HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

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HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by medic photog » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:40 pm

Looking for a multi band HF antenna and tuner that will compliment my Yaesu FT 857-D. I hear great things about the ULTIMAX 100 antenna, lots of folks in this area are using it and it doesn't cost too much. Now for a tuner to finish the HF side. I'm looking at either the MFJ-925 or the LDG YT-100, both are supposed to be made for the 857 but I have no idea which would be the better choice. I have an MFJ-874 peak reading SWR/Wattmeter and can't say enough good about it. Anyone have any hands on with either antenna tuner?

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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by TacAir » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:45 pm

For the money, give it a whirl. I would tell you I've had good luck 14 AVQ vertical. AT nearly $200 it isn't on the same class as your wire antenna.

Good luck.
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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by Radio guy » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:24 am

The Ultimax is just another 9:1 transformer with non resonant chunk of wire that can be force fed with a tuner. That doesn't mean it radiates very well and your coax becomes part of the antenna and also radiates. Here is another version you can make if so inclined but in my opinion there are better choices. http://www.earchi.org/92011endfedfiles/Endfed6_40.pdf You'll find a lot of hams raving about various antennas and will then find its the only thing they have used and they have nothing to compare with.

If you want an end fed that actually radiates well you can make a transformer for a few $ that will match a resonant end fed half wave and even multiples like 40, 20 and 10. This works virtually the same as a resonant half wave center fed dipole except you exciting it from the end. I've made a bunch of these and a 100w version is my main travel/backpack antenna. Here are a couple of sites where people have dissected the commercially made PAR End Fed and published the recipe.
https://forums.hamisland.net/showthread ... b09d7d832d
http://pa-11019.blogspot.nl/2012/04/149 ... as-35.html
http://pa3hho.wordpress.com/antennes/mu ... d-english/

The common thread with these are a very high ratio transformer around 50:1 or 64:1 using a type 43 mix core. I use an FT-114A-43 core for a 100w version and the core is $2.05 from Amidon Associates. This transformer in a tiny box with a connector and threaded stud mated with about 65ft of wire matched great on 40, 20 and 10m and radiates much better than the 9:1 types. You can basically attach a half wavelength of wire for any band 80m through 10m including CB and it works. Problem with 80m is its not exactly resonant on 40m so I use a 40m resonant version then add additional wire for 80m with an insulator and jumper to select 80 or 40-20-10m.

For portable use get some plastic chalk line reels from Home Depot, throw away the string and load up your resonant 65ft of wire. If you go 22ga wire you can easily fit the 65ft plus 30-40ft of guy string and the teardrop chalk line reel becomes your throw weight to toss over trees, etc.

medic photog wrote:Looking for a multi band HF antenna and tuner that will compliment my Yaesu FT 857-D. I hear great things about the ULTIMAX 100 antenna, lots of folks in this area are using it and it doesn't cost too much. Now for a tuner to finish the HF side. I'm looking at either the MFJ-925 or the LDG YT-100, both are supposed to be made for the 857 but I have no idea which would be the better choice. I have an MFJ-874 peak reading SWR/Wattmeter and can't say enough good about it. Anyone have any hands on with either antenna tuner?

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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by KYZHunters » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:04 am

Medic Photog,
Are you limited by HOA or other physical restraints, does this need to be readily portable. I tossed up a trapped 40/20/15/10 dipole yesterday in a few minutes, made a handful of contacts and pulled it down all within an hour.
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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by medic photog » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:48 pm

KYZHunters wrote:Medic Photog,
Are you limited by HOA or other physical restraints, does this need to be readily portable. I tossed up a trapped 40/20/15/10 dipole yesterday in a few minutes, made a handful of contacts and pulled it down all within an hour.
KYZ

I rent but my landlord is very cool and open minded, heck I have a 50 by 50 foot garden and fruit trees on the property now. I currently have a couple Arrow Antennas up, a 70cm/2M "J" loop and their 6M ground plane. I'm investigating options but don't want to put a tower up, that might be pushing it, if not with the landlord with the neighbors. years ago there were two people in the neighborhood that had some serious radios and towers, but they are no longer around. I've lived in this neighborhood for the better part of my life, my parents had the house next to the one I rent. As far as being portable, that would be great too. I have a set up in my Blazer for the radio with a hamstick mount for HF work and several different sticks that take seconds to change out.

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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by Acme » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:45 pm

I have both the 857d and the LDG YT-100. I use the radio for my base operations and for portable work. The radio/tuner combination works great. The tuner can handle 4 to 800 ohms and 100 Watts, which really is enough for most applications. It can only handle coax, it's not set up to do antennas fed with twin lead or random wire antennas. I highly recommend it.

At my home, I have a 135' off-center-fed dipole, which is a great and overlooked, underused multi-band antenna. One leg is 90', the other is 45' and at the feedpoint is a 4:1 balun. About 15' below the feed point are some ferrite beads as a common mode choke. They may not be essential but they don't hurt. It is a true multi-band antenna. I get <2:1 SWR on the 80m, 20m, 17m, and 12m bands (so 4 bands can be worked without the tuner) and just above 2:1 SWR on 40m and 10m bands, where I need the tuner to get the best performance. (The SWR could be different elsewhere since the ground, height, etc. can influence the SWR.) I built this antenna with Flexweave wire and the Unadilla 4:1 balun. I think it cost around $100 for everything, but it can be done with less expensive wire. It is a flat-top about 20' off the ground, so it tends to present a high take-off angle on 40m and 80m (good for regional HF) and low take-off angle on the higher bands, where I've had good opportunities for DX. If your lot will accommodate it, it's worth it.

For portable ops, I generally use a Buddistick (the vertical made by Buddipole). It is lightweight and very portable, sets up in minutes, and lets me work all HF bands 40m and up. I don't take the tuner with me, so I rough-tune by ear and then adjust the counterpoise to reduce the SWR. It tends to be fairly narrow banded, so a tuner, such as one of the MFJ Travel Tuners (901, 902 or 904), could help clean up some SWR and make switching frequencies a little easier, but it is not essential. This is a great, versatile and rugged antenna for the field. The antenna is worth the money if it's in your budget.

For a simple wire antenna with great portability, you also might consider a Par End Fed, now made by LNR Precision. They make a mix of low-power multi-band antennas and mono-banders that handle more power. They get great reviews and signal reports.


All the best.

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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by Purple_Mutant » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:53 pm

I really like the MFJ big stick.

http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.p ... d=MFJ-2286

eham reviews

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/10436

The telescopic antenna will get you down to 20 meters and packs down to about 2 feet. With the loading coil you can get down to 40 meters. MFJ says it will handle a kilowatt. It works great on my the wide footprint bogen tripod. The antenna comes with some really nice copper wire counterpoise. Instead of the included counterpoise I am using two camping clothes line reels with about 11 meters of 22 gauge speaker wire on each. They work great, pack up nicely, and can be used as a dipole or inverted V down to 40 meters. I got the idea for the clothes line reels from here.

http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?24 ... lated-Wire

Since the big stick uses a standard 3/8 X 24 mount, it gives you some room for experimentation. I added a buddi pole antenna arm between the mobile mount and the loading coil. That puts the loading coil where it's easier to reach and gives me a little more electrical length so I can use less loading coil on 30 or 40 meters.

I plan on using this antenna on field day. I plan on taking pics, so you will get to see this antenna in action.

I would say $100 is a great deal for a portable antenna that covers 40-6 meters. The only regret I have is that I didn't buy this antenna sooner.
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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by medic photog » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:10 pm

Purple_Mutant wrote:I really like the MFJ big stick.

http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.p ... d=MFJ-2286

eham reviews

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/10436

The telescopic antenna will get you down to 20 meters and packs down to about 2 feet. With the loading coil you can get down to 40 meters. MFJ says it will handle a kilowatt. It works great on my the wide footprint bogen tripod. The antenna comes with some really nice copper wire counterpoise. Instead of the included counterpoise I am using two camping clothes line reels with about 11 meters of 22 gauge speaker wire on each. They work great, pack up nicely, and can be used as a dipole or inverted V down to 40 meters. I got the idea for the clothes line reels from here.

http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?24 ... lated-Wire

Since the big stick uses a standard 3/8 X 24 mount, it gives you some room for experimentation. I added a buddi pole antenna arm between the mobile mount and the loading coil. That puts the loading coil where it's easier to reach and gives me a little more electrical length so I can use less loading coil on 30 or 40 meters.

I plan on using this antenna on field day. I plan on taking pics, so you will get to see this antenna in action.

I would say $100 is a great deal for a portable antenna that covers 40-6 meters. The only regret I have is that I didn't buy this antenna sooner.
This and the Buddy pole system are a couple other options I'm going to take a look at. I use the 857 both in the truck and as a base unit. It's not that hard to switch out and I have a set of antennas on the truck, a 2M 70cm and a Ham Stick with several length options. I've already taken the time to check the SWRs in the truck and have the sticks pretty much dialed in for where I hang on the various bands. If I go with a wire, I have to keep the length in the range of the side of the house, a vertical might work if it's a multi band and I can keep discreet. I have a PVC pipe frame that sits over the top of a peaked roof on the side deck and was painted to blend in. Right now it holds two Arrow Antenna models, their 2M 70cm J loop and 6M ground plane. I'm looking for something to cover 6M through 80M to take the place of the ground plane. As for portable back pack QRP right now I have an Arrow Antenna break down 2M 70cm Yagi I can run off my VX8 or 817. A wire or buddy pole set up will be added in the next couple of weeks and possible an FT 8900 for the truck and a box made for the 857, 1030A power supply, MFJ 874 SWR meter and MFJ tuner. I just acquired several Pelican cases after cleaning out a storage area at our one station. I figure this will give me a ton of options with base, mobile and foot commo. Interestingly enough, since I've been more into the commo end of things right now with my prepping, my employer has asked what it will cost to put an 857 in an ambulance as a back up radio. We currently are on 800 meg, digital trunk tracked through two counties and have MDATs for both counties too. There's also a HF repeater in the area shared by fire, ems, police, road crew as a local radio. A couple other squads that have medics with ham tickets are also toying with the idea of a ham unit in the rig. This could get very interesting if the squads get together and do this.

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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by Purple_Mutant » Sat Sep 06, 2014 12:23 am

One more thing to mention about my big stick setup. I have a bogen tripod with a really wide foot print. It works great with the big stick. It feel like in a high wind the antenna would break before the tripod would flip. As a bonus since it's a camera tripod I can use it with my camera :D So if I went backpacking that tripod could server as a camera tripod and an antenna support. :awesome: Gotta love multi function items.

The buddipole system looks like a good option too. I have a buddipole antenna arm and a couple of buddipole telescopics I got for a bicycle mobile setup. They are really nice antennas. I am quite impressed with the build quality. I am thinking of getting a buddipole loading coil for my bicycle setup. I have been using the coil that came with the big stick; but it might be nice to have a separate coil for the bike. I should take some pics of my bike setup and start a thread about it. It's pretty cool to be able to run 2 meters down to 40 (I think it's 40 that or 20) meters off the back of a bike. Once I get a headset for my 817 I could run while riding. Using a hand mic while riding is doable but not recommended.
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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by medic photog » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:58 am

Purple_Mutant wrote:One more thing to mention about my big stick setup. I have a bogen tripod with a really wide foot print. It works great with the big stick. It feel like in a high wind the antenna would break before the tripod would flip. As a bonus since it's a camera tripod I can use it with my camera :D So if I went backpacking that tripod could server as a camera tripod and an antenna support. :awesome: Gotta love multi function items.

The buddipole system looks like a good option too. I have a buddipole antenna arm and a couple of buddipole telescopics I got for a bicycle mobile setup. They are really nice antennas. I am quite impressed with the build quality. I am thinking of getting a buddipole loading coil for my bicycle setup. I have been using the coil that came with the big stick; but it might be nice to have a separate coil for the bike. I should take some pics of my bike setup and start a thread about it. It's pretty cool to be able to run 2 meters down to 40 (I think it's 40 that or 20) meters off the back of a bike. Once I get a headset for my 817 I could run while riding. Using a hand mic while riding is doable but not recommended.
I have a Bogen 3040 tripod and gotta say they are stable monsters. Have you tried adding a generator to your bike to help the battery on the 817. Back in the day you could get a generator with head light and tail light. The generator was spring loaded and ran off the side of a tire. Just a thought.

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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by Purple_Mutant » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:49 pm

medic photog wrote:
Purple_Mutant wrote:One more thing to mention about my big stick setup. I have a bogen tripod with a really wide foot print. It works great with the big stick. It feel like in a high wind the antenna would break before the tripod would flip. As a bonus since it's a camera tripod I can use it with my camera :D So if I went backpacking that tripod could server as a camera tripod and an antenna support. :awesome: Gotta love multi function items.

The buddipole system looks like a good option too. I have a buddipole antenna arm and a couple of buddipole telescopics I got for a bicycle mobile setup. They are really nice antennas. I am quite impressed with the build quality. I am thinking of getting a buddipole loading coil for my bicycle setup. I have been using the coil that came with the big stick; but it might be nice to have a separate coil for the bike. I should take some pics of my bike setup and start a thread about it. It's pretty cool to be able to run 2 meters down to 40 (I think it's 40 that or 20) meters off the back of a bike. Once I get a headset for my 817 I could run while riding. Using a hand mic while riding is doable but not recommended.
I have a Bogen 3040 tripod and gotta say they are stable monsters. Have you tried adding a generator to your bike to help the battery on the 817. Back in the day you could get a generator with head light and tail light. The generator was spring loaded and ran off the side of a tire. Just a thought.
I have a 12 volt bicycle magnetos and a rectifier. I had the very same ideas as you. I just haven't gotten around to working on that project. A better use for the magneto might be for it's intended use. I was thinking of a 12 volt LED light with a capacitor. The capacitor would keep the light from flickering and would keep the light on for a bit when you come to a stop. The first step will be hooking up the magneto and rectifier. From there I can hook up a multi meter and see what I get.
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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by medic photog » Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:02 pm

I ordered a bunch of goodies four days ago and the Ultimax 100 is here already, just waiting on the tuner and coax and I'm good to go. I picked up some extras for the VX8DR and I'm waiting a week or two before I order the FT817 and either another FT 857 or the FT 897. I'm leaning more towards another 857 since I'm familiar with it and set up to pop the one out of the truck and use it s a base unit. I'm hoping the rest of this order and the Buddipole get here this week since I have a couple free days to get some hands on time with the antenna and get it sorted out for what I want it to do. This "I want a combination base mobile unit and a hand held is growing to base, mobile, handheld and back pack but I'm having fun with the stuff and I've met a great group here in the local radio club.

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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by Radio guy » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:51 am

Wish I would have read this forum earlier and tried to talk you out of the Buddipole. They work ok 20m through 10m but a simple wire antenna that cost just a few $$ blows it away on all bands, especially 80 through 20m. I had one for many years and although its the best quality of the small portable types, its a huge compromise. After a few field A/B tests with other antennas I just stopped taking it anywhere because I would rather put up a simple antenna and be heard as opposed to constantly dicking with coil taps and RF on the feedline and not being heard. And that was using an antenna analyzer in the field to make sure the Buddipole was tuned, without that I wish you luck.
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medic photog wrote:I ordered a bunch of goodies four days ago and the Ultimax 100 is here already, just waiting on the tuner and coax and I'm good to go. I picked up some extras for the VX8DR and I'm waiting a week or two before I order the FT817 and either another FT 857 or the FT 897. I'm leaning more towards another 857 since I'm familiar with it and set up to pop the one out of the truck and use it s a base unit. I'm hoping the rest of this order and the Buddipole get here this week since I have a couple free days to get some hands on time with the antenna and get it sorted out for what I want it to do. This "I want a combination base mobile unit and a hand held is growing to base, mobile, handheld and back pack but I'm having fun with the stuff and I've met a great group here in the local radio club.

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Re: HF antenna and tuner for Yaesu Ft 857-D

Post by Uncle Chan » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:07 pm

I have an FT-897D with an LDG AT897 Plus tuner. Great combination. I've been a ham for 4yrs but only setup my system a few weeks back. Wish I'd done it sooner. I have a multiband end fed dipole. 33' of 18ga wire attached to a 9:1 unun attached to 25' of coax. Within a half hour I was talking to Antarctica, Ukraine, Mexico, France, Qatar, Quebec, Jamaica, etc. All on 20m in the middle of the day. I keep hearing how poor of a choice I made. That's BS. The Ultimax 100 will do you fine. Mine is roughly 30' high on one end and 20' on the other. 100 watts tx. 5-7 to 5-9 reports.

I'm grabbing another EFD for my emergency kit. I'm convinced that you don't need anything special. Only thing I would change and will eventually change is the wire. I don't like the 18ga thin stuff.

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