a favorite of DXpeditions and is fairly compact to boot. I know, more expensive than the Icom offerings. I dont have a K3, but do have a KX3 and a K2 which I could not be happier with.

I also have an Icom Ic-7000 on the boat to back up the M802, and it does fine for routine use, though I do use a voltage booster with it and take steps to keep good air flow across it.

For CW use, the Elecraft rigs make the others cry.

Chip
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:09   #6
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Re: Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?

Hi guys thank you for all your interesting replies so far!

@John KA4WJA: very detailed as usual thanks! I know a dedicated HF rig would be better but I do like the small size, I don't have a lot of installation space at my nav station, and I also like the redundancy for marine vhf on a combined HF-VHF rig. Of course I have to live with the fact that those will always be a "compromise" solution.
What the heck I wish I had the place to install one of my 2 old Ken TS-850's in the boat! Still a good rig from the "analog" period and a very nice and quiet receiver. I have one "AT" version with a more recent serial number, and an "early" one where I had the leaky caps replaced that I keep for replacement parts if needed but still working OK.
I also like the tech look of a large transceiver with all its dedicated switches and knobs...

@John Drake: ...mmh now you get me startled...I installed the Deka deep-cycle gel batteries to replace Mastervolt AGM's that died after 3,5 years of use... quite an investment, and on top I replaced the stock Hitachi alternator by a Balmar alternator with smart charger to avoid overcharging the gels during long motoring runs ( that is what I think happened to the AGM's).
Anyhow I do have the FT-897 directly wired to the twin Deka gel house bank (200 Ah).
I was also looking at the Icom 7200...it looks nice has a bit of a "military" look but of course it is only HF, not the combined rig I am looking for.
I think (hope?) its receiver and IF-DSP tools are quite similar to the ic7000?

Because....I bought this ic7000 2 days ago, it was at a bargain and had to move rapidly....so now I have 2 HF-VHF compact mobile rigs.....and will surely compare them both to decide which one ends up for boat duty..

@Chip: What I will do anyhow is install a voltage booster...I do have some questions on tweaking the ic7000's PBT and also how to rig it for digimodes (psk31) but will do so on eHam or QRZ.com forum.

Thanks again!

Jan
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:09   #7
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Re: Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?

Jan,
With these 3 additional data points:
a) Your need/desire for a small/compact radio...
b) Your need/desire for an HF/VHF/UHF all-in-one, "shack-in-a-box" transceiver...
c) You've already purchased an IC-7000..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goudurix View Post
I know a dedicated HF rig would be better but I do like the small size, I don't have a lot of installation space at my nav station, and I also like the redundancy for marine vhf on a combined HF-VHF rig.
Because....I bought this ic7000 2 days ago, it was at a bargain and had to move rapidly....so now I have 2 HF-VHF compact mobile rigs.....and will surely compare them both to decide which one ends up for boat duty..
The IC-7000 is a good choice for you, and you should find it to work better than your 897....
(just remember to set/adjust things to suit your application, and as I mentioned earlier there are ways to reduce overload and internal IMD issues, such as no pre-amp, no noise blanker, ride the RF Gain, and use attenuator when needed....)


Enjoy your new radio!!!
Fair winds...


73,
John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:45   #8
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Re: Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?

Hi Jan

I too, think the 7000 is an excellent rig and you will like it much more than the 897. It is an excellent choice for the circumstances you describe. I definitely understand the need for wanting an all in one HF/VHF/UHF transceiver.

I think the performance will be very good on the boat. One thing that should be mentioned is that a boat can be an ideal HF platform. As I have recently discovered...MUCH more so than a home on land.

You can have a long, tall antenna and an outstanding counterpoise, tied to seawater. You are transmitting and receiving from a flat, ionized surface. As you know, the antenna system makes a great deal of difference and so, I am sure the 7000 will give you the performance you desire.

If you have not considered it, or do not know about it, the RT systems cable and software for programming these rigs is very good. I have no connection with the company, but have used their programming products for 2 or 3 radio's and am very very pleased. Really is helpful to have any and all channels programmed into your rig.

Best of luck

73
John

[and note to John....I never hear you on the Mon night MCARA net....you should jump on]
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:54   #9
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Re: Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?

Can I assume that the comments on the M700Pro also apply to the M700? They seem similar except for the front panel.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:59   #10
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Re: Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?

Hi John & John,

Yes I look forward to test this rig on the boat, that will be next spring, in the meantime I will get familiar with it in the home shack.

Indeed I feel a bit awkward having it bought just before getting your advices, one day after posting my questions.

I will have plenty of time to test it A/B against the FT897D (that I am keeping for the time being) and to the Kenwood TS850 as the "good old reference with its quite receiver".

I will install a voltage booster even the FT897 would have benefitted from that.

Onze thing that is not very convincing in the ic7000 is the audio from the small loudspeaker so I will test using a larger desktop speaker.

Thanks & kind regards,
73's,

Jan
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:04   #11
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Re: Buy me an Icom ic-7000 instead of Yaesu FT897?

David,
Unfortunately, no...
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdkester View Post
Can I assume that the comments on the M700Pro also apply to the M700? They seem similar except for the front panel.
The M700 and M700Pro are different radios inside....
And, while the M700 is not a bad radio (and its transmitter is certainly better than many HF ham radios) it is NOT the same radio as the M-700Pro, and in addition to not having as good transmitter, I don't believe it has a "vfo mode", and therefore isn't well suited to ham radio operation...
(I'm working at a client's office at the moment, or I'd look up some more details for you.....but the above is what I know, off the top of my head...)



Sorry if that isn't the answer you were hoping for David, but I hope this helps in any case...

Fair winds...

John
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