Operational notes on equipment used by NA4IT

LDG AT-100ProII Autotuner
This tuner is coupled to my FT-857D on base. It works very well. It will tune all bands on my antennas except 160M. On a full size 160M dipole, it will tune a 60KHz spread of the band, depending on where the antenna is resonant. Only other problem is when operating the FT-857D on the 70CM band, you have to fully bypass the tuner (put it in semi-auto mode and bypass) or it will attempt to do a tune cycle. THIS IS NOT a fault of the tuner, but the FT-857D. Seems there is a vry miniscule amount of RF that goes out of the HF antenna port when the radio is on 70CM.

Timewave DSP-9
I bought my unit used. Not much to say except IT WORKS! And works well!

Yaesu FT-857D
Well, I have two of these. I started with one as a mobile rig that replaced an Icom IC-706MKIIG. I now also have one I use as a base radio.
This radio has a great receiver. The DSP functions are good and work well. The menus are easy to understand once you get used to the layout. As with most Yaesu radios I have had, the automatic notch filter has a lot to be desired. I run a Timewave DSP-9 externally to the rig and use the notch filter in it. I have literally run the radio on all bands all modes, and have not found a problem. I highly recommend this radio to someone starting out as a general class ham.

Yaesu FT-450 & FT-450AT

Well, I did some hoss trading, and have aquired a Yaesu FT-450. I am totally amazed at the receive in this radio. I am also getting "awesome" audio and signal reports. I have found 3 things I wish were different...

1. Unfortunately my rig has the 450hz TX audio hum. This rig was at Yaesu in April 2008 before I aquired it, and the TX problem was either not found, not mentioned, or ignored. Since it is not considered a warranty item, I have decide to wait until the "fix" gets posted to the web, and then I will repair it myself. It is low level, and not heard when I am talking or on digital. (NOTE: I did repair this problem by adding grounding straps between the face and body of the radio!)

2. With such a great receiver, I can't understand why there is a manually tuned notch filter. It would be nice if it had been an auto-notch.

3. I have found the audio out in the "data jack' is a little low. I am having to run my sound card modes with the line in wide open.

BUT...as far as I am concerned, all of it is liveable. The newer FT-450's don't have the TX audio problem. If you are looking at an entry level rig, save a few extra pennies and get one of these, you won't be disappointed!

Later, I did trade into a FT-450AT model. The autotuner lacks much to be desired. It will only tune at the max a 3:1 SWR down to useable levels. If you buy the AT model, buy a good manual tuner also...

Yaesu FT-8800R VHF / UHF

Best radio I have ever owned for a dual band rig. Has an extensive memory system that makes it highly changeable in configuration. Has the 6-pin mini din packet jack in back and works excellent for ARPS, Packet or Sound Card digital. Does crossband repeat well... highly recommend this radio and the software for programming.

Alinco DR-235 (non TNC model)

This series of Alinco radios (the 135 2M, 235 220MHz, and 435 70CM) all are worth the money. They are a little tough to program and sometimes the TX audio is a little too loud (deviation too high). Other than that, they all have a DB-9 jack in the back for connecting to TNCs, Sound Cards, or even to another radio. These make good repeaters, but a lot of cooling is needed. Work very well for linking radios.

Yaesu FT-60 VHF / UHF Handie Talkie

Again, I highly recommend this radio. Flat does everything well. Rechargeable battery lasts a long time in RX mode, and AA battery case available. Not fond of the SMA antenna connector, but I'll live with it. Get the MFJ-1715S antenna for extended range.

Azden PCS-6000H 2M VHF

A friend of mine gave me this radio. I have had it on packet ever since. Works well for me...  (You got one you wanna sell? Contact me!)

Icom IC-718 HF

Good entry level HF rig. A lot of these being used by MARS members, and quite a few in service as WL2K PMBO (RMS) stations. Once used to the menus, easy to operate. One needs to remember, the DSP filtering is a NOISE filtering unit, not audio. I chose instead of buying filters that are set to a certain band width, to spend $50 on a used Heathkit HD-1418 Active Audio Filter, and it works well, combined with the 718's DSP noise filter and automatic notch. The 718 is a little finicky on input voltage, and will run less output on even slightly lower voltage. All in all, good radio.

Icom IC-706MKIIG

(NOTE: Mine is used mobile with a VHF / UHF antenna and a K4POZ Screwdriver for HF)
Good radio, a lot of bang for the buck. I would be torn between it and the Yaesu FT-857D, but would probably opt for the Icom, because all the buttons face front. Mine has the 1.9KHz SSB filter, works so so. Other than that, I get great reports on my mobile signal!


My choice for a TNC to use on packet and Pactor I. Get the 7.2 version EPROMS. If you are going to RTTY or something else it will do, just download the free sound card software and forget using the TNC... too much trouble. And the Sound Card Interface add on for the PK232MBX... a waste of time. Sure, it is a sound card interface, but the PTT switching requires and extra piece of software.


If you want a TNC for APRS to use with software, this is it. It does it and does it well. It also does packet well with AGWPE and an AGWPE compatable terminal program (Winpack recommended). Fun easy kit to build, and the USB option makes it good for portable laptop use.

My dream shack:

VHF / UHF Voice - Yaesu FT-8800R
APRS / Ham Packet / MARS Packet - (3) Alinco DR-135's without the TNC, a TNC-X/USB for APRS, and two PK232MBX's (or maybe PK-88s) for ham / MARS packet.
HF Voice & Digital - Yaesu FT-950 without the RX addons. Signalink USB sound card / interface. SCS modem for Pactor I, II, III.