Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Amateur Radio Gear Reviews

Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver

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Alan Georges:
There are lots of reviews for this transceiver out on the web, covering it in far more detail than I’m going into here.  So I’ll stick to answering the two questions I really couldn’t find ready answers to in these reviews:

(1) How easy is it, really, to operate?
I’d had eyes on a Yaesu FT-957D over the winter, but various friends and internet advice steered me toward an FT-450D.  Less compact = more faceplate controls = fewer menus and (hopefully) easier operation.  In practice, while the 450D is not iPod-easy to operate, it’s not really any more complicated than something like MS Word when it comes to dealing with its menus.  I do keep the manual nearby at all times however.

(2) How’s the internal tuner? 
It’s dead easy to operate, just press & hold one button.  It’ll tame any reasonably efficient but not quite perfect antenna, i.e. anything with SWR < 3.  It won’t tune random wires, G5RV’s, or anything else too whacky, but it does help clean up the band ends for dipoles and extends the operating range a little.

(3) One more thing (bonus!).  Size-wise, at 9” wide x 4” high x 10” deep, it’s too big for a BOB but reasonable for a BOV.  “Compact base station” describes it best.  I’ll have to make a go-box for it eventually.  Or maybe sooner, we’re getting into the thick of hurricane season.

Overall, it’s a solid rig that has enough features and flexibility to do most jobs.  While not quite small enough to be a true mobile unit, it’s small enough to pack for a bugout, or even a camping trip.  Here’s a review that swayed me into getting this thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxRAoMs22Yo  (about 16 minutes long).

ID_Joker:
Thanks.  That's helpful.  I've been debating between the 450d and the 950.  Any experience with the latter?

zanedclark@att.net:
And I'd like to hear about the choice of the 897D instead of the 450.  Any thoughts there?
z

zanedclark@att.net:
I was just over at Universal Radio and see that the 950 is discontinued, replaced by the http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/1200.html

z

Alan Georges:

--- Quote from: ID_Joker on July 29, 2013, 06:51:14 AM ---Thanks.  That's helpful.  I've been debating between the 450d and the 950.  Any experience with the latter?

--- End quote ---
Y'all're welcome.  No, no real experience other than shopping and reading/watching too many reviews.  The main reason was that the 950 was outside my budget, and now the new 1200 is even more so.  After that, both seemed too large to be really bug-outable.  Yeah, I know that's very relative and subjective, but I'm the one who's got to lug the damnthing.  Finally, the 950 just felt like too much rig for me, too many features for a new ham.

I gave the Alinco SR8T a serious look too.  Price is right on that one, but by the time you hang on a tuner the price is beginning to stack back up.  And then, I wasn't sure it was enough rig to grow into.  I mean, some of the DSP stuff on the 450D is just too sexy to pass up!


--- Quote from: zanedclark on July 29, 2013, 09:13:27 AM ---And I'd like to hear about the choice of the 897D instead of the 450.  Any thoughts there?
z

--- End quote ---
Looked at that one hard too.  Feature-for-feature, it's nearly the same as the FT-857, with all those advantages and disadvantages.  The internal battery is neat, but I didn't want to be married to a proprietary NiMH battery pack, and be limited to 20% TX power when using it.  Comes to it, I'll rig up a gel cell bank if I need that kind of portability – or just hook onto my truck's battery.  Not exactly hiking gear I know, but that's not my focus right now.  Got to say though, an 897 with a 20 meter end-fed antenna and maybe a little UHF antenna would be one sexy compact emergency comms go rig.

It's all a balancing act, and I can't say that I 100% researched the 950, 897, 857, or SRT8, but I did get to the 80% researched level and was suffering from analysis paralysis and hurricane season is upon us and an OK decision today is better than perfect too late, whew.  They all look really good, and I'd probably be happy with any of them.  It was just the 450D hit my combo of price, features (enough, not too many), and size/bugoutability.

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