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Old 25-07-2018, 12:48   #1
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Yaesu FT747

I happen to own a ft-747 with all the options, FM board and stabilized oscillator. It's also capable of continuous transmission from 500kc-30mhz.

I'd hate to abandon this radio as it is in mint condition and always been serviced every few years. I assume it will work with a Pactor modem as I had it working with other packet modem products, the Tiger modem was one.

Is my FT747 any good for a boat installation? Email? SSB chatting? Emergencies? Weather reports?
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Old 26-07-2018, 09:38   #2
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Re: Yaesu FT747

no opinions?
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Old 27-07-2018, 07:49   #3
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Re: Yaesu FT747

Wally,
Sorry I'm not watching Cruiser's Forum every day.... so, here are your answers:

The FT-747 is a 30-yr old, basic entry-level HF ham rig....(similar to the old IC-725).

{FYI, unless you have a need for e-mail access when at sea / on passage / away from shore (such as you run a business while out cruising), then it's doubtful you'd ever need a PACTOR modem and I'd not recommend one....but, you are asking about one...so...}

If you already have the FT-747, it works, and you like using it...well then no worries, go ahead and use it on your boat too...but..

But, remember a few things:

a) it's old

b) it's an older basic radio, with a rather poor main oscillator (noisy)...and no RF Gain control means the radio's receiver is run "wide-open" all the time, unless you switch in the attenuator...(and with the bottoming-out of the solar cycle next year or two, and three, the lower bands will be where you'll be doing much of your operating, and these have much higher natural noise, so a radio with an RF gain control is nice....but, you'll be able to use the ATTenuator to help)

c) it's transmitter is not designed for the commercial marine bands, and as such does not produce as clean of a signal (this alone may make you unfriendly on the marine bands, and I'd not recommend using it there....oh yeah, it's illegal, too)

d) You may have a mic / rec-audio cable to allow use of the radio with an old packet modem?? (if not you will need one to interface to a PACTOR modem, if you were considering that...) And, while it might work with a PACTOR modem, it's not a high-duty cycle radio, and would need to be concerned about overheating / overdriving it...(and, I don't think it's on the Sailmail approved list??)

e) its rather odd "plastic case", although supposedly metallic-infused, makes me leery of RFI issues on-board??


f) unless you have the old FC-1000 remote tuner (and interface module for it), you would need to buy a generic remote tuner (such as an SGC-230, which has had some QC issues over the past few years)

g) I don't believe it has any speech compression / speech processor (a good thing not to have in a basic radio...but a feature that would make your signal much louder n easier to copy, when used with compromise antennas, etc.)



As for specifics...
Quote:
Originally Posted by wallythacker View Post
I happen to own a ft-747 with all the options, FM board and stabilized oscillator. It's also capable of continuous transmission from 500kc-30mhz.
With the solar cycle on the steep decline, 10m is dead (or will be) most of the time....so, no need to worry about any FM activity for the next 3 years or more...

High-stability osci is good....but remember this old rig's osc are rather crude / noisy, making the radio's rec nosie-limited in some crowded conditions (as well as not so good for cw and some digital modes), yes it works, just not really close to state-of-the-art

Continuous transmit coverage is okay for emergencies or an occasional jaunt to talk to a friend for a minute, but since this radio's transmitter isn't as clean as a marine radio, you will probably be interfering with someone on an adjacent channel/freq...so, I highly advise against it...[btw, this is personal peeve of mine...I won't ramble on here, but please buy a marine radio for the marine bands]
And, except in emergencies, it's illegal..


I'd hate to abandon this radio as it is in mint condition and always been serviced every few years. I assume it will work with a Pactor modem as I had it working with other packet modem products, the Tiger modem was one.
It's highly doubtful, you'd need a PACTOR modem....but see above for details...


Is my FT747 any good for a boat installation?
Aside form my concerns of its RFI susceptibility and its age, the 747 is a good "mobile" radio, and actually works fairly well on "battery voltages" (12vdc to 12.6vdc), where some ham rigs (most modern ham rigs) fail completely, as they need at least 13vdc to actually work well...

Email?
See above for details..

SSB chatting?
On the ham bands, sure!
On the marine bands, NO!!


Emergencies?
Depending on where you are sailing, and how good of a radio operator you are, and your knowledge of radiowave propagation....it might be okay for emergencies....just all depends...
But, would I recommend this radio (or any ham rig) for this propose? NO...


Weather reports?
Yes, it will work okay for Voice weather broadcasts...and with an interface to a laptop or tablet, you can get some nice WeFax images...
(again, please remember my caveats about RFI....and where you are sailing, and how good of a radio operator you are, and your knowledge of radiowave propagation...)
Notice, I didn't mention DSC?
MF/HF-DSC is an important part of the GMDSS, and no ham radio has it...please read more and watch the videos for lots of info...


I think the above answers all your questions regarding this specific radio??
So...

So, now please have a look at these "stickies" and watch these videos!!
They will help you a LOT!

Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)

HF-SSB Radio, Proper Installation Tips/Techniques, etc.

DSC (Digital Selective Calling) Explanation

EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds!!

New HF-DSC Explanation and LIVE Demonstration Videos


HF-DSC Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX

Maritime HF Comms
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y

Offshore Weather
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY


VHF-DSC
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...J6QugtO2epizxF

Icom M-802 Instructions
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr


I hope this helps.

Fair winds.

John

P.S. I've done a new video on radiowave propagation and freq/channel choice....and I'm going to do another (simpler) DSC video and show two radios in DSC comms with each other simultaneously....hopefully I'll have time next month?? And, I'll post here on CF when I get 'em uploaded...
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Old 09-09-2018, 06:47   #4
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Re: Yaesu FT747

John,

Thank you so very much for a clear and complete overview and detail of how my old rig fits into the modern world!

I think, since I already have it, know it as to some of its quirks, feel comfortable and at home with it, I may as well keep it in the boat shack and use the strengths it has and avoid the weaknesses.

I spent many an hour with it, years ago, I can operate it blindfolded, with some refreshing I can service it.

Realistically, it is time for me to shop around for a newer rig, a rig with the features I want to use as my primary. I'm not keen on the learning curve of more gear but it's the price to pay when you want to keep up to date. Progress has always felt like a double edged sword to me.

I consider my 747 to have a value of $0 so there's no thoughts of selling it. But where can you find a backup rig for free? So it will find a place in the shack, even if I use it sparingly, my sleep will be easier knowing there's a secondary rig, capable, reliable, warts and all, that might be the difference between my family and I dying on the high seas or living to old ages with stories to tell.

There's a fair bit of sentimental value in the old girl. I bought her new as a young man with very little money and she was my pride and joy.
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Old 09-09-2018, 09:11   #5
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Re: Yaesu FT747

Quote:
Originally Posted by wallythacker View Post
I happen to own a ft-747 with all the options, FM board and stabilized oscillator. It's also capable of continuous transmission from 500kc-30mhz.

Is my FT747 any good for a boat installation? Email? SSB chatting? Emergencies? Weather reports?
The ft747 is not type accepted for marine use. Its a old ham radio and a very budget one at that. build from mid 80s to early 90s. It was also OEM'ed by heathkit.. The radio unmodified would not work on marine frequencies. There is a "MARS" mod that will make it work on all frequencies but that doest make it legal on all freq. FM option is unimportant on marine HF freqs.

Its worth $300-400 in the ham market.
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